Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Viewing Options in PunchCAD Design Software

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Experience Level: Beginner

Efficiency is the name of the game and when you get to know the tools that help you view your work in different ways, your productivity will grow by leaps and bounds. In this article we’ll walk through some of the ways you can view and interact with your 2D and 3D CAD designs within the different PunchCAD programs.

The first thing that we suggest familiarizing yourself with is the ‘view’ tab at the top of your PunchCAD software screen.

To start exploring here, we want to open an example that we can reference. To find examples, click ‘File’ from the top menu bar and then select ‘Open Examples’. For this exercise we’re going to be using the example file ‘knot.vc3, but you can use whatever file you would like. ‘knot.vc3’ can be located by clicking on ‘3D Print Files’, selecting ‘Knots’, and then by selecting the first presented option.

Once you’ve opened this example, go into the ‘View’ tab on the menu and select ‘View the Plane’. Your 3D model should look like this:










We recommend really going through each of the options under the view tab to see how they impact the design, and which type of view you personally enjoy the most. One of the main reasons to do this is, when you’ve figured out several views that you find to be the most useful, you might want to add a keyboard shortcut so you can access that view easily and quickly to streamline your design process.

To access your keyboard shortcuts, simply click on ‘Short Cuts’ under the ‘File’ tab. In the image below you can see we’ve selected ‘View’ in the ‘Category’ section, and in the ‘Command’ section to the right you can see each view option you might want to assign.

When you’ve decided on a command you want to have a shortcut for, simply add the keystroke you want to use for the shortcut, and then click ‘Assign Key’ on the right side of the Short Cut Manager.

When you are in your project, all you have to do to access the shortcut is press and hold shift while you select your command key.

Another feature that’s useful to familiar yourself with as you make 3D CAD designs with our software is the Dynamic menu – where you can choose between ‘Dynamic Pan’, ‘Dynamic Zoom’, and ‘Dynamic Rotate’.





What makes each of these tools so unique and helpful is they allow you to interact with your designs intuitively and freely. The dynamic tools let you grab hold of your designs, move and rotate them, and zoom in and out.

The Knot example is a perfect design to test these different tools out – as the differences between sides are so obvious, and you will quickly discover how you prefer to manipulate your designs so they can be viewed and worked on effectively.

Taking a little time to practice the dynamic tools and the view commands will save you a lot of time with your designs in the future, and is a great first step to mastering your skills with CAD software.

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!


New Shark Version 10 Available Now

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Introducing SharkCAD and SharkCAD Pro – insanely intuitive and advanced CAD software for a one-time price that anyone from a DIY user to a professional engineer will love.

For version 10 we upped our game in usability, 3D design and printing, 2D drafting, interoperability, tool sets, and visualization. We also adjusted our name in order to bring it more in line with the rest of the ViaCAD product assortment, but rest assured it’s the same great Shark software you’ve come to love – only better! We truly want to make CAD design software approachable and accessible, and with SharkCAD and SharkCAD Pro we deliver one of the best price to performance ratios on the market.

And not only do we have a new name and a new logo, but version 10 also has an assortment of great new tools and features perfect for 3D printing, prototyping, high-resolution renders, architectural designs, and much more. A few of the improvements and updates in Version 10:

  • Usability improvements eases introduction into 3D modeling (Customize, Gripper, Selections)
  • New Tools for Makers and DIY creators (3D Print tools, Mesh Subdivision tools, Snap to Solid)
  • Improved Performance (Multithreaded and 64 bit optimizations)
  • More ways to Share Data (3D PDF, KeyShot Live Linking, SketchUp™ Import/Export 2016, SAB)
  • Improved Visualization (Faster 3D displays, Transparent Sizable Cutting Planes)
  • 3D printing tools to prepare and validate designs to be 3D printer ready
  • New and Improved Draw Views and Bill of Materials

With SharkCAD and SharkCAD Pro the most powerful CAD tools are right at your fingertips. Create professional 3D files, render beautiful prototypes, construct accurate woodworking designs, turn your concept into a reality. Top overall features:

  • Extensive drawing capabilities like the LogiCursor™ that thinks as you draw – precisely guiding your mouse and cursor in both the 2D and 3D space
  • Powerful 2D and 3D editing tools for intuitive workflows (blending, chamfering, shelling, text, dimensions, 3D to 2D drawing generation tools, bill of materials)
  • Robust Architectural and Woodworking tools made for professionals and hobbyists alike
  • Powerful subdivision to NURB editing tools allowing you to design complex organic shapes
  • Advanced rendering capabilities to examine files and projects before sending them a printer or fabricator
  • Flexible license that allows you to install program on multiple machines

Sound too good to be true? Check out a free trial of any one of our CAD programs. Find the program to match your needs, and if your you’re looking to add a couple new CAD tricks to your skillset, take a look at our in-depth tutorials and project walkthroughs – they’ll quickly help you master all the cool and complex functions that can bring a project to the next level.