injection mold designer using solidworks

I've been using cadkey 2D for designing product, mold assemblies, and mold inserts since 1996. Our largest mold frame is a t-series dme mold 15 X 18 ,
two cavity. I will be switching to a 3D software, which one I do not know. that's why I'm looking and trying to get some questions answered. 1] what was it like to switch over to SW. The time frame, converting old files that you already had over to SW. 2] how long before you seen that you were using part/assembly/drawing files from SW in a reasonable amount of time. 3] how about revisions, i know with 2D it takes forever in a days age to do revisions. 4] can you use variblies instead of actual dimensions in excel that will control a given shape. example say i have a standard block with a length, width, and height. i will use this block alot for certain products. the length may change or the height. can i set the length to X and the height to Y and than input any numbers to get what i want? 5] the most important question. the thought process in a mold design. i have a product and place it in a blank mold frame and than place all my eject pins, support pillars, springs, runner system, ect. i need to know if i can still start out with creating an assembly to view to make sure that everything is fine and than detail all components/inserts/mold frame later. I know that SW works in a sketch world first, than create to final part. I'm just not sure how?
I guess the most important thing to me is how to start a mold design, because it seem difficult with SW. If you could add any input of how you would go about doing this please let me know.
Thanks
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MoldWoks/SplitWorks
On Mon, 17 Nov 2003 10:44:49 -0500, "Sparky100"

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mold
,
know.
Get a Demo of the TopSolid Mold product. The surfacing abilities are excellent and the mold libraries are very complete. The solid modeling technology is well integrated and much more powerful than SW. Good luck in your search.
--
John R. Carroll
Machining Solution Software, Inc.
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I have heard of Top Solid's name, but very little else, though I noted their website noted having 15,000 seats sold worldwide.
Can you provide a proverbial Engineers Outline to the features and facts regarding the program, such that some form of comparison with other solid modelers can be made on key features along with hardware requirements and possibly speed comparisons, since claims are made about Top Solid perfomance?
I love SolidWorks (2003 anyway), but also use Ashlar (mostly on my Mac) and I would not discount Top Solid if it actually makes mold design run faster.
Many Thanks - Bo Clawson snipped-for-privacy@tilikum.com

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Bo, Here are a few of the key points that differentiate TopMold from our competition:
1) Parametric mold base libraries.... that actually work.
2) The TopMold component supplier libraries are extremely complete. Not 100% but very nearly so and much better than anything I have either seen or used in 30 years of mold work.
3) TopSolid allows you to draw in 2D or 3D and this is very handy for all sorts of mold specific tasks. Think slides/lifters/core pulls, etc. .
4) The cavity/ core split tools are fast and again, they work. When used in conjunction with the draft/undercut analysis tool you can whip some serious butt on a complicated parting line. The designer interacts with the product through the interface during the process but there is a huge difference between that and doing the job manually with the modeling interface alone. Also, the modeling technology is truly hybrid. By that I mean than sheets and solids can both coexist either distinctly or operate on each other in both directions - parametrically or not depending on the techniques employed to define the bodies involved. I can fillet a simple or complex sheet body and a solid just by using the fillet command. This can also be useful in mold design. You can also unite disjoint bodies.
5) Excellent repair tools for imported topology. The import engines are very good but you can quickly and easily fix just about any mess if it comes to that. The modeler runs in four configurations ( simultaneously if you choose ) from totally dumb solids through fully or partially constrained parametric assemblies and you can use the constraint manager to easily add constraints to imported data. This can be extremely efficient. Ever get a product design without draft? Me too.
6) Post split insert creation is a breeze. Highly automated and fully configurable, I have never seen the equal of this product feature and I have seen most of the "High Quality" tools on the market and had to use many.
7) 2D documenting/detailing that fully supports multiple sheets and a fully configurable, automated BOM generator. The CAD wannabe/CAM customers we demo this to are always floored by this part of the technology but the drafting module beats most and is as good as any.
8) The TopSolid product line is not a collection of 3rd party nonsense kluged to a core modeling product. Missler does license the Parasolid kernel but all of the technology beyond Boolean operations is done by the Missler development team. The loft you did three years ago is the loft you get in the current version. I have product and assembly models 5 product release cycles old that work just fine. When a new version is released all of the modules migrate at the same time, they work and you need not discard hundreds of hours of custom work to resume with the new product. It migrates existing configs, processes and libraries automatically and completes even the full module set in about fifteen minutes .. painlessly and completely.
9) Hardware selection is not much of an issue. Get a fast box with 2 gigs of RAM. Unless you want to spend $2K we recommend a $200.00 graphics adapter and NVIDIA chip sets. This will give you excellent graphics performance too about a 50 part assy., threads display as threads and the dynamic cross sectioning tool is very robust. If you typically work on larger designs the investment in high end graphics is worth the price but not mandatory. This all boils down to the value you place on your time and energy.
As this reply is already enough like spam that I am cringing a little let me just say this. Get a demo and see for yourself. The exercise will at the least be very enlightening about both the state of current technology as well as what the future holds in our industry. Keep in mind also that the design portion of the TopSolid mold product is as well supported as the integrated machining product required to turn your designs into finished injection molds. Couple high quality design with state of the art machining and you have a real home run. The TopSolid product is the sort of integrated manufacturing product today's market requires.
-- John R. Carroll Machining Solution Software, Inc. Los Angeles San Francisco Portland www.machiningsolution.com
face=Arial size=2>...</FONT></DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>&gt; I have heard of Top Solid's name, but very little else, though I noted<BR>&gt; their website noted having 15,000 seats sold worldwide.<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; Can you provide a proverbial Engineers Outline to the features and<BR>&gt; facts regarding the program, such that some form of comparison with<BR>&gt; other solid modelers can be made on key features along with hardware<BR>&gt; requirements and possibly speed comparisons, since claims are made<BR>&gt; about Top Solid perfomance?<BR>&gt; <BR></FONT></BODY></HTML>
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