Comments on: CAD Drawings Go Mobile

A new program called ZipCAD allows professionals and designers to create CAD drawings on palm OS devices.
Return to Story - Permalink

Article Comments


The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Comments Closed Comments Closed
This article is no longer accepting new comments.


The only tool missing

a3 @ 5/23/2003 4:57:46 PM #

To be honest I never expected this type of software in my Palm or at least not in the near future.

I'll try it and if it delivers as promised I'm going for it. The price seems high compared with other Palm software but after all AutoCAD is worth US$3000.

Trata que tus palabras siempre sean suaves y dulces para que pasen facilito cuando te toque tragartelas.

RE: The only tool missing
IndyDave @ 5/23/2003 5:02:18 PM #
Wonder how it runs on Tungsten C vs TT or older? AutoCAD is real piggy for resources, and slow if you don't have enough. Feedback would be great.

RE: The only tool missing
lemketron @ 5/26/2003 1:45:03 PM #
The web site shows pictures of this app running on a Zire as well as on a Tungsten T; their FAQ indicates that they support Palm OS 3.1 and later... Note that many of today's 68K-based Palm devices are much more powerful than the desktop machines on which people used to run CAD programs many years ago (like the original IBM PC we had in my high school drafting class).

Actual performance will probably depend on the complexity of your drawings. The Tungsten C should do pretty well (with tons of memory and performance available), but I'd guess that any of the newer (ARM-based) Palm OS 5.x devices should do just fine. Having a hi-res screen is likely also an important factor for an app like this.

Some initial thoughts

amflores @ 5/23/2003 5:02:53 PM #
Well, IŽve been checking it since yesterday and seems very capable -only donŽt know how will the *.dxf to palm or viceversa works since is not allowed in the demo. It seems that these people really studied in which situations youŽll consider using your PDA for CAD, since it seem to have the exact commands youŽll need to make an accurate on-site drawing -only missing a dimensioning command, maybe unnecessary when you get your drawing on the desktop for a detailed drawing-, and allowing it with such low hardware requirements -I even tryed on my colleagueŽs Zire and works pretty fine (donŽt know how it will work with a large drawing yet)

Also will like to see how it works on keeping an updated version of the original desktop drawing by checking on-site, thatŽll be great.

Anyway, it seems a little expensive, got to keep experimenting with it to see if its worth it and maybe recommend it to my boss (working on a architecture & engineering consultant firm)

By the way, first-time firs-post! ; )

RE: Some initial thoughts
amflores @ 5/23/2003 5:30:57 PM #
...seems I need to write faster next time! :(

RE: Some initial thoughts
Zippy @ 5/26/2003 2:37:22 PM #
It does have a dimensioning command!! It will give you dimensions from any points on your drawing and you can enter dimensions as you draw using the clever pop-up "calculator" type keyboard.

It is blazingly fast on my Tungsten and rock stable. No lag time at all between drawing refreshes etc...and it has not caused a single crash. I have not found a single bug yet, anyways. Also, it is high-rez.

This program is amazing, IMO. I've been playing with it for days now. You can put together a drawing that is accurate and to-scale very quickly. You can tell that it has been engineered by "real" AutoCad users who sought a workable field solution to entering drawing information.

I have not purchased it yet, so I cannot comment on importing and exporting ability. The developers are apparently working on a import feature that will allow the drawings to reside on a memory card.

Anyways, I would urge anyone who works with CAD to take a good look at this amazing piece of software: it is no toy, it's the real thing!!

It is rather expensive, but it is a "real" functional tool of the trade.

The program is 288K and I have one CAD file that is 10.1K and has multiple detailed layers on it, so it is quite efficient.

It even supports layers!!!!! Go figure!
Anyways, I have nothing to do with them, BTW, but I am a serious AutoCad users and I am quite amazed by this little program.

ZipCAD - NEEDS Mac OSX Support

MarkS @ 5/23/2003 6:28:43 PM #

As an architect using Clie NZ90 and Mac computer, the idea of ZipCAD is great. However, they don't support file syncing between Palm and Mac!

Website said to email them if you're interested in Mac support. So if any of you are interested in them having Mac support, please email them like I did.

You can email them at



RE: ZipCAD - NEEDS Mac OSX Support
washer @ 5/24/2003 6:15:10 PM #
i agree, although im still in school and not an architet yet, im headed that way. i really want to be able to use this software with my mac! i emailed them too, i really hope they have mac support.

Trying to resist...

abosco @ 5/23/2003 8:12:02 PM #
I'm sorry, but I just can't help it.

As time goes on, that article appears more like a checklist for Palm, and I see more things that are checked off now.

CAD is a powerful program, or so I hear it. I know there are some people who swear by it, but I honestly wouldn't know. All I know is that this is one less thing to complain to say the PPC has an advantage. I hope to see more software like this from the Palm platform, just like I'd like to see a word processor with features like Textmaker.

Both platforms are coming up on equality in terms of features, but we're not near equilibrium or nirvana yet. These next two gens of each OS's should show what each company is capable of, as Microsoft provides some long-awaited fixes to complaints and Palm provides an entirely new OS into the mix.

Proud Member of the Top Non-Mods

RE: Trying to resist...
mentalsrule @ 5/23/2003 8:54:10 PM #
i have to strongly agree with you. I am happy that this is something less PPC has advantage over, and i am taking a few autocad classes. I would think sponsering the class or school to get programs like this for eveyone whom has a palm would be acceptable. That would awesome actually.

With everything i learn each day... i have a talent to compress it all into one word..... huh? [:)]

RE: Trying to resist...
roseBlade @ 5/23/2003 9:09:13 PM #
Who would need a CAD drawing.. (oh yeah, here we are... lol)

PS. Now let's see if that can use 6GB CF card, GPS, adn see file natively.

RE: Trying to resist...
abosco @ 5/23/2003 10:12:46 PM #
"Who would need a CAD drawing.. (oh yeah, here we are... lol)"

Who said that? Who? Not me. People find different uses for PDA's. All the more power to you if you need CAD, but somehow, you don't understand this and immediately assume the PPC version is better. Can't you just accept differences?

"PS. Now let's see if that can use 6GB CF card, GPS, adn see file natively."

Are there two people who need that functionality? Seriously. No, really. Find me two people who will use this software with a 6 GB CF card and a GPS and simply MUST receive it over email.

It's ridiculous, and I can pull the same thing on you. Now let's see if you can take a video, have it save to a 1 GB card, then immediately attach it to an email message that you type up WITH A KEYBOARD, and send it over Wifi without having to fool around with switching cards or huge attachments. Oh, and make it all weigh less than 9 ounces, please.

The point is, not many people would need EITHER of these. Who cares? Maybe if you needed CAD before, your only option was a PPC. Now maybe you can try it with an NX, who knows. The point is, there are ever-expanding options available for both platforms, and if you would bother opening your eyes to see the point that Palm OS is getting closer in terms of capabilities, you'd understand that YOU are benefitting from this, either directly or indirectly. Maybe your next PDA will be Palm OS based (haaa...) because you just need some functionality that the PPC OS can't provide, or the opposite may be the case. Maybe Microsoft will encourage better CAD programs due to the Palm OS version, who knows.

Why do you feel so threatened? Maybe you're scared that (gasp) Palms can do things beyond an address book?

Don't be afraid!
You are benefitting!

Proud Member of the Top Non-Mods

RE: Trying to resist...
roseBlade @ 5/24/2003 6:19:18 AM #
right who cares, who needs them.

except that is the entire point sometimes why anybody want to carry a construction blueprint on their hand. quick on site review for eg.

but hey ... Bosco says who needs them. you only need doodle pad. (he is going to deny this statement too in the next 3 months too, btw. very cute)

RE: Trying to resist...
abosco @ 5/24/2003 12:04:56 PM #
Translation: I couldn't find anybody who actually needed that.

Oh, great job skipping over every other point I had. Why can't you just accept the Palm OS is getting some powerful software and features?

Proud Member of the Top Non-Mods

RE: Trying to resist...
roseBlade @ 5/24/2003 12:48:34 PM #
Microsoft doesn't make a CAD program. And PPC already have about 4 titles of competing CAD titles. do you think a doodle app on zire is going to rattle the PPC CAD market? I think not.

If that thing can do wireless GPS with 3D plus ray tracing visualization, which is what PPC CAD apps is aiming right now, then maybe people might jump in drove. ... but not a doodle pad, sorry.

RE: Trying to resist...
MSTCrowT @ 5/24/2003 4:37:16 PM #
Why would it matter if Microsoft makes a CAD program? Not everything I use is Microsoft, and I see no reason to attempt to do so.

Abosco's heresy!
mikecane @ 5/25/2003 12:16:54 AM #
"...I'd like to see a word processor with features like Textmaker."

But you can -- on a PPC! (Oh, come on. I could not resist.)

Whatever happened to the port of StarOffice for PalmOS? PIC reported on it moons and moons ago.

RE: Trying to resist...
AzureGuy @ 5/25/2003 12:29:53 PM #
D00D, GPS is WIRELESS :P You can't have wires connected to satellites :P

GPS = Global Positioning System - Find out where you're standing in the world
GPRS = General Packet Radio Service - Surf the net over using a GSM phone or connection

I think I'm takin' this too far LOL


RE: Trying to resist...
EdH @ 5/26/2003 4:58:58 PM #
>I'm sorry, but I just can't help it.

>As time goes on, that article appears more like a
>checklist for Palm, and I see more things that are
>checked off now.

Man, that article is just stuck in your craw isn't it? :-)

Don't use CAD personally, but this app seems quite lightweight compared to which offers 3D CAD and doesn't *require* desktop companion programs for conversion. About time though. Pocket PC has had this for nearly 3 years if I recall correctly when PocketCAD came out first - mid-late 2000.

Cool. More choice for everyone. Just like ePocrates no longer runs only on PalmOS. :-)

RE: Trying to resist...
abosco @ 5/26/2003 7:51:51 PM #
"Man, that article is just stuck in your craw isn't it? :-)"

It hit the spot just right. That would be the "resentment" lobe.

Proud Member of the Top Non-Mods

RE: Trying to resist...
mentalsrule @ 5/26/2003 7:57:45 PM #
Although im sure it hit many peoples "spots", it is a waste of my time to read it, therefore i never did knowing that PalmOS is what it is, and PocketPC is what it is as well. They are now no longer not hardware compareable due to the Tungsten|C, but lets get real here, PalmOS has been faster than PPC for some time.

Old MacDonald had an agricultural real estate tax abatement.

RE: Trying to resist...
blueBlade @ 5/26/2003 8:12:46 PM #
Yeah? how much faster? got benchmark? (no kinoma fps ain't it)
RE: Trying to resist...
mentalsrule @ 5/26/2003 8:43:28 PM #
much faster, havent you read the article posted that PalmOS is of course outperforming PocketPC in many areas?

And the same goes for you, got benchmarks?

Old MacDonald had an agricultural real estate tax abatement.

RE: Trying to resist...
blueBlade @ 5/26/2003 10:55:20 PM #
I don't know, you are the chief-editor of some handheld site, you tell me...
A few facts:
Satan @ 5/27/2003 11:05:19 AM #
1) Some people like PocketPC, some like Palm. Some people like chocolate, some people like vanilla. Sometimes things are just different - not better or worse.

2) Sony now owns Palm and is finally bringing out hardware to the platform that compares favorably (given the relative demands of the two OSes) to PocketPC hardware. With Sony's resources, they should be able to keep evolving the platform to the point where a Palm Vx-sized device can have combined dual external storage, large high-res screen, MP3, wireless connectivity. Add economies of scale and a "killer app" or two and handhelds may become as commonplace as home PCs.

3) Things can change very quickly in computers. It can just take one break to make (or kill) a platform. If Company X brings out a piece of software or hardware that is significantly better than anything else, it can take over almost overnight. No matter how long the competition previously owned the market.

4) Palm has survived - in spite of its blunders - because it has a well-conceived OS, came to market early, has a loyal following and now has a consumer electronics giant controlling it. Take any one of those factors out of the equation and everyone might now be using PocketPCs.

5) Scrolling text on messageboards is annoying.

Ban scrolling text.

GIS next?

ptc @ 5/25/2003 12:36:42 PM #
Now that there is a robust CAD program for Palm, I hope there is a decent GIS program somewhere on the horizon. Something similar to a scaled-down ArcView would be nice...

Paul C.

The problem with Mac conduits

RhinoSteve @ 5/25/2003 3:48:14 PM #
Well I like many other Palm developers out there would love a Mac conduit for out title but the problem is economics. The Mac OS X Palm Desktop API is a specialty of a specialty for a specialty market. Those experienced in knowing how to do Mac conduits are few and far between but most of all, incredably expensive.

With the recession still showing its face, development budgets have been moved to the most profitable platforms. To me the bottom line is that Mac software in general has the lowest margins per title when you consider the development cost. The move to a unix platform is good but it is still a specialty compaired to the huge amount of Windows guys out there.

So what is the answer? If you are bitching about no Mac conduit, make it happen! Find some good undergraduate Mac developer and give him the Palm Mac OS X Hotsync API and hook him up with the publisher of the Palm app you want supported on the Mac. With it being done on a student budget, maybe it can happen.

We are not living in inflationary times but deflationary times. People have less and merchants need to realize to move product, they need to reduce their prices. Overall, this is great with PDAs with the performance increasing and the price about the same.

However, with software development talent, espically ego-the-size-of-Cleveland Mac developers, they have to get off their high horse if they want to get any future projects done. Cause eventually, someone more economic will come along and take their overpriced positions. So goes the American economy.
RE: The problem with Mac conduits
JetsFlyer @ 5/26/2003 11:15:44 AM #
this soumds like one application that should stay with a laptop workstation, the practicality eludes me!
Give me a larger screen with higher resolution, and I'll sketch it.

Email from ZipCAD

michaelfurman @ 5/27/2003 2:07:35 PM #
Hello Michael,

* The virtual desktop is shown on the Sony large screen models. This aids in entering short cuts and text, which allow you to draw faster, but it does reduce the screen size.
* Version 1.1 due out next week will support expansion cards and DXF input. It is a free upgrade.
* Drawings cannot be beamed or emailed at this time, though 3rd party software would likely support this.
* For the forseeable future, upgrades are free.
* No 3-D version in the works at the moment.

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Furman
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 1:35 PM
To: ''
Subject: ZipCAD Questions

Will ZipCAD utilize the 320X480 screens of the Clie NR/NX series?
Is there a virtual desktop or is the screen the largest the drawing can be or are there zoom features?
Will the program read/write with external media such as memory stick/SD media?
Can files be shared/beamed between handhelds within the program?
As updates become available, will they be offered free of charge to current users?
Is there/will there be an option to print directly from the program?
Can the CAD files be attached and sent with email messages?
Do you have plans for a 3D version?


Are U Proactive . . . or Reactive ?



Register Register | Login Log in