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Free X-CAD Has Its Price

The x-cad.net Web site received its desired 100,000 registrations before the self-imposed deadline of 1 August. (We can’t be sure that 100,000+ signed up. From comments left on this blog, some people spammed the x-cad site with multiple registrations.) About a week earlier, Alibre announced it was behind the mystery Web site, and that the software is named “Design Xpress.” These are some of its features:

* Advanced part modeling – shelling, 3D sketch, reference surfaces, and so on.
* Create and edit assemblies with up to 25 parts; larger assemblies can be opened for viewing only.
* Create 2D drawings with standard orthographic views; drawings are fully associative.
* 3D import/export of STEP, SAT (ACIS), and IGES; 3D export of STL; 2D import/export of DXF and DWG.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that this free software isn’t quite so free. It requires a full-time Internet connection so that Google ads can be displayed. When the connection goes missing, the software shuts down after saving your work. If you don’t have the connection (such as dial-up users and those on the road), you either can’t use the software, or have to pay Alibre “a small fee,” as yet undefined.

The limit on 25 parts is designed to encourage you to upgrade to Alibre’s more expensive software. Also, the download ends 31 August.

I had thought Alibre would use the 100,000 customers as a resource for optional support and targetted upgrades.

Originally posted by ralph grabowski from WorldCAD Access

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