15 Replies Latest reply on Apr 1, 2010 5:48 PM by Jerry Steiger

    create features from imported body.

    Jim Steinmeyer

      We have a handle our designers created in Alias that we have converted to SW. Naturally the model comes in as a dumb block that we can shell. Our vendor would like to be able to have features that he can edit as he prepares to mold this handle. Is there a trick to bring in the model in in a more manageable form? We have a seat of inventor and thinking that Inventor and Alias are both AutoDesk products we attempted opening with that but we still got the dumb solid. Is the best method to go around deleating surfaces and recreating them? I have attached a couple of screen shots of the handle.

       

      Thank you.

       

      and yes I will be getting Matts surfacing bible this next week.

        • Re: create features from imported body.
          Alin Vargatu

          In order to "prepare" the body for molding, you do not really need the features. A dumb solid can still be modified in SolidWorks using tools like move face, delete face, delete hole, untrim, draft and so on.

            • Re: create features from imported body.
              Jim Steinmeyer

              That makes sense to me but then I am new to surfacing and molds. Prior to this job I didn't know steel came thinner than 3/8" .

               

                   However in an attempt to prove the solution to myself I just spent some time attempting to select a radius to modify or a face to draft and was unable to edit anything. Hence the term "dumb solid". Yes, I can select a face and delete it and then with some experimentation I can join the surfaces and then trim them to be sharp edges. then the new surfaces can be edited. but this is a very convoluted and time consuming process. I was hoping to be a little more streamlined.

                    Any other suggestions?

               

              Thank you

                • Re: create features from imported body.
                  Jerry Steiger

                  Jim,

                   

                  Given the free form shape, I doubt that your mold maker is going to be able to modify the dumb part very well. It's possible that someone like Matt Lombard could do it, but a relatively new user doesn't have much of a chance. You would be much better off if the mold maker can talk to the designer and let them work out the changes in Alias.

                   

                  It's not a good idea to have management buy off on a design if someone who knows at least a bit about molding hasn't checked the design out to make sure that it can be molded with a tool that management is willing to pay for.

                   

                  Jerry Steiger

                    • Re: create features from imported body.
                      Jim Steinmeyer
                      That is where we are at this point. The designer has given the part to the vendor for quoting and the vendor is attempting to make a proto-type model. based on your suggestion I will have the designer contact the vendor see if that is a viable solution.
                        • Re: create features from imported body.
                          Chris Kamery
                          Another long term solution you may want to entertain is getting your designer to work in SolidWorks. Additionally from my experience, as the complexity of your surfaces increase, so will the collaboration between the designer and vendor / mold maker / etc.
                            • Re: create features from imported body.
                              Jerry Steiger

                              The bad news is that not very many industrial designers like working in SolidWorks. I can think of a few (David Adam at AIM Design, Paul Salvador at ZXYS, Ed Eaton at DiMonte Group), and no doubt there are more, but most ID people like to work with Alias, Rhino, or some other ID tool, not an ME tool, which is what SolidWorks is. Thus we are usually stuck with the problem of converting the ID surfaces into SW surfaces. You may be able to pay someone at the ID firm to do that, but it will look expensive to your managers and the ID firm may not be as careful to make a robust model that will be truly useful down the pike. You can do it yourself, which will probably take much longer than you think and tie up your engineering talent that should be doing something else, but at least you have a better understanding of the model when you go to make changes down the line.

                               

                              Jerry Steiger

                                • Re: create features from imported body.
                                  Jeff Mowry

                                  I do, Jerry! 

                                   

                                  But consider that's because I must also get my design/geometry/concepts all the way through the pilot production run for my clients, and not merely hand off the project to an engineer.  You're right that most ID folks seem to like Rhino or Alias (yeah, that would be a fun application to try out), but I can never justify the time/hassle/money/problems associated in moving from one platform to another, as in this case.  You've then got two databases to edit/manage, and if something needs to be edited in the upstream application (Rhino or Alias), you've lost all the work you've done within SolidWorks (generally loads of details like snaps, shut-offs, bosses, ribs, etc.).  I don't find too many clients who like to pay for things like that.

                                   

                                  Besides, I've found that SolidWorks can do (generally speaking) whatever can be done in those other applications with the ID-related surfacing--except that it can do so much more (stable exports to a wide variety of 3D formats for toolmakers, detail drawings and other documentation, stable geometry for ribs, bosses, and other molded features, etc.) on the engineering for manufacturing side of things.

                                   

                                  Some folks don't like the history-based modeling approach, but with all the editing I do with a given model, I don't see how people get along without having the ability to simply "go back in time" and tweak something upstream in the feature tree.

                                • Re: create features from imported body.
                                  Christopher Thompson

                                  Whenever I get an imported "dumb" solid or surface file that I need to modify, I create a temporary assembly file and place the imported file into the assembly. Next, I insert a new SW part file into the assembly and create the sketches for the features in the new file. I use mostly a hybrid modeling technique (surfaces & solids) if possible.

                                   

                                  It can be time consuming, but a least the features can be adjusted as needed by modifying the dimensions. From the image, it looks like a boundary surface would be a good choice with sketches for controlling the geometry in directions 1 & 2. You can even add the draft angle directly to the sketches used in the surface feature.

                                   

                                  www.appianwaytech.com

                                    • Re: create features from imported body.
                                      Jim Steinmeyer

                                      Jerry, you frighten me.  The ID guys are a pair of interns we hired for the spring and summer and your observations leave me thinking about what will happen when they are gone and we need to alter the design for a future model year. While this worrys me, I can't say it is suprising.

                                      Christopher, when you work on the new hybrid part, do you origionally pick edges to convert and then remove referances to copy the origional shape? Or do you create a new feature free hand and tweek it to match the shape? The guys are also designing the body for our new vehicle and I can see that this procedure will get a lot of practice in the future.

                                      In the meantime based on suggestions presented here The designer and vendor are now working together to alter the handle in the native format prior to converting to SW.

                                      One last question for those of you with experiance in multipul programs. Is there aprogram that handles these dumb solids any better? UG or PRO-E for example?

                                        • Re: create features from imported body.
                                          Charles Culp

                                          When I do this, I typically delete any references I may have created between the SW native part, and the imported geometry. Depending on the imported geometry, I often use convert entities to pull in edges for modeling.

                                           

                                          I can't fully answer your question, because I don't use these other pieces of software, but it is my understanding that the process of converting Alias models into editable parametric engineering models (SW, Pro/E, etc) is common to all software. Note that often, if the model is designed with the molding requirements built in, it does not nessisarily need to be remodeled. The model can often just be "tweaked" using the methods mentioned above (move surface, draft, etc).

                                          • Re: create features from imported body.
                                            Christopher Thompson

                                            Jim,

                                             

                                            An example of using a boundary surface is found in this post titled How to model handle (https://forum.solidworks.com/message/139874#139874).

                                             

                                            To answer your question, I may create a temporary sketch where I convert the entities for later reference. I usually prefer to create a dimensionally controlled sketch, then convert the sketch to a spline where the underlying geometry can be tweaked. To join surfaces together, I prefer to use the boundary or loft tool instead of the 3DSketch. These features seem to have better control than the 3DSketch.

                                             

                                            Concerning Pro-E (as of Wildfire 3.0), it does not handle dumb solids any better than SW as I use both. With FeatureWorks, or Pro-E's equivalent in WF 5.0 or later, you can convert imported models into features. In my experience, this works much better for machined parts than sheet metal parts, or parts with organic surfaces. FeatureWorks may convert the rounds to a round feature, and the remaining solid to a volume body.

                                             

                                            It you have a test part you would like to send, you can send it to my contact at www.appianwaytech.com and I am currently using SW Premium 2009.

                                              • Re: create features from imported body.
                                                Jim Steinmeyer

                                                Charles,

                                                Thank you , I was thinking I would want to delete all referances but wasn't sure. I have attempted to tweek the modle using draft and move surface and keep getting helpful messages like "could not create draft". As stated that is probably because of my inexperance and I will have Matt's surfacing bible next week.

                                                Christopher,

                                                Thank you for the link and the suggestions. I will look into these. As to your offer, we are on 2010 so I would need to send you a iges file. At the present we will work between the designer and the vendor but I will keep your name available, we may be looking for some contract help at a later date.

                                                 

                                                Thank you all for your suggestions

                                              • Re: create features from imported body.
                                                Jerry Steiger

                                                Jim,

                                                 

                                                Yeah, I scare my managers too.

                                                 

                                                Once your designers and the tool maker get it worked out in Alias, you should have a pretty good basis for building a SW model. If the designers are still available to work with as you build the model, they may be able to help you by walking you through the development, so that you can understand how the surfaces were built and replicate the process as best as you can in SW.

                                                 

                                                SpaceClaim and CoCreate (now part of PTC) are not history based, so part of their attraction is how easily they can work with imported models. Synchronous Technology in SolidEdge is also pushing this as an advantage. I suspect, but don't know, that they may be a bit ahead of SW when it comes to making it work well. Matt Lombard may be able to shed some light on that. He may chime in here, or you can check his blog.

                                                 

                                                Jerry Steiger