PE/Solid Designer 4.0 makes freeform design and work possible since it allows the creation of geometry without concern for how the geometry will be used, relationships between other entities, or the history of when entities are placed in the model.
Since PE/Solid Designer works with face geometry, any model translated into the software can be utilized by the software's dynamic modeling for parametric-type manipulation. Dynamic modeling allows the operator to interact directly with the faces that make up the solid. History trees, constraints, and features are not required by PE/Solid Designer for modification. Models translated in can be used as workable solids and not static images. Furthermore, PE/Solid Designer automatically solidifies, with verification, any translated-in model.
PE/Solid Designer offers a very powerful part-checking routine when importing data from such sources as 3-D IGES. The software analyzes IGES data to construct full model definitions by creating complete closed volumes from all face and surface data. Other tools allow for the clean-up and fixing of models with faces that do not touch, or with faces that have vector normals inside-out.
Modeling functionality. Actual solid construction comes in the way of complete primitive generation and modification with Boolean operations. While PE/Solid Designer supports complete NURBS surface data as boundaries for solid modeling, these must be imported from other sources. PE/Solid Designer does not rely on features being created (or dimensioned) first, but rather creating geometry with features. The software uses explicit geometric curves such as arcs, lines, and circles to create 3-D faces for solid definition.
Users can make models by first creating 2-D geometry on a workplane, then extruding, punching, or stamping this profile through 3-D space. These workplanes can be created anywhere in space, and interaction is possible between 2-D and 3-D geometry. Workplanes and the profiles on them may be copied, translated, and rotated for such operations as lofting. Profiles may also be created by projecting data and entity locations from 3-D space.
Version 4.0 also allows transitions from elliptical outlines to surfaces in order to define a new solid shape. By simply selecting any face or combination of faces of a solid, a user can quickly and easily modify a part without the use of constraints or feature-his-tory knowledge.
Relationships between different features may also be established by the user. Faces are selected, grouped with others, then named for quick selection at any time. Elements themselves may also be named for different part creation or manipulation and selection purposes. 3-D model features can be modified through typical Boolean operations.
Since PE/Solid Designer's features are not static, the operator is not limited by constraints, the order of entity or feature creation, or the order of feature placement related to other features. Although PE/Solid Designer is not parametric in structure, it allows for both dimension-driven and individual feature modification.
Complex assemblies can be achieved with relative ease since PE/Solid Designer allows for multiple parts to exist in the same file. The assembly file structure is an interactive list format that allows for quick rearranging and reassociating of parts. This structure can be established and modified at any time to allow for re-arranging the relationship of parts.
PE/Solid Designer successfully converts existing wireframe and surface geometry into fully modifiable solid geometry. In my mind, the fact that the designer can work with explicit geometry and not be restricted to dimensional and geometric constraining profiles and features makes PE/Solid Designer a dream come true. I wish all solid modelers would follow HP's lead. I think PE/Solid Designer should be seriously considered before purchasing any history-based modeler.
PE/Solid Designer 4.0
Required Hardware: 64M bytes RAM and 8Z graphics capability on HP 9000 Series 700 workstations and SGI platforms.
List Price: $7,500
Hewlett-Packard Co., Mechanical Design Div., 3404 E. Harmony Rd., Fort Collins, CO 80525; ph: (303) 229-4860; fax (303) 229-6501
A similar product:
Pro/ENGINEER - Parametric Technology Corp., 128 Technology Dr., Waltham, MA 02154; fax: (617) 398-6000.