3D Modeling Techniques
IRONCAD vs Solidworks Lesson Seven
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 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.
This lesson is a bit of a twofer. It is a comparison between
KeyCreator (CADKEY) and Solidworks.
KeyCreator is a direct
edit only CAD system. I sold CADKEY and KeyCreator for over 31 years
in 1987 and lost the product in 2009 when they went to direct sales. I would
be selling it today. It is a very flexible direct edit system but a
bit clunky for design. You need both history and direct edit for
highly productive modeling. I quickly moved to IronCAD in 1998 for
all my solid modeling only using KeyCreator for some hybrid
modeling. But our other product, ZW3D, offers much more hybrid
It works only with levels and the level management
becomes quite a chore. Even though both IronCAD and KeyCreator are
single model environment IronCAD has much better way of displaying
and manipulating the parts, by hiding, showing and suppressing. ZW3D has just too
many advantages over KeyCreator to even get into it.
KeyCreator offers 2X productivity over Solidworks not only in ease
of modeling but the single model environment, even with the levels
is miles above the separate part and assembly environment of
Please watch both presentation separately. I have
tens of thousand of hours on KeyCreator, being introduced to CADKEY
in 1986 and I am a bit surprised how the presenter modeled this
part. Much of KeyCreator modeling is done by sketching. By avoiding
sketching and showing off a few unique commands, he makes this a
much more complex process. He does not take advantage of earlier shapes and
depends on what KeyCreator calls DDE (Dynamic Dimension Editing). I
do have KeyCreator 2016 (Part of a consulting contract with Kubotek) and
I could do it quite a bit simpler.
Direct edit is very fast
modeling system with 2D to 3D conversions but suffers hugely as a
design product without the flexibility of history design. You really
need both to productive 3D CAD modeling.
Even with the use of the extra unique commands, KeyCreator easily outperforms Solidworks on this simple part.
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.
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.
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
As with my Ironcad vs Fusion 360 exercises
I have found the same problems with Solidworks. 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?
KeyCreator offers a
much different design experience. Designing with no history is
relatively easy. Much simpler than the constrained sketched history
based systems such as Solidworks. But direct edit only does not
offer the flexibility of history based modeling. IronCAD with both
history and direct editing integrated and available in the design
process, then add the new dimension of drag and drop design it easily outperforms both.
Let's get started!
We are using the newly released IronCAD
We are set the units to millimeters.
I drag and drop a
block in to the scene and size it.
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.
Then we drag and drop another block on the front face and size it.
We add the 45R fillet! Now for the two
bosses. We drag and drop a cylinder on the front face size it and
located it with the Triball.
we take the existing boss, using the Triball copy, size it and move
it to the new location.
will now create a sketch for the wall. We will use the Extrude
Wizard Tool that instantly create the extrusion. We project the
original edge then create an offset and project the relevant edges.
Trim or extend as necessary.
Notice: We did not
constrain any of the sketched features. This is what I have coined
We select okay which completes our wall.
We drag and drop another block on the front face, locate and size it.
We select the rib and locate
the Triball only by tapping the spacebar and move it to the front
center of the boss. Then copy it to the center of the face of the
other boss and rotate and then adjust the length to the back face.
The we drag a hole cylinder to the two faces of the bosses
and size them.
drag and drop the first hole size and locate it, using the Triball
we link and locate the other holes. Linking them allows then to all
reflect any changes to one.
Now for the most time consuming
process adding the fillets.
you go. So much simpler and faster than either the Solidworks or
another stark examples
of how Streamlined Sketching and Feature Based Modeling utilizing IronCAD's drag and drop of smart editable
Intellishapes from a catalog and
the use of the Triball can increase productivity easily 5X. 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.
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.
If you are interested in adding professional
hybrid modeling capabilities or looking for a new solution to
increase your productivity, take some time to download a fully
functional 30 day evaluation and play with these packages. Feel free
to give me a call if you have any questions or would like an on-line