Best CAD and CAM for designing and making freeform shapes from digitized models
Close
Login to Your Account
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 29
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Country
    CANADA
    State/Province
    British Columbia
    Posts
    2,066
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    1347

    Default Best CAD and CAM for designing and making freeform shapes from digitized models

    Hi All:
    I've been running Solidworks and Mastercam, then Solidworks and HSMWorks for years now, and for much of what I've done in the past I've had only trivial complaints.
    But I'm getting a lot more design and machining work where the designs need to be smoothly flowing and complex free-form geometry, so I'm really knocking up against the limits of Solidworks.
    Also, I want to explore digitizing hand sculpted models by probing or laser scanning them and constructing a model from them that can be machined or 3D printed.

    What's the best software suite to meet these needs.

    Possibles that I'm aware of:
    Rhino for modeling??
    Maya for modeling??
    3D Studio Max for modeling??

    Delcam for point cloud conversion and CAM???

    Can any one of you who's doing this kind of work with non geometric shapes and especially with scanned physical models make any recommendations?

    Thanks in advance.
    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    www.vancouverwireedm.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Near Seattle, WA
    Posts
    983
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    237
    Likes (Received)
    793

    Default

    Nothing imports scan data and converts it to beautiful nurbs geometry with zero work.. so it depends on lot on what quality level you require, which runs conversely with the work you're going to have to put in. If the end goal is high quality surfaces, you're still going to be stuck using the STL mostly as reference, and standard surfacing tools to do the work. If you don't, then there are some automated tools that can be helpful.

    Can you give a quick rundown of your current workflow and results? Depending on the complexity of the scan data, it can be helpful to bring the STL into SW as surfaces, which allows you to actually utilize points from the scan when rebuilding. Still, no matter what you do, it's a highly manual process with relatively poor surfacing tools.

    If your existing workflow resembles how you imagine working, but are simply hitting SW shortcomings, it might be worth taking a look at convergent modeling in NX. It functions pretty similar to working with scan data imported as surfaces, but deals significantly better with large datasets and maintains some parametrics.. mix that with NX being just generally more capable of surfacing and the situation is pretty drastically better.

    If interested in the more automated methods, Spaceclaim looks to have some powerful tools, and Geomagic has some tools specifically for reverse engineering of scan data, both spanning the gaps between automated and manual conversions, just falling someplace in the middle of both.

    There are also certainly tools that aim to do this all entirely automatically, but I've not managed to find anything that actually produces something useful.. So let me know if you come across something

  3. Likes mkd, gkoenig, len_1962 liked this post
  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Country
    CANADA
    State/Province
    British Columbia
    Posts
    983
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    230
    Likes (Received)
    523

    Default

    I am using both Solidworks and Rhino (older version) and finding Rhino especially convenient for more "artistic" shapes. There is RhinoCam I was using (demo). It looks good, but I did not have a chance to fully explore it.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Colorado
    Posts
    137
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    340
    Likes (Received)
    50

    Default

    +1 for Geomagic. Used it numerous times to move from 3D scanned data (flowing surfaces) to solid models relatively quickly. I like Rhino for surface modeling but haven't ever used it to manipulate 3D scanned data.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    New York
    Posts
    670
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    566
    Likes (Received)
    542

    Default

    In my (admittedly limited) experience in working with a lot of free-form surfaces, Catia has always seemed to work the best. I know it is what some of the major auto manufacturers use to do their sheetmetal/body designs.

    That said, if you totally option out Catia (including all of the CAM options) it is ruinously expensive - in the range of $65,000 per seat. So probably not a good option for what you're doing.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    South Central PA
    Posts
    12,356
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1463
    Likes (Received)
    2556

    Default

    I was just reading about Solid Edge ST10 being able to work with scanned mesh data without converting it. I know less than nothing about that kind of work, it came with the latest update. Here's a cut and paste -

    Solid Edge ST1

    Solid Edge® software advances innovation and improves design productivity by seamlessly combining traditional boundary representation (b-rep) solid models with triangular mesh models without time-consuming and error-prone conversions. With the introduction of Siemens’ Convergent Modeling™ technology in Solid Edge ST10, traditional b-rep operations can be performed on digitally scanned 3D data and models created from topology optimization. This integration reduces rework while supporting modern additive manufacturing processes for complex shapes.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Minnesota
    Posts
    162
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    99
    Likes (Received)
    84

    Default

    Mastercam can toolpath on STL files too.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Near Seattle, WA
    Posts
    983
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    237
    Likes (Received)
    793

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mhajicek View Post
    Mastercam can toolpath on STL files too.
    Thanks for that riveting bit of information. Really. Thanks. It's totally effing relevant.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Country
    CANADA
    State/Province
    Saskatchewan
    Posts
    9,154
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1036
    Likes (Received)
    2946

    Default

    What does a modern dentist use for making crowns from photos of the prepared tooth root? Maybe it's not high res, although they do manage to make a 'snap fit' right off the bat.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    tempe,arizona,usa
    Posts
    1,585
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    127
    Likes (Received)
    174

    Default

    Here are a couple I use that run inside SolidWorks as Gold Partners.

    1) Power Surfacing, push pull Sub-D modeling, start from a cube and make a 2 gallon red gas can.............. Power Surfacing for SolidWorks(R) Overview

    2) DezignWorks, made to use with either a Romer or FARO Portable measuring arms using probe or laser scanner ......... http://www.dezignworks.net/

    or you can get Fusion 360 that has T-Splines Sub-D modeling for a whopping $300 bucks a years

  12. Likes mkd liked this post
  13. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Near Seattle, WA
    Posts
    983
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    237
    Likes (Received)
    793

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by len_1962 View Post
    or you can get Fusion 360 that has T-Splines Sub-D modeling for a whopping $300 bucks a years
    cloud, so not viable for ITAR, so must use Mastercam.

  14. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    California
    Posts
    901
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    610
    Likes (Received)
    404

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rlockwood View Post
    Thanks for that riveting bit of information. Really. Thanks. It's totally effing relevant.
    not sure if you're just trolling, but it IS relevant:
    1. OP stated past use of MC, stl capability maybe have been unknown.
    2. Any discussion of scanning, it follows that .stl format will be referenced at some point.
    3. as I just learnt above there are surfacing addons that may help keeping him in familiar software territory (I.E. Solidworks running MC4SW)

    2 cents..

  15. #13
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Minnesota
    Posts
    162
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    99
    Likes (Received)
    84

    Default

    There is also the matter that the post immediately previous to mine was talking about this exact same capability in Solid Edge. Why didn't you get in a huff about that one?

  16. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Country
    CANADA
    State/Province
    British Columbia
    Posts
    2,066
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    1347

    Default

    Good morning All:
    Wow, there's a lot of really super information here; I've spent some time already exploring some of the recommendations: there are some great options available I was completely unaware of.

    The key thing I need to figure out is how to make this all happen without having to train or hire super artistic CAD jockeys in some distant future.
    The reason why, is that the particular customer I'm working with has a bright future as an artist but is hopeless at CAD and freely admits it.
    The way we've been making it possible is that we talk, I model, we talk, I model, I send 3D prints, we talk, I model.....you get the idea.

    So the outcome is a cross between his artistic vision and mine; I am mostly the hands and he is mostly the vision and the business.
    It's working and it's working quite well but it is cumbersome and he's feeling legitimately vulnerable because we are so dependent on a skill set that's hard to hire or contract out and he's looking for a way to streamline the creative process so it allows him to participate at the design level more than he can currently.
    He feels, and I agree that if he can communicate his vision, eventually hiring the CAD cleanup, the programming and the machining is a smaller more manageable problem when I'm no longer there.
    I'm getting on in years and he forsees a day when I have to give it up and he has to carry on without me. (he's twenty years younger than me.)
    Like me, he's very hands-on and can do terrific things with Plasticene...not so much with CAD.

    So we need to get from "art to part" in a way that doesn't interrupt his vision with a bunch of procedural CAD shit; I as the maker of the stuff, have to have a good way to get it into my workflow so I can mount up the titanium blocks and have at 'er with the cutters.

    This thread has been a HUGE help in organizing my thoughts on the subject and has given me a great starting place to start looking, so I want to thank all who contributed thus far and I hope to hear more.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    www.vancouverwireedm.com

  17. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    NE OHIO
    Posts
    1,405
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    13
    Likes (Received)
    279

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by implmex View Post
    Good morning All:
    Wow, there's a lot of really super information here; I've spent some time already exploring some of the recommendations: there are some great options available I was completely unaware of.

    The key thing I need to figure out is how to make this all happen without having to train or hire super artistic CAD jockeys in some distant future.
    The reason why, is that the particular customer I'm working with has a bright future as an artist but is hopeless at CAD and freely admits it.
    The way we've been making it possible is that we talk, I model, we talk, I model, I send 3D prints, we talk, I model.....you get the idea.

    So the outcome is a cross between his artistic vision and mine; I am mostly the hands and he is mostly the vision and the business.
    It's working and it's working quite well but it is cumbersome and he's feeling legitimately vulnerable because we are so dependent on a skill set that's hard to hire or contract out and he's looking for a way to streamline the creative process so it allows him to participate at the design level more than he can currently.
    He feels, and I agree that if he can communicate his vision, eventually hiring the CAD cleanup, the programming and the machining is a smaller more manageable problem when I'm no longer there.
    I'm getting on in years and he forsees a day when I have to give it up and he has to carry on without me. (he's twenty years younger than me.)
    Like me, he's very hands-on and can do terrific things with Plasticene...not so much with CAD.

    So we need to get from "art to part" in a way that doesn't interrupt his vision with a bunch of procedural CAD shit; I as the maker of the stuff, have to have a good way to get it into my workflow so I can mount up the titanium blocks and have at 'er with the cutters.

    This thread has been a HUGE help in organizing my thoughts on the subject and has given me a great starting place to start looking, so I want to thank all who contributed thus far and I hope to hear more.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    www.vancouverwireedm.com
    Marcus,

    You might want to try out MODO.

    I own both the dezignworks scan tool for solidworks and the Power surfacing for solidworks. There was a point where I was trying to get a reverse engineering business going but I honestly hated doing the work. The Power Surfacing looked cool but two years ago it didn't work for what I wanted it to do....which was basically radial patterns. Pulling an nudging in cad just didn't work for me. Perhaps it will work for your partner.

    Tim

  18. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    4,944
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    7
    Likes (Received)
    748

    Default

    Marcus,

    Some people you and your artist might want to talk with are at wallawallafoundry.com. They do on a regular basis exactly what you're trying to accomplish. Their current website seems to have de-emphasized their technical sophistication in working from small models up to creating the full size works. What they're able to do goes far beyond your typical art foundry. Just taking a look at their client list itself tells you how good they are at what they do.

    We "built" a lot of art in my shop. Not particularly because it was profitable, more that it was interesting and a change of pace from precision machining. Looking back on the first artist I got involved with, I would've been money ahead if the first day I met him I'd given him a check for $10K and told him never to contact me again. I did make a lot of contacts in the NW art field through him though. I have lots of public art on display and not a single one has my name on it although on a good many of them I was able to "guide" the artists a bit.

    Early on one piece of software that helped me was Cutting Shop from Arbor Image. It's a raster to vector converter, given a free hand sketch of the artist's concept it was converted to DXF. If the conversion to DXF proved not to be smooth and flowing enough it could be run through a graphics program with a "smoothing" algorithm. Quite a conglomeration of various software I used to get to a machinable model state, the Rhino people told me they could do it all, but I never went that way (probably should have).

  19. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    tempe,arizona,usa
    Posts
    1,585
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    127
    Likes (Received)
    174

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by implmex View Post
    Good morning All:
    Wow, there's a lot of really super information here; I've spent some time already exploring some of the recommendations: there are some great options available I was completely unaware of.

    The key thing I need to figure out is how to make this all happen without having to train or hire super artistic CAD jockeys in some distant future.
    The reason why, is that the particular customer I'm working with has a bright future as an artist but is hopeless at CAD and freely admits it.
    The way we've been making it possible is that we talk, I model, we talk, I model, I send 3D prints, we talk, I model.....you get the idea.

    So the outcome is a cross between his artistic vision and mine; I am mostly the hands and he is mostly the vision and the business.
    It's working and it's working quite well but it is cumbersome and he's feeling legitimately vulnerable because we are so dependent on a skill set that's hard to hire or contract out and he's looking for a way to streamline the creative process so it allows him to participate at the design level more than he can currently.
    He feels, and I agree that if he can communicate his vision, eventually hiring the CAD cleanup, the programming and the machining is a smaller more manageable problem when I'm no longer there.
    I'm getting on in years and he forsees a day when I have to give it up and he has to carry on without me. (he's twenty years younger than me.)
    Like me, he's very hands-on and can do terrific things with Plasticene...not so much with CAD.

    So we need to get from "art to part" in a way that doesn't interrupt his vision with a bunch of procedural CAD shit; I as the maker of the stuff, have to have a good way to get it into my workflow so I can mount up the titanium blocks and have at 'er with the cutters.

    This thread has been a HUGE help in organizing my thoughts on the subject and has given me a great starting place to start looking, so I want to thank all who contributed thus far and I hope to hear more.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    www.vancouverwireedm.com

    You need to find yourself a good Model Maker!

    Art to Part is what they are trained to do.

    They build models scaled to full size for Architects, Industrial Designers, Toy companies, Automotive, Point of Purchase (displays), artist, Joe Blow and whatever can be thought up.

    Most use some kind of CAD and CAM and hands to make what is needed.

    there has to be a couple in the greater Vancouver\Seattle\Portland areas

    JMO

  20. #18
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    South Central PA
    Posts
    12,356
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1463
    Likes (Received)
    2556

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mhajicek View Post
    There is also the matter that the post immediately previous to mine was talking about this exact same capability in Solid Edge. Why didn't you get in a huff about that one?

    No not exactly the same. Solid Edge doesn't "toolpath" on anything.

  21. Likes rlockwood liked this post
  22. #19
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Near Seattle, WA
    Posts
    983
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    237
    Likes (Received)
    793

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by len_1962 View Post
    You need to find yourself a good Model Maker!

    Art to Part is what they are trained to do.

    They build models scaled to full size for Architects, Industrial Designers, Toy companies, Automotive, Point of Purchase (displays), artist, Joe Blow and whatever can be thought up.

    Most use some kind of CAD and CAM and hands to make what is needed.

    there has to be a couple in the greater Vancouver\Seattle\Portland areas

    JMO
    It's actually fairly hard to compete for model making talent in this area- it's a small pool to begin with, and it's getting smaller every year.. and most are happily plugging away within f50 companies..

  23. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    tempe,arizona,usa
    Posts
    1,585
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    127
    Likes (Received)
    174

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rlockwood View Post
    It's actually fairly hard to compete for model making talent in this area- it's a small pool to begin with, and it's getting smaller every year.. and most are happily plugging away within f50 companies..
    never know someone may want to bounce if the the job is interesting and the potential to grow, learn and do neat stuff is involved oh ya and pay .


    But you are correct we are a dying breed, Green Bay NWTC graduates maybe 7-10 out of their Model Building program, in 85 there was 35 of us, 83 started with 60 weeded out quite a few.

    Prototype and Design Associate Degree - Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

    Bemidji State Unv. had a model building program but shut it down after the 2012-13 school year.

    there is also a professional org
    Conf 218 Grand Rapids E-News


Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •