Direct CAD News & Views from Kubotek USA

Help Wanted: Marcom

Posted by John McCullough on Mon, Sep 18, 2017

Do you know somebody with marketing experience/background, likes engineering and manufacturing, and loves to write

Kubotek USA is looking for someone like that who wants to work hard in our Marlbough, MA office helping the world learn how Kubotek software can help them succeed. Specifically, we are looking for a Marketing Communications Specialist professional to join our team. 




  • Manage HubSpot web site integration and updates, marketing campaigns, lead process/CRM, and reports
  • Write/edit copy for web site, ads, blogs, and marketing collateral for consistent tone and alignment with positioning documents
  • Analyze and report marketing performance trends and recommend process changes
  • Manage Google and social media ad words campaigns
  • Manage and coordinate company social media participation
  • Monitor public activity of competitors and partners
  • Assist with Salesforce integration and process
  • Coordinate event logistics (trade shows, sales meetings, etc),
  • Manage vendors and orders for displays, collateral, branded clothing for staff, promotional items
  • Up to 25% travel

If you know someone that would be interested, please point them to our posting on



Topics: Kubotek

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

Using 3D to power the shop floor – the quiet revolution

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Wed, Feb 24, 2010

This is a guest blog by  Bill Barnes, General Manager, Lattice Technology, Inc.


Using 3D to power the shop floor – the quiet revolution

Why Kubotek USA and Lattice Technology, Inc have become partners

It's safe to say that if you are a product designer or engineer, you probably use 3D CAD daily, or are often sent 3D CAD data that you have to deal with.  3D is ubiquitous in the front end of the product design process, and our manufactured products are all the better for it - higher quality, cheaper, more reliable, faster to market.  It enables companies to be more competitive in the global market.

But even after the amazing technological revolution that 3D CAD has wrought in the last 2 decades, too many downstream departments have remained resolutely paper-based, often detached from the systems that drive the 3D CAD data, and overall manufacturing productivity has suffered as a result. There are all sorts of reasons why (and they vary from company to company) but can include:

  • 3D CAD data in its pure form is meaningless to other departments
  • Lower specification PCs and network bandwidth limitations in other departments make accessing 3D data difficult
  • Some departments are entrenched in older methods and have resistance to change
  • While companies are desperately searching for ways to improve productivity, 3D beyond the product design department has never seemed like a viable option
  • When collaborating with other companies different 3D CAD systems are often in use


Every day our customers prove that, with the right approach, the barriers listed above have been removed and that some pretty amazing productivity improvements occur. For example, Alpine Precision successfully halved lead-time from design to measurement of test parts using 3D with Lattice Technology Solutions, and improved product time-to-market by 92%.  KVAL Inc., has seen productivity gains of 20-25% in manufacturing, technician learning curves reduced to minutes instead of days and spare parts service calls reduced from 15-20 minutes to just seconds using Lattice Technology.

With these kinds of results, you think that every company would already have jumped onto this - and indeed many have. But as is human nature, when a manufacturer takes a huge step forward in productivity, they tend to be secretive as to how it was achieved. Also, based on the third and fourth points written above, we often help companies ease gradually into an enterprise-wide 3D strategy and it is not until using 3D on the shop floor, procurement, support and other departments has become second nature that they are willing to discuss it. Hence, while it is a rapidly developing part of manufacturing processes, it also remains a quiet revolution.

But this is why a partner agreement between Kubotek and Lattice Technology is occurring at an ideal time, and addresses all the points above that can be barriers to really exploiting 3D data enterprise-wide.

Let me explain: Kubotek delivers what I believe are best-in-class tools for creating, editing and validating 3D data, regardless of its origin. So using Kubotek products your designers can create original data and if a customer sends you 3D data from just about any 3D CAD system, you are able to actively see it, accurately and easily edit it, check it, and manage ECOs. But then what do you do with it? This is where Lattice Technology comes in.

Lattice Technology Solutions allow 3D data to be used to digitally mock-up assemblies and check for interferences, clearances and other issues.  Assembly processes can be designed, including dynamic clash detection, interaction with resources such as tools, fixtures and humans can be checked and the designed processes can be easily published in both digital and print ready forms including assembly animations, BOMs and technical illustrations.  Integration with existing PDM and ERP systems can easily be accomplished and downstream data changes can be handled automatically when the upstream design data changes

The affordable but highly sophisticated software products from these two companies deliver a seamless workflow of accurate, usable 3D data through any and every part of your manufacturing operation.

You will, of course, be hearing more about this, and we will be inviting everyone to attend seminars that demonstrate what I have been talking about. But in the meantime, please consider if you would like to be a part of The Quiet Revolution too!

Find out more at:

As always, thank you for reading and commenting.


Topics: 3D CAD, Kubotek, 3D Digital Mock Up, Lattice Technology

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