NEXT GENERATION 3D CAD APPLIED! 2018!
This article was written years ago, and many things have changed since then. The top popular CAD programs have now embraced Direct Edit or Explicit Modeling. But they have only added it to modify "dumb" models. It still cannot be utilized in the design process were it truly needs to be to take advantage of this incredibly flexible and productive process. Sadly, we need a disruption in the 3D CAD world moving us away from the dated, time consuming and convoluted history based only design into a world where both paradigms are integrated.
I have been doing some comparison exercises with ZW3D and IronCAD vs Fusion 360 and Solidwork. These started out as product comparisons and soon turned into a study on modeling techniques. I realized I modeled much different and more productive than the presenters in these exercises. I have actually coined two productive modeling techniques
Feature Based Modeling and Streamlined Sketching. You can see many examples of these techniques compared to today's constrained sketching only in these articles.
My friend and I could walk on to the job pre CAD and be producing that day. We had the applicable knowledge of the industry. We were hired for our engineering experience. Our tools? Just the standard drafting instruments.
So we look today to find a standard CAD solution. Even though direct edit functionality is now available in all system except Catia 5, it has not offered the necessary integration with history based design to realize a usable accepted standard.
There are few complex parts with Direct Edit!
The Future of
We can now Welcome aboard Solidworks (Rewritten)
We can also say Solidworks Users "NOT" Stupid?
We can now say Universal CAD Compatibility is "NOT" Here!
Beyond the hype! The Worst to Best CAD System and Why!
I have asked this question on linkedin. "How many are utilizing the direct editing capabilities in their design process?" I did not get a good response. I am sure that the Pro/e users are still using the history/feature based modeling since the Cocreate or Creo Direct is an option. They are not confronted with incorporating enough non-native data into their projects to justifying the cost to add the direct editing module. But many programs like Solidworks, Inventor, NX amd ZW3D have them include in the base program.
But you don't have to use non-native data to incorporate Direct Editing.
Take a look at this article "Five Functions that Increase CAD Productivity!" Look at Function #3 Direct Feature Editing" and see the rotation of a face. In a Pro/E paradigm program that would be impossible. But with a Creo Direct or other direct editing module you could do it easily. Yes, you would start blowing your history, but you would move to the direct modeling module for the rest of the job. This would eliminate the strict guidelines under which you are now operating, the "Consideration of Design Intent". I know this is a huge decision but the freedom it offers in design is incredible.
I was introduced to Inventor while taking a position of Sales/Tech manager selling Autodesk Manufacturing products. We were only representing the manufacturing CAD products. Inventor, which I feel is a bit more user friendly than SW, includes a direct editing module called Fusion*. Since I started in direct editing CAD, it was quite refreshing to use. You could import a complete assembly and start working on it as if it was create in Fusion. But if you needed to make a drawing you would have to import it into Inventor and work with it there. If you needed to modify it beyond adding holes, you had to open Fusion inside Inventor and make the changes. Yes it would update your drawing but it was a bit clunky to use.
*Autodesk has now integrated Fusion direct editing capabilities in Inventor! But I am not sure if Fusion is still included as a stand alone product that offers the the single modeling environment. Please do not confuse this with Fusion 360.
Catia 5 is still history only and leaves a lot to be desired for the large companies to be compatible with outside vendors that utilize other systems. Boeing actually uses another CAD program to read non native parts and convert them to usable Catia 4 or 5 parts. Even Catia 5 requires a special group to move Catia 4 files to Catia 5 and visa versa. Imagine not being able to read your earlier Solidworks files with the current version? Imagine a company upgrade to a new version with no clear path to the earlier versions files? IRONCAD has the capability to read and write both of Catia 4 and 5, making it sort of a Catia 4.5. The inability to utilize non native parts is still costing Boeing Millions if not Billions of dollars in lost time.
Solidworks is also in that same boat. While it has a bit of feature recognition it is far from being a useful tool for modifying non native parts. I have heard it is going to have a direct editing module+* in the future, probably when Dassault Systemes may move SW to the Catia kernel.
**SW now has integrated direct edit functionality. See Welcome aboard Solidworks!!
A while ago I got a
call from a
at Boeing. Of
that I have
limited to the
can use Catia.
Just imagine the
talent they have
excluded. I have
Boeing as a
of getting a
designer up to
speed on Catia
does not have
I hope you enjoy my write up below. Hopefully soon we will have a standard that will allow all to have access to jobs that we, beside the CAD system, are experienced. Before CAD all you needed was a couple triangles, a scale and a pencil.
Direct Edit or Explicit Modeling for Design
Jim: "Bob, I need your expertise quick."
Bob: "What is it Jim"
Jim: "We have a new mod that has to be done to one of our products."
Bob: "Well send me the file"
Jim: "Did you get it?"
Bob: "Yes.. When did you move to SW 2014? I can't read this file.
Jim: "Hmm, I didn't know we did."
Bob: "I am still on SW 2012 and I really can't afford to upgrade."
Jim: "I am sorry, Bob we need this done today.. Tell me when you get current with us." CLICK..
Yes Bob lost the job and the company had to keep looking. But this is not a unique situation with the History Based CAD systems and is becoming a huge crisis. Last year I got a frantic call. Joe... they (Large NW aircraft Manufacturer) move to Catia 5 V18 and we can't read the files with IronCAD's Catia translator. Knowing that they had a Catia system on hand for no other reason than to read the native files and PMI, I said just bring them in to your Catia 5 and export them as STEP (besides IGES, STEP is the only other translator these fellows can do with Catia). Oh yes, to their surprise they had Catia 5 V17 .. totally incompatible with V18, yes they (the Large NW aircraft manufacturer) failed to notify their suppliers about the move. Now we can assign blame, but that is not the problem, the problem is the the uniqueness of CAD data.
At this time you have to have the Current Version of Solidworks, Pro/E Wildfire, UG, Catia, Inventor, etc to be compatible. Yes you can work on any part done in a prior version with the current version but you are stuck there. Unless you are constantly upgrading to the latest version you are out of luck.
Same Scenario as above with both client and consultant on a different Explicit Modeling system.
Jim: "Bob, I
In the above situation they didn't care what software was being used. No, versions to worry about. Imagine never worrying about what software your customer, vendor, supplier, consultant is using. This is the future. This is the beginning of the new Engineering Standard. Until we get to this level of compatibility, revising the Engineering Standard cannot even be addressed. We will not even need the NATIVE TRANSLATORS. Yes the large companies like Boeing, GM, Ford, GE, Chrysler, etc. will demand that their software produces a viable compatible universal STEP file or a common deliverable. This will be the end of a company being held at the mercy of some CAD vendor. They will be able to buy much better PLM and PDM standalone products or create their own standard. This would allow much better access to the parts from vendors or suppliers.
IRONCAD and ZW3D
that will lead
Why? Cost, ease
editing and much
off by a few)
many of our
are going to
Catia, UG, Pro/E
see the writing
on the wall and
Fords, and other
are going to
would be a huge
Nope not here
yes) will be
the year this
start. Soon you
will see this
push from the
have no choice.
will be totally
I believe IRONCAD and ZW3D are products that will lead this movement. Why? Cost, ease of use, compatibility, latest technology, both feature and direct feature editing and much more. Within 2009 (Oops, off by a few) many of our larger companies are going to have the EXPLICIT MODELING TECHNOLOGY available. Catia, UG, Pro/E see the writing on the wall and realize the Boeings, GMs, Fords, and other larger companies are going to realize the productivity increases and cost saving advantages to this movement. Just the increased ability to freely communicate would be a huge increase in productivity and creating less errors. 2009 (oops, 2015 maybe? 2018? Nope not here yes) will be the year this revolution will start. Soon you will see this push from the large companies and the industry, they have no choice. All of TECH-NET's products are explicit modelers and will be totally compatible with this incredible PRODUCTIVE future.
TECH-NET'S NEW (OLD) PROJECT: Direct Editing Applied!
I have just realized, besides IRONCAD, I really never have used a history based product that are being currently used in the industry. My experience with Pro/E, Solid Edge and Solidworks have been brief and basically making single parts. I never really warmed up to the Part, Assembly and Drawing separation. I have always used an "Explicit Modeling System" using Boolean operations or at least having it available to design my parts and assemblies in one file. I realize now that many in the industry have never know that you could design this way.
THE LINE FINDER!! Take a look at our website at this project, it is a great story.
After years of successful sales, my good friend, neighbor and customer, Larry Smith, President of Prototek contacted me to modify the upper body of the Linefinder. This was going to be an extensive modification of the handle. It would be almost an impossible task in a history based system.
The original part.
Modified part, minus a few dove tails.
Step One. Started Cleaning things up.
Step Two a bit more cleaning.
Left side mirrored copy. Added the bottom support flange taken from the
original part and then subtract the right dovetail to create the mating groove.
Using the right side dovetail to cut the groove in left side.
As you can see this would be a horror show in a Pro/E paradigm product. It took me about 6 hours. The customer was elated. I could to this with a part from any CAD system that can export a solid.
See more on this project
If you have a project that may need this kind of modification or a new project you need to have done we can do the job. Please feel free to give us a call at 206-842-0360 or fill out our online form.