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How to Dimension a Section

Dimensioning a Split Body Section

How to Dimension a Section using TransMagic MagicHeal

Dimensioning a Split Body Section

1. Select a Face and Right-Mouse select 'Set Split-Trim'. Open the part and select a face to use as your section. If you don’t have a face you can use where you want the section, you can either create a bounding box for the part and move it with the Precise Positioning tool, or import a small 1x1x1 cube and rotate / move it to the position you want with the Precise Positioning tool. NOTE: To select a face, use the Single Select arrow on the left side toolbar. With the face selected, right click to get the right-button mouse menu (RBM). Select ‘Set Split-Trim’. Be aware that the Single Select tool has a drop-down arrow on it that allows you to select any mode of selection you want, from Dynamic (which allows you to click on a part once to select a face, twice to select a body, three times for an assembly, etc.) to Body (for selecting parts or solid bodies) to Edge, Point, and so forth.

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How to Choose a CAD System

How to Choose a CAD System

How to Choose a CAD System

Engineering.com recently circulated an article penned by L. Stephen Wolfe, who was the primary force behind The CAD Report for over 20 years. The article offers advice for buying a CAD system. You can access the article via Engineering.com, and you can also find a copy at solidworks.com here.


It’s definitely sound advice, but since it appears to be a dated article (the paper refers to Stephen’s ‘new’ venture, CADCAMNET.com, which was sold in 2004 and is now vacant), I thought I would summarize Stephen’s paper while mentioning some factors that have changed in the last twelve years.

A CAD System that is Efficient and Capable

Number one on Stephen’s list is to look for a CAD system that has capable, efficient 3D design. Stephen stresses that companies should include their own parts as criteria when evaluating CAD systems. He makes the point that when evaluating, if one CAD system can do the job in 20 less steps than another, this could end up being a huge cost advantage. This is timeless advice; companies who prove out that the prospective CAD system can handle all of their design and engineering needs efficiently have gone a long way towards guaranteeing the viability of their choice for years to come. We’ve all heard stories of software decisions that are made without regard to the how well the solution actually fits the task at hand.


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Optimizing Hardware and Settings for SOLIDWORKS Performance

Optimizing Solidworks Performance

A Practical Study on Improving SOLIDWORKS Performance

Three years ago Josh Altergott and Adrian Fanjoy of Computer Aided Technology, Inc. (CATI) wrote an excellent white paper on maximizing SOLIDWORKS performance, which is a must-read for every CAD user; their detailed analysis found a wealth of performance-boosters which can in many cases be applied to other CAD systems.


6,000 parts, 2.4GB, from 5 hours to 55 minutes!

The study takes a 6,000 part, 2.4GB assembly and runs it through a SOLIDWORKS 2012 benchmark to determine how changing out settings and hardware components will affect performance. Ultimately the CATI team was able to move the total benchmark time from over 5 hours just over 55 minutes. Here’s the short version of how they did it:

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Choosing Your Selection Mode

TransMagic Face Selection Mode

Choosing Your Selection Mode

At first glance, it looks as if there are only four options for selecting geometry in TransMagic - Single Select, denoted by an arrow, Window Select, denoted by a rectangle, Select All Entities and Deselect All Entities. However, there is a drop down arrow to the right of the top two buttons, which allows you to filter out entities (see the screenshot above). Selection filters can be applied in the following ways.

  • Dynamic Selection
  • Assembly Level Selection
  • Body Level Selection
  • Face Level Selection
  • Edge Level Selection
  • Vertex Level Selection
  • PMI Level Selection
  • Select Only Solid Bodies
  • Select Only Surface Bodies
  • Select Only Wire Bodies

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Dealing with Duplicate Surfaces

Certain processes can cause CAD models to have duplicate surfaces or faces. This can create problems when it comes time to translate, repair or otherwise use the model downstream. How do you know if you are dealing with a duplicate surface? One giveaway is the venetian blind effect you can see in figure 1, which is a result of two nearly coincident surfaces vying with each other to be displayed.

TransMagic Dealing with Duplicate Surfaces
Figure 1 – What duplicate surfaces sometimes look like.

It is important to note that duplicate surfaces are not always so obvious; sometimes it is a good idea to treat it as a duplicate surface situation, even if the model looks fine, but you're having problems making it into a quality, watertight solid. If you suspect you may have duplicate surfaces, follow the steps outlined below, or watch the solution on this video!



Removing Duplicate Surfaces

  1. Set your selection to Solid Bodies Only, then use the selection tool to select and hide the solid model.
  2. Delete everything left on the screen.
  3. Unhide all objects (Right mouse click > Show > Show All)
  4. Run the Auto Repair Wizard (which will run Lite Repair)

Often, just running the above steps can resolve an otherwise stubborn repair case!

We hope you find this article helpful. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments.

Data Comparison Reveals Manufacturing Errors

TransMagic Point-to-Part Analysis Color Plot

While related to part-to-part checking and part-to-part validation, point-to-part checking allows you to compare CMM data from the physical part prototype to the geometry of the original CAD model.

Point-to-Part Checking

Point-to-part checking is primarily used to determine how closely the physical product prototype resembles the original CAD authority model. Physical parts or assemblies are scanned or measured with coordinate measuring machines to create a series of points that can then be imported into a CAD system, where they can be compared to the original model. Point-to-Part Checking can help determine if the machined, printed or molded parts are within tolerance of the original design, and reveal problem areas that may require design changes or modifications to the manufacturing process. For example, if a molded part is shrinking more than expected, or if part tooling is wearing out prematurely, out of tolerance points will be colored, based on their deviation, for easy identification.

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Benefits of Part Validation Checking

TransMagic MagicCheck Validation Checking

We’ve been in a blog series on comparison for the last few weeks. Our last post was on revision checking; that is, comparing parts or assemblies to see what changed between each revision.

Validation Checking

Another common type of comparison is validation checking. While revision checking assumes that there was a change (and seeks to find out exactly what changed between revisions), validation checking begins with the assumption that there was no significant change between two CAD models. To do this, validation checking compares the authority part (provided by the customer) to the check part (usually generated as a result of translation by the supplier) to see if the geometry has changed beyond a given tolerance.

Reasons for Validation Analysis

For suppliers to perform their engineering and design tasks on the customer's data, they often have to translate to another format, for a variety of reasons. The customer may be using CATIA, and the supplier may be using SOLIDWORKS; or, the supplier may need to convert the file to STEP so it will work with their CMM software, or analysis tool. Translating CAD geometry from one format to another usually alters the geometry to some degree because different CAD systems are built with varying precision, origin schemes, and have different ways of describing features such as complex blends. Most validation analysis falls into either of two categories:

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