Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Welcome to Wildcat CAD


This is the first post as I begin to make Wildcat CAD more public.  Today I am going to give you a bit of background on why I created Wildcat and where I want it to head.  In the future I will try to limit myself to more technical aspects of the app.  All code can be downloaded from here.

From as young as I can remember I have loved to design and build things.  Cars, boats, robots, and especially airplanes have always been active in my imagination.  For various reasons I decided to pursue computer science related fields and wound up in graduate school slows gaining ground on a Ph.D.  This was three years ago.

After I graduated from college (about 9 years ago), I went began to look seriously into buying a CAD package to begin designing all that stuff in my head.  I was shocked to learn that the packages were massively expensive ($6k for a "cheap" one and $20k+ for the top-of-the-line).  Plus they all seemed very difficult to use and placed way too much emphasis on buying education from a reseller and too little on just helping the user.

Over the last nine years I have seem the open source software movement gain traction and always hoped that a good quality CAD package would make its way onto the scene.  Needless to say, after all these years there just were not any good choices.  OpenCascade, BRL, and AvocadoCAD all missed the mark as far as I was concerned.  In future posts I will go into more detail on each of these packages and what they lack in my opinion.

Around a year ago I made the decision to try developing my own CAD framework.  I have spent a great deal of the last year working through the basics and am ready to show the world what I have been working on.  I can not stress enough that Wildcat CAD is just at the beginning of its path.  Over the next few years I hope to bring it to where I need it to be.  And I hope that some of you will join me.

Here are some details about the initial release:
  1. C/C++ based
  2. B-Rep 3D solid modeling kernel
  3. 64-bit precision NURBS-based curves and surfaces
  4. Developed on OS X, ported to Windows (really want to do linux also at some point)
  5. External dependencies: xerces, OpenGL, STL (freetype, libtiff, and pthreads on Windows)
  6. Minimal GUI as of now, mostly mouse and keyboard shortcuts
  7. File-based persistence using XML-based structure
  8. No import/export capabilities yet
This is really just the technical aspects of Wildcat.  In the next post or so I will go into detail about what user capabilities are/are not present.  I will also start to talk about what functionality I am working on and where I could use the most help from anyone willing to lend a hand.

The tag line for the Wildcat CAD website is "Open Source CAD - finally" because I believe the time has come to have a good open source alternative to the closed legacy CAD vendor applications.  I think that many of you agree with this feeling.


1 comment:

Vincenzo said...



I am italian engineer.
I want build an open source FEM (finite elements Method) and I get it in VBA di Autocad.
But now i want more for my project.

Can i help you as you for me.

Sorry for my English.