IronCAD Releases 20th Edition
Jeffrey Rowe posted on December 14, 2018 |

This week IronCAD released its 20th Anniversary Edition—IronCAD Design Collaboration Suite 2019—which emphasizes large assembly design and workflow performance.

The new release also extends IronCAD’s unique Shrinkwrap capability, which simplifies models for dynamic loading based on user need and preference. Using Shrinkwrap to remove unnecessary geometry can also reduce the overall size of design files and improve performance. Shrinkwrap can also protect IP.

Although IronCAD has been around 20 years, it actually began life in March 1995 as TriSpectives from a company called 3D/EYE.

Ironically, it launched on the same day as SOLIDWORKS at the now-defunct NDES event in Chicago. At the time, TriSpectives was innovative on many fronts, introducing drag-and-drop modeling, the TriBall interactive 3D cursor, and real-time rendering. As innovative as the product was—and selling at the bargain price of $500—TriSpectives couldn’t compete with the SOLIDWORKS sales and marketing machine. Realizing that it couldn’t effectively compete, 3D/EYE fragmented, with Autodesk buying some of its technology for Actrix (since failed) and the remainder taken over and owned by CAXA, a Chinese company that develops and sells manufacturing software and cloud services.Since then, the product has been sold as IronCAD.

IronCAD was developed by Visionary Design Systems (VDS) based in Santa Clara, Calif. The product first launched in 1998. In 2001 the development team led by Tao-Yan Han split from VDS (now known as Alventive) to form IronCAD LLC to continue the development of the IronCAD product.

IronCAD’s primary focus is on 3D solid modeling CAD design, and the product uniquely uses both the Parasolid and ACIS modeling kernels that provide computational methods for solving geometric calculations, such as blends and shells.

3D designs are created by dragging and dropping shapes and components from 3D catalogs to build parts and assemblies, and to collaborate with others using 3D models and 2D drawings. The drawings remain associative to the source 3D models so that, as the model is updated, the drawings reflect those changes. IronCAD also employs direct face editing and allows the combination of features and direct face edits within the same part.

From the beginning, IronCAD has always focused heavily on assembly design for building and modifying structures while supporting flexibility in positioning or configuring assemblies using Smart eBehavior that enables users to build intelligent connection, position and orientation for their models. New customizable rules provide more methods for defining connection locations and naming them with alias names, as well as give users access to mechanism behaviors when connecting components such as linkages.

Tao-Yang Han, president of IronCAD, said, “We are pleased to be offering our 20th Anniversary Edition to customers in the equipment machinery design and manufacturing space. The culmination of features and functionality in this release truly reduces the design cycle while providing powerful CAD technology in a user-friendly manner, making it easy for all designers to grasp and become productive.”

Unfortunately, and not an isolated case, what set TriSpectives and IronCAD apart, and in many cases made them ahead of their time, has been largely copied by other MCAD developers over the years. However, IronCAD continues to remain relevant in the hypercompetitive mechanical CAD market, especially for production machine design.

If you want to try IronCAD’s 20th Anniversary Edition, there is a free online trial version that doesn’t require downloading or installing the product on a desktop PC. You can run the trial directly in a Web browser on any device.

For more information about IronCAD, visit

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