History Based Direct Modeling Using IRONCAD – Part 5

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So in my opinion, the history based direct modeling technology that existed in IRONCAD 12 years ago is much better than the current implementation of Synchronous Technology in Solid Edge ST3. Why? In Synchronous Technology, the feature tree is split into two parts – synchronous features and ordered features. And that’s that. The user needs to manually figure out where the split should be. If the split cannot be located in the desired position then the user needs to manually reorder the features to correctly position the split.

In IRONCAD the feature tree can have ordered features and breps all over the place, in any manner. The best part is that the user does not need to be bothered with the order in which they appear in the feature tree. If he wants to add a feature, he goes ahead and adds it. If he wants to move a feature somewhere else, he goes ahead and moves it. If he wants to move, rotate, etc. a bunch of faces belonging to different features, he grabs them and goes ahead and moves or rotates them. IRONCAD will rearrange features or merge them as necessary without the user having to even look at the tree. In fact, the user might as well turn off the scene browser altogether and model in the graphics window only.

I believe this is some really fantastic technology. And it existed 12 years ago. The irony of it is that its simplicity and easy of use turned out to be its own worst enemy. People, especially the CAD press, didn’t take the time to understand the technology and give it the credit that it deserved. Just take a look at all the so called “reviews” of Solid Edge ST3 that have appeared all over the web for the past couple of days. Most of them are words simply pulled out from the press kit. I know that because Siemens PLM sent me their press kit. Look at the screen shots. They are either taken from the press kits or are screen grabs of the web meeting with some Siemens PLM marketing person. I know that because I sat in on one of those web meetings. I wonder how many of these people actually installed Solid Edge ST3. Or whether Siemens PLM gave it to them. Or whether they asked for it in the first place.

In my opinion the vast majority of the CAD press has largely abdicated its responsibility towards its readers. I don’t write about a software until I have understood and used it. My problem is that I cannot use the software for real world work because firstly, I don’t really do real world modeling. And secondly, I get the software from vendors because I am their partner and the partner license agreement prohibits me from using the software for real world projects. So I cover CAD software from the point of view of a programmer and try my best to explain the underlying technologies used in them. My hope is that my readers will get a better understanding of the products they use and maybe learn ways to get the most out of them.

This is request going out to my readers who actually use the software in the real world. Start a blog if you haven’t already. Write about your experiences with the software that you use. Share your tips and tricks. People really want to read that kind of stuff. Not press kits reworded in better prose and spat out in all kinds of different ways possible. Anyone can go to a CAD vendor’s web site and see what’s new in a new version. You don’t need a so called “in-depth” review for that. The product documentation comes with a “What’s new” section anyways. What people really want to know is how these new features can be put to use in the real world. If you don’t have the time or inclination to maintain a blog, you can use mine. Click here to learn how you can contribute to Deelip.com.

Coming back to IRONCAD, after reading this series, I guess you may be able to appreciate why IRONCAD users listen to all this noise from other CAD vendors about mixing direct modeling with history based parametric modeling and wonder what the fuss is all about.

IRONCAD is priced at $3995 with a  software only maintenance of $895 a year. You can get software and support maintenance for $1295 a year. INOVATE is priced at $1295 with a software only maintenance of $295 a year. Software and support maintenance sits at $495 a year. You can find a product comparison chart of IRONCAD and INOVATE here. 30 day trials of both products can be downloaded from here.

Disclosure: My company, SYCODE, is an IronCAD software partner due to which we get free licenses of all IronCAD products. We develop add-ins for IRONCAD and INOVATE.