We have a small, yet growing, group of KeyCreator users who actively advocate for Kubotek products. Most of these advocates participate in our exclusive VIP community called Kubotek Champions - a website that gives the group more opportunities to engage with us and each other.
Kubotek Champions can be a lot of fun and provides just enough fodder for that mental break we all need from time to time. But it isn't all fun and games. Sometimes we ask our advocates to give a little more of their time and themselves.
Enter Michael Dean, CAD Designer at Lavelle Industries, Inc., in Burlington, WI. Lavelle makes custom rubber and plastic molded parts from consumer goods to automotive applications. The company also has its own line of plumbling related products.
Dean is pretty active in the advocate community and has a lot of insight into the ways in which CAD software is used, not only in his company, but in design and manufacturing in general.
As a member of Kubotek Champions, Dean has happily agreed to help us out in a number of ways, including being a reference for any new-to-KeyCreator customers. He's also referred KeyCreator to other CAD users because he believes so strongly in the product.
What Dean probably wasn't expecting for his efforts was to be asked to write a blog. For that, he truly stepped up his advocacy efforts.
It's one thing to write a blog if you write them all the time. It's another thing to write one when your day-to-day job doesn't require it. So, writing a post, and saying all the things you want to say, can be rather daunting.
Don't feel too sorry for Dean, though, because it turns out he can write some pretty good sh--tuff via email. And this is just conversational email. Not at all what he was intending for a debut blog. But I liked what he had to say, and darnit, I wanted to use it! And even better for Dean because he doesn't need to suffer needlessly through writing a blog post. Leave the suffering to me!
At Dean's company, he is the person who works with imported files from customers because they inevitably need someting done to them to make them manufacturable. He'll also suggest/make changes to help customers save money-something for which they are grateful.
Being able to do these things is exactly why he chooses to use KeyCreator Direct CAD.
Nearly all the files Dean receives arrive as STEP files, regardless of what system originally created them. Making necessary edits to the dumb geometry (without having to start over from scratch) is a hallmark of Direct CAD. Says Dean, "I use KeyCreator to make dumb solids smart again."
KeyCreator can also help Dean heal imported native files. He recalls importing parts and seeing things like vertex gaps and missing faces. Dean says, "It’s very rare that KeyCreator won’t heal the model."
Of course, other modelers can heal parts, but he says it's not always easy. And the more complex the fixes, the harder it becomes, if it isn't impossible without starting over.Dean also reported that some engineers ask for his help with imported models when things like an edge blend or corner fillet need to be removed and the parametric modeler they are using can't do it. (Dean doesn't gloat with this happens, but I'm pretty sure I would.)
Speaking of removing blends and fillets, Dean says he occassionally uses KeyCreator to help prep customer part files for finite element analysis (FEA). KeyCreator is extremely good for defeaturing models for downstream operations like FEA or other manufacturing operations. So good on Dean for highlighting that!
What Makes KeyCreator Different?
Dean, of course, has had experience with other modelers, including a popular parametrics based software. (Solidworks, if you really must know.) He finds one sharp contrast in the way KeyCreator works versus parametric modeling - that being Direct CAD has no set formula in how you design.
With KeyCreator Direct CAD, you design in the manner that's best for you and your team or processes. As long as there is geometry, the steps used to create it are irrelevant. KeyCreator provides options and freedom of design. It allows you to work quicker, yet with no less accuracy.
Based on his experience, Deans says, "Parametrics sound real slick at first. It’s so easy to just go back into a feature and change the sketch. But if you think about it, there are some serious booby-traps lying in wait."
He explains, "Let's say, for instance, you have a feature that has other features further down the tree constrained to it. If you make a change that alters or breaks that constraint, your model may develop serious errors. You’ll have to go into each of the errors and fix them, one by one. (Only after you finally figure out exactly what the error is in the first place.) Which, when doing so, may cause OTHER constrained features further down the tree to develop errors.
In other words, every fix you make could create new/multiple problems. The more features your model has, the more you risk these kinds of problems. In the end, you may spend more time fixing your model than you did creating it in the first place."
I wonder if Dean has read an eBook available on our website that talks about the time engineers waste each week fixing broken geometry? His experience matches up with the findings of The 3D Collaboration and Interoperabilitiy Study. If you're curious, you can read the eBook here.
KeyCreator Advocates Are...
Dean's email conversations were actually a lot longer than this blog post. I learned some interesting things about KeyCreator vs. parametric-based modeling. I also learned Dean likes the Green Bay Packers and is an aviation buff. He also enjoys long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Just kidding! I made that last part up.
But overall, I learned that our KeyCreator advocates feel strongly about their CAD software because of all that it allows them to accomplish. Could they accomplish the same things with other software? Sure, but it would probably take them longer and cause unnecessary stress and rework.
To me, KeyCreator advocates are the kind of no-nonsense, no-frills, get sh-tuff done kind of people. They are also all kinds of nice and made of sugar and spice and heaps of CAD and product design knowledge. It's a good thing, too, because otherwise, you wouldn't have a blog post to read.