3D Modeling Techniques 
IronCAD vs Solidworks Lesson Three
Shapes & Streamlined Sketching

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 have created nine "IronCAD vs Fusion 360" lessons to show the difference between IronCAD and Fusion 360. It soon turned into a study in modeling techniques. I found the Fusion 360 presenter was wasting massive amounts of time with overly complex sketching procedures. I was so unimpressed that I decided to model an assembly, showing my modeling techniques plus IronCAD's superb design system.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

I was quite pleased to have found these exercises from a Solidworks dealer and thought I would show the difference in my modeling technique plus the highly productive modeling method offered by IronCAD. I again find modeling techniques that can easily be streamlined even within their existing system. I call it feature based design. Please review a few of the above IronCAD vs Fusion 360 lessons, there are more very stark differences.

Please watch a Solidworks user model this part!

How Can I Draw? | 3D Part ( exercise 20)

While creating 3D models from drawing is the very best way to learn 3D CAD and maybe some design techniques it does not expose the designer to the design flexibility necessary in 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.

Solidworks is a marginal 3D CAD system based on the dated Pro/e (Creo) history based modeling system. I have sold this product years ago and found it, like all of the other Solidworks clones, not productive enough for our engineering department. We use what we sell. That gives us the experience to effectively support our user base.

Is 3D CAD Productivity an Oxymoron?

IronCAD vs Solidworks and the Pro/e Paradigm

IronCAD vs Solidworks

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.

As with my Ironcad vs Fusion 360 exercises I have found the same problems with Solidworks. 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 feature based design, that is available in even the most Solidworks-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?

This part in IronCAD takes seven basic steps!

Here is IronCAD. My default is inches, so we will set the units to mm. Let's get started.

I drag and drop a torus in to the scene and size it, then we set the spin angle.

Note: Why does IronCAD call it a scene instead of a workspace? IronCAD was first released as a graphic design program called Trispectives. It still has much of the graphic design functionality. It truly is a wonderful mixture of professional 3D CAD and graphic design, which puts it in a much more flexible category as compared to the very mechanical engineering focused Solidworks clones.

All of the intelliShapes are based on sketches, some with modifiers. We just edit the the cross section. We add the necessary lines and trim the original circle that the torus was based.

Now we have a filled torus. If there is such a thing??

We drag and drop a cylinder to the face of the filled torus and size it.

Now we shell the shape to 10mm.

This is what I call feature based modeling. Just editing an existing sketch from a standard shape dragged and dropped from the catalog. The Solidworks fellow could have created the filled torus and extruded a hole, then shelling it, cutting his sketching time immensely. It is not just IronCAD that is productive it is the modeling techique.

Now for the holes.

We will drag and drop a hole cylinder on to the flat portion of the part. We are not worried about the size or location.

With the triball we correctly locate the hole at the center, size the hole and rotate it to the correct position.

Now we will move the triball, by tapping the shift key, to the center of the part and set it to global orientation since the last move made it catawampus. We now rotate the hole 10 degrees.

Now we rotate and link the other 4 holes.

You can see the holes selected in the scene browser. You can pick them from the scene or the browser. We again move the triball to the center of the torus, we select the smaller axis handle inside the triball and mirror link the new holes and we are done, before the Solidworks presenter is finished with his first sketch.

Here is the part.

This is another stark examples of how IronCAD's drag and drop of editable shapes from a catalog and the use of the Triball can increase productivity 10X in this case. I usually estimate 5X increased productivity in conceptual design and 10X in changes, and I believe I am being conservative. IronCAD can edit most of the Solidworks clone parts and assemblies faster than it can be done in the native CAD system.

Is 3D CAD Productivity an Oxymoron?

Five Functions that Increase 3D CAD Productivity!!

Please review the earlier exercises.

IRONCAD vs Solidworks Lesson One

IRONCAD vs Solidworks Lesson Two

You can see more on modeling techniques here.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

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