3D Modeling Techniques 
IRONCAD vs Solidworks Lesson Six
Streamlined Sketching/Feature Based Modeling

When I introduce IronCAD's very flexible design paradigm I have a hard time to get the Pro/e clone users, like Solidworks to understand the drag and drop design paradigm.

I have created fourteen
"IronCAD vs Fusion 360" lessons to show the difference between IronCAD and Fusion 360. These lesson are a study in modeling techniques. I found the Fusion 360 presenter was wasting massive amounts of time with overly complex constrained sketching procedures. I was incredibly unimpressed. Look at my highly productive proven 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 Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based Modeling. 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!

SolidWorks 2018 Beginner 3d Modeling Tutorial


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.

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IronCAD vs Solidworks and the Pro/e Paradigm

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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 complex and time consuming constrained sketching world are truly limited by not using the freedom of Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based Modeling, 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?

Let's get started!

I could do this model a bit more productive but I want to start it without too much design intent study to shows some interesting features in IronCAD. It is obvious you would start with the cup since you have to shell it. But you will see Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based modeling is much more productive and flexible. It gives you a more real world feel to your design process and is a much more pleasurable and productive experience.

We are set the units to millimeters.

We select the "Extrude Wizard" to create our first extrusion. We will model this part much differently how many of you were taught by the constrained sketch based systems.

We set the depth at 15mm

Using the Triball we orient the sketch plane to work in the view we want. Notice at the bottom right the direction of the extrusion

We turn off the Triball by hitting the Esc key and look into the sketch plane. Sketching in IronCAD is similar to any other CAD package. We create the handle contour without and constrained or any dimensions.

We offset the contour by 7.5 mm bidirectionally.

We can just hit the delete key to delete the original contour and connect the ends and select okay and we have our basic shape of our handle. We select iso view to see the results.

We will leave it in the iso view for the next step of the inside cut. Using the Extrude Wizard we select the depth to 5mm and select the front face for the sketching plane. We will project the complete face and delete the end lines. We will offset the outside lines 5 mm.

Since the outside lines are highlighted we can just hit the delete key to delete them. Add the end lines and we select okay creating our cut.

We locate the Triball to the mid-point of any edge to mirror link the new feature and we are done with our basic shape of the handle.

For the left side feature we turn on the catalog browser and select a cylinder. We orient the view so the cylinder recognizes the view necessary to use an edge for placement. We drag and drop a cylinder on the edge and size it.

This is the second time I have seen a user first in Creo and now in Solidworks to create cylindrical shapes with a revolve tool. I suppose this is the fastest way in a sketch only based system but it seems so strange to me. I suppose I could do this with sketches only to see, but this exercise it for showing a different modeling techneque.

Again using the Triball we just create a linked copy on the bottom.

We just drag and drop another cylinder to the center of the top cylinder for the center cylinder and size it.

Dragging and dropping a hole cylinder to the center of the top cylinder we create the 15mm hole.

We are done with the handle. We drag and drop a block to the bottom of the right side of the handle and size it. Why the bottom? You will see in a couple of steps.

We move the block in the correct location with the Triball.

We are going to do a process that is only available in IronCAD. Each intellishape, in this case a block is based on a sketch. I will edit the sketch to the dimensions of the cup. I

We select okay and we have the basics for the cup.

Remember when I dropped the block on the bottom of the face of the handle? That set the block with the correct extrusion direction for the next command. I usually don't add fillets in the sketch. But as you can see in the drawing the fillets are tapered with the draft. The Solidworks presenter missed this.

We go to the intellishape level and select surface reshaping select size and taper at
-10 degrees. This is an incredible function only available in IronCAD. It just adds an level of flexibility unknown to the Solidworks clone or direct edit only systems.

We add the 5mm fillet at the bottom of the cup and we have the correct shape.

As I said in the beginning I would have started with the cup due to the shelling process. But we can easily do it in any step. We first suppress all of the steps in the history and move the block and fillet that makes up the cup to the top. We can also set the autohide for the catalog browser since we are done using it.

We will now shell the cup and move the shell just under the blend.

We unsuppress the rest of the history and we can see that the handle now sticks into the cup.

If we would have use the swept command we would have to jump through a couple of hoops as the Solidworks user did. The sweep command should be only used if an extrude command cannot be used. The Solidworks user could have easily designed the handle this way.

All we have to do is edit the two sketches by projecting the cup face and trimming the entities.

The dipper is done! Wasn't that much more fun? Working directly with shapes is much more productive and pleasurable.

This is another stark examples of how Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based Modeling utilizing IronCAD's drag and drop of smart editable intellishapes from a catalog and the use of the Triball can increase productivity easily 5X. 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.

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Please review the earlier exercises.

IronCAD vs Solidworks

You can see more on modeling techniques here.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

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