No CAD project is complete without a model and just like that no simulation or analytical task will go error-free, the way it does with the apps we reviewed. Before we let you dive into the app reviews, please note our criteria for having selected the apps. All the apps come from the App Store of Autodesk and are digitally signed. Hence you are getting legitimate software from an authentic source and you can leave away worries of spy/free/malware.
The second criteria was that the app had to have a rating or review by users of the community so that we understood the application scope these apps were being applied to. User's from all walks of their CAD lives handed in their comments and we took to writing. Read on for the reviews.
Best Analysis and Simulation Applications for AutoCAD
Available for Windows, this app is one to hold its ground while offering major functionality over simpler concepts. This app allows you to hook up your design environment in AutoCAD with mapping and terrain data providers such as Google Earth and Bing Maps, among other Web Mapping Services or WMSs. You can create models with terrain data as well as PointCloud data apart from adding that imagery to the canvas as a background or other purposes. All drawings and models can be exported to a handful Keyhole Markup Languages (KML or KMZ for compressed versions).
The app also includes options for exporting to CAD/GIS systems through the feature of creating world files. All geographical information will be retained when either exporting, importing or simply saving a model with the apps included function. For analysis, the terrain data provides all information needed to do everything from judge efficacy of the region for development and plan for future expansions.
For simulations, the Google APIs allows placement options apart from the seamless transfer of all exports to any other CAD or GIS system for simulation and integration. Rendering in Google Earth turns out exactly like in AutoCAD and larger mosaics from USGS works like magic.
The full version of the app will obviously add more to the package, but the lite version has everything you need for Fine Element Analysis in AutoCAD 2009 and further. Its functionality gets added to your working environment and almost every analysis function is simply a click away. All analysis proceedings can be performed from within AutoCAD and (if you wish) can be saved along with the results to an AutoCAD DWG file.
Using this app, the user simply needs to feed the model to the app so that it can be prepared for the simulation. The first step is creating a problem regarding the FEA, which is called a study. The model is then loaded into a pre-processor, so that it can be prepared for the apps function. The study further allows the user to select external as well as internal factors that will govern the simulation process. Following this, the app simulates and can return results in a number of ways depending on your choice.
Reports, multimedia presentations as well as animations can be produced from within the AutoCAD environment with a few simple clicks making everything you need ready for export and publication.
If you want security with your CAD when sharing results or presenting your simulation and analysis findings, look no further. Splashtop Streamer is quite literally the best app for secure remote viewing of CAD environments with more than just a screen sharing facility. With self-hosted, over the cloud versions, the pricing and customer services are the least of the goods. The app offers exceptional performance when sharing CAD environments and allows a handful of networking options with optimized installation and setup wizards, all working at the back. Mobile as well as desktop devices are supported with a multitude of connectivity options for firewalled networks and the like.
It offers Active Directory integration and multi-factor authentication with the VPN mode ensuring no information is leaked onto the internet. The app has been tweaked for the NVIDIA Quadro family of GPUs apart from the AMD-ATI FirePro series.
AutoCAD already has a well-established parametric base, but this app goes more than just a step ahead. It replaces the packages default parametric with its own advanced set of proprietary parametric technology. This enables the user to draft, sketch, design and model with much more power and flexibility than AutoCAD allows by default. Motion simulation has been improved with the upgrade in the constraint resolver module, which again is much more authentic than the one that AutoCAD provides by default. It also allows you to edit constrained geometry of models with a much more enhanced geometry dragging module.
Due to the nature of the app, many of AutoCAD’s modules are either replaced or upgraded and that also allows the package to harness the power of multiple processors as well as multi-core processors for increased performance over the cloud.
All models require scaffolding of some sort and with the possibility of a million parts, this tool comes in handy quite a few times. Not only can you select your scaffolding and ask the app to count the parts that comprise it, you can further the functionality by selecting your entire model and telling your app to count all parts within it. The app also gives you the option of selecting individual parts based on a criterion and then count all of them. The single-click function also offers a host of other options such as concluding the findings as a finalized Bill of Materials (BoM) ready for publication and sharing.
The app also adds many templates and samples to the ribbon for direct access to the most common scaffolding equipment and designs for easy creation. Following these, the user can also manually add missing components and lengths. Nested blocks of all levels can be included in the BoM and the app also allows you to publish your report with graphical elements such as graphs and charts, with export options including MS Office products and the PDF format. The results can also be fed to Quantify, an app by the developer of this app for estimations and advanced inventory control.
This app is by far one of the best that you can get your hands on, simply because it takes a mundane problem and offers a snippy solution. If your model has self-intersecting faces, T-junctions, gaps or inverted normal, look no further. This app, apart from addressing regular conversion issues, also offers optimized functions for reduction of tessellation and can even remove unseen faces while maintaining every single element of the geometry.
The strongest suite of this app is the fact that it offers optimization for 3D printing while some tweaking may be required from the users end in order to convert to Tekla models into ACIS Solids.
This review, as stated includes apps from the App store and those that are digitally signed. Hence, from such apps, we reviewed those that have saved us time, costs and most importantly, our professional reputation when delivering projects to clients. Take a look at the app store for all such apps, and don't forget to share your reviews about them and the ones mentioned here.