Direct CAD News & Views from Kubotek USA

KeyCreator CAD CKD Format Revealed – More Flexible Than You May Think

Posted by Andy Beaupre on Thu, Jan 05, 2017

It’s worth discussing the flexibility of KeyCreator’s file format. It’s a benefit that may not be all that obvious and requires a little bit of “out of the box” thinking. Let’s start by asking a few Questions:

  • How do you want to design your assemblies? Top Down? Bottom up?
  • Do you need to Design Parts in context with each other?
  • During the design process, before releasing a design, do you ever have a problem finding all the files that are referenced in your assembly?
  • Do you have issues ensuring that you’re using the correct version of pre-release referenced file?

Depending on the CAD system that you’re using, all of these tasks can pose challenges.

Flexible File Format

KeyCreator’s (.CKD) file format has some unique features that make all of these scenarios possible and easy to manage. With the CKD file format, you have a choice on how you manage your CAD data plus you don’t need to commit to a single strategy. You can change your file management scheme at any time then finalize the strategy before releasing the design.

Let’s take a look at the Anatomy of a CKD file and a few potential design management strategies.

Single Part or Drawing Strategy

In its most basic form, the CKD file contains a 2D drawing or a 3D part with an associated drawing.

 single part drawing 1.png Pic 5D.png

The first benefits of the CKD become apparent immediately. Different Geometry types (2D, Solids, Surfaces) all reside within the same modeling environment in a CKD file. Sketches do not exist. All geometry maintains its purest form allowing all geometry to be treated as if created natively, even if it was imported from another file format.  Additionally, a 3D part design and its associated 2D drawing can be contained within the same file. This eliminates the process of hunting for an associated drawing not saved where you thought it was or trying to figure out if an associated drawing even exists. Once a design is released, you have options as it can remain in the same file as the model or saved as in a drawing only file.


Single File Assemblies or Projects


Consider another design management strategy. What if you needed to design an assembly and wanted to save all of the parts within the same “project” file? The CKD format was designed to do this very efficiently. The key to this is that multi-body files are the norm for KeyCreator as opposed to being a specialized design technique (used in other CAD systems). The format was design to handle multi-body level managed designs (non-referenced assemblies). Similar to the single part strategy, a CKD can contain a complete assembly with an associated drawing.

Pic 5.png

Using this approach there are no referenced files, so file management is simple. There’s no better way to do in-context top-down assembly design. There’s no dependency between parts designed in context, so it’s easy to save off parts to their own files as needed; there is no commitment to a single design management strategy. An assembly design using this strategy is also easy to share since it consists of a single file. Another not so obvious fact is that with this strategy, detailed associated drawings of each part can also be contained within the same file.

The next management strategy is unique to KeyCreator. The CKD file can Pic 2.pngcontain multiple independent parts, each within their own separate modeling environment and with an associated drawing.



The next management strategy is unique to KeyCreator. The CKD file can contain multiple independent parts, each within their own separate modeling environment and with an associated drawing.Pic 3.png

The application of this strategy may not be as mainstream as the others but offers some compelling benefits of its’ own. Consider a scenario where you’d like to keep a library of commonly used 2D profiles that you could import into a design and use to generate extrusions, pockets or cuts. You could save time by reusing profiles instead of re-creating them for each design. The multi-part CKD strategy would be perfect for this application. All of your profiles would be saved in a single, time-saving, shareable CKD file. 






Referenced Parts

When your design process requires you to have separate files for each part in an assembly (like many mainstream CAD systems work), that’s not a problem for the CKD format. The CKD format is built for bottom-up assembly design as well. CKD files can be referenced in other CKD files which facilitates the creation of designs using file-referenced lightweight assemblies.                        

With this strategy, each file can be released and revisioned independently. Don’t forget that a referenced assembly can easily be converted to a single file assembly. You’re never restricted to a single design management scheme. KeyCreator along with the CKD file format was designed to ensure maximum flexibility regardless of your file management needs.

We’ve discussed a few of the design management strategies that KeyCreator and the CKD format have to offer but the possibilities are endless.


Learn more by requesting a free demo today!

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Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, KeyCreator, parametric modeling, Direct CAD, Direct CAD vs Parametric CAD, History-based CAD, history based modeling, history tree, contract manufacturing, CADKEY, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, IMTS, Business Success, CKD

Break Free of the CAD History Tree

Posted by John Agoglia on Thu, Dec 01, 2016

We’ve heard it time and again from future customers “Rebuild errors are costing us time and money." So have others. Another CAD company recently did a blog about the problem and were even so kind as to show a very broken parametric history tree. In fact, they even demonstrated how the software highlighted the broken geometry. Basically, the history tree is what is broken, and they show it. history tree.jpg

That’s great. But our question is, “Why worry when you don’t have to?”

Direct CAD, such as that used in KeyCreator, eliminates the need to not only worry about rebuild errors. In fact, it removes them altogether. 

When you’re working in a traditional, history-based parametric CAD system, you are held captive by constraints and limitations, so every change — and let’s face it, there are always changes during the design process — needs to be considered and first steps need to be rebuilt to ensure the geometry works.

Typical rebuild errors occur when attempting to edit and continue design on someone else’s model.  You need to fully understand and comprehend the parametric history tree to be able to make modifications without causing rebuild errors. Essentially, if you don’t understand HOW somebody designed the model, you cannot work with it. This can slow down the process and the profits of a company.

When your 3D CAD software is Direct CAD, you are not working on the history tree; you are working on the part directly (see how we did that, you work directly on the model with Direct CAD). That means an 11th-hour change or a quick change during prototyping won’t fail because of a step made weeks earlier not being updated.  Reworking a file to get it ready for production won’t require changing a line in the history tree that is a hundred or thousand steps back because you are changing the model, not the history tree—kind of like working with clay.

And contract manufacturers know the pain of receiving files that are already full of broken geometry that can take even more time to fix.

As with any creative process, everyone has different approaches to design; therefore, wasting a lot of time on restarting models from the ground up due to the inability to work with others’ models. It would be like rebuilding a house because you need to fix the roof. That’s a lot of time and money lost on what is essentially unnecessary rebuilds just because you aren’t sure the development of the foundation was originally done. Thincomputer error.jpgk of it as having to study and perhaps rebuild the electrical system of your house every time you need to change a lightbulb. Sure, you could do it.  But why?

Direct modeling gives you the capability to easily and quickly copy/add/remove/duplicate and edit features without having to design each element individually so your time is spent more usefully designing, manufacturing and obtaining more jobs.

So, while you could still be using a typewriter, carrying a 1,000-page book, and using the Encyclopedia Britannica. You’re not. You use a word processing program, carry 100 books with you in your Kindle, and Google the answers to life’s greatest questions. So, why are you still worrying about rebuild errors?

Maybe you should Google that one.


Learn more about the power of Direct CAD in our Interactive Guide Direct Modeling 101

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Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, KeyCreator, parametric modeling, Direct CAD, Direct CAD vs Parametric CAD, History-based CAD, history based modeling, history tree, contract manufacturing, CADKEY, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, IMTS, Business Success

From CAD Design to Prototype--A Look at 3D Printing File Formats

Posted by Michael Cole on Thu, Nov 10, 2016

3D Printing, or Additive Manufacturing is an up-and-coming technology.  Obviously, CAD is going to be a big part of this process for many prototyping shops, and additive manufacturers.  We’ve been following all of the newest developments, and find it both interesting, and—if we’re being honest— pretty cool.

We’ve found lots of interesting, different uses, from printers that had been modified to print delicious chocolate shapes to massive scale printers that print concrete castles and other large structures. the type of file used for your 3D CAD design for Output matters

One of the big things that we’ve been looking into is compatibility, as we want you, and our software to both be prepared to make the leap to any new technologies that come to the industry.  The most specific issue with compatibility is the array of different file types.  So far, we found that there are four major file types used with 3D Printing, and we’d like to take a minute to explain them all to you.  So take a look at the different pros and cons of the various file types, and hopefully, it will help you to determine how to purchase your 3D printer.

The two most common file types are .obj and .stl.  These files are used exclusively with consumer-level 3D printers handled these files .  These files are fairly simple, and .stl files, for example, cannot handle multiple color printing, and if you get a printer with a better print resolution, your .stl files can become enormous having to break your geometry down into more and more triangles.

An issue, for some, concerning both .obj and .stl files, is that they are surface only file types.  This is fine if you do not need to print something with an intricate skeleton, or inside structure.  Again, this is a case of most consumer level printers being for people who don’t need to do this.  Is it a deal-breaker?  That’s up to your needs and uses for 3D printing.

While a consumer-level 3D printer might work for some aspects of design and prototyping, most commercial shops need something a bit more robust. When dealing withcolor printing, and higher resolution, most industrial and manufacturing users will need to work with .vrml files.  KeyCreator can output to .obj, .stl, and vrml.  This makes your CAD designs compatible with nearly all printers except those with their own proprietary file types.

Of course, there will be times you may want to reverse enigineer a product to be printed out using a 3D scanner. 3D scanning, can be a useful tool in taking in an object, making changes to it with KeyCreator, and then printing it out.  This can help speed up the prototyping process, but it still represents a fairly small portion of the 3D printing industry.

While researching, we did find a fourth file type. that is used when working with 3D scanning.  Many 3D scanners use a file .ply, which unfortunately KeyCreator doesn’t import, however we found that most scanners are able to output to .step, .iges, and .stl, all of which we are supported.

Interoperability and ease of use is what is nearest and dearest to us. We’re going to continue watch the 3D printing and scanning market so we not only keep up with the curve, but get ahead of it. We’ll be sure to update you as we find out what’s new. 

Have you begun to do prototyping with 3D printers at your shop? Let us know in the comment section below. 


 Want more insights on Direct CAD and 3D printing? Check out our On-Demand Webinar: 3D Printing Hacks Using Direct CAD

 I Want to Hack My Way to 3D Printing Success

Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, 3D CAD, KeyCreator, Direct CAD, contract manufacturing, CADKEY, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, 3d Printer, Business Success, Interoperability, 3D Scanner, Reverse Engineering

Are Manufacturers Safe Connecting to the IoT?

Posted by John Agoglia on Thu, Oct 27, 2016

The October 21, 2016, DNS attack which shut down websites across the country including Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Etsy, and Spotify, was reportedly delivered by hackers through devAs more industries and manufacturers connect to the IoT to increase productivity, they may be opening themselves up to security risks. ices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) leading some manufacturers to question security surrounding the booming technology.

And with worldwide spending on IoT technology expected to increase from $699 billion in 2015 to $1.3 trillion in 2019, according to IDC, you can see why security is such a pressing concern. In fact, in the United States, IoT spending is expected to grow to $357 billion in 2019. That’s a lot of money being spent, and a lot of opportunities for cybercriminals to take advantage of security holes.

Today’s connected factory is primarily a secure environment, where communication is confined within the plant rather than the outside world. But with the growth of the IoT and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) gaining momentum, that limited world may be expanding, increasing the security threats to manufacturers.

The move to the Internet is tempting as it will allow managers, executives and others to check machines, productivity, design and other aspects of the process remotely and with increased precision as it will be the devices themselves with which they will be communicating.

But with that access, comes risks. Cybercrimals are a threat to manufacturers connected to the Internet of Things (IoT)

In fact, in this article, cybersecurity researcher, Craig Young, says that even as devices from sprinklers to machines on the job shop floor are increasingly connecting to the IoT developers are dropping the ball in securing the software.

“These companies sometimes have the intention of fixing a vulnerability like that through a firmware upgrade, but then never get around to it because they don’t want to disrupt the user base,” explained Young in the article.

Additionally, an  article from Sam Solutions points out that manufacturers themselves may be adding to the vulnerability as they strive to gather data from IoT devices with the “potential to create significant revenue streams, impact product development, streamline manufacturing and improve user experiences.”

The potential of the IoT and the IIoT for manufacturing is undeniable. It can help speed up processes, improve communications and in the end add to the bottom line. All stuff we totally believe in, just ask any KeyCreator Direct CAD user. But, if you are going to make a move to the IoT in your job shop –either slowly or all in – just be sure to take the time to make sure your security is lined up as well.


Have you taken the IoT plunge? Are you concerned about security? Let us know in the comments below.

Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, KeyCreator, Direct CAD, contract manufacturing, CADKEY, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, IMTS, Business Success, Hacker, IoT, DNS Attack, Internet of Things, Cybercrime, security

7 Things to Do in Chicago During the IMTS Show

Posted by John Agoglia on Mon, Sep 12, 2016


Let’s face it. Often the most exciting part of tradeshows is what goes on around the tradeshow. That’s not to say we aren’t excited to head to IMTS this week because we are. But, we may be just a tad bit more excited to head to Chicago and experience some of the best things the Second City has to offer to visitors from across the globe.

But, like most travelers, we hadn’t a clue as to what to do this week. So, we did a bit of digging –OK, we asked Siri and she did a Google search. Here are a few of the great activities and attractions we found while visiting Chicago.



 adler_pl.jpgAdler PlanetariumNo science fan’s trip to Chicago would be complete without virtual-reality trips through time and space in the Sky Theater. 





360 Tilt.jpgChicagoIf you haven’t been to the Windy City in a while, the name may not be familiar, but the building will be. Formerly known as the John Hancock Observatory, 360 Chicago offers dining, sights and Tilt, which offers unique, downward facing views from 1,000 feet above the bustling Magnificent Mile. 



LP_Zoo.jpg Lincoln Park ZooSome 1,200 animals from apes to zebras call this free zoo [one of the oldest remaining] home.


Millennium_Park.jpg Millennium ParkIf you want to get your walking outside the show hall, or just get a bit of nature, this park features 24.5 acres of artwork, wildlife and flower gardens.

other-free-navy-pier-and.jpg Navy PierThe 100-year-old tourist hot spot features shops, restaurants, an IMAX cinema and a boatload [yup, that’s a pun] of sightseeing boat tours in addition to the 150-foot-high Ferris wheel it is famous for.

Shedd_aquarium.jpg Shedd AquariumFeaturing species from the Amazon to the Caribbean, this 75-year-old institution [which is younger than the Australian lungfish that calls it home] provides sea life lovers a break from walking the show floor.

Wrigley.jpg Wrigley FieldThese aren’t your dad’s Cubbies. The team is leading the league and expected to compete for the championship. They play the Brewers Thurs. – Sun.


There you have it. Of course, there is plenty to do at the show and, while walking the show floor, feel free to drop by booth E-3027 and visit us and see how KeyCreator Direct CAD can help you Improve Productivity, Reduce Costs, and Deliver More.

If you, can't make it to the show, you can still learn more by checking out our Interactive Guide to Direct Modeling by clicking the button below. 

 I want my Interactive Guide



Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, KeyCreator, Direct CAD, contract manufacturing, CADKEY, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, IMTS, 3d Printer, Business Success

Keeping Your Eye on the Prize

Posted by John Agoglia on Fri, Aug 12, 2016



Coors Rocky Mountain Sparkling Water. The Newton MessagePad. Crystal Pepsi. The Edsel. New Coke. 

What do these, and hundreds of other examples, have in common? Well, since they were all part of Time’s 10 Worst Product Fails of All Time list, the easy answer is failed products [if that was your answer you get 1 point]. The better answer is that they are all signs of a company that lost focus on its main product at that time [if that was your answer you get two points].

However, take it one step further. These are all case studies of companies that in the light of day and deep introspection, realized they were a bit off course. They are also examples of companies that refocused their energy and resources on flagship products and helped make their current and new customers very happy [if that was your answer, we might have a corner office with your name on it].

We recently released KeyCreator 2016. While, at first blush, not as big or robust of a release as we would like due to having to pull some enhancements back after issues were identified in the final few weeks of testing; it actually may be our biggest release ever.

This release signals a renewed focus on KeyCreator Direct CAD that was missing the last couple of years as we tried to extend our product offerings and took our eye off the engine that makes our company go and our customers more successful.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some useful new features in Version 14.0. The new version includes enhancements/upgrades to the translator sets, new hyperlink functions, compatibility with AMPS 7.0, and free access to the Trace Parts library. You can learn more by checking out What’s New in KeyCreator 2016 Version 14.0 or attending our Online KeyCreator 2016 Version 14.0 Update Training on August 23 –don’t worry, if you can’t make it you can still sign up, it will be available on demand as well starting August 24.

Our development team is reinvigorated and armed with suggestions from current and former users and ready to put their energy, time, passion (and big brains) into KeyCreator; don’t worry, we’ll still be working on new and existing products, just not at the expense of our bread-and-butter. We are planning our next release in January 2017 and are committed to delivering new features and enhancements twice annually moving forward.

Add in our partnerships with companies such as Synergis, TraceParts, XMD, QBuild, and Reverse Engineering (see the full list here), and KeyCreator is poised to bring contract manufacturers and independent CAD designers the most complete Direct CAD design software solution, allowing them to increase productivity, decrease costs and deliver more.

If you’re a current customer, we encourage you to upgrade to the new version and see the changes first-hand [and give us feedback so we can keep making KeyCreator better]. If you’re not a current customer, why not take us for a spin? Click the button below to get a free trial and see for yourself how KeyCreator Direct CAD can make your life a little easier and your business a little better.

Now, about that Coors Sparkling Water….

 Get a Free Trial


Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, KeyCreator, Direct CAD, contract manufacturing, CADKEY, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, 3d Printer, Business Success

Poo-tacular Fun with a KeyCreator Trade Show Geek

Posted by John Agoglia on Thu, Mar 10, 2016


I'm all caught up from my recent trip to Grapevine, Texas. I was there for the Design 2 Part trade show where Kubotek exhibited, highlighting KeyCreator Direct CAD.

I made good use of my downtime (see above). And I had fantastic conversations with Design 2 Part show attendees and (fingers crossed) future KeyCreator customers. I couldnt' ask for more.

From start to finish each day at the show, I stayed busy. 

As with any show I staff, if I'm not talking, I'm mentally tracking two things among visitors: who has the best shoes and who has the best/wildest/most unusual product.  For example, I've spoken with an individual who designs and manufactures rat mazes for pet owners and research labs. I guess someone has to make them, right?

This year at Grapevine, I spoke with a few individuals who could have won the top product prize. But I'm going to give it to US Pets LLC for their battery-powered pooper scooper for dogs ideally 30 pounds and under. (I'm glad they clarified the size restriction to me right away. I'm sure the look on my face told them I have experience with much larger dogs.) Check out the Poo Pal on Youtube.

Anyway, they are working to get their product off the ground and into the hands of small dog owners. The product concept is similar to a mini dust-buster the size of an iPhone. Only, it's for poo.

They showed me a sleek, rendered product image as they explained how it would work. Then they showed me what the product looked like after someone tried to recreate their design in Solidworks. And while the two product images had some similarities, they were no where near the same. The best way I can explain the difference is to look at today's car body styles. And then look at the car models of the 1980's. The same, yet totally not.

So, while we talked about dogs and poo, we also discussed their design challenges. One of their complaints is working with someone else to make their designs. Their wants and needs aren't always fully communicated and they still need to make modifications to files they receive. It's that back and forth that wastes a lot of time and it costs money. Why pay someone to do all that work for you if they aren't able to give you what you want in the first place?

If US Pets LLC had Direct CAD, they could do one of two things: easily design the product themselves, because of how easy it is to use or import the files they do have to quickly edit them. And then, because Direct CAD is such a great collaboration tool, they can easily work with manufacturers to get to a final build. And since they plan to eventually create a pooper-scooper that can work for larger dogs, too, they can easily scale their designs accordingly. That's pretty poo-tacular! 

People attend these shows for all sorts of reasons. Some just want an excuse to get away for the day. Others because they need to source a new supplier or have a specific product or manufacturing need to fulfill.  And then there are designers and manufacturers who want to see what's new "out there" - those are my favorite conversations of all. These are the people who are open to ideas that can save money and improve their productivity. They can entertain the thought of breaking away from the stale status-quo. It's exciting, in my geeked-out trade show mind.  And while KeyCreator isn't a new product by any means, to many people, the concepts of Direct Modeling are ground-breaking.

For us, a trade show is the best kind of advertising there is.  Not only do we get our name out to hundreds of people at a time, we actually get to speak with people and learn about their day-to-day design challenges and victories.  For that, no ad in a magazine can compete.

If you're out at a show this year, put on some nice shoes and look us up.  I, for one, want a chance to talk to as many people as possible. And if you do nothing else, keep your mind open to new possibilities.

I hope that maybe, just maybe, the people I spoke with in Grapevine were happy they stopped by our booth to learn more about the crazy "new" 3D CAD modeling techniques they were seeing on our video monitor. And for the free KeyCreator bottle opener.


Kubotek 2016 Trade Show Schedule

March 30 & 31

Design 2 Part Atlanta, GA

Booth 232

April 13 & 14 Design 2 Part Secaucus, NJ

Booth 228

May 11 & 12

Design 2 Part Schaumburg, IL

Booth 217

June 8 & 9 Design 2 Part Santa Clara, CA

Booth 210

September 12-17 IMTS 2016 Chicago, IL

Booth E-3027

September 28 & 29 Design 2 Part Marlborough, MA

Booth 314

October 12 & 13 Design 2 Part Akron, OH

Booth 136

October 26 & 27 Design 2 Part Long Beach, CA

Booth 258

November 9 & 10 Design 2 Part Nashville, TN

Booth TBD



Topics: KeyCreator, Direct CAD

The Stuff KeyCreator Advocates Are Made Of

Posted by John Agoglia on Tue, Dec 22, 2015

adHub-final.jpgWe have a small, yet growing, group of KeyCreator users who actively advocate for Kubotek products. Most of these advocates participate in our exclusive VIP community called Kubotek Champions - a website that gives the group more opportunities to engage with us and each other.

Kubotek Champions can be a lot of fun and provides just enough fodder for that mental break we all need from time to time. But it isn't all fun and games. Sometimes we ask our advocates to give a little more of their time and themselves.

michael-dean-lavelle.jpgEnter Michael Dean, CAD Designer at Lavelle Industries, Inc., in Burlington, WI. Lavelle makes custom rubber and plastic molded parts from consumer goods to automotive applications. The company also has its own line of plumbling related products.

Dean is pretty active in the advocate community and has a lot of insight into the ways in which CAD software is used, not only in his company, but in design and manufacturing in general.

As a member of Kubotek Champions, Dean has happily agreed to help us out in a number of ways, including being a reference for any new-to-KeyCreator customers. He's also referred KeyCreator to other CAD users because he believes so strongly in the product.

What Dean probably wasn't expecting for his efforts was to be asked to write a blog. For that, he truly stepped up his advocacy efforts.

It's one thing to write a blog if you write them all the time. It's another thing to write one when your day-to-day job doesn't require it. So, writing a post, and saying all the things you want to say, can be rather daunting.

Don't feel too sorry for Dean, though, because it turns out he can write some pretty good sh--tuff via email.  And this is just conversational email. Not at all what he was intending for a debut blog. But I liked what he had to say, and darnit, I wanted to use it! And even better for Dean because he doesn't need to suffer needlessly through writing a blog post. Leave the suffering to me!

Why KeyCreator?

At Dean's company, he is the person who works with imported files from customers because they inevitably need someting done to them to make them manufacturable. He'll also suggest/make changes to help customers save money-something for which they are grateful.

Being able to do these things is exactly why he chooses to use KeyCreator Direct CAD.

Nearly all the files Dean receives arrive as STEP files, regardless of what system originally created them. Making necessary edits to the dumb geometry (without having to start over from scratch) is a hallmark of Direct CAD. Says Dean, "I use KeyCreator to make dumb solids smart again."

KeyCreator can also help Dean heal imported native files. He recalls importing parts and seeing things like vertex gaps and missing faces. Dean says, "It’s very rare that KeyCreator won’t heal the model." 

Of course, other modelers can heal parts, but he says it's not always easy. And the more complex the fixes, the harder it becomes, if it isn't impossible without starting over. 

Dean also reported that some engineers ask for his help with imported models when things like an edge blend or corner fillet need to be removed and the parametric modeler they are using can't do it. (Dean doesn't gloat with this happens, but I'm pretty sure I would.)

Speaking of removing blends and fillets, Dean says he occassionally uses KeyCreator to help prep customer part files for finite element analysis (FEA). KeyCreator is extremely good for defeaturing models for downstream operations like FEA or other manufacturing operations. So good on Dean for highlighting that!

What Makes KeyCreator Different?

Dean, of course, has had experience with other modelers, including a popular parametrics based software. (Solidworks, if you really must know.) He finds one sharp contrast in the way KeyCreator works versus parametric modeling - that being Direct CAD has no set formula in how you design. 

With KeyCreator Direct CAD, you design in the manner that's best for you and your team or processes.  As long as there is geometry, the steps used to create it are irrelevant. KeyCreator provides options and freedom of design. It allows you to work quicker, yet with no less accuracy.

Based on his experience, Deans says, "Parametrics sound real slick at first. It’s so easy to just go back into a feature and change the sketch. But if you think about it, there are some serious booby-traps lying in wait."

He explains, "Let's say, for instance, you have a feature that has other features further down the tree constrained to it. If you make a change that alters or breaks that constraint, your model may develop serious errors. You’ll have to go into each of the errors and fix them, one by one. (Only after you finally figure out exactly what the error is in the first place.) Which, when doing so, may cause OTHER constrained features further down the tree to develop errors.

In other words, every fix you make could create new/multiple problems. The more features your model has, the more you risk these kinds of problems. In the end, you may spend more time fixing your model than you did creating it in the first place."

I wonder if Dean has read an eBook available on our website that talks about the time engineers waste each week fixing broken geometry? His experience matches up with the findings of The 3D Collaboration and Interoperabilitiy Study. If you're curious, you can read the eBook here.

KeyCreator Advocates Are...

Dean's email conversations were actually a lot longer than this blog post. I learned some interesting things about KeyCreator vs. parametric-based modeling. I also learned Dean likes the Green Bay Packers and is an aviation buff. He also enjoys long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Just kidding! I made that last part up.

But overall, I learned that our KeyCreator advocates feel strongly about their CAD software because of all that it allows them to accomplish. Could they accomplish the same things with other software? Sure, but it would probably take them longer and cause unnecessary stress and rework. 

To me, KeyCreator advocates are the kind of no-nonsense, no-frills, get sh-tuff done kind of people. They are also all kinds of nice and made of sugar and spice and heaps of CAD and product design knowledge. It's a good thing, too, because otherwise, you wouldn't have a blog post to read.



Topics: CAD, CAD Software, FEA, KeyCreator, Kubotek, Direct CAD, CAD users, CAD reuse

Want to buy KeyCreator Direct CAD online? Now you can!

Posted by John Agoglia on Mon, Mar 09, 2015

We kind of slipped one past everyone a few weeks ago.  Did you notice? Kubotek Webstore

If you make a habit of checking out our website, you probably already figured out we officially launched our new webstore.  On it, you can purchase several of our available software products including our ever popular Spectrum CAD Viewer, as well as our flagship offering, KeyCreator Direct CAD.  Current customers can also use the webstore to renew their Kubotek Software Maintenance. 

The webstore is great for anyone who wants as little human interaction as possible. (You know who you are.) You can simply go to the store, and in a few clicks, make your purchase.

In fact, there a lot of good things about our new webstore.  The list prices are available for everyone to see.  You can quickly use your credit card to make a purchase. (Or use PayPal® - absolutely your choice.) You avoid having to play phone and/or email tag with anyone.  You get the satisfaction that only on-line purchasing can bring.

So what’s bad about our webstore?  We can’t deliver your product via a drone. Total bummer, I know.  In some cases, you might have to wait a business day to receive the proper licensing from our system. (Soon you will receive your purchases instantly.  Be patient.)  Not all our product offerings can be purchased on the webstore. If you’re looking to buy any KeyCreator Direct CAD add-on modules, you need to pick up the phone (1-800-372-3872) or email us

By no means is the webstore meant to replace our stellar sales and support team.  We just wanted to give our customers another way to interact with us.  We also hope that offering this mode of e-commerce simplifies some of the business transactions we make with our Direct CAD brethren.

Moral to the story:  Check our website often. You never know what we might slip in there.

Topics: KeyCreator, Direct CAD, CAD Viewer

Need a reason to upgrade to KeyCreator 2015? We got 11 of 'em.

Posted by John Agoglia on Wed, Jan 21, 2015

Generous upgrade discounts are available to anyone using an old version of KeyCreator (or even CADKEY). So what are you waiting for?

Maybe saving some moolah isn't enough of a reason to upgrade you old version of KeyCreator Direct CAD? Maybe you need a few more reasons?  Like, maybe 11 of them?  We got it covered! Check it out below.  It's my debut vlog (video blog).  The good part about the vlog?  You don't have to read.  The bad part?  My cover is blown.

Some of thee reason are:

  1. Up-to-date translators
  2. CAD Compare technology (view the highlight clip)
  3. You migrated from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8
  4. to discover more!

Topics: KeyCreator, Direct CAD