Direct CAD News & Views from Kubotek USA

2010 - The Year of 3D Direct Modeling

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Mon, Jan 04, 2010

Paul Hamilton of CoCreate has a blog entry that I wanted to share with you.  He talks about the confusion in the market in 2009 over history-based versus history-free modeling. 

He makes some good distinctions between what some of the large history-based parametric companies are trying to do versus what true 3D Direct Modelers are today.

He also correctly comments that 3D Direct modelers are making large gains in terms of functionality and productivity, where the history-based modelers are not.  I believe the history-based modelers are focusing on PLM and PDM, because their modelers are complex and need complex and costly PLM and PDM solutions.

Here is a link to his blog and the comments:


Please feel free to comment here or on Paul's blog.

Happy New Year!




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

Direct Versus History Based Modeling

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Fri, Nov 06, 2009

 This is an article written by John Groener of Edge Data.  He is a reseller of both AutoDesk and Kubotek CAD software.  I hope you enjoy his perspective and find it informative and educational.  His contact information follows.

Direct Versus History-Based Modeling

In 1985 History-Based Modeling was implemented in Pro/Engineer® and quickly imitated by several "Me-Too" CAD products such as CATIA®, SDRC IDEAS®, and UniGraphics®. Then came the "Mini-Me-Toos" such as SolidEdge®, SolidWorks®, IronCAD®, and Inventor®.

History-Based modelers require the CAD user to define parameters and constraints when designing a part. The parameters provide relationships to other features in the 3D part, and constraints allow that part to be constructed unambigously.These parameters, features, and constraints are stored in the order they were built in the history tree and must be accessed through that tree to be changed.

History-Based Modelers have shortcomings.

 •    Engineering changes can be a difficult, painful process. A new user has to decipher and untangle the history tree so that he can make changes.

 •    Each CAD software package has its own proprietary file format so parts are not easily interchangeable.

 •    Assemblies can be time consuming to set up and manipulate.

  • There is no stand-alone 2D drawing capability.
  • Surface models are not easily interchanged with solids.

KeyCreator uses Direct Modeling to create and edit 3D Models. NO user-defined history tree is needed. Why? Because KeyCreator creates the feature tree and KeyCreator allows direct dimension driven editing.  In other words parametric, feature-based editing of all geometry.

KeyCreator has Comprehensive 2D drafting. KeyCreator produces complete 2D drawing sheets associated to the 3D model. KeyCreator uses levels (aka layers) to manage 2D information, so 2D drafting can be standaone if desired.

KeyCreator Reads Native CAD Files from other CAD software like Pro/E, Solidworks, Unigraphics, CATIA, Parasolids, ACIS, STEP, IGES. No fixing, no healing, just read it in, edit, and GO!   Wait ... how about the parametrics? That's KeyCreator's job. No need to use the import as reference geometry and re-parameterize it. Just go to work.

KeyCreator incorporates surface modeling. With KeyCreator you can create a free-form surface model and then convert it to a solid model to facilitate operations like shelling and fillets. Excellent healing tools insure that the part is completely contiguous and accurate. KeyCreator is therefore a TRUE Hybrid Modeler (a hybrid of solid and surface models).

KeyCreator's assembly modeling features can manage all data in a single file. It does this by using level management - that same invaluable 2D tool which is noticeably absent in the other Solid Modelers. For very large assemblies, KeyCreator can export parts in the assembly to multiple part files and then reference those parts as entities.

KeyCreator is a complete Mechanical CAD solution with a unique ability to read any CAD data format and then easily manipulate geometry, making it an invaluable resource for any engineering design and manufacturing application.

KeyCreator and Edge Data

Did you know that ...

... KeyCreator®, formerly known as CADKey®,  was introduced in 1984 as a CAD Package with 3D Digitizing capabilities.

... Kubotek Corporation purchased CADKey in 2003, renamed the software KeyCreator, invested heavily in R&D, added advanced 3D, CAM, and universal CAD translation.

 ... Edge Data, one of the first AutoCAD dealers in the country, has been providing New England with CAD products and training since 1983?

...Today Edge Data is an Authorized Kubotek Service Center, and provides CAD training for KeyCreator and other software.

Best Regards,

John Groener

Edge Data Corp.


Topics: 3D Direct Modeling, 3D CAD, Kubotek, Explicit CAD, parametric 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