AutoCAD, Release 13

Considering R13 has been rewritten from the ground up, I was happy to find
myself comfortable with it from the beginning. I loaded my old AutoLISP command
shortcuts, and was immediately at home. Autodesk has taken pains to ease us into
this next stage of AutoCAD. I'm slowly increasing my usage of the customizable
icon interface, and expect a new operating style to develop naturally.

3-D modeling . Since much of my current work involves conceptual designs using AME, I started with the 3-D modeler. Operations seemed familiar even though the internal operation of the ACIS kernel is totally new. R13's 3-D editor uses commands similar or identical to those of AME, and new features are easy to learn. The real difference comes with the NURBS-based definition of curves and true ellipses. Now, complex shapes are defined compactly and accurately.

I was particularly pleased with the successful construction of a hydrodynamic shape that I had been unable to generate with AME. R13 easily filleted edges defined by elliptical and other non-circular, curved intersections.

Since R13 doesn't retain solid primitives which have been used for booleans, it can't support an equivalent of the AME SOLCHP command. Modifying completed solid features can be performed only through additional construction. In the long run, Designer will more than fill this loss. But for now, some discrete SAVEs and use of AutoCAD's still exceptionally robust UNDO are satisfactory.

2-D drafting. The 2-D drafting improvements in R13 are extensive. Associative boundary hatching is intuitive and efficient, and hatch edits have eliminated erasing and re-hatching. Trimming is a breeze. Intelligence has been added to dramatically reduce the number of steps needed for complex trims. I found these editing improvements, along with projected and implied intersections for both trim and extend and relaxed UCS restrictions, among the most productive in R13.

AutoCAD, Release 13
The Windows version reviewed uses Win32sfor high performance and a customizable Windows interface. The ACIS kernel provides accurate representation of 3-D geo- metry. R13 offers 2-D drafting enhancements, improved solid modeling performance, and advanced rendering capabilities. The Windows version requires a 386 or better, 16M bytes of RAM, 35M bytes of hard disk space, and a permanent swap file of 64M bytes.

List Price: $3995 diskettes $3750 CD-ROM

Autodesk, Inc. , 2320 Marinship Way, Sausalito, CA 94965; ph: 415-332-2344.

Dimensioning offers a wealth of new and improved features. All dimensions are associated with easily edited, expanded styles; and style overrides permit custom formatting at the single-dimension level. I found nearly any visual effect was possible.

The new linear dimensioning command permits rapid construction of both vertical and horizontal dimensions without additional commands. Additions such as multi-line text entry, expanded baseline and continuous dimensioning, and improved drafting standards support offer everything I need at present.

3-D to 2-D transition. Although the manuals offer no equivalent of AME's SOLPROF command, proper setting of the DISPSILH silhouette control variable produced a reasonable facsimile-adequate enough to provide clear, facet-free isometric views.

However, I would like to see improvement in this area. I think a projection command should be

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