BricsCAD has finally come to the Mac platform in version 15, just released this month. Architosh first reported about the possibility of a native OS X version of BricsCAD back in December of 2008.
At the time it was CAD journalist Ralph Grabowski who tipped that the company had spent 4 years rewriting their code base so that it could be more portable between operating systems. At the time of our first report Autodesk had not yet come back to the Mac OS X market with its industry-leading CAD system AutoCAD.
BricsCAD V15 for Mac—Details
BricsCAD V15 is the latest version of one of the leading lower-cost direct competitors to Autodesk AutoCAD, a market space that Ralph Grabowski had some interesting words to share recently in his blog. Also in this space is Graebert with ARES and its OEM offspring partners such as Dassault DraftSight and CorelCAD. All of these competitors rely on a native .dwg file format yet all of them offer differentiated offerings with particular market verticals and feature sets.
BricsCAD V15 for OS X unifies the intelligence of 3D direct modeling (called “explicit modeling” in our tags here on Architosh) with advanced 2D CAD design. The latest version of BricsCAD V15 runs on Windows, Linux and Mac and features “almost identical feature set” across all three platforms.
For users who are familiar with other native .dwg CAD systems BricsCAD offers a familiar user interface (UI) with a consistent Ribbon UI component plus its own Quad cursor technology and Look From widget. Importantly, in BricsCAD V15 on Mac, users can do 3D direct modeling (explicit vs parametric) as well as build parametric assemblies and store all data in native .dwg file format. Users can access 3D model components that are organized in libraries hierarchically and also create renderings realistically thanks to 600 new Redway materials included in BricsCAD
What’s New in V15
New in version 15 of BricsCAD, aside from its new cross-platform support from Windows, to Linux to Mac, and new cross-platform licensing keys, are the new ribbon interface feature with tabbed interface elements that allow you to navigate through drawings quickly and easily. The ribbon offers new ways to also access tools. The new Look From widget offers a chair to indicate the current view direction. To manipulate the direction users click the arrows that surround the chair icon.
Grib editing for dynamic blocks is a new feature, with multi-function grips to manipulate dynamic blocks on-screen. Scale, flip, rotate and align such blocks as well as change visibility state. There are 600 new Redway materials to be used in renderings. And BricsCAD automatically detects all boundaries in drawings.
There is a new Sheet Metal feature set that allows users to create sheet metal parts from scratch, or rework parts imported from other MCAD systems using intuitive 3D direct modeling techniques. These features allow the user to automatically recognize flanges and bends in any 3D solid model. You can also unfold sheet metal parts with one click to prepare designs for production.
BricsCAD Intros Building Information Modeling (BIM) for AEC Market
BricsCAD V15 intros a BIM feature set for the first time. BricsCAD BIM synchronizes 2D sections, plans, and details with 3D models. To design walls, draw their footprints in 2D, then pull them up to a specified level or enter a dimension interactively. To specify windows and doors users choose them from libraries or create their own designs. There is no need to use layers to change visibility objects; BricsCAD BIM directly hides and shows objects.
BricsCAD features a context-sensitive Quad™ cursor. The new HotKey Assistant widget will display the available options for the given operation and allow the user to cycle through them using your Ctrl key.
BricsCAD licenses are from now on “cross-platform” licenses. Users can choose to run BricsCAD on Windows, Linux or Mac, though the Linux version is at version 14. Only Windows and Mac are at version 15.
Availability and Pricing
BricsCAD V15 for Mac or Windows comes in three versions, Platinum, Pro and Classic. BricsCAD Classic is strictly a 2D .dwg CAD application with backward support for version 2.5 of AutoCAD. This means you can open the oldest of AutoCAD files. It offers powerful CAD functions, 2D constraints solving, full LISP and Chapoo cloud collaboration connectivity. BricsCAD Classic retails for 480.USD / 380.euro.
BricsCAD Pro adds direct 3D modeling to the Classic version, plus rendering, materials and lighting, VBA & BRX on Windows only, 3D constraints solving (not just 2D) and the BricsCAD Communicator optional module. Communicator is an added package for Pro and Platinum that allows for the exchange of 3D data with major MCAD applications. Support includes neutral formats such as STEP, IGES, native formats such as CATIA, Inventor and SolidWorks, plus kernel formats such as Parasolid.
All editions of BricsCAD export drawings and models in ACIS, DWG, 2D PDF and a variety of raster formats. BricsCAD Communicator is an option 610.USD package add-on.
BricsCAD Platinum is the premier full version of the system and adds Design Intent Recognition, assembly modeling, sheet metal feature set and the BIM feature set. For architects wanting to use BricsCAD as a 3D modeling and BIM tool, this is the version that is required. For general 3D CAD user the Pro version is fine. BricsCAD Pro retails for 600.USD / 500.euro and the Platinum version is 920.USD / 790.euro.
To learn more about BricsCAD V15 for Mac and other platforms visit them here.
In terms of the almost identical feature set, some of the differences the Mac and Windows version include things like export to DWF and PDF underlays—two features that can matter some some users not available on the Mac version. Also, the Mac version does not support the BricsCAD Communicator add-on pack, which is regrettable. While some file formats are not cross-platform (e.g.: SolidWorks and CATIA) all the neutral formats and the kernel formats are fully native on Mac. For those who want to use this product a Mac and plug into an established enterprise MCAD workflow, not having Communicator is limitation.
Even the Mac version uses the Ribbon interface, as this isn’t a strictly Microsoft UI element. When it comes to UI/UX the Mac and Windows versions are identical.
For those just learning about BricsCAD they should know that it utilizes the Spatial ACIS geometry modeling kernel and quite possibly its 2D/3D constraints system, though we are not sure about that last piece. The Mac version has the same 3D features set, function for function as Windows. The Sheet Metal features are also on Mac. And BricsCAD BIM features found in Platinum include IFC export, but no import. For those who love 3Dconnexion mice that is not supported on Mac at this time. And for some reason the display regeneration is not multi-threaded on Mac or Linux. That means BricsCAD likely runs faster on Windows.
All in all the arrival of BricsCAD V15 for Mac OS X, even if it took five years, is a welcome addition to the Mac pro apps world as many of Brisys’ customers are outside the United States and often in emerging markets where Apple is showing some of its most impressive new growth. In these emergent markets where the ability to get one’s hand on a MacBook Pro or Mac Pro for design and engineering work is becoming easier and less expensive, BricsCAD for OS X can find itself on these new machines, allowing both its existing and new customers to have the freedom to choose the hardware and devices they love most.