cad

3D modeling and printing with a clean interface

SketchUp for Mac is a 3D design app that allows you to create 3D models and, using an online service, get those models built. SketchUp for Mac installs easily but was not available from the App Store when we tested the software, instead requiring a download from the publisher. SketchUp for Mac is a free app, but there's a Pro version for additional cost with more features and capabilities.

SketchUp for Mac lets you create surprisingly complex and detailed 3D models, but there's a learning curve to doing so. The interface is surprisingly clean and easy to work … Read more

AutoCAD for the Mac, but in a stripped-down edition

Autodesk AutoCAD is one of the standard applications on Windows for those who need an app for designs. With AutoCAD WS, the application moves to the Mac with support for Mac OS X 10.6 or later. For those who are not familiar with AutoCAD, it is a tool for laying out designs from simple to hideously complex, with the ability to mark up and comment on designs for collaborative use. With AutoCAD WS, those designs can now be portable, allowing you to move them around on mobile devices as native AutoCAD files or PDFs.

AutoCAD WS installs easily and … Read more

Canvas 14 creates sophisticated tech illustrations

Canvas 14 from ACD Systems is an enterprise-class technical illustration program. With it, you can create, refine, and publish sophisticated illustrations, animations, and documents.

It combines the drawing and illustrating features of a premium graphics app, the 3D modeling and drafting capabilities of CAD, and the collaborative capabilities of a productivity suite in one surprisingly intuitive package. A quick-start guide, copious documentation, and a helpful sidebar called the Canvas Assistant made getting to know this capable but complex software easier than we expected.

To try Canvas 14 for free, you must select that option during installation and complete the process … Read more

The 3D art behind America's great engineering projects

If you're a fan of America's long and storied history of great engineering, the National Park Service has got something for you.

On Monday, the park service's Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Autodesk and kubit will announce the technological process of documenting these structures, a process that resulted in a broad collection of 3D imagery of projects like the Space Shuttle Discovery, as well as NASA launching pads, famous bridges, and more. The imagery was used to generate what are known as "point clouds" of data that, together, show a 3D version of the object. … Read more

Render 3D images with this cool freeware

Did you ever wish you could create cool 3D images of cars, landscapes, and anything else you can visualize, only to choke at the price of 3D modeling software? High-quality 3D design tools are finally available as freeware, such as ThreeDify Designer Free, a scaled-back freeware version of 3Dify Designer, which some users will remember as ActiveSolid. This capable 2D- and 3D-modeling and rendering application has two operational modes, as a standalone tool and as an ActiveX object in Internet Explorer, Excel, PowerPoint, and other programs. We tried its standalone mode.

ThreeDify Designer Free's user interface bears a strong … Read more

Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer e-mailed questions from our readers. This week we have questions on remote access to a Windows PC using an iPad, whether to migrate data or start fresh on a new hard drive, addressing a MacBook that will not start up, whether AutoCAD will work in Parallels, and maintenance program recommendations. We continually answer e-mail questions, and though we present a few answers here, we certainly welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your suggestions in the comments.

Question: Remote desktop with an iPad

MacFixIt reader "… Read more

The end of software ownership--and why to smile

Editors' note: This is a guest column. See Larry Downes' bio below.

Consumer advocates are up in arms over a recent ruling by a federal court of appeals in Seattle. The decision, Vernor v. Autodesk (PDF), held that the terms of an end-user licensing agreement, or EULA, can change the sale of commercial software into a mere license, in this case a license that prohibits users from reselling their copy of the software.

The case involved an eBay seller named Timothy Vernor. Vernor bought several outdated copies of Autodesk's AutoCAD program from a business that had originally purchased the … Read more

Buzz Out Loud Ep. 1298: Forking tired of Android forks (Podcast)

On today's show, Google does us a solid in the ham-filtering department, we wonder whether Paul Allen might have waited too long to sue the Internet, or whether this is just the beginning, and we speculate whether seven inches is, in fact, the perfect size after all. Plus, Internet vigilantes on the loose! --Molly

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AutoCAD returns to the Mac, mobile app offered

After an absence of more than 15 years, AutoCAD is finally back on the Mac.

Autodesk announced Tuesday the launch of AutoCAD for Mac, a new version of its popular design and engineering tool that will run natively on Mac OS X.

AutoCAD for Mac will offer many of the features familiar to users of the software but will also take advantage of Mac OS X, said Autodesk. The program's Cover Flow interface will help users browse through graphical previews of each file, while the Mac's multitouch gestures will allow for panning and zooming of each drawing. Users … Read more

Design 3D buildings and landscapes

This program moves beyond napkin sketching to communicating ideas in 3D. SketchUp takes what may traditionally be seen as a complicated task and adds an intuitiveness many design programs fail to achieve. On first impression, this sketch-based 3D-modeling program may look as if it has sacrificed function for simplicity, but that's not the case. Despite the extremely user-friendly interface, SketchUp offers a suite of powerful 3D drawing tools that lets you experiment and play with new designs.

All actions are carried out using two button bars, one that runs down the left side and another that sits along the … Read more