Feb 3, 2011

Delcam adds data repair module for FeatureCAM CAM software

Delcam’s Solid Doctor can fix data translation problems such as gaps or overlaps between surfaces.

Delcam has introduced a new data repair module for its FeatureCAM feature-based CAM system. The module, which is based on functionality from Delcam’s PowerSHAPE CAD software, will allow FeatureCAM users to repair poor-quality CAD models from a wide range of design software. Once repaired, the models will be able to take full advantage of the highly-automated programming provided by FeatureCAM.

At the heart of the new module is Delcam’s Solid Doctor. This allows users to read in and repair automatically models from a variety of sources, including standard formats like IGES and STEP, plus native files, such as CATIA, Pro/Engineer and Inventor, and output a file that can be read directly into FeatureCAM.

The Solid Doctor is able to tackle all the common problems that can be found when translating low precision and incomplete data, including gaps and overlaps between surfaces, or duplicated and missing surfaces, and generate a valid, high-precision model ready for programming. A combination of automated and advanced tools means that simple repairs can be carried out quickly and easily, while more complex problems can be overcome by deleting and replacing the existing surfaces within the model.

The Solid Doctor first analyses the model and highlights any problems found with a warning label. The automated repair sequence can then be run. Each corrected issue has its label changed from red to green as it is repaired.

For the more serious problems that remain, it will usually be necessary to generate replacement surfaces in the affected area. This can be done easily using Smart Surfacing technology from PowerSHAPE. The user simply deletes the existing surfaces and sketches around the area to be repaired. The software will then analyse the boundary and suggest the most appropriate type of surface to fill the space.

Once the user is happy with the quality of the repaired surfaces, they are automatically incorporated back into the model. This process continues until all the inconsistencies have been resolved and a model created that is suitable for machining.

"The main benefit of FeatureCAM is its speed and ease of use,” claimed Delcam Marketing Manager, Peter Dickin. "The Solid Doctor provides an equally fast and simple method for repairing imported CAD files, and so will help to further shorten the lead time needed to move from computer model to machined part.”