Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Join us on a journey through 30 years of AutoCAD history

AutoCAD history
AutoCAD celebrates 30 years of its existence. Come with us on a journey through its rich history in the attached infographic. From humble beginnings in a version that worked in a whopping 128kB of memory(!), through Rel.10 - the first version that supported 3D, and through the launch of "industrial" AutoCAD versions in 1995, up to the latest cloud and mobile AutoCAD WS.

Many of us went together with AutoCAD in our career path so we could certainly add several other, personal milestones and spots to this history map.

The first version of AutoCAD - 1.0 - was introduced at the Comdex show in December 1982. Here, in the former Czechoslovakia, most AutoCAD users first encountered it in the versions V2.6 and in the first Czech localized version Rel.10 (back in 1988). In 1994, the first real AutoCAD version of Windows was launched. Since version 2000, AutoCAD changed to a regular yearly release cycle. The current version of AutoCAD 2013 is already the 27th release of AutoCAD. Today, AutoCAD exists in more than 15 industrial versions (Mechanical, Electrical, Civil 3D ....) and in about 20 language localizations (software and/or documentation). Billions of drawings from various fields of design has been created in its DWG file format. For decades, AutoCAD is the undisputed standard in CAD.

AutoCAD with its very long history is quite a unique example in the the ​​software industry - and due to recent technological developments (cloud, mobile devices) it seems that even long future is waiting for it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

CAD Studio gives out CAD tools for Christmas

Get CAD applications given out by CAD Studio as traditional Christmas presents - this year for the tenth time already. Presents are available for all AutoCAD and Inventor users.

Play Minesweeper in Inventor, become a maker of an interesting mathematical 3D model, get a set of add-on tools, or pick one of productivity tools for your everyday work.

Read more at Christmas CAD utilities given out by CAD Studio

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Autodesk Project Falcon - wind tunnel in Inventor 2013

Now you can test your 3D model (digital prototype) in a virtual wind tunnel, directly inside the CAD application Autodesk Inventor Professional. The add-on utility "Project Falcon" from Autodesk Labs, released in August 2011 for Autodesk Alias and in August 2012 as a standalone version for Windows and Mac, is now available alsi as a plug-in module for Inventor 2013. And as every app from Autodesk Labs, this "technology preview" is available for free.

Thanks to this simulation tool you can analyze air flow around vehicles, buildings, outdoor equipment, consumer products, or other 3D objects designed in Inventor or brought into Inventor as 3D CAD data. Simulation results update almost in real-time in response to changes in wind direction and speed. Visualization tools in Project Falcon include 2D and 3D flow lines, shaded result planes, vector plots, and surface pressure shading. Quantified outputs include velocity, pressure, drag force, and drag coefficient. The computation process is based on a transient, incompressible fluid flow solver and LES turbulence model and delivers quick results with very little setup on behalf of the user.

Video samples:

More information and download - Project Falcon

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Autodesk Fusion 360 - full 3D CAD in the cloud

On the Autodesk University 2012 conference, Autodesk has announced a new cloud application - Fusion 360 - the first full-featured 3D CAD software based on the web cloud. Autodesk Fusion 360 builds on the concepts of "Inventor Fusion" and of the recently released maker apps "Autodesk 123D".

Fusion 360 lets the computing-intensive 3D operations on the infinite power of the web cloud, and so the client PC or Mac workstations can perform much faster. Both solid and free-form 3D models can be designed in a single environment. Fusion 360 can open, edit and save CAD models in all common file formats - this tool is fully open to different types of CAD data. Thanks to the cloud technology, the model data is accessible anytime, from anywhere, you can easily share it and cooperate on the designs using social collaboration tools.

Internally, Fusion 360 works with the ShapeManager kernel (now multi-threaded) and with the Autodesk T-Splines technology.

Autodesk Fusion 360 will be available for purchase in the next year, as a subscription-based service. This offering extends the existing commercial cloud applications of the "Autodesk 360" family, e.g. "Autodesk PLM 360" or "Autodesk Simulation 360".

See more details on

Monday, November 26, 2012

Autodesk FormIt - free BIM modeler for iPad

The news season related to the Autodesk University is starting ...

The new mobile application - Autodesk FormIt - helps to capture building design concepts digitally anytime, anywhere. You can use real-world site information to create 3D building forms in context and experience a continuous Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflow by synchronizing designs in the cloud for further refinement using Autodesk Revit or other applications.

FormIt uses some aspects of Autodesk Vasari and of Autodesk 123D Design.

See Autodesk FormIt, FormIt in iTunes, and the family of Autodesk mobile apps.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Autodesk in biology - Project Sci-Viz

Autodesk is active also in areas which are apparently not related to their primary business - CAD, GIS and M&E. The newest activity confirming this is the "Project Sci-Viz" - a scientific visualization tool for biology. This is not their first activity in a similar area. Already in 1990, Autodesk founded a joint venture with Hypercube, developing and selling a molecular modeling tool for chemistry - "HyperChem" (we at CAD Studio have offered it in Czechoslovakia at that time). In 1994, HyperChem development returned back to Hypercube, where it still continues.

HyperChem (img: Shaan Hurley)

Project Sci-Viz is an add-on for Autodesk 3ds Max. Autodesk Labs has developed an API and a Python engine that allows to run tools by Olson Molecular Graphics Laboratory and UCSF in 3ds Max. The tools "embedded Python Molecular Viewer" (ePMV), AutoPack and CellPack can run directly in the user environment of a 64-bit version of 3ds Max 2013.

nuclecapsid HIV (labs: Mark Yeager)

AutoPack is a tool for dense packing of various shapes inside a given volume or on a given surface (btw, it can be used also in other areas than biology). The CellPack tool can create biological materials from "prescriptions" and pack them to realistic molecular models in the 3ds Max environment. The "molecular viewer" (ePMV) is a 3ds Max add-on allowing to easily import molecular geometry from various sources, e.g. from the Protein Data Bank.

More about Project Sci-Viz and download of this "technology preview" (expires 1.3.2013).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Autodesk 123D Design - 3D modeling for everyone

Not only an easy to use 3D modeling but also 3D printing and CNC machining is now available for free for everyone and virtually on any device. The family of web cloud applications Autodesk 123D was extended with the "123D Design" tool - a very easy 3D modeling application, which runs directly in your web browser (recommended: Google Chrome), on Apple iPad, or as a Windows or Mac desktop application.

3D models can be composed from preset modeling primitives, from parametric parts, it is possible to work with materials and colors. You can edit your models with direct editing, apply chamfers and fillets, shelling and similar operations. The created models can be stored in a web cloud repository, can be sent to 3D printing or to CNC machining. The CNC code is generated according to specified parameters using the CAM kernel from the recently acquired Autodesk HSMworks - see the kernel window:

The FAB module in action (video):

The resulting G-code has similar format to:

If you thought 3D modeling is complicated, realize that it is not.

You can launch the free design application "123D Design" directly from your browser (requires to download a small plugin, for the first time only), on an iPad (see mobile tools), or download it to your Windows or Mac computer from

Monday, November 5, 2012

3 new Autodesk specializations for CAD Studio

CAD Studio Inc. has earned three new Autodesk Specializations - PLM, Process Plant and Product Support. Autodesk Partner Specializations enable value added resellers such as CAD Studio to highlight and brand their expertise in delivering services in key industry areas - and to be a trusted adviser to Autodesk customers on the respective market.

The Specialization designations from Autodesk strengthens our commitment to provide top level services and to achieve long-term customer satisfaction on the Czech and Slovak CAD, GIS and PLM markets.

The industry specializations add to the top Autodesk Platinum partnership level achieved by CAD Studio in February 2012. Read more in the press release.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Autodesk Exchange reaches 100,000 downloads

The "AppStore" for add-on applications and plug-ins for AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor, Vault and other Autodesk software - Autodesk Exchange Apps - has reached 100,000 downloads of the individual tools. All the plugins can be installed and uninstalled with a single click - either through your web browser or directly from AutoCAD or other Autodesk software. All were tested by Autodesk and all add their icons in the ribbon for easy control.

A vast majority of the tools offered in this appstore is free. The Autodeskers Charlie Crocker and Micah Dickerson recently walked through the Exchange Apps platform, featured some of the top apps and showed how easy it is to download the add-ons to complement AutoCAD workflows.

You can also try some of CAD Studio's tools available in the Exchange Apps - e.g. our AutoCAD plug-ins. We are proud that our tools count to the "top sellers" on the Exchange Apps.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Guilloche and parametric math curves in AutoCAD

During my Friday's visit of the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, Austria, I have seen an interesting, mechanically simple machine drawing complex curves - guilloches:

A similar machine at work:

As we have received a lot reactions and feedbacks on the 3DPlot utility we released in February 2012, I have decided to use a similar principle and make a "guilloche-engine" in AutoCAD. My first attempt went through modeling the scheme of a true machine using the parametric constraints on AutoCAD geometric objects but this way has proven to be too difficult.

A more reliable way - similar to that used for 3DPlot - is using hypotrochoids, epitrochiods and other parametric curves. The resulting 2DPlot add-on application for AutoCAD can assist you in drawing any parametric curve defined by a mathematical expression (equation) of the type XY=f(u). The examples included in this LISP routine show interesting and visually pleasant artistic curves which can be used e.g. for decoration on diplomas, printed stocks and other materials. You can export them from AutoCAD to other software, e.g. for DTP, in any precision.

Try yourself both the 2DPlot and 3DPlot utilities for free and create drawings like this:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Winners of the CAXMIX contest - balloon flight

Readers of the CAXMIX magazine had a chance to participate in a competition sponsored by CAD Studio. The first prize was a hot-air balloon flight. The participants had to give right answers to a couple of technical questions and guess the number of newly registered users on the portal.

Here is the list of winners of this contest:
  • 1st place – sightseeing hot-air balloon flight
    Winner: Lubomir Pavel
  • 2nd place – 3D mouse 3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator
    Winner: Pavel Nekuza
  • 3rd and 4th place – USB flash disk 32 GB and a subscription of the CAXMIX magazine
    Winners: Jan Augste, Jiri Mahring
Congratulations to all the winners! You can view a video-report from the balloon flight and an interview with the winner on YouTube: More information in the articles on the CAXMIX web site - the results and the flight.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's an acquisition season for Autodesk

This week, Autodesk has announced two acquisitions. The first one is an important milestone and it will probably change the CAD and manufacturing industry quite substantially.

HSMWorks, a well known CAM tool for Solidworks, is now "Autodesk HSMWorks" and still remains an important CAM tool for Solidworks. But of course Autodesk will work hard to make it quickly first of all an important CAM tool for the Autodesk family of manufacturing software, especially for Inventor. Specific integration plans for HSMWorks and Autodesk CAD software were not revealed but it is more then probable that HSMWorks will become an integrated part of the Autodesk Design Suites and Autodesk 360 cloud services. The digital prototyping line will be extended to manufacturing and NC codes.

The latest acquisition is more "cloudy". Autodesk has acquired the Qontext Social Collaboration Platform (from the India-based Pramati Technologies), which will be used to expand the social capabilities of the Autodesk 360 cloud services. With Qontext, Autodesk will add social functionality to the traditional design teams and help design professionals complete projects smarter and faster.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Switching Autodesk PLM 360 to another language

The web-cloud PLM system "Autodesk PLM 360" is now available in multiple language localizations, including Czech. The language support is implemented on the server (in the cloud). Language switching is done automatically when a user logs-in with his/her web browser language settings.

If your PLM 360 client does not switch do the desired language, or if you need to run PLM 360 in other than the default language, use the following procedure to switch the language.

The language selection is automatic and it is controlled by the setting of the preferred language in your web browser. This is usually preset to your native language. This setting can be changed individually - let us review this setting in Google Chrome and in Internet Explorer. You can also set multiple languages in your web browser, but PLM 360 uses the first (top, primary) selection.

In Google Chrome you can choose the language with Settings (the wrench icon or the URL address chrome://chrome/settings/languages). On the Settings page, click on "Show advanced settings" (on the bottom). In the Languages section, click on "Languages and spell-checker settings ". In the Languages box then Add the desired language and drag it to the top of the selection list. The setting applies immediately, just refresh the PLM 360 web page.

This will change the PLM 360 user interface to German:

In the Internet Explorer web browser you can change your language preferences with Tools > Internet Options. On the General tab click on Languages, in the "Language Preference" dialog, Add the requested language and move it to the top of the list.

The PLM 360 language setting does not apply to workspaces and menu items which were set and customized before the language change. So in some cases the primary language change may not be complete and reguires subsequent customization of menus and workspaces.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Autodesk product support resource on

One of the frequent visitors on the portal asked us to add a section which would summarize all Autodesk products with their Service Packs, product keys, registry keys and build numbers. All this data is already published on the portal but it is spread into multiple sections and tips.

We thought it was a great idea and we have put together a new product support page in the Tips and Trick section - Autodesk Products. On one place, you can get here a complete overview of current versions of the most important Autodesk products, their service packs, their product codes for installations, feature codes for network licenses, build numbers, location of their Registry keys, file format versions and other information. You can lookup your software application and find all important support information about it, without searching through the individual tips and through the Download section.

Information on this product page will be continuously updated and added.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Service Pack 1 for AutoCAD 2013 with new security controls

Autodesk has released the first Service Pack for the AutoCAD 2013 family. SP1 for AutoCAD 2013 (plain AutoCAD plus the Design Suites versions) and AutoCAD LT 2013 fixes a series of problems reported using the CER (Customer Error Reporting Utility).

Besides that, SP1 introduces new protection mechanism against viruses and malware attacking AutoCAD users through the autoloading of AutoLISP and VBA code (typically acad.lsp). This mechanism includes several settings which allow to disable or specify autoloading.

The new "/nolisp" runstring parameter for acad.exe can completely disable any execution of AutoLISP code. The LISPENABLED system variable then reflects the "nolisp" status.

The AUTOLOADPATH variable specifies paths used to load the default customization files (acad.lsp, acad.fas, acad.vlx, acaddoc.lsp, acaddoc.fas, acaddoc.vlx, acad.dvb); its default value "" means loading similar to the older versions.

The AUTOLOAD variable can disable automatic loading of the above mentioned files on AutoCAD start (use the latest version of the VBA Enabler)

You can download the SP1 (the re-released SP1.1) from Download or directly from Autodesk support

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Augmented reality comes with Autodesk Showcase

A very interesting technology comes to CAD world with the new plugin for Autodesk Showcase 2013 released on Autodesk Labs - "Augmented Reality". Augmented reality is a live view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated input such as rendered 3D models (see Wikipedia - augmented reality).

Autodesk Showcase with the added plugin "Augmented Reality" is able to insert (key-in) a photorealistic 3D model from CAD applications in real-time into live video from a web camera or other video sources. And it automatically zooms and rotates the model simultaneously with any change of the camera view. This Python script uses an easily identifiable marker which is associated with the 3D model and can be found also in the scene (a printed QR code is used in the sample below, and is also included in the installation). The software then identifies and monitors any movement of this marker. The result is a compelling interactive visualization which fits the proposed CAD model to the real scene and allows to explore this new "augmented reality" from any angle.

if you are impatient you can watch the video from 4:30 -

The 3D visualization tool Autodesk Showcase 2013 is a part of almost all Autodesk Design Suites so many users can use it immediately. The plugin "Augmented Reality for Autodesk Showcase" can be downloaded for free from, the current version expires October 31, 2012.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Benchmarked file size vs. thumbnail size in DWG 2013

With the new format and resolution of preview thumbnails stored in the AutoCAD 2013 DWG files, we wanted to benchmark the influence of thumbnail settings to the overall size of DWG files. The thumbnail size is controlled by the THUMBSIZE variable - it specifies the pixel resolution of PNG previews stored inside the DWG files.

DWG file size is also influenced by the incremental save mechanism so first of all we needed to set ISAVEPERCENT to 0. Our initial tests brought strange results - some DWG files were influenced by THUMBSIZE setting but some were not. With the help of Autodesk support (thanks!) we located the problem - the new, higher THUMBSIZE values are applied only on 3D drawings.

We measured a single DWG file (a small, simple 3D DWG) - incremented the THUMBNAIL variable from 0 to 8 and repeatedly saved (SAVEAS) the drawing under individual names (always with the Update thumbnail option), plus added a version with THUMBSAVE off (without any thumbnail):

The DWG file size is more than doubled with the highest THUMBSIZE setting but the influence in real-world drawings will be less dramatical. But in any case do not increase the THUMBSIZE setting if you have no good reason to store hi-res thumbnails (up to 2560x2560 pixels).

This is the comparison table of DWG file sizes depending on THUMBSIZE values (on a sample DWG file):

More information in the CAD Forum Tip #8754

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

SIGGRAPH 2012: Autodesk Media and Entertainment Animation Show Reel

During the conference SIGGRAPH 2012 on computer graphics, Autodesk has released the traditional annual "show reel" - presenting the best works of his customers using the "Media and Entertainment" products by Autodesk - first of all animations and videos from the area of TV ads, film special effects and computer games.

Watch the "2012" selection:

Enjoy in higher resolution and in full-screen.

Autodesk 360 Publisher - clear technical documentation

The newest member of the quickly spreading Autodesk 360 cloud family is the "Autodesk 360 Publisher Technology Preview". This cloud version of the well known desktop application Inventor Publisher can easily create visual instructions for assembling, installation, maintenance and repair of designed products - directly from the 3D CAD data. Three-dimensional electronic instructions with step-by-step animations are very easy to understand and you can simply share and view them in a standard internet browser or on mobile devices - Apple iOS or Android (tablets and mobile phones).

To use Autodesk 360 Publisher you need only an internet connection and your login to Autodesk 360 cloud services (a standard Autodesk ID). The web application runs directly in your web browser (supported are Google Chrome and Firefox - WebGL). You can process existing Inventor Publisher files or 3D models from Inventor (IPT, IAM), Fusion (DWG), Autodesk 123D (DWG), or DWF. The output documents can be published on Autodesk cloud, shared and viewed online, anytime and anywhere you are. You can publish the documentation either privately or publicly.

Watch the sample video:

This "technology preview" version is free, it is time-bombed till 20th November 2012 and it is currently limited to the USA and Canada (other geos will be added).

More information on Autodesk 360 Publisher

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Seamless DWG compatibility? Really?

There are many low-priced AutoCAD clones on the market - some have already vanished, some new are coming. All of them are trying the same thing - mimick as much as possible the AutoCAD functionality plus UI, and achieve compatibility with the genuine AutoCAD DWG file format to capture (at least temporarily) some AutoCAD users.

One of the chinese AutoCAD clones was recently released in a new "plus" version with bombastic claims about "unprecedented" DWG compatibility and "50000 extremely rigorous drawing tests performed to guarantee seamless DWG processing".

We have tried to verify these claims with our own (both rigorous and not so rigorous) tests - a set of standard AutoCAD drawings and with our DWG benchmark test - Budweiser.dwg ( Started with the Budweiser2013 version – this cannot be opened at all (OK, it a is a rather new format). But surprisingly, even the 2010 version of this test cannot be opened at all there - reporting an "unknown DWG format" (any AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT will read it reliably). But why unknown? Version 2010 DWGs should be already "seamlessly compatible"!

A converted version of this DWG test will finally open but then the Budweiser benchmark shows that all the following test cases fail: #7, #8, #11, #17, #18, #22, #25, #26, X (annoscale). So it makes rather a 70% compatibility, not the claimed 100% compatibility (if you can call anything below 100% a "compatibility"). None of the clones can also handle password protected and signed DWGs.

So the test results of this CAD tool are worse then those of other, older "noname" clones and only slightly better than in the previous version. Stay sceptical about bombastic claims...

Monday, July 30, 2012

New mobile AutoCAD WS 1.5 with Design Feed

The popular mobile and web version of AutoCAD - AutoCAD WS - offers in its recent version 1.5 a new function - "Design Feed". With Design Feed you can attach comments and discussion posts directly to individual elements of your drawing and share them with other users. This simplifies communication and team collaboration on designs and drawings - either among your design team, communication with your clients, or communication with the building site. Discussions and problem solving can happen directly "inside" the DWG drawing. AutoCAD WS connects CAD with the world of social networks.

Other new functions in the version 1.5 are e.g. tagging and inserting photos - e.g. site photos.

The free AutoCAD WS 1.5 for online and offline viewing and editing of DWG drawings on your tablet or mobile phone based on the Android or Apple iOS platforms can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store or from Google Play (see also Download). The web version on is updated automatically.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

MS .NET Framework Repair Tool

Many of the problems you may encounter when running AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, 3ds Max or other Windows applications are caused by improperly installed or damaged instances of an important system component - the "Microsoft .NET Framework".

Microsoft has released an automatic tool for fixing these situations without cumbersome manual reinstallations of the .NET Framework component.

The Microsoft .NET Framework Repair Tool detects and attempts to fix some frequently occurring issues with the setup of or with updates to the .NET Framework. The current version 1.0 of this wizard-based tool can be used to repair corrupted Microsoft .NET Framework 4 installations (including .NET Framework 4 language packs). The version .NET Framework 4 is used in the Autodesk 2013 family. Future versions of the utility should add also other versions of .NET Frameworks.

Problems can be solved in the following operating systems:
  • Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3)
  • Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Read more information about MS .NET Framework Repair Tool in KB2698555. You can also download it from the CAD Studio Download page.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Artoo cleans up your GIS data

Artoo (probably from the R2-D2) is a useful tool for all of us who work with external GIS data connected (or imported) to AutoCAD Map 3D. Project Artoo is an add-on tool for Map 2013 and it is available as a "technology preview" from Autodesk Labs.

For the data connected via FDO, Artoo offers the same cleanup functionality as Map offers today for GIS data in the DWG format. Cleaning data is an important step before you can apply any topological features on the source data. With Artoo you can break crossing objects, delete duplicates, extend undershoots, snap clustered nodes, erase zero-length and short objects, erase dangling objects, dissolve pseudo-nodes, simplify objects, weed polylines, remove sliver polygons, re-form polygons and correct duplicate points.

All of this can be done on any data source connected via FDO, e.g. SDF, SQLite, ESRI SHP, Geodatabase, or spatial databases Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle Spatial.

You can download Project Artoo from Autodesk Labs and the preview expires March 12th, 2013. Those who know can deduct what does it mean for the functionality of AutoCAD Map 3D 2014 ...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The latest most popular CAD tips from

The CAD tips and tricks repository at offers already 2.266 tips for AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit and other Autodesk products (plus about 6.000 CAD tips in Czech). CAD Forum offers also other CAD resources avalilable to already more than 281.000 registered users - CAD models and symbols, videos, freeware utilities.

The latest tips focus mostly on the new Autodesk 2013 family. Here are some of the most popular recent tips and resources:

Subscribe to CADforum RSS feed to get the latest CAD tips or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

List of CAD Studio's tools on Autodesk Exchange Apps

CAD Studio as a member of Autodesk Developer Network (ADN) has developed hundreds of plug-ins for AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, Civil 3D, Vault and other Autodesk products. Some of these plug-ins are now available also on the Autodesk "appstore" - Autodesk Exchange Apps.

As the most part of our tools is free, you may want to check their functionality by installing them from Exchange Apps. Installing a tool from Exchange Apps is very simple. Start the Exchange Apps - either directly from your CAD or in your web browser - locate the requested tool and click on the Free or Trial button. All installation and integration into your CAD products' ribbon is done automatically. Exchange Apps is integrated into AutoCAD 2013, Inventor 2013, Revit 2013, Vault and other products.

You can locate our add-on tools in the following Exchange Apps URLs:

Here you can find e.g. the JobTime to keep track of your job time spent in AutoCAD or Revit, Anaglyph to make stereographic 3D pictures (for red-cyan glasses) of your models in AutoCAD, Inventor or Revit, DWGsync to zoom/pan two drawings synchronized, GeoRefImg to place your images automatically. More CAD tools can be downloaded from

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Go mobile from photos to 3D models

The application Autodesk 123D Catch (formerly "Photofly"), which uses web-cloud technologies to convert a series of photos to a realistic 3D model, now works also on Apple iPad and in web browsers (Google Chrome).

So you can control the whole conversion process on your mobile device - from capturing photos, over the conversion the resulting point cloud to a 3D model and its texturing (123 Catch), up to interactive viewing and sharing of 3D models.

The new application 123D Catch for iOS is available for free (similar to the other tools of the family Autodesk 123D) and you can download it to your iPad from Apple iTunes. The version for a web browser can be run from the address

In your web browser, you can find a new web cloud storage "My Corner" where you can store your 3D models and other data from the 123D applications.

More information:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Google Drive understands DWG drawings

Yesterday, Google released its long awaited cloud disk - the web service "Google Drive". Other providers of cloud storage services have quickly refreshed their offerings so you can new e.g. upgrade your storage space to 25 GB in "Microsoft SkyDrive".

Besides the storage capacity for your documents (currently 5 GB), Google Drive offers a number of application services - viewers for about 30 file types (office formats, pictures), OCR functions, searching (of course), sharing, versioning, plus the neccessary synchronization tool for your local computer (Windows, Android).

An interesting feature for CAD users is support of DWG and DXF files announced on Google Drive launch. This feature is based on cooperation between Google and Autodesk - it connects the cloud CAD application AutoCAD WS with the file storage in Google Drive. By simple installation of "AutoCAD WS" app-extension in Google Chrome (Google Drive > Settings > Manage applications) you can learn both web apps to cooperate. Any DWG drawing uploaded to Google Drive can be then opened, edited or printed in AutoCAD WS just by clicking on it in the Google Drive web interface. Similarly you can connect another Autodesk web service - the picture editor Pixlr.

The Autodesk's own cloud storage - Autodesk 360 - offers the capacity of 25 GB for each license of Autodesk product under Subscription.

Success of the individual cloud storage services on the market will be driven by their capacity, reliability, but first of all by the portfolio of their application functions, plus by their synchronization functions for local computers (at least till people will use any local computers).

You can run Google Drive from

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Release the Kraken!

"Project Simulus" is a new 3D simulation tool from Autodesk Labs, developed under the codename "Kraken".

Project Simulus offers integrated editing functionality thanks to the embedded Inventor Fusion and very intuitive tools for simplification of 3D models for simulation studies. Computing-intensive processing is performed in the cloud. Interactive functions are accompanied with tools for presentation and comparing of simulation results.

The first version of Simulus offers the following simulation capabilities for Inventor, SAT and STEP based models:

  • Linear static stress offering a variety of contact types, loading and constraint options
  • Modal frequencies
  • Steady state thermal offering temperature, heat flux, convection and radiation type loadings
  • Thermal-stress coupling

Project Simulus can be downloaded from Autodesk Labs.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Autodesk ForceEffect Motion - simulation of kinematic mechanisms on iPad

ForceEffect Motion
Autodesk ForceEffect Motion is an interesting extension of the functionality introduced in the recently released mobile application Autodesk ForceEffect.

The "Motion" version of Autodesk ForceEffect allows to analyze and simulate moving kinematic mechanisms and mechanical systems. So you can examine different concepts of the designed machines and perform engineering calculations on the screen of your iPad.

Main features:
  • Freehand sketching of elements and construction lines with snaps, constraints, inferencing and dimensions
  • Import and adjust image as background
  • Create functional mechanical joints (welded, pinned, sliding, collar, crossing)
  • Create supports (fixed pin, grounded, sliding collar)
  • Mechanism animation and functional drag
  • Analyze positional data by adding trace points (trace path, velocity vectors)
  • Interactive graphing of trace points (velocity, displacement, acceleration)
  • Create Actuators (motors, linear)
  • Results reporting with picture, animation, graph and graph data table
  • Save and load files from Autodesk Cloud
  • Export mechanism directly to ForceEffect to easily conduct static load analysis
Autodesk ForceEffect Motion can be freely downloaded from Apple iTunes.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

SKP import and other AppStore gems in AutoCAD 2013

One of the new features in the Autodesk 2013 product family is the enhanced "Autodesk Exchange Apps" store. This online "AppStore" is integrated into AutoCAD 2013 (and most industry versions of AutoCAD), Inventor 2013, Alias 2013, Inventor Publisher 2013, Revit 2013, Simulation 2013, Vault 2013 and Autodesk PLM 360.

Exchange Apps contains hundreds of free- and shareware add-on applications and block libraries by third-party vendors (Autodesk developers) and also by Autodesk. All applications were tested by Autodesk and are very easy to install - expect similar user experience as in Apple AppStore or Google Market (Play).

One of the interesting AutoCAD plug-ins available in this Apps store is the "SketchUp Import" (developed by Autodesk). This easy to use tool converts SKP files from Google SketchUp into 3D models in AutoCAD. Model geometry is composed from block references containing 3D meshes. An example of a converted 3D model (battery):

Exchange Apps for AutoCAD, Inventor and Revit contains also several applications by CAD Studio.

Plugins developed directly by Autodesk bring a new aspect into the structure of the respective CAD product. E.g. AutoCAD now contains 3 levels of functions and modules. These 3 levels differ in the terms of license, quality assurance, support and author's responsibility: internal core functions (with full support and reliability), Express Tools (unsupported legacy add-on tools) and now Autodesk's apps in the AppStore. Autodesk here acts more like an independent vendor, despite adding new functions to its own software product.

In any case - try yourself the Exchange Apps and discover interesting add-on tools - from games, over productivity tools, to full-featured professional applications.

New Autodesk software versions 2013

Most Autodesk products were (or will be in next couple of days) released in new versions "2013". These new applications emphasise integration, communication and web cloud services, now called "Autodesk 360".

Many existing CAD users consider online functions as something unnecessary, disturbing and alien to the CAD world, but latest trends in IT clearly define a path to web cloud technologies. Even conservative CAD users are using cloud technologies daily (without realizing that Facebook, GMail or YouTube is a "cloud"). The cloud advantages are "infinite" (easily scalable) computing power, simple UI and access to advanced functions even on low-performance devices - typically mobile devices. Probably not necessarily mobile phones but rather tablets, with higher resolutions and bigger screens more suitable for CAD work. Autodesk is deservedly perceived as a leader on this market.

Success of cloud CAD technologies is proven by rapidly increasing numbers of online users. While the existing about 12 mil. users of classic desktop application were "collected" by Autodesk for 20 years, only a single year brought already 7 mil. users of the cloud application AutoCAD WS. A similar growth occurs also on other popular cloud and mobile applications by Autodesk - e.g. Sketchbook Mobile, Pixlr, Cloud render, HomeStyler.

"Autodesk 360" services share a common message "find, connect, crunch" - cloud is strong in these areas: finding information, connecting data and people, and crunching large volumes of information. Today, Autodesk 360 services cover storing and sharing documents, analysis, simulations, optimizations, rendering. A special case of advanced cloud application is the new, cloud-based PLM system "Autodesk PLM 360".

Part of Autodesk 360 functions is available for free for anybody, some more advanced functions are bound to Subscription (no other costs). For most users, Subscription is now primarly a way to get new versions of CAD software. In the future, the primarly advantage of Subscription will be the ongoing access to cloud services.

An important factor of the 2013-versions is emphasis on Design Suites and product integration. Composition of Suites was enhanced in the 2013 versions - they now include more tools and so they are even more attractive to customers. An interesting example of very tight integration and live sharing of design data between two standalone applications (Autodesk Maya + MotionBuilder, members of the Entertainment Creation Suite) is illustrated on a video:

Another common feature of many "2013" applications is the "Exchange Apps" store (online AppStore containing add-on applications, plugins). So you can easily add pretested plugin applications (freeware or shareware) directly from AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, 3ds Max and other software. Exchange Apps already contains many applications by CAD Studio.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

AutoCAD 2013 - What's new

This year, due to an information leak on the Autodesk Japan web site, news about the new AutoCAD version are spreading earlier than the usual mid-end of March. So what can we expect from the new AutoCAD 2013?

Here are some of the new features, full disclosure will be available only at the release date of AutoCAD 2013:

  • New drawing file format DWG2013 with better thumbnails and faster 3D
  • An interactive command line (transparent, mouse-controlled)
  • Extraction of isolines from 3D surfaces
  • Enhanced arrays
  • Enhanced hatch editing
  • In-canvas preview when editing properties
  • Enhanced point clouds (clipping, xref, intensity, context ribbon)
  • Enhanced PressPull
  • Strike-through text
  • Import of Inventor IPT files
  • Enhanced Autodesk Exchange Apps - application marketplace
  • Automated synchronization of drawings with Autodesk Cloud
  • Cloud-synchronization of user settings for multiple AutoCAD installations
  • Enhanced documentation of 3D models - details, sections, associative dimensions...
  • Enhanced API
More information about the history of AutoCAD (in Czech) at our AutoCAD page.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Top five reasons to use AutoCAD WS

The new version of the free mobile AutoCAD - AutoCAD WS Mobile 1.4 - brings 3 major enhancements: 3D, GPS support and plotting/ePrint (see the release announcement).

AutoCAD WS Mobile can be used on any mobile phone or tablet with the operating systems Google Android or Apple iOS. This mobile version of AutoCAD uses web cloud technology to enhance the desktop version of AutoCAD 2012. You can use AutoCAD WS to synchronize, view, measure, markup and edit DWG drawings anywhere you are.

Autodesk mentions 5 top reasons to use AutoCAD WS:
  • Provides access to DWG files to all your team members - on site and on the road
  • Connects securely to your enterprise data (e.g. to your company SharePoint server), with security comparable to online banking
  • You can edit DWG files both online and offline (offline mode not supported in the browser version of AutoCAD WS)
  • Seamlessly integrates with AutoCAD and LT - synchronization, timeline/audit changes
  • It is FREE, and available for multiple platforms

You can download the latest version of AutoCAD WS from your "Market" (Android or Apple).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Materialized mathematics - print math expressions in 3D

The 3DPlot AutoCAD add-on utility we have released a couple of days ago can be used to "materialize" (print) math expressions describing interesting 3D surfaces. This can be used both for educational purposes and for manufacturing nice pieces of technical art.

3DPlot generates 3D mesh surfaces from any math expression of the type Z=f(X,Y) that you encode in AutoLISP. The generated surface models can be visualized in DWF, VRML or in other 3D formats. You can also smooth and thicken most of these surfaces using the AutoCAD modeling commands (MeshSmooth, Thicken) or using the 3DPthicken command. The resulting solid models can be 3D-printed directly from AutoCAD or exported to STL (stereolithography) files. STL files can be used e.g. in the free fabrication tool Autodesk 123D Make to produce cardboard models. So you can materialize your 3D math equations in multiple ways.

Here is an example of Enneper surface cut in cardboard in 123D Make (the source DWG drawing and the STL model can be downloaded from the 3DPlot homepage):

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New AutoCAD WS 1.4 with 3D, GPS and HP ePrint

Users of the mobile phones and tablets based on the Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems can now download an updated version of the mobile/cloud DWG editor - AutoCAD WS 1.4.

This free application is a DWG/DXF file viewer and editor, connected with the desktop version of AutoCAD 2012 and running on almost all OS platforms. The new version 1.4 comes with three new features:
  1. 3D - unlike the previous versions, AutoCAD WS can now display also 3D drawing entities; you can display them in a wireframe or shaded mode, navigate with pinch gestures or choose from preset view orientations
  2. GPS - you can display your current position inside the displayed DWG (e.g. a map); quite surprisingly, WS does not use the GEOGRAPHICLOCATION setting in your DWG file, you have to specify the reference point manually
  3. HP ePrint - if you have access to an HP printer connected online through the HP ePrint functionality, you can plot your drawings wherever you are, directly from AutoCAD WS (plot goes to the cloud and then to the printer/plotter in your office); besides that, WS also prints to PDF and DF files

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Localized versions of the free mobile CAD viewer - Autodesk Design Review

Autodesk has released a new version of its free mobile viewer for 2D and 3D CAD data - Autodesk Design Review Mobile 2.0. The new version of this fast and easy-to-use viewer is available in multiple languages, including Czech. The language selection is automatic.

Design Review Mobile - iPad - Czech

Autodesk Design Review allows fast interactive viewing of drawings, 3D models, and complete project books from AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit and other CAD applications (not only from Autodesk). You can not only view the data, but also review and comment the contents by adding text notes directly to the corresponding locations in the drawing. Design Review Mobile uses - similarly to its desktop version - the efficient CAD publishing format DWF, which is supported in most CAD applications (you can also install a Windows virtual printer). The DWF documents are opened for viewing on the mobile devices from the web online repository Autodesk Cloud (the last used documents can be also used off-line). They can be also saved back to the cloud, along with any comments which you can then easily sync back to the original CAD design application. And if you need also to edit your design data on the go, use another free mobile application - AutoCAD WS.

Autodesk Design Review Mobile 2.0 is currently available for Apple iPad and iPhone (iOS), a separate version for Android smartphones and tablets is in the works. Supported languages​​ are: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Hungarian, and Czech.

Design Review - 2D with markups

You can download Autodesk Design Review Mobile from the Apple App Store.