3D Modeling Techniques
 ZW3D Lesson Two
Top Down or In-Context Modeling
Streamlined Sketching/Feature Based Modeling

ZW3D is similar to the Solidworks clones with four distinct advantages:

  • Multi-Object Environment - Parts and assemblies in a single file
  • Primitive Shapes - Using primitive shape increase productivity 30%
  • Integrated Drawing - Solves many of the PDM and PLM problems
  • Usable Robust Integrated Direct Edit Functionality

We have the native ZW3D and STEP File Available here for download

Note: IronCAD 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 and external part. We are talking about a single model of 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 ineffective 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, our superior 3D CAD solutions.

3D CAD Modeling Techniques

I saw the following video challenges on linkedin and thought I would give it a try on IronCAD. I got a great response and decided to do it in ZW3D. I was very familiar with the parts and it was a bit easier.

ZW3D vs Fusion 360

These exercises started out to show the benefits of ZW3D 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.

ZW3D is very similar to the Pro/e clones with a few small differences. It is very easy for those users to get up and running with ZW3D. It has a few operation that are a bit more streamlined. The benefits over the other systems are the multi-object environment (top down design) with the integrated drawing. You can do parts, assemblies and drawings in one file.

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 review lesson one:

3D Modeling Techniques ZW3D Lesson One

We will bring up the Center Grinder file:

Since we created this file as a multi-object the ZW3D Manager automatically comes up. It shows the assembly, the bearing and the bearing drawing.

We will select the center grinder assembly and we will see the existing parts. We will right click on the Center Grinder assembly and select "insert component". Again I want to reiterate this is not a true single model environment. Each part is still like a external reference except that it resides in the same file.

Now we insert the Bushing as a new part.

Note: ZW3D's Multi-Object top down design is an incredible time saver. Especially for the individual design. Which is most of us. Even in large companies a designer is given a sub-assembly to develop.

This step automatically puts us in the "edit part" mode that shows the other parts as ghosted. They are available for reference as you will see. We also have the "open part" mode which has only the single part available. You can make these external individual parts as required.

Note: I have surprisingly found that ZW3D is a superior top down design program. I have worked with many top down design packages (There are only 4 that I know of) and ZW3D is incredibly productive.

Now will will begin on modeling the bushing. We are going to design in top down or in context design. We will go to the assembly menu and reference an edge.

Now we will go the the shape mode and select extrude. We just select the reference circle, no sketch required, size it in the assembly. Very, very productive and simple.

Note: I have to admit there is only one other program that has this feature and I have tens of thousands of hours on it. This is by far one of the most productive modeling features available. No sketch, no setup at all. Pure modeling.

That being done we now create the hole by inserting a primitive cylinder and setting it as subtract. We will select the center of the bushing, set the alignment and size it. (We have the tool tips shown. You can go to help and it will show you how it is used)

Now for the oil groove. We again insert a primitive cylinder and set it to subtract, we offset it from the center of the hole to located it and size it.

We now locate the oil hole on top by again going to the assembly menu and referencing the top circle which shows purple.

We again go the the shape menu and select extrude, pick the circle and size it.

Here is a step many of you will not be familiar. We will go the the direct edit menu and directly edit the hole by using the modify radius command to the correct size, 7/32. This is a very, very productive function when working top down design. Most would have to create a sketch then set the diameter. But this is one very simple step.

We are now done with the part. I will select the Center Grinder assembly for our next step. We now insert a new component: The Sleeve. You can see I have change colors for clarity.

I will select the assembly menu and again reference the mating edge to start the Sleeve.

I move the shape menu and select extrude and select the circle and size it. Again no sketching involved. Incredibly productive.

For the back shaft we just create another primitive, center on the edge of the existing cylinder on the back face, so it can easily be sized.

Now for the front shaft. Again we insert a primitive cylinder on the center of the face of the existing cylinder, align it and size it. Can it be more simple?

Now we have the hole on the bottom. We will sketch this feature since it is not located by the center of the hole. We select the XY plane and set the up directs: negative Y

Now we will add the circle in the sketch. I create a vertical line 5/16 long from the center of the cylinder that represents the edge of the hole. I then create a circle using the center and end of the line. I will delete the vertical line and exit the sketch.

I will then extrude the hole. I have to set the view to wireframe to access the sketch. We select the circle and set the size.

Now for the last hole. We again go to the primitive cylinder, locate and size. You are probably bored with this by now. But realize the time is saves from having to create a sketch and then extrude.

We now need to add the cosmetic threads.

We are done with the Sleeve. I will change the color and move to the screw.

I have decided to alter the design a bit since the drawing is not clear on the screw and how it sets in the Bearing. As we select the Bearing to edit part, you can see the Bushing and Shaft are now ghosted.

I will create a .375 X .063 deep counter bore in the Bearing, again using the primitive cylinder. I want to do this first so I can have the mating features to create the screw, saving time from having to locate it.

Now for the screw. I have already modeled it in my IronCAD lesson, so I will just recreate it here. I again insert a component "screw". I could actually export it from my IronCAD part file. But this is a modeling exercise. If you would like to see the two systems working together go to his link. That would be a very informative productive modeling techniques article.

3D CAD Systems Working Together

We will again use the reference in the assembly menu to create the screw body.

We will now create the head of the screw, by creating a primitive cylinder. locating and sizing. Have to admit I am getting good at this and I am pleasantly surprised. I find ZW3D very, very easy to use and highly productive.

Now for the bottom boss. It is so cool that I can just select the edge of the circle and define it to the center. Again i locate and size the cylinder. I love this I didn't even have to manipulate the view. This is huge!

Now for the slot on top. Yes, yes, yes, we insert a primitive block and size it.

One small step to add the screw thread cosmetic image. Hmm as I was doing this I realized the screw body was the wrong size so I have to go to the direct edit menu and set the body to  7/32 diameter. I like have these mistakes show up, to show that we can edit the model in any stage on the fly without having to edit a sketch.

Now for the cosmetic thread. This feature shows the the thread as a feature in the drawing.

We are done with the parts we are doing today.

Here is an exploded view.

Here are the views defined in the 2D sheet generated from the Center Grinder assembly. We add the dimensions and we are completely done with the part. Please remember, we have done this all in one file. Think it through!

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 avalable to manufacturing to answer any questions.

Now for lesson three:

3D Modeling Techniques IronCAD Lesson Three

If you would like to try ZW3D, please download for a 30 day evaluation.

For more information or to download ZW3D

Give me a call if you have any questions. I can set up a skype or go to meeting to show this part or answer any of your questions on the operation of IronCAD. It truly is the very best conceptual 3D CAD system.

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Joe Brouwer