Bricsys Bets on the DWG File Format

BricsCAD V17 Proves the Viability of the DWG File Format

I started using AutoCAD with version 1.25a on the Victor 9000 PC, back in July of 1983. At that time, an Intel 8086 PC (with the optional 8087 math co-processor) with one MEGAbyte of RAM, a ten MEGAbyte (!) hard disk and a 800×600 monochrome monitor would set you back about $10,000. AutoCAD was about $2,000 – a lot of money for a PC software program, but tens of thousands of dollars less than the minicomputer-based CAD systems of the day. AutoCAD transformed the way that we created and edited our production drawings. For the most part, DWG file creation on early CAD tools wasn’t a lot faster than manual methods, but editing and updating drawings was dramatically easier on CAD.

Now, the 35th anniversary of AutoCAD™ coincides with the release of version 17 of BricsCAD. So much has happened over the last 35 years. Autodesk moved away from DWG – first in the MCAD space, with Autodesk Inventor, in the fall of 1999; then in the AEC arena with Revit, in the spring of 2000. The theory behind this move was simple: in order to support large models and rich data, it was important to design a new file format that could more easily handle these extended (“non-drawing”) data and new types of entities. The world was moving to 3D, the DWG file format was going on 20 years old, and the young team at SolidWorks was taunting Autodesk by running ads that depicted AutoCAD (and AutoCAD-based Autodesk Mechanical Desktop) as an empty swimming pool – or, even worse! – as a Garrard record changer. <g> Old tech? Well, marketers rule, and maybe DWG was old tech, and Autodesk’s leadership was dedicated to enhancing the future of CAD.

In 1998, Autodesk postulated that there were over 2 billion DWG files in existence

Today, new 3D technologies promise to re-write the future of engineering, design and manufacturing. If Autodesk’s technologists were 100% correct in their predictions, the DWG file would be extinct, and .iam, .ipt, .ipj, .rvt, and .rfa would be the leading CAD file formats. These new technologies have made great inroads over the last decade and a half, but it’s important to note that the 2D DWG file is still the key source of design information that gets things made, built and shipped.

As we enter AutoCAD’s 35th year,  it pays to ask: how many DWG files exist today? No one has updated the 2 billion number since it was first proposed, but I’ll bet the number has doubled or more. Why? Why wouldn’t everyone just throw out their DWGs and start fresh with these killer new technologies?

If you run a design business, you know why DWG is still #1

If you’re an engineer, architect or designer, you sell your expertise to your clients as drawings. Drawings get things manufactured, and drawings get buildings built or remodeled. You need a bullet-proof way to get your designs documented and out to your shop, your partners or your customers. You and your people have solid skills in converting 3D concepts into 2D documentation, and you have a known way to do it. You can’t afford to suspend your business operations, learn new software and start doing things in a different way. Who will pay the bills while you’re learning the “new way”?

More importantly – if you move to a new CAD platform and fail at the implementation – what will happen to your business? You need a system that allows you to leverage what you know while moving forward. You need a solution that lets you move from 2D to 3D on your own schedule.

BricsCAD is old and new at the same time

BricsCAD V17 brings the power of industry-standard 2D drafting, 3D assembly modeling and building information modeling to an AutoCAD-compatible user interface. If you know AutoCAD, you can be productive in BricsCAD in an hour or two. And then, at your own speed, you can leverage the new technologies in BricsCAD to take your design (and your business) to the next level. And the best part? All of this happens in the native DWG file format, is compatible with AutoCAD, and runs well on less-than-world-class hardware. Intrigued? You should be.

Don’t believe us – read Ralph Grabowski’s article on design-engineering.com. Ralph has been reporting on the AutoCAD world since the very beginning, and he calls it as he sees it. He – like me – is a huge proponent for the future of DWG file based CAD. It’s here, and it’s called BricsCAD V17. Try it today!

BricsCAD Free Trial Download

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