Sunday March 29, 2015

The failed promise of parametric CAD, final chapter: A viable solution

Model reuse

What is the failed promise of parametric CAD? In short, model reuse. It’s a lot more difficult than it ought to be, for a variety of reasons. Several months back, I wrote a series of articles discussing those reasons, as well as some of the solutions that have come up over the years.  What was missing from the series was a final chapter; a detailed description of what could... Read More

Taming the Upfront Cost of CAD

Taming the upfront cost of CAD

By Evan Yares, 3DCAD Editor Winner of Design World/Siemens Engineering Design Contest, Steve Triplett, Owner of Trinity Frame & Fabrication in Dallas. About a year and a half ago, I wrote an article for 3D CAD World, asking the question “Should you buy your CAD software—or rent?” The thing that piqued my interest in the subject at the time was the release of a version... Read More

The Design World dynamic design challenge

Win a free dynamic design analysis of your mechanism. Get to market faster. Be a hero to your customers. When NASA’s JPL landed the Curiosity Rover on Mars, I was impressed. Not just that they’d done it blind (because of the time-delay in communications from Mars), but also that they’d done it by dropping the rover on cables from a rocket-powered sky crane as it... Read More

The failed promise of parametric CAD part 5: A resilient modeling strategy


The model brittleness problem inherent with parametric feature-based modeling is a really big deal. And it’s something, honestly, that I don’t have a great answer for. I’ve even asked a few power users who I know, and their answers seemed to involve a bit of hand-waving, and a reference to having lots of experience. While best practices are a potentially good step... Read More

The failed promise of parametric CAD part 4: Going horizontal


In the early 90s, Ron Andrews, a senior product designer at Dephi’s Saginaw Steering Systems Division, became fed-up with the difficulties of editing parametric CAD models. So, he and a team of his colleagues, including Pravin Khurana, Kevin Marseilles, and Diane Landers, took on a challenge of trying to find a solution. They came up with an interesting concept that they called... Read More

The failed promise of parametric CAD part 3: The direct solution


Direct modeling—a syncretic melding of concepts pioneered by CoCreate, Trispectives, Kubotek (and many others)–has shown the most promise to cure the parametric curse. Direct modeling is today’s hot CAD technology. PTC, Autodesk, Siemens PLM, Dassault (CATIA, but not so much SolidWorks), IronCAD, Kubotek, Bricsys, SpaceClaim (and certainly some other companies I’ve... Read More

The failed promise of parametric CAD part 2: The problem is editing


In the previous post, I wrote about the failed promise of parametric CAD: problems such as parent-child dependencies and unwanted feature interactions, coupled with no easy way to either prevent, or check for them. The difference between modeling and editing in a parametric CAD system is simply the difference between creating things from scratch, and modifying things you’ve... Read More

The failed promise of parametric CAD part 1: From the beginning

Rebuild Error

The modern era of 3D CAD was born in September 1987, when Deere & Company bought the first two seats of Pro/Engineer, from the still new Parametric Technology Corporation. A couple of years later, Deere’s Jack Wiley was quoted in the Anderson Report, saying: “Pro/ENGINEER is the best example I have seen to date of how solid modelers ought to work. The strength of the... Read More

Maybe you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on CAD/CAM tools

Wheel Stand

My friend Rachael Dalton-Taggart, Director of Marketing Communications at Geomagic Solutions (which is now part of 3D Systems), often has interesting perspectives on the engineering software market. Every once in a while, she’ll start an email thread on some intriguing or irritating issue, and include a bunch of industry editors/anaysts/consultants in the distribution list... Read More

3D Master


3D MCAD is not “done.”  Not by any means. Well over 40 years after the introduction of commercial 3D MCAD products, and 25 years after the introduction of feature-based solid modeling MCAD, many MCAD programs aren’t totally 3D. They’re 2D/3D. What I mean by this is that their 3D capabilities are inadequate to represent real world products fully in 3D.  They... Read More