By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
You might recall that last September ZWSOFT acquired VX Corporation. At the time of the acquisition, VX’s Bob Fischer, who joined ZWSOFT as a VP, told the press that the VX will be transitioned into ZW3D. That transition is now about to become really real, and, from what I can tell, ZWSOFT is delivering the goods. You can download a complimentary trial version from a link at the end of today’s Pick of the Week write-up to see if you agree. In the meantime, here’s a quick synopsis of the upcoming version of ZW3D.
ZW3D 2011 is the formal name for this version. The short description is that ZW3D 2011 is a 3D CAD/CAM application suite that can serve you all the way from concept through 5-axis machining. It will be available in levels — Standard, Professional, Premium — that accommodate different enterprise requirements.
A couple of things are really interesting to me about this version. First, it offers direct editing design with parametric dimensions created automatically. The QuickEdit feature provides context-sensitivity so that if you touch or click, say, a face, ZW3D offers you the logical tools for that location. Then there’s a tool called SnapPick. It automatically drives a point you specify to intersections and critical points.
Next, there’s the software’s Auto-Feature Machining functionality. As you might surmise, this means automatic feature recognition. What makes this intriguing is that you can leverage it to create intelligent workflows. That is, you can create efficient CNC machining plans with optimized tool and strategy selections based on your machining capabilities. This should reduce machining cycle times dramatically.
There s a ton more about ZW3D 2011 than I’ve touched on here. It comes with the PARTsolutions parts library and one-step core and cavity calculations, for example — the new features PDF alone is 19 pages. I should mention that the company will offer special discounts, including free in certain instances, on upgrades from VX as well as earlier editions of ZW3D.
In an email, my contact at ZWSOFT tells me that ZW3D 2011 will be released on May 23. You don’t have to wait to until then to get the complete details. You can check out some of the video tutorials linked at the end of today’s Pick of the Week write-up to see how some of the major features operate. Better, however, is that you can also hit a link and sign up for a beta download and make those features work for you.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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