3D Modeling Techniques
IronCAD Lesson Three
Top Down or In-Context 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

3D Modeling Techniques IronCAD Lesson Two 

We have a couple more parts to add to our assembly. The true single model environment is by far the most productive feature in 3D CAD. Watch how easy it is to design parts in context or top down.

We are going to model the Flange. First we create a configuration called "Flange". With  a single model environment this is how you differentiate the parts for detailing and viewing assemblies. You can have any level of configuration. This is much better than using levels as it is done in other single model environment programs.

We drag and drop a cylinder into the design scene and we size it. I could do this in context but there are not enough matting edges to make it worth while and, of course, it is very a simple part.

I could do a sketch only, but I will do a mixture of drag and drop and sketching. To make the outside cut I will use the extrude wizard. I will insert a plane on the affected face and set to remove. Project the outer edge and create the inner circle of 2.25 diameter then select okay.

We drag and drop a hole cylinder to the center of the existing face and size 2.00 X 5/16

We drag and drop a cylinder to the center face and size it 1 3/16 X 3/16

Now we just drag and drop a hole cylinder on to the center of boss and size it.

We now drag and drop a hole block on the the face, located it and size it. As you can see the difference between feature modeling as compared to sketching.

Last we will put move the Flange to the correct position with the triball and add the blend, change the color and we are done with the part. We will suppress the other parts so the Flange will be the only part in the configuration.

We will now model the Ring. We will create a Ring configuration and unsuppress the other parts for reference. I will drag and drop a cone on an existing part using the right mouse button. This gives me the option to create a new part or a feature on the existing part. We will create a new part. I do this eliminating the need to set it up trough the Spin Wizard. All of the shapes are based on a sketch. I just edit the sketch and I am done. I thought of this concept a few years ago. IronCAD opens doors to modeling techniques that are beyond the Solidworks clones.

I select the cone at the feature level, using the triball, rotate the sketch to the orientation I want to work. You can see the graphics that make up the cone.

I will now sketch the ring in context in the part location. Using the cone I do not have to set any parameters for the spin. I just select okay and we have our ring.

I add the blends and name the new part Ring. I mirror and link the Flange. Linking creates an associated duplicate of the part that can also be used when creating the parts list. I suppress everything except the ring and create a new configuration called the Nut. I unsuppress the other parts for reference. Next, again using the extrude wizard selecting the stand alone part option, we create a plane on the face of the matting part to create the Nut. While we have a primitive polygon we can drag and drop it does not give us the options we need to create the unique nut.

Using the Look at tool I will look directly at the new sketch, select the polygon tool in the sketch menu and define the Nut.

We select okay. Now we need to create the chamfer. This time I drag and drop a hole cone onto the center of the nut, then edit the sketch. I always think I am so clever when I use the cone.

We will name the part, and suppress the other parts and create the treaded hole by dragging and dropping a custom hole from the tool catalog. Standard and custom Catalogs offer an incredible level of flexibility and productivity. Just imagine all of your common parts at your fingertips to utilize.

We are done with our modeling. I will create AIDs (Associated Information Documents) (drawings) for these new parts.

We can use the existing exploded view to move the other parts into place with the triball.

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.

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

Now for lesson Four:

3D Modeling Techniques IronCAD Lesson Four

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