| Article Archive
Features List 13
Ease of Use
From CAD User Mechanical Magazine Vol 15 No 06 - JUNE 2002
VX Corporation is concerned that ease of use is the number one problem for its customers and have addressed the problem in Version 6 of its hybrid modelling software - a complete CAD/CAM suite of tools that offers end-to-end design capabilities.
VX CAD/CAM is now emerging as a significant integrated CAD/CAM solution, enabling users to design in either surfaces or solids - or both - and to progress the model through to machining and mouldmaking. The software has been collecting a number of industry awards from around the globe, and is winning export orders in many new territories.
In parallel with the increased awareness that has brought about such recognition, VX has also been maintaining its software development programme and increasing its activity in the sales channel: it has recently signed new dealership and distribution contracts all over the world. In Europe alone, the last few months have seen new resellers signed in France, Italy, Turkey, The Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Yugoslavia. And on the technical side, the company has just unveiled VX CAD/CAM 6.0, a major upgrade to its flagship end-to-end design to manufacturing solution.
Ease of use
Base shapes - arcs, splines, tangents, and so on - can all now be created with one command, underlining the system's well-known flexibility and in recognition of the fact that occasional users do not want to have to hunt around for a particular function when they've spent a month forgetting where it is. With that in mind, VX has also introduced helpful context sensitive pop-up tips that explain how a function should be used, what each parameter means, and so on. Advanced users can take comfort from the fact that these helpful hints can be dismissed once a user feels he has mastered a particular function.
Collaboration throughout the design process has been enhanced and simplified through use of VX's built-in Web publishing tools VX Weblink, which enables users to share entire assemblies with colleagues.
Lofting has been completely revised, making it more powerful and easier to use. The interface for picking the edges to loft and specifying tangency has been improved, and it is now easier to connect the first profile to the last one, resulting in smooth, seamless lofts and eliminating discontinuities.
Point cloud data, from laser scanning, is often used in the design process - reverse engineering by capturing data from existing products or prototypes. Version 6 includes a new point cloud function that yields exceptionally smooth surfaces without sacrificing precision of fit. Besides being an ergonomic design feature, with savings in process workflow, the feature automatically recognises creases in surfaces.
Mould design and milling
Moulds are simple to create using VX. Having accessed the model, the software uses reverse technology to define the shape of the mould. The extraction is specified and the envelope defined allowing the software to create the parting bases. Once the material has been selected, many options become available for the user, most of them for advanced operations, but with an easy to use standard functions list - enabling occasional users of the mould making functions to master the capabilities.
Making the top part of the mould is very easy, as the software allows the user to copy the original insert, unselect faces used in the first mould and select those parts wanted for the top.
An addition to these manufacturing tools is VX's Quick Milling Suite. Machining applications can now be speeded up dramatically, yet the user will find the tool easier to use, even though it is capable of handling extremely complex milling in 3D. A broad range of high-speed machining techniques is available, including spiral and projection milling, to produce smooth and continuous cutting paths, the ability to minimise cuts for higher feed rates and reduced tool wear, a skimming option for quicker milling - and toolpath optimisation.
As with mouldmaking, the designer doesn't have to learn all of the complicated milling routines to produce perfect toolpaths. The model is rotated to the correct position for milling, and automatic routines allow it to be set up for manufacturing. Once the toolpaths have been created, they can be sent to the toolmaker for setting up the tools using the software - and the designer can continue working on the design. Any modifications are easily made to the original design, the designer being able to step back through the design process, using VX's Overdrive kernel (which features a comprehensive history for each part), creating a modified toolpath for the toolmaker. The software recognizes changes made to the design and updates all of the toolpaths originally created for the model. The software has complete control of the toolpaths and can work with the machine tools actually in operation.
VX Version 6 now handles true five-axis milling, and, using post-processor software from IMS software, can create toolpaths for virtually any machine tool. High speed NURBS paths are now included in the software for high speed milling.
©2006 BTC. All rights reserved.
No part of this site may be reproduced without written permission of the owners.