3D Modeling Techniques 
IRONCAD vs Solidworks Lesson Eighteen
Drag and Drop Design
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 and other programs, to understand the drag and drop design paradigm.

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I saw some Fusion 360 exercises online and I decided to compare IronCAD. It quickly turned into a study in modeling techniques. I have created many comparisons to Fusion 360, Onshape, Solid Edge, NX, Creo, Catia and Inventor lessons to show the difference between IronCAD and my modeling techniques. I found the presenters working identically wasting massive amounts of time with overly complex constrained sketching procedures. I was so unimpressed that I decided to model the parts or assemblies showing my modeling techniques plus IronCAD's superb design system.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

Many of these modeling techniques can easily be implemented even within their existing system. I call it Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based Modeling. Please review a few of the above IronCAD comparison lessons, there are some very stark differences.

SolidWorks Exercise 23 | SolidWorks Tutorial | SolidCad  

While creating 3D models from drawings 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.

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.

IronCAD vs Solidworks and the Pro/e Paradigm

As with my Ironcad vs Fusion 360 and other major CAD systems, 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 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?

This IronCAD exercise took a few minutes and allows for faster and much easier modification. Again these exercises turned into a study of modeling techniques even though most of this model is Feature Based Modeling not available to most of the Solidworks clones.

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

I put the cursor in the scene and right click and select show and pick show the size box dimensions it makes it much easier to work with setting the dimensions. You can save your custom configurations if you want.

I am going to drag and drop a "block" from the shape catalog into the scene, select the ISO view and turn off perspective! It automatically drops to X0Y0Z0.

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.

IronCAD has levels of operation, as you select the part/assembly they will change colors, assembly - yellow, part - blue, feature - yellow and face - green. We will select the feature level. You can seen now that the size of the feature is shown.

We select one of the handles and edit size box. With the size box dimensions on you can see which dimension set up the feature. We 300 x 120 x 20

We drag and drop a cylinder on the front face of the block!

Using the Triball we lock in an axis and located it 100mm from the edge.

We will size the cylinder and pull/push the handles. You hold the shift button down and you can select the feature you want to align it! You can use centers, edges, corners and mid points!

We now drag and drop a hole block on the front face and size and fit it!

We are designing with very smart shapes. You start thinking differently. You see basic shape and use the to design the part. We are going to add the hole. We drag and drop a cut cylinder to the center of the existing cylinder size and fit by pulling/pushing the handle to the appropriate faces.

We drag and drop a cut block to onto the bottom face and push/pull it to eliminate the bottom features!

We drag and drop a cylinder to the mid point of the face, size it and using the triball move it to the correct distance from the center of the other cylinder.

We drag and drop our last cylinder to the front face of the block, size it and locate it with the Triball.

We first drag and drop to the face of the part so IronCAD knows this is feature is a component of the part. If we just dropped it in the scene it would become a new part.

We now are going to create a sketch for the rib. But we need to fix the front cylinder first. All intellishapes are based on sketches. We will edit cross section to create the correct feature.

We delete the construction entities and trim the circle.

You can see the cylinder is correctly trimmed ready for or sketch!

We have two sketching features:

The extrude wizard the directly creates our feature!

The standalone sketch that takes another step.

I will use the extrude wizard and move the rib into place when I am done. I would have to create a standalone sketch plane locate it and then set it. 

I will set the face of the upper cylinder! The extrude wizard will ask if I want to add, subtract or crate a standalone part. I will select add and set the width of the rib.

We are moved to the sketch and add the feature by projecting edges and creating the lines. We see the raw sketch before we trim.

You can see that the sketch is ready when  all the red dots are gone.

The standalone sketch can be saved in any stage of development. It is used to import dxf/dwg to use to create shapes from electronic drawings. It can be used to conceptual sketching on assemblies!

You can now see the rib.

We just move it into place with the Triball.

We add the two holes by dragging and dropping two cut cylinders to the center of the cylinders and size them.

We add the corner fillets!

I will use the custom hole tool instead of the cut cylinder. The custom hole feature is in the Tools catalog. I will drag and drop it on the center of the blend and the custom hole dialog box will appear. I will set the the type of hole and depth!

I will now link copy the hole using the Triball. You just select the center of the Triball and place it at the center of the blend. You can see they are linked by referenced feature. You can now change either feature and the other will reflect that change.

We are now done with the part. I could easily have used sketching to create this part. You have the option. But as you play with IronCAD, designing in shapes is much more of a real world design paradigm!

IronCAD was originally based on Trispectives an early solid modeling graphic design package and includes realistic rendering and animation.

Here is a bit better drawing.

You can see more on modeling techniques here.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

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