AutoCAD's first 3D parametric modeller
As I researched for an article that will appear in the January 12, 2015 issue of upFront.eZine, I was racking my brain about an Autodesk MCAD product called "Designer." I knew it existed briefly, but could not find any references to it on the Google. I asked editor friends for help, and some of them thought it might be connected to Autodesk's acquisition of Woodbourne, whose most famous employee was "Buzz" Kross, today the head of Autodesk's MCAD division.
(Woodbourne was located in Lake Oswego, Oregon, explaining why Autodesk's MCAD division is still headquartered in the Portland area, instead of Marin County, California or even Novi, Michigan.)
After several days of on and off again searching, I finally came across a press release from November 1993. (Here's a test for you: try searching for "AutoCAD Designer" and see what you can't find!) This is the relevant part from the only source I could locate, www.freecadapps.com/uploads/info/designer.txt:
AutoCAD Designer automates the production of mechanical designs and drawings by integrating a feature-based parametric solid modeler into AutoCAD.
With bi-directional associativity between the 3D model and drawing, users
obtain powerful dimension-driven editing during the design and drafting process.
AutoCAD Designer resulted from Autodesk's acquisition of Woodbourne, Inc., a privately held corporation located in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Prior to the acquisition, Woodbourne was an Autodesk third party developer and creator of Design Companion.
"AutoCAD Designer brings the crucial elements of the now established
feature-based modeling paradigm to the desktop and makes it accessible to many users, not just the few," said John Lynch, vice president, Autodesk Product Development, adding "AutoCAD Designer makes AutoCAD a powerful mechanical design tool...
"With AutoCAD Designer, we've taken the best parts of parametric design and adapted them to the needs of AutoCAD customers."
As I recall, AutoCAD Designer went nowhere as a stand-alone product. The price was $1,500 and ran on DOS. Released at the same time was AutoCAD Surf, which gave AutoCAD 3D surface modeling, also for $1,500: free-form NURBS curve and surface modeling with blending, filleting, sweeping, automatic trimming, and surface offsetting.
After the two add-ons disappeared, the parametric and surfacing functions would not reappear in AutoCAD until releases 2011 and 2010, respectively -- 17 years later. One other note: Mr Lynch later moved to Bentley Systems.