CAD Forums => CAD General => BricsCAD Users => Topic started by: Rustabout on April 19, 2020, 02:28:00 PM

Title: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: Rustabout on April 19, 2020, 02:28:00 PM
I'm hearing mostly good things about BricsCAD. Unfortunately, reading through their website is leaving a lot of questions unanswered.

My first question is for those that have made the switch, successfully or otherwise, can you share your thoughts? I know this is asking a lot. I'm wondering in general, how productive you are; if the quality of your drawings/models went up/down; if you run into corner/hiccups; if the program has limitations or is missing features that we have grown accustomed to in AutoCAD; how resource heavy the program is; etc...

Question #2 is regarding the "maintenance" cost if you get a perpetual license. This information has proven hard to find on their website. It's somewhat of a thorn in my side. It's nice that Bricsys' website guides you straight to the pricing, but it seems suspicious that they make this one item hard to find.

Question #3 - The "communicator" extension; This also creates concern for myself. It sounds like this "extension" should simply be part of the program itself. If this was the only "extension" I would need then I would begrudgingly just fork out money for it, but I'm worried about getting nickle-and-dimed to death by way of various "extensions" that, in my opinion, should be included. If the program "communicates" with PDF files, DXF's and DWG's to a degree equally effective as AutoCAD, then I'm totally okay. If I have to purchase an extension say, to export a model for analysis in ETABS, I can live with that.

Quite an involving question to answer! Any reply, complete or partial, is greatly appreciated!!
Title: Re: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: lamarn on April 19, 2020, 03:18:48 PM
 Best thing one can do is just try it for a month. I found the switch very easy. No production loss of any kind. My whole toolset was moved in a couple of days. 

The bricscad system if Bim / Mech / ultimate is so much easier and logic that the fuzz of these tons of gb autocad bloating installs. They are insane to manage every other year. I would be gld not to have that any more.
Title: Re: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: MickD on April 19, 2020, 05:20:03 PM
1. Drawing quality and production is the same, it's .dwg so the file is pretty much identical.
The main difference is probably the user interface at first, it has this mini window with command options (that can be turned off) that pops up and a pop up menu at the cursor which can be handy or not depending on your workflow (i.e. if you use the keyboard or menus and buttons), all this is optional and easily changed in settings.
The settings are different to the options dialog in AutoCAD but simple enough although getting used to just closing the dialog without hitting a save button has always been a bit weird to me but it works fine.
I'm not sure of any missing features apart from dynamic blocks (may be there now??, I've never used them), if anything there are better features. Rather than just making the UI different every year like AutoCAD has for the last 10 they actually fix things and ad useful tools and features.
Mechanical (Inventor), Civil, Sheetmetal and BIM/Architectural are built in as native .dwg in the Platinum version.

Performance wise it is fast and efficient!

Basically you should have very little problem moving over, you are talking minutes to hours to work out what's going on, if you mainly use the keyboard then just start drawing :)

2. I don't know the costs for your country but even the Ultimate version is still a lot cheaper than keeping a bog standard AutoCAD subscription, you really do get support and they actually do fix things!

3. I'm not that familiar with Communicator but if you work with other CAD packages like Revit/Inventor and even non Autodesk app's then you will probably need this eventually. Writing importers for other CAD app's is a very specialised thing and I understand why it costs extra, every year this needs maintaining with new versions of the other softwares.

Title: Re: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: Rustabout on April 19, 2020, 10:24:45 PM
Thanks for the useful responses guys. I've already started the 30 day trial. I am finding that the learning curve is steep. Workflow is WAAAAAAAAY different than Revit. I'm still struggling with general modelling and assigning materials, etc... I'll need to find some good tutorials as I haven't found anything that great. Just getting started of course!
Title: Re: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: Dahzee on April 20, 2020, 04:21:40 AM
Hi Rustabout,

I don't mean to be picky but nowhere in your original post did you mention Revit, you were asking about Autocad vs. Bricscad.

Bricscad as you are aware is based on the .dwg format and follows a similar direction (initially) to Autocad, apart from dynamic blocks it works pretty much the same as Autocad.

Revit on the other hand wasn't originally even developed by Autodesk, so is always going to be different from Autocad/Bricscad.

Bricscad's additional programs for Sheet Metal and Architecture are obviously different from Autocad and Revit and the whole idea from what I can gather is these additional disciplines are all based on the same .dwg format allowing you to have one set of software but work in different disciplines.

Bricsys have their own ideas about how to do Sheet Metal & Architecture, so plough their own furrow in how their programs function.

Once your trial has finished you can still use Bricscad Shape as it is a free program so will give you the chance to carry on trying the core 3D drawing parts of Bricscad.

In respect of purchasing Bricscad, it is all very straight forward, you either buy the software outright or subscribe for a year at a time.

If you buy it outright, you own it and don't ever need to update it if you don't want to. If you decide to take out the maintenance, you get all updates for the year and the chance to update to the next main version within that years maintenance.

I have no experience working with Autocad but have been using Bricscad for 6 years and have found their support really responsive and helpful.

Even if you are trialling Bricscad you are welcome to submit support questions, which hopefully can answer any of your queries.

Bricscad isn't the only Autocad clone out there, there are a few others including Graebert's offerings and of course Intellicad in various flavours.

All this software is based on the ODA's core .dwg functions and if you go to their website, you will see that they are working on Architectural features and the Revit format as well, to further integrate other formats into the .dwg fold.

Hope that helps in some small way.
Title: Re: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: Rustabout on April 20, 2020, 08:02:04 AM
Your post is definitely helpful and You're right; I didn't mention that I'm looking to use the entire BIM capability (well just building modelling). I want to do everything I do in Revit. I'm modelling a past project that I had no trouble modelling in Revit (other than dealing with the typical Revit hiccups/work arounds). I'm trying to model a slab on grade with multiple slopes and having a really hard time. I found a way (well a couple different ways) but it's slooooooooow. 10x slower than Revit. It has me thinking that there must be a quicker way.

The learning curve seems quite steep for myself. For the 2D features I'm liking it so far (it probably beats AutoCAD once a person gets used to everything). For 3D I think I'll need to invest a good part of next weekend towards figuring it out.
Title: Re: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: lamarn on April 23, 2020, 01:08:05 AM
For doing what you used to do in Revit, i think you have a point that full 3d is slower. It is quite funny this comparing is coming back. I can still hear: Revit cannot be compared to Autocad. Or BricsCad. Can we?
Title: Re: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: Rustabout on April 24, 2020, 11:33:21 PM
If anyone is curious about my conclusion, I've played around with the "BIM" part of the program for about a week. I've found it really hard to get off the ground. Tutorials are really (like really) lacking; either they lack practical content, or move painfully slow. I haven't seen anyone who's successfully produce a full BIM model of value, at least for what I do. The only way to really get into the program is to go in full-boar, head first, with no guarantee for success.

The program is really good in other areas; I definitely see why people are big fans of the program. My strategy at this point is to maybe wait until next years release. By then there will hopefully be new and better tutorials as users find practical ways to implement many of the programs new features. But at the moment it seems like a black hole absorbing all my free time for little reward.

My hope was that I would be able to use the program to provide a better BIM service than can be provided by Revit. The majority of my work would be in the multi-residential sector, which means that the BIM models from various disciplines will not necessarily be in Revit. I always felt that Revit was beat-able. For now I think that it is the best program (everything considered). BricsCAD could be better in it's current form if a talented (or group of talented) LISP programmers steered the program in the right direction. That is A LOT of work of course, and plausible, but also risky. I think if a person were able to find a way to provide a better BIM service without using Revit, they would be in a very good position. That's kind of my wild goose chase at the moment.
Title: Re: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: MickD on April 25, 2020, 01:56:19 AM
With all due respect, you haven't even spent a week with a very complicated part of the software (BIM/AI/Architectural) to work with and you are coming from a software that works a lot differently than you are used to.
How long did it take for Revit to 'click', I'd lay good bets it wasn't any where near under a week! I agree the doc's might seem limited but keep looking as there are heaps of tutorial videos out there as well to give a better overview of when and how to use them.

Dig deeper, ask questions (use support and/or the forums, they do actually get back to you). Take a look at some of the videos from the last year or two's BricsCAD conferences, they are excellent at showing what's actually possible and it's very just have to learn it ;)

From what I remember playing with Revit (a few years ago now granted) was that while you can model and create views etc of a very general model it wasn't worth getting into very detailed modelling as all annotation details were done by bringing in blocks, what's the point in that? Basically it was all show and no go. Sure, the models gave the wow factor for the client but it was still a half baked solution compared to competing Architectural/BIM software vendors at the time.
BricsCAD will do 'real' sections or details of the building where you want complete with hatching to match construction types and materials used, these views are then used for documentation using annotation tools for labels and dim's with all info updated when changes are made.
And there's the built in AI and modelling tools that are very good and save a lot of time once you learn them, it's worth the effort.

Basically, it sounds like it doesn't work the way you think it 'should' work and needs further development, I think you need to do more study with fresh eyes :)
It's your (or your bosses) dime though so it's up to you how much time you want to spend finding alternatives. BricsCAD is basically the same as AutoCAD, Revit and BricsCAD BIM are not :)
Title: Re: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: Rustabout on April 26, 2020, 04:02:06 PM
Hi MickD,

100% agree with your 3rd paragraph. Referring to detail families as blocks shows it's been ages since you've used the program (I'm jealous!). I (try) to do as much 2D detailing in CAD as I can. People claim Revit is faster but that is total BS (if you can detail in Revit faster than CAD then your CAD standards are bad). Unfortunately, with this system

    "With all due respect, you haven't even spent a week..."

True, but that's kind of the whole point of my conclusion. After 1 week I am just spinning my wheels. Everything I try is either a dead-end, or a very complex series of commands to accomplish something relatively simple (remember I have to convince/teach others to use the program as well). The videos from the BricsCAD conferences you refer to are incredibly long and move quite slowly. Watching a 2-3 hour video I might only get 15 minutes of useful information. There are actually better tutorials than those. A key reason why I mention in my post that I am going to "try again next year" is because the quality of the tutorials available will likely improve substantially. Many of the programs new features have only just been added last year and many of these features have never been used in a profitable production environment.

I can assure, 100%, that I made much more progress my first week using Revit compared to BricsCAD. I'm talking like 10x more progress with Revit. Time is money whether one is self employed or working in an office.

Anyways, I think my opinion (and it's just an opinion) is very valid. This is what I've concluded after a substantial amount of research and I shared to help save other's the time. And basically my conclusion was that BricsCAD BIM is not ready for the big show (not yet at least). And I'll check next year to see if there are improvements.

Want to change my opinion? Let's see an actual project! And not one that broke the bank or involved any tricks such as outsourcing, or time costly work-arounds. And definitely not some FrankenBIM project.

Title: Re: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: MickD on April 26, 2020, 07:52:04 PM
I (try) to do as much 2D detailing in CAD as I can.

Why are you using a 3D model only to then hand draw your details in 2D??

Unless I misinterpreted your statement :?

People claim Revit is faster but that is total BS (if you can detail in Revit faster than CAD then your CAD standards are bad). Unfortunately, with this system

I really don't understand this one either, how can you argue that creating a detail or section view from a 3D model takes longer than drawing it by hand?? It should take no more than a few clicks and you have a very detailed view of a particular part of the model.
Even if you use a block library, the info in the block may not be a true representation of the model you are detailing.
Having said that I understand that if it's only for Architectural's you don't need to detail things to the same level as production drawings (steel, concrete etc) to get the idea across. I really depends on if you are really using/need BIM or just creating models for drawings.

Here's some vid's you may have missed, the first is a talk from the conference on creating a very detailed model (about 40 min's with a list of shortcuts if you want to skip things), the second is a set of BIM tutorials that were only posted a month ago. I haven't seen the tut's but I'm sure they would have to help at least a little.

All playlists:

Anyway, best of luck in finding the right tool, cheers.

Title: Re: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: dgorsman on April 27, 2020, 10:43:18 AM
Revit is not software for fine level fabrication, rather it is for top level assembly and construction work.  For example, it works for locating an air handling unit or elevator in a building but not for all the sub parts.  It is also for arranging the structure, not for creating the fabrication drawings of each individual connection.
Title: Re: BricsCAD questions (related to "taking the plunge").
Post by: Rustabout on April 27, 2020, 05:01:07 PM
Why are you using a 3D model only to then hand draw your details in 2D??

There are TONS of reasons for this. A brief explanation is that the 3D model only needs a certain level of detail. I can produce accurate plans and SECTIONS (sections not details) much faster with a 3D model. And of course clearances, clash detection, yada yada yada... But the small details themselves are better suited to CAD. In theory, someone could do everything I do in CAD (and better) with Python/C# in Revit.

Anything I do in CAD would just be done 2D, non-BIM in Revit anyways.

Anyways, I sure hope you aren't placing every single bolt, nail and screw in your BIM models. If you are, STOP!

Here's some vid's you may have missed..

Regarding the two links provided. The first one is good (good not great). I know how to 3D model (that's one of the best features of BricsCAD and easiest parts of the program to learn). I've watched videos of the next stages as well, the second one... much of it is a complete beginners tutorial. She shows the viewer how to use the "drawing tabs". Also "how to open a file" is demonstrated. Not quite what I'm looking for at this stage.

I'm an experienced CAD/BIM user and my conclusion stands: Better to wait (I suggest a year) before investing time towards learning BricsCAD BIM in detail. Although (way) cheaper than AutoCAD/Revit, the initial buy-in is quite high and a bit too risky. Also if you looks at Bricsys's forums, there's literally only a few posts; Nobody's really using BricsCAD BIM (yet).

I'm not saying that BricsCAD (overall) is a bad product. Or that the BIM add-ons don't have potential. I'm just recommending people hold off so they don't waste their time. Bricsys really needs to hand the program out for free to some of the top BIM guru's and let them at it. Or give out a 1-year free trial to BricsCAD users with lower-level licenses. Ultimately, it's the users that make the programs successful more than the program itself. I've long believed that Revit is far from being the best BIM program, it's just the most accessible.