IRONCAD vs NX Lesson 1 Assembly
3D Modeling Techniques Defined
True Top Down Assembly/In Context Design
In a Single Model Environment
With Streamlined Sketching/Feature Based Modeling

The modeling technique is hugely responsible for the level of productivity. Those of you that are only trained in the constrained sketching world of the major CAD systems are truly limited by not using the freedom of Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based Design, that is available in even the most Pro/e-ish of CAD systems. If you or your designers are designing in these very unproductive and time consuming processes it might be time to review your standard design processes. Don't have any do you?

These lessons started out as product comparisons, but quickly turned into a study in 3D modeling techniques.

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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.

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I saw the following NX YouTube tutorial and thought I would give it a try on IronCAD. I have to tell you it is almost tortuous to watch the NX presenter. I have tried to do top down design in Solidworks and failed. Inventor is a bit better but all of these programs including NX create external parts. You will see a huge difference in IronCAD's true single model environment.

NX is a constrained sketched based system as are Fusion 360, Solidworks and Creo. In the following lessons you can see that this modeling paradigm is use throughout the industry causing millions of wasted hours.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

Siemens PLM NX - Topdown Assembly Modeling of Belt Roller Support

The reference drawings are at the end of the lesson.

Assembly is the very best feature of IronCAD. With its true single model environment it offers the highest level of productivity. Watch how we use drag and drop with a minimum of sketching to complete this job in no time. There is no better program that can manipulate parts and an assemblies in a 3D space.

While creating 3D models from a drawing is the very best way to learn 3D CAD and maybe some design techniques is does not expose the designer to the design flexibility necessary in product design. IronCAD is all top down due to the single model environment. Creating mating parts is a cruise. But modeling is just one aspect of a well designed productive 3D CAD system.

IronCAD vs NX

I would do a video, but I really am not good at it. So I will show you step by step. I will try and get IronCAD support to create one. They are very good.

I always create the part before I watch the NX Video, so as to not taint my process. Of course, there are a multitude of ways to create a model. There is no right way, just more productive ways. But from what I have seen from these very complicated processes done by the NX presenter, it is not just limited by the 3D CAD system.

The modeling technique is hugely responsible for the level of productivity. Those of you that are only trained in the sketch, sketch, constrain, constrain world are truly limited by not using the freedom of Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based modelin, that is available in even the most Pro/e-ish of CAD systems. If your designers are designing in these very unproductive and time consuming processes it might be time to review your standard design processes. Don't have any do you?

I have to say this is incredibly simple. But the NX presenter has been indoctrinated into these designs techniques. It started with Pro/e (Creo) and has been the way the sketch, constrain and assemble. The Solidworks clones are costing the industry millions, if not billions, in lost productivity.

Here is IronCAD. We will set the units to millimeters.

Learning IronCAD! Lesson 1
Setting up the Scene (Workspace)

With IronCAD's single model environment we do not have to prepare for it being an assembly. We just start creating our part.

We will start by dragging and dropping a block from the catalog and sizing it.

Learning IronCAD! Lesson Two
Drag and Drop Design
Designing with Shapes

What are these shapes? We call them intellishapes. All are based on sketches that can be edited.

Learning IronCAD! Lesson 4
IronCAD Intellishape Deconstructed
What are we Dragging and Dropping?

We then drag and drop another block and locate it at mid-point of the top of the rectangle and size it by pulling the side handle, holding down the shift key and matching the edges, we set the height to 3 and then the length to 46. You can drop the feature on a variety of snap points on the part such as corners, edges, mid-points and centers.

Learning IronCAD! Lesson Two
Drag and Drop Design
Designing with Shapes

We drag and drop a hole block at the mid-point of the top face.

We grab the handles, hold down the shift key and match the related faces and set the height to 3.

We put in the 4 12mm blends or fillets

We will put in the 4 M10 holes. We drag and drop a custom hole from the tool catalog to the mid-point as shown. I can't believe it is as complicated to locate a hole in NX.

We locate the first hole then locate and link the other 3 holes using the triball.

The Triball is used throughout the design. I can manipulate features, parts and assemblies.

We name the part base and we are done. No sketches were used.

IronCAD was designed from the ground up for top down or in context design and has many function that make it much easier.

One of those functions is the Extrude Wizard which will use to start the bracket. We select the Extrude Wizard and select the front top face and in the dialog box we pick stand alone and set it for 10mm.

We select project from the sketch menu and select the front top face and that creates our sketch. We do not want the holes so we delete them.

Yes we use sketches in our designs. The Extrude Wizard is one of the main tools in in context design in making mating parts.

We just select okay and we have the base for the bracket.

We change the color on the base for clarity.

We add the front cut by dragging and dropping a hole block to front edge of the bracket base.

I drag and drop a block to the edge of the related face of the bracket base and size the block.

I will drag and drop a cylinder on the upper edge of the block. IronCAD knows depending on how the faces are viewed how to orient the dragged intellishape. We then size the cylinder.

We add the hole by dragging and dropping a cylinder to the center of the boss and sized.

And now for the rib. We again use the Extrude Wizard to add a feature not to create a mating part. IronCAD also has a standalone sketching function for development or for using .dxf/.dwg 2D graphic imports.

We project the relative edges necessary to create the rib.

We edit the vertical line to 40 and extend and trim the bottom line. Delete the construction line and connect the dots. A red dot means then lines are not connected and the sketch will fail.

Note: I was talking to one of my associates and realized I could have drag and dropped a rib intellishape on to the part, eliminating the need for the sketch!

We select okay and we locate the rib with the triball.

We now put in the blends.

Now for the holes.

I drop a 10mm hole on the top face of the bracket face.

I could have made these with the original projection but I want to have them linked for use later.

I will now turn on the Triball, locking the feature to the plane will move it the center of the base plates hole than use it again the same way to link it and use the base plate hole to locate it.

Add the chamfers and we are done.

We will link rotate and locate the bracket at this time. The NX presenter violated the top down/in context rule of not using mating structure for the roller, bushing and shaft.

We change the color of the bracket, since they are linked both change.

Now for the shaft. We drag and drop a cylinder to the front face of the aft bracket

We now size the long portion of the shaft. We size it, add the chamfers and the hole.

Now we drop another cylinder that will become the larger center portion of the shaft.

We just size it an pull it to the mating faces. Now for the hole I will use a little trick. Since it is the same size as the end hole I can just take the triball and rotate it 180 degrees and copy it and move it. I could do this with any size hole.

We now just size the length of the hole and we are done with the shaft.

Now for the bushings. Notice I am not worried about assembly. We will create the  assemblies later.

We will hide the shaft and drag and drop a new cylinder to the center of the boss!

Now just edit the size box. The size box is the basic envelope of the Intellishape.

Now we add another cylinder to the center and size it, but we will use the left mouse button that automatically makes it part of the bushing. I pull the aft handle to the aft edge of the original cylinder and then set the 17mm length. That way I don't have to worry about subtracting or adding.

Add the hole and the chamfer and we are done with the bushing. We then use the triball to link and rotate into place and change the color.

Using the Spin Wizard I locate a sketch and set to 360 degrees.

I have created my reference entities. I will use StreamLined Sketching! We can use constrained sketching but I have found like in the NX presentation it is a bit more complex. Also I have hid the catalog for more space in the scene.

Learning IronCAD! Lesson 3
Streamlined Sketching
(Unconstrained Sketching)

Why do we call it a Scene instead of a workspace? IronCAD was first released as Trispectives, a graphics design package.

Now we will add a few parallel lines.

Now we connect the dots and delete the referenced graphics leaving the reference centerline.

We mirror the graphics and add the lines and delete any reference entities.

We select okay and add the chamfers and blends, by selecting the inside face and we are done.

We show the shaft and were are done done with our design. Now to add the fasteners. We drag and drop the washer from a custom catalog locate and link using the Triball.

Now for the screws screws. We drag and drop the screw from our fasteners in the tool catalog and define it in the dialog box.

We have the option to create a screw at all of the linked washers, we select yes.

We are now done with our assembly. All parts were designed top down and in context in a single model environment.

Look through the process again, these are all the steps to create this assembly. Compare it to NX. Why do you think they call it PLM NX? I am sure they can hardly sell this overly complex modeling system on its CAD merits.

Making the drawings is a breeze. We just select the Bulk Drawing creation, select the parts and IronCAD will generate the assembly and the other 5 parts for detailing.

Think of the amount of files created with NX the five parts and one assembly, if you create the AIDs (Associated Information Documents (drawings)) that is a total of eleven files to maintain. IronCAD created two files.

It is very important that you look into how you or your engineers are creating the parts. Streamline Sketching and Feature Based Modeling is easy to learn and implement. It, alone, will increase productivity 10X. Now, IronCAD with its unique integrated history/direct edit functionality can increase your productivity another 5X or more with changes! Again, time is money in engineering.

More on Streamline Sketching and Feature Based Modeling.

3D CAD Modeling Techniques

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