Celebrating 30 years 1987-2017

Why TECH-NET Sells IronCAD and ZW3D

First and Foremost:

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.

The Worst to Best 3D MCAD Systems Expanded!

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.

The 1980's - 3D MCAD - The Beginning

CADKEY or Catia? Boeing’s Billion-Dollar 3D MCAD Mistake!

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.

The 1990's - 3D MCAD/CAM Moves to the PC!!

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, circa 1997.

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.

The 2000's - The Age of 3D CAD Un-Enlightenment!

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. I have just found out that Autodesk was also bidding for Solidworks at the time.

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 failed miserably.

I had a short stint with Solidworks while I was Surfcam dealer.

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 edit product.

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 Pro/e clones.

Next Generation 3D CAD Technology Applied!

This article includes promotional videos of the other systems attempts at direct edit. Sadly, none can effectively use direct edit in the design process.

Universal 3D CAD Compatibility is not Here!!

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 suppliers. Today ZW3D imports PMI from Creo, NX, Catia and Solidworks.

Free PMI Importer?

At this time, we also took on VX, now ZW3D. We will get into this later.

In 2009 CADKEY went direct and eliminated the VARs.

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 of IronCAD.

IronCAD is still the most productive 3D MCAD system available. I have used it daily from the time of release.

Five Functions that Increase 3D CAD Productivity!! 

That is the reason I sell IronCAD.

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 products.

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.

For More Information or to download 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.

Self-Paced Training Guide - Introduction

Learning IronCAD! Lesson 1
Setting up the Scene (Workspace)

Learning IronCAD! Lesson Two
Drag and Drop Design
Designing with Shapes

Learning IronCAD! Lesson 3
Streamlined Sketching
(Unconstrained Sketching)

Learning IronCAD! Lesson 5
Integrated History Based/Direct Edit Modeling

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 product.

They now have an incredible package easily outperforming any of the Pro/e clones including the high-end programs.

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.

The Ultimate 3D MCAD System

Learning 3D Mechanical CAD

Like old CADKEY, It also offers a single model design environment, plus the integrated drawing. This is an incredible PDM solution.

The Integrated Drawing in 3D MCAD


For more information or to download ZW3D

But this is not the best part of ZW3D!!

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 model environment.

WARNING: 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.

ZW3D offers seamless operation between MCAD and CAM (CNC). It is one of the very few mid-ranged integrated MCAD/CAM engineering/manufacturing solutions.

Please go here for other MCAD/CAM options.
All options include fully functional MCAD.

ZW3D Pricing

The Case for Inexpensive 3D MCAD!

The Case for Inexpensive Integrated 3D MCAD/CAM!


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.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

There you go. I never followed through with any of my sales experience with Pro/e, Solidworks, Solid Edge and Inventor because they were not as productive as my current products.

TECH-NET only sells what it uses.

TECH-NET Engineering Services!

We sell and support IronCAD and ZW3D Products and
provide engineering services throughout the USA and Canada!

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 presentation.