New thinking in SW....

So with the edition of a few new tools, I have noticed that my thinking in the program and how I go about creating models has not
just switched lanes, but I now feel like I am in a new car and even more congested highway. What I mean when I say this is that with each new iteration of SW new "tools" are added, for better or for worse. I try them out, see where I can plug them into the design equations or process and take it from there.
With some of these new "tools" (ie multi-bodies) and how you go about creating in the program, it just feels different. I started back in SW '98 and in some ways I do evny, in some ways, ppl who are just starting out because you are absorbing everything at once...rather than trying to teach this old dog new tricks.
I have no doubt that these new tools are helpful, maybe it is just my brain flowing over with too many programs in my head as it is.
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We have only been using it foe a little while. The hard part is forcing ourselves to drop the AutoDesk stuff and actually "use" the SW.. It is vary feature rich, that is where you have to take it home and "play" with it at home. Having a good support group (4D Concepts in Mississauga, On) training you. That got our feet wet, then we had to go from there.
Kevin Scheeringa
Program Coordinator
R&R Woodwork Inc.

huge
find
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I think you are going to love it. After a little while, you will not be able to fathom how you could design in anything less than 3-D, and will not be able to grasp how the world could function without parametric relations. You are entering a complicated world, but a worthy one.
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Voice command CAD software. AHHH what a thought.....you say "rectangle, 8x9x15 in" that would be nice.
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Hi guys, could help but jump in here.
I'd actually like to see surface modeling eliminated. Yes, you heard me correctly... What I mean is that if we had enough options with SW, I'd like to stay with solid modeling, yet be able to do local modification to face/s of the model without having to go back and forth between hybrid surface and solid modeling. So much of what we SWX surface modeler are doing is "getting around the limitations of the history tree". You need to keep in mind that surface modelers ultimately want a solid model.
I think that this is the direction to go because solid models are more intuitive than surfaces (to the visual mind). Surfacing can be so meticulous and it doesn't need to be. Unfortuneately, SWX has borrowed a lot of the surfacing methodoloy from the way surfacing has been done over the last 30 years (ship building = loft).
Instead, think of a future SWX modeler that started with a solid box and apply radius to all 8 edges of it. At this point you break from traditional modeling and go in and start to do local modification to the connection of the faces of the solid model. Say, you had a modification feature that you could pick the radius and change them or both the radius and the adjacent model faces (flat sides) to a G2 connecton with a single button. Then, while still in the feature, you had drag handles with a number box, to tweak the continuity at each of the boundaries. would this be much more intuitive than the multitude of curve network features that drive the surface?
Its time for a new paradigm, and althou its been tried and had many false starts, "object oriented" modeling could be implemented in the area of surface modeling. This would, for example, be the ability to drag and drop complex, pre-parametrized features on to complex face/s and then the feature is modified thru values. Think of a end cap feature that can be dropped onto the end face of a shaft, and that feature would match the adjacent faces of the "complex - non-analytical" shaft with G2 continuity. In this way we get away from certain features that we "re-create" over and over using sketch curves. So many of the features presently are so dependent on 2D planes and 2D sketches. These are great for a lot of prismatic - analytical modelling but doesn't cut it for non-analytical (surface) modelling. Why do we still try to use so many 2D methologies for surface modeling? The second area that I think SWX need to really consider is consolidation of features or what I call "Super-features". This is a trend that is taking hold with SolidEdge and Wildfire. Think of the flexibility and freedom to redefine the design intent if you had the ability to redefine a loft into a sweep or a sweep into a fill. So a general surface feature that could be fill, loft, sweep, dome, etc. This should also apply for the analytical modeling features. The Extrude command should encapsulate: Extrude cut, Extrude Boss, Extrude cut surface, Extrude cut Boss, Thin feature. Revolve should do the same.
SWX should also be smarter about where to give up tolerance for the sake of completing the feature successfully. This would be especially true for shell, but also for many of the surface modeling command that rely on "manifold" rules. We all know that there are many cases that don't solve just because the "math" tolerance, which is extremely small in deviation, isn't met, but the visual result is completely exceptable.
SWX developers, mathematicians, and coders, need to break away from their notion that surfaces are mathmatical; as far as the end user thinks, they are not, they are visual, I repeat that again: THEY ARE VISUAL, and this is the most important aspect of them, not that they are mathmatically correctly. Because they are visual, more drag handle, spin boxes and other dynamic type controls need to be introduced into the interface. I know that this is hard to hear for a ME, but is is absolutely true and it is why we struggle so hard to do surfacing. It is so hard because we are trying to apply analytical, parametric concepts to a non-analytical, non-parametric feature (surface) in principle. Now, there are cases where parametrics work quite nicely for surfaces, and I happen to believe that the parametric surface model is the way of the future, but only if we allow ourselves not to force surface modeling features into the prismatic modeling box, metaphorically speaking.
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Mark,
This is an excellent post. Overall, I agree with most of your ideas. Surfaces are really just workarounds for stuff you can't do with solids, and it would be a benefit if you could do what you want directly with the solid.
I have submitted the idea of a feature type that has parametric edge conditions, but non-parametric NURBS type U-V point control for the face. More comments in-line below...
snipped-for-privacy@ideo.com (Mark Biasotti) wrote in

Yes, I think this is a great point. Surfacing in itself has little value until it is made part of a solid. The new "merge result" option in the Fill command makes a beginning toward this, taking a formerly surface-only function, and merging it into the solid immediately.

To some extent you can do this with Library Features. Multiple complex features can be set up, saved and reattached to new geometry using the Library Feature "wizard" interface. I know what you're saying though, it would be cool if the functionality were extended.

Yeah, you're right. That would save a lot of editing time. I don't think that should be too terribly difficult, as long as changing feature types doesn't blow the hell out of your downstream features.

I think you need to be careful here. Solid modelling in general has had to shake off the "pretty picture" stigma by proving that the visual image represents data that can be used to manufacture. Someone who designs cams or dish antennae is concerned about mathematically accurate models, and doesn't give a damn about how it looks.
All of your curvature continuity concepts are just practical application of first and second derivatives (calculus).
In the same way, ID folks are always trying to shake the stigma of ignoring manufacturing issues. IDEO, for example, did a project for a company I worked for which looked good "visually", but was neither manufacturable nor functional. I was required to sign off on the design, but could not because it failed all of our tests. The company paid $250,000 for that "visual", and almost that much more to make the numbers work.
I'm always glad when I run into ID folks that have the ability to see things from other points of view, and I have met a couple. Ed Eaton is a rare example of someone who thinks about how what he does affects the rest of the downstream product development cycle. I've worked with ID folk from Fisher-Price, Hamilton Beach, Crosman, Kodak, Rubbermaid, Levolor among others, and the ID-ME interface always requires imagination and compromise from both sides of the aisle in order to get a successful product launch.
Anyway, thanks for the surface/solid comments.
matt.
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"Solids are just surfaces with macros". (copyright Edward T Eaton)
:>)

Little value to who ??? You, obviously. Many others.... uh, no.

Are you now in California and running for governor ? I still think Gary Coleman and Larry Flint are more qualified.... well maybe not Gary Coleman. :>)
What you and Mark want is revolution in a business than is really more about evolution.... especially in regards to SolidWorks Corp. Super features is one such evolution. think3's thinkdesign with Global Shape Modeling is another.
IMO the real problem with SolidWorks probably lies with d- cubed's 3D DCM and with ACIS's Deformable Modeler which still don't have anywhere close to enough functionality to do the kinds of things that think3 thinkdesign with Global Shape Modeling can, the kinds of things that the new version of SolidEdge can, or that Pro/E Wildfire with ISDX can.
Quite simply, SolidWorks Corp. is not an innovator in regards to giving the user tools to easily and effortlessly create beautiful aesthetic designs. SolidWorks has proved very adept at hack and whack, though. (Hack and whack or is it whack and hack... does it matter... either way it still freaking sucks) copyright J/K)
jon

to
of
ignoring
nor
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I think I'm going to regret this, but here it goes
Jon, I don't understand your feelings for SWX verses Think3.
I've followed think3 since the CadLab days and even betaed it a few years ago. Granted it is a robust surface modeler and I especially like the way it can "cap" surfaces (3 sided). In this area it out shines SWX. Now I haven't look at it for about 6 months but did an on-line demo with them at that time. From what I could see of it, I was still very concerned about the interface (the sketcher, dynamic-ness and menu layout and iconage) which has always been it's weakness. I also feel that in the solid modeling aspect, it is not as good as SWX.
For me it is not and issue of whether I use think3 or SWX, but which is the prevailing modeler in the industry currently. Unfortunately, I actually don't have the luxury of picking which modeler I use, but I use what the Fortune 500 consumer products industry uses. Currently that is about 40 percent SWX, 50 percent ProE, and 10 percent Alias. Keep in mind in almost all cases that Alias is being used along side a parametric Solid modeler when it comes to released database.
As good as a surface modeler as think3 is, it is not a player in the US market and compatibility and parametric database is so important to us ( product design consultancies). Now of course, this is a different issue for a manufacturer, in that they, in large part, can make a CAD product choice, and work very comfortably in building there investment in that modeler. But, at IDEO, I've personally benefited from using several modelers, both surface based (Alias and CDRS) as well as solid based (SolidDesigner, ProE, and SWX). They all have there strengths and weaknesses.
Of all of the modelers I've experienced over the last 19 years, SWX has been the most progressive, creative and attentive toward the customer. Keep in mind that SWX is in its 7th year of production and in its 8th revision (you can't really count '95 or the plus revs.). When it was at SWX96, ProEngineer was at rev. 16 and in its18th year of production. We often forget how far its (SWX) coming in about half the time other modelers have evolved.
I think that SWX and think3 are more alike today than they have ever been in there ability to do hybrid surface/solid modeling. I talked many hours with SWX in the late 90's and early 2000 period about what think3 had and what SWX didn't. As a result (and also others like a lot of the users in this forum) they listened and incorporated multi-body which now gives you the ability to delete a face and turn a solid into a surface body manifold and then back to a solid as many times as you'd like. But unlike think3, they made it very intuitive and easy to do. I don't say this to be boastful, but only to assure you that they are listening to their customer.
From everything I can see, they are equipped to go forward and improve on the area of surface modeling. The fill surface alone, should be evidence of this alone, and they are not going to stop there. I'd love to divulge more, but of course, I can't being under NDA.
Now, as you can see from my posted, do I think SWX is perfect or "they have arrived"? no they haven't. But, they have made a lot of progress in the pass seven years, and from every indication they are still going at a pretty healthy pace in adding new functionality. The one big area that I'm still hitting pretty hard on is the area of accuracy and tolerance especially in the area of hybrid surface solid modeling. In this area SWX still need a lot of work.
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Perhaps these companies can see something that you and plenty of others in this newsgroup don't want to see or acknowledge. One of these companies is right in both your and SolidWorks Corp's own backyard.
http://www.tenlinks.com/NEWS/PR/THINK3/081403_maytag.htm
The think3 strategy is to go after larger companies with *much better technology* and focus ALL their efforts on that. Check out the employees that think3 has hired to get this job done. Check out what their background is and who they use to do the same thing for.
Wait till you see what company makes the move to thinkdesign with Global Shape Modeling next. ;>)

Do you use what Maytag now uses ???
Do you use what Bose now uses ???
Do you like Audi's or VW's ???
How soon before it's recognized that SolidWorks has no one at the level that Alain Massabo is. He's the best in the business by far, Mark.
jon

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Dear clueless, Press releases got you confused again? Rubber undies in a knot again?
Do YOU have any clue which systems they *actually* use and for exactly what purpose? Clearly not. OTOH *I* did a little research ..
3dinkies is pretty good at CAM is it? Good at sheetmetal?
LOL ... now go back to your private BBSs unless you have already been banned again. In which case go away anyway. As has been *repeatedly* pointed out you know next to nothing about SW and less than that about CAD/CAM in general.
--
Cliff Huprich

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Matt, I say this from the standpoint of trying to get more of my ID's using 3D solid modeling as a conceptual tool. Actually my team, using ProE and Solidworks, have control of and release manufacturable surfaces to our clients (clients with external ME teams). We are very proud of this fact that we have control of the external tools surfaces, but I work very hard at maintaining this.

Matt, you have me very curious about this. Would you mind sharing with me what IDEO office you had this experience with and who from IDEO was involved.
Thanks for you comments.
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snipped-for-privacy@ideo.com (Mark Biasotti) wrote in
...

It was the Boston office, and it was a lasting impression. I don't hold any grudges, but I'm more careful to look before I leap since that experience. I wouldn't name any names, this was in 1998.
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Do you realize you have just described what *already exists today* in thinkdesign using Global Shape Modeling ???

LOL. See below.

Agreed. No reason to be forced by a history at *every single step* !!! It's stupid and it's an unproductive waste of time. It also destroys creativity.
Thankfully sales of Unigraphics are way down and EDS was forced to come up with some real innovation for SolidEdge. Now if EDS could only start converting more users you might see some true innovation in Solidworks 2005 or 2006.
Were is Rick Mason when we really need him ??? :>)
jon (Solidworks it's hack and wack. (Hack and wack copyright J/K.))

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What you get with super features and with SolidEdge's technology (They call it Rapid Blue....whatever the fuck that means.) is really the best of both worlds. Thought you might want to read about how it works straight from the source.
http://www.solidedge.com/components/pdfs/Rapid_Blue_Whitepaper-Final.pdf
Also from :
http://www.solidedge.com/prodinfo/powerful.htm
"A new paradigm for shape design Solid Edge boosts design productivity of complex geometry with tailored commands and structured workflows that help you design much more quickly than general-purpose surface modeling tools. With Rapid Blue, you get the shape YOU want, not the one the CAD system wants to give you. Shape preserving curves retain your original shape even through complex edits. Blue Dot editing introduces an industry first by addressing order dependency and providing significantly more freedom and control for evaluating and manipulating shapes in real time. Complemented by a variety of new process-oriented tools for shape design and dynamic editing, Rapid Blue shatters the barriers of traditional "history-based" surface modeling. With significantly fewer steps to create and edit complex shapes, you can evaluate more alternatives in real time and get the design you want."
Finally a review from Joe Greco of this technology can be found here:
http://www.cadenceweb.com/2003/0703/fr0703_solidedge.html
IMO Joe Greco does the best job of describing this technology. YMMV.

I and many others know you can have both. You don't have to make the sacrifice and compromise.
jon

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Explain how broken "trees" help .....
--
Cliff Huprich

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Various snips throughout

in the feature, you

A very nice post, Mark. At least one ME agrees with you completely on the above points. I sure hope your friends in Cambridge are listening to you on these.
Jerry Steiger
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You won't be the first. God only knows how many posters to alt.machines.cnc got sick of Cliffy and his buddies and the result is a very successful Web Forum where Cliffy's stalking tactics are not welcome and won't be tolerated. That Web Forum is:
www.cnczone.com
Lets deal with the FACTS:
Where in this thread has Cliffy addressed the problems with SolidWorks surfacing or made *any suggestions* on how to improve it ??? Tell me, please... where ??? Cliffy can't as he has never used SolidWorks.

No it doesn't. If you don't have the right tool for the job many times you can't get the job done period. What your saying is that you can and in many cases this is not true.
If you show up to race at the Indy 500 in say a shiny new Corvette how well do you think you would do ???

It is a moot point for you and for many others in this newsgroup who really don't understand what the issues are and why the problems exist in SolidWorks as the product tries to transition for a solid only modeling concept. The fact is that the solid only modeling concept does not work for many users. Frankly, I don't give a fuck what you or any one else buys. What I do care about is that they understand the technology. I see *very little effort on your part* to understand the approach taken by competing products. Without this effort, you really have *no idea* how to fix the problems with SolidWorks.... and when it comes to surfacing SolidWorks has *lots* of problems.

Cliffy has NEVER used Solidworks. EVER. How in the world would Cliffy know ??? Cliffy is not in favor of mid-priced CAD/CAM and has said so numerous times. He feels companies are better off laying out large dollars for Unigraphics and I'm happy to put up the posts where Cliffy has said as much.

I'm on topic discussing SolidWorks attempt to get better at surfacing. Please point out where Cliffy has done the same.
jon

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Yawn,
jon
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This is, no doubt, in response to the question about solids & surfaces or similar. Not clue one.
Perhaps he added graphite dust to his undies.
--
Cliff Huprich

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I guess that I'm going to enjoy the company of some of the most noted consumer products manufactors who can see what you and many other in this newsgroup can't see :
http://www.tenlinks.com/NEWS/PR/THINK3/081403_maytag.htm
"For companies like Maytag and Bose, competitiveness and profitability are directly tied to the effectiveness of their product development process. think3 offers these companies an advantage they can't get anywhere else - advanced design solutions that put product innovation at the center of their businesses and accelerate time-to-benefits."
"Global Shape Modeling (GSM) technology, offers advanced shape design capabilities and unparalleled surface/solid interoperability, giving industrial designers the levels of freedom and power they need to bring superior, innovative products to market faster. Developed by Alain Massabo, think3 GSM technology provides unmatched flexibility and control over design modifications, dramatically accelerating project turnaround time."
"As a company, think3 provides a world-class development environment - this has enabled us to attract and retain the highest caliber of experience and talent in R&D and industrial design," said Massabo, vice president of advance research and development. "think3's commitment to driving innovation in the product development industry is felt throughout the organization, and especially among the research and engineering teams. Our kernel and product architecture are enabling us to create technology never thought possible in this lifetime." "
Perhaps it's time to change the title of this thread to:
Old Thinking In SolidWorks And What Can Be Done To Change It.
First, however, more posters to this newsgroup will have to ask themselves why companies like California Design Center VW/Audi, Maytag and Bose are right now switching to think3's thinkdesign.
jon (If recognizing, admitting and acknowledging superior technology means I'm groveling then so be it. If someone is totally incapable of doing this... what does that make them ? How about : a totally blind loyalist.)

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