3D Modeling Techniques
 ZW3D Lesson Three
Top Down or In-Context Modeling

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 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.

I saw the some 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.

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.

See the comparison with many other 3D CAD systems.

3D CAD Modeling Techniques

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 lessons:

3D Modeling Techniques ZW3D Lesson One

3D Modeling Techniques ZW3D Lesson Two

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 and all the component parts to this point.

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 Flange 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 Flange. We are going to design in top down or in context design. We will go to the assembly menu and reference an edge.

We now insert a primitive cylinder using the center of the reference entity.

We will create a sketch for the next cut. We will select the face of the cylinder to establish the plane.

Now we create the two circles, the outer circle is arbitrary just as long as it is outside the diameter of the original cylinder.

We exit and extrude the profile.

Now for the next cut, again we insert a cylinder at the center of the new face.

Now for the inside boss. We insert a new cylinder on center of the new face. If it wasn't for the primitives I would probably not enjoy working with ZW3D as much. But this functionality makes it much more productive.

Now for the hole. The use of Primitive cylinders is incredibly simple. I use this type of design to show those that are in the sketch, sketch, constrain, constrain only world there is another highly productive way of modeling to add to your modeling arsenal and increase your productivity, offering a more pleasant design experience. It is much more fun.

Now for the slot for the key. I could insert a block. But locating them can be a bit tough in certain conditions. This is one of them. It would just cause too much thinking. Years ago I realized that there were certain ways of design that took too much thinking. I found that with the Solidworks clones. We want a system that does not require a lot of thinking.

We won't think much to an sketch the slot. We use this face to define the sketching plane. Notice the blue arrow selected that establishes which direction is up for my sketch. This was all new to me, very clever indeed.

I have found it a bit difficult to find the edges I want to work with in the sketch with the other parts shown, so I just open the part. Much of this is a learning curve for me. But I am enjoying realizing how incredibly easy it is to model in ZW3D.

Now I can create the sketch on the effected face. Notice that the blue arrow is highlighted indicating the up direction for the sketch. Clever indeed.

We now sketch the slot. I sketch a bit different than most of you. I use the entities for construction geometry. Notice I created a circle to establish the intersection to establish the right vertical line of our slot. I suppose I started doing this with CADKEY when we were designing in 3D wireframe. The entities, lines, arcs and spline were actually the edges of the parts. There was no sketching as it is defined today in the Solidworks clones.

Now I just trim or extend and delete the entities to get our net profile.

Exit the sketch and extrude the cut. I am doing this to show you a different modeling technique, many of the steps can be done with effective sketching. I am calling this feature modeling, different from constrained sketching, and can be done with any system.

We add the fillet and we are done with the part. We will now create the ring. We create the plane. This has always been a mystery to me. I am just getting used to it.

Again you can see I sketch much differently. I create a center line and vertical line. Then create offsets to establish the basic rectangle. I trim the outer line so I can then use the mid point to create a vertical line that is the radius for outer curve. No sketching or constraining just using the existing geometry. Much Simpler?? I then trim, extend or delete the geometry to create the net profile.

Just select the revolve command and select the profile and axis.

We have two flanges so insert another flange, and move it to align it with the ring. I have always had a very straight forward way of doing this in IronCAD. So I had to figure this out. Alignment was one of my other mysteries in the Solidworks clone world. They were always inserting, aligning and constraining parts. It seemed so convoluted, since I have always designed my parts top down. I think this is the first time I have inserted a component in any program.

Actually with a bit of investigation it turned out very, very easy. I just went to the assembly menu and selected coincident align. it was the default. I Picked the mating face on the flange and selected the mating face on the ring. I must have done something wrong it was that easy.

Now for the nut. We just create a plane on the face of the flange. Had to figure this out but looks like I succeeded.

Just select the polygon and insert in the middle and input the size.

We extrude the polygon

Now for the small chamfer on the edge of the nut. We create a sketch on the XY plane.

I start the sketch with a .625 line from the center of the nut. Then the angled line, a vertical line then close it off with the last horizontal line and delete the construction line. No constraints.

Select revolve and the profile.

Now for the threaded hole.

We are now done with the parts we are doing today.

Here is an exploded view, yes in one file.

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.

Now for lesson Four:

3D Modeling Techniques ZW3D Lesson Four

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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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If you are interested in adding professional hybrid modeling capabilities or looking for a new solution to increase your productivity, take some time to download a fully functional 30 day evaluation and play with these packages. Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions or would like an on-line presentation.

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Joe Brouwer