Home > Features > Product Review: TurboCAD 2D Mac 1.0

Advanced Models Views Support

If TurboCAD 2D Mac was just a powerful 2D CAD drafting package for the Mac OS X platform aimed at low-cost users such as consumers (the weekend warriors who visit Home Depot every Saturday), the educational market (8-12) and part-time CAD users in professional settings, the program's price point would clearly put it in the lead position compared to its rivals. But TurboCAD 2D Mac has an additional secret weapon of sorts. It can handle 3D objects from advanced highend 3D CAD programs and make good use of the data.

It features the ability to import complex 3D CAD files from leading industry CAD standard heavyweights such as ProE, CATIA, STEP, SAT and DWG/DXF. Known as the Model to Sheet tool TurboCAD 2D Mac can serve as a low-cost bridge between engineers and graphic designers who often need to format brochures and corporate documentation using images from CAD files. This feature alone, when well utilized, makes the program substantially more valuable than its $99.USD price tag. In fact, this feature alone is likely the "closer" for many considering alternatives because all other low-cost CAD programs cannot handle highend CAD data like this. The Model to Sheet functionality squarely puts TurboCAD 2D Mac in a class all by itself.

Model to Sheets

TurboCAD 2D Mac automates this process of obtaining 3D CAD data from programs such as CATIA, AutoCAD and ProE, among others. Via standard template files with pre-arranged drawing views, the program simplifies the creation of side, top/plan, and axon views of 3D model data --and it also does sectional views. (see images 08 - 09)

08 - Model To Sheet tools
09 - Model to Sheet palette

As mentioned before this functionality transforms the program into something beyond just a good 2D CAD program. TurboCAD 2D Mac can import key highend 3D CAD file formats such as STEP, IGES, ACIS SAT, CATIA v4, Rhino 3DM, Spline, Grid Surface and Truespace COB, in addition to those mentioned above.

When you go through this import process a Model to Sheet dialog pops up providing you with detailed options. (see image 09) The key options include choosing a predefined template layout and the "method" in how the data will look or present itself in the sheet layout. The user can choose options such as Precise, Polyline, Flat, Gouraud and Phong, depending on the degree of accuracy of the model's edges, surfaces and the degree to which lighting is enabled.

10 - Gouraud (OpenGL-based) shaded views of 3D model data in fields.

The view above shows an OpenGL-based lighting view called Gouraud on all four views. (see image 10) Three of the views also have transparency enabled. You can select a field and change its view formatting type, including orientation and OpenGL shading.

You can do so much with this part of the program that it almost feels like another application. In truth it somewhat is another application as the ability to harness the power of 3D data is made possible by the fact that TurboCAD 2D Mac has the same Spatial technology as the full-blown 3D version of the program, minus the ability to create the 3d data itself.

The purpose of the Model to Sheets technology is not just to view 3D model data but to work with it. The application lets you view the data in shaded or wireframe views (top, side views, isos, etc) and then dimension and annotate the data.

Closing Comments & Recommendations

Having TurboCAD back on the Mac is great news for Mac CAD fans everywhere. IMSI is a quality company with a very large user base and strong developer capabilities. Working with CSI has been a smart decision and the fundamental technologies behind this program -- like Spatial -- make this a top-shelf application. It is also a truly modern Mac OS X app.

Rating TurboCAD 2D Mac is a tough act for us. It's ability to work with highend 3D data is so impressive that it effectively skews the score curve (way up) for an application at this price range. However, having said that, we really think that the units issue with fractions and inches is going to be a key issue for some. And as we mentioned, there are some key CAD drafting items we think this program should address as soon as it can. We would also like the company to provide extensive QuickTime animation help or tutorials. We say this with everyone who doesn't provide this and we mean it when we say that learning CAD and 3D apps is made so much easier with 'watch & learn' movies.

We would strongly recommend TurboCAD 2D Mac for anybody needing solid 2D drafting on OS X where metric units are the norm. This is also a superb program to teach high-school CAD drafting on -- especially mechanical computer-aided design. Although easy, it is probably too tough for your 7th or 8th grader however. The tour-de-force of this program is the Sheets to Model functionality and the ability to work with highend 3D CAD data. For those who work with engineers and product designers and need to work with their data, TurboCAD 2D Mac is an absolute must-have application, especially considering the price. --- Anthony Frausto-Robledo, Editor-in-Chief.


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Home > Features > Product Review: TurboCAD 2D Mac 1.0




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