VX is back and better — as ZW3D!

VX is now part of a Chinese company called ZWCAD Software Co. Ltd. All of the IP and the company were purchased last year.

Yesterday I had the chance for a 45 minute demo of their new software called ZW3D, 2011 version, available in 4 options: ZW3D for $2500 with 2D and 3D modeling and loads of import capability, ZW3D Professional adds mold and die capability, ZW3D Premium adds machining, and a 5 axis machining option. Prices range from $2500 to $12,000.

Bob Fischer, VP of Marketing, ran the demo and answered my numerous questions about the software and their new strategy. He explained that the former VX 20 man team located in what he called Space Coast, FL, was now buttressed by nearly 400 developers in China. The new offering as a result has been greatly enhanced, making it easier to use, using a feature tree based form of direct modeling, incorporating a workflow based machining method that recognizes and machines features (better than using templates), improvements to the mold and die applications, and the ability to manipulate and machine directly from STL or mesh scans.

Here is an example of direct modeling:

Asked about their differentiators, Fischer cited their ability to directly import a great variety of geometry sources, a built-in training system, an all-in-one package that can go from design to machining, and a single support organization that can handle design to machining questions. ZW3D uses the proprietary kernel developed by VX and since enhanced.

My take is that ZW3D is optimal as a point solution for machine and mold and die shops. The usability appears better but seems mired in the last generation, for the most part requiring icon pick from a large variety of icons, many with drop-downs. The exception is in direct modeling where picking directly on the geometry allows instant modifications.

The beta version is available to test at http://zw3d.zwcad.org/.