Saturday, 23 March 2013

VirtualMec - Problems?

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned the VirtualMec software and my first impressions were good ones. I bought the programme now because it has been expanded by the inclusion of  a lot of new parts - there are still a lot missing but it is a start and I thought, by buying a licence, I would encourage and, in a small way, help to propagate more development. Keen to get going, I built (if that is the right word) a little hand cart using parts that cover the best part of 100 years. The spoked wheels date from the beginning of the last century while the triangular plates, that support the handle shafts, are bang up-to-date current parts and new in the VirtualMec parts list. Good fun to build and took no time at all to pick up the basics.

First little mode was fine...
I started to use the software to design some very simple and small models for some little steam driven kits we are developing for our e-shop The first simple model was easy. A double steam hammer of a few parts, nothing complicated, no bent parts just straightforward bolt-together standard parts.

Double steam hammer kit
With the drawing complete, I can now list the parts and make up the kits. Not wanting to add just one kit, I decided to design a simple roundabout. This model is complicated by the use of  bent parts, a more demanding use of VirtualMec. With a bit of help, from other users, I soon managed to get the hang of using the software - it is pretty basic stuff once you get to know its little foibles. However it seems that it has a far more disagreeable trait...

As my demands on the software increased - not by very much, we are still talking only a handful of parts here - it would suddenly announce, in one of those irritating windows7 semitransparent boxes, that it had stopped. It will then restart. experience has now encouraged me to save the file frequently but it is still a major pain in the... well you know where. 

The roundabout under construction - it was at this point it all started to go wrong
I am now a bit disillusioned with VirtualMec. I will battle on and see how it all turns out... I will let you know how I get on. I hope these issues can be rectified. Earlier 'selection' problems were solved by installing a new graphics card. I happened to have one laying around (as you do!) but is would not have been the end of the world if I had to buy one as they are only £25-30 and they improve the specification of the computer for other video hungry software and websites, of which there seems to be more and more about these days. 

I am confident that these problems are software related this time. Others are having similar problems, over a wide range of computers,  indicating to me that this is not a hardware problem. I don't think it is down to my inexperience with the programme, although in some ways I wish it was, as somebody could tell me not to do this or to do that. Unfortunately I think the problem is deeper than that. I am convinced there is a bug in the software somewhere - but hay, what do I know. Let's hope the news is better next time I post something about VirtualMec.


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