Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Image to 3D with ViaCAD and Abobe Illustrator

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

I’m a big enthusiast for creating photo rendered images from 3D models.  However, when it comes to creating 2D images without a 3D model it’s tough to beat Adobe PhotoShop(TM) and Illustrator(TM).  In this tip we show how you can use Adobe Illustrator to convert a 2D image into something ViaCAD can convert into 3D solids.  Our example will convert the Shark FX logo created with PhotoShop into a 3D model suitable for rendering or 3D printing.  Click the image below to watch a video demonstration of this interesting workflow.

Encore Releases ViaCAD 9

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Encore is pleased to announce the next major release of the ViaCAD™ family of products consisting of ViaCAD 2D, ViaCAD 2D3D and ViaCAD Pro.  ViaCAD is a highly functional, low-cost 2D/3D design product that revolutionizes 3D digital ideation and do it yourself manufacturing.  ViaCAD 9 is immediately available  for  Mac OS X and Windows platforms.

New for Version  9:  The release extends existing precision solid modeling methods with the introduction of easy to use conceptual design mesh tools including  subdivision modeling.  Additionally ViaCAD introduces new woodworking specific features for creating dado, tongue and groove, rabbet, miter, and dovetail  joints.

  • Customizable Grids
  • Updated modeling and interoperability kernel
  • Quad mesh tools
  • Improved STL Output
  • 3D Arrays
  • Subdivision (ViaCAD Pro)
  • Woodworking joints (ViaCAD Pro)
  • 64-bit computing (Mac Only)

A Full Array of Features:  Key features to ViaCAD comprise a powerful array of tools not normally seen in consumer products:

  • LogiCursor™ that anticipates your moves
  • NURB Surface Modeling
  • Feature Based Solid Modeling
  • Automated 3D to 2D Drawing Generation
  • 2D and 3D Architectural Tools
  • Over ninety minutes of training videos

Advanced CAD tools: Both the 2D and 3D design functions provide a complete set of tools for professional and precision designers that include:

  • Precise NURBS and Analytic kernel from Dassault Systèmes(™)
  • IGES & STEP import/export for precise data sharing
  • The ability to create  fillets, chamfers, bosses, shells, and variable radius blends
  • Boolean operations in solids, extrusions, healing and repair, parametric features and associativity at high precision.

Parts Libraries as a standard:  A 26,000-plus parts library enables the rapid creation of 2D and 3D designs with existing parts, using drag-and-drop functions and dynamic positioning.  Ready-to-use models include HVAC networks, kitchen elements, posed figures, office furniture, mechanical parts, home elements and more. These parts libraries are delivered as a standard part of the product.

Industry-Standard Interoperability:  ViaCAD has been developed to include professional industry standard interoperability including format support for: SketchUp (PC Only), AutoCAD® 2014, Adobe Illustrator, DXF/DWG, ACIS SAT, IGES,   STEP, STL, OBJ, VRML, 3DS Max®,  and more.


ViaCAD is available now from Punch! Software’s web site at:

Upgrades are available to existing customers starting at $59.99.

Click Image for What's New Video

ViaCAD Pro 9 Mac WIP Update

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Download ViaCAD Pro 9 WIP

The development team has announced availability of a Work In Progress build for ViaCAD Pro 9 for Mac.  PC builds will follow shortly.  If you are interested in testing the new release, click the icon to the right.

Some of the new features of v9 include:

• 64 Bit
With V9, all Mac builds will be 64 bit compatible.  This means you can load much larger parts and models. Previously you were limited to around 2.3 GB of model data in virtual memory. I’ve tested a model using over 20 GB with V9 and find this to be one of the more exciting aspects of v9.

The old Carbon framework used to interface to the Mac OS has been replaced with Cocoa.

Printing now supports floating point coordinates for improved accuracy.
Printing now supports previews.
Printing 3D objects in rendered views now support photorendered imaging.

• ACIS R23
Updated core kernel technology from our Dassault Spatial partner.

• Interop R23
Updated core translator technology from our Dassault Spatial partner.

• DWG DXF support for AutoCAD 2013
Support for the updated 2013 DWG/DXF file format.

•Woodworking Joints
We’ve added some woodworking joints. You can now create rabbet, dado (through, stopped, blind), miters, dovetails, and tongue/groove.

• New Quad Mesh Tools
This build includes a new main palette that includes tools for creating quad mesh primitives.

• Subdivision
New tool that smooths a quad mesh.

•3D Linear Duplicate

•3D Polar Array

•Customizable Grids
You now have an option to display the workplane grid as a polar or ISO grid. You can also change the grid orientation by an angle. Use the new Grid Properties dialog box under the Workplane menu to explore the different options.


We draw our 3D data to the screen using OpenGL. In the past, we composited objects that did not have a 3D opengl equivalent using 2D. The result was a small frame delay for compositing the 2D frame into the 3D frame. With V9, those draw elements that do not have a 3D opengl equivalent are drawn into an overlay window on top of OpenGL. End result, frame rates have the potential to be faster in v9, more testing and benchmarking needed.

•General Performance Improvements
Large file performance much improved as a result of improvements to ACIS R24 kernel and Interop, 64 bit, and OpenGL performance.

Customer Success Story: BrightLine Bags

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Ross Bishop is the founder of BrightLine Bags which specializes in the design and sales of pilot flight bags.  This June, BrightLine Bags takes another step forward introducing their next generation of bags based on the  FLEX System. The FLEX System provides many options that not only appeal to pilots but anyone needing a professional utility or field bag.  In support of their design activities, BrightLine Bags uses Shark FX from concept to production design.


ViaCAD Pro v8 Beta

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Encore is pleased to announce open beta testing of ViaCAD Pro v8 for Mac and PC platforms. Most notably, v8 introduces Push/Pull Modeling tools with intelligent face snapping via LogiCursor for intuitive positioning.  Come visit our lab site to access the beta and join in on the discussion of this exciting upcoming release.

V8 New Features Videos
Check out the new Push/Pull modeling videos.

Download ViaCAD Pro v8
Download a fully functional beta.

ViaCAD Pro Product Overview

Feature overview of ViaCAD Pro that includes photorealistic rendering, modeling, and drafting.

PunchCAD Labs
News and activity regarding PunchCAD development.


Tip: Using AutoSave

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

ViaCAD’s automatic backup utility can help you in situations where your current file has become damaged.

The first thing that you must do is turn on “AutoSave”. If you don’t have the AutoSave setting turned on, there will be nothing to recover. To turn on Auto Save, go to the Preferences dialog box and click on the Filing category. Next click on Auto Save and select a “trigger” option. The trigger will automatically save files based on time or number of commands.

To recover a backup file, just visit your ViaCAD “BackUp” folder. This BackUp folder is located under your user documents folder within the ViaCAD folder.


Tip: Setting the Workplane Normal to a Curve

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

One my favorite shortcuts is the “c” key. Hitting the “c” key with a snap point highlighted by LogiCursor will set the WorkPlane to the snap location. Hitting the “c” key repeatedly thereafter will toggle the WorkPlane orientation from:

  • Top (XY plane)
  • Side (YZ plane)
  • Front (XZ Plane)
  • Use view
  • Normal to Curve
  • Check out the video below where the “c” key is used to set the workplane for a profile to sweep along a 3D path.

    ViaCAD 2D/3D v8 Beta

    Friday, June 24th, 2011

    Encore is pleased to announce open beta testing of ViaCAD 2D/3D v8 for Mac and PC platforms. Most notably, v8 introduces Push/Pull Modeling tools with intelligent face snapping via LogiCursor for intuitive positioning. ViaCAD 2D/3D v8 continues to raise the bar for state of the art digital design at an industry low $99. Come visit our lab site to access the beta and join in on the discussion of this exciting upgrade.

    V8 New Features Videos
    Check out the new Push/Pull modeling videos.

    Download ViaCAD 2D/3D v8
    Download a fully functional beta.

    PunchCAD Labs
    News and activity regarding PunchCAD development.


    Creating Custom Symbols

    Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

    The ViaCAD and Shark products include thousands of pre-made CAD symbols categorized under the AEC, Electrical, Mechanical, and Process Plant & Piping headings. These are found under the Symbols tab in the Concepts Explorer dialog box which allow simple drag and drop of these symbols into your drawings.

    In addition, to the symbols that come along with the application, you can create custom symbols.

    Changing Tool Icons

    Thursday, January 13th, 2011

    One of the little known features of the Punch!CAD products is the ability for the user to change the tool icons. Below are a list of some of the interesting changes you can do regarding the tool icons.