Last week Design World hosted a very successful webinar entitled, “The Pros and Cons of 3D Modeling Paradigms,” during which industry experts discussed the benefits and downsides of each modeling paradigm–history-based and direct modeling–and areas of product development each are best suited.
Though most of you already know the basics of each approach, here’s a quick summary. Parametric, feature-based 3D modeling tools provide engineers with a methodical, orderly and powerfully automated way to create complex models, but require engineers to anticipate and define feature constraints, relations and dependencies. Though powerful, these tools often make doing edits difficult, especially when working with models created in different CAD systems.
Direct modeling, on the other hand, enables users to take a more flexible, intuitive approach to creating geometry and doesn’t carry the overhead of history-based dependencies. Users can directly manipulate model geometry without regard to how that geometry was created. To make changes, users simply grab, pull and drag geometry, making direct modeling an easier modeling paradigm to use.
Though both approaches were discussed during the hour-plus webinar, it seemed like the majority of time was used to discuss direct modeling, perhaps in part because it’s the newer of the modeling techniques.
SpaceClaim delivers direct modeling alternative to history-based systems
One company not represented during the webinar that perhaps should have been was SpaceClaim. The company introduced direct modeling to the masses with the introduction of SpaceClaim 2007 Professional back in 2007. SpaceClaim, which my colleague Josh Mings refers to as “the company slapping the history out 3D modeling,” was founded in 2005 by industry big-wig Mike Payne, who also helped start up PTC and SolidWorks.
This brings me (finally) to SpaceClaim Engineer 2014. Rolled out officially in December, the new release touts a 30% improvement in model load times; multi-threading support; live interference detection; and improved drafting using parting surfaces and automatic splits.
This new release also makes some headway in increased interoperability with a Solid Edge translator and on-demand floating translator, AMF export/import from AutoCAD, support for ASME 14.5 (GD&T), and a 3D PDF module.
Here’s a list of the new tools in SpaceClaim Engineer 2014:
* Pinned datums, axes, and points that follow the geometry from which they are defined for semi-parametric functionality
* Web-hosted model viewer
* New mass property driving dimensions
* New surface simplification tool
* Support for baffle geometry when transferring to ANSYS Workbench
* Orient and surface fitting for improved modeling with meshes
*Unfolding torus forms
* Multi-edge hems
* Sheet metal blends
* Improved edge cleanup during conversion.
* Move Body and Align
* Create Workpiece
* Unroll tool for flattening developable surfaces
* Angular component measurements for sequential rotations between two faces.