Today I found some time to fiddle around with KOMPAS-3D V11, a history based parametric solid modeler by ASCON, a CAD software vendor based in St. Petersburg, Russia. I had previously downloaded a trial of an earlier version, but never got down to actually using it long enough to be able to create an opinion about the software. I wanted to changed that and ASCON was kind enough to send me a Not For Resale license, which involved shipping a USB dongle to me. Yeah, their software is protected with one of those hardware dongles.
Before I start, I strongly advise anyone trying KOMPAS-3D to increase the size of the toolbar icons from 16×16 to at least 24×24, if not 32×32. Otherwise you are going to find yourself squinting at the screen and most probably ending up with a headache. Maybe later when you know where things are and can find your way blind folded you can revert back to 16×16. But if you are a beginner like me, you are much better of with 24×24.
The general workflow in KOMPAS-3D is pretty much like any other history based parametric solid modeler. You start with a 2D sketch, extrude it to a 3D solid and then proceed from there on. Just that you may not be able to get going right away. If you do not want to get lost trying to find where things are and how to use them (which is not very different from other similar modelers), you may want to try out the first tutorial aptly titled “Creating First Part“. You can access the tutorials by clicking Help > KOMPAS-3D ABC. I guess ABC in Russian signifies beginners. This first tutorial will help you get accustomed with the way sketching is done in KOMPAS-3D as well as how features are added. The tutorials appear to be well done. Just like the SolidWorks tutorials, you can click the images of the toolbar buttons in the tutorial and the button will be highlighted in the application window. That helps a lot.
After completing the first tutorial (modeling a simple fork part) I came to the conclusion that I was ready to go on my own. As it turned out in about 20 minutes I cooked up this piston.
I believe ASCON uses its own home grown modeling kernel in KOMPAS-3D and does not use one of the two industry standard kernels – Parasolid or ACIS. Over time I intend to put KOMPAS-3D though some tough modeling operations and would be interested to see how the modeling kernel holds up. While applying fillets to the piston it failed on only one occasion. But that was a tough one. I ended up applying the fillets in two stages. For those who are interested, I was trying to fillet the arched stepping (beyond the top hole in the image above) by selecting the arc, the chord holding it and the two side edges adjoining the chord, all at once. I ended up filleting the chord first and then the other edges using a second fillet.
My first impressions of KOMPAS-3D is quite good. I mean, if I could go through one tutorial and come up with a decent looking part without hitting a wall at every corner, I think that it is a good thing. Next I intend to try out assembly modeling. But I think I will complete the assembly tutorial first.
For those who are interested the KOMPAS-3D part file of the piston along with a Parasolid and ACIS file can be downloaded from here.