Not sure how many of you would find this useful but I find it useful.
What's kewl about this is you can drag/drop this into your sldprt and utilize the 3Dsketch boundary as is or convert the 4 inside curves too add as your constraint curves for more shape control.
Although it would be nice to drag/drop or copy/paste on a specific plane or point in space or rotate... I don't think it's possible?? (please let me know if it is??).. so, you'd have to make a few versions for different orientations or break all the constraints and re constrain? Otherwise, a quick workaround for orientation, you could do a incontext sldasm relation or insert part?
Paul, I have a need for better surfacing tools and I have come to the conclusion SW will never get there. instead of waiting on SW I intend to biff subscription this year and buy Rhino. Are there any negatives or limitations with using Rhino and SW together on a project in your experience? thanks BTW I see 04sp3 lofts changed slightly again from sp2 but still aren't consistent with 03...oh well.
Rhino's not parametric, so you would have major problems in editing if you're doing production design/engineering (who doesn't require edits?).
You could import and use the Rhino surfaces, but they would be stuck as imported. Maybe that would work for what you're doing.
You might want to try out Rhino before buying it. Yes, the NURB stuff is nifty, but you might need some equations to drive your point clouds, depending on what you really need. I find the push/pull meshes a hassle in many cases, but you can certainly get what you want. I'd recommend using as few U/V controls as possible for what you're trying to get.
Here's an interesting factoid to chew on - last weekend I was in the weird position of having a conversation with the guy who invited NURBS surfaces in his PHD thesis (Ken Versprille, I think is the name). He told me that NO CAD vendor has implemented them the way they were originally designed to be used. One specific thing he said that stuck in my mind was that the original math was intended to be able to draw curves on the surface to define regions for changes, which is sort-of-like-but-even-more-powerful-than the control point model. So I don't know if I can get down on SWx so much when an entire industry has had the math for almost 30 years and still hasn't caught up to the original design, at least according to a guy who is, by my thinking, in a really good position to know.
But I don't want this to be a defense of SWx surfacing -I have maintained for a long time that if you are able to go use better existing surfacing tools, why wouldn't you? My customers work in SWx, so I work in SWX. There are also duplications of learning curve issues that were covered quite well by Andrew Troup earlier this week that keep me on SWx. But if you can go to something else and you have no good reasons to be held back, it seems to me the choice is simple.
Thanks for your feedback Edward -that's quite interesting about the surface loops still not being used as intended by anyone. You have quite a few interesting insider contacts! I don't really understand the 'reluctance' of SW to 'articulate' surfaces for us. It seems to me there must be underlying difficulties in the way the SW program is put together? If you look at the CG field SW is really beginning to look quite wooden- even things like open source Blender are moving faster. Just about every product I look at these days has had a fair bit of time spent on its styling - or it isn't going to sell in a global market place- and the shapes definitely aren't simple. IMO if SW want to maintain a leading sales position in the midrange they are going to have to provide better tools than the current offering. Seems to me development resources are deployed on reusing/streamlining current capability rather than adding to core functions e.g. weldment routines. No sign of surface improvements in
05 AFAIK. I gather you don't make use of any imported surfaces? or other programs for ID? I would have thought that being as involved in ID as you are that using SW for surfacing would be like working with one hand behind your back all the time. You must have looked at other programs anything tempt you?
We sometimes work with imported surfaces, but usually in the context of - "here's an imported surface... please remake it in SWx."
Other packages do tempt me, and I would like to use them. Talking to Ken opened my eyes to some things, though, like the UV points that other packages use that have evenly spaced nodes. They are called NURBS for a reason - the whole point is that the B-SPlines are Non-Uniform! If everything were evenly spaced, they would be URBS. This of course is another level of validation for throwing out the silly notion of constructing lofts from evenly spaced sections, which I ditched years ago from trials (and lots of error) and have been able to get better work done ever since.
On ID - I could be stuck with one hand behind my back if I let myself. I've done it in the past, and now cringe when I think of it. That is why, instead of starting in software, I start my designs without thinking about CAD at all, focusing instead on form, users, and manufacturing. Usually, there is a point where I make the design in a castelene clay (this clay has excellent properties), and then go into CAD to 'document' that design and add all the stuff CAD is good for (draft, symmetry, etc). So I can legitimately say that SWx does not hamper my ability to design because I wont f***ing let it. The vulnerable parts of my design is done out of the context of CAD so it can't restrict me.
This brings up an interesting point - ever walk around an electronics store and look at products from the CAD standpoint? I think in many cases you can identify the software used by looking at the final product, because some forms are easier or harder depending on the CAD you use. I can always tell what came out of 2D design software, which is still (scary revelation here) the primary tool of a huge block of Industrial Designers, with the exception that they no longer do perspective views because it is too hard in P-Shop, Illustrator, etc. SO, as you walk through a store, you will see a lot of 'orthographic products that suspiciously have not had any consideration given to their backs, which is really sad on things like cell phones where the back is really important. And lets not kid ourselves - do you really think it is just a coincidence that, now that designers are being pressured to use solid modelers, that the 'sexy cube' is suddenly in fashion?
Even the bumper sample form Rhino that Paul Salvador slinked us to is a victim of this CAD-centric process of form creation - yeah, cool form, but so much of it was defined NOT by the user BUT by the software. You are passing on authorship of most of it to a piece of code, and all you are responsible for is region and magnitude. Try to exactly match a clay model or design done without CAD controlling too much and you are probably back to working the way I work.
Alleluya, brother ! (I'm not sure that I achieve that, but I certainly aspire to)
Interesting notion - I've wondered that for a long time, but I haven't put in enough time on enough packages (or been close enough to users of other packages) to have more than a hazy presentiment of this.
I first noticed this "tool influencing the task" phenomenon when turret (sheetmetal) punches first became commonplace. It seemed to me that there was a global upsurge in certain design "phrases" or "quotations" (jazz parlance, I guess) which had suddenly became easy to achieve, like groups of obrounds (round ended slots) set at 45deg. Although it started with items like park benches, this even trickled into non-sheetmetal designs like car taillights. (This is one I happen to quite like.)
Similarly the rise of the ellipse (which I personally hate with a passion*) - it possibly coincided with the wholesale adoption of CAD.
I experience the dislike in this case as an aesthetic repulsion. I don't quite know why, I just find the ends too pointy for my liking. I don't mind ellipsoidal domes- it's specifically the ellipse as a planar boundary I dislike. Possibly it might be intensified from having trained in the era when you had to construct hundreds of ellipses with a compass just to draw an isometric cutaway section through a gate valve. Drawing realistic threads in external isometric projection was particularly tedious (Hell, to this day it's even considered too laborious and menial for a powerful modelling kernel). Maybe, as with cod-liver oil, familiarity breeds loathing.
PS Ed - if you read this: Give us some warning if you are ever minded to visit New Zealand -- you can be assured of a thoroughly good time, possibly even better than Texas (putting flame suit on NOW)
If you *really* wanted to, we could even wheel you out in front of some very attentive user groups !
thank for your thoughts I know what you mean about looking at products and thinking about the tools used. What I have noticed here in New Zealand in the world marketplace the design bar is rising all the time. Sure there is some rather clumsy- semi shoddy stuff about from emerging countries but it has to sell at bottom prices and it is not long before they close the gaps. I don't think anyone can seriously expect to succeed today without some seriously competent design work. What I wonder about is-is SW really good enough for this stuff now?- present tools that is. I know you can work around the shortcomings and f***ing well not let it beat you however if I adopt some more articulate software and you don't then chances are I will end up producing something a customer would prefer at a premium. If I can sit down and pull a surface around as I please in a few minutes rather than lever around lofts etc over a few hours/days then I am also being much more effective/efficient. I am of the opinion that I should be investing in something that will handle nice swoops and continuities etc or I am going to end up well down the food chain. There are more and more producers of about everything you can imagine all looking for a sale- in many cases the insides of the box is much the same and style sells the product- so styling matters a lot. Much as though I like SW it doesn't look like there is an appreciation in HQ that people are serious about their surfaces and want new tools now. Even what look like just sexy cubes are often finely detailed now with shapes that in SW are a bit of a wrestle...
Since Jerry brought up COFES, yes, I was there, so its not going to feel awkward name-dropping to say the following:
I spent a fair amount of time hanging out with Bob McNeel (McNeel and associates, producer of Rhino) last weekend and he was telling me that the newest version of Rhino (which I was told is in public trials right now, or really soon) has pretty great interaction with SolidWorks. The surface is still a single feature in SolidWorks (almost like an imported surface), but you click on it, you get transported into Rhino where you can edit it, then when you exit your SWx model is updated. I think you could live with that.
Rhino is not parametric, and I bet that would be hard to get used to. Bob said that the principle behind that choice was they wanted the surfaces to be so easy to make in the first place that you could just remake them when the design changes. I wonder if, from a human psychology standpoint, a user would not do as much 11th hour fine tuning of a design because everything is 'good-enough' and, in order to make the change, they kind of have to start over. After using SWx so long I have grown connected to the notion that I can feel free to make changes in my design right up to the end. I just can't tell if that would change in another package until I have a chance to try it.
Rhino has some other goodies in the new version - C3 continuity, and some other things that sounded great that I can't remember right now. What's weird is that I can't find this new public beta anywhere I can see at '
' for Rhino 3.0. I hope and trust that I am speaking out of turn - Bob never said anything was secret and I certainly didn't get the sense that he was pulling my chain for laughs (he's a REALLY nice guy)
I can tell you for a fact that they are very serious. But don't take my word for it - in a couple of months, you will be able to judge for yourself (don't ask me for details because I can't give them - it'll all be public very soon. Now, don't get your hopes up for tons of brand new things, but just keep an eye open for how significant the improvements are and ask again if they really aren't serious about making things better). In the mean time, if you have any funky wrinkled surfaces, things that aren't working well, or shapes you just can't get, send them in. The developers are literally begging for this stuff. They care so much that they get excited when you show them stuff that doesn't work, because they then have a direction for what to go fix.
Even what look like
True! I just did a sexy arced cube that looked simple but was actually a pretty darned complex shape when you got down to it. Its the subtleties that make a surface really exciting, and those subtleties can be the hardest thing to even get your mind around, let alone capture in CAD.
ok well sounds good the way you tell it but I am a bit cynical...gotta be quite a bit better than deform ...and twist ... I am not interested in being drip fed half finished tools over a period of years either , sorry, Ed. ....serious well I am always hearing about serious efforts in the quality control dept that don't seem to pan out...afraid I am not really enthused by the news... still ill wait to see whets on offer...going to have to be pretty darn significant to turn my head this time. thanks for your replies neil