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Seeking AutoCAD alternative that can create dynamic blocks

Seeking AutoCAD alternative that can create dynamic blocks

Seeking AutoCAD alternative that can create dynamic blocks

I originally started this topic in closed thread555-355634: Looking for Alternatives to Acad for Dynamic Block creation

My final conclusion was that GStarCAD was the only non-Autodesk solution, and that still seems to be the case. But I bring the topic up again, in hopes that perhaps one of the 3rd parties have updated their software so that it can create dynamic blocks.

GStarCAD does not make me happy, because it is software owned by a communist government that is known for corporate spying.

AutoCAD software is still expensive to use, but that is less of an issue for me now. Their change to a rental only policy has eliminated them from consideration in our book. (see my notes below)

BricsCAD, now at version 17, still cannot create dynamic blocks. It may be because of a patent Autodesk has, rather than any difficulty doing it.

So, I still have not found any software for dynamic block creation, that I feel comfortable with.

I also hate to leave the DWG format, and go to something like SolidWorks, because the DWG format really is universal, and is how drawings are exchanged among companies in the construction industry.

My notes in regards to the rental-only option for AutoCAD; It is nice that they offer a monthly rental. But, they have eliminated the option to purchase a permanent license to AutoCAD, and I can see a number of problems for a company that rents software they use. The biggest problem is that you end up being forced to pay rental fees to be able to modify your AutoCAD created drawing. Though they do currently offer a free viewer, in the past, there was a period when they decided to charge for their formerly free viewer. So, it is not unreasonable that Autodesk may seek to do that again. And of course, there is the possibility of Autodesk going under (Unlikely, but larger companies have gone under) and the customer ends up cut off from their software.


RE: Seeking AutoCAD alternative that can create dynamic blocks

How about going to the BIM world?

Revit (Autodesk!)
Bently (subscription also i think...)
Many others as i think it is a younger market

RE: Seeking AutoCAD alternative that can create dynamic blocks

Basically any modern CAD software will export a DWG/DXF. I do it all the time from Siemens NX/UG when I switch to doing fabrication programming. It works smoothly - never noticed an error, yet, that wasn't my own...

Just mentioning it in case that's your /only/ hangup about switching away from native DWG/DXF software.

RE: Seeking AutoCAD alternative that can create dynamic blocks

I'm guarding my old offline ACAD like I guard my old HP. These I will leave in my will.

RE: Seeking AutoCAD alternative that can create dynamic blocks

JNieman, I understand that export/import fidelity have become better over the years, they are also not perfect. There is normally something that doesn't quite translate. E.g. do the external reference, PDF/Raster inserts, block attributes, dynamic blocks, etc translate? A lot of the value of a drawing is not just in the lines that get printed on paper, but in the re-use of the file and making use of those more complex objects.

DWG has become the default standard in most of the CAD world. Though, perhaps AutoDesk's effort with the Dynamic Block patent may make it less of a standard.


RE: Seeking AutoCAD alternative that can create dynamic blocks

Look at TurboCad as a ACLT replacement.


Bob Mayer
President, IMSI/Design

Cell: 415-342-1817
Office: 415-483-8068

I am not affiliated with them but when I was looking to make a switch when AC went subscription last year this one was the best replacement for LT I could find. I think they have some 3-D alternatives as well.

RE: Seeking AutoCAD alternative that can create dynamic blocks

It appears Intellicad does have support for dynamic blocks. I do not use it, so I don't know the level of compatibility. Certainly worth a look.

RE: Seeking AutoCAD alternative that can create dynamic blocks

All I could find on TurboCAD:

"TurboCAD not only has dimensional and geometric constraints (provided by D-Cubed, the same technology used by AutoCAD), but also has a parametric Parts Script Editor, which might be the closest it has to AutoCAD’s dynamic blocks."

From this review:


I think you can get a demo copy to try for 30 days.

RE: Seeking AutoCAD alternative that can create dynamic blocks

I've found BricsCAD the most seamlessly compatible at the DWG level (2D AND 3D), with a strong nod to ProgeCAD, both are BASED on intellicad, but Bricad's implementation seems the stronger of the 2. If TURBOCAD has full Dynamic Block creation, or something close enough to well serve the function, that's DEFINITELY worth a check ! Another surprise for DWG and LOTS of other file compatibilties is, interestingly enough, RHINO !

While RHINO is NOT a true CSG 3D CAD program, MANY of its 3D Commands operate very similarly to ACAD's and they have LOTS of other options as well (including surfaces, btw). One INTERESTING facility they have is the ability to SELECT something if you can see it behind the obscuring part. Thus their "Ghosted" mode is VERY useful ! As far as 2D, tho, they are waiting for their next release to try and match what we are used to in the 2D world. Still, their 2D CAN be used effectively, so its not NECESSARILY a disqualifier. Their "FLATSHOT" surrogate: "MAKE2D" is a worthy contender, but they have a way to go to get it perfect. Still VERY VERY useful, tho ! Really does do ok. Also- RHINO's system cross-compatibility is SO good, that SOME folks buy it for the TRANSLATION capability, discovering its useful in actual modeling too, ESPECIALLY considering their near ray-traced REAL TIME RENDER viewport operating mode. WOW !

So- for Dynamic Blocks check out TurboCAD, for something that LOOKS and OPERATES very close to CLASSIC ACAD - even down to their inner dialogs, ProgeCAD is a good bet, and for SOLID ACAD-LIKE operations, 2D AND 3D BricsCAd is a worthy candidate !

In a nutshell, there's no longer an effective justification to EVER need an unlicensed CAD System. All of these, and I'm sure a number of others, are VERY WORTHY contenders for the more modest budgets among us !

Ok, best to you ALL !


RE: Seeking AutoCAD alternative that can create dynamic blocks

Thank you for your comments.

I realize TurboCAD and other systems may be viable. But, am trying hard to keep this system within the familiar world of AutoCAD, and its work-alikes. I can readily get employees who are already familiar with it, and don't have to get them up to speed on a new system. It truly takes years to get an in-depth understanding of a CAD program. Also, AutoCAD has a vast repository of utilities written as LISP, that is very useful even if you know nothing about programming in LISP.

I will also mention that BricsCAD is no longer based on IntelliCAD. They abandoned it many years ago, in favor of their own original code.

Finally, even when there were no low-cost CAD systems, there was never justification to use an unlicensed version. The laborer, including programmers, should not be cheated out of his wages.

-Joe Dunfee

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