3D Modeling Techniques 
IRONCAD vs Solidworks Lesson Fourteen
Drag and Drop Design
Streamlined Sketching/Feature Based Modeling

Modeling note:

It is funny, you may not realize how you model because you have many ingrained processes from the past. I have been doing Boolean (direct edit) design since the beginning of solid modeling in CAD. In 1998 I was part of the IronCAD release and was introduced to history based modeling, but IronCAD has integrated direct edit so I still had that functionality available. As I have been doing these comparisons I realized that I design in shapes. I look at the drawing and pick out the basic shapes of the part. You can see that in this part.

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.

Please watch a Solidworks user model this part!

With all the tedious constrained sketching for this simple part for the Absolute Beginner, you can imagine a complex part?

SolidWorks Practice Exercises | SolidWorks Basics Tutorial |Exercise 7

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.

Solidworks is a marginal 3D CAD system based on the dated Pro/e history based modeling system released in 1988. I sold Pro/e years ago and found it 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

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 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?

As I watch the Solidworks user sketch this part, I am amazed at the way he does it. I just can't understand struggling with all the constrained dimensioning. 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 "Part of a Cylinder" from the catalog into the scene, locate and size it.

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.

We We now select the face we want to extrude. Our first click on the face will take us to the part level which is blue, (if we had an assembly it would show yellow), then to the feature which is yellow, and finally to the face which is green.

You can see the small handle. You select that with the right mouse button and pull it, and a dialog box will come up and you put in the distance you want to extrude the face.

We set the extrusion to 15mm and we shell the shape 10mm by selecting the open faces.

We drag and drop a cylinder on to the existing shape to make sure it is another feature of the part, size and locate it. Remember this is a single model environment and all parts (made of shapes) coexist in the same scene.

Using the extrude wizard we create a sketch plane to create the lower base. Using the Triball we locate it.

We create the only sketch we need. We project the large cylinder and connect the lines, the command will automatically recognizes the tangents and we just project the other features and trim the cylinder. As you can see there are no constraints. This is what I call StreamLined Sketching.

The extrusion is created automatically and we size it by just setting the height.

The rib is a bit tricky. We drag and drop to a center location on the base. IronCAD recognizes center, mid-points and corners. We fit the block past the intersections then locate the edge at the intersections setting up the next step.

I could just create a sketch to clean the rib up. But I want to show you how drag and drop and the Triball work together for another solution. We drag and drop a hole block on the top face of the rib and locating it on the intersection of the cylinder and the rib.

Now using the Triball we move it to the bottom corner of the block and set the axis and select the inner handle an point to the bottom edge. The Triball is a very sophisticated feature, part and assembly manipulator and more.

Note: You move the Triball only, by hitting the space key and locating it. The space key turns it back on again.

We pull the block to the bottom edge. Now we drop a block on the center of the top of the cylinder and size it. Knowing where to drop the shape is important for ease of sizing them later.

We add the fillets and then drag and drop the hole cylinders to the center of the existing cylinders. That is why we create the fillets first.

We drag and drop the last hole block to the center of the top of the cylinder and size it.

There you go, a much more productive and fun design process. While the poor Solidworks presenter struggles with his only option: Constrained Sketching.

Here is a more correct AID (drawing).

You can see more on modeling techniques here.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

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