SolidDesigner's Dynamic Modeling lets engineers concentrate on designing rather than on whether the model has proper dimensions, the history of when and how its features were created, or on relationships between various features.
This is possible because constraints are not required on a profile used as a starting point for initial model creation. Models may also be created from existing 3-D surface and solid data. Models are made 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.
While solid primitives are not supported, they can be created by extruding such entities as rectangles. Further modification is provided for such functions as six edge fillet blending and shelling of volumes for thin wall type part creation.
Whenever a model is going to be modified, features are dynamically re-evaluated based on a hierarchal scheme that searches the selected face and looks for other geometry inside of or adjacent to itself. One example might be a boss with a hole through it. If the face of the boss is selected, the system will highlight the boss and the hole for modification. If the hole itself is selected, only the hole will be highlighted for modification. Modification is possible either through an interactive method or by modifying any locational dimensions.
Relationships between different features may also be established by the user. Features are named and then selected to be grouped together. If the hole and the boss in our example are grouped together, selecting the hole after naming will highlight the boss also. The relationship between the two may be deleted and reassigned.
If a part is cut into two parts, SolidDesigner automatically names the new body as a new part. In this manner, multiple parts are supported without an extra assembly module. From a file management standpoint, parts can be either individually saved or saved as a relationship to others into an assembly file type naming scheme. This naming scheme can be interactively modified while in any work session. Although SolidDesigner is not parametric in structure, it allows for both dimension driven and individual feature modification. The operator does not have to worry about the order in which the model's different components were initially created.
When it comes to visualizing the model, SolidDesigner offers dynamic part rotation in either shaded, wireframe, or hidden line removed modes. Dynamic part rotation and zooming through one of several methods give the operator fast visual feedback of the model's design.
Module integration. SolidDesigner integrates very well with HP's ME10 for 2-D layout creation. View definitions are created in SolidDesigner and then transferred to ME10. One of the most powerful features of this relationship is that the ME10 user has full control over bringing in the initial view definitions and over future revisions of the views if the model has changed.
Ease of use. The mouse controls the command and menu buttons and also has quick access functions assigned to it for control of dynamic zooming, panning, and part rotation. The knob box, an additional hardware component, allows for controlling the zoom, pan, roll, clip plane, and perspective viewing of each viewport with very quick control and visual feedback.
Overall, the system is very smooth in its operation and interaction. The software presents a very well thought out menu scheme that makes all command logic easy to follow and control. On-line help and an easy to use tutorial made learning the product very quick. I was extremely impressed with the quality of SolidDesigner's initial look and feel, its actual ease, of use and the overall power of its modeling capabilities.
SolidDesigner requires an HP 9000 Series 700 workstation, 64M bytes RAM, and 30M bytes disk space.
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.