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3D Modeling Techniques 
IRONCAD vs Solidworks Lesson Two
Drag and Drop Design
No Sketching Please!

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 paradigm.

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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 many comparisons to Fusion 360, Onshape, Solid Edge, NX, Creo, Catia and Inventor lessons to show the difference between IronCAD and my modeling techniques. I found the presenters working identically 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 their existing system. I call it Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based Modeling. Please review a few of the above IronCAD comparison lessons, there are some very stark differences.

Please watch a Solidworks user model this part! It is funny how they call 3D modeling drawing! Probably all the sketching!

How Can I Draw? | 3D Part (exercise 3) Solidworks Tutorial



Here is the drawing if you would like to give it a try.



While creating 3D models from drawing 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.

Solidworks is a marginal 3D CAD system based on the dated Pro/e (Creo) history based modeling system. I have sold this product years ago and found it, like all of the other Solidworks clones, 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 Solidworks and the Pro/e Paradigm



IronCAD vs Solidworks

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 exercises I have found the same problems with Solidworks and the other major systems. The modeling technique is hugely responsible for the level of productivity. Those of you that are only trained in the complex and time consuming 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?



This part in IronCAD takes five basic steps!

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



I drag and drop a block in to the scene and size it by clicking one of 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, locate and size it.



We drag and drop another block, locate it and size it. Yes, I know the right edge is not sized correctly. But it is there for a reference in the next step.



We drag and drop a hole block on the lower left corner.



We pull the bottom of the hole block to the bottom face by holding down the shift key and selecting any edge.



I have sized the block only for clarity of the next process. I have turned off the catalog. It is usually set to auto hide. I am sure this kind of modeling is very new to many of you in the sketching only world.

Note: The triball is the most sophisticated feature, part and assembly manipulator in the industry. It has been with IronCAD since the days of Trispectives in 1995. Most systems have a very simplistic copy of the Triball. Now you know where the idea originated.



With the triball we lock the horizontal axis and rotate it 45 degrees.



Now you will see why we did not size the last block.

No we select the diagonal axis and select the smaller handles inside the triball and select the upper right hand corner this will rotate the hole block to the correct orientation.



We just pull it to fully cut the part.



Now we resize the last block to 12mm and we are done with the part.



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 assembly faster than it can be done in the native CAD system.

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Please review other exercises

IronCAD vs Solidworks

IronCAD vs Fusion 360

IRONCAD vs Creo

IRONCAD vs NX

IRONCAD vs CATIA

IronCAD vs Inventor

IronCAD vs Solid Edge



You can see more on modeling techniques here.


3D Modeling Techniques Defined



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Give me a call if you have any questions. I can set up a skype or go to meeting to show this part or answer any of your questions on the operation of IronCAD. It truly is the very best conceptual 3D CAD system.


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