Introduction to VariCAD

This reference manual contains technical descriptions of the entire VariCAD interface, and consists mainly of detailed descriptions of modules and functions. If you need only brief basic information, read Getting Started or Tips and Tricks. We recommend that you read this manual while simultaneously using VariCAD.

To learn how to work with VariCAD, we recommend to read Basic Tips, available from pull-down menu Help. You can watch videos at It is also possible to run Quick Demonstration examples.

Quick Demo VariCAD

Click on a chapter in the left-hand side menu in order to show its contents. Chapters designated with symbol contain instructional videos. Videos can be played in the main window if you click at the name of the video or in a pop-up window after clicking the icon.

Videos can be paused/resumed by clicking on the video image or by pressing spacebar on your keyboard. You can move forwards or backwards in the video using the arrow keys.

VariCAD modules

Designed for use in mechanical engineering, VariCAD contains the following modules:

  • 2D drawing
  • 3D solid modeling
  • Libraries of mechanical parts
  • Libraries of 2D symbols
  • Bill of material, automatic filling of title blocks
  • Support of assemblies, including multi-level assemblies
  • 3D parameters
  • Geometric constraints
  • Mechanical part calculations
  • Sheet metal unbending (surface development)
  • Crash tests (interferences)
  • Pipes
  • Thick shells (offset of patches)
  • Import from and export to other CAD systems
  • Support of 3D threads

All of these modules are included with the standard VariCAD package; there is no additional cost for any module.

Basic Tips - Generally

Although most of the interactions within VariCAD are obvious, the system provides some additional conveniences you may not know about:
Consider right-click behavior during 2D/3D location input, objects selection etc... By default, right-click is the same as Enter, while Ctrl + right-click or right+left click opens pop-up menu with currently available options. Use command "cfg" to change the settings. length of cursor movement.
If you need to enter any value, like a distance or angle, you can enter a mathematical expression instead of a single value. If supported in 3D, the expression can contain new or existing parameters.
During 2D location input, for example drawing lines, circles or any objects, you can press TAB to enter coordinates, angles or lengths from keyboard. (Repeatedly pressed TAB shifts the focused input field). This method allows you easily draw a line with exactly defined length, or under defined angle, etc..
If you right-click a highlighted 2D object during 2D location or a highlighted 3D object during 3D location, pop-up menu is displayed. You can select a location at end-point, mid-point, circle center or other options directly from menu. If you right-click a transformed object during 3D solid transformation, pop-up menu offers you also changes of insertion point.
During dimension text location, you can press TAB to change current dimension text or tolerances. (Repeatedly pressed TAB shifts the focused input field between dimension text and tolerances).
If your mouse has additional side buttons (used, for instance for step backward or forward in browsers), in VariCAD these buttons act the same as Ctrl+Z or Ctrl+Y. Ctrl+Z performs one step back within a command. Between commands, Ctrl+Z performs undo edit and Ctrl+Y performs redo edit.
To disable automatic objects detection temporarily during 2D or 3D dragging, press and hold F1 or press and hold left mouse button while moving cursor. To disable automatic detection temporarily during location input, press and hold F2. Sometimes, automatic objects detection may interfere with dragging, if exactly defined cursor increments are used.
You can vastly configure behavior of VariCAD using 'cfg' command, for instance using right mouse button, displaying coordinates near cursor, methods of file conversions etc..

Basic Tips - Zoom, Pan and View Rotation

To zoom, press Shift and the left mouse button while moving the cursor or use the mouse wheel. You can configure the mouse wheel direction of rotation.
To pan (to move view), press Ctrl and the left mouse button while moving the cursor, or press and hold the middle mouse button (usually the wheel) and move the cursor.
To rotate the 3D view around the center of rotation, press Shift, Ctrl, and the left mouse button while moving the cursor, or press and hold right mouse button and move the cursor. For large zoom, press Shift, Ctrl and then the right mouse button simultaneously.
If you rotate 3D view with Space Mouse and if you right-click during view change, pop-up menu appears. You can block or unblock pan+zoom or view rotation, but mainly, you can select definition of new view rotation center.

Basic Tips - Selecting Objects

These selection modes are available between commands. Within commands, a selection method is obvious according to toolbars or pop-up menus.
You can select objects between commands. Right-click after selection starts pop-up menu with edit functions. Pop-up menu may contain different possibilities, if you right-click a single highlighted object. If no objects are selected and if you right-click an empty area, pop-up menu offers features related to entire drawing.
To select a part of solid (like hole, fillet...), press Ctrl while moving the cursor.
To select an edge or edges for blending, press Shift while moving the cursor.
To select a sketching plane in space, press Ctrl+Shift while moving the cursor.
To start a selection window for 2D stretching, press Ctrl+Shift while moving the cursor.
In 2D or sketching - to select a corner for fillet or chamfer, or to trim an existing corner, press Shift while moving the cursor.
In 2D, to select all objects belonging to 3D view export, press Ctrl while moving the cursor.



Introduction to VariCAD
Tips and Tricks ©