ZWCAD 2021 Review by Melanie Stone at Engineering.com

ZWCAD 2021 Review

ZWSOFT has been around for over 20 years—about the same length of time the author has been using CAD software. In this article, we review ZWCAD 2021, the latest edition of ZWSOFT’s 2D CAD software.

We got off to a good start. It only took 17 minutes from the time I searched for their site, to the time that the installation file finished downloading to my hard drive. The size of the installation executable was a little over 400mb.

Installing the 30 day trial took only 10 minutes. So overall, it took less than a half an hour to become operational with ZWCAD 2021.

There is an option for setting up a deployment under the Advanced settings during installation. See the Help file for their Network Licensing Guide.

There is an option for setting up a deployment under the Advanced settings during installation. See the Help file for their Network Licensing Guide.

We normally prefer testing software on a newer computer, but due to unresolved hardware issues, we are instead testing ZWCAD on a 10-year-old secondhand laptop that tends to not work with some newer software. However, despite initial concerns, 2021 has had zero issues with installation or operation.

There are not many choices to make during the install process. You have the option to change the installation location, you can create a deployment if needed, and at this point you can change from the ribbon interface to toolbars, if you like. Overall, this program was fast and painless to download and install.

I was able to open drawings and modify and create new drawings, all without hesitation. Experienced CAD users migrating to this software won’t have any issues getting their bearings and starting to produce on some level.

You have all of the expected drawing and editing tools, as well as the ability to load customization files and a ribbon tab for plug-in apps. If you want to learn more, there is a section for developers in the Help file, guiding users in scripts, VBA, LISP and DCL.

Without making any changes during installation, the workspace defaults to 2D drafting and annotation, which is very familiar. The other out-of-the box option is the ZWCAD Classic workspace.

Without making any changes during installation, the workspace defaults to 2D drafting and annotation, which is very familiar. The other out-of-the box option is the ZWCAD Classic workspace.

The least intuitive portion of the interface for AutoCAD users will be figuring out how to change views through the Views tab, as AutoCAD users have been spoiled by the View Cube being so prominent and easy to use. However, overall it is not something which will slow anyone down for long.

In ZWCAD 2021, you have the option to save in DWG, DWX and DWT formats, up to the 2018 format.

When it comes to opening, inserting or referencing, you have the following formats at your disposal:

  • DWG
  • DWT
  • DXF
  • DWF
  • DWFX
  • SAT
  • STL
  • DGN
  • PDF
  • JPG
  • PNG
  • TIF
  • and more

Some of the files being tested are new and some are quite old. Their file sizes are between 3 Mb and 15 Mb. There was no lag or slowdown opening any of the files, even the ones cluttered with hatches and text. During the week spent reviewing this program, the only time I experienced a delay was when I was inserting a large floor plan as a block. There was a slight delay at each prompt for insertion point, scale and attributes.

Now that we can use the program with some confidence, it is time to check out the ZWCAD 2021 new features.

Graphics

ZWCAD has improved their graphics engine and updated for a 4k display which should, with the latest computers, provide as much vibrancy and crispness as possible.

Transparency

There is now an ability to assign adjustable transparency to objects or to layers. Transparency is not something every CAD user does day-to-day, but when you need a nice, clear illustration, it is so much more convenient to have tools like this available in your CAD program, so that you do not have to switch to a raster graphics program.

Reference Manager

The XREF manager now manages multiple formats, including DWG, DWF, PDF and PNG from a single interface.

Viewport Layers

ZWCAD 2021 now has the ability to modify layer settings on a per viewport basis. Highlight the most important pieces of your work in the output, without having to affect your working area.

Formulas

Formulas to draw in data and perform calculations can now be added to tables and fields.

Shade Plot

This is a new feature to plot 3D objects in their visual style.

Group Grips

ZWCAD has groups, and now in ZWCAD 2021, you can manipulate them with grips.

Align Multileaders

MLeaderAlign allows you to line up mleaders. They can be arranged with four different options: Distribute, Parallel, Specify Spacing and Use Current Spacing. Well-balanced annotation is not always appreciated; use the tools when you have them.

ZWCAD for Facilities

As a Facilities person, the only thing I was really hoping to see—and did not—was a Sheet Set Manager. Something like that provides a simple and consistent way to organize, duplicate and navigate through homogenous sets of documentation. That desire might be specific to large scale settings, so please do not be discouraged by my disappointment, if that is not something you currently use heavily.

Mouse, Voice and Plot Get Smarter

I was somewhat surprised by their Smart Mouse feature, in which you can make gestures or draw letters with your mouse in order to call commands. There are out-of-the-box gestures, as well as the ability to create custom shortcuts. Their documentation specifically mentions the mouse, so I will assume that this feature is not compatible with touch screen monitors yet.

SMARTMOUSECONFIG Dialog Box.

SMARTMOUSECONFIG Dialog Box.

They also have a Smart Voice feature, which I assumed was a way to input commands through your microphone. Instead, it turned out to be a function to insert voice memos into your drawings, rather than relying on revision clouds and separate meetings to relay instructions. This was a very interesting application of voice technology.

Keeping with ‘smart’ commands, the Smart Select Palette is an improvement over AutoCAD’s Quick Select dialog box in the following respect. Your selection is shown immediately in the ZWCAD Smart Select Palette, whereas with AutoCAD’s Quick Select, the selected entities show only after you click OK.

I did not spend time evaluating their Smart Plot command, which allows you to plot frames in batches from within model space, for a couple of reasons. As a facilities person, we moved away from paper drawings quite a while ago, not needing to print them out for approval or collaboration. This is also because the one CAD Standards requirement I was able to put into effect successfully was to get our contracted firms to use paper space layouts. However, I recently saw a discussion about more efficient ways to plot from paper space, in order to preserve their existing workflows, so I can acknowledge the demand for such a tool is still out there.

There are two more interesting features I had to dig into before finishing my review.

The Undo Snapshot feature lets you preview the results of the Undo command. To use this feature, the UNDOSNAPSHOT setting must be set as 1.

For facility management, it is important to be able to quickly access unique IDs in the field. Barcodes and QR codes have long been a great way to make accessing and updating data much easier, especially with when using consumer devices such as smartphones. ZWCAD has the ability to convert information into these formats and embed them into your drawings. That was a pleasant surprise.

Overall Impressions

From the perspective of a long-time CAD user, ZWCAD 2021 seemed familiar, even enjoyable. It did not require a huge time investment to learn. There was no struggle with a new interface, new entities or conversions to a new file format. The program was more than sufficient for most of the work it was tested on (that which did not rely on plug-ins).

After my time using this system, I can say that if you are not bound by a long term commitment, or need to purchase a perpetual license without breaking the bank but don’t want to have to go through an extensive relearning period, downloading the ZWCAD 2021 30-day trial and giving ZWCAD a try is worth serious consideration.

10 CAD Commands Architects Need to Master (Part 1)

10 CAD Commands Architects Need to Master (Part 1)

Architects, want to know how to step up and speed up your architectural design game? The following practical CAD commands that I’ve picked out can be the answer! Keep reading to learn how to use them with the instructions and GIFs I’ve prepared.

1. ATTDEF

ATTDEF stands for attribute definitions. Speaking of attributes, I’ve already covered ATTMODE, the system variable that decides whether your attributes are visible. Today, let’s see how you can define the attributes in your architectural design with ATTDEF.

In the example below, I will show you how to refine a title block and edit it more efficiently with ATTDEF.

Steps:

  1. Input [ATT] and press Enter to invoke the Define Attribute dialogue box where you can add an attribute by:

a) naming the attribute and specifying its default text;

b) adjusting the text style;

c) locating the attribute in the drawing.

  1. Turn the frame into a block (Click here for detailed instructions).
  2. Double-click on the block to invoke the Enhanced Attribute Editor where you can quickly edit a certain attribute.

Title blocks are the staple items on architectural drawings. If you can form the habit of creating them in this way, editing their attributes would be so much easier.

ATTDEF_10 CAD Commands Architects Need to Master (Part 1)

Tip:

The Smart Plot feature of ZWCAD enables the automatic recognition of frames according to blocks, layers, or scatter lines (closed rectangles). With frames intelligently arranged, you can collectively print them, convert them into single-page or multipage PDF files, or even turn each frame into an individual DWG file.

Smart Plot_10 CAD Commands Architects Need to Master (Part 1)

2. AUDIT & PURGE

As their names suggest, AUDIT is for assessing the completion of a drawing and fixing flaws while PURGE is for removing redundant entities in case the size of your drawing swells for no reason. Therefore, this duo is useful when operations are lagging or unexpected errors occur in your drawing.

Steps:

  1. Input [Audit] and press Enter.
  2. Input [PURGE] and press Enter.
  3. Opt for “View items you can purge”, tick off the necessary options (I usually check all of them for a cleaner result), and click “Purge All” then “Purge All Items”.

You will find that the size of this drawing becomes smaller after all the redundant shape files in it are purged.

AUDIT & PURGE_10 CAD Commands Architects Need to Master (Part 1)
AUDIT & PURGE_10 CAD Commands Architects Need to Master (Part 1)

3. FILLET

After creating walls with LINE and OFFSET, how can you generate wall corners as fast as possible? All you need to do is setting the radius of the fillet as 0.

Steps:

  1. Input [F] and press Enter.
  2. Select the first entity.
  3. Select the second entity.

Trust me, this is more convenient than using TRIM or EXTEND.

FILLET_10 CAD Commands Architects Need to Master (Part 1)

The MULTIPLE command allows you to repeatedly use a specified command (that doesn’t invoke a dialog box) until you press Esc. It means that after you enter MULTIPLE and then FILLET, you can keep filleting objects without repeating Step 1 again and again.

Or, you can press the Space bar after Step 3 to repeatedly use FILLET and avoid repeating Step 1. This method applies to other commands (even if they invoke dialog boxes) as well.

4. ID

ID can be used to collect the 3D coordinates of a point in the current UCS (User Coordinate System). Let me show you how to collect the coordinates of reference points from a map in ZWCAD. With them, it’s no sweat to carry out further calculations and data management.

Steps:

  1. Input [MULTIPLE], press Enter, input [ID] and press Enter.
  2. Select reference points one by one with Object Snap on (Press F3 or click the corresponding button at the bottom of the interface to toggle its statuses).
  3. Copy the coordinates of selected points and paste them into a text file.
  4. Edit out all the unnecessary texts but the coordinates.
  5. Copy the edited coordinates and paste them in Excel® with the Convert Texts to Columns function.

There you go—the coordinates of reference points are all transferred from a DWG file to an XLS/XLSX one.

ID_10 CAD Commands Architects Need to Master (Part 1)

5. PAGESETUP

When I’m plotting or publishing drawings in ZWCAD, I’d use PAGESETUP to accelerate the process.

After invoking the Page Setup Manager, you can click the “Modify…” button to invoke the Page setup dialogue box where you can specify the page layout, the plotting device, paper size, etc. for each new layout.

PAGESETUP_10 CAD Commands Architects Need to Master (Part 1)

Tip:

In ZWCAD 2021, you can adjust the plotter and print style settings in the roaming folder instead of in ZWCAD the program itself. To open a roaming folder, simply input %appdata% in the search box of File Explorer. Then, go to ZWSoft\ZWCAD\2021\(Language version)\Plotters or Printstyle.

In the Plotters folder, you can edit plotter configurations by just double-clicking on a specific PC5 file and invoking the Plotter Configuration Editor.

Plotter Configuration Editor_10 CAD Commands Architects Need to Master (Part 1)

While in the Printstyle folder, print styles can be modified by double-clicking on STB/CTB files and invoking the Plot Style Table Editor.

Plot Style Table Editor_10 CAD Commands Architects Need to Master (Part 1)

Do you use these 5 CAD commands for your architectural design? Are they your top five as well? Tell us in the comments and stay tuned for the 5 to come in Part 2!

Try ZWCAD for free for 30 days!

3 Verification Tools to Better Guarantee the Safety of Machining

There is no doubt that safety is the top priority of CNC machining. Programmers need to ensure that the toolpaths will not cause overcuts, bring any collisions between hardware, such as cutting tools, fixtures, machine tables and other machine components, or exceed the axis travel limitation.

Therefore, verification tools in CAM program play a significant role to guarantee the safety of machining. So today, I’m going to introduce 3 verification functions – Toolpath Verification, Solid Verify, and Full Machine Simulation, which are all available and further upgraded in ZW3D 2021. If you work on CNC programming, follow me!

Toolpath Verify

Toolpath Verify can be used to display and check the movement of tools along the toolpaths step by step or continuously at different speeds. You can also check the tools’ cutting situations at specific points on the toolpaths. It is very useful when you need to simulate the movement of tools and ensure the accuracy of toolpaths.

Figure 1. Toolpath Verify

Figure 1. Toolpath Verify

Solid Verify

Now that the movement of tools can be verified by the Toolpath Verify, what about the stock? Solid Verify can help. It helps display the initial state of the stock and also the state after each operation.

Figure 2. Solid Verify

Figure 2. Solid Verify

What’s more, the process of cutting the stock can be simulated, to help you find out problems in advance before machining. For example, in ZW3D, the program will stop if there is a clash during the simulation, to let you figure out what’s wrong.

Figure 3. A prompt will pop up when a clash happens

Figure 3. A prompt will pop up when a clash happens

Besides, it provides tolerance and overcut analysis to help you intuitively understand the situation of the rest material, on which the following operations can be conducted.

Figure 4. Tolerance and overcut analysis

Figure 4. Tolerance and overcut analysis

In addition, if you don’t need to observe the entire process of Solid Verify but want to check the final result directly, you can use the Rapid to end function, whose speed has been significantly improved in ZW3D 2021 – the final result can be shown in just a few seconds.

Figure 5. Efficiency of Rapid to end has been greatly improved

Figure 5. Efficiency of Rapid to end has been greatly improved

Full Machine Simulation

The above two verification functions are often used for 2 to 3-axis machining. So what tool can we use when encountering complex multi-axis machining? Full Machine Simulation, which can be accessed in ZW3D is the one, supporting simulating the actual machining process by taking the kinematic models of machines into account, helping you detect potential issues and ensure manufacturability. In the 2021 version, it has been further upgraded with new features like Machine Builder, Machine Register, CNC Controller, etc. Let me give you a general idea of how to use FMS to simulate machining process.

Machine Simulation is used to load stock and tools on the virtual machine and generate NC codes, which are then used to simulate the whole machining process and can be displayed during the process. It verifies whether the post processor is correct, and provides clash detection and part comparison, which can help you find out problems in advance and ensure safe machining. You can follow the steps below to perform Machine Simulation:

Step 1: Click Full Machine Simulation button under the Output tab to enter the FMS environment.

Step 2: Specify Stock, Target Part, Machine and Controller in the FMS setting dialog box.

Step 3: Adjust the position of the workpiece by specifying the attach point in Workpiece Frame Setting dialog box.

Step 4: Set work coordinate system in Machine Tool Register.

Then you can start running simulation. You can also refer to the video below to learn more.

You may wonder how to specify the machine at step 2 above. In ZW3D 2021, you can easily finish importing or customizing a machine by Machine Builder. There are predefined machine files in the machine library folder under the installation path. They can be used for simulation directly. At the same time, you can customize your virtual machine by inserting tool head and linear or rotary axes, and defining their parent-child relationship and also their travel limitations.

Figure 6. Use Machine Builder to customize your machine

Figure 6. Use Machine Builder to customize your machine

That’s all I want to share with you today. Verification functions can help ensure the safety and quality of machining, and the three useful tools introduced above can be your good partners to detect issues ahead and better guarantee the safety of machining. Why not download ZW3D to try these 3 tools? And welcome to leave your comments below!

3 Tips to Make 2D Sketch Easy and Enjoyable

zw3d 2d sketch - Sketch Improvements

2D sketch is an important step before modeling design. Good sketch tools can help you get ideal 2D sketches more efficiently, and thus lay a good foundation for the latter modeling. So today I’d like to share 3 useful tips with you, hoping that they will make your 2D sketching easy and enjoyable.

Tip 1: Use Cosmetic Sketch to Add Symbols or Shape Marks

During the modeling process, sometimes it is necessary to add text like serial numbers or shape marks like logos to the product surfaces. The traditional way is to use the normal Sketch command to generate a sketch. However, the generated sketch will be the basis for modeling – by implementing commands like Extrude on the sketch, the model will be created. So, using Sketch to create symbols or shape marks on models may cause the mis-operations or confusion during the modeling process.

In this case, Cosmetic Sketch, a new feature in ZW3D 2021 can help. You can create symbols or shape marks as the references for the latter modeling process. They are completely independent and will not affect your modeling work.

zw3d 2d sketch

Figure 1. Create symbols or shape marks by Cosmetic Sketch

Furthermore, you can also add various kinds of hatch patterns and adjust their attributes like angle, spacing and color.

zw3d 2d sketch

Figure 2. Customize hatch patterns

In addition, back to the modeling level, the cosmetic sketch can also be projected onto the specified surface! In other words, except for referencing, the needed symbols and shape marks can actually be realized on the 3D models.

zw3d 2d sketch

Figure 3. Project the cosmetic sketch onto surface

Tip 2: Use Closed Rings to Highlight Closed Areas

When sketching figures, especially the complex ones, it is a big headache for us to check whether the figures are closed in order to avoid mistakes in the modeling process. Here is a useful tool to deal with it – Closed Rings, which is also available in ZW3D 2021, enables you to ensure whether a specific area is closed or not. As shown in the picture below, the closed rings will be tinted with green and it will be automatically updated if we make changes.

zw3d 2d sketch

Figure 4. The closed rings will be tinted with green

Tip 3: Use Equal Curvature Constraint to Get Smoother Curves and Surfaces

When we are creating a surface model, we expect more ideal and smoother surface meeting higher industrial design standard. To realize this expectation, higher continuity level of curvature plays a significant role. You may not feel strange to G2 continuity, which can be achieved for two adjacent curves which are tangent. So how can the curvature reach G2 continuity? Let’s have a look.

In ZW3D 2021, we can add the Equal Curvature Constraint to two adjacent and tangent curves. As the curvature comb in the picture below shows, the G2 continuity has been achieved.

zw3d 2d sketch

Figure 5. Add the equal curvature constraint to two adjacent and tangent curves

When we move to the modeling level and check the zebra stripes, we can find that the surface with G2 continuity is much smoother than the one with G1 continuity.

zw3d 2d sketch

Figure 6. Comparison between surfaces with G1 continuity (left) and G2 continuity (right)

With the 3 tips above, you can create the 2D sketch in an easier and more enjoyable way, significantly improving your design efficiency. Hurry up and try to practice these 3 tips in the brand new ZW3D 2021!

Customize Your ZWCAD 2021? Easy Peasy!

Customize Your ZWCAD 2021? Easy Peasy!

You may know a thing or two about the faster and smoother experience ZWCAD 2021 can bring. But is that all? Nah. You can now further customize it to better suit your design habits. In this article, I’m going to show you how to tailor it in several simple steps. So, keep on reading! (And pay attention because free licenses are up for grabs!)

Personalize the Mouse Actions

In ZWCAD 2021, you can customize both double-click actions and mouse buttons in 3 steps. To start with, you need to make sure that the value of SHORTCUTMENU the system variable is 0. Then, input CUI to invoke the Customize User Interface dialogue box where you can see all the default result of mouse actions. Lastly, find and drag your desired command from the command list to replace the default result.

Watch the video below and you’ll have a clearer idea of how it works!

Customize the Ribbon via APIs

Customization is intended for not only users, but also developers in this version. In the past, you couldn’t have the Ribbon interface custom-made without using the CUI command. And that posed a challenge for the management department in enterprises: the customized interface could only be configured to workstations via CUIX files, which was cumbersome and high-maintenance.

Thanks to the new .NET interfaces in ZWCAD 2021, you can add, remove, or edit the Ribbon UI elements such as tabs, panels, and buttons in the add-on development programs. After that, you can configure these modifications to different computers along with other functions of your application, which greatly improves efficiency and flexibility. What’s more, you could make the Ribbon panel dynamically appear or hide according to whether your commands are running or not, which is just a great convenience to you.

Configuring the customized interface to various computers is convenient in ZWCAD 2021
Configuring the customized interface to various computers is convenient in ZWCAD 2021

Moreover, to make the porting of applications even easier for developers, we’ve upgraded Visual Studio® to version 2017 and the .NET interface to 4.6.1. Want to know how other CADers utilize the customization features of ZWCAD to succeed? Check out how Reg Whittaker, a veteran architect from South Africa, boosts his architectural design and drives business by personalizing ZWCAD!

Why not download ZWCAD 2021 to have a 30-day free trial and make it as handy as you like? If 30 days are not enough, take part in our drawing opening event to win free 180-day licenses!

How Fast Is ZWCAD 2021? Here’s Our Side of the Story

How Fast Is ZWCAD 2021? Here’s Our Side of the Story

In the workplace, you can’t emphasize efficiency too much. The minutes saved from waiting for basic operations to be done can be devoted to actual design tasks and increasing output. Therefore, a good CAD program should help you work smarter, not keep you waiting. Thanks to the new graphic engine, the long-awaited ZWCAD 2021 official is faster than ever, especially in terms of drawing opening and basic operations. Let’s take a quick look at how efficient it is! (Pay attention because free licenses are up for grabs!)

Method

We conducted all efficiency tests on the same computer whose system specs are:

1) Operating system: Windows® 10 Pro

2) Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-8500 CPU @ 3.00GHz

3) RAM: 8.00 GB

The Efficiency of Drawing Opening

1,502 sample drawings whose sizes range from 10 MB to 350 MB were opened successively in ZWCAD 2021 Official, ZWCAD 2020 SP2 (its most recent predecessor), and its counterparts, ACAD 2020 and GCAD 2020.

For these drawing opening tests, we’ve coined a value called Z2CR (ZWCAD 2021 Official-to-Counterpart/Previous Version Ratio). It’ll help you better understand the results.

Z2CR

When Z is close to C, Z2CR is approximate to 1 or -1, which means there is little difference in the file opening speed between the two products compared. To make the tests as objective as possible, we have removed the data whose Z2CR is equal to 1 or -1.

Figure 1. Comparing the Efficiency of Drawing Opening
Figure 1. Comparing the Efficiency of Drawing Opening

As you can see, the pie chart above illustrates that 82.7% of the sample drawings were opened faster in ZWCAD 2021 Official than in its previous version, and up to 91.7% were opened faster than in its counterparts. Want to experience the speed for yourself and win a free 180-day license? Check this out!

The Efficiency of Basic Operations

We also endeavor to facilitate the operations users frequently use. As a result, executing basic commands like COPY, MOVE, ARRAY, and COPYCLIP is comparatively swifter in this version. How much swifter? The chart below generated based on the sample drawings collected from ZWCAD users can tell.

Apparently, it costs way less time to run basic commands in ZWCAD 2021 Official than in the subjects being compared. Among them, the efficiency of COPYCLIP has been improved the most dramatically in ZWCAD 2021 (roughly between 5 and 7 times faster than in its counterparts compared). The outstanding performance of ZWCAD 2021 Official can further free you from waiting for simple operations to be done.

Figure 2. Comparing the Efficiency of Basic Operations
Figure 2. Comparing the Efficiency of Basic Operations

By now, you should have a general idea of how fast ZWCAD 2021 is. This new version can help significantly increase your design efficiency, and you are encouraged to tell us your side of the efficiency-improving story (and win free 180-day licenses)!

Try ZWCAD for free for 30 days!

ZWCAD Mechanical 2021 Is Now Available

ZWSOFT today launched ZWCAD Mechanical 2021, the industry-specific version based on its faster and smoother flagship product, ZWCAD. Besides inheriting the speed, smoothness, and satisfying new functions of ZWCAD 2021, it offers more handy features.

ZWCAD Mechanical 2021: Simple Design for Sophisticated Outcomes

Create Congruous Single Holes Easily

Now we have two more options for creating single holes. One is the “By Standard Size” option. Once checked, it allows you to use the standard size whose unit can be metric or inch and thus, spares you from manually inputting the hole diameter, and thus streamlines your hole generation process. Being complementary to the fixed type, it helps ensure that the length of the center line would adapt to the size of the hole proportionally.

Figure 1. Single holes whose center lines are now adjustable can be created by standard size

Likewise, you can adjust the label size in the Hole Chart manager so that the hole label is neither too big nor too small for the hole.

Retrieve Parts Effortlessly from an Orderly Library

As the hub of mechanical design, the part library is always the primary concern. In this new version, parts have been rearranged by types and standards, enabling you to find the desired ones more effortlessly. What’s more, the German one is now available.

Meanwhile, double-click on a part in the library and you can directly edit it in the model space, which boosts productivity.

Figure 2. The rearranged part library helps facilitate mechanical design

In addition to the intelligent design functions mentioned, the APIs of ZWCAD Mechanical 2021 have been enhanced for not only developers to customize the program, but also enterprises to integrate it into management systems, such as ERP and PLM, and share internal product design data.

Want to experience it yourself? Download it now for a free 30-day trial!

ZW3D 2021: Continues to Tackle More Complex Design and Manufacturing Tasks

ZW3D 2021 has been officially released today. Continuing to focus on tackling more complex design, this fire-new version brings forth a great deal of new functions and enhancements for friendlier user experience, as well as more efficient and higher-quality product design and manufacturing.

Friendlier User Experience

Attributes Conversion

Except for supporting the latest versions of most mainstream formats, when importing files, ZW3D 2021 can also read their part attributes, such as Hidden/Suppressed Components and Material.

CSYS

With the new Coordinate System, you can now create multiple Local Coordinate Systems (LCS), each of which can be activated as a Work Coordinate System (WCS) according to your needs.

zw3d 2021_csys.png
Figure 1. Design with multiple Work Coordinate Systems

Datum Axis

Moreover, the new Datum Axis, which can be generated from a geometric object, can act as the rotation center or help add concentric constraints. The CSYS and Datum Axis greatly increase your design flexibility.

Extended CAD Functions

Sketch & Modeling

G2 continuity between curves is supported, to help you get smoother curves and surfaces by Equal Curvature Constraint. Cosmetic Sketch with abundant symbols and shape marks is ready to provide references for the modeling process.

zw3d 2021_Equal Curvature Constraint.png
Figure 2. Get smoother curves and surfaces by Equal Curvature Constraint

For modelling, G2 Blend is now available for higher-quality fillets and blend faces. And previously, you may find trimming multiple crossed faces troublesome. Now, it can be done all at once with Cross Trim. So convenient and efficient.

zw3d 2021_Cross Trim.png
Figure 3. Trim multiple faces simultaneously by Cross Trim

Assembly

Sometimes you need to insert virtual components which don’t need to be geometric, like spare parts. In this case, Include Unplaced Component can help.

In addition, Clearance Check can help you guarantee the minimum distance between parts. What’s more, you can edit the attributes and constraints of multiple components at one time by Batch Attribute Edit and Edit Constraint respectively, greatly saving your time.

zw3d 2021_Edit Constraint.png
Figure 4. Edit the constraints of multiple components at one time

Sheet Metal

For some industries, flanges of zero-radius are needed. The good news is that they are well supported in ZW3D 2021. Another important function for Sheet Metal design, Punch, has also been upgraded, enabling you to set fillets, open faces, and even a shape from an external z3prt file.

zw3d 2021_Zero-radius Flange.png
Figure 5. Zero-radius Flange

There are still many new CAD features you don’t want to miss, like Point Table and Dimension Table for inspection by measuring instruments, and the new ECAD module for the design of electronic circuit layout.

Upgraded CAM Capabilities

Turning

In ZW3D 2021, you can specify a customized part as a stock. More excitingly, pentagon, hexagon and octagon cutting tools are here to help with your turning work.

Verify

The time spent on “Rapid to end” for Solid Verify has been significantly cut down from several minutes to a few seconds compared with the last version.

Machine Builder for importing and customizing external machines, Machine Register for setting the Work Coordinate System and defining the tool compensation, CNC Controller for specifying the controller of simulation, etc. make Full Machine Simulation more powerful.

zw3d 2021_Full Machine Simulation.png
Figure 6. Upgraded Full Machine Simulation

Output

Many ZW3D users have been asking for exporting CAM Operation List to Excel. In ZW3D 2021, it’s ready. You can also customize the template, and show or hide the coordinate. What’s more, Post Editor can now be activated right in ZW3D instead of opening a new browser.

zw3d 2021_built-in Post Editor.png
Figure 7. The built-in Post Editor

With improved user experience, extended CAD functions and upgraded CAM capabilities, ZW3D 2021 takes a further step to help you tackle more complex design and manufacturing tasks. Why not explore tons of new features yourselves? Or welcome to leave your voice in our ZW3D User Group.

ZWCAD 2021: Faster and Smoother

Today sees the official launch of ZWCAD 2021, the faster and smoother version of the powerful, reliable, and DWG compatible CAD solution developed by ZWSOFT.

ZWCAD 2021: Faster and Smoother

Less Time on Waiting, More on the Pleasing UI

Speed, a feature vital to ZWCAD, is at its hitherto best thanks to the upgraded graphic engine. On average, file reading consumes 30% less time in this version than the last one. Also, it only takes half of the time to switch, freeze, lock, and unlock layers. Nevertheless, there is no compromise on stability and display effects. Even at 4K resolutions, objects are adaptive and displayed in better quality.

Xrefs, Easily Managed and Clipped

External references can come in various formats, which makes it tricky to handle them when there was one manager for each type of file. In ZWCAD 2021, Xref management becomes much simpler. In one panel, you can preview and highlight files, check file information, modify file path, etc.

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Likewise, clip-related commands like XClip have been integrated into one. With the CLIP command, you can clip blocks, Xrefs, images, underlays, and viewports. Plus, it’s feasible to scale clip boundary with grips and invert XClip by clicking the arrow.

Watch more: https://youtu.be/RUmkWDRlQTg

Transparency, Adjustable for Distinguishing Objects

Sometimes, it is inevitable that design elements are overlapping. To have a clearer view of them, you can now specify the transparency of objects, hatches, references, etc. individually or collectively if they are in the same layer.

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Different Layer Properties for Different Viewports

You might need to highlight some objects for plotting without affecting the design in the model space. Now that viewport layers are available, you can accentuate specific layer properties (layer color, line type, line weight, etc.) for each viewport. Furthermore, VpLayers can be quickly selected with filters and reset.

Learn More: https://youtu.be/cGU5ueBOecA

Quicker Calculations with Table and Field Formulas

Now, the value of table cells can be summed, averaged, multiplied, etc. with formulas and mathematical expressions. Similarly, formulas are available in the Field dialogue box. You can update the fields which are calculated with formulas using the REGEN command. With formulas, calculating is as easy as ABC.

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Mouse Actions, Customizable for Personal Design Habits

When SHORTCUTMENU the system variable is 0, both double-click actions and mouse buttons are customizable. In the CUI dialogue box, you can replace the result of mouse actions with your desired command.

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Of course, ZWCAD 2021 offers many more new features and improvements than the ones mentioned. For example, Visual Studio® has been upgraded to version 2017 and the .NET interface to 4.6.1 for easier porting of applications.

Download ZWCAD 2021 for a 30-day free trial and be ready for an unprecedentedly fast and smooth CAD experience.

Reuse of Japanese Infrastructure Has Increased with ZWCAD

All Japan Data Service Co., Ltd., a firm specializing in infrastructure inspection, has been using ZWCAD to help reuse and ensure the safety of more facilities across Japan.

Against the backdrop of population aging and environmental protection, the focus of developing infrastructure has shifted from quantity to reuse in Japan.

To this end, All Japan Data Service Co., Ltd. (AJDS for short) was founded in 1991 in Tokyo with the mission of providing comprehensive information through field surveys and data analysis. So far, they have spread to Nagoya, Osaka, etc. and have taken on 125 professionals, such as architects, engineers, and surveyors.

Safe and Stable Access to Drawings Anytime Anywhere

Since they mainly inspect structures (bridges, tunnels, etc.), traffic facilities, geological bodies, and urban planning, a powerful CAD solution is a must. However, the overheads have gradually risen higher so that they started looking for a budget-friendlier one. For decades, free CAD software had been tested occasionally, but quickly dismissed due to a lack of stability and the inconvenience caused.

Around 2012, on the recommendation of CHAM, the Japanese ZWSOFT partner, AJDS decided to try ZWCAD. The first test was to assess its stability. When opening large topographic maps in ZWCAD, they were happy to find the process not only stable, but also fast.

Besides, its interfaces and commands are familiar to the technicians, which resulted in lower costs of relearning and training. Moreover, permanent licenses in the form of network licenses and dongles can be used in the office and on-site, respectively, boosting efficiency and facilitating collaboration. Network licenses, in particular, helped them maximize the utilization of software resources and minimize the costs.

Figure 1. An AJDS technician detailing drawings of bridge inspection with ZWCAD
Figure 1. An AJDS technician detailing drawings of bridge inspection with ZWCAD

All things considered, they adopted ZWCAD and appreciated the icing on the cake, “An important reason for making this decision is that salespeople of CHAM genuinely care about our opinions.”

More Efficient Bridge Inspection Thanks to Powerful APIs

So far, tens of thousands of regular bridge inspections have been carried out by AJDS. In 2017 alone, they have inspected over 8,500 times. However, they used to suffer setbacks during such activities because the free CAD software they tested don’t support APIs. The lack of APIs led to complicated and faulty data synchronization because they couldn’t use their internal application, which integrates the results of bridge inspections into the database and generates reports.

Figure 2. The general drawing of a bridge
Figure 2. The general drawing of a bridge

Thanks to the robust APIs and customizable UI of ZWCAD, it is possible to synchronize the inspection drawings with corresponding annotations via the application program. “Porting our program to ZWCAD via the .Net interface has been trouble-free,” AJDS technicians acknowledged. Being able to use their program in ZWCAD has greatly improved their productivity while human errors slumped.

Better Management of Roads with Handy CAD Functions

Apart from bridges, tunnels are essential to road traffic as well. Since their locations usually allow of no detour, maintenance is vital. Visual inspection, rebound hammer test, leak detection, and ultrasonic testing are routinely conducted. Also, photos of the concrete are taken and processed to accentuate the cracks. Then, technicians will insert the processed raster images into ZWCAD with the IMAGE command, trace the damages using PLINE or LINE, and annotate them with ellipses, leaders, and MTexts.

Likewise, to create and edit road profiles, they would first insert images (JPGs, TIFFs, etc.) in ZWCAD and then outline with PLINE. With the standard blocks representing road signs stored in the Design Center, they can easily access and use the ones needed.

Figure 3. Cracks on the tunnel are traced and annotated
Figure 3. Cracks on the tunnel are traced and annotated

Balancing environmental preservation and urban development has always been a worldwide dilemma. Luckily, professionals at AJDS will continue monitoring the safety of social infrastructure and assisting the recycling of them with their considerable experience, expertise, and ZWCAD. They concluded, “ZWCAD is a complete and stable solution that makes our inspection and design of facilities easier than ever. We wish to sustain the long-term relationship with ZWSOFT.”