Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Getting Started With ViaCAD–Training Videos

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

One of the best ways to get up to speed with ViaCAD is to check out the training videos that are included with the product.  For example, ViaCAD includes over 90 minutes of video training free with the product!  In this blog entry, we provide a bit of a guide into the videos that are provided.

These are excellent videos and well worth the time to review.  Check out the example below describing the text and dimension tools available in ViaCAD.

To access the videos, click on the Help menu and access the tutorial pull out. The tutorials consist of a video, step-by-step pdf, and example file to be used along with the step-by-step.

 

 

The ViaCAD User Interface

Presents the key elements of the  user interface including prompts, tool palettes, and menus.  Additionally shows how the user interface is quickly changed between 2D and 3d.

Navigating the Drawing

Demonstrates how to navigate your drawing using the pan, zoom, and rotate tools.

Understanding the Drawing Scale

Objects are drawn at full scale but prints at different scales.   This tutorial shows you how the Page Layout tool sets your drawing scale.

Setting up the Drawing Space

This tutorial demonstrates how to customize your drawing space including text and dimension size, grid size, and units.

Snaps and Logicursor

Intelligent snapping provided by LogiCursor provides a means to quickly reference existing drawing points to create and modify objects.  This demonstration shows the various snap options available with ViaCAD.

Drawing 2D Shapes

Demonstrates how to create  lines, circles, polygons, and splines.

Drawing in 3D

This tutorial reviews viewing 3D data, the work plane, and creating some simple 3D shapes.

Basic Editing

The Basic Editing tutorial reviews the trim tool and how it can be used to modify objects by extending and deleting portions of interest.

Transforms: Move, Copy, and Rotate

This tutorial demonstrates tools used to transform objects using the move, copy, and rotate tools.

Text, Dimensions, and Measuring

Annotating your drawing is accomplished by adding detail using the text and dimension tools.  This tutorial goes over these tools including  how to create vertical, horizontal, ordinate, angular, and callout dimensions.

Pen Colors and Fills

This tutorial shows you how to change the pen and fill attributes for objects.  Pen attributes include color, weight, and pattern.  Fill attributes include hatch patterns with parameters for spacing and angle.

Modifying 3D Solids

Demonstrates a variety of tools that modify 3D parts that include blending, chamfering, bosses, bending, and splitting.

Rendering the Drawing

Objects can be viewed using several different options.  This tutorial shows you how to display geometry in wireframe, phong, or hidden line modes.

Architectural Tools

Demonstrates how to create walls with ViaCAD.  Also shows how to insert doors and windows into your walls.

CAD Drafting Tip of the Month: Draw View

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Do you create architectural drawings in ViaCAD? If so, adding the ‘Draw View’ tool to your design arsenal will help make your designs accurate and faithful to your original concept, and will ensure a seamless transition from drafting to printing floorplans and designs.

If you have never used the ‘Draw View’ tool before, we recommend working through the steps of this tutorial video, while also trying features that the video does not discuss. Doing this will make you more comfortable with the tool and will help you master Architectural drafting with ViaCAD faster.

With the Draw View tool, you can manipulate the properties of your architectural floorplans, isolate its different layers, and create printable, sharable documents for the building part of your projects.

To help demonstrate the power of this architectural drafting tool the video below uses a floorplan preloaded onto ViaCAD Pro 10 , but this can be done with any floorplan that you create in ViaCAD or import from another software.

Opening up the preloaded floor plan

  1. Select ‘File’
  2. Select ‘Open Examples’
  3. Select ‘ViaCAD Files’
  4. Open ‘floorplan.vc3

We recommend that you look through the different preloaded objects and plans that ViaCAD offers to see the different kinds of things you can create, and possible starting points for future projects.

Creating the Draw View

  1. Once your floorplan is up, pull out the Draw view pallet from the toolbar.
  2. Using the dynamic pan and zoom tools, offset the floorplan slightly to the left (leaving the same amount of space on the right).
  3. In the toolset, click Draw View and create a box around the floorplan. Once you’ve done that you can drag that box to the right and you will see an identical image.

Note: You might run into a snag if you click and drag the Draw View box over the floorplan. Instead, click to select one corner of your box, and click again once you’ve moved your mouse to the opposite corner, making sure the box that appears covers up the entire plan.

When your floorplan is in the draw view you can manipulate a variety of its properties using the rectangle in the top left corner of the Draw View box. The video demonstrates the scale being changed, but there are a variety of other properties you can manipulate including edges and pen styles.

You can also make changes and add things to the original drawing (as long as those changes are in the draw view area) and they are reflected in Draw View – just deselect the draw view box and edit the original plan. This is useful if you’ve already made several property changes with Draw View but want to change the source material.

Selecting Layers

  1. Click on the rectangle in the top left corner of the Draw View
  2. Select layers. In this window you can see the list of viewable layers.
  3. To isolate a layer, simply click on it and make sure it’s the only thing highlighted. (If you’re following along with the video you will see four layers all selected).
  4. The same goes for isolating select layers – use the shift key and select the layers you want to see.

The video goes further with layer manipulation and how it can be used with Draw View.

You can select your draw view box and then go to the ‘edit’ tab, click ‘change layers’, create a new layer and make it ‘Layer One’. Next, we see the video go to ‘Concept explorer’ under the ‘Window Tab’, then go to layers and isolate layer one – which is done by right clicking the layer and selecting ‘isolate layer’.

Once you’ve completely isolated your Draw View layer you can do things like add mechanical symbols or title bars so you can create a more printable document with in depth measurements and information.

CAD Tip of the Month: Subdivision

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Tip Level: Intermediate

The subdivision tool, which is a part of the new quad mesh tool palette, is one of the most useful 3D modeling features in ViaCAD Pro and Shark.

Essentially, the subdivision tool is used to take the 3D objects and models you’ve created using our meshing tools and smooth out their surfaces and edges. This process gives your designs a more finished and clean look. These finished subdivided meshes are compatible with 3D printing, conversion to solids, rendering, and animation.

When using subdivision modeling, our CAD software represents a smooth surface using a simple, low polygon count defined by control points. In the image below you can see a block mesh with four points. This object is subdivided three times, each time making the edges of the mesh smoother.

A great example of this process can be found in the video below. This concept to creation of a 3D spoon, which you can find the tutorial for here, shows you how to take a cube you’ve created in ViaCAD pro or Shark and turn it into the head of a spoon using the subdivision tool.

Subdivision won’t take up a large amount of your time when you’re creating 3D designs, in fact if you know how to use it effectively it is the quickest way to take an abstract creation and turn it into a finished product.

The next video, which takes you through the process of making a coffee cup using mesh tools, shows again how easy it is to use subdivision in your projects. At around the three minute mark you can see the process of turning a 15 sided cylinder into what instantly looks like the main body of a coffee mug.


As well as being extremely useful in basic projects, subdivision is a tool used in the most complex digital worlds. Subdivision meshes are popular in film and animation where very large scenes are composed of low polygon counts that render at high resolutions using subdivision. Companies such as Pixar have successfully used subdivision meshes since 1996 and continue to play an important role in their development.

Regardless of the difficulty of your project, our subdivision modeling tool will prove to be useful and is another reason PunchCAD software is the perfect choice for your next 3D project.