|Published on:||December 17th, 2018|
|With:||Eric Miller, Tom Chadwick, Joe Woodward, & Ahmed Fayad|
In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by PADT’s Simulation Support Team, including Tom Chadwick, Joe Woodward, and Ahmed Fayad for a round-table discussion of their favorite ANSYS features released in 2018, along with news regarding the PADT and ANSYS worlds.
If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at email@example.com we would love to hear from you!
|Published on:||December 3rd, 2018|
|With:||Eric Miller & Joe Woodward|
In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by PADT’s Specialist Mechanical Engineer, Joe Woodward to discuss how eigenvalue buckling can effect the load factor of a structure, and what applications it has for a variety of different projects. All that, followed by an update on news and events in the respective worlds of ANSYS and PADT.
For more information on this topic and some visual representation of what is being discussed, check out the blog post that inspired this episode here:
If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org we would love to hear from you!
Simulation software enables product development engineers to gain insights that were previously possible only through making and breaking expensive prototypes. However, such software isn’t for every engineer. It can be difficult to learn and master, and often simulation results take time to set up and calculate. But what if simulation could be faster and easier?
With its Discovery Live technology, ANSYS revolutionizes product design.
This simulation software provides instantaneous simulation results while you design and edit and enables you to experiment with design ideas for on-the-spot feedback. These immediate insights make simulation useful and relevant to every engineer for upfront CAE. Discovery Live’s speed and simplicity represents a quantum leap forward in simulation technology, and it enables you to spend more time with answers instead of questions.
With Discovery Live, you can:
With simulation driven product design and development becoming the norm in the world of manufacturing, it has become increasingly relevant for companies to stay on the cutting edge in the search of the next best thing, in order to succeed in their respective industries.
Join PADT’s Co-Owner and Principal Engineer, Eric Miller for a live presentation on the benefits of ditching your current CAD-Embedded Software for state of the art ANSYS Simulation Solutions.
This webinar will dispel common misconceptions surrounding ANSYS Software, explain how to make the move away from CAD-Embedded tools, and present highly requested topics that ANSYS can provide solutions for, such as:
We here at PADT are excited to share with you the updates that ANSYS 18 brings to the table for AIM: The easy-to-use, upfront simulation tool for all design engineers.
ANSYS AIM is a single GUI, multiple physics tool with advanced ANSYS technology under the hood. It requires minimal training and is interoperable with a wide range of ANSYS simulation products.
Join PADT’s application engineer Tyler Smith as he covers the new features and capabilities available in this new release, including:
ANSYS AIM is a perfect tool for companies performing simulation with a CAD embedded tool, design engineers at companies using high end simulation, and even companies who have yet to take the plunge into the world of simulation.
Register for this webinar today and learn how you can take advantage of the easy-to-use, yet highly beneficial capabilities of ANSYS AIM.
After playing with that block it seems like it may be time to try a more complex geometry. For business banking, I’ve got this key fob that generates a number every thirty seconds that I use for security when I log in. Might as well sort of model that.
So the first thing I do is start up a new model and orient myself on to the sketch plane:
Then I use the line and arc tools to create the basic shape. Play around a bit. I found that a lot of things I had to constrain in other packages are just assumed when you define the geometry. A nice thing is that as you create geometry, it locks to the grid and to other geometry.
I dragged around and typed in values for dimensions to get the shape I wanted. As I was doing it I realized I was in metric. I’m old, I don’t do metric. So I went in to File and selected SpaceClaim options from the bottom of the window. I used the Units screen to set things to Imperial.
This is the shape I ended up with:
I took this and pulled it up and added a couple of radii:
But if I look at the real object, the flat end needs to be round. In another tool, I’d go back to the sketch, modify that line to be an arc, and regen. Well in SpaceClaim you don’t have the sketch, it is gone. Ahhh. Panic. I’ve been doing it that way for 25 some years. OK. Deep breath, just sketch the geometry I need. Click on the three point arc tool, drag over the surface, then click on the first corner, the second, and a third point to define the arc:
Then us pull to drag it down, using the Up to icon to lock it to the bottom of the object.
Then I clicked on the edges and pulled some rounds on there:
OK, so the next step in SolidEdge would be to do a thin wall. I don’t see a thin wall right off the top, but shell looks like what I want, under the Create group on the Design tab. So I spinned my model around, clicked on the bottom surface I want to have open and I have a shell. A thickness of 0.035″ looks good:
My next feature will be the cutout for the view window. What I have not figured out yet is how to lock an object to be symmetrical. Here is why. I sketch my cutout as such, not really paying attention to where it is located. Now I want to move it so that it is centred on the circle.
Instead of specifying constraints, you move the rectangle to be centered. To do that I drag to select the rectangle then click Move. By default it puts the nice Move tool in the middle of the geometry. If I drag on the X direction (Red) you can see it shows the distance from my start.
So I have a couple of options, to center it. The easiest is to use Up To and click the X axis for the model and it will snap right there. The key thing I learned was I had to select the red move arrow or it would also center horizontally where I clicked.
If I want to specify how far away the edge is from the center of the circle, the way I did it is kind of cool. I selected my rectangle, then clicked move. Then I clicked on the yellow move ball followed by a click on the left line, this snapped the move tool to that line. Next I clicked the little dimension Icon to get a ruller, and a small yellow ball showed up. I clicked on this and dragged it to the center of my circle, now I had a dimension from the circle specified that I could type in.
After playing around a bit, if found a second, maybe more general way to do this. I clicked on the line I want to position. One of the icons over on the left of my screen is the Move Dimension Base Point icon. If you click on that you get another one of those small yellow balls you can move. I dragged it over to the center of the circle and clicked. then I can specify the distance as 0.75″
I’ve got the shape I want, so I pull, using the minus icon to subtract, and I get my cutout:
If you look closely,you will notice I put rounds on the corners of the cutout as well, I used Pull again.
The last thing I want to do is create the cutout for where the bank logo goes. It is a concentric circle with an arc on the right side. Saddly, this is the most complex thing I’ve ever sketched in SpaceClaim so I was a bit afraid. It was actually easy. I made a circle, clicking on the center of the outside arc to make them concentric. The diameter was 1″. Then I made another circle of 2″ centered on the right. To get the shape I wanted, I used the Trim Away command and clicked on the curves I don’t want. The final image is my cutout.
Now I can do the same thing, subtract it out, put in some rounds, and whalla:
Oh, and I used the built in rendering tool to quickly make this image. I’ll have to dedicate a whole posting to that.
But now that I have my part, it is time to play with move in 3D.
Tyler, who is one of our in-house SpaceClaim experts (and younger) pointed out that I need to start thinking about editing the 3D geometry instead of being obsessed with controlling my sketches. So here goes.
If I wanted to change the size of the rectangular cutout in a traditional CAD tool, I’d go edit the sketch. There is no sketch to edit! Fear. Unknown. Change.
So the first thing I’ll do is just move it around. Grab one of the faces and see happens.
It moves back and forth, pretty simple. The same tools for specifying the start and stop points are available. Now, if I ctrl-click on all four surfaces the whole thing moves. That is pretty cool.
Note: I’m using the undo all the time to go back to my un-moved geometry.
Another Note: As you select faces, you have to spin the model around a lot. I use the middle mouse button to do this rather than clicking on the spin Icon and then having to unclick it.
That is enough for this post. More soon.
As I explored ANSYS SpaceClaim in my first try, it became obvious that a lot of capabilities that are in multiple operations in most CAD systems, are all combined in Pull for SpaceClaim. In this posting I feel like it would be a really good idea for me to really understand all the things Pull can do.
Not very exciting or adventurous. But there is so much in this operation that I feel like I will miss something critical if I don’t read up first. It states:
“Use the Pull tool to offset, extrude, revolve, sweep, and draft faces; use it to round, chamfer, extrude, copy, or pivot edges. You can also drag a point with the Pull tool to draw a line on a sketch plane.”
Let’s think about that for a second. What it is basically saying is if I pull on an object of a given dimension, it creates an object that is one higher dimension. Point pulls to a curve, a curve pulls to a face, and a face pulls to a solid. Kind of cool. The big surprise for me is that there is no round or fillet command. To make a round you pull on an edge. This is change.
I started by reading my block with a hole back in.
This fillet pull thing scares me so I thought I’d confront it first. So selecte Pull, and selected an edge:
Then I dragged it away from the block. Nothing. You can’t create a surface that way. Then I dragged in towards the center. A round was created.
If anything, too simple. Back in my day, adding a round to an edge took skill and experience!
So next I think I want to try and change the size of something. Maybe the diameter of the hole. So I select the cylinder’s face. Is shows the current radius. I could just change that value:
Instead I drag, and while I do that I noticed that there are two numbers, the current radius and the change to the radius! Kind of cool. No, really useful.
You use tab to go between them. So I hit tab once, typed 3 then tab again (or return) and I get a 8 mm diameter. I like the visual feedback as well as the ability to enter a specific change number.
Next thing that I felt like doing was rounding a corner. Put a 5mm round on the corner facing out:
So I grabbed the point and dragged, and got a line.
Remember, it only goes up one entity type – point to curve. Not point to surface. So I ctrl-clicked (that is how you select multiple entities) on the three curves that intersect at the corner:
Then I dragged and got my round.
This are all sort of dragging straight. After looking at the manual text it seems I can revolve and sweep as well with the Pull operation. Cool. But what do I revolve or sweep around and along? Looking at the manual (and it turns out the prompt on the screen) I use Alt-Clicking to define these control curves. Let’s try it out by revolving something about that line I mistakenly made.
I click on one of the curves on the round. then Alt-Click the line – It turns blue. So there is a nice visual clue that it is different than the source curve. Now I’ve also got spinny icons around the curve rather than pull icons.
So I drag and… funky revolved surface shows up. I had to spin the model to see it clearly:
Let me stop and share something special about this. In most other CAD tools, this would have involved multiple clicks, maybe even multiple windows. In SpaceClaim, it was Click, Alt-Click, Drag. Nice.
Using the Pop=up Icons
As you play with the model you may start seeing some popup icons near the mouse when you select geometry while using pull. The compound round on the block is complicated, so I spun it around and grabbed just one edge and pulled it in to be a round. Then I clicked on it and got this:
Not only can I put a value in there, I can drop ones I use a lot. I can also change my round to a chamfer, or I can change it to a variable radius. This is worth noting. In most other CAD tools you pick what type of thing you want to do to the edge. Here we start by dragging a round, then specify if it is a chamfer or a variable.
The variable radius is worth digging more in to. I clicked on it and it was not intuitive as to what I should do. Let’s try help. Search on Variable Radius… duh. Click on the arrow that shows up and drag that. There are three arrows. The one in the middle scales both ends the same, the one on either end, well it sets the radius for either end.
Clicking on a control point and hitting delete, gets rid of them.
That’s just one icon that pops up. Playing some more it seems the other icons control how it handles corners and multiple fillets merging… something to look at as I do more complex parts.
The other popup I want to look at is the Up To one. It looks like an arrow on a surface. In other tools I extrude, cut, revolve all the time to some other piece of geometry. This is the way to do it in Space Claim. Let’s say I want to pull a feature to the middle of my hole. First I sketch the outline on a face:
That is enough for pulling and for today. In the next session it may be time to explore the Move command.
This post is a table of contents to a series about ANSYS SpaceClaim. After over 31 years of CAD use, it has become difficult for me to learn new tools. In this series I will share my experience as I explore and learn how to use this fantastic tool.
Thirty-one. That is the number of years that I have been using CAD software. CADAM was the tool, 1985 was the year. As some of our engineers like to point out, they were not even born then.
Twenty-one. that is the number of years that I have been using SolidEdge. This classifies me as an old dog, a very old dog. As PADT has grown the amount of CAD I do has gone way down, but every once in a while I need to get in there and make some geometry happen. I’m usually in a hurry so I just pop in to SolidEdge and without really thinking, I get things done.
Then ANSYS, Inc. had to go and buy SpaceClaim. It rocks. It is not just another solid modeler, it is a better way to create, repair, and modify CAD. I watch our engineers and customers do some amazing things with it. I’m still faster in SolidEdge because I have more years of practice than they have been adults. But this voice in my head has been whispering “think how fast you would be in SpaceClaim if you took the time to learn it.” Then that other voice (I have several) would say “you’re too old to learn something new, stick with what you know. You might break your hip”
I had used SpaceClaim a bit when they created a version that worked with ANSYS Mechanical four or five years ago, but nothing serious. Last month I attended some webinars on R17 and saw how great the tool is, and had to accept that it was time. That other voice be damned – this old dog needs to get comfortable and learn this tool. And while I’m at it, it seemed like a good idea to bring some others along with me.
These posts will be a tutorial for others who want to learn SpaceClaim. Unlike those older tools, it does not require five days of structured training with workshops. The program comes with teaching material and tutorials. The goal is to guide the reader through the process, pointing out things I learned along the way, as I learn them.
A link to the table of contents is here.
The product I’m learning is ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler, a version of SpaceClaim that is built into the ANSYS simulation product suite. There is a stand alone SpaceClaim product but since most of our readers are ANSYS users, I’m going to stick with this version of the tool.
This is what you see when you start it up:
I’ve been using the same basic layout for 20 years, so this is a bit daunting for me. I like to start on a new program by getting to know what different areas of the user interface do. The “Welcome to ANSYS SCDM” kind of anticipates that and gives me some options.
Under “Getting Started” you will see a Quick Reference Card, Introduction, and Tutorials. Open up the Quick Reference and print it out. Don’t bother with it right now, but it will come in handy, especially if you are not going to use SpaceClaim every day.
The Introduction button is a video that gets you oriented with the GUI. Just what we need. It is a lot of information presented fast, so you are not going to learn everything the first viewing, but it will get you familiar with things.
Here I am watching the video. Notice how attentive I am.
Once that is done you should sort of know the basic lay of the land. Kind of like walking into a room and looking around. You know where the couch is, the window, and the shelf on one wall. Now it is time to explore the room.
It is kind of old school, but I like user guides. You can open the SpaceClaim User Guide from the Help line in the “Welcome” window. I leave it open and use it as a reference.
The best place to learn where things are in the interface is to look at the interface section in the manual. It has this great graphic:
The top bit is pretty standard, MS office like. You have your application menu, quick access toolbar, and Ribbon Bar. The Ribbon Bar is where all the operations sit. We used to call these commands but in an object oriented world, they are more properly referred to as operations – do something to objects, operate on them. I’ll come back and explore those later. Over on the left there are panels, the thing we need to explore first because they are a view into our model just like the graphics window.
The Structure Panel is key. This is where your model is shown in tree form, just like in most ANSYS products. In SpaceClaim your model is collection of objects, and they are shown in the tree in the order you added them. You can turn visibility on and off, select objects, and act on objects (using the right mouse button) using the tree. At this point I just had one solid, so pretty boring. I’m sure it will do more later.
Take a look at the bottom of the Structure Panel and you will find some tabs. These give access to Layers, Selection, Groups, and Views. All handy ways to organize and interact with your model. I felt like I needed to come back to these later when I had something to interact with.
TIP: If you are like me, you probably tried to drag these panels around and hosed up your interface. Go to File > SpaceClaim Options (button at the bottom) > Appearance and click the “Reset Docking Layout” button in the upper right of the window. Back to normal.
The options panel changes dynamically as you choose things from the ribbon. If you click on the Design > Line you get this:
And if you click on Pull you get this:
Keeps the clutter down and makes the commands much more capable.
Below that is the Properties Panel. If the Options panel is how you control an operation, then the Properties panel is how you view and control an object in your model. No point in exploring that till we have objects to play with. It does have an appearance tab as well, and this controls your graphics window.
At the bottom is the Status Bar. Now I’m a big believer in status bars, and SpaceClaim uses theirs well. It tells you what is going on and/or what to do next. It also has info on what you have selected and short cut icons for selection and graphics tools. Force yourself to read and use the status bar, big time saver.
The last area of the interface is the graphics window. It of course shows you your geometry, your model. In addition there are floating tools that show up in the graphics window based upon what you are doing. Grrr. #olddogproblem_1. I’m not a fan of these, cluttering up my graphics. But almost all modern interfaces work this way now and I will have to overcome my anger and learn to deal.
For most of the 30+ years that I’ve been doing this CAD thing, I’ve always started with the same object: A block with a hole in it. So that is what we will do next. I have to admit I’m a little nervous.
I’m nervous because I’m a history based guy. If you have used most CAD tools like SolidWorks or ANSYS DesignModeler you know what history based modeling is like. You make a sketch then you add or subtract material and it keeps track of your operations. SpaceClaim is not history based. You operate on objects and it doesn’t track the steps, it just modifies your objects. SolidEdge has done this for over ten years, but I never got up the nerve to learn how to use it. So here goes, new territory.
Things start the same way. But instead of a sketch you make some curves. The screen looks like this when you start:
The default plane is good enough, so I’ll make my curves on that. Under Design>Sketch click on the Rectangle icon then move your mouse on to the grid. You will notice it snaps to the grid. Click in the Upper Left and the Lower Right to make a rectangle then enter 25mm in to each text box, making a 25 x 25 square:
Next we want to make our block. In most tools you would find an extrude operation. But in SpaceClaim they have combined the huge multitude of operations into a few operation types, and then use context or options to give you the functionality you want. That is why the next thing we want to do is click on Pull on the Edit group.
But first, notice something important. If you look at the model tree you will notice that you have only one object in your design, Curves. When you click Pull it gets out of sketch mode and into 3D mode. It also automatically turns your curves into a surface. Look at the tree again.
This is typical of SpaceClaim and why it can be so efficient. It knows what you need to do and does it for you.
Move you mouse over your newly created surface and notice that it will show arrows. Move around and put it over a line, it shows what object will be selected if you click. Go to the inside of your surface and click. It selects the surface and shows you some options right there.
Drag your mouse over the popup menu and you can see that you can set options like add material, subtract material, turn off merging (it will make a separate solid instead of combining with any existing ones), pull both directions, get a ruler, or specify that you are going to pull up to something. For now, we are just going to take the default and pull up.
As you do this the program tells you how far you are pulling. You can type in a value if you want. I decided to be boring and I put in 25 mm. Geometry has been created, no one has been hurt, and I have not lost feeling in any limbs. Yay.
On the status bar, click on the little menu next to the magnifying glass and choose Zoom Extents. That centers the block. Whew. That makes me feel better.
Now for the hole. It is the same process except simpler than in most tools. Click on the circle tool in Sketch. The grid comes back and you can use that to sketch, or you can just click on the top of the block. Let’s do that. The grid snaps up there. To make the circle click in the middle of the grid and drag it out. Put 10 in for the diameter. A circle is born.
Now choose Pull from the Edit section. There is only a Solid now?
SpaceClaim went ahead and split that top surface into two surfaces. Saving a step again.
Click on the circle surface and drag it up and down. If you go up, it adds a cylinder, if you go down, it automatically subtracts. Go ahead and pull it down and through the block and let go. Done. Standard first part created. Use the File>Save command to save your awesome geometry.
That is it for the getting started part. In the next post we will use this geometry to explore SpaceClaim more, now that we have an object to work on. As you were building this you probably saw lots of options and input and maybe even played with some of it. This is just a first look at the power inside SpaceClaim.
Click here for Post 2 where the Pull command is explored.
Recently PADT became a certified reseller for 3Dconnexion. Shortly following the agreement a sleek and elegant SpacePilot PRO landed on my desk. Immediately the ergonomic design, LCD display, and blue LED under the space ball appealed to the techie inside of me. As a new 3D mouse user I was a little skeptical about the effectiveness of this little machine, yet it quickly has gained my trust as an invaluable tool to any Designer or Engineer. On a daily basis it allows me to seamlessly transition from CAD to 3D printing software and then to Geomagic Scanning software, allowing dynamic control of my models, screen views, hotkeys and shortcuts.
Outside of its consistency as an exceptional 3D modeling aid, the SpacePilot PRO also has a configurable home screen that allows quick navigation of email, calendar or tasks. This ensures that I can keep in touch with my team without having to ever leave my engineering programs, which is invaluable to my production on a daily basis. Whether you are a first time user who is looking to tryout a 3D Mouse for the first time or an experienced 3D mouse user who is looking to upgrade, you need to check out the SpacePilot Pro. I can’t imagine returning to producing CAD models or manipulating scan data without one. Combine the SpacePilot PRO cross-compatibility with its programmability and ease of use and you have a quality computer tool that applies to a wide range of users who are looking at new ways to increase productivity.
Link to You Tube video – watch it do its thing along with a look at my 3D scanning workstation, the GEOCUBE: http://youtu.be/fsfkLPaZJe4
Not familiar with what a 3D Mouse is? It is a device that lets a use control 3D objects on their computer in an intuitive manner. Just as you move a 2D mouse on the plane of your desk, you spin a 3D Mouse in all three dimensions. Learn more here.
I got some errors when I imported my geometry.
I have some holes and stray surfaces in my geometry.
The edges are twisting around on my geometry import.
ANSYS blows up when I’m trying to mesh my imported geometry.
What geometry format are you using?
The vast majority of the time, geometry import errors are attributable to the choice of geometry format. And that choice is IGES. To understand the problems with IGES, it helps to know a little bit of IGES history.
IGES, which stands for Initial Graphics Exchange Specification, was released in 1980 as a neutral format for sharing data between CAD systems. The most recent version, 5.3 came out in 1996.
IGES: The “Izzy” of geometry formats
Besides being old, there are a few other problems with this format:
Generally speaking, IGES is typically the worst geometry format to import into ANSYS.
Now that I’ve trashed IGES, here is what I recommend:
ANSYS offers several native geometry readers, such as Connections for Pro/E, NX, Solidworks, SolidEdge, etc. that bring in geometry directly from the CAD modeler. There are two advantages here:
The only catch when it comes to native geometry readers is that they require a separate license. However, about 90% of the tech support calls I’ve received about IGES import errors are from people who have licenses for native geometry readers and just aren’t using them.
Even if you have a native geometry reader license, you’ll need to be sure to check the box to install the reader during ANSYS installation. You may also need to use the CAD Configuration Manager (found in the Utilities folder in the ANSYS start menu) to configure the CAD reader if you didn’t do so during installation.
The one unfortunate exception to this is CATIA. The CATIA kernel is a bit more guarded than the other CAD kernels, and this is frequently noted in CATIA geometry import errors. Also, you can only import CATIA geometry, not associate to it as with other CAD tools.
Your ANSYS installation comes with the capabilities to import both IGES and STEP files without having to purchase an additional geometry connection license. Of the two, STEP is typically the better option. There are two reasons for this:
You may also have licenses for Parasolid and/or ACIS readers, which can lead to some confusion as to which format to use. This is easily addressed by considering the underlying geometry kernel for the originating CAD tool*.
I said geometry kernel, not…oh never mind… mmmm… fried chicken….
For example, SolidEdge, NX, and Solidworks all use the Parasolid kernel. Therefore the most robust neutral format for geometry exported from these tools will generally be Parasolid (.x_t or .x_b extension), of course. Likewise, AutoCAD uses the ACIS kernel, indicating that ACIS (.sat file) will usually be the best neutral geometry format in this case. For CAD tools that use neither of these kernels, STEP will typically be the best neutral format.
As you can see, even though the IGES people know how to make acronyms, IGES is typically the last geometry format you want to try when importing or associating geometry to ANSYS. This doesn’t mean that IGES is always the worst option for reading in CAD files (especially compared to the CATIA connection), just that it usually is.
*Hat tip to Robin Steed of ANSYS, Inc. for this tip