VariCAD is 3D / 2D CAD software primarily intended for mechanical engineering design. The comprehensive CAD software enables designers to quickly create, evaluate, and modify their models. The software is sold as one "fully loaded" package, with all features and functions, for one very affordable price. VariCAD delivers an excellent performance-to-price ratio, making it one of the smartest choices on the market today. User Interface and System Environment VariCAD's Graphical User Interface (GUI) has been designed to allow quick and intuitive 3D/2D orientation. It has been carefully tailored and tuned to reflect the thought process of a designer, so that ideas can be captured and communicated with a minimal number of steps. All commands were created with a focus on ease of use.
You can start by creating a 3D model and then use it to automatically create drawings files, or you can draw only in 2D. Designing in 3D is generally more "natural," in that it closely represents actual parts and assemblies. The 3D approach is usually more intuitive than 2D drafting. Models created in 3D are easily converted into conventional 2D documentation. VariCAD provides tools for 2D updates after changes of 3D models.
3D Modeling VariCAD provides a library of basic 3D shapes (like a box, cylinder, cone, etc.), which are easily modified by editing their dimensions. Solids can be created also by profile rotation, extrusion, or lofting. More complex tools include rotation blending between two profiles, lofting between a circle and rectangle or between different profiles, and creation of helical surfaces.
Solids can be added or subtracted, thus forming Boolean trees representing real mechanical parts. Boolean operations have options of automatic trimming (so called selective Boolean operations). Predefined operations like drilling of holes, face milling or groove milling are also available. Edges can be rounded or chamfered. VariCAD provides a lot of possibilities of solid transformations or their editing. Also, you can easily edit Boolean trees - either selecting solid parts from 3D, or selecting them from a list displaying structure.
Parameters and Geometrical Constraints Although you can comfortably transform solids or their parts, you can optionally define geometrical constraints. Once defined, constraints allow you “to stick” object at defined location. More exactly, you can remove degrees of freedom of constrained objects. If other objects are changed or transformed, constrained object changes its position automatically. For instance, if you constrain a groove to the end of a shaft and the shaft length is changed, the groove remains in constant distance from the end edge. Constraints can be defined among elements of a solid, among entire solids or within a 2D profile creating a solid (for instance, by extrusion).
Whenever you enter a dimension of solid, a distance in constraint or dimension in 2D profile used for solid creation, you can optionally use parameter or even a mathematical expression containing parameters. Changing parameter values, you can change shapes or locations of solids.
3D Assemblies and Groups VariCAD also provides tools for assembly support. If the link between a part and assembly is defined, any changes made to the part file are reflected in the assembly file and vice-versa. Linked copies of solids can also be defined (so called identical solids). In such case, editing of one object causes update of all its identical copies. Solid groups can be defined as well, making selection and visibility changes simple, for multiple objects. Crash Tests (Interferences)
One excellent feature of 3D modeling is component interference checking. VariCAD can check 3D assemblies for possible collisions (overlapping volume) between components.
Calculations VariCAD can calculate 2D section area, surface area, volume, mass, center of gravity, and moment of inertia. Mechanical parts calculations are also included - for standard parts used every day by mechanical designers. There are calculations of tension and compression springs, pre-stressed bolted connections, pins and parallel keys, grooved shafts, bearings, beams under combined stress (bending and torsion), spur and bevel gearing geometry, and belt drives. Surface Development (Sheet Metal Unbending)
VariCAD can also create developed (unbent) surfaces of 3D solids or sheet metal parts. The XY coordinates of developed surfaces can be saved into a text file for further processing. You can input bending coefficients in order to customize your calculations, to reflect material and technology. Mechanical Part and Symbol Libraries VariCAD contains libraries of standard mechanical parts (ANSI, DIN), such as bolts, nuts, pins, plugs, cotters, gaskets, bearings, rolled and drawn shapes, and hydraulic, pneumatic, and electrical symbols.
3D - 2D Export 3D models are easily converted into 2D drawings to produce conventional drafting documentation. You can create 2D views of one or more selected solids by defining the views in 3D. In addition, you can also export specified sections. VariCAD supports updates of a 2D drawing after changes in 3D.
2D Drawing and Editing Drawing functions are optimized for easy use in engineering. Some handy features of 2D drawing include: automatic detection of objects and snap points, numerous snap modes, auxiliary construction lines, Ortho mode, rectangular grid, drawing layers, block creation, hatching with automatic border detection, advanced dimensioning, finish symbols, welding symbols, tolerance symbols, and many more. You can draw in millimeters or in inches.
BOM and Title Blocks VariCAD provides tools for maintaining the data structure of the product. There are links between attributes of parts and content of title blocks. You can create a bill of material (BOM) from an assembly, or easily modify the database using commands like mass attribute changes, sorting of information, etc. Each part can contain attributes, like name, type of material or supplier. Such data can be used for material requisitions, creation of bills of materials (BOM), filling of title blocks, or other purposes.
The data structure of the product (BOM) can be exported into other systems or into a spreadsheet. A mask is used for BOM customization; you can modify it exactly according to your needs. Mask defines usage of solid or assembly attributes, working with title blocks, methods of data exports from BOM etc…
Compatibility VariCAD can interchange files with other CAD systems. You can export STEP (3D), STL (3D), IGES (3D), DWG (2D), DXF (2D) files, and import STEP (3D), DWG (2D), DXF (2D). The files can be converted individually or in batch routines, thereby converting multiple files in one step.
What's New in VariCAD 2015:
1. New Features in Assemblies, Sub-assemblies and Parts Any changes made in any level of assembly – sub-assemblies – parts hierarchy are immediately and automatically transferred into related files. If you have open multiple files from one assembly tree, changes are safely transferred among them. From BOM or assembly-tree scheme, you can edit names and attributes at any level of assembly hierarchy.
Insertion of part-files or sub-assembly files gives you more options. By default, only sub-assembly or part is inserted, if a file contains other solids. Insertion of part or sub-assembly into another sub-assembly creates automatically next level of assembly hierarchy.
2. Assembly Tree Scheme The scheme can be displayed optionally, as a new command. From assembly tree scheme, you can select objects (parts or sub-assemblies) the same way as from 3D space. If you switch from edit mode to attributes definition mode, it is possible to define names or attributes at any level of assembly tree. The tree can be displayed either unfolded, or collapsed. Also, you can unfold or collapse individually selected sub-assemblies. Multiple occurrence of solids with the same name can be optionally displayed at one line, or each solid at extra line.
The tree displays legibly also missing names, mandatory attributes, identical copies or groups of solids with the same name.
3. Support of Two Monitors If you have two monitors connected to your graphic adapter (card), VariCAD automatically recognizes them and offers to use them. Then, you can select whether the drawing window is at left or right monitor. At second monitor, you can display selected dialog panels like assembly tree scheme, solid Boolean tree scheme, BOM panel, attributes panel or panels with icons used during 3D transformations or constraints definitions. It is optional which panels is displayed at second monitor.
4. New Features in BOM It is no longer necessary to define solid names in advance, if you want to work with BOM. Temporary names are assigned, if they are missing. New features in interface can display also missing mandatory attributes. Working with supplementary objects in BOM (like paint, glue or other items not present in 3D space as solids) is also revised and improved.
5. New Features in Working with Solid Attributes Optionally, you can insert all attributes or selected attributes into an attribute clipboard. Then, you can copy these attributes to another solid. This feature is especially convenient for working with supplementary objects – you can copy such objects completely, among multiple open files.
6. New Interface Features for Selected Dialog Panels, Containing Tables Some dialog panels, like assembly tree scheme, BOM panels or solid Boolean tree scheme automatically highlight 3D objects, when you move cursor over corresponding lines in the table. Some dialog panels display tool-tips with more detailed explanations, if cursor hovers above corresponding cell in the table. This is used, for instance, in assembly-tree scheme, in BOM panel – for symbols used for tree structure, in solid attribute panel for some icons, or in list of parameters. Appearance of tables with columns is improved, too.
7. 3D Commands For unblank of solids (previously invisible solids are made visible), you can display all invisible solids temporarily in wire-frame mode. This allows you easy orientation among invisible solids, especially for large amount of invisible solids in assemblies. For identical copies, you can add selected solids into an existing group of identical copies or create a new group of identical copies from selected solids. Then, one selected solid replaces the others. This feature is convenient in case you omitted identical copying previously.
8. Significantly Improved List of VariCAD Directories Command “info” displays you a list of multiple directories used by VariCAD. You can open a file manager for any selected directory (folder), which allows you to make backups or copies of files manually. If you reinstall VariCAD, then you can move your environment easily, using this feature.
9. Minor Changes in 3D Kernel and 3D STEP Input or Output These changes mostly solve some missing capabilities.
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