Note added to the Fourth Edition. Alas,
AutoSolid was never to become ``a growing component of Autodesk's
revenues.'' Launched in June 1988 as a stand-alone product which
ran only on SCO Xenix (a platform upon which, at the time,
AutoCAD did not run), at $5000 a copy, it sold very poorly.
In 1989, I launched ``The Eagle Project'' with the goal of
demonstrating AutoSolid's functionality integrated into AutoCAD,
taking advantage of the ADS and Extended Entity Data features
then being developed for Release 11. This was demonstrated, on
schedule, by July 20, 1989 (the twentieth anniversary of the first Moon
landing). Subsequently Autodesk decided to develop my original
prototype into a genuine integration of AutoCAD and AutoSolid,
priced at $500. This was launched (almost silently, see page
) along with Release 11 in October 1990.
In the process, the Atlanta office of Cadetron was closed, with
some employees being relocated to California and others let go.
This inevitably caused morale problems (see page
). Subsequently, Autodesk licensed ACIS and
began development of a successor to AME based upon that modeling
technology, replacing the PADL modeler used in AutoSolid and
In October 1992, Autodesk acquired Micro Engineering
Solutions (MES) Inc. of Novi, Michigan, developers of the
Solution 3000 CAD/CAM software, and announced plans to integrate
this technology into AutoCAD. Work on AME was stopped at that
In November 1993, Autodesk simultaneously introduced
AutoSurf Release 2, the integration of the MES modeler into AutoCAD
using AME-like technology, and the acquisition of Woodbourne,
Inc., formerly an AutoCAD developer, and plans to launch its
modeler under the name of AutoCAD designer. As of late 1993,
Autodesk has yet to ``Take Over the CAD/CAM Industry'' by
establishing itself as the dominant force in solid modeling. But
we're still working toward that goal.
Eric Lyons, the author of this piece, left Autodesk in September
1991 to found, along with Alvy Ray Smith, Altamira Software
Corporation, developers of Altamira Composer. Autodesk was an
initial equity investor in Altamira.