Update: 2-17-16


After a lengthy discussion with a highly experienced Solidworks designer about incorporating direct edit in his design process I now have to admit this functionality is not there yet. While it is useful when working with a non-native model it can not be effectively used in the design process itself, leaving the designer stuck in the sketch, sketch, constrain, constrain world that requires considerable design intent at the beginning of the conceptual design. That is probably why Dassault released Solidworks Conceptual Designer. Sadly, they did not make it readily available to their Solidworks user base by pricing it out of reach and making it marginally compatible.


The dated Pro/e paradigm has reached the end of its product cycle, there is just no way to bring it into the next level of productive design: Hybrid 3D CAD Modeling, where you can design without limitations. It has causes a huge amount of damage to the engineering/manufacturing process with its complex design and data management system and its complete lack of compatibility. 



This article was written years ago. Well, today many systems can now talk to each other and use each others models as if they were created natively. The problem is how to get the users to implement this new level of design flexibility into their daily design process.

Universal 3D CAD Compatibility is NOT Here!

Solidworks Users are NOT Stupid?

Welcome aboard Solidworks: Updated!

Welcome aboard Solidworks Rewrite!

Pro/e Paradigm - 30 Years of 3D CAD Incompatibility

Beyond the Hype! The Worst to Best 3D CAD System and Why!





I have written lately that the 3D CAD world is in a turmoil that can only be compared to the Tower of Babel.

None of the popular 3D CAD packages can talk to each other!

I have told you that Direct Edit Modeling offers a new standard of operation. So let's expand on the benefits that this has for any and I mean ANY user or company, even those of you that are using a Pro/E paradigm history based 3D CAD system in a closed environment and rarely use outside or non-native data. You will be using an explicit modeler in 2 years.

Note: 8-1-17

Yes, that is what I thought at that time. Sadly, the major CAD companies cannot implement this highly productive process in the dated Pro/e strict history based system. The industry has been locked into this limited system for over 30 years. I didn't realize how unproductive this sketch, sketch, constrain, constrain process was until I did these simple comparison exercises:

 ZW3D vs Fusion 360 Lesson 10 - IRONCAD vs Fusion 360 Lesson 10

ZW3D vs Fusion 360 Lesson 11 - IRONCAD vs Fusion 360 Lesson 11

Now I understand that this does not directly relate to direct edit but it shows how deeply the top Five CAD systems have locked their users into this limited history only process.

Solidworks Lesson

Here is another blatant examples of feature based modeling as compare to extensive sketching, this time in Solidworks. We cannot blame the user. This is the design process introduced by PTC with Pro/e in 1988. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but was designed by those that did not do engineering design, but thought how 3D CAD design should be done. Pro/e was first buy hardly the best 3D CAD paradigm.

IRONCAD vs Solidworks Lesson Three

ZW3D vs Solidworks Lesson Three

You can see all the lessons here.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

I will start with the employee benefits since that is who this newsletter is mainly focused.



A company needs an individual with your experience.  You are the perfect candidate. This job would be the best job in the world, more money, an area of design that would give you incredible satisfaction, a lead position, a worksite closer to your home, etc.  But you do not have the correct 3D CAD experience. The manager looks over your resume, Wow, this is the guy we are looking for, hmm, no Catia experience, he tosses it aside. They need someone today! They have a project that had to be done yesterday and the guy they are looking to replace went off to another job because he had extensive experience in Catia and was in demand.

Yes, you can sometimes have your company over a barrel, but you also limit yourself to only certain companies. With an easy to use Explicit Modeling system you are up to speed in no time, opening up your opportunities.



One of your most experience designers has left the company.  He found another position with a company looking for a person with his unique engineering experience and, oh yes, familiar with theirs and your 3D CAD system. Your project is already behind schedule and you are short handed as it is. Now you have to go out and look for a replacement.

First they have to have the experience with your 3D CAD system


You just do not have the time to get him up to speed. You find one, of course, his requested rate is much more than the fellow he is replacing, but you have no choice. Oh, oh, your existing employees hear about his rate, and bang out go their resumes.

This becomes an unbearable situation. You just cannot tolerate this amount of turn over. Not only does it drive your engineering costs up, but puts your engineering projects at risk. Even with extensive experience the engineer still takes time to understand the current parts and assemblies.

Is 3D CAD Productivity an Oxymoron?



IRONCAD/INOVATE and ZW3D are the most cost effective history/explicit 3D CAD products available to solve this problem. I hear about the problems of PDM (Part Data Management) or PLM (Part Lifecycle Management) but they really have nothing to do with conceptual design. You need a 3D CAD system that can easily be used to create/modify the parts and assemblies in one easy to use 3D space which we call Single Model Design Environment). Don't worry both of our products can work with all popular CAD systems. You can't worry about getting the data to manufacturing, purchasing, and tech pubs when the project is well on its way. To do this you have to have an easy to use standard 3D CAD product. This new standard is here today.




Now that I have convinced you that explicit modeling solves the above problems. I want you to know that IRONCAD/INOVATE or ZW3D are not only one of the best explicit modelers but it also includes parametric history/feature based solid modeling. Our products are programs with both direct editing/explicit and parametric history/feature based solid modeling integrated into one system. Both are fully functional and very robust easily equal to the current product that may have these features in separate modules. Please visit Leverage Your Engineering Data throughout your Organization.


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


TECH-NET Engineering Services!

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

Why TECH-NET Sells IronCAD and ZW3D

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.

For More Information or to download IronCAD or ZW3D

Joe Brouwer