Archive for the ‘3D Printing’ Category

News from the Developer

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Product News, Updates and Tips from the Developer

ViaCAD/SharkCAD Service Packs:

The development team has been working on rolling out service packs for ViaCAD and Shark. The English language updates for ViaCAD 2D, ViaCAD 2D/3D, and ViaCAD Pro are ready now. This update includes 50+ corrections and minor enhancements. Some of the key changes include:

• Support for MacOS 10.13 High Sierra

• KeyShot 7 Live Linking

• DWG/DXF Updates

For a complete list of changes, visit the PunchCAD User Forum. To access the latest build for ViaCAD, launch the application and select the Current Version from the Window menu bar.

Mac OS 10.13 High Sierra Released:

Apple recently released Mac OS 10.13 High Sierra. The new release has been challenging for some users and apps including ViaCAD/Shark. The new OS unfortunately broke some of the event handling in ViaCAD and Shark. The V10 service pack corrects this issue. Be sure to get the ViaCAD/Shark update before updating your OS. If you updated the OS before updating ViaCAD/Shark, contact Encore technical support for direct download links.

Unfortunately, earlier versions including V9 no longer work with the new OS. You will need to either upgrade to V10 or hold off updating to Mac OS 10.13.

Tips, Tricks and Design Examples

Tip of the Month: Feature Array with Gripper

Feature Arrays with Gripper

Below is a tip from the ViaCAD Tips and Tricks E-Book for copying groups of faces representing features. Click the image to see a video demonstration of the tip performed with ViaCAD.

How can I copy a feature with the Gripper?

  • Use the Deep Select tool to select the faces associated with the features you want to copy.
  • Then, hold down a copy key and drag the faces to a new location. Upon release, the copied
  • faces are merged into the body.
  • After you copy faces, you can go to the Data Entry Window to do a linear or polar array. Note

you can only select faces inside a larger face. Selecting the most outside face will fail the copy operation.

For more tips like this check out the ViaCAD Tips and Tricks E-Book.


3D Printable Wrench with ViaCAD

We gave ViaCAD 2D/3D a spin recently and tested the direct edit features of the app using the 3D printable wrench files found on Thingiverse. Our design mission was to create a branded version of the wrench by replacing the slot and some imprinted text from the initial STEP file.

Using the white flexible plastic material option from Shapeways, we printed an eight inch version of the part for $29.

Watch the video to see the steps used to derive this version of the 3D printable wrench. Or jump to 16:50 of the video to see the final 3D printed part.

This was a fun exercise using ViaCAD 2D/3D and 3D printing of an assembly of moving parts. However, the moving pieces are tight. It took a bit of Vaseline and lots of prying to get the screw to move smoothly!

7 Practical Uses for Computer Aided Design Software

Monday, August 28th, 2017

CAD software is often associated with technical disciplines like engineering and architecture. These days, however, CAD software programs are available for affordable, consumer friendly pricing – so you don’t have to be building a commercial skyscraper or engineering an aircraft carrier to make use of the software.

With the explosion of information surrounding computer aided design, we are outlining a handful of uses for CAD software – some are trusty standbys and others may surprise you!

1. Building furniture. Maybe your home is perfect, but you’ve always wanted to build your own coffee table or rocking chair. Woodworking is a popular activity that’s getting a revival thanks to technologies, including CAD, that takes a lot of the risk out of it. Take advantage of hundreds of online platforms that offer design inspiration, so you can build exactly the piece you’re imagining.










photo credit:

2. 3D printing. Woodworking isn’t the only arena for DIY builders. If you’ve already got an at-home printer, you can get creative with what you need. Think about automotive pieces, replacements for broken knobs and bits, or truly creative pieces like jewelry, custom-made storage, and more. There are also numerous online printers  that can take your files and send you a finished piece!

Take a look at this awesome and functional 3D printed wrench – designed entirely with ViaCAD 2D/3D.

Created with ViaCAD 2D/3D

3. Architecture. For many of us, architecture and engineering are the things we immediately think of when we think about CAD. But architecture can mean something smaller scale – think along the lines of making changes to or building an addition on your home. CAD clearly shows what you can fit in your existing home, and whether you have the space to add that outdoor pool or master suite addition. It will also help you lay it out exactly how you want, without forgetting technical pieces like the electrical and plumbing.

4. Interior design. Whether you’re going big and building an addition or simply want to revamp your living room, CAD software can make you feel like you’re playing the Sims in real life. Playing with CAD software makes clear exactly where you should install a fireplace, or add overhead fans. Looking to buy a new, larger couch? Make sure it fits in the room – and with all your other furniture.

5. Outdoor design. Interior spaces aren’t the only areas worthy of designing ahead of time. Use your CAD software to help layout your garden, yard, patio, or other outdoor space.

6. Fashion. Want to take your wardrobe into your own hands? Just like woodworking, fashion is at a major renaissance for DIYers. Perhaps you have an idea for a brand-new design, or you’re looking to be a little more environmentally friendly by reusing old cloths and fabrics. Whatever you’re sewing, be sure to prototype your designs in CAD. If you need some inspiration, plenty websites offer free patterns from beginner to advanced difficulty.

7. Mapping. With a bevy of map apps available to anyone with a smartphone, you probably think you never need a real map again. Think again! We’ve all been stuck in a cell service dead zone, rendering our useful maps totally worthless when navigating a new terrain. Custom maps can help you avoid this – if you’re heading off to Paris or the mountains or somewhere that you just want to build a custom map for, fill it with places of interest, your hotel, the roads you take to get there. CAD can help you keep it digital, saving it on a smart device, or you can even print it out if you prefer something tangible. You can use a service like mapacad to download maps that you can alter in your CAD software. Custom maps are also a great way to help promote. Maybe you’re holding an event for your business or a party for your family – make it something special by creating your map by hand. Get creative! While Google Maps always looks the same, your map can look hand-drawn or incorporate special places that are unique to you.

Whatever you’re inspired to create or build, try it out in CAD to make sure your design is viable. If you’re new to CAD software, check out these resources that will help you get familiar with it. Happy designing!

5 Questions with Tim Olson, Founder

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Tim Olson is the founder and developer of the ViaCAD and Shark line of CAD design products. Tim founded CADSoft Solutions in 1994 and created the first version of ViaCAD. Tim’s company, Evolution Software, currently supports and develops the ViaCAD and Shark products in partnership with Encore Software.

1. What was your inspiration for creating ViaCAD and Shark?

We wanted to create a system that was powerful enough for a CAD expert but usable and affordable to a CAD beginner.

2.  What were your goals with the most recent release?

Our goal was to improve productivity, quality, and user experience. This was accomplished by addressing issues in the areas of usability, 2D design & drafting, 3D design, interoperability, visualization, and performance.

3. What’s the biggest surprise or reward from creating the software?

Growing up I was inspired by the Apollo missions and wanted to work for NASA. I ultimately turned down a job at NASA to work for Lockheed’s Advanced Design team responsible for developing a CAD system for next generation air vehicles. I was thrilled when an early version of PunchCAD was used for the conceptual design of SpaceShipOne, the first private space vehicle in history. I find great reward in seeing how others use the software.

4.  Where do you see CAD software and 3D design going in the future?

Usability, performance, and reliability are continued evolutionary areas of CAD.  Revolutionary areas in CAD could involve merging CAD with AI and VR.  My daughter recently interned with IBM, working on the Watson AI project. It stunned me with how far “assisted” technology has come. Likewise, my grade school son was introduced to VR at a local university and bubbled with excitement on how intuitive 3D becomes within a virtual environment. Imagine having an expert engineer assisting our ideas, tested within a virtual environment. The next generation of CAD could break down existing barriers and serve as a catalyst for innovation.

5. What is a piece of advice you’d like to impart on an aspiring designer?

Many of the old barriers to CAD are gone. Download a trial of a low-cost 3D CAD system and start exploring. Join a user forum for help and advice. I find people in forums extremely helpful and knowledgeable especially for beginners.  Once you get up to speed, create a simple part and have a physical part made from a 3D printer bureau. There is nothing more rewarding than going from a concept to holding a physical model!