Any BricsCAD users out there? v.2016

Back in 2010 I asked the question Any BricsCAD users out there? and there were a few of you who had tried to replace AutoCAD with BricsCAD. Most who responded had made the change successfully, others not so much.

Six years on, the situation is different. The fact that you can’t buy a permanent AutoCAD license any more has prompted some Autodesk customers to look more seriously at alternative vendors who do provide that option. Bricsys is one of those vendors, and their DWG-based AutoCAD alternative BricsCAD has improved way more rapidly than AutoCAD over the same time period. No, that isn’t a guess, I’ve been keeping an active eye on things. BricsCAD today is by no means perfect, but it’s impressive in many ways. LISP compatibility and performance are excellent, for example. BricsCAD v16 superior to the also imperfect AutoCAD 2017 in several areas, despite the total cost of ownership being significantly lower.

Here’s the question I asked back then:

I would be very interested to hear from any of you who have adopted BricsCAD (either partially or fully replacing AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT in your organisation), or at least seriously investigated using the product.
Why did you investigate changing over? How far have you gone? What are your experiences? What are the pros and cons? How is performance? Reliability? Bugs? Ease of use? Familiarity? Support and other aspects of customer service? Total cost of ownership? Are you experiencing interoperability problems when exchanging drawings with Autodesk software users? How did you go with incorporating in-house customisation and third party tools?

How would you answer that question today? Would you be interested in me providing more posts about BriscCAD, such as practical experiences with attempting a transition from AutoCAD?


  1. ***Disclaimer, I’m a BricsCAD Dealer***

    Steve, it is fairly straight forward to transfer an existing AutoCAD setup to BricsCAD. In fact you can actually get them to use a common setup if you want. I’ve helped many companies with this process.

    I have an example for BricsCAD on my website for anyone that wants to have a play
    It is based around the typical customisation that your average CAD manager would provide.

    A lower software cost allows companies to put there CAD budget towards other things such as Training, Customisation, 3rd party apps, Hardware, Social nights at the pub…

  2. I think I have been leveraged enough. I am going to give bricscad a try. I was able to load all autocad customization within minutes literally to the trial version.(not identical in every detail but very close). I just hope they don’t get sucked into the bim and higher concepts world, maintain vba (programming for mere mortals) and don’t get bought out by autodesk.

  3. I am a third-party developer that supports BricsCAD in addition to AutoCAD. I’ve followed all the various AutoCAD alternatives through the years, and BricsCAD is the only one that has ever made sense to pursue. I have a handful of customers who have transitioned to BricsCAD and they appear to be doing well with the software.

    I recently did a customer story with one who switched to BricsCAD. It is going to read like a big advertisment for my software, but the “Saving money with BricsCAD” section at the end deals directly with your questions.

    I would appreciate more posts on transitioning from AutoCAD to BricsCAD. They would be helpful resources to point my customers to who are considering the switch.

  4. I am a graduate from Georgia Tech and I am President and CEO a 52 year old consulting and construction firm since 1985, in 1987 we started using AutoCAD and a bit later the third party product Softdesk that became Architectural Desktop, being rather new technology in our country back then our employees became the trainers hired at night and over the weekends by the Autodesk local reseller to train customers and develop his market and our company became the reference point he used when presenting his products to other consultants.
    One day I heard a speech or read an article by then CEO Mrs Bartz with basically promised stock holders to raise the profits of Autodesk by means that I just knew were going to become a financial burden on customers like me, not just price wise but comfort wise, she spelled out the plan of atomizing Autodesk in a bunch of different products that each office would have to license separately, like we see today, many products with different inter-phases to learn and not so compatible files to transfer among them, in my opinion that would be a tax on our wallet so by 2004 I concluded that Autodesk was getting too greedy and even intrusive in my company’s finantials and privacy and came to the conclusion that I wanted to break away from the Autodesk dependency, thus we started the search for a substitute product. It was in 2005 we found BricsCAD, it was an Intellicad flavor back then but in talking to them over the phone I came to the conclusion that Bricsys was more the kind of company I wanted to depend on for our future needs and meant for greatness, we maintained our AutoCAD licenses until 2008 as a contingency thinking that something could go wrong truth is that we never installed an AutoCAD product after 2006, my 2008 versions remain to date in their box, since 2006 all our work has been performed in BricsCAD stand alone or with a third party product compatible with BricsCAD such as Civil Site Design by Civil Survey Solutions, just last year we developed with BricsCAD projects valued around $100 million dollars which for Costa Rica are big numbers, several of the main architectural and engineering offices have followed or are following our lead, even the company led by Astronaut Franklin Chang that is developing the Plasma Engine for Nasa (AdAstra) in Costa Rica is currently relying on BricsCAD for the design of the engine that is supposed to be used to go to Mars in a few years
    In short, if you are considering an alternative product don’t thing much about it, go BricsCAD, today rather than saying “switch to BricsCAD” would say “Upgrade to BricsCAD”, it is truly an upgrade and the rate of growth of the program features is impressive, to have what BricsCAD provides in their Platinum version today you would have to have licenses of Sketch-up (we have actually uninstalled ours, BricsCAD does the job with as much ease), AutoCAD, part of Inventor and part of Revit. Choose version Platinum and if you want to do BIM I would suggest that you get “Platinum All In” before they release V17 so that you get the bonus BIM upgrade that is announced in the Web Page
    Hope this helps you leap into a positive change for you, for your company and for your wallet

  5. Our company does private development, and wrote our own program for alignments and profiles, originally because LDT did not behave across a WAN. Then we realized Civil3D was not ever going to meet our needs, so developed it further to the point where we use mostly autocad or Bricscad. Making the tools work for both is the easiest thing. You do have to be careful with lips, if you used to compile to .vlx, as the compiled lisp for bricscad is not “separate namespace”, but that is not hard to deal with. In the end, we can use either platform for production, and the only issues we have are not tool related. You will sometimes get unresolved xrefs if a dwg has particular kinds of stuff in it. We have cleaners that handle that fast, but it would be rough without them. The bigger problem I see is people simply don’t know how to set up autocad, so they get confused with Bricscad. I’ve helped set up a couple companies on Bricscad, and its gone well. We have some seats of civil3d and the whole trick for anyone on normal acad or bricscad, is to run the drawings through the civil batch converter included with Civil3d. You have it explode aec objects, and it also cleans out all kinds of other junk like regapps. I could write a book on what I consider proper setup concepts, and how those work out for a given company. All the things I do work on both platforms. We will be using it more and more as our designers have the option to use acad or bcad and all our tools work the same on both.

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