Direct CAD News & Views from Kubotek USA

Unlearning History-Based Parametrics - The joy of 3D Direct Modeling

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Fri, Mar 19, 2010

At the end of last month, we hired a recent college graduate.  Chelsea Gammon is an applications engineer with Kubotek USA.  She is a graduate of Northeastern University where she learned to use a popular history based parametric modeler.  During her first week, she attended our 3 day basic KeyCreator Class.  She then spent some time on her own learning some of the demonstrations, and last week, we put her on the spot and brought her on the road to demonstrate KeyCreator. (She is smart, but yes the software is that easy to learn to use.)

Here is Chelsea's personal diary of her thoughts as she unlearned history-based modeling to learn the easier, quicker and more flexible work flow of KeyCreator's 3D Direct Modeling.

I hope you enjoy reading this and if you are interested in trying the software for yourself, feel free to click here for a 30 Day test drive with a full version of KeyCreator.

 A New KeyCreator User Experience...

Chelsea Gammon 3/17/10

  • I really like the DDE (Direct Dimensional Editing) tool. Quick and customizable method of selecting anything and editing its dimensions in 3D mode
  • Noticed a massive reduction in errors when trying to create/modify features, because you're simply ‘chipping away at a block of clay' consisting of nothing but pure physical geometry and no previously-created constraints or parameters to get in the way
  • Eliminates the task of trying to determine how another design engineer previously constructed a model or assembly, i.e. phone calls, emails, wasted time, longer design time. The model has no ‘memory', no design tree. It simply waits for the next person to make fresh changes without being held back by old ‘steps'.
  • I had not used CAD on a regular basis since May 2009. The first day I cracked KeyCreator open was in Feb 2010. I had only ever used (and been aware of) parametric/history-based modeling up to this point. Direct Modeling was completely new to me.
  • During initial frustrations on day 1, which consisted of coping with rusty parametric modeling skills and learning new software, I began to think this would have been easier if I had no previous parametric CAD experience at all. It occurred to me early into the first day of training that there are larger differences between the two methodologies than I had expected. I quickly realized I had to change how I thought, not just what buttons I selected on the user interface.
  • By day 2 of my KeyCreator training period I was already getting comfortable with it. That is taking into consideration all preconceptions and expectations ingrained into my brain from the use of parametric modeling for years.
  • On day 3, things just clicked and my brain seemed to reconfigure itself. I suddenly felt like I didn't need to think so hard, and I got into a groove.
  • By day 4, I felt completely at ease. My direct modeling foundation was officially intact and functional. Relieved and pleasantly surprised, I put myself through demo drills to reinforce my comfort level.
  • Pleasantly discovered that each step of the process, whether it was sketching, modeling or creating a drawing, was intuitive, concise, and fairly simple.
  • I really like the DDE, Direct Dimensional Editing tool, which allows you to create a new dimension for something, to hover the mouse over certain parts of the dimension annotation to highlight and thus indicate which parts of the model to shift when the new dimension is applied. The model immediately adjusts itself, and all its features. Compared to creating relations and constraints in SW, this is so much simpler and quicker, less confusing, and you don't need to have as much knowledge of how to properly create constraints when editing a dimension somewhere.
  • I noticed that because KC doesn't require ‘rebuilds', i.e. time to let the software iron out all the wrinkles and reorganize previously-created constraints and relations, there's no downtime during which the user must wait for the software to do its thing. Also, that means there are less freezes and slowed performance. There are less strings attached, less for the software to process. This all equates to faster design time and portability.
  • I remember SW freezing very often, almost every time, when a huge complex assembly would overwhelm and slow down the program/system. I was often forced to restart the computer. Eventually, I had to work on another computer. This usually resulted in a temporary halt in project progress.
  • I like how in KC a model and its corresponding layout (drawing file) are essentially one file. The [Ctrl-L] toggle function between model view and layout view is very convenient. You don't need to have two different files open, one for model and one for the drawing.
  • I like being able to so easily create customized hot keys for myself, and the ability to save these settings in an importable file at any time. Similarly I like the ability to customize my user interface with toolbars and buttons as I wish, and to save these as an easily importable file. You can quickly toss these files onto other computers and your settings are there for you.
  • I started using the SpaceNavigator 3D mouse for the first time when I learned KeyCreator, so my ease of use was doubled. The 3D mouse just cuts even more time.
  • I like the Dynamic Transfer function. It makes it VERY easy to rotate, shift, and reposition any individual feature. If the feature that needs to be repositioned is part of a solid, all you need to do is a quick Prune function to separate the feature off as an individual entity. Literally a click & drag operation from that point on.
  • The Prune function alone is a fantastic tool. You can so quickly and easily literally pull things like features, holes, concavities, crevices, and blends right off a model, like they were never there.
  • The Generic Move tool is very convenient because you can select any entity, in both model and layout mode, and move it anywhere.
  • A function that is remarkably easier in KeyCreator than in other CAD packages I have used, is the creation of construction planes. You simply select the CPlane icon then select a face on the model, and the CPlane is immediately created on that face.
  • Being able to create my own mouse gestures then linking them to certain operations/actions is a great feature.
  • I like the ability to change the color and sharpness of the light that shines on your part.

 To Be Continued...

Cookies and 3D Direct Modeling. Are they related, too?

Posted by John Agoglia on Fri, Mar 12, 2010

To answer that question quickly:  Nope.  We just want everyone to know we're people, too.  Kubotek isn't just a bunch of tech-heads pounding out code and cool technology.  We aren't always plotting the next biggest and best 3D direct modeling advancements.  Sometimes, we just want to enjoy time with our fellow employees and eat Girl Scout Cookies.  And since we took a video (no critiques of its severely lacking skill), you'll get to see us when we aren't entrenched in the 3D direct modeling world.  So, sit down, pass the milk and watch our short video about the arrival of cookies!  

PS.  If you can think of a way in which cookies and 3D Direct Modeling are related, let us know!  

Topics: 3D Direct Modeling