For years now, Autodesk has done very little worthwhile with AutoCAD. There have been a few small but welcome improvements, but it’s really just tinkering at the edges. The product as a whole continues to stagnate and yet blimp out. It’s getting bigger and slower with each new release. The downloads get bigger. The install times get longer. The startup times drag out. The responsiveness suffers. And for what? Pretty much the same old thing, every time. Sometimes you don’t even get a new desktop icon. Don’t get me started on value for money.
It’s as if Autodesk considers DWG-based desktop CAD to be a solved problem. Many CAD users accept this. There’s not much more that can be done to improve it, right?
Bricsys has, yet again, proven Autodesk wrong. It is very possible to significantly improve DWG-based CAD. The improvements to the just-released BricsCAD V18 go far beyond anything Autodesk has done for many years, and that’s improving on an already-excellent and innovative product in V17. I’ll be covering some of the most important changes in future posts, but for now here are a few Bricsys links:
- BricsCAD V18 release notes. Loooong – just look at all those improvements!
- Blog post Announcing BricsCAD V18: faster and smarter!
- Blog post BricsCAD V18: The All-in-One Solution for General Design, BIM and Mechanical (posts by the legendary Don Strimbu – failing to hold on to Don was one of Autodesk’s most spectacularly dumb moves).
- Video What’s new in BricsCAD V18 (YouTube, 8:42).
- Video What’s new in BricsCAD V18 Classic and Pro (YouTube, 2:58) – shorter but not hugely informative.
Don’t take my word for it. The easiest way to test the validity of what I have to say is to try it out for yourself. Unlike Autodesk products, Bricsys downloads and installs are small, fast and efficient. How efficient? This efficient (R.K. McSwain, Twitter):
It’s a 258 MB download for an entire DWG-based CAD application which is significantly more fully-featured than AutoCAD. No nasty malware-like download manager. It’s not a stub or a pre-installer that expands itself before even starting the install proper. It’s a ready-to-run installer for the entire top-of-the-range product capable of parametric 3D, sheet metal design and BIM. It installs and starts up quickly. You can have no trace of BricsCAD on your computer now and be editing your DWGs with it (yes, including your AutoCAD 2018 and Civil 3D DWGs) in a few minutes.
Here’s the download link. You can evaluate it for 30 days.
Did I mention that perpetual licenses are available? Or that it’s way cheaper than AutoCAD? Or that when you report a problem it goes to a real developer who actually cares about fixing it in a reasonable timeframe?
It will be interesting to see how Bricsys handles the mass migration from Autocad. My biggest problem with Bricscad is I keep waiting for it to finish opening, only to realize it was done 5 seconds ago.
Are there tools in Bricscad similar to Civil 3D?
I see the line that says “BricsCAD V18 lets users access the full range of custom civil engineering objects stored in Autodesk’s AutoCAD® Civil 3D® .dwg files” but I’m not sure what that “access” means. Can you import cogo points, build TIN surfaces, do volume comparisons between surfaces, create alignments, profiles, corridors, pipes?
I’m guessing not, because I don’t see it mentioned on their site.
Not with vanilla BricsCAD, no. There is the ability to open a DWG created by Civil 3D in vanilla BricsCAD and see the objects displayed with better fidelity than in vanilla AutoCAD.
The other stuff you mention can be done, but only with add-ons. There are several civil add-ons for BricsCAD that look promising on my initial examination, and provide performance and compatibility benefits over Civil 3D, but I haven’t done an in-depth analysis.
For example, Civil Site Design.