Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How do I create formulas in Catia to drive dimensions?

Slide 1
Slide 1
Slide 1
When creating a part with CATIA (or any other CAD package) it is often useful to drive dimensions off of formulas. In CATIA, you need to Create Parameters in order to associate dimensions to a part. Slide 1Begin by: Select Tools>Formula.

Slide 2

Change the Filter Type to User Parameter and create the Parameter by

Selecting New Parameter. Enter parameter name and the value.

Click OK.

Create a part sketch.

Slide 4
Right click dimension (to add formula).
Select Edit Formula.

Slide 5
Select Parameter to drive formula.
This will insert your parameter into the Formula Editor.
This area is used to create a formula. Example: (B/2)+4
This is performed for each Dimension.
Click OK.

Slide 5Slide 6
Continue to the next design operation.

Slide 7
Parameters and Relations were added to the tree.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Future in 3D

If you’ve been following CAD Systems Help you may have seen some of the amusement park ride 3D computer models we have been working on in our spare time (I promise this blog will have more CAD examples than just roller coasters). In those earlier posts, all we presented you with were 2D pictures of the rides. You could only view the model from the view that we gave you. What if you wanted to view the model from a different angle? Well now you can.  We have converted all of our original Catia models to 3D XML format and uploaded them to 3D VIA. Several of our works-in-progress are embedded below for your enjoyment. Feel free to explore the actual 3D models yourself!

For those who are not familiar, 3D XML is a universal, lightweight XML-based format that enables users to share live, accurate 3D data quickly and easily. A free player is provided by Dassault Systemes (you will need to install a plugin in order to view our creations). The models come with no history, meaning you can’t see exactly how they were built, just what the end result is.

One of the coolest features of 3D VIA is the ability to integrate high quality 3D models within Word and PowerPoint documents, which is as easy as dragging and dropping the 3D XML file into the Office document. This also enables users to view interactive, real-time 3D applications in a Web browser or stream them from a website.

What does this mean for the amusement park industry? These tools can be a great resource for ride design and would enable more efficient communication between the manufacturer and the amusement park. Gone are the days of carrying around huge sheets of plain, two-dimensional drawings that take money to print and time to revise. It’s much easier to visualize a new attraction if you can see a model in 3D and even better if the park can zoom in on specific features and view it from any angle. This software enables the park to give instant feedback on what they do or don’t like about their upcoming ride. The biggest advantage of 3D VIA is that it enables all of this to be achieved without the park having to own expensive CAD software.
In fact, another great feature is the complete three-dimensional models can even be viewed on your iPhone! 3D Via’s new mobile app allows you to position and overlay 3DVIA models on your iPhone photos and e-mail or share with friends. Check out an example video:

evisions can be made and viewed in real time, again increasing efficiency and communication. This could help the park and manufacturer save money by decreasing design time. Attractions can be realized quicker and would need less lead time. The parks could save additional money because they wouldn’t need to hire a separate company to build a model of the ride for marketing purposes as they would already have exactly what they needed. It’s a win-win-win situation for operators, designers, and customers.

Intamin Ball Coaster
Intamin Ball Coaster
Vekoma Flying Dutchman
Vekoma Flying Dutchman
Water slide
Water slide
Wood coaster
Wood coaster
Steel coaster
Steel coaster

Click on the pictures above to go to the live 3D models. This is just a sample of how would work in real world situation (if it isn’t already being done).

Check out our project showcase site.
View some of our other non-amusement park related models.

For more amusement park news and features visit Coaster101.

CATIA Model: S&S Screamin Swing

Today I decided to attempt to model an S&S Screamin Swing thrill ride in CATIA V5 R19. Here are two pictures and the 3D xml of what I made today. It's a little rough around the edges but you get the idea. I made up all of the dimensions since I have no idea what they actually are. I think the scale actually came out quite well. Not as exciting as a roller coaster but the file size is much smaller! You can see some of my other creations at Campus3ds website. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

How to reduce CATIA part file size - CATDUA

Is running a CATDUA the answer to my CATIA parts being too big? I'm not sure it is the complete solution but it may help a little. For those not familiar CATIA V5 accumulates a lot of junk like code errors etc. in it’s files during modeling, modification etc. Due to this, CATIA files may become corrupt and also during this process, the files become larger in size. To get rid of these problems, CATIA V5 offers CATDUA function. CATDUA is expanded as “Catia Data Upward Assistant”. The CATIA file now becomes cleaner and less prone to corruption. The other main advantage of running CATDUA is decrease in the size of file. Hence your CATIA files when processed with CATDUA, will open much faster. For example see the difference in size of CATPart before and after running CATDUA utility. A CATPart of around 25MB was reduced to 21MB after the CATPart is cleaned with CATDUA V5. For parts with large size, this difference may be higher, at least i hope so! Here goes nothing...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wicked Twister Roller Coaster CAD Model Tutorial

If you are a frequent visitor to Coaster101, you may have seen some of my CATIA amusement park ride computer models, like this. You may also have been asking yourself or wondering how I created those computer models. Well today I am going to explain in a little bit further detail on the process I have used to recreate those attractions on the computer.

 I use a program called CATIA (Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application), which is the most powerful and widely used CAD (computer aided design) software of its kind in the world.

 If you’ve ever used No Limits simulator there is an excellent Wicked Twister recreation so I am going to use that to help me out. Keep in mind that this is just one approach of literally thousands of different ways of doing it. If you have a other suggestions I would love to hear them!
The first thing I did was get the coordinates from all of the node points in the No Limits model. I created all of these points in a CATIA part. Be careful of the axis system, CATIA’s default axis is not necessarily the same as No Limits in terms of which direction is X, Y, or Z is. Next, connect all of the points with the spline command. This is the result thus far. You can see the basic profile layout, also called the center or heartline of the coaster.
Now we need to make the shape of the track. This are the dimensions I used for the track.


I have never seen an actual spec from Intamin so I had to do a little investigating and guess work. This is what’ve I’ve come up with. From an old Millennium Force flyer I learned the rails are 5 inches in diameter and only 3/8 inch thick (even at the highest g-force areas). Someone gave me an educated guess that the rails are 48 and 54 inches apart at the centerlines so I went with it. The rectangular tubes that hold the rails together I assumed to be 3 inch square tubing.

The important thing to notice now is that the rails are zero degrees with respect to the horizontal axis. This becomes critical when we get to the two towers and this angle will gradually increase, which makes the twisting helix.
The basis of everything is right here. The centerline and the sketch for the rails.
After I created the sketch for the rails, I used the rib command to extrude their shape throughout the length of the station and launch track segments.
After the rails were created I had to construct the connecting tubes, pictured here.
I used this image for reference as well.
Next I began adding the diagonal cross bars. I only have to sketch one of them on the straightaway then I can simply pattern the rest.
The hard part now is the spikes on the end. Remember the critical angle I mentioned earlier? At every node point starting from the fourth one out of the station the track now rotates 45 degrees about the center. I created points where the rails will go and then connected them with a spline, giving the shape you see here. I can then sketch a circle on the end and rib it through the spline, just like I did earlier, thus creating the rails.
This is what all of the construction geometry looks like, and by construction geometry I mean all of the points, planes, lines, splines, axis and sketches. These elements are used to construct the solid.
Next, I ribbed the twisting splines. After all of that, here is the result of our progress, which is as far as I am going to go today. The only other thing I will do now is to quickly construct some simple concrete footers and steel supports for reference.
I saved my assembly as a 3d xml file and exported it to 3D Via and here it is for your enjoyment.
Would you be interesting in learning more and reading additional features like this one? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0 Tips

Keyboard/mouse shortcuts
CTRL+D Default view
Middle-Button Spin
SHIFT+Middle Pan
CTRL+Middle Zoom (press, drag up-down)
CTRL+Middle Turn (press, drag left-right)
Scroll Wheel Zoom
CTRL+G Regenerate
CTRL+R Repaint
CTRL+A Activate window

--- Refit (no key, use toolbar icon)

Part Design

To change background color: View > Display Settings > System Colors. Change Background and uncheck Blended Background.

To extrude: R-click for short-cut options.

To dimension: Dimension tool > L-click start > L-click end > C-click to place.

To dimension a diameter: L-click outside > L-click center line > L-click outside > C-click to place.

To assign a material and/or density: Edit > Setup > Mass Props > enter density (Aluminum = 0.095 lb/in^3, Steel = 0.282 lb/in^3). Units are current units for part. An even better way: Edit > Setup > Material > Define. Then Material > Assign.

To find weight and c.g. of a part: Analysis > Model Analysis > Model Mass Properties > Compute

To add relations: Double-click on part to show dimensions. Tools > Relations. Note that dimensions changed to symbols. In the Relations dialog box, use the toggle button to toggle between dimension symbols and numbers. Add relation like this (line 1 is a comment)/* notch is 1/4 the width */d3 = (d1)/4

To add a feature to the top of a part: Pick feature tool > Select Front as sketch plane. In References window, create new Ref by picking top surface of part (rotate to select) and deleting default top reference plane.

To add a round (or fillet): Pick round (or fillet) tool > Pick edge(s) > Drag handles, center-click.

To copy a feature: Edit > Feature Operations > Copy > Same Refs | Select | Dependent > Done > select feature (use of model tree to select) > Done > In GP VAR DIMS box select feature location dimensions to change > Done. Follow messages.

To mirror a feature: Edit > Feature Operations > Copy > Mirror | Select | Dependent > Done > select feature (use model tree to select) > Done > select plane to mirror about.

To make a pattern: Select feature. R-click > Pattern. (Or select the feature then the Pattern tool at the right.) Follow prompts to enter increment value, and total number of instances.

To set units: Edit > Setup > Units > select units > Set > read warning box

To edit dimensions: Double click on part then on dimension. Or right click on feature in menu tree > Edit. Regenerate when done.

To change dimensioning scheme or to re-sketch part: Rght click on feature in menu tree > Edit definition. Takes you to dash board. Placement > Edit Sketch. In the Sketch dialog, select Sketch.

Raised text: Create protrusion on desired surface. Text tool in sketcher toolbar > follow directions, for text line draw bottom to top.

Hex object: New feature > protrusion. Add 2 centerlines that go through the origin, spacing lines by about 120 deg with one of them about 60 deg from vertical. Dimension one of the lines to be 60 deg from the vertical reference and dimension between lines to be 120 deg. Create a Center/Point circle (do not dimension this circle). Select circle, then Edit > toggle construction. Draw hexagon while constraining to the construction circle, the reference lines and the centerlines. Dimension across one flat; the rest will follow.

To change model name: File > Rename.

To view order that model was created: Tools > Model Player. Click for/rev arrows to step through model creation.

To make a spring, use a helical sweep: Create new part. Insert > Helical Sweep > Protrusion > Constant | Thru Axis | Right Handed > Done. Select Front datum for sketch plane and Top datum for top reference. Create a vertical center line that passes through the origin. Create a vertical line of height 20.0 located 5.0 to the right of the origin. Accept the sketch. Enter pitch value of 4.0. Sketch a circular cross-section (the cross-section of the spring) of diameter 1.5. Accept the sketch. Preview the feature.

Blends: Create a new part. Insert > Model Datum > Plane. Reference to FRONT, offset by 100. Select Sketch Tool icon at the right and sketch on the FRONT plane. Sketch the first cross section (a square). Accept the sketch. Create a second cross section sketch on DTM1. Each section in the blend must have the same number of vertices. Create the blend. Insert > Blend > Protrusion > Parallel | Regular Sec | Sketch Sec > Done > Straight > Done. Follow the message prompts. Select the FRONT sketch plane. Flip arrow to point towards the DTM1 plane. In sketcher, use the Create an entity from and edge tool to pick up all four edges of the square. Note the order of the vertices which must be consistent in the next section. When done, select the arrow tool then right press > Toggle Section. Use the edge tool to pick up the next section. Accept the sketch. Enter the depth of the section. Select Preview from the Protrusion dialog box, then OK.

To color a part: View > Color and Appearance. Follow directions in Appearance Editor.

To apply fancy rendering: View > Display Setting > Model Display > Shade tab > Check Real-time rendering.

To add fancy rendering button: R-click in top tool bar > Commands > View > Drag Realtime Rendering button to model display toolbar.

To create a new stored view: Reorient View button > Saved Views > enter name for new view > Save.

To suppress display of tangent lines: View > Display Settings > Model Display > Edge Line, Tangent Edges = No Display.

If printouts of lines for transparent parts are not showing: 1. View > Display Settings > Model Display> Uncheck the box for colors. 2. View > Display Settings > System Colors > Scheme = Black on White. 3. In the Printer dialog box, choose Properties, then set resolution to something higher than 600x600 dpi (if this is an option.)

To spin wildly: Orient mode button > R-click in window > Velocity mode. Drag part with center mouse button.

To create a high quality rendering of the part for use in PowerPoint presentations or reports (taken from a Pro/E FAQ): You can dramatically improve the way your models appear directly onscreen by using Photorender: View -> Model Setup -> Render Control. Click "Render Final Image" on the toolbar that pops up and see the difference! If you do a screen capture now it is going to look so much better. The default background color for rendered images is black. To change the background, click "Modify Render Settings" on the rendering toolbar, and then check the "Render Room" box. Close that dialog and click "Modify Room Settings" on the render toolbar. Click on one of the walls and set the color to white, do the same for the ceiling and floor. Now render the final image and you'll have a white background instead of black. You can of course do much more detailed renderings and output to a file, but just doing the basic steps above to render the image directly on your screen will make a world of difference in any screenshots you take, and the process takes all of about 15 second

To create a co-axial hole. Select axis (Set pick filter to Datums). Select hole tool. With Ctrl held down, select drilling surface or datum.

To create a notch in a cylinder. In the sketcher, lay down a construction line that is at the edge of the cylinder and snap to that construction line.

That's all for now! More later...

ProEngineerProEngineer WildFire 2.0 Student Edition

Monday, January 11, 2010

How do I add threads to a part in CATIA V5?

Slide 1
Here is one way that you can add threads to a part like a screw in CATIA:

1.First select the tap/thread icon
2.Slide 1Setup initial conditions
3.Setup driving functions

4.Add design table and check your work

Slide 2
Pick Lateral Face and Limit Face, Slide 3
Enter in Thread Diameter, thread Depth, and pitch, Slide 4
Add formulas to diameter and thread depth

 Slide 1


Hello and welcome to the CAD Systems Help Blog!  I currently work as a CAD Engineer. I graduated from the University of Toledo with a degree in mechanical engineering. I have used a variety of different CAD systems and programs including AutoCAD 2000, Solid Works, CATIA V5 (R14 through 19), ProEngineer, Parts Solutions, Vericut, 3D Via, Delmia, Enovia, and more. I plan on sharing the information I have learned through my experiences with you.

The majority of my CAD experience is with CATIA V5 and I have knowledge of many workbenches including Part Design, Assembly Design, Wireframe and Surface Design, Aerospace Design, Generative Sheetmetal Design, 3D FT&A, Structure Design, NC Machining, Tooling Design, and Generative Shape Design. Other software I am familiar with includes Matlab, MathCAD, LabVIEW, Visual Basic, Microsoft Office (check out my Excel help blog), Macromedia Captivate, Pinnacle, Movie Maker, Smart Team and Team Center.

Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have!