TECH-NET only sells what it uses in its own
engineering division. We offer great free support. We usually try to
answer all questions promptly whether you are on contract or not. We
have even helped those that are not our customers. We will get you
through the start up phase and have online training sessions at a
reasonable cost when required.
TECH-NET was founded in 1987. After I was
introduced to PC Based 3D CADKEY while on contract at Boeing
Everett. At that time the only 3D CAD was on a mainframe or on a
very expensive workstation costing well over $100,000 per seat.
CADKEY plus a 386 Computer and 19” monitor sold for $9000.00 at the
time. It was a no brainer.
I became a CADKEY dealer.
With my Boeing experience I proceeded to
sell CADKEY to virtually every Boeing supplier. Later, I became the
Boeing CADKEY VAR (Value Added Retailer). CADKEY was the only PC
based 3D CAD system that could talk to Catia 3, 4 and Pro/e using
IGES, then STEP. CADKEY was the only functional PC based 3D MCAD
system until the late 1990s. Sadly, this was all happening under the
radar of Boeing engineering management. It they would have noticed
the effectiveness of CADKEY, things would have been much different.
In 1995 the ACIS Solid modeling kernel was
released and FastSolids was created by Robert White of FastSurf fame
and CADKEY entered the world of solid modeling. It was incredible
for TECH-NET. The use of solids grew like wildfire. We were
selling hundreds of beta FastSolids and the 3D MCAD world, at least
in the Seattle area, was now in Solid modeling.
Now with both ACIS and Parasolids solid modeling kernels available,
there were many new PC based solid modeling packages showing up like
TurboCAD, CorelCAD, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, Vellum and an interesting
solid modeling Graphics Design package called Trispectives.
Trispective was also based on ACIS and worked well with CADKEY. We
would do our designs in CADKEY (Trispectives was not ready for
engineering design) export them by .sat into Trispectives to
realistic render and animate our parts and assemblies. It was
incredible. The results were equal if not superior to the graphic
design solutions offered today, simpler and much more cost effective.
Sales of Trispectives were huge at the very
reasonable price of $495.00. Many of our CADKEY customers were
putting in orders and creating incredible presentations.
Here is one of the
images from a presentation, using CADKEY and
Trispectives was sold to a company that sold
CoCreate. CoCreate is the direct edit only 3D CAD package that was
purchased by PTC and now marketed as Creo Direct.
Trispective was a unique drag and drop
intellishapes from catalogs, push/pull and history based design system,
all in the single model environment. They added integrated direct
edit functionality and created the most incredibly flexible 3D CAD
system available today. I was a Trispective dealer and I had a bit
of input. I never liked calling it IronCAD. I was a Boeing supplier
and after them being the target of every 3D CAD system, they would not
even look at anything that had CAD in the title.
I was now an IronCAD and CADKEY dealer. They
worked incredible together but IronCAD was just so much faster
to design with its integrated history/direct edit functionality I
quit using CADKEY for my conceptual design.
History design is the best for conceptual design.CADKEY
was moved to the back burner, more as a support program. We were
providing engineering services with both packages. It was very easy
since they both could easily edit each other’s parts due to both
having direct edit functionality. But more important, they both
worked in a single common model kernel, so I could toss assemblies
back and forth without worrying about referenced parts.
IronCAD was now my MCAD tool of choice with
CADKEY as support.
Late 1990’s all of the mainframe/workstation
based 3D MCAD systems moved to the PC. The high-end Pro/e, UG
and Catia were added to the mid-ranged products of IronCAD, CADKEY,
VX, Solidworks, Solid Edge
and Inventor making MCAD much more readily available. It was strange
that all of the popular packages were nothing but Pro/e Clones.
Being incredibly successful with CADKEY, I was
offered the opportunity to sell these other packages. The first was
Solidworks. I just laughed and said who would buy this piece of garbage
and turned it down. How was I to know that Dassault was around the
corner with $250 Million. I am sure they bought it to develop Catia
5, which was probably pushed by Boeing because of Pro/e envy.
have just found out that Autodesk was also bidding for Solidworks at
The next package was Pro/e. I put together a
team of designers and associates to create a virtual group to sell
the now, PC Based Pro/e. We bought some laptops and were going to sell,
support and train Pro/e. We were all CADKEY and IronCAD users and just could not
get on board with Pro/e as a design package. It was just too
convoluted as compared to CADKEY and IronCAD. I sold a few and still
have one in the box. They did come out with a Pro/e Lite and it
I had a short stint with Solidworks while I was
Next was Solid Edge. While it was much more
user friendly it was still a Pro/e clone and was just too time
consuming as compared to IronCAD. It was also a pain since Siemens
was constantly going after my prospects to sell them NX. But I was
there when they released ST (Synchronous Technology) Siemens direct
I also took on SpaceClaim at the same time.
This was the package that basically exposed the flexibility and
increased productivity of Direct Editing to the
industrial/mechanical engineering world. I believe this was the
reason that the Pro/e clones started to offer direct edit
functionality. Remember TECH-NET had been using direct editing in our design
process for almost 10 years. It was the only reason we could not move to the
As good of a direct edit only package SpaceClaim was, it only equaled what I was already selling. The one
thing that SpaceClaim had was that it could read PMI data from Catia
5. I was supporting virtually all of the Boeing suppliers and they
needed this. SpaceClaim did not find this an important feature
and did not develop it to be a viable solution for my Boeing
Today ZW3D imports PMI from Creo, NX, Catia and
At this time, we also took on VX, now ZW3D. We
will get into this later.
In 2009 CADKEY went direct and eliminated the
When I lost CADKEY another dealer asked if I
would come over and take on the Sales/Tech managers position on
selling the Autodesk Manufacturing solution. While I found Inventor
a good program, in fact, it was the first Pro/e clone I completely
designed a project, from parts, assemblies and documentation. Fusion,
a direct editing only package,
was just coming on board and I had some fun. But it, like all the
rest of the Pro/e clones, totally failed to match the productivity
IronCAD is still the most productive 3D MCAD
system available. I have used it daily from the time of release.
To experience this increased level of productivity, please download
IronCAD for a 30 day evaluation. Legacy data is no problem, IronCAD
can read the native files of all of the popular programs. IronCAD is
a great replacement for the subscription only Autodesk and PTC
IronCAD Now Available for Rent!
IronCAD now offers a annual rental program at $1,500.00 A great way to get into the incredible increased productivity of IronCAD.
IronCAD is much different than the popular Solidworks clones. The above features offer a complete different, more flexible and productive design process. Please use this excellent training tool to get introduced to this unique 3D CAD design solution.
I was introduced to VX in the early 2000. It
was not well thought through 3D CAD package with lots of problems.
Nothing compared to IronCAD. But it was an integrated CAD/CAM
package. We were selling SurfCAM, but lost our dealership due to
weak marketing and inept management. Actually inept management
plagues the industry.
Later, Gary Stuart my sales/tech person that supports
the Portland area was doing both MCAD and CAM with CADKEY. He was
disappointed with the CNC module for CADKEY and said we need another
package. We opted for VX which offered a much better CNC solution. I
took on the MCAD side, but really didn’t push it. But to my surprise
things were going to change.
We needed a CAM solution that was
compatible with CADKEY and IronCAD.
VX was purchased by ZWCAD. ZWCAD was an AutoCAD
clone. They renamed it ZW3D and went to work to make it a viable
They now have an incredible package easily
outperforming any of the Pro/e clones including the high-end
While it does not offer the incredibly
productivity of IronCAD for conceptual solid modeling it offers a
highly effective hybrid modeling system. Which means it can design
without limitation in wireframe, standalone surfacing and solids
(history and direct edit). It also offers complete single model
environment that includes parts, assembly and documentation.
It has the most incredibly robust
reverse engineering and mold design.
Add associated 2/3 Axis CNC you have the
ultimate MCAD and CAM system.
It is the price. ZW3D is the most cost
effective professional MCAD system available.
You can rent ZW3D Lite: $350 00 - 6 months
$600.00 - 12 months.
Yes, you can purchase a perpetual version at $2,000.00.
It is a no brainer. It works faster, easier and
has more functionality than Solidworks at a quarter of the price.
You can rent ZW3D
Standard: $500.00 - 6 months $900.00 - 12 months Perpetual price $3,000.
Just compare ZW3d Standard Class A freeform
standalone surfacing, sheet metal and robust reverse engineering to
even the high-end systems. None offer the productive complete single
ZW3D is a professional 3D MCAD engineering package and it is not
recommended for those who are not engineering professionals or
students with no prior 3D MCAD experience. While we will help you get
started we are not equipped at this price to teach you 3D MCAD from
scratch or engineering design. Don't let this low price fool you.
offers seamless operation between MCAD and CAM (CNC). It is one of
the very few mid-ranged integrated MCAD/CAM engineering/manufacturing
Please go here for other MCAD/CAM
options. All options include fully functional MCAD.
IronCAD is the very best conceptual design
program. The increase in productivity of 5X for conceptual design
and 10X for changes provide a fast return on investment.
ZW3D is the program that is more familiar to
the Pro/e clone users. It offers a very productive design
environment by having the part, assembly and drawing in the same
file. It is a Hybrid modeling system that offer no limits on design.
But it is the price that makes ZW3D the incredible value.
But the MCAD system is only a tool. How you use it is the basis
for high productivity and modeling Technique is huge. In this
article I introduce you to the highly productive Streamlined
Sketching and Feature Based modeling.
If you are interested in adding professional
hybrid modeling capabilities or looking for a new solution to
increase your productivity, take some time to download a fully
functional 30 day evaluation and play with these packages. Feel free
to give me a call if you have any questions or would like an on-line