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View Full Version : Any new CAD conversion tools?



firegryphon
12-05-2013, 12:51 PM
I've been using 11.5 lately and I'm impressed with a lot of the improvements. As one of the things I do in my job is clean up CAD converted models (tripled), I'm curious if people have already started using some of these improvements to create scripts or plugins that make my current job easier. Tasks that I typically do are reduce the polygon complexity, remove bolt holes in parts, collapsing individual parts into assemblies. The hardest part tends to be removing bolt holes in complex parts, but identification of them using edge loops makes this rather easy now. So does anyone have new scripts and plugins that make this easier now?

Waves of light
12-06-2013, 03:46 AM
There's quite a few threads on CAD conversions on here. It's something I would like to know more about too, the process, each process for different CAD file extensions, the pitfalls, etc.

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?137912-Convert-CAD-files-to-LWO-with-NGons

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?120718-convert-CAD-file-to-LWO-or-LWS

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?119905-Cad-convert-to-lwo

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?122901-any-CAD-users-here

firegryphon
12-06-2013, 08:57 PM
I've had a series of processes that I've used for the past 7 or 8 years. It has changed a little bit due to changes in programs over the years. Like originally when I was using Deep Exploration 3.x I didn't initially have all of the specialized converters so I used STEP files. Eventually I got the I-DEAS native converter and that worked amazingly well even with native MF1 files. I upgraded to 4.0 as there were a lot of issues in 3.x and then was given a free upgrade to 5.x due to how buggy 4.0 was. There were a lot of issues and I had to have a lot of time with the designer driving the CAD to fix things, eventually I learned I-DEAS so that I could fix them myself, but with large complex model files that had numerous people working on parts in it and some being imported from other CAD systems there were a lot of issues. As of switching to I-DEAS 15, I lost the ability to natively import MF1 files and the organization change of the database made it difficult to impossible to import archive/universal files so I switched to JT files and occasionally STEP files. Difficulties eventually forced me to upgrade to 6.x of Deep Exploration, after which time they were bought out by SAP and their sales rep stopped answering my phone calls or emails and all references from their main call center ended up having no call backs either.

In general, if I'm willing to go into the I-DEAS model and remove small features that I don't care about, particularly such as holes, I can simplify the structure immensely in DE without much loss of quality. Lightwave, in this case, is an intermediate step and the final file format can only use triangles. But with something that is still a year away from cutting metal and has over 1800 parts not including subassembly boxes, removing small holes is rather difficult if even possible, as STEP files imported can't have their geometry directly modified in I-DEAS. Remodeling parts does work, but it is time consuming, whether it is in I-DEAS or Modeler.

That conversation on MoI sounds interesting, but given the complexity of the models, it may very well break, and getting additional separate tools through my IT organizations process is extremely difficult and time consuming. The only reason I can keep upgrading LW is due to the fact that it falls under the "upgrade of an existing licensed product with prior approval".

Over the years I've had experience converting JT files, STEP, IGES (worst of all worlds), Native I-DEAS (mf1, archive and universal), Native NX, Native ProE, Native Solidworks, and perhaps a few others that I can't recall immediately. I don't mind sharing my experience if it would be of interest to you. I've seen a lot of talk about Modo and their CAD loaders.

sculptactive
12-08-2013, 12:06 PM
Difficulties eventually forced me to upgrade to 6.x of Deep Exploration, after which time they were bought out by SAP and their sales rep stopped answering my phone calls or emails and all references from their main call center ended up having no call backs either.

I had the same issue. Used DE for years then when they got bought I had to rethink things. I have detailed high poly count models which the programs already mentioned have difficulty converting.

Materialise's Magics is the one that has worked best for me, but it is very expensive.

Waves of light
12-08-2013, 12:38 PM
That's a great detailed start firegryhron, thanks for that.