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 [Ref]) 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 [Ref]). 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 AME.

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 time.

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.