Free Beta software for "surfacing"

Discussion in 'Software' started by CGN, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. CGN
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    CGN Senior Member

    Works similar to Rhino, reads/saves rhino files only and is very basic on features.
  2. yipster
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    yipster designer

    good easy smooth freebie :)

    Attached Files:

  3. bhnautika
    Joined: Feb 2006
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    Location: australia

    bhnautika Senior Member

    I second that yipster, downloaded software, 1 hour later had finished the chair in cad blocks, it has great potential.

    Attached Files:

  4. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    Interesting, it's made by one of the developers of Rhino. (or issue #484 as times go):

    u p F r o n t . e Z i n e
    'The Business of CAD'

    Issue #484 | July 24, 2006 | English Edition
    ========================================================== |

    In this Issue
    . . . . .
    * Exclusive Interview: MoI -- SketchUp for MCAD Users
    - Adopting Rhino's File Format
    - Product Positioning
    - The View from Robert McNeel
    * Guest Editorial: When Blogs Go 404
    * Below the Radar, and the other regular columns.

    MoI -- SketchUp for MCAD Users
    Exclusive Interview
    . . . . .
    Triple Squid last week made public a beta of Moment of Inspiration {MoI] -- a brand-new 3D CAD program that I've dubbed "SketchUp for MCAD users." Programmer Michael Gibson describes the thinking behind MoI: "I've noticed in the past that many people have difficulty using regular CAD programs with a pen tablet. Requiring constant keyboard access means that they can't sit back in their chair holding the tablet; they have to hover one hand over the keyboard.

    "Even right-click is awkward with a pen: many people have difficulty with the pen moving too much when they shift their finger to try to do the right-click. And a scroll wheel isn't available at all.

    "So I decided to break away from the standard approach, and to reconstruct a new interface that solves these problems for pen tablet users. I figured that would give me a niche that could make the MoI program appealing to a particular user base. A lot of people with an art background seem to like the feel of using a pen.

    "This meant restricting the design to only work with very simple actions, which I think has resulted in a nice overall simplification that ends up benefiting mouse users as well.

    "Anyway, things moved very slowly for quite a long while, but I kept crunching and crunching away and finally I think it's in a good enough state to do some real design with it, so I've moved it into the beta release phase < >.

    upFront.eZine: "What's the story behind Triple Squid?"

    "Triple Squid Software Design is a single-person company. My history, very briefly, is I worked at Robert McNeel & Associates from 1993-1999, then at Microsoft 1999-2003. In 2003 I decided that the time was right to leave Microsoft and do my own company. Since then I've been working on MoI on my own."

    Adopting Rhino's File Format

    upFront.eZine: "I notice that the file format is Rhino's. What is the link there?"

    Michael Gibson: "There's a big link, because I created Rhino when I worked for Robert McNeel.

    "The plan is that having the Rhino file format as the main file format should make it easier to use MoI within existing environments alongside Rhino. Also I benefit from other industry support for the Rhino file format too, such as .

    "I think that Rhino's file format is really the best NURBS-based open file format available right now. At this point I didn't really have anything to gain by creating a new proprietary format. I expect to add some other file format support as the beta progresses. I've licensed the Solids++ kernel from Gary Crocker < >."

    upFront.eZine: "I am wondering about using the Rhino file format. Is it sufficient to encompass any object that MoI might come up with?"

    Michael Gibson: "Currently, yes. All objects that MoI creates are NURBS B-reps, which have a representation in the Rhino file format.

    "The reverse is not true, though; there are objects that Rhino can create and save in a Rhino file that MoI does not read yet. Examples are dimensions, annotation text, spotlights, and polygon meshes. MoI doesn't have any of these special objects yet (well, there is one, a point object), because it's focused on creating NURBS geometry, which fits in well with the Rhino file format."

    upFront.eZine: "But what happens when McNeel changes the Rhino format in a future release?"

    Michael Gibson: "Well, it's not really in their interest to radically change it, since that would mess up all of the existing translators. They have made changes to the file format, but most changes involved adding new special objects (like hatching). They haven't messed very much with the core NURBS B-rep geometry between versions, and I don't really expect them to.

    "The Rhino format is an open format. McNeel supplies a free toolkit < > that makes it easy to read and write the format."

    Product Positioning

    upFront.eZine: "How do you position your product -- e.g., are you hoping to become a SketchUp for MCAD?"

    Michael Gibson: "I think that's pretty close. I should probably play that up, maybe Google will buy me <g>. Definitely the focus is on ease of use and fast, fluid workflow.

    "I envision it as something that is used very early in the manufacturing process as a way to quickly model different designs. The name is meant to reflect this -- when you have an actual 'moment of inspiration', you want to express your idea quickly and easily; you don't want to have a tool that disrupts you.

    upFront.eZine: "What's the road map for your software?"

    Michael Gibson: "The initial release is focused only on creating the geometry for designs. In future versions I expect to add features involving communication and expression of designs to other people, such as some annotation and rendering stuff.

    "I think this lines up pretty well with the label Industrial Design -- that's pretty much the target."

    upFront.eZine: "And the name Triple Squid...?"

    Michael Gibson: "It actually comes from a game of Scrabble I was playing with my wife a few years back. I got Squid on a triple word score and I declared that it was a Triple Squid. Later, I was having a hard time coming up with a company name that wasn't boring, and I just couldn't get Triple Squid out of my head, so there you go.

    "One other tidbit about the name MoI -- I'm trying to go with a long-O pronunciation, like 'moo-eye'. [It's also French for "me." - Ed.] This is how you say the name of the big-head statues on Easter Island < >, so one of those guys with a light bulb flashing over his head (showing inspiration) is my mascot-logo."

    upFront.eZine: "How do you plan to make $$$ from MoI?

    Michael Gibson: "My current plan is to sell the software directly to end users through a Web site, probably offering it as an Internet download only."

    The View from Robert McNeel

    Michael Gibson used to work with Bob McNeel, and his software uses the Rhino file format. I wondered if Mr McNeel had any comments on this. His response:

    "It appears that one of Gibson's targets is the pen/tablet user. I think that is a great idea. We tried to improve Rhino for these users, but found it very difficult. It seems that he may have some great solutions.

    "As you may know, unlike most software companies, we publish our file formats and provide the read/write libraries without royalty at . They are the same libraries that are used in Rhino so other developers can achieve 100% fidelity if they implement everything that is in the 3DM file.

    "We also have development tools at for 3D applications, ranging from simple I/O plug-ins to read and write file formats like CATIA, Pro/E, and UG, to high-end 5-axis CAM products. Currently there are just under 5,000 developers using the Rhino SDK and openNURBS toolkit.

    "It is always nice to be able to start a fresh new project. Unfortunately, with Rhino having over 150,000 users, we have to focus on the nitty gritty details of getting them the tools they need to get their projects done. Much of that work now is extremely difficult and not nearly as fun as starting something new.

    "I guess that is why many startups sell out before they have been around more than a few years."
  5. Bruce Taylor
    Joined: Oct 2003
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    Bruce Taylor Junior Member

    Thanks for posting that, Ragnar. Very interesting.
  6. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    McNeels response and attitude is very noble.
    If it was Microsoft.............

  7. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Trondheim, NORWAY

    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    I also think McNeel is a company that is easy to like, contrary to Microsoft and Autodesk :)
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