Miscellaneous Junk

This section covers miscellaneous hardware items associated with Unigraphics.  They are being presented in no particular manner except in rough chronological order.


Tektronix Joystick

Early optional Tektronix Joystick used with the Tektronix 4014 DVST design stations.  While never very popular, they were used by some people who did not like thumb wheels or who could not use them (there was one user with a prosthetic arm who used one of these devices as it was the only why he could control the cursor).

Tektronix Foot Switch
This photo shows the optional Tektronix foot switch which was used with the Tektronix 4014 DVST design station.  When working at a 4014 the user made selections from the screen by pushing the spacebar.  If the 4014 was equipped with this optional foot switch, the user could just push the switch with his foot and it would be as if he had pushed the spacebar.  This way he could keep his right hand on the thumb wheels (or the joystick or data table) and his left hand on the PFK.  You could call this the first "Advanced Unigraphics User Interface".

Back of a Standard PFK

This shows the back side of a late model standard PFK (later models were blue while earlier models were either black or dark gray).  Shown is the on-off switch, fuse, 115/230 voltage switch and interface connections.  The medium knob on the side of the PFK (on the right side of the picture) controlled the brightness of the backlighted buttons.

PFK Bulb

This shows one of the medium "grain-of-wheat" bulbs used to backlight the PFK buttons.  Users needed to keep several spare bulbs around as they tended to burn out an a regular basis, particularly if the users hit the keys very hard, which many people did.

Service Tag

Here is a service tag from January, 1980 showing that the PFK had been serviced by the supplier, Symbolic Displays Inc. (amazingly they are still in business only now located in Santa Ana, CA).  The interesting part is the wording on the tag indicating that the PFK had been serviced and inspected in accordance with FAA regulations.  Symbolic Displays was an aerospace supplier and while the PFK's were never known to be used onboard an aircraft, it appears that perhaps McDonnell Douglas was using suppliers that they were familiar with from other parts of their business.

Medium Message Monitor

This is one of the the medium message monitors used with the Tektronix 4014 design station.  It had a separate power supply and displayed alpha numerical text in black & white.  These units were also sometimes known as a "Carmel", named after one of the early suppliers of the these medium displays.  Later workstations used larger message monitors, but they still were only capable of displaying black & white alpha numerical strings of text.

Tektronix Data Tablet

This is a photo of an early Tektronix Data Tablet.  This provided an optional method for controlling the screen cursor.  It also allowed users to digitize simple sketches and drawings into Unigraphics although the early versions of Unigraphics did not support true digitizers, later versions did.  While the digitizer interface was sold for several years and supported large (up to E-Size) flatbed digitizers it was never widely used.

HP Data Tablet with 4-Button Mouse

Shown here is an HP Data Tablet with a Unigraphics Detail Drafting (UGDD) overlay.  Note that this tablets could be used either for cursor control, medium flatbed digitizers or for selection of macros.  For several years (until the release of V10.0) Unigraphics supported the ability to map the face of a data tablet so that users could activate macros from an user created overlay.  The UGDD product was just a cut down version of Unigraphics using a pre-packaged tablet overlay and macros as it user interface.  This option was fairly popular and many customer used these tablets for this purpose, particularly those customers who had transitioned from  other CAD systems where the tablet interface was the primary method of interacting with the software.  In fact there were even a couple of those customers who continued to use the overlays from their legacy products, such as CADDS from Computervision, and just programmed Unigraphics macros for each CADDS function.  While they were not able to do a 100% clone of the CADDS tablet, they were able to get enough coverage so as to help speed-up their transition from CADDS to Unigraphics.

UGDD Data Tablet Overlay

This is a full-size image of the Unigraphics Detail Drafting (UGDD) data tablet overlay.  Each item on this overlay represented either a keystroke macro or a GRIP program.

Calcomp 960 Pen Plotter

This is an example of the early type of plotter used with Unigraphics.  This is a Calcomp 960 Pen Plotter with support for 2 pens at one time (a later model supported 4 pens).  This plotter used several pen types, such as ball point for test plots (on paper) or Rapido-Graph style ink pens for final plots (on velum or mylar).  The task of creating a production plot was fairly time consuming when you consider that you had to fill the pens were first clean, then fill them with ink, make sure that they were free flowing and then load the pens and start the plot before the pens dry out.  Then afterwards, if there was not going to be any more plots created, the pens has to be cleaned, which required that they be disassembled, cleaned, dried, reassembled and then stored where they would not get dirty.  If there was going to be more plots created soon, you would need to remove the pens and place them somewhere where they would not dry out (click here: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 for an article on the trials and tribulations of pen plotting).  Many people used medium sealed containers with a wet sponge where the tips of the pen could be kept moist between plots.  This was the standard until the introduction of electrostatic plotters and the eventual move toward laser printers and ink jet technology.

Paper Tape Punch/Reader

This is a paper tape punch/reader used to output punched tape for NC machines.  Also some early software was delivered on paper tape including UNIAPT and the UNIAPT post processors.

Paper Tape

Here are some UNIAPT post processors on paper tape from United Computing Corporation, dated October, 1975.

9-Track Magnetic Tapes

Until the advent of CD-ROM's, Unigraphics software was delivered on magnetic tapes like these 9-Track reels of tape shown above.  These tapes were also used before the advent of the license management software, such as ACS and FlexLM, which meant that each tape had to be recorded special for each customer based on what software they had licensed.  This also meant that if a customer added a new module that additional tape(s) had to be cut and mailed before they could have access to that new product.

GRIP International Library tape
GRIP_lib_tape[1].jpg The GRIP International Library consisted of source code files submitted by customers as well as from many technical people at Unigraphics.  Also included on the tape was a library of user created text fonts for use with Unigraphics Drafting.  This library was supplied to any customer who requested it for no charge.  Later, after the company started to deliver software on CD-ROM. this library was included so that all users would have access to the files.

Crossroads Product Kit

ACCESS-150, Unigraphics terminal emulator for Apple Macintosh.

Unigraphics on CD-ROM's
V6_CD-ROM_1[1].jpgUG_CD-ROMs[1].jpg Starting with V6.0, Unigraphics has been distributed on CD-ROM's.  For several years there was a choice of media (tapes or CD's) but recently CD's are the only option.  Of course customers are also able to download versions over the web if they have high speed connections, but the primary means of distribution is via CD-ROM.

HP Dial Box

This shows an HP Dial Box used to provide 3D control of the graphical display window on an HP workstation.  These were the only option for 3D control of displays until the introduction of the Spaceball.  Other workstation vendors also offered Dial Boxes such as IBM and Evans & Sutherland.


Close-up of the plastic overlay as seen in the picture above of the HP Dial Box.


Series 1000 Spaceball

This shows the original Spaceball.  This series 1000 unit was very large compared to today's unit.  They were also very expensive, costing more then $1,500 each.  Even at this price, they proved to be very popular with users although the price did prevent their widespread usage.  The original Spaceball was developed by a company from Australia and Unigraphics was one of the first products the supported these devices on those workstations that had 3D displays.

Series 2000 Spaceball

This is the next generation Spaceball, the series 2000 (this is 2003 model).  These sold for something just under $1,000 and was the first model that enjoyed wide success.  These units were also sold by the various workstation vendors, such as HP, who ended up dropping their dial box in favor of this particular style of Spaceball.  Note the diagram showing the pre-programmed functions.  These were supplied by Spaceball for each of the CAD products that they supported, including of course, Unigraphics.

Series 3000 Spaceball

This is the 3000 series Spaceball.  It came in two versions, the original 3000 shown above and the later 3000 Flex.  The difference is that the original 3000 had a stationary ball and the 3000 Flex had a ball that moved providing better feedback to the user.  This was also the only Spaceball that had no programmable buttons and depended on software controls access via a screen dialog.

Series 4000 Spaceball

This is latest model of the Spaceball, the series 4000.  This Spaceball is least expensive model ever and is also the first one that can be configured for either left-handed or right-handed users (just switch the padded section to the other side).  Note that several Unigraphics employees were part of the focus group (along with selected customers) that was asked to comment on the design.  This included reviewing concept sketches, early non-working mockups, functional prototypes and early production models.  Note that the vendors now offers custom branding for the most popular supported CAD products.

Magellan Space Mouse (original model)

This is an alternative 3D display controller from Logitech, the Magellan Space Mouse.  It works in the same manner as does the Spaceball but when introduced it was available at a much lower cost.  Also it was the first device that provided for a flexible (moveable) actuator.  In the original Spaceball the "ball" was basically fixed and a user only applied pressure to move the display.  While this worked OK, many users preferred the movable control as it gave better feedback to the user.  After this device was released Spaceball both lowered their cost and modified their 3000 series model to have a movable ball.

Magellan Space Mouse (later model)

This is a more recent model of the Magellan Space Mouse.  It has basically all of the same features as the original Space Mouse, but has been improved to provide enhanced user comfort.

Hardware License Key (AKA Dongel)

These hardware keys were used when Unigraphics was first ported to PC style configurations.  Until the advent of FlexLM, there was no way to lock a Unigraphics license to a specific workstation, particularly a portable CPU's like a laptop and other medium CPU that was not connected to a network.  These plugged into the parallel (printer) port and had a Unigraphics unique coding that was checked whenever Unigraphics was started.  These devices are no longer needed as the Unigraphics licenses are now keyed to the unique ether net ID of the customers workstations/servers.

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