In early spring IMSI-Design announced one of its biggest updates ever with its famed TurboCAD software line, in TurboCAD Pro Platinum 2017. The release boasted nearly 50 improvements with several of them opening up new areas for the venerable CAD app.
One of the big new areas in this version is new support for tying in data from IMSI-Design’s mobile TurboApp line of iOS and Android applications. This means that users of those mobile app products working out in the field can now bring that data into TurboCAD Pro Platinum 2017 on the desktop, with the new support for (TAP) files.
This support even includes the media (like photos) from those apps, making mobile tools like TurboSite and TurboViewer and TurboSite Review much more useful for desktop users of TurboCAD.
TurboCAD is For Both—MCAD and AEC Industries
TurboCAD on Windows has always struck a strong balance between both mechanical CAD features and AEC industry CAD features. This is different than its native Mac version, which is based on a different code base and leans strongly in the mCAD direction. (see: Architosh, “Special Interview: IMSI/Design Talks About All Things TurboCAD,” 26 June 2015). With the Windows version the user in either domain finds a similar strength of features.
Sheet Metal Design
In this latest version, TurboCAD Pro Platinum 2017 finds new emphasis on sheet metal tools, with features like Bend by Sketch, New Gusset tools and new Unbend tools. SubD modeling features have also been improved.
In fact, the improvements to the 3D modeling and editing tools are fairly extensive, with improvements to NURBS, SMESH tools, improved Low Tools Editor and twist modeling functionalities.
On the architectural side there are new stair object creation tools. These tools work from 2D linework and while not as powerful as such tools in BIM authoring platforms, these new stair tools are a big boost from previous versions.
An interesting new feature improvement is the House Wizard. You can create rooms on multiple work planes for a quick design of a multistory house. There are new Roof Slab openings for fast placement of vents and skylights and new Fit to Scale for Door and Window Custom Blocks; this feature adds automatic fitting to wall widths for these elements.
Rendering, Drafting and Interoperability
IMSI-Design has been licensing the Red Engine for photo-realistic rendering for awhile now. The latest version incorporated is RedSDK 4.2 and there are improvements in shaders, more realistic materials, anti-aliasing controls, caustics for sun lighting, physical sky lighting, geo-location of sun and volumetric effects.
A licensee of the Teigha technologies from the Open Design Alliance, TurboCAD Pro Platinum 2017 features the latest interoperability support for AutoCAD (DXF, DWG, and DWF), improved 3D PDF that includes .U3C and .PRC export, plus import support for Trimble’s SketchUp format. New is Google Earth (KML and KMZ file support, which enables the user to view their designs in Google Earth independent of the web.
Finally, in the area of interoperability, there is support for Point Clouds, in versions PCD, PCG, XYZ, ASC file support. Users can adjust the default parameter settings and there is support for colored point clouds also.
UX and Pricing
New usability features include a new Intelligent File Send E-Pack, which gathers all design related content into a common folder with the drawing for easy distribution, and now provides an option to send your packaged data via email directly from the E-Pack to speed up productivity.
A new Image Management palette adds drag and drop insertion and image parameters controls. This and several 2D drafting and editing improvements, including better table editing round out overall improvements in this version.
“TurboCAD continues to amaze me,” writes Val Carter of Tri-CAD Technologies in a recent review of TurboCAD Pro Platinum 2017. As a dedicated user and developer of various TurboCAD training products since 2000, Carter adds, “what is most apparent this year is the amount of work the company has put into the creation of rock-solid operational stability as well as the introduction of project integration methodologies.”