V4 is an economical, easy-to-master package that sports an extensive selection of translation capabilities, and more for drawing and detailing.
One of the traditional strengths of Cadkey has been interoperability the ease with which models from other engineering programs are imported and manipulated. A free-form approach to modeling makes importations a simple task, because it is not necessary to recreate feature trees developed in original source applications. Users will welcome the dozens of new options, including support of AutoCAD R18-2005, Parasolid V15 to 16, SolidWorks, and new IGES options.
The basic package, KeyCreator SB, can be upgraded to an ST version that includes additional translation capability for Pro/E Wildfire and Wildfire2, UG NX3, and Catia V4.1 to 4.4 files. Users can also export to Catia. An SV version offers additional translation options for Catia V5 R13. The product is also available in several versions that include a two-axis and full three-axis machining capability. The NC versions of this newest release includes visualization tools of The MetaCut Utilities, from Northwood Designs. The utilities include advanced toolpath verification, crash detection, backplotting of paths, and a reverse post to DXF Files.
Former Cadkey users will be impressed by the new capability and additional features. They should also note the comprehensive collection of bolts, nuts, gears, springs, and WP shapes (designations for beam cross sections) formerly sold in the DraftPAK add-on application are now part of the basic package. Users will also be impressed by the more than100 totally new tools and enhancements that add to the V3's capability. For example, basic bending and unbending tools for sheet-metal design are available for the first time. V4 supports K factors, bend allowance, and bend deduction neutral sheet methods. I was impressed by the software's ability to unbend solid sheet-metal models imported from other applications. This is a real advantage in situations where a tooling designer may have to work with a design from another group.
V4 greatly improves level management. The developers have progressed from the traditional 255-level limit to an unlimitednumber. The software also has a complete range of functions similar to the capabilities taken for granted when manipulating file structures in Windows Explorer. Users can now save and load the level-list structure. This lets users quickly recreate useful level structures for repetitive design situations.
The level list previously had been used as a pseudo bill of materials (BOM). V4 includes a true BOM function. A BOM can be created from part properties in an assembly or from level names and data. The column layout of the BOM can be saved as a reusable configuration.
Automatic placement of balloon-detail entities is also available. In addition, special characters can be inserted into drawing notes for association with file and part properties, layout data, and system variables, and settings. This substantially improves the level of sophistication in drawing production and manipulation.
Drawing creation is also improved with layout-creation functions such as scale, space, align, and place prespecified instances in one operation. The software also loads preselected border templates as part of scripting. These improvements can easily slash the time it previously took to develop a basic drawing framework by over 75%. A welcome improvement is the ability to select a primary view from the standard view list. Instances are then projected and aligned from this primary view.
A new KeyCreator Extensible Language replaces the former Cadkey Advanced Design Language. The extensible language gives sophisticated users tools to create hundreds of customized routines to automate common design tasks. Macro-recording capability is also improved with support for many common functions such as transform, view manipulation, file operations, layout functions, level manipulation, and many others. Recording and binding macros is extremely easy. The software also lets users create custom icons and buttons for user-defined macros on custom toolbars. There are still functions that macros cannot record. But it is possible to work around them in most cases by recording most of a macro and then editing it in a line editor such as Notepad using KXL functions.
A hallmark of Cadkey has been a comprehensive array of 2D and 3D construction tools in the basic package. From advanced arc generation, line construction, and spline generation, there is a tool for most situations. One new construction tool creates a series of lines and arcs from a spline. This complements the traditional segment tool that lets users construct a series of chordal lines from a selected spline. And finally, a new tool lets users create a line at an angle tangent to an arc or circle. The seemingly simple task crops up in design problems.
KeyCreator V4 continues the trend started with the rewriting of the Cadkey product code in Workshop V20. Users will be pleased by the wealth of new tools and improved performance.-Former users would do well to take a look at this new release. It packs the best of what has made Cadkey a perennial favorite with a whole new wardrobe of powerful features and performance.
KeyCreator starts at $3,495 (including a one-year maintenance contract) and comes from Kubotek USA Inc., 100 Locke Dr., Marlborough, MA 01752, kubotekusa.com Walt Silva
Walter Silva ([email protected]) is president of CPD Inc., Pro Cad Inc., and Distance Engineering Inc. He is author of 35 books on Cadkey and other technical applications, and coauthor of 11 multimedia-training modules.