Avanquest – TurboCAD 16 Pro Platinum review

powerful tool for mechanical and architectural designers
Photo of Avanquest – TurboCAD 16 Pro Platinum
£995 (Platinum)

If you’re a design expert who’s used to employing computer-aided design software to draft the latest architectural or mechanical plans to tight deadlines and exact specifications, then you’ll be interested to know that the latest version of Avanquest’s TurboCAD Pro has just landed on the shelves.

Assuming you don’t have a spare £4,000 to shell out for the current top-of-the-range AutoCAD, TurboCAD Pro comes in a number of tailor-made packages to suit your budget and specific needs. The Basic model starts at £895, then there are bespoke Architectural and Mechanical versions for £955 and finally the Platinum edition which includes all of the advanced features of both Architectural and Mechanical for £995.

As with previous versions, the software is easy to install, comes with a hefty but clearly explained manual (plus a handy Getting Started guide for beginners) and you have instant access to Avanquest’s in-house CAD expert ‘Paul the CAD’ who runs training courses, free online tutorials and an interactive blog to handle all your questions.

Not only does version 16 support 29 CAD and graphic file formats including enhanced support for AutoCAD and Google SketchUp, but there’s now a new Database Connect Palette that enables you to set up a data link to any data source. TurboCAD Pro also incorporates updated established technologies such as ACIS solid modelling, D-Cubed constraints (which run what-if scenarios) and Lightworks photorealistic rendering.

As expected, there’s a number of new and improved features. Amongst the novelties are the ability to create sections and elevations of any 3D object, an Extrude Face tool for sketching out 3D models, a 2D Bisector tool, a Helix tool to draw 3D spirals, a greater variety of wall types, a Thread tool, Twisted Extrude and an extremely practical Drag on Facet utility that easily applies multiple material finishes to a single object.

Architects will appreciate the improved Style Manager which adds 2-3 preset styles per object type, while mechanics will value new and enhanced Mid-point and Symmetrical constraints as well as improved material scaling and a new Render Style Palette which will help determine the optimum rendered look of an object or scene. Measurement of planar faces is more efficient, 3D curves can now be split in two and the Drafting Palette has improved Brush style options.

With over 40 line, arc, curve and spline tools and over 50 editing and modication tools, the range of possible combinations is virtually endless. It’s worth bearing in mind, too, that if you don’t feel you’ll need many of the tools available here, or if you just want a general introduction to the delights of TurboCAD, there’s a Deluxe version 16 which will set you back a mere £78.29.

Company: Avanquest

Contact: 01962 835053

For the serious mechanical or architectural designer with comparatively limited funds, the updated and improved TurboCAD package is excellent value for money with admirable support guides and online tutorials.