Upgrade from Cadkey to . . . ?

I have been using Cadkey for a long time, and currently use Cadkey99.
I'm considering moving to something that will give me more capability. I do
sheet-metal and machined part designs, and will be getting into molded composite construction in the next year or so.
Specifically, I hope to increase speed of editing and creation of parts. Probably even more important is improving the creation of production drawings.
ProE is out of my price range, but here are some of the things I am considering:
Older version of ProE (if it is possible to get a legal version)
Older version (yet newer than what I have) of CadKey
TurboCad - I have v10, but have not really used it because of the dramatic difference in the user interface. Right now it would probably take me an hour to figure out how to draw a box! I am used to keyboard inputs...
One of the Intellicad based applications (haven't kept up with the development if Intellicad, so don't yet know what the current capabilities of these programs are).
I am at a point now where I have more time to devote to learning a new interface, so I'm not ruling anything out in that regard, but I still think that having the ability to bring up menus with the left hand on the function keys makes sense. I think the ideal thing would be to have the ability to use the function keys to open & drill down in a window that contains icons that can be selected with the mouse, allowing the use of whatever combination of methods works best.
So . . . any recommendations?
Thanks, Scott Kelley
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alt.cad, or a group like that, would have been a more appropriate place to post. Might try that.
"Old versions" are not an option anywhere I know of. Most (?) developers now-a-days license the right to use without the right to transfer ownership.
Many vendors offer "personal versions" at approx student prices, ranging from free to a approx $300. Try Alibre, CoCreate, ..., for free (?) versions. I could be wrong but don't think there's even a commercial use restriction on those two. SW at one time ran some sort of displaced worker program and would give you a copy, I believe.
Sounds like you might have a form of UI tunnel vision.

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So, why didn't you take the Kubotek offer to upgrade to Key Creator (4,5?) for $995? Has it expired yet? Looks like you could keep using that tablet and that familiar interface. They even claim compatibility with all the old Cadkey stuff. Or maybe the tablet stuff went away or IMSI got it out of the suit over the tablet overlays when it bought the old Cadkey capital for a reported $2.5. Well maybe you just soured on the whole business when you found out how small the Cadkey market was or how few people used tablets mechanical design. Or maybe there's something fundementally limiting about the software. I have no idea how it works. Is it just 2D? Does it do 3D? What kind -- wire frame, primitives, NURBS?

First, your price range is determined by your demands on the software although a somewhat cheaper 2D package like AutoCAD (though hardly ever sold separately from Mechanical Desktop and Inventor, unless you want to get the Light version) will do all the stuff you want. But, if you want easier editing and part (model) creation, I think you're looking at feature based, parametric solid modeling. Several of these packages that include modules for drawing creation, start around $4500. That's a pretty modest investment if you intend to make money with the software. The basic Pro/e Wildfire package is in this range, as well. Then, for specialized applications, like molding, CNC programming, CMM, reverse engineering, structural steel construction, wiring & piping, there are other addons, priced from $3-10K.

Not from PTC, but it may be possible for a legitimate licensee to transfer a license with PTC's approval. But they obviously have the final say.

Most of the current GUI based mechanical design software comes with some kind of tutorials. Enough to get you into basic modeling in minutes. The harder concept, for people coming from the 2D world, is features and their relatively simple geometry. Then there's feature dependency, feature history trees and, over the years, gaining a sense of when advanced modeling techniques are called for. But, I think it woud be a good idea to start getting used to the idea that history and technical developements have passed by the keyboard interface. Pro/e, UG, ACAD all had them: all geometry creation was from commands and data input from the keyboard. That's no longer true. Pro/e, for example, as it goes more and more into the "Dashboard" interface is slowly abandoning the keyboard interface. But, unless you've been on a desert island for the last 15 years, you've seen this coming and are familiar with it in some area of computer applicaton use. You're looking at a learning curve, that's true, but there are tons of resources and lots of help available. That kind of training, in community colleges and universities, is much more available today than it was 10 or 20 years ago.

I agree with Jeff's recommendation: get the trial/student version stuff. See what kind of drawings you can make. Get a better feel for what it will take to get over the interface hump. Take a course and hook up with knowledgeable people and people in the same boat as you.
On Jan 3, I replied to a post requesting "instruction" with a copy of an earlier post on Pro/e resources. Here are additional training/resource links: http://www.3dcadtips.com / And, for news of the CAD/3D/modeling world: http://www.cadwire.net / These resources cover a range of current applications and design softwares. Good doors onto the world beyond Cadkey.
David Janes
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Because after they bought Cadkey, they stopped supporting older versions in order to force users to upgrade. For instance, you could no longer download the update files for older versions, so if you needed to reinstall and didn't have those files saved, you were screwed (except newsgroup users helped each other out). At that point, I refused to ever give them another penny.

Never used a tablet, just keyboard input. Cadkey was actually the first affordable 3D package out there. Wire frame originally, then they implemented ACIS. Have been quite pleased with CK99.

It's for personal use, but may some day make some money with it.

I'm only interested in keyboard input where it makes sense. For instance, when I tried one package the other day, there was no method to change between views other than locating one icon, opening the flyout, and selecting the view. That is vs. Alt-1 thru Alt7 to instantly switch to any of the orthographic views or an isometric view. I can't stand that it takes much longer to do basic functions than the system that I have been using for 15 years!

That's a great point - I will find out what is available - that may be the best reason to go with a specific application.
Thanks for the info.
Scott Kelley
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I can understand the rancor created by seemingly arbitrarily cutting off old customers. And certainly, someone who bought Cadkey 15 years ago thinks of themselves as an old, stable, reliable customer. But, somehow, the normal and customary (with regard to consumer products) doesn't seem to apply here. Imagine, for example, a 68 Chevy Imapala with an unlimited warranty on just service. In 15 years, the service alone would have eaten up the full value of the product and the company that sold it would be looking at that customer as a liability, and be thinking that a "loyal customer" was just a drag on the bottom line.
However, this seems to be the norm with software. Consumers seem to think that spending $500 entitles them to unlimited support, whereas the company that renewed 1000 licenses this year has to get behind some doofus that spent $500 15 years ago and is demanding "equal" service. Well, real equality, in this case, would be highly unequal. And service accorded would be rated on dollar spent per year, not on some mystical requirement for the cult, like being a "member" (customer). No, sorry, I don't go along with this parasite philosophy of software development. I've seen too many people who thought that software was some nirvanna, some utopian socialist commune where the Marxist dictum of 'from each accoridng to his abilities to each according to his needs' holds sway. Well, guys, aside from the fact that an investment of $500 15 years ago is merely petty bourgeois, individualist, shopkeeper 'socialism', you did actually agree to some proverbially capitalist rules when you bought the Cadkey license. Assuming that you did not do so before, now would be a good time. In as much as the points you raise (who owes whom what) are suited to the skill of lawyers, you ought to be ready to reply in kind. But, believe me, your current logic doesn't begin to scratch the surface contract law!

The ACIS kernel is as advanced as it gets. Assuming that Cadkey implemented the whole thing and not just suitable, convenient pieces of it, you wouldn't be looking around for "more advanced" functionality. With the properly implemented ACIS kernel, you could do anything that Pro/e users can do (or Catia users, for that matter)

Again, especially for personal use, take a look at the learning versions of this software: http://www.journeyed.com/itemDetail.asp?ItmNo `024903

Proe has a lot of keyboard stuff, including programming all the alt keys. But most of this duplicates icon programmed functions, of which there are many.

Try this: http://www.journeyed.com/itemDetail.asp?ItmNo `024903
David Janes
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I suggest 1) You hang with Cadkey because you won't find a clone, or 2) Flush the old noodle, spend $35 on a used Spaceball and get with the program. I wouldn't even consider a general design software without native Spaceball support. No way working 3D with a 2D interface is productive. Zoom, pan, zoom, pan, rotate, zoom, ....
Continuing in the out with the old, in with the new vein; take stock of your hardware specs. Modern graphics intensive CAD applications need horsepower Cadkey didn't. If your choice is a slap dash low end application plan on keeping your hardware on the leading edge to compensate for program bloat and inefficiency.
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