Home > Features > Product Review: TurboCAD 2D Mac 1.0

TurboCAD 2D Mac is one of the latest new entrants in the expanding Mac market. IMSI/Design says they entered the Mac market because the overall CAD market is expanding greatly. What isn't so obvious is the expected size growth of the Mac OS X market in general, likely a key reason the company focused on the Mac as well. In any case, Mac users are likely delighted to have this veteran CAD company back on the Mac platform.

TurboCAD 2D Mac is priced at just $99.USD., making it one of the most affordable CAD programs of any kind on the Macintosh platform. The company targets it at both professional and consumer users and its beautiful packaging conveys this dual-audience. Right on the box there is the sense that TurboCAD can handle both mechanical as well as architectural drafting. And inside the product features tools and pre drawn symbols for both.

The Basics

TurboCAD 2D Mac is actually some what of a hybrid 2D/3D program. Although users can't generate 3D CAD models -- something you can easily do with the related TurboCAD 3D Mac application -- they can work with them when imported into the program (more on that later).

TurboCAD 2D Mac is a native Mac OS X application built on a young code base which incorporates leading edge technology from Spatial as well as the Open Design Alliance. Although it is an IMSI/Design product, the application is a bit of a collaboration effort between Caddsoft Solutions Inc (CSI) and IMSI/Design. (read this interview for more).

01 - TurboCAD 2D Mac Tools

The application features nearly 300 tools displayed inside of an Aqua-compliant interface. The range of tools expand from simple line drawing tools to advanced transformations. (see image 01) Beginning CAD users will recognize which tools to use to form circles, arcs, lines and polygons and the program's Tool Bar -- one of the best we've seen at simplicity and functionality -- provides easy data input functionality while providing the user with step-by-step instructions on using all tools.

TurboCAD 2D Mac comes with a library of over 8000 symbols, many of which are very good and excellent time savers. Notable in a program in this price range is the extensive file format compatibility, due in no small measure to the use of libraries from the Open Design Alliance and the underlying Spatial technology. TurboCAD 2D Mac is very compatible with AutoCAD and Adobe Illustrator, but what is most impressive is the ability the program has to import 3D data from highend CAD applications such as CATIA, ProE, Rhino (3DM) and others.

Interface, Palettes and Key Features

Although priced in the consumer CAD range, TurboCAD 2D Mac comes with many features professionals need. For instance, the program can support up to 1200 layers, a heady figure for even the largest of professional CAD file situations. Other pro-features include a BOM (bill of materials) tool, customizable AutoSave function, and a customizable Undo function with unlimited undo capabilities. You can also control the background color and draw over a black background (and be AutoCAD-like) or a white (paper) background and be like most designers. You can also choose a color like gray (and be like video-folks) or any color for that matter. (see image 02) In the end the color you choose for the background doesn't affect printing.

02 - TurboCAD 2D Mac can handle custom background colors, like gray

The program features a comprehensive Selection Mask feature enabling the user to make complex selections based on specific criteria (eg: all circles which are blue and in layer 1).

Also notable is the Show/Hide feature which enables you to temporarily hide/show specific items in the drawing. Sometimes you may want to just see a particular complex item you are working on and block out all the rest. You can also group objects and of course turn them into symbols for later reuse.

Moving around in the interface is just as easy in this program as any other leading CAD application. It contains all the best techniques including the very valuable ability to zoom in and out using the mouse wheel on your mouse. Panning can happen at any time by simply holding down the space bar, even in the middle of an operation. This is so valuable when you're zoomed in and need to reach something beyond the limits of the window.

03 - invoking dynamic zoom
04 - attributes tab on Object Info palette

Additionally Dynamic Zoom can be invoked from a context menu at the cursor even after you have selected an object, without losing the object you can zoom in and continue an operation. (see image 03) Lastly, the program's Object Info palette provides the user with the ability to change geometry (both absolute position in space and relative size. Additionally, it features an Attributes tab and from here users can assign objects a name, adjust resolution, color, layer, pattern, line weight and other key items in addition to the ability to lock that item. (see image 04)

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Home > Features > Product Review: TurboCAD 2D Mac 1.0




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