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Helix's solid modeling engine and parametric design capabilities, coupled with MICRO CADAM's intelligent user interface structure, offer powerful solid modeling tools with an easy-to-use menu. The menu structure allows multiple input options for performing operations, rather than a lengthy menu scheme prior to user-interaction with the system.

Helix has integrated the 3-D operation into two existing abilities found in the 2 .50-D product. These two abilities are the use of auxiliary views and the ability to hide and then reveal geometry from the screen with a quick command rather than relying on layers for entity blanking.

Spec Box


Helix runs on IBM systems with AIX and HP systems with HP-UX 9.05. Requirements: Motif v1.2, X11R5; Intel-based Windows NT 3.5, and 64M bytes physical memory.

List Price: $3,495.00

MICROCADAM, Inc., 355 S. Grand Avenue, 23rd Flr., Los Angeles, CA 90071; ph: (213)-613-2300; fax: (213) 613-2350.

Auxiliary views are the means to create, manipulate, and edit planar graphic entities such as points, lines, arcs, circles, and splines. These entities relate to each other in the context of model views that can be orthographic, isometric, or true at an arbitrary location or orientation. Each view is characterized by its position and orientation within a drawing and by a scale and transformation reflecting its orientation in three dimensional space. Using the familiar techniques of descriptive geometry, operators can project from one view to another or use two views to define a third view.

The auxiliary view concept is the basis for the mathematical relationship for all CADAM and MICRO CADAM models. It is used by Helix for its solid model creation functions performed on existing 2 .50-D or 2-D files from other CAD products.

With Helix, each Auxiliary view is brought in within a separate window. Solids are created by selecting the geometry from any view or window. The system will then automatically convert this geometry into a profile. These profiles or outlines of an object are extruded along an axis to faces that are defined in another auxiliary view. All interaction is by simply selecting existing geometry or by keying in values.

Since other views are on the screen, selecting existing geometry to define the depth is more accurate than trying to figure out values to type in. Each extruded profile may be combined or removed from others through traditional Boolean operations to create a complete part. Any DXF, DWG, or IGES file may be imported into and quickly converted a solid by extruding similar to the method described above.

Helix's solid engine provides remarkable filleting functions for blending edges and corners. DESIGNBASE also provides for special edge and face editing called "local operations." It allows the operator to easily create and manipulate edges, faces, and vertices to model geometry. By selecting the components of a solid, the part can be quickly and easily modified without the use of Boolean operations or the need to first create other primitive shapes.

The engine also keeps a history of a parts creation process. Any step of the part may be viewed and reverted back to with Helix's feature tree operation, which lists graphical operations. The tree can be edited to insert a different operation; the old tree may be kept intact, or a new version started that will purge out unused operations.

Documentation and support. With Helix, the only printed manual is the installation guide. All other documentation is in electronic format via the on-line, context-sensitive help. While the on-line help was very thorough, I still would like to have a book in front of me.

New solid modeling users will find Helix's construction techniques from 2-D images very handy and easy to use. While surfaces are not supported in this current release, the product itself offers almost every solid creation tool available on the market. Its support for dynamic shaded image rotation is very helpful, along with its ease of assembly building. Local editing of solid edges and faces makes the product very productive for almost every type of solid modeling application.

A similar product:

AutoCAD Designer-Autodesk Inc., 111 McInnis Pkwy., San Rafael, CA 94903; ph. (415) 507-5000; fax: (415) 507-5100.

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