3D Modeling Techniques
IronCAD Lesson Two
Top Down or In-Context Modeling
Streamlined Sketching/Feature Based Modeling

IronCAD is unique and the most productive conceptual 3D CAD system. Change is incredibly easy. You can have several iteration of your design in the same file.

  • Single Model Environment - Parts and assemblies in a single file
  • Drag and Drop Design from Custom or Standard Catalogs
  • The Only Integrated History/Direct Edit Design - Both used in your design process
  • Copy and Paste Directly from Different Files
  • The Incredible Feature, Part and Assembly Manipulator - The Triball

We have the native IronCAD and STEP File Available here for download

Note: IronCAD Model .ics/AID .icd native files must be copied to the same folder.

3D Modeling is the basis for our engineering. That is the only place where productivity is paramount. You can have all the PLM/MBE gurus debating data management, but it does not add one smidgeon of productivity to the design process.

Top down or In-Context modeling is the most productive feature of 3D CAD. Most systems tout this but each part is still an external part. We are talking about a single model or multi-object design environment. Both of the systems we represent offer this as the "normal" design process. Thereby increasing your productivity 20 to 30%.

In these exercises I not only focus on modeling techniques, but also on much more productive systems to do our designs. I hope you enjoy them and learn something. If you are in management, understand that all 3D CAD systems are not the same. Cutting your engineering costs is very simple. Even your legacy data is not a problem. Please feel free to give me a call. There are millions of man hours wasted every day with poor modeling techniques and dated 3D CAD systems that cost a fortune. Productive 3D CAD systems do not have to be expensive.

Joe Brouwer

I am doing the below assembly for an exercise showing my modeling techniques and, of course, my 3D CAD solutions.

When I introduce IronCAD's very flexible design paradigm I have a hard time to get the Pro/e clone users, like Solidworks and other programs to understand the drag and drop design paradigm.

I saw some video challenges on linkedin and thought I would give it a try on IronCAD. This will give you an idea how different and flexible IronCAD is compared to the conventional Pro/e clone and to the not so conventional Fusion 360.

These exercises started out to show the benefits of IronCAD over Fusion 360, but quickly turned into a study of modeling techniques. Take a look at all of them, they will open your eyes to a much different and more productive way of modeling. It really has more to do with modeling technique than it has to do with the 3D CAD systems. I have found that I do 3D modeling as compared to the conventional 2D sketching. Of course, having a more productive 3D CAD system doesn't hurt.

See the comparison with many other 3D CAD systems.

3D CAD Modeling Techniques

These exercises were incredibly popular and I thought I would follow up by showing more examples of this 3D modeling technique.

We will be doing a couple of parts each weekend in both IronCAD and ZW3D. I hope you enjoy these exercises and hopefully they may lead to increasing your productivity.

Please feel free to review the first lesson:

3D Modeling Techniques IronCAD Lesson One

I was a bit short sighted last week with the Bearing. I named the file "Bearing" when it should have been "Center Grinder". There is a couple of ways to get the Bearing into another file. You can import it, copy and paste from another file or just rename the file. I had a document attached and I want to keep that document tied to the related model file so I will have to save it as the new name.

I bring up the document file: Bearing.icd

I right click on a view and select edit scene. It will bring me to that configuration in the model file and the relative view.

Now we have the related scene and configuration. Why scene? IronCAD was based on a graphic design package called "Trispectives" and scene would be appropriate. That is why IronCAD has integrated realistic rendering and animation. Why configuration? IronCAD is a single model environment and you have to be able to reference the different parts and assembly for drawings and other modeling functions. Especially when you do many different iterations of a design.

We now see the Bearing.

But now we have to save it as "Center Grinder" It gives us an option to relate the existing bearing document to the new "Center Grinder" model file.

I will save the bearing document file to "Center Grinder.icd" so as not to forget. Now we are ready to start adding parts. We will not detail the parts until the end.

The first part we will create is the Bushing. We will start by using the Extrude Wizard and selecting the mating face. We are going to design these parts in context or top down in the single model environment. We will change the configuration to default until we are ready to make the drawings.

We select the face of the left cylinder add select standalone part.

This will bring up a sketching plane. Yes, when designing in context is it much better to use the extrude wizard to project mating edges.

We select okay and we have our extrusion. But now we have to size it. A couple of things happened when I did this. I didn't set a direction or length. I will do that as I size the bushing. If you look at the scene browser (history tree) you will see a new part created. I am going to size the bushing change the colors of the parts and rename the parts in the scene browser.

We drag a hole cylinder to center of the bushing and size it.

I have aligned the bushing so we can add the hole. We do this again with extrude wizard while the two parts are assembled. We position the plane on the face of the bushing and rotated it with the triball.

Now we project the hole in the bearing onto the plane. Edit the radius.

We will now hide the bearing and add the oil groove by dragging and dropping a hole cylinder, locating and sizing it. We are done with the bushing.

Note: These parts are in aircraft position. This was a concept in very beginnings of 3D CAD while at Boeing. All of the parts were designed in their position in the airplane. I was instrumental in bringing CADKEY on board at Boeing. We would import/export parts to and from Catia with IGES. The parts "had" to be in aircraft position.

The 1980's - 3D CAD - The Beginning

Now for the Sleeve. Again I select the extrude wizard and project the edge of the bushing to create the middle cylinder. As you can see you do not have to worry about inserting a part and aligning it. It is done at part creation. The time saved in this step alone has to make you start thinking about design productivity.

Now we need the far side shaft which again I will use the extrude wizard. I will project the ID. But I need to create a full circle. I really doesn't matter where I establish the plane since I can resize it without a consideration.

We have sized the shaft and now for the other side.

We will create the front shaft by dragging a cylinder to the center of the face size it and then drag a hole cylinder to the center of the new Sleeve. We can use a mixture of drag and drop, projecting and sketching as we decide which is the most productive.

We need a hole for a small key. Again the extrude wizard is brought into play. We rotated it to horizontal and sketch the circle.

We select okay it automatically creates the hole. We will size the hole.
We now create the threads. These are cosmetic threads and are recognized in the drawing.

We will model the screw.  There are two of these screws used. I am assuming this would serves as a locking device for the bushing and a lubricating hole.

We will drag an existing fastener from the tools>fastener catalog onto the location of the screw.

We now are going to modify the exisiting screw.  Like I said I am going to modify it to meet the requirements I deem necessary. I like doing this as I discover the problems to show we are not just a canned presentation.

I hide the Bushing and Bearing to work on the screw. I will first modify the head. I will leave it the same height. Notice that the screws is made up of editable sketches.

Now we adjust the body. The fastener creation would only allow me to create a body the same length as the diameter of the screw so we have to modify it. Again you can see the sketch that makes up the body. We set it at 3/16.

We add the boss to the screw by dragging and dropping a cylinder to the center on the bottom of the screw and sizing it. This is used two places.

Now I am going to create a counter bore of 1/16 make the screw effective in locking the bushing. We will size it and move the screw into place.

We move the screw to set in the counter bore.

Since we have altered the design a bit, I do a quick section view to see if there are any problems. You can see the drawing is just another tab.

Note: I find creating the document and the views much more clear than doing a section cut in the model. It also creates a development path for others to have as reference if you happen leave the job in the middle.

Here are the parts we did in an exploded view. IronCAD allows you to create an exploded view that does not affect the original location of the parts.

I am going to detail these parts in one sheet. Ironcad allows all of the parts to be detailed in one document. Great for one person doing an assembly.

For those of you that are creating this parts you can go back to this article. I have modified the Bushing drawing to reflect the changed we did here.

Here is the original. I did add some dims that were not defined.

I did modify the screw. You can imagine that this designer was available to manufacturing to answer any questions.

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