Direct CAD News & Views from Kubotek USA

Commentary on 8 reasons Engineers should spend their free time in the Machine Shop

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Mon, Sep 28, 2009

8 Reasons Engineers Should Spend Their Free Time In The Machine Shop

I found this recent post by T. Brian Jones very interesting. We meet with hundreds of engineers every year, maybe more. We hear the "old-timers" lament about the lack of practical skill that many "CAD programmers" have in designing products that are manufacturable.

I think this is closely related to the need for Engineering and Manufacturing to spend more time understanding each other.   It is also closely related to the ability of OEMs and suppliers to collaborate effectively.

I found the 3rd reason very applicable:

3. You can draw a lot of things in Pro/E and SolidWorks that you can’t make in the real world.

Kubotek software - KeyCreator CAD, our Validation Tool our Spectrum Viewers are designed for ease of creation/editing, comparing, validating and viewing of 3D/2D models, drawings and PMI.  Our KeyCreator CAD direct modeling software allows you to work using solid, surface, and wirefame, as your workflow dictates. This allows engineering, manufacturing and quality the flexibility and precision necessary to make decisions and collaborate to make manufacturable and cost effective designs and products.

Do you have stories about receiving manufacturable designs from manufacturing, we'd love to hear them.

Nice list T. Brian Jones!

Thank you for you insights.



Topics: 3D Direct Modeling, agile manufacturing, 3D CAD, Job Shop, Manufacturing CAD, 3D solid modeling

Direct Modeling, Explicit Modeling, Kubotek KeyCreator CAD

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Fri, Sep 18, 2009

I want to say that whatever you want to call it, and I certainly don't want to call it Explicit modeling (whoever coined that term - didn't want to get any emails through spam filters!). Let's call it Direct Modeling, we are certainly receiving some great accolades from the press as of late.  I'd like to share one of those articles with you.

WorldCAD Access - Kubotek V9

If you have you'd like to try direct modeling for yourself - you can easily download a free 30 day trial of our KeyCreator CAD from our website or just click on KeyCreator .

Thanks again for reading.  If you want to keep tabs on us, you can easily subscribe by email by just entering your email address to the right of the webpage.


Topics: 3D Direct Modeling, Direct Modeling, CAD Review, Explicit Modeling

3D Direct Dimension editing Technology gets better in KeyCreator V9

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Thu, Sep 17, 2009

Version 9 is almost here.  We have been working very hard to enhance the user's ability create and edit geometry in the most straightforward yet robust manner.

 While history based modelers have used this technique for some time, the problem has been that you are constrained by the history of how you build the model.  With Direct dimension driven editing there are no constraints.  The dimensions are a wonderful tool for making powerful edits to one feature or a set of features.  And when you are done using the dimensions, you just delete them.


This workflow is perfect for developing initial designs, where you don't want to get locked into all of the preceeding steps in developing your design.  It is also great for developing tooling or fixtures.

This tool is a must have for a manufacturing department or company that wants to quickly prepare models for manufacturing or to develop operation sheets or work instructions.

Please watch a short video on the direct dimention edit enhancements we have made for Version 9 of KeyCreator, which is scheduled to be released this Fall.  Direct Dimension Enhancements in KeyCreator Version 9 Video

Best regards,


Topics: Direct Dimension editing, Direct Modeling, geometry-based modeling, KeyCreator V9, 3D solid modeling, Explicit Modeling

CADKEY to KeyCreator: Past and Present

Posted by Jason Bassi on Mon, Sep 14, 2009

My experience at Kubotek does not date back to CADKEY, but in fact it is hard to ignore the history.  Even Dr. Kubo himself has a long history with CADKEY as a former dealer and now CEO.  I am often told by our current dealers and customers that the history of CADKEY is very important to the future of KeyCreator.  I am amazed at the loyal customer base that will start a conversation by stating when it was they first started using CADKEY.  Yes, of course there were some rocky roads and users and former users alike will have no problem telling you when they were and yet here we still are preaching the benefits of direct, explicit, hybrid  modeling.  We resisted the move to parametric modeling with the one belief that one CAD paradigm does not fit all and after all these years it is obvious the rest of the industry agrees. 


My point to this blog is not to start another argument of direct vs constrained modeling, but instead to embrace the history of CADKEY and to thank our long time passionate, dedicated users and to pass on our excitement for the future.  Yes, we are now Kubotek and yes KeyCreator made some significant changes, but just like the 1996 world champion New York Yankees looks different than the power house 2009 New York Yankees, there are links to the past that help us understand the tradition.  I wanted to end with two requests that came through our website that links the past to the future.  I removed names to protect the innocent.  I think this sums it up.  Past and present!  We value it all. 


“I was one of the first partners with CADKEY(back in the late 1980’s). I wrote the external DXF to CADL bidirectional translator for the early CADKEY bundles. I do some personal designing and would like a quote (email is sufficient) on the current prices of KeyCreator. Thanks, glad to see you have survived as well as you have. I know back when I was working with you things were just getting off the ground. “                          (By the way Thomas, we will contact you to get you a copy.  I would love your feedback).


“During my Junior and Senior years at Unnamed High school, I took a year-long Pre Engineering and Architectural design class In the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center with a Mr. Rick Unnamed. I became very proficient in the use of KeyCreator and enjoyed how easy it was to pick up. I am now enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering program at Unnamed College and am trying to learn on Sold Works, with little success. I’d like to download your trial and hopefully convince my professor how simple it is to use and how ridiculously complex and un-necessary some of the things we go through on our current program are.”


Thank you to our long time loyal customers and also to our new customers. We look forward to serving you for the next 25 years!



Topics: KeyCreator, Kubotek, Explicit CAD, Direct CAD, Easy CAD, CADKEY

Manufacturing Outlook - Are you ready?

Posted by Mark Parent on Fri, Sep 11, 2009


Most recent news coming out about manufacturing points toward the fact that the economy is at its bottom. This tells me that we are probably on our way up, since current news is usually about the recent past. I'll ask the question again; has your company improved itself to handle the business that will be available in the near future. Are your engineers armed with the best software CAD tools? Have you checked out how powerful KeyCreator is as a CAD tool?
The manufacturing sector should begin to rebound in 2010, with MAPI forecasting 14 of 24 industries to show gains, led by housing starts with a 59% rebound from historically low levels. The turnaround should continue in 2011 with growth likely in all 24 industries, including seven by double digits, led by housing starts at 40% and industrial machinery at 25%.





Topics: Flexible CAD, Manufacturing, agile manufacturing, 3D CAD, Job Shop, Manufacturing CAD

Spectrum CAD Viewer $99 Sale - Freedom from Incompatible CAD files

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Wed, Sep 09, 2009


Dynamic Man Freeing the world from Incompatible CAD files

What problem is shared worldwide by product designers and the manufacturing supply chain?

Incompatible CAD files.  Just the ability to view "non-native" files would help productivity in most cases.  Entrenched CAD companies will tell you that there is no problem, just make sure that everyone in your company and your suppliers and consultants all use the same same (their) CAD package and tools - problem solved!

We all know that this is not the solution.  And honestly things get lost in translation - many times from one version of the same CAD package to the next - Airbus learned that lesson a few billion times... the hard way from their CAD vendor!

Kubotek is on a mission - to free the CAD designer and the supply chain from the tyranny of proprietary CAD files.  So in celebration of this and just because we are the opposite of German negativity day 9-9-9, we have put the Kubotek Spectrum Multi-CAD viewer on sale  - only $99!  This viewer views the most popular CAD packages including Catia, NX, ProE, SolidWorks, Inventor, DXF, DWG, IGES STEP and many more.

Its very easy to use to view, measure, print, get mass properties, manipulate the CAD files.

And if you want to be able to edit all of these formats - you can do this with our Multi-CAD CAD packages - Kubotek KeyCreator.

Need to compare or validate translated CAD data - you can do that with our Kubotek Validation tool.

Since we are the masters of geometry - our ability to read, edit and recognize features in CAD data (and edit them) has no equal.

So, celebrate 9-9-9 with us and download a free 7 day trial version and come back and purchase.  And give our CAD and other tools a try too.

As always - thanks for reading.  If you found this interesting and useful please pass this along.


PS - Who is that superhero fighting proprietary CAD formats?  It's Dynamic Man.  He's joined forces with Kubotek to free engineers in Design and Manufacturing from the constraints of history and proprietary CAD files.  Watch for him in the webisphere...

PPS - This pricing is from KubotekUSA and is for the US and Canada only.


Topics: CAD Viewer, Multi-CAD viewer, Incompatible CAD files, Dynamic Man

Manufacturing Outlook - Are you ready?

Posted by Mark Parent on Tue, Sep 08, 2009
It's becoming obvious that the news regarding the manufacturing industry is starting to be more and more positive. I'm quite sure we are not out of the woods yet, but it won't be long. Manufacturing companies that have taken this downturn time to make themselves more efficient and effective will be much better off when business picks up again. Higher profits and more work means everyone is happy!

If your company is still feeling the affects of the downturn, then maybe you still have time to make your company more efficient and effective. As we all know, once the businesses start to run at full capacity, room for improvement is minimal. If you don't take the time to improve now, you may not be able to win business or have enough profits to survive.


Manufacturing Productivity Tip - Multi-CAD Viewers for Manufacturing

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Thu, Sep 03, 2009

It's 5 O'clock and the deadline has passed for the RFQ that you have buried under a pile of papers on your desk.

Missed another deadline.

You've got capacity on the manufacturing floor.  You could really use more orders, but you can't afford to buy and get people trained on many expensive CAD packages.  And the CAD jocks you have are busy, getting jobs out the door. So they don't have time to stop and open the OEM's CAD files or even draw up a model to be included in the quote.

How can you increase the number or quotes you are completing on time without utilizing your valuable CAD resources.

One essential tool for today's contract manufacturers and job shops to do quoting and estimating is a Multi-CAD viewer.  Inexpensive CAD viewers are available that allow you to open, view, measure, get mass properties and print. These are easy to use - no need to bother your valuable engineers.

This is a two prong boost to your productivity.  You can complete more quotes, more quickly and for more customers and you can increase the amount of time that your engineers stay focused on your current projects. This easy to implement, low cost CAD tool will add to your top line and bottom line simultaneously.  For more easy ideas on how to reduce wasted time and to increase your profits download the following White Paper:

5 Easy Ways Manufacturers can turn Wasted CAD Activity into Profits



Topics: Manufacturing, Job Shop, Manufacturing CAD, CAD Viewer

Why Job Shops and Contract Manufacturers need a Multi-CAD viewer

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Tue, Sep 01, 2009

Who uses Multi-CAD viewers?  Many people up and down the supply chain.  Kubotek actually entered the viewer market by giving away our Spectrum Multi-CAD viewer. We gave away thousands.  If you were one of the lucky thousands who received a free viewer a few years back, congratulations!

(For those of you that are not familiar with our Multi-CAD Viewer, Kubotek Spectrum is an easy to use professional grade viewer.  You can view many file types including the basic IGES and STEP and DXF files but also high end Catia and NX files and most everything people are using today in 2D and 3D design.  List of CAD files supported by Kubotek Spectrum )

How are Multi-CAD viewers used?

Many contract manufacturers and job shops will be sent CAD files to view and get measurements for repsonding to RFQ's.  These folks are many times in sales, not design or manaufacturing engineers.  The Spectrum Viewer is a great tool to view, measure, make some estimates and quickly get the quote out the door.  

For those without a multi-CAD viewer at their disposal, the sales folks need to ask an engineer to stop productive work, and open their file and get the measurements for them. Even worse, if the company needs to ask the OEM for drawings or to send the file in another format,  the manufacturer loses time or the ability to quote altogether.  This can be very costly, and time consuming.  Quotes that arrive late to the OEM do not get considered.  Quotes that are timely and accurate win the business.  Show me a sales office with piles of incomplete RFQs and I'll show you an office without a multi-CAD viewer.

Here at Kubotek, we like to think of ourselves as "Masters of Geometry."  Maybe its a little geeky and not such a slick marketing term, but I think the term fits pretty well.  Our ability to make a multi-CAD viewer that is easy to use, to create views, get measurements and print what you need, with a friendly UI is a talent. Try giving a Catia file to a SolidWorks CAD jock and ask them to open it, good luck!  We really are Masters of Geometry.

Now, many of these contract manufacturers and job shops support a myriad of expensive CAD packages, not becuase they want to, but because their OEM has sent them files in these formats. Sometimes the manufacturer is mandated to purchase these packages, but what they do is open the files in these expensive, hard to use CAD programs and they quickly move the work into something easier to use, sometimes a 2D package, with all of its limitations, sometimes a robust Direct Modeling package such as KeyCreator CAD.

Well if our viewer can open a slew of CAD files types doesn't it make sense that our CAD solution, KeyCreator, also has the ability to open a slew of files? In fact all of the files that our Spectrum Viewer opens can also be opened, and edited by KeyCreator.

So we figure, that if companies need a viewer to open all of these file types, wouldn't it make sense to also own a less expensive, easy to learn, easy to use CAD package to edit & simplify models, create drawwings and prepare work instructions in one package?

So, for the month of September, we have decided to offer our Multi-CAD viewer at a dramatically lower price.  Kubotek Spectrum $99 Multi-CAD Viewer - limited time offer. We also sell a Multi-CAD viewer that includes the ability to view Catia V5.  The product's retail price is $2,500, we have also discounted this product for the month of September to $599.


We aim to capture new customers that will be delighted with our viewing capabilities and then help them to wean themselves off of the 3-5 CAD systems that many Job Shops and Contract Manufactures are supporting.  The job shops will not only reduce cost in maintaining all of these systems.  But they will also improve their speed in getting their models onto the manufacturing floor.

So, if you know a contract manufacturer that is tired of the cost of maintaining multiple CAD systems, and all of the associated expense of training and transaction costs.  Please introduce them to our Spectrum Viewer sale.  I am sure they will love the viewer and then its up to us to have them try our robust yet easy to use 3D/2D/Solid/Suface/wireframe Kubotek CAD.

Happy viewing and modeling.


 PS - If you own one of those free version Viewers from a couple of years ago, this is a great opportunity to replace it with one that is really quite inexpensive, one might even say cheap, and you will be able to open all of the latest versions of today's CAD files and view and measure them. (And get mass properties too!)