CAD comparison between GeoMagic and ViaCAD 2D3D 10

CAD comparison between GeoMagic and ViaCAD 2D3D 10


CAD comparison between GeoMagic and ViaCAD 2D3D 10 because of a change from a Microsoft operating system to upgrading(?) to a MacPro laptop.

I decided a long time ago that I would like to own a MacPro laptop  because of my belief it would be better at the ‘Arty stuff’.

As with many millions of people worldwide I now own an Apple 4s  (my kids have been trying to make me upgrade for years) mobile phone and an iPad. Exposure to the Apple approach to software would hopefully make the transition much easier.

Time to get to work

One major problem with Windows laptops for me is that despite whatever processor you have, eventually it slows down.  For example my Toshiba takes a long time to start up. To load GeoMagic CAD it takes just over 6 minutes!

To load ViaCad load with the MacPro takes under 50 seconds!  I know there are programs that say they help clear up the mess on Windows machines over time however I have either been very unlucky or they just  don’t work.

Another niggle is why should you have to buy additional software to put right what shouldn’t be there in the first place!

When ever I use the iPad its always there and ready to use. Always. Another selling point is that Apple is supposed to be more secure. After my recent problems with website hosting and many attacks suffered from viruses, a more robust, faster system was attractive.

The decision?

After ruminating over the much more expensive (much more!) MacPro option I finally saved enough pennies to go and visit the Apple showroom in Exeter. Thats an experience in its own right! No stock filling shelves and small isles just open and friendly surroundings.

I discussed all my concerns and problems that I wanted resolved with a knowledgeable and experienced advisor. The result? I walked out to the showroom some 12 months ago with the new laptop and a very light wallet.

GeoMagic3D versus ViaCAD2D3D 10

One of the question I asked was about my CAD program GeoMagic (previously known as Alibre) and would it run on the MAC. I already checked with GeoMagic and they explained that the program only ran under Windows with no intention in the near or middle future for any change in policy. So my focus was aimed at seeing how Mr Apple dealt with it.

The salesperson explained that its possible to add software to the MacPro that enables it to run windows based software. However, I wasn’t keen, as it were, for two systems on the same laptop.  First I thought I would run both computers but empty my current Windows laptop of everything, other than the programs required to print £D or cut material with CNC. In the event the laptop is still far to slow.

The recent van dash made for the ride in van was produced in this way.  In any system, unless its easy to use, tends to become less attractive. That has proven to be the case with CAD.  Previously a drawing would be produced when resting, and  ‘knocked’ up overnight, before the following day saw it produced on the CNC router. Now I had a situation where I did it in over less efficient ways.

Searching for a solution. 

Before buying Alibre as it was then I tried numerous CAD program’s. Some were designed only for full scale use in industry and their costs were well beyond most hobbyists pockets.  Also there were differing ‘styles’ for producing CNC files. When writing out exactly what I wanted from a system one of the highest requirements was for an easy to use technical plan printing facility.

Only Alibre fitted the bill at that time and after trying to get to grips with it I decided to bite the bullet and purchase it.  It took some time to get to a position where I was comfortable using it but not too long. Wishing a few hours I produced drawings with printed plans. Some of the more complicated functions did take longer, much longer and even now there are areas I do not visit.

Because of this time investment any thoughts of getting a system that runs on the Mac Pro that meant going back to square one just wasn’t going to happen!  In the end it was disappoint to say the least to find not many companies that did run CAD on Apple system.

So for the last twelve months or some I have been stopping and starting the whole CNC route. Bearing in mind I have a 3D printer, a small but useful router and my converted round mill RF25  milling machine. Because of deteriorating neurological capacity the use on CNC was going to increase in importance and not reduce I had to decide what to do.

Finding ViaCAD.


The morning before a phone call to Exeter Apple’s store to discuss putting Windows on the Mac Pro a final check  whether a suitable CAD existed was carried out.  Not sure why ViaCAD never showed up before but it did now.  After looking at it and checking various forums I decided to try it out.

One issue gave a little concern and that was the price. It was on offer at a 30% discount which meant it was well under £100. However all doubt evaporated when first starting to use it. GeoMagic has very powerful functions but they do need some understanding and similar tasks on ViaCAD were much much easier so bringing a more comprehensive ability to hand.

Learning how to use it.

Here ViaCAD was far ahead of GeoMagic. There are easy to use and understand videos both within the program and by other users on Youtube. It may simply be that the format suits my brain a little more and others could have different experiences but I am confident that within a short time my CAD mastery will be further forward with the ViaCAD solution.

There will be further content on my website over the coming months on my progress.  At the moment though all my time (or the time I can manage to give)is focused on completing the postman pat ride in van project. This is at a time when completing the new multi function workshop.

The building arrives and will be erected on the 24th January 2017. A considerable project in its own right but once up and running and before completing it the van will be the sole focus of my time. Now doubt ViaCad will be proved useful during and after that time.



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2 thoughts on “CAD comparison between GeoMagic and ViaCAD 2D3D 10

  1. One of the reasons I have avoided buying a Macpro is the issue over compatible software. Its good to see you managed to find a Mac solution without going down the windows route.

    1. Its a reasonable approach and I did consider the same. However the explosion of Apps has meant that there are hundreds more programs. ViaCAD is an example. One niggle I still have is that free Apps on the iPad a lot of the time attracts a fee on Mac Pro. I suppose the key test is would I do it again? The answer is a definite yes and like anything new, the more its used the more comfortable you become. Thanks for the comment. Mike

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