By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Back in March, I wrote to you about ZWCAD 2010 saying that this might be the time for you to learn about this much-mentioned, low-cost alternative to AutoCAD. Five days ago, the company released an updated version of ZWCAD 2010, and my recommendation still stands. More on that in a minute.
ZWCAD is billed as providing “100% functionality for 90% of mainstream AutoCAD users.” It supports 2D and 3D modeling, and is based on IntelliCAD technologies. The latter means it has native DWG format support. The newest version has been enhanced to support AutoCAD 2010 and 2011 formats, including DWG 2010.
New features like Sweep and Loft commands are part of this update. Panning and Zooming have been optimized to reduce viewing lag, and overall stability has been improved. There’s an in-place MTEXT Editor, LISP and VBA APIs, a specialized API that helps you migrate ARX applications to ZWCAD, and lots of other good stuff. You can find out about the details in today’s Pick of the Week write-up and get the full rundown from the links to the ZWCAD website.
All fine and good. But what’s the deal? What’s low-cost? Well, the 2D design version starts at $499 while the 3D version is $599. Toss in $200 and you have a year of no-charge technical support and a complimentary upgrade. At such price levels, you can equip more of your staff with ZWCAD and improve your productivity quickly and inexpensively.
The big question, I’m sure, is does that “100% functionality for 90% of mainstream AutoCAD users” cover the users at my joint? You can figure out that by signing up to download a full 30-day trial with all ZWCAD functions from the link in today’s Pick of the Week write-up.
ZWCAD has been getting a lot of press because it of what it can do at the price you can get it for. That’s why my recommendation that you give it your own road test still stands.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering