Bill Burchard is Corporate CADD Manager for Psomas, a California-based survey, civil engineering, and GIS consulting firm. His most recent books include Inside AutoCAD 2000 Limited Edition, and Inside AutoCAD 14 Limited Edition.

DesignCAD 3000
2D/3D Software
Upperspace Corp.
600 SE 49th Street
Pryor, OK 74361
Phone: 800.233.3223

List Price: $299.00
DesignCAD 3000
By Bill Burchard

DesignCAD 3000 is a 2D/3D CAD drafting application with an impressive set of tools and features. Using this drafting and modeling application, you can create and edit both simple 2D drawings and complex 3D models.

You can also apply textures and shading to your 3D objects to create photo-realistic renderings, and create 3D perspectives and animations of your design.

DesignCAD 3000 includes the typical tools you need for drawing 2D objects such as lines, arcs, circles, and curves. It also includes a set of 3D tools for drawing surfaces and solids. You can even use DesignCAD 3000 to convert your 2-D drawings into 3-D models.

Figure 1. DesignCAD's tutorials teach you how to create and render 3D objects. (Click image to enlarge.)

By following DesignCAD's tutorials, you initially learn the basic skills and concepts you need for beginning work on 2D drawings.

Then as you progress through the tutorials, you learn about more advanced 3D features, and gain experience by drawing complex objects such as the table as shown in figure 1, as well as a 3D house. From the tutorials, you also learn how to create and edit surfaces and solids.

DesignCAD 3000 includes a texture mapping feature that lets you either select a predefined texture, or create your own as shown in Figure 2.

By copying a texture from an image file such as a bitmap, you can manipulate the image to produce the desired texture, and assign it to an object.

DesignCAD's solid modeling tools let you use Boolean operations to manipulate 3D surfaces. Therefore, you can develop complex objects from simpler ones by adding or subtracting solid objects from on another.

Figure 2. The Texture Mapping tool lets you create and assign textures to 3D objects.

Additionally, you can edit 3D images using commands that scale, rotate, mirror, and slice objects. You can also add dimensions to 3D objects using 3D dimensioning tools that display measurements in 3D space.

DesignCAD includes other 3D tools such as the Slice by Curved Surface command, which lets you draw a freehand curve that completely intersects a 3D model, and that then uses the curve to slice the solid. You can also use the Cut Corner and Cut Edge commands to chamfer the corners of 3D solids, or to chamfer the sides of solid objects, such as a table's edges.

With DesignCAD, you can create 3D spirals using the Sweep command, which allows you to specify a variable pitch and radial offset to make true helical shapes like corkscrews, threaded bolts, and coiled springs.

DesignCAD's animation and presentation tools provide you the ability to create 3D walk-through animations that are recorded as AVI files, which can be played by Windows' Media Player or other video player applications. DesignCAD's Animation command will also produce VRML files, which can be used to animate a drawing for display on the Internet.

DesignCAD 3000 provides customization tools that let you automate tasks. For example, you can write, develop, and execute programs with BasicCAD, a built-in programming language. BasicCAD is similar to standard Basic, but provides the capability of executing DesignCAD macro commands as well as Basic statements.

You can also customize DesignCAD using Microsoft Visual Basic and Visual C++. By downloading DesignCAD's free Developer's Kit from their web site, you can create special features and functions to increase productivity.

Figure 3. DesignCAD 3000 can convert bitmaps into vector-based drawings. (Click to image to enlarge.)

Another useful feature of DesignCAD 3000 is its Auto Trace command, which automatically creates vector outlines from bitmaps. The tool works by allowing you to scan an image, import it as a bitmap, and then select the colors to trace, which are then converted into vectors that can be imported and manipulated in DesignCAD, as shown in figure 3.

System Requirements are Microsoft Windows 9x, or NT (version 4.0 or later, ) 486DX processor, 16 MB of RAM, SuperVGA graphics card capable of 256 or more colors, and a SuperVGA monitor capable of at least 800x600 resolution

DesignCAD 3000 is a powerful 2D and 3D drawing and modeling application that includes an impressive set of features, such as solid modeling, rendering and animations, and programming customization. DesignCAD 3000 offers an impressive set of features at a very low price.

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