It’s Raining Software!

Well after a long blog hiatus, I’m back and happy to report there are some exciting things happening in the land of CAD.  In the past few weeks there has been some very exciting news on the software front.

First, out of left field, Autodesk suddenly announced it was going to resume development of T-Splines for Rhino!  The first news of this came from the and informed the community of the decision.  That pretty much made my jaw drop to the floor.  This means that there will be future releases of T-Splines for Rhino, with new tools and functionality.  Really, I truly did not see that coming.  Also, in the past few days they put out a release candidate for Rhino V5.  You can download that here.  There are some really nice fixes and upgrades in that release – most notably for symmetry and exact insertion of geometry.

Second, it should be noted that Rhino3D V5 is finally here.  I had been using the beta version for more than a year and was questioning anyone who had not taken advantage of the beta as it was more stable, 64-bit compatible, filled with impressive new features, and free to anyone with a V4 license.  Now that V5 is officially here, you truly have no excuse for not upgrading.  If you go to the Rhino3D website before February 26th 2013, you can upgrade fromV4 to V5 for $345.  Also noteworthy is that my friend Kyle Houchens of The Outside will be doing a set of webinars on V5.  I’m going to attend the first four of them myself, and would recommend them to anyone interested in quickly getting up to speed on V5.   You can register for the webinars here.

Third, there’s a new version of VSR Shape that was just released.  I’ve played around with VSR Shape in the past, and I have to say this new version looks very compelling.  VSR hasn’t gotten a whole lot of attention in the past, but I really think with the new V2, that’s about to change.  Check out the demo video here.  The new Multiblend tool looks downright sick – a very very slick solution to a common problem in NURBS surface modeling.  Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I was so excited for a new tool.  The symmetry functionality looks mighty impressive as well.  I’ve just returned from a laser scanning job and will be using the demo version of V2 to model some of the trickier aspects, I’ll let you know how it works.  If you’re a Rhino user you should absolutely check it out.

On the laser scanning front, Creaform recently released a new version of VXelements software, which is the interface that powers their 3D scanners.  The new version includes some fantastic upgrades which I can say really improve the capabilities and performance of their units.  In the past, getting crisp edges was a bit tricky – you would have to set your resolution fairly high to get one.  Now, the software detects part edges and automatically bumps up the resolution of the mesh right along the edge.  Big improvements have also been made in scanned “ribbed” surfaces – very thin extrusions, and also in the scanning of very high resolution objects.  Against better judgement I installed the new software before embarking on a week long scanning job in Montana, and I’ve had nothing but flawless performance from it since.

Published with permission from Better Living Through CNC.