Delcam has extended the range of triangle modelling options within its PowerSHAPE Pro CAD software to create a more comprehensive Tribrid Modelling system. Tribrid Modelling enables CAD models to be created from solids, surfaces and triangles and so offers a more complete design solution than hybrid modelling using just solids and surfaces. Full details on the new version can be found on the PowerSHAPE Release Centre at http://releasecentre.powershape.com/ .
The Release Centre provides customers and prospective users with a comprehensive overview of the enhancements to the software. Chris Lawrie, PowerSHAPE Product Manager explained: “With any new release we create a huge amount of written material. Often, users are only interested in a small number of the enhancements that might be critical to their application. Finding specific details through print can be quite difficult. The Release Centre provides an interactive video experience that lets the user pick and choose the sections that they want to watch. There are video demonstrations that show the user the key new features, and, more importantly, how to use them. This will help users get up to speed with the benefits of the new version much more quickly.”
The main applications of the new version of PowerSHAPE are expected to be in the medical area, since most data from medical scanners is generated as triangle files, both when creating internal prostheses and when manufacturing external customised aids like orthotics. Haptic arms and similar sculpting devices also produce triangle files so PowerSHAPE Pro will be able to combine designs from this equipment with extra solid or surface data, for example when producing moulds from the sculpted models.
The key addition in the new release is the ability to undertake Boolean operations between pairs of triangle files, or between triangle models and solids or surfaces. PowerSHAPE Pro was one of very few CAD systems able to perform Boolean operations between solids and surfaces. The ability to combine all three file types makes the software even more flexible. The new release can also offset triangle files, making it possible to add thickness to a scanned surface.
The new functionality provides a considerable expansion of the previous ability to add triangle files of logos, branding, textures or other 3D decorations onto the surfaces of PowerSHAPE Pro models. This effect was rather like sliding a transfer over the surface of an object, although it did give the added advantages that the decoration could be scaled or stretched to fit any given area and that the result would be fully three-dimensional. Tribrid Modelling enables all three forms to interact within any design, limited only by the imagination of the user.
The other main development focus has been on improving the ease of use of the software. This becomes apparent as soon as the user starts to sketch the outline of any new design. The Intelligent Cursor both speeds and simplifies geometry creation by giving constant feedback, automatically highlighting items such as the centre-points of lines and circles, plus any potential intersections between lines.
The outline sketch can be converted into a fully-surfaced model using Delcam’s unique Smart Surfacing technology. Like other CAD systems, PowerSHAPE Pro provides a number of alternative methods for constructing a surface from a given set of lines, arcs or points. With Smart Surfacing, the choice of method is made automatically by the software to give the best possible surface. If the user is unhappy with the automatic selection, or is simply curious to see other options, he can scroll through the alternative solutions.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Smart Surfacing is that the software’s choice of surfacing method is updated automatically as extra information is added to the selection. As any additional lines or points are selected, the chosen surfacing method is reviewed and the surface regenerated if an alternative solution has become more appropriate.
Any set of surfaces can be converted into a finished model with a variety of powerful and reliable filleting and blending commands. The user simply needs to specify the desired fillet radius and the software will show a series of tracks where fillets of that size will fit. Some or all of the possible fillets can then be created with a single command. In PowerSHAPE Pro, even variable-radius fillets and intersecting or overlapping fillets can be created quickly and easily.
“The addition of triangle modelling represents another significant development for PowerSHAPE Pro,” claimed Delcam’s CAD Product Manager, Chris Lawrie. “It adds even more flexibility to a design system that was already one of the most powerful products for the creation of complex shapes in a fully-detailed 3D format. It really does open infinite possibilities to the creative designer.”
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