Portable VariCAD 2023 v1.05 (x64)
VariCAD Portable is 3D / 2D CAD software primarily intended for mechanical engineering design. The comprehensive CAD software enables designers to quickly create, evaluate, and modify their models. The software is sold as one “fully loaded” package, with all features and functions, for one very affordable price. VariCAD delivers an excellent performance-to-price ratio, making it one of the smartest choices on the market today.
User Interface and System Environment
VariCAD’s Graphical User Interface (GUI) has been designed to allow quick and intuitive 3D/2D orientation. It has been carefully tailored and tuned to reflect the thought process of a designer, so that ideas can be captured and communicated with a minimal number of steps. All commands were created with a focus on ease of use.
You can start by creating a 3D model and then use it to automatically create drawings files, or you can draw only in 2D. Designing in 3D is generally more “natural,” in that it closely represents actual parts and assemblies. The 3D approach is usually more intuitive than 2D drafting. Models created in 3D are easily converted into conventional 2D documentation. VariCAD provides tools for 2D updates after changes of 3D models.
VariCAD provides a library of basic 3D shapes (like a box, cylinder, cone, etc.), which are easily modified by editing their dimensions. Solids can be created also by profile rotation, extrusion, or lofting. More complex tools include rotation blending between two profiles, lofting between a circle and rectangle or between different profiles, and creation of helical surfaces.
Solids can be added or subtracted, thus forming Boolean trees representing real mechanical parts. Boolean operations have options of automatic trimming (so called selective Boolean operations). Predefined operations like drilling of holes, face milling or groove milling are also available. Edges can be rounded or chamfered. VariCAD provides a lot of possibilities of solid transformations or their editing. Also, you can easily edit Boolean trees – either selecting solid parts from 3D, or selecting them from a list displaying structure.
Parameters and Geometrical Constraints
Although you can comfortably transform solids or their parts, you can optionally define geometrical constraints. Once defined, constraints allow you “to stick” object at defined location. More exactly, you can remove degrees of freedom of constrained objects. If other objects are changed or transformed, constrained object changes its position automatically. For instance, if you constrain a groove to the end of a shaft and the shaft length is changed, the groove remains in constant distance from the end edge. Constraints can be defined among elements of a solid, among entire solids or within a 2D profile creating a solid (for instance, by extrusion).
Whenever you enter a dimension of solid, a distance in constraint or dimension in 2D profile used for solid creation, you can optionally use parameter or even a mathematical expression containing parameters. Changing parameter values, you can change shapes or locations of solids.
3D Assemblies and Groups
VariCAD also provides tools for assembly support. If the link between a part and assembly is defined, any changes made to the part file are reflected in the assembly file and vice-versa. Linked copies of solids can also be defined (so called identical solids). In such case, editing of one object causes update of all its identical copies. Solid groups can be defined as well, making selection and visibility changes simple, for multiple objects.
Crash Tests (Interferences)
One excellent feature of 3D modeling is component interference checking. VariCAD can check 3D assemblies for possible collisions (overlapping volume) between components.
VariCAD can calculate 2D section area, surface area, volume, mass, center of gravity, and moment of inertia. Mechanical parts calculations are also included – for standard parts used every day by mechanical designers. There are calculations of tension and compression springs, pre-stressed bolted connections, pins and parallel keys, grooved shafts, bearings, beams under combined stress (bending and torsion), spur and bevel gearing geometry, and belt drives.
Surface Development (Sheet Metal Unbending)
VariCAD Portable can also create developed (unbent) surfaces of 3D solids or sheet metal parts. The XY coordinates of developed surfaces can be saved into a text file for further processing. You can input bending coefficients in order to customize your calculations, to reflect material and technology.
Mechanical Part and Symbol Libraries VariCAD contains libraries of standard mechanical parts (ANSI, DIN), such as bolts, nuts, pins, plugs, cotters, gaskets, bearings, rolled and drawn shapes, and hydraulic, pneumatic, and electrical symbols.
3D – 2D Export
3D models are easily converted into 2D drawings to produce conventional drafting documentation. You can create 2D views of one or more selected solids by defining the views in 3D. In addition, you can also export specified sections. VariCAD supports updates of a 2D drawing after changes in 3D.
2D Drawing and Editing
Drawing functions are optimized for easy use in engineering. Some handy features of 2D drawing include: automatic detection of objects and snap points, numerous snap modes, auxiliary construction lines, Ortho mode, rectangular grid, drawing layers, block creation, hatching with automatic border detection, advanced dimensioning, finish symbols, welding symbols, tolerance symbols, and many more. You can draw in millimeters or in inches.
BOM and Title Blocks
VariCAD provides tools for maintaining the data structure of the product. There are links between attributes of parts and content of title blocks. You can create a bill of material (BOM) from an assembly, or easily modify the database using commands like mass attribute changes, sorting of information, etc. Each part can contain attributes, like name, type of material or supplier. Such data can be used for material requisitions, creation of bills of materials (BOM), filling of title blocks, or other purposes.
The data structure of the product (BOM) can be exported into other systems or into a spreadsheet. A mask is used for BOM customization; you can modify it exactly according to your needs. Mask defines usage of solid or assembly attributes, working with title blocks, methods of data exports from BOM etc…
VariCAD can interchange files with other CAD systems. You can export STEP (3D), STL (3D), IGES (3D), DWG (2D), DXF (2D) files, and import STEP (3D), DWG (2D), DXF (2D). The files can be converted individually or in batch routines, thereby converting multiple files in one step.
Opening a second VariCAD Window.
While working with VariCAD, you can open a second window (second instance of the application). This gives you a possibility to check other 2D/3D files, measure values and mainly, copying objects into a clip-board and pasting them into the working area. In the second VariCAD window, you can edit objects before you copy them into a clip-board. However, you cannot save VariCAD files directly. Apart from using a clip-board (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V), you can save selected objects into a new file.
Unlike the full version of VariCAD, the second instance cannot run batch printing or batch files conversion. On the other side, you can check assembly structures, single solid structures, BOM and even contours (profiles) in sketching planes. In all such situations, it is possible to copy data into a full version of VariCAD.
This feature is especially convenient, if you run VariCAD on 2 monitors.
Working with Solid Tree Structure, Deactivating Solid Elements.
Working with a solid tree has been changed. Now, the behavior is identical in all cases. The feature can be invoked, if you right-click a solid and select from a pop-up menu, or if you click an corresponding icon in tool-bar and then select a solid, or click a solid and then a corresponding icon in a tool-bar.
Working with solid’s tree structure, you can deactivate/activate elements. If an element (like a hole, filet, added rib…) is deactivated, it remains in the structure. The solid is rebuilt without it. Obviously, deactivated elements can be later activated and solid is rebuilt again with them. This allows you to create variable shapes of mechanical parts.
If elements are inactive, you can select them only in the tree scheme. While browsing objects in the list, these inactive objects are highlighted the same way as active objects. Their displayed shape corresponds with the state when they were deactivated.
There are limited possibilities to change the inactive elements. It may be convenient in situations, when you change a location or a shape of other solid parts and the inactive elements would not fit into a new position, when they are activated.
Display of Preview of Open Documents.
If you have open multiple documents, you can change them from a pull-down menu or from a command. In the first case, you browse menu items, in the second case, a list of documents. While browsing documents, a preview of them is displayed. If the number of open documents is higher, you may not be sure what exactly each particular document contains.
This feature may cause a greater load to graphics, so it can be disabled. If VariCAD detects hardware which may be insufficient, the feature is turned off automatically. It is possible to turn it on/off explicitly in command “cfg”, in section “Working with Multiple Documents”.
Using a Clip-board in 3D.
Behavior of Copy and Paste of 3D objects has multiple options now. It can be set in command “cfg”, in section 3D. While inserted from clip-board, solids are located into a previous position or into coordinates center, according to settings. Moreover, solids from clip-board can keep their original transformation. This allows you to assemble 3D solids exactly according to original model. Until recently, this option was the only available for inserting from 3D clip-board.
Measure Distances, Angles….
All measurements are available from a corresponding tool-bar. Now, you can run them also from a pop-up menu, if you right-click an empty area. This works both in 3D and 2D.