Kubotek Spectrum for $99

Kubotek has decided to join the $99 bandwagon. But don’t get too excited. Kubotek has not done an Alibre. KeyCreator is still priced the same. However, they have slashed the price of their Spectrum CAD viewer from $695 to $99 for a “limited time”. That’s an whopping 85% discount.

According to this page, for $99 you can “view, manipulate and print the most popular 2D and 3D CAD formats like SolidWorks, AutoCAD, NX, CATIA V4, Pro/E, IGES, STEP and many others” and “measure and calculate mass properties” (details here). You can also get CATIA V5 support for an additional $599, which normally retails at $2500 (a 76% discount).

You can “view” and “print” 3D models using Spectrum. But I am not quite sure what Kubotek means when they say that you can “manipulate” them. After you download, install and fire up the week long trial, you are presented with a help window showing you all kinds of wonderful things like Hybrid Modeling. Don’t bother. That’s the KeyCreator help file aptly titled “Help System for KeyCreator“. The only think I found that I could manipulate was the 3D view.

Here is a CATIA V4 model imported seamlessly into Spectrum.

I say seamlessly because Spectrum uses Spatial’s 3D InterOp to read CATIA V4 files, which in turn uses authentic CATIA libraries from Dassault Systemes itself, not some reverse engineered libraries. So you can be pretty sure is that what you see in Spectrum is precisely what the CATIA user designed in CATIA. In fact, Spectrum uses Spatial’s 3D InterOp libraries to convert almost all the supported 3D formats (neutral as well as proprietary) to ACIS, the modeling kernel used by Kubotek, which is then finally displayed to the user.

However, the 3D PDF reader was a bit of a disappointment. The 3D data in a 3D PDF file can be of two types: PRC and U3D. Apparently Spectrum can read only those 3D PDF files which stored the 3D data in U3D form and not PRC. This means that all the wonderful 3D PDF files that Adobe recently uploaded here cannot be viewed in Spectrum. But then you always have the free Adobe Reader for that.

And speaking of PDF, here is the best part. Spectrum can create 2D as well as 3D PDF files. So this means that if you want to publish 3D PDFs from your 3D models you do not need to spend $699 to buy a license of Adobe Acrobat Pro Extended. The $99 Spectrum will do the job just fine. However, note that the 3D PDF’s created by Spectrum does not hold the actual NURBS solid model. Rather it contains a mesh representation which is probably what you want when distributing your 3D data to others as 3D PDF files.

Bottom line, I would say that this is a good deal. Why? You get to view, measure and verify a bunch of proprietary and neutral formats and even create 3D PDF’s from them. All this for just $99.

Further reading on the Kutotek USA blog: “Spectrum CAD Viewer $99 Sale – Freedom from Incompatible CAD files

  • Anonymous

    Deelip:

    Thank you for looking at the Spectrum Viewer.

    These were some of the items that we meant by manipulate:

    +Measure any size, distance, area or volume (solids)
    +Modify display using standard pan, zoom, rotate, and render functions
    +Rotate display to stored view orientations
    +Verify entity attributes and positions
    +Hide levels(layers) and parts
    +Split the document window into 2-4 separate viewports
    +Open multiple files at the same time
    +Print or plot to all Windows supported devices
    +Create custom print setup configurations with full control of pen, color, width, and dash size handling
    +Create custom configuration of toolbars and shortcut keys

    Scott

  • Deelip:

    Thank you for looking at the Spectrum Viewer.

    These were some of the items that we meant by manipulate:

    +Measure any size, distance, area or volume (solids)
    +Modify display using standard pan, zoom, rotate, and render functions
    +Rotate display to stored view orientations
    +Verify entity attributes and positions
    +Hide levels(layers) and parts
    +Split the document window into 2-4 separate viewports
    +Open multiple files at the same time
    +Print or plot to all Windows supported devices
    +Create custom print setup configurations with full control of pen, color, width, and dash size handling
    +Create custom configuration of toolbars and shortcut keys

    Scott

  • Alibe Design Standard can also create 3D PDFs (Design Expert can create PDFs with more advanced features such as exploded views), but can’t import as many file types as Spectrum; Alibre Translate (currently on sale for $99) adds some more file types, including CATIA V5 import (but not V4 import).

    Also in the CAD sale department, VX Innovator is priced at $295 until Sept 30.

  • Alibe Design Standard can also create 3D PDFs (Design Expert can create PDFs with more advanced features such as exploded views), but can’t import as many file types as Spectrum; Alibre Translate (currently on sale for $99) adds some more file types, including CATIA V5 import (but not V4 import).

    Also in the CAD sale department, VX Innovator is priced at $295 until Sept 30.

  • Alberto

    Hello Deelip.

    I’ve a doubt about “CATIA V4 model imported seamlessly into Spectrum”.

    I’m not sure it is really seamless. because one conversion at least is still in the middle: from Catia V4 to ACIS format. With all problems aboute entity type mapping, tolerances, trimming loops closure, degenerated surfaces etc etc.

  • Alberto

    Hello Deelip.

    I’ve a doubt about “CATIA V4 model imported seamlessly into Spectrum”.

    I’m not sure it is really seamless. because one conversion at least is still in the middle: from Catia V4 to ACIS format. With all problems aboute entity type mapping, tolerances, trimming loops closure, degenerated surfaces etc etc.

  • Alberto,

    Yes, you may have a point. I guess the Spatial people will be the best to answer that one. Or maybe Kubotek may want to pick it up.

    My point was mainly about authentic Dassault Systemes libraries being used to read CATIA files. So at least we know that the source data to the ACIS conversion process is clean.

  • Alberto,

    Yes, you may have a point. I guess the Spatial people will be the best to answer that one. Or maybe Kubotek may want to pick it up.

    My point was mainly about authentic Dassault Systemes libraries being used to read CATIA files. So at least we know that the source data to the ACIS conversion process is clean.

  • Kubotek actually offers a product called the Validation Tool (www.validatecad.com) that will compare translated files from multiple systems and identify any translation errors. This is very sophisticated technology that analyses and can match all like geometry and discover any difference in the model. The specs for this product were written by a large aerospace company to validate Catia translations between suppliers and the OEM to address quality concerns. Through the testing process, the Kubotek translators prove to be extremely accurate and reliable.

  • Kubotek actually offers a product called the Validation Tool (www.validatecad.com) that will compare translated files from multiple systems and identify any translation errors. This is very sophisticated technology that analyses and can match all like geometry and discover any difference in the model. The specs for this product were written by a large aerospace company to validate Catia translations between suppliers and the OEM to address quality concerns. Through the testing process, the Kubotek translators prove to be extremely accurate and reliable.

  • Ed

    Deelip,
    Good post on Spectrum, I’ve used the free version just as a viewer to
    check imported files from outside customers, mostly in Acad’s dwg & dxf’s and sometimes Autocad itself fails to open some of these files, however they make it through without any problem with Spectrum. Also a good second tool when writing out files on these formats to check for scale and dropped dimensions, etc, before importing to CAM programs.
    Can’t speak for the full version, but I assume is really worth the $99.

  • Ed

    Deelip,
    Good post on Spectrum, I’ve used the free version just as a viewer to
    check imported files from outside customers, mostly in Acad’s dwg & dxf’s and sometimes Autocad itself fails to open some of these files, however they make it through without any problem with Spectrum. Also a good second tool when writing out files on these formats to check for scale and dropped dimensions, etc, before importing to CAM programs.
    Can’t speak for the full version, but I assume is really worth the $99.

  • Ed,

    The reason Spectrum can read some of DWG and DXF files which AutoCAD itself cannot is because Kubotek uses the ODA’s DWGdirect SDK and not Autodesk’s RealDWG for DWG/DXF I/O. This is not to imply that DWGdirect is better than RealDWG, just that either library can sometimes read files that the other cannot because they are different internally.

  • Ed,

    The reason Spectrum can read some of DWG and DXF files which AutoCAD itself cannot is because Kubotek uses the ODA's DWGdirect SDK and not Autodesk's RealDWG for DWG/DXF I/O. This is not to imply that DWGdirect is better than RealDWG, just that either library can sometimes read files that the other cannot because they are different internally.