Direct-Modeling: 3D relief for CAE users

Week 1 of of my new career adventure is in the books, and I couldn’t be more excited. My new company, SpaceClaim Corp, is leading the industry with direct-modeling 3D software. Innovation is in the air.

First things first… what the hell is direct-modeling?

Your car, dishwasher, mouse, stereo, chair, lawnmower, TV, and toilet all started life as 3D virtual models on some designer’s workstation. That designer most likely created the model with a feature-based, parametric modeling tool such as Pro/Engineer, CATIA, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, UG (NX), or Inventor.

The models created by these tools are difficult to modify by anyone except the designer who created them. Features are tied to sketches and other features in a rigid hierarchy that needs to be well thought out prior to building the model. The designers creating these models are CAD experts and drive these design tools for a living. So, what happens when they hand this model off to a CAE engineer?

Pain
Well, the CAE engineer rarely has the expertise of a full-time designer when it comes to CAD. The first thing they’ll want to do is de-feature the CAD model, removing small features such as holes and fillets. At best, those elements are typically unnecessary for CAE simulation. At worst, they wreak havoc on the meshing process and solve times. It is at this point when CAE engineers begin the pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth.

Turns out, the de-featuring process can be brutal in this scenario. The engineer has no idea how the designer laid out this model. Nor does she have a designer’s deep CAD expertise, experience, or training. The process of removing parts and suppressing unwanted features often “breaks” the model resulting in the infamous “regeneration failure” message.

Relief
Direct-modeling avoids this horror by stripping out all of the painful, relational feature history. The engineer is able to directly and precisely edit any piece of the geometry without fear of destroying the rest of the model. Most engineers exposed to this style of modeling for CAE say it gives them the freedom to “slice & dice” at will.

How the heck is that possible? Sounds too good to be true. Well, that’s what I’ll be exploring in the next few blog posts. Meantime, I recommend you install the trial version and experience it for yourself.

Oh… and did I mention, you can even edit and modify “dumb” models imported as IGES and STEP? Stay tuned.

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10 comments

  1. Hi…

    The problem is that I only got email reply from spaceclaim ” we will contact you soon…… ” after fill my contact detail in the download page.

    So never download it 😦

    Many poeple have same problem,,,,,

  2. Hi…

    The problem is that I only got email reply from spaceclaim ” we will contact you soon…… ” after fill my contact detail in the download page.

    So never download it 😦

    Many poeple have same problem,,,,,

  3. Jeff Waters · ·

    Strange, thanks for the heads up! Please send me an email with your contact info at jeff.waters@spaceclaim.com.

  4. Jeff Waters · ·

    Strange, thanks for the heads up! Please send me an email with your contact info at jeff.waters@spaceclaim.com.

  5. Hi Jeff…

    I have sent you an email.

    Thanks

  6. Hi Jeff…

    I have sent you an email.

    Thanks

  7. Jeff, I’m glad you are talking more about CAE. I think we need more folks thinking about the money and cost you can save with it. The problem is that it is often hard to use. Simplification of the model, general ease-of-use, and the need for special training can be obstacles.

    People sometimes forget that a serious CAE guy is rarely a CAD expert. This is a good example where history-free direct modeling will have benefits beyond CAD. What SpaceClaim is doing and what we (Siemens PLM) are doing with our own Synchronous Technology in Solid Edge certainly make the geometry preparation piece much easier.

    It will be interesting to see how long it takes the other PLM companies to catch on.

  8. Jeff, I’m glad you are talking more about CAE. I think we need more folks thinking about the money and cost you can save with it. The problem is that it is often hard to use. Simplification of the model, general ease-of-use, and the need for special training can be obstacles.

    People sometimes forget that a serious CAE guy is rarely a CAD expert. This is a good example where history-free direct modeling will have benefits beyond CAD. What SpaceClaim is doing and what we (Siemens PLM) are doing with our own Synchronous Technology in Solid Edge certainly make the geometry preparation piece much easier.

    It will be interesting to see how long it takes the other PLM companies to catch on.

  9. Jeff Waters · ·

    I agree, Mark. It’s very rare, in fact, to have a CAD Stud also driving CAE tools. You’re often pulling an unskilled CAD guy with a 4 year Engineering degree up the CAD learning curve in order to get productive with CAE. Even that would be OK except that CAE is rarely done on a daily basis. So, it gets tough to keep those modeling skills in a CAD environment that was ultimately built for an end result of detail, manufacturing-ready drawings.

  10. Jeff Waters · ·

    I agree, Mark. It’s very rare, in fact, to have a CAD Stud also driving CAE tools. You’re often pulling an unskilled CAD guy with a 4 year Engineering degree up the CAD learning curve in order to get productive with CAE. Even that would be OK except that CAE is rarely done on a daily basis. So, it gets tough to keep those modeling skills in a CAD environment that was ultimately built for an end result of detail, manufacturing-ready drawings.