« CAD vendors are vowing to stir up the industry; if only | Main | Photo set from Galiano Island and Pacific Rim National Park, Canada »

Jun 25, 2010


Dave Ault

The cad part works fine for most of us. I am sure this is a leadin for why we need to spend gobs of cash on a convoluted nightmare of PLM aps or some sort of cloud silliness we don't want or need.

Kevin Quigley

There is plenty that still needs to be addressed in the CAD world and to be frank all this PLM stuff is side tracking the issue that is core modelling capability.

If you cannot model it you cannot do anything else downstream - no analysis, no rendering, no live documentation, no linked tooling and more crucially no point in investing in PLM systems where the model data is core to the system.

So what needs to change?

Interface, stability, speed, removing the barriers to creating any geometry a designer can vision - as opposed to the designer taking the option of designing around the tools ability. Ever tried to add 3D textures to a MCAD model? ever tried to just blend in a surface in a CAD model that you know you could do in 10 seconds if you had a physical model and a file?

the irony is that a lot of the technology and tools are around - they are just all tied up in systems that will never hit the mainstream.

Blake Courter

Depends on what you mean by mainstream, Kevin. Most of our sales are not to mainstream CAD users, but to engineers and analysts who want to create and edit solid geometry without the hassle of a heavy-duty CAD system.

Think of it this way, at one point in time, financial analysts had special tools to crunch numbers. Now anybody can do it with a spreadsheet. Did Excel or Lotus 123 target the mainstream financial analyst market? Maybe, but that's not why spreadsheets succeeded.

We (SpaceClaim) are kind of like that for 3D solid modeling.


Earl Jones

Blake, take a break. To take a bogus definition such as \'mainstream CAD\' and to make it the centerpiece of a company\'s marketing pitch may work on paper for SpaceClaim, but it does not make it the truth. Mainstream is as much a worn-out cliche in CAD as bipartisanship is in politics. Give it a rest.

Kevin is right - much can be done in CAD. The problem is that none of the additions he wants, while legitimate, can give more revenue for the vendors. We are not talking incremental, but higher orders of revenue. How long do you think customers will pay subscription for software that changes superficially? It is obvious that the customer\'s needs (however ill-defined they are) has been at odds with the development of CAD products for some time now.

I am sure the CAD vendors love all the froth about CAD on the cloud, etc. being served in the industry blogs. It plays beautifully into their plan for fashioning a new business model for their old CAD technology.

So don\'t be surprised to hear that PTC\'s Project Lightning is also some variation of this \'cloud-based CAD\'. Why? Because their customers are already primed for this crap and PTC can roll it out with little effort. And thus will be born a new revenue stream, which can be easily sold as \'new technology\'. Gotta love this game.


Since its peak of innovation over 20 years ago < this makes me ask why pro/e isn't dead?
Stop developing are you guys kidding? Serious where just started.

Jon Banquer

Ralph, I nominate Earl Jones post for the best comment ever posted to a CAD blog. Thank you, Earl for saying what needs to be said. For many years I've said that the basics in CAD and in CAM are badly, badly broken.

Speaking of broken for years can Blake tell us why SpaceClaim *still* has no HoleWizard and no way to quickly change hole sizes / types in an imported solid? This problem has been discussed at length on Paul Hamilton's blog where a suggested solution to this problem was posted.

My thanks to Kevin Quigley for his usual no nonsense / well articulated comments.

Jon Banquer
San Diego, CA

Kevin Quigley

I think you are missing my point Blake. Earl has identified the key issue - a lot of what CAN be done HAS been done, bit it is not mainstream because there is not sufficient perceived ROI for the CAD vendor to integrate these technologies into a mainstream solution, or indeed any solution that is a reasonable cost.

If I want to apply surface decoration to a 3D surface I can buy ArtCam from Delcam, or possibly integrate into with powershape - so I am £11k down already. Say I want to do some sculpting aka the file example above - I get a SensAble Phantom - another £15k down. Then maybe some point cloud handling? You get the picture?

I'm not knocking CAD vendors who choose to target the mass market or specific niches. I'm making the point that we can already do a lot of what is needed. all it will take is for some vendor to join the dots and build an interface around it that simplifies the design implementation process. When i design, I want to be able to "just do it". Not constantly have to think my way around the interface the software puts in my way.

No doubt some systems are better interfaced than others - I for one still think Ashlar's 3D modelling systems have some of the best 3D interfaces around.

No, believe me, the only people who say the mainstream people don't need all the specialist tools are the software company finance people. I once had a long conversation with a lead developer at Solidworks UK and he said to me that "within 5 years Solidworks will be able to model anything, surface decoration, point clouds the lot - there is no technical reason why we can't. That was in 2000.

So Blake, want to give me the tools I need at a price I can justify?


if you want to figure out what "project Lightning" is going to be about, I suggest you simply consider PTC's product line, customer base, and it's struggle to spend their R&D money in an efficient way.

Its funny that if you talk to your PTC sales rep and ask them what project lightning is, they really don't know. In fact, PTC leadership is still making decisions.

I have no inside information, but I guess that Lightning is no more than a strategy to leverage the cocreate product line. PTC might even give cocreate away free to ptc customers, pitching the same idea as spaceclaim...use cocreate early in the concept phase, then switch over to pro/e for detailed design.

but what about us people who use cocreate for detailed design?

Jon Banquer

No doubt in my mind that CoCreate is PTC savior!
CoCreate still needs a lot of improvement interface wise. I greatly prefer SpaceClaim's user interface. What I don't like about SpaceClaim is all the missing tools that SpaceClaim lacks. I mean how ridiculous is it that SpaceClaim still has no HoleWizard after all these years! On the first relase of Solid Edge with S/T it had a hole wizard!

Jon Banquer
San Diego, CA

Earl Jones

Hey, maybe it really is project \'Lightening\' and not \'Lightning\'. That actually makes sense. Maybe what they really mean is that \"PTC will lighten the customer\'s wallets by charging more for the same software, by splitting their current offerings into even smaller pieces and charging for each of those pieces individually.\" In other words, \'slice and dice and up the price\'.

Throw \'CAD in the Cloud\' and \'CoCreate Push-pull\' jibberish into the mix, and soon you understand \'Project Lightening\'. Now, was that so difficult?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


Search This Blog



Thank you for visiting!