The Mother of Modern CAD
IronCAD had a huge impact on the CAD industry, twice. The first time was in 1994, when it launched under the rather unwieldy name of TriSpectives Professional. It astounded us how much interactivity could be possible in CAD software. (Click image at left to read the full-size version of the box.)
The second time was every year since then, as competitor CAD packages adopted the technology pioneered by 3D/eye. Technology like interactive 3D cursors, dragging and dropping parts from a palette into the drawing, and objects intelligently linking with each other. If your CAD package recently added any of these, thank the smart folks at 3D/eye who figured all this out more than two decades ago.
So why isn't everyone using IronCAD these days?
IronCAD 2016 linking a belt between two pulleys semi-automatically
The technology was too soon. Using TriSpectives was such a paradigm shift to users who were still mainly running keyboard-oriented software on DOS or Unix systems. (Windows 95 had just launched, and NT was still targetted at corporations.) It would have been better, I think, had 3D/eye transitioned the technology over time.
It was overhyped. 3D/eye's marketing used a quote from an analyst that was obviously untrue: "The Pro/E Killer!" Really? A brand-new (and hence still immature) CAD package replacing the established Pro/E is inconceivable. Except in this case, using the Wallace Shawn word was unironic, for TriSpectives didn't even include a Pro/E file translator. You're not going to replace a CAD package at a customer site if you're not interested in reading the customer's existing design files.
(If you want to blame -- or credit -- anyone for killing Pro/E, that would be SpaceClaim. Creo was PTC's "get out of jail" reaction.)
3D/eye couldn't sell enough software to survive, and at the end was split in two. Autodesk bought some of the technology, first installing it in Actrix ("The Visio Killer!"), which it killed off after the second release. The smart technology then found its way into AutoCAD's dynamic blocks function.
The other half became IronCAD, today owned by CAXA.
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We interview Cary O'Conner of IronCAD LLC next week in upFront.eZine #889 about the newest intelligent behaviours added to IronCAD 2016. Subscribe here, and then tell all your friends.