By using the power of ANSYS SpaceClaim to quickly modify geometry, you can set up your surface models in ANSYS Mechanical to easily be connected. Take a look in this How-To slide deck to see how easy it is to extend geometry and intersect surfaces.PADT-ANSYS-Connecting-Shells-SpaceClaim-Mechanical
I have always had an issue with leaving well enough alone since the day I bought my Subaru. I have altered everything from the crank pulley to the exhaust, the wheels and tires to the steering wheel. I’ve even 3D printed parts for my roof rack to increase its functionality. One of the things that I have altered multiple times has been the shift knob. It’s something that I use every time and all the time when I am driving my car, as it is equipped with a good ol’ manual transmission, a feature that is unfortunately lost on most cars in this day and age.
I have had plastic shift knobs, a solid steel spherical shift knob, a black shift knob, a white shift knob, and of course some weird factory equipment shift knob that came with the car. What I have yet to have is a 3D printed shift knob. For this project, not any old plastic will do, so with the help of Concept Laser, I’m going straight for some glorious Remanium Star CL!
One of the great things about metal 3D printing is that during the design process, I was not bound by the traditional need for a staple of design engineering, Design For Manufacturing (DFM). The metal 3D printer uses a powder bed which is drawn over the build plate and then locally melted using high-energy fiber lasers. The build plate is then lowered, another layer of powder is drawn across the plate, and melted again. This process continues until the part is complete.
The design for the knob was based off my previously owned shift knobs, mainly the 50.8 mm diameter solid steel spherical knob. I then needed to decide how best to include features that would render traditional manufacturing techniques, especially for a one-off part, cost prohibitive, if not impossible. I used ANSYS Spaceclaim Direct Modeler as my design software, as I have become very familiar with it using it daily for simulation geometry preparation and cleanup, but I digress, my initial concept can be seen below:
I was quickly informed that, while this design was possible, the amount of small features and overhangs would require support structure that would make post-processing the part very tedious. Armed with some additional pointers on creating self supporting parts that are better suited for metal 3D printing, I came up with a new concept.
This design is much less complex, while still containing features that would be difficult to machine. However, with a material density of 0.0086 g/mm^3, I would be falling just short of total weight of 1 lb, my magic number. But what about really running away from DFM like it was the plague?
There we go!!! Much better, this design iteration is spec’d to come out at 1.04 lbs, and with that, it was time to let the sparks fly!
Here it is emerging as the metal powder that has not been melted during the process is brushed away.
The competed knob then underwent a bit of post processing and the final result is amazing! I haven’t been able to stop sharing images of it with friends and running it around the office to show my co-workers. However, one thing remains to make the knob functional… it must be tapped.
In order to do this, we need a good way to hold the knob in a vise. Lucky for us here at PADT, we have the ability to quickly design and print these parts. I came up with a design that we made using our PolyJet machine so we could have multiple material durometers in a single part. The part you need below utilizes softer material around the knob to cradle it and distribute the load of the vise onto the spherical lattice surface of the knob.
We quickly found out that the Remanium material was not able to be simply tapped. We attempted to bore the hole out in order to be able to press in an insert, and also found out the High Speed Steel (HSS) was not capable of machining the hole. Carbide however does the trick, and we bored the hole out in order to press in a brass insert, which was then tapped.
Finally, the shift knob is completed and installed!
Want to learn more, check out the article in “Additive Manufacturing Media.”
Noticed an interesting email in my inbox the other day with the subject line:
“Oktoberfest Time: 3D Print a Beer Stein in Beer Filament”
Marketing gold, you have my attention!
After reading the reviews from the filament manufacturer, I dove in and got some of the hoppy, malty filament on order from 3D Fuel. I was very excited when it came in and couldn’t wait to print PADT’s own beer stein for our upcoming Nerdtoberfest event. Meanwhile I found a nice starting point with a file from GrabCad and added my own additions and alterations.
I quickly went to load the beer filament into one of our 3D printers, when I noticed that the roll size was not compatible with the spool holder on the printer. It was this disconnect that would have previously stopped this experiment in it’s track, however, the future is NOW!
I popped onto the Thingiverse, and alas, I was not alone in having this issue and a plethora of solution were populated before me. I was about to 3D print and adapter to allow my 3D printer to accept a new roll size that was found to be incompatible just moments before. Disaster averted, I was now cooking with gas, er, beer.
The printing process was uneventful and the beer filament printed well. We now have a beer mug printed out of beer filament for PADT’s annual Nerdtoberfest!
Some of you have probably already noticed, but ANSYS Mechanical licenses have some changes at version 17. First, the license that for years has been known as ANSYS Mechanical is now known as ANSYS Mechanical Enterprise. Further, ANSYS, Inc. has enabled significantly more functionality with this license at version 17 than was available in prior versions. Note that the license task in the ANSYS license files, ‘ansys’ has not changed.
|16.2 and Older (task)||17.0 (task)|
|ANSYS Mechanical (ansys)||ANSYS Mechanical Enterprise (ansys)|
The 17.0 ANSYS License Manager unlocks additional capability with this license, in addition to the existing Mechanical structural/thermal abilities. Previously, each of these tools used to be an additional cost. The change includes other “Mechanical-” licenses: e.g. Mech-EMAG, Mech CFD. The new tools enabled with ANSYS Mechanical Enterprise licenses at version 17.0 are:
|Fatigue Module||Rigid Body Dynamics||Explicit STR||Composite PrepPost (ACP)|
|SpaceClaim||DesignXplorer||ANSYS Customization Suite||AQWA|
Additionally, at version 17.1 these tools are included as well:
These changes do not apply to the lower level licenses, such as ANSYS Structural and Professional. In fact, these licenses are moving to ‘legacy’ mode at version 17. Two newer products now slot below Mechanical Enterprise. These newer products are ANSYS Mechanical Premium and ANSYS Mechanical Pro. We won’t explain those products here, but your local ANSYS provider can give you more information on these two if needed.
Getting back to the additional capabilities with Mechanical Enterprise, these become available once the ANSYS 17.0 and/or the ANSYS 17.1 license manager is installed. This assumes you have a license file that is current on TECS (enhancements and support). Also, a new license task is needed to enable Simplorer Entry.
Ignoring Simplorer Entry for the moment, once the 17.0/17.1 license manager is installed, the single Mechanical Enterprise license task (ansys) now enables several different tools. Note that:
- Multiple tool windows can be open at once
- g. ANSYS Mechanical and SpaceClaim
- Only one can be “active” at a time
- If solving, can’t edit geometry in SpaceClaim
- Capabilities are then available in older versions, where applicable, once the 17.0/17.1 license manager is installed
Here is a very brief summary of these newly available capabilities:
- Runs in the Mechanical window
- Can calculate fatigue lives for ‘simple’ products (linear static analysis)
- Stress-life for
- Constant amplitude, proportional loading
- Variable amplitude, proportional loading
- Constant amplitude, non-proportional loading
- Constant amplitude, proportional loading
- Activated by inserting the Fatigue Tool in the Mechanical Solution branch
- Postprocess fatigue lives as contour plots, etc.
- Requires fatigue life data as material properties
- Stress-life for
- Runs in the Mechanical window
- ANSYS, Inc.-developed solver using explicit time integration, energy conservation
- Use when only concerned about motion due to joints and contacts
- To determine forces and moments
- Activated via Rigid Dynamics analysis system in the Workbench window
- Runs in the Mechanical window
- Utilizes the Autodyn solver
- For highly nonlinear, short duration structural transient problems
- Drop test simulations, e.g.
- Activated via Explicit Dynamics analysis system in the Workbench window
- Tools for preparing composites models and postprocessing composites solutions
- Define composite layup
- Fiber Directions and Orientations
- Optimize composite design
- Results evaluation
- Layer stresses
- Failure criteria
- Activated via ACP (Pre) and ACP (Post) component systems in the Workbench window
- Geometry creation/preparation/repair/defeaturing tool
- Try it, learn it, love it
- A direct modeler so no history tree
- Just create/modify on the fly
- Import from CAD or create in SpaceClaim
- Can be an incredible time saver in preparing geometry for simulation
- Activated by right clicking on the Geometry cell in the Workbench project schematic
- Design of Experiments/Design Optimization/Robust Design Tool
- Allows for variation of input parameters
- Geometric dimensions including from external CAD, license permitting
- Material property values
- Mesh quantities such as shell thickness, element size specifications
- Track or optimize on results parameters
- Max or min stress
- Max or min temperature
- Max or min displacement
- Mass or volume
- Create design of experiments
- Fit response surfaces
- Perform goals driven optimizations
- Reduce mass
- Drive toward a desired temperature
- Understand sensitivities among parameters
- Perform a Design for Six Sigma study to determine probabilities
- Activated by inserting Design Exploration components into the Workbench project schematic
ANSYS Customization Suite:
- Toolkit for customization of ANSYS Workbench tools
- Includes tools for several ANSYS products
- Top level Workbench
- Based on Python and XML
- Wizards and documentation included
- Offshore tool for ship, floating platform simulation
- Uses hydrodynamic defraction for calculations
- Model up to 50 structures
- Include effects of moorings, fenders, articulated connectors
- Solve in static, frequency, and time domains
- Transfer motion and pressure info to Mechanical
- Activated via Hydrodynamic Diffraction analysis system in the Workbench window
- New, common user interface for multiphysics simulations
- Capabilities expanding with each ANSYS release (was new at 16.0)
- Uses SpaceClaim as geometry tool
- Single window
- Easy to follow workflow
- Activated from the ANSYS 17.0/17.1 Start menu
- System level simulation tool
- Simulate interactions such as between
- Structural Reduced Order Models
- Simple circuitry
- Optimize complex system performance
- Understand interactions and trade offs
- Entry level tool, limited to 30 models (Simplorer Advanced enables more)
- Activated from the ANSYS Electromagnetics tools (separate download)
- Requires an additional license task from ANSYS, Inc.
Where to get more information:
- Your local ANSYS provider
- ANSYS Help System
- ANSYS Customer Portal
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.
This Thursday we had the first of seven free seminars on how to deal with geometry created with 3D scanning, how to repair faceted geometry, and how to deal with old CAD geometry. Don’t panic, we have six more scheduled. Scroll down to see the schedule and register for upcoming versions of this seminar. The inaugural session was held in PADT’s Tempe office and engineers from several departments across the company shared the tools we use in consulting and the lessons we have learned over the years to a pack room full with customers that represented everything from the home inventor to engineers from some of Arizona’s largest aerospace and electronics companies.
As more and more companies do 3D printing we are finding that they struggle with imperfect geometry. Whether it was scanned, from another CAD system, or an STL (3D Printer) file from someone else, when it came time to print parts people were having difficulty getting valid geometry. So we created a road show to go over the tools we use here to 1) get good scan geometry in the first place, 2) convert scan geometry into something useful, and 3) repair bad STL and CAD files.
Things got kicked off with a presentation on the various ways you can scan 3D geometry. Our scanning engineer, Ademola, also demonstrated our Geomagic Capture and Steinbichler scanner on some real parts.
After some food, we moved on to looking at Geomagic Design X. This is the tool we use to convert our scan data to a fully usable and clean CAD model. If you have tried to go from scan to CAD without this tool, you know how much work it is.
Next we looked that the tool that we use to import, modify, and clean existing geometry: SpaceClaim. As the presenter Tyler Smith said “No matter the source of geometry, SpaceClaim is the tool to help”
We finished up with topological optimization. Where we spent most of the event talking about how to get good geometry, in this last presentation we talked about how to make the geometry better by using simulation to optimize the shape of your parts.
It was a great crowd with the kind of questions you hope for when doing a seminar. If you are in the Southwest, there is still time to attend one of these lunch & learns being held in other locations. Click on the event you want to register.
Or you can contact PADT directly to learn more about the products and services we covered, which included:
- Geomagic Capture Scanners
- Steinbichler 3D Scanners
- Geomagic Design X
- ANSYS SpaceClaim
- VR&D GENESIS
- PADT geoCUBE Computers
We have been using SpaceClaim with ANSYS Workbench for about four years now, and we always liked it. Then it came as part of the Geomagic Spark tool and we got more excited. This was a powerful geometry creation, editing, and reapir tool that was saving us time all across PADT. The, when ANSYS, Inc. purchased the company SpaceClaim we got realy excited. So excited that we decided to become a reseller of the full product, and not just the ANSYS or Geomagic tools. The addition of a module for working with STL files sealed the deal and as of the begining of the year we are offering all flavors of SpaceClaim to our customers.
To get started learning about why we love this program so much, check out this video showing the new features in the latest version:
Then go visit their YouTube channel and watch videos that may be of special interest to you.
Or, contact us here at PADT and we would be happy to share with your our enthusiasm for this tool.
Big news this morning in the ANSYS world: ANSYS, Inc. has acquired SpaceClaim, makers of a very powerful 3D Solid Modeling tool that has been an add-on for ANSYS products for some time.
Here is the official press release:
Here at PADT, we have been long time users of the SpaceClaim products, and big fans. This will certainly secure the focus of the SpaceClaim development team on continuing their work on providing simulation users with the tools they need to create, modify, and add intelligence to their geometry. The debate of DesignModeler vs. SpaceClaim seems to be settled!