TurboCAD Mac Pro V5 review

TurboCAD Mac Pro offers Mac users a professional CAD application with 2D drafting tools, 3D capability with surface modelling and ACIS solid modeling tools, as well as over 11,000 reusable symbols and some excellent rendering options.

Version 4 was a major revision of the product line, and this edition, now running on Snow Leopard, builds on that base.

If you are using the Drafting Assistant, you’ll find the window, doors and wall tools have all been enhanced. ‘Smart’ walls automatically join, intersect, and update as you move or change them, with a new ability to automatically add dimensions and auto-trim vertices. You can also assign a hatch pattern and a colour to a wall. In addition there are door and window tools, each offering three different styles, which are automatically placed - and again the ‘smart wall’ updated - when an insertion point is selected. You can also offset the door or window a set distance from the end of the wall for precise placing. This will streamline planning work significantly. The new layer sets feature also aids productivity. You can organise your layout into an unlimited number of sets and subsets, with the ability to show/hide visual elements of your designs. There are also enhanced options for text size control and overlay display in printed output.

A big plus of version 4 was the Lightworks renderer, but V5 complements the photorealistic qualities of this system with the ability to produce ‘sketches’. Available for stills and animations, sketch rendering offers a more arty, hand-drawn look without messing around with real pencils. Early conceptual design stages particularly benefit from this look. As well as cartoon, hand-drawn and rough pencil renders, sketch-rendering styles include colour wash, ink print, line & shadow, oil painting and stipple. A wide variety of rendering power is thus now available, with no need for an ultra highly specified Mac.

TurboCAD Mac Pro covers several professional disciplines, so complete novices will probably be a bit lost here. We reviewed a download version, so we can’t say if the printed manual is any help for beginners, but some attempt has been made at training, with tutorial videos included with the package.

OUR VERDICT

Just as in the previous version, the standout feature here is the new rendering ability of the application. Smart Walls will make drafting easier while the layer sets feature will benefit all users. An affordable CAD package on the Mac is always welcome, while the current £80 upgrade price is also highly attractive.

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