3D Modeling Techniques 
IRONCAD vs Creo Lesson Two
Streamlined Sketching/Feature Based Modeling

When I introduce IronCAD's very flexible design paradigm I have a hard time to get the Pro/e clone users, like Solidworks and other programs, to understand the drag and drop design process.

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I saw some Fusion 360 exercises online and I decided to compare IronCAD. It quickly turned into a study in modeling techniques. I have created fifteen "IronCAD vs Fusion 360", six "IronCAD vs Solidworks" and two "IronCAD vs Creo" lessons to show the difference between IronCAD and the two programs and my modeling techniques. I found the Fusion 360, Solidworks and Creo presenters wasting massive amounts of time with overly complex constrained sketching procedures. I was so unimpressed that I decided to model the parts or assemblies showing my modeling techniques plus IronCAD's superb design system.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

Many of these modeling techniques can easily be implemented even within the most Solidworkish of systems. I call it Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based Modeling. Please review a few of the above IronCAD vs Fusion 360, Solidworks and Creo lessons, there are some very stark differences.

Please watch a Creo user model this part!

With all the tedious constrained sketching for this simple part for the Absolute Beginner, you can imagine a complex part?

Creo Parametric 5.0 3d Modeling Tutorial for Absolute Beginner


Here is the drawing if you would like to give it a try. This is not a 3D drawing it is a detailed Isometric. There is no such thing as a 3D drawing. A drawing it a document done on a 2D plane.         

While creating 3D models from drawings is the very best way to learn 3D CAD and maybe some design techniques it does not expose the designer to the design flexibility necessary in design. IronCAD is all top down due to the single model environment. Creating mating parts is a cruise. But modeling is just one aspect of a well designed productive 3D CAD system.

Creo is a marginal 3D CAD system based on the dated Pro/e history based modeling system released in 1988. I sold Pro/e years ago and found it not productive enough for our engineering department. We use what we sell. That gives us the experience to effectively support our user base.

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IronCAD vs Creo

I would do a video, but I really am not good at it. So I will show you step by step. I will try and get IronCAD support to create one. They are very good.

As with my Ironcad vs Fusion 360 and Solidworks comparisons I have found the same problems with Creo. The modeling technique is hugely responsible for the level of productivity. Those of you that are only trained in the constrained sketching world are truly limited by not using the freedom of Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based Modeling, that is available in even the most Solidworks-ish of CAD systems. If your designers are designing in these very unproductive and time consuming processes it might be time to review your standard design processes. Don't have any do you?

As I watch the Creo user sketch this part, I am amazed at the way he does it. I just can't understand struggling with all the constrained dimensioning. This IronCAD exercise took a few minutes and allows for faster and much easier modification. Again these exercises turned into a study of modeling techniques even though most of this model is Feature Based Modeling not available to most of the Solidworks clones.

Here is IronCAD. My default is inches, so we will set the units to mm. Let's get started.

If you are following this tutorial. I first select show the size box dimensions. You can save your custom configurations if you want.

I drag and drop a block from the catalog in to the scene and size it by clicking and editing the handles.

Note: Why does IronCAD call it a scene instead of a workspace? IronCAD was first released as a graphic design program called Trispectives. It still has much of the graphic design functionality. It truly is a wonderful mixture of professional 3D CAD and graphic design, which puts it in a much more flexible category as compared to the very mechanical engineering focused Solidworks clones.

We drag and drop another block on the front face, locate and size it.

We drag and drop a block, locate it and size it.

We are locating these features on mid-points that are automatically recognized. We also hold down the shift or Ctrl key an push/pull a feature to a point, edge or face. Very simple manipulation of shapes. This is true 3D modeling as compared to only 2D sketching.

We drag and drop a block, locate it and size it.

We drag and drop the last block, locate it and size it.

We drop a hole block and size it.

But instead of using a sketch for the slot, we just put the blends in.

We drag and drop a hole cylinder to the mid point of the face, locate it using the Triball from a point and size it.

Yes, even IronCAD has to use a sketch once in a while.

We are done with the catalog so we can autohide it. You usually work with it hidden.

We create stand alone sketches for the two circles necessary for the loft. The first on the back face to the part. IronCAD automatically recognizes end, edges, midpoints and centers. We locate the center on the affected edge and create the R13.

We create the sketch.

We select the loft command select the two circles.

Now for the blend and the chamfer. Why sketch features you can put in separately.

We select the other edge and we are done with the part.

Oops the slot is suppose to be 12 deep. No problem we just select the feature and change the depth.

This is one of the most stark examples of how IronCAD's drag and drop of editable shapes from a catalog and the use of the Triball can increase productivity 10X in this case. I usually estimate 5X increased productivity in conceptual design and 10X in changes, and I believe I am being conservative. IronCAD can edit most of the Solidworks clone parts and assemblies faster than it can be done in the native CAD system.

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You can see more on modeling techniques here.

3D Modeling Techniques Defined

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