OT:NX3 time

I now have a the chance to learn NX3 and had my first "lesson" today. Knowledge of SW and SE certainly helps in what would other wise be the
worlds most confusing software. For my first impression, I would compare it to my garage. I know I have just about everything in there, but finding it is another thing, in fact even walking through it is a major task.
OK so it isn't what you call user friendly. But there was something in there that caught my eye right away. NX3 has a mode in which it behaves very similar to the 3D Feature Based Parametric Modelers we all know and love. It has a kind of feature tree. It is in the feature tree that they did two things that would make life in SW a whole lot nicer. First the feature tree grows up like a real tree. In other words new features go on the top of the tree and push previous features down. So you are always presented with you current work when first glancing at it. Second, if a feature is deleted in a way that would cause SW to delete children it puts the orphans in a folder so the work is not lost. Pretty cool so far.
TOP
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TOP wrote:
snip First the feature tree grows up like a real tree. In other

I had a seat of I-DEAS for nearly 10 years (which evolved into NX-3 as I understand it).
The feature tree gets even better. Having multi-body part capability, the tree has a way of dealing with them: branches. You can model a base part, then model a part to join. When you complete the Boolean (join, cut, whatever) the feature tree of the joined part becomes a side branch of the base part. The branch can be suppressed to speed rebuilds. The best thing is the branch part has all its constraints self-contained, so changes there are unlikely to break the composite part.
Have to agree with you on the UI complexity. Upon buying a seat of SW in '98 (for 20% the cost of the old system), the SW interface was like a breath of fresh air.
Art
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My instructor mentioned that in his shop nobody can really use the other's NX setup efficiently because each has it setup for their personal preferences. He works in an old school way without parametrics while I immediatel gravitated to the Sketcher which is where the parametric side is most similar to SW. The first 30 minutes of "class" was spent turning on icons for the commands we would use.
TOP
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Even of a solid is created as a primitive feature, like a cube or a cylinder, it is still parametric in NX.
If you are just learning NX, I would turn off all of the customized menus and go with the default menu layout. That should give access to the common features without too much hunting.
--
Ben



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"Bushy trees" in I-DEAS are just fantastic (Applicon Bravo did it too). I love the way you could use "feature copy" to create associative duplicates of an entire branch of a model and place them anywhere else in the model.
You can also "lock" branches that you're not currently changing so that it doesn't have to recalculate them on a rebuild.
Careful use of the various functions available with this bushy tree structure can massively reduce rebuild times on complex models compared with a linear tree structure like SWX is stuck with.
John H
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Depends on what you are used to. If it is different than it will seem strange and confusing. I find Wildfire to still be more confusing than Unigraphics, and I have been on Wildfire for 3+ years. Maybe it has to do with being on UG for 16 years prior to that!
Yes NX has a lot in it. It also has things like Direct Modeling where you can drag a shape to what you want. Getting used to the user interface is the hardest part of switching to another CAD package.
--
Ben



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Ben,
I understand that. That is why I got instruction. When I switched to SW from ProE and Anvil many years ago I went through the same thing. When I learned FEMAP I went through the same thing, SE too, and so also with ACAD. But I'll have to say I was pretty lost at first because it wasn't apparent how NX went about doing things. I always try to get a handle on the principles behind the UI. I'm not so ingrained in SW that I can't switch to something else; SW sees to that by changing the UI all the time. In starting out there were certain elements of SE that I could see in the way the NX UI worked; at least this was so in assemblies.
Some of what I have to get used to is because of the fact that in NX a part, assembly and drawing can all exist in the same file....or not. Another thing is the extensive use of layers and (I can't think of the exact name at the moment) reference sets. This leads to having to turn on or off different applications while working in the same file. Not a bad idea, but if you don't know about it you won't get far.
Since UG and Pro/E (and CATIA) where the first on the block and are arguably the most general 3D CAD packages out there I fully expect to see functionality implemented that SW doesn't and may never have. You made the comment that NX is fully parametric all the time. I really didn't see that at first until I entered the sketcher. It may well be that it is, but to establish relations and parameters seems to be not quite as automatic as in SW. To really prove that to myself I think I will try to model a real tetrahedron that is controlled by one dimension on one edge with all the others parametrically equal.
TOP
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Have you opened up the equation editor yet?
Building prismatic features, instead of sketch+extrude, locks the variables in the equation editor instead of a displayed dimension. You can change the parametrics either through the editor or through the features dialog box. And locating a prismatic boss on a base feature can be located either parametrically or globally. That relationship is defined when creating the feature.
I'm assuming that your are just starting your classes so you haven't gotten into creating law curves yet. Good stuff!
Of all the CAD packages I have used throughout the years, UG/NX is still my favorite, and the UI has greatly improved since I first started using it. Granted, still more work to do and some of the locations of the commands are not intuitive.

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wrote:

We can go older than those.
CADAM, DAC-1, Applicon 880
I first used CAD in 1978 at college. Applicon 880-3D wireframe on a PDP 11/34.
--
Ben



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And, the first 3D CAD I used on a desktop computer was In-Cad, or InCad in about 1990-1991 or so on the Macintosh. It was short lived.
Bo
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The first CAD I used, if you can call it that was a bunch of fortran subroutines that had to be programmed on an IBM 360 mainframe, but that was in the early 80's. When we had our first child I wrote a simple CAD program on a Commodore 64 so I could layout my apartment for the new arrival.
TOP
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