Home / MCAD / Feature-Based CAD from Lagoa, Coming to a Browser Near You

Feature-Based CAD from Lagoa, Coming to a Browser Near You

Lagoa's upcoming product will offer not just rendering but CAD functions: feature-based geometry creating and design.

Assembling parts in Lagoa's new CAD program, also cloud-based.

You know Lagoa as a browser-based interactive rendering software, but soon, you may have to recalibrate your understanding of the software. It’s about to become a CAD package.

At COFES 2014 (Scottsdale, Arizona), ChrisWilliams and Thiago Costa — Lagoa’s VP of sales and marketing and CEO/cofounder, respectively — offered clues about the company’s changing direction. The two previewed a CAD product in development.

Costa, originally from Brazil, is a post-production artist. He’s responsible for Lagoa Multiphysics, a particle effects generator developed on the Softimage ICE (Interactive Creative Environment) platform. (Softimage is now part of Autodesk.) Costa now looks beyond Lagoa’s current target market — visualization — to tackle conceptual design and assembly management. That means adding tools to create geometry, edit geometry, and build complex assemblies.

“To see the industry from a new perspective, we have to start from scratch,” said Costa at COFES during his demonstration. “Physics should be part of the design tool, not a special tool.”

Williams said, “We are bringing to CAD the ability to have physics-based design tools. For example, you’ll be able to understand how air flows through an assembly — not as an analysis tool but as a design tool.  We will do this first for things like flow and clash detection.”

Like the current rendering product, the Lagoa CAD program is expected to work in the cloud — “feature-based modeling from a browser,” as Costa put it.

The software demonstrated offers drag and drop assemble functions, much simpler and more intuitive than the way current CAD products use mating conditions to do the same. Since cloud-hosted rendering is part of the product, you may also work in a fully ray-traced, interactive mode during geometry creation and editing. In the desktop environment, the intense computing toll exacted by interactive visuals on the CPUs is significant; therefore, most desktop CAD users activate it sparingly.

When it’s available, Lagoa’s new CAD product will be offered in three tiers: free, $50 per month per user, or $200 per month per user. The pricing is bound to stir debate, if not anxiety, among traditional CAD vendors offering their products at roughly $2,500 to $5,000, with annual maintenance fee.

Particle physics engine can be used to simulate the physical movements of clothing, water, fluid, powder, and similar phenomenons. Integrated physics in Lagoa is a departure from the current finite-element analysis or simulation tools embedded in CAD, which takes place separately from the CAD modeling activities. Lagoa’s approach could offer new opportunities to make mechanical simulation easier and less intimidating to designer engineers.

For Lagoa Multiphysics, watch the demo video below from Lagoa.

Lagoa Multiphysics 1.0 – Teaser from Lagoa on Vimeo.

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.


  1. Ralph Grabowski

    I am not sure what you mean by “the pricing is bound to stir debate,” as Logoa’s $200/month is just about the same as $2,500/year.

    Presumably, the first releases of Lagoa MCAD will be far less mature than today’s mid-range MCAD systems, and so less capable while costing about the same. The key is whether Lagoa can gain traction fast enough among paying users to fund the needed enhancements over the mid-term.

  2. Ralph, that is true. The sum total of the software cost over time is probably just about the same, but the ability to use it and pay for it on-demand, I think, will make a difference. Also at the $50 per user per seat level, it becomes a low-risk proposition. Integrating physics into the design phase is something noteworthy too.

    I think you’re also right that the initial release will likely includes some kinks that need to be worked out over time. But overall, I was impressed by how the assembly management worked in its demo. Its ease of use may be the attraction that can offset the more stable CAD programs that are harder to use–especially for visualization specialists that want to explore CAD.

  3. The examples above are pedestrian. A lamp? Usually a company promoting a new product puts their best foot forward.

    Dealing daily with assemblies having thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of parts, I see this company has a long way to go.

    I do like it anytime somebody shakes up the cost structure. I use SolidWorks. I’m sure they don’t like new players jacking up their costing schedule, but if you remember, they were the ones who put the screws to ProE and made a nice little business out of it.

    I would love to see another stepwise drop in pricing for MCAD products, but from what I’m seeing here, I don’t know if this is the product to get excited about. $200/month is not a good value. I’ll stick with $1200/year for my SW subscription.

  4. Chris: As I’ve seen it, the software is capable of handling other more complex assemblies. The lamp happens to be the screenshot I choose from the few made available to me. But beside that, I don’t think it’s reasonable to assume the object used for demonstration is the only object the software can handle. I see your point about pricing. While the sum total may be the same, the browser-based model and the pay-as-you-go approach are both new experiments, in my view.

  5. But, shouldn’t they have made something available to you that is impressive? They’re thinking their product is mid-range (which is a stupid term, because I would put SolidWorks up against anything) but I’m what I see so far isn’t worth ten bucks. I could use Sketch Up for free.

    Let’s go back a few years to Via Grafix that sold a very functional MCAD package for under $500 out the door. Remember them? I had big hopes that they would shake things up.

    One problem they maybe didn’t consider is that their website, http://www.viagrafix.com could be misread!:-) I don’t know whatever happened to them. Maybe they went the way of the 100 MPG carburetor.

    I’ve been asking SolidWorks for a pay per view option for years. Companies staffing is almost never constant. Purchasing seats for a short-term project is financially risky and they you have a bunch of seats after the project is over that you need to decide if you want to continue paying maintenance on or not. Leasing would be a great alternative, especially when it comes to the more expensive analysis tools.

  6. Ok, I have to admit, the product looks interesting, but there are several things that stop me immediately.
    *** First and for-most is the named user licensing. If I have any say in the matter what-so-ever I will never allow my users to purchase a named user system. This is an administration nightmare for me. Lets use the number 350 users (we actually have a large number more than this). I would have to be switching accounts around all day to allow people the functions they need and how would I keep track of people that leave the company and new hires.

    *** The price. We currently use SolidWorks and the price of 50 to 200 per user per month is outrageous. If I were to pay 50 per month for 350 users that would cost $210K per year. With that number at 200 per month we jump to $840k. So, I know I would end up somewhere in the middle for needed functionality. Then, spend my time moving users between packages as needed. While with SolidWorks we have a shared server and those users can use whatever package they need. And it cost me less than the 50 per month figure. It is on the order of $40 per month and that includes premium features along with all kinds of simulation and analysis.

    *** Cloud based – No way do we want our data store in the cloud on someone else’s server that is not locked down to our company. I am not going to pay for a system that does not allow us to own and manage our Intellectual Property including all the files that make up that IP.

    *** End of life – If we decide to switch from one CAD tool to another what happens then? With SolidWorks we can just stop maintenance on the licenses we no longer need. Then we just leave them at the current version running on the license server. Then for 7 to 15+ years we can continue to access and modify those old models without CAD tool costs. With your model we would loose all our data if we ever stopped paying and we would not be able to work with our designs should a change be needed.

    Thanks for the effort, but I don’t see this product making a real impact on the industry. I would think you would only be beneficial to small companies with a limited user set.

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