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Summer 2008 Ideaworks Software Development<br />Report Prepared By Cam Stefanic<br />OVERVIEW<br />The goal for the summer 2008 school session was to expand our knowledge of the three-dimensional solid modeling world and to create a more valuable learning environment for future classes that pass through our ME421/521 Advanced CAD course. This was accomplished by using CATIA V5 and other programs that dove-tail into it such as Vericut and SolidWorks. Below is a list of the activities that were undertaken in the past 10 weeks. These projects have the dual-benefits of increasing our current knowledgebase as well as making it so that future students that take the course will show a greater understanding than those that went before them.<br />LESSON VIDEOS<br />The backbone of the summer was the creation of a set of lesson videos that can be used in conjunction with in-class teaching to teach our ME421/521 course. They can be accessed either through our class website at http://www.webs1.uidaho.edu/mindworks/catia.htm or on the CATIA lesson DVDs we have had produced. An outline of the lessons is below.<br />
User Interface – Introduction, toolbar defaults, File/Edit menus, help file navigation
Settings – Units, color schemes, basic defaults
Basic Sketcher – Sketcher workbench, sketch entities, common constraints
Rotational Animation – Use of joints, degrees of freedom, driving a joint, simulation
LESSON DVDS<br />These videos are packaged on DVD-ROMs with custom University of Idaho Mechanical Engineering graphics created by Mitch Odom and Cam Stefanic. They feature renderings of the Howell V4 engine drafted by Jerry Howell and drawn in CATIA by the ME421 class.<br />DESIGN TABLES<br />Special attention was paid to the Design Tables video. This subject was new to us at the beginning of the term, but working through it has proven beneficial to both the University of Idaho and our partners. It has allowed us to create a CATIA catalog of our HAAS mill holders and cutters that can now be employed in machining simulation and verification. This project was taken on at the request of Boeing in order to explore using this method at their Fredrickson, WA facility to organize their cutters and holders and to ease the 3D drafting of those same parts. A detailed presentation as to how CATIA can use Excel spreadsheets to model parts and transform them into design tables and catalogs was shown to our sponsors at Boeing this July to demonstrate our continued advancement in the CATIA world. With the knowledge gained by this project, we are planning on implementing it in the fall 2008 semester’s curriculum and hope to have a full catalog of our shop accessible for a machining verification mini-project.<br />The design table presentation for Boeing used a step-by-step format to show how to set up a design table and a catalog in CATIA. Below is a condensed version of this presentation.<br />This is the outline used for the layout and setup of the design tree in CATIA. This was done to both satisfy Boeing’s internal template as well as to make it easy to switch between parts that had been designed by a table.<br />After the design table has been set up in CATIA, the part can be closed and the Catalog Knowledge workbench can be opened. Here, a part with a design table associated with it can be inserted into a catalog. Internal filing can be employed in the catalog to keep part families together.To create a design table, a part must first be modeled and the dimensions given names. These names are then input into an Excel spreadsheet with all of the dimensions associated with them and that CATIA can be used to relate the spreadsheet with the similarly named dimensions.<br />Once in a product, parts can be selected from the design table using the preview function and constrained in the assembly. Now the product acts as a normal assembly and can be used for collision detection, or NC verification.<br />For manufacturing purposes, a design table can be inserted into a part drawing so that a family of parts can be created from one drawing. All of the standard dimensions are shown, but the dimensions that change in the family are given names that relate directly to the Excel file. The exact Excel spreadsheet can then be added to the drawing showing the changing values.<br />VERICUT<br />An offshoot of the Design Table project is the addition of Vericut to our program library. Vericut is used primarily as a machining verification/simulation technology, and we plan on implementing it alongside our CATIA work. With the ability to create NC code inside of CATIA, Vericut will be used to confirm that the code will not cause any contact or clashes between the mill and any other part of the machine body whether it is the stock, the holders, or a protection barrier. We chose Vericut primarily due to its ability to work hand-in-hand with CATIA’s NC output and because it is the program used by Boeing in their verification process. We plan on making a mini-project for the ME421/521 class using CATIA and Vericut for the fall 2008 semester.<br />SOLIDWORKS TO CATIA<br />In order to explore the possibilities of converting SolidWorks part and assembly files into CATPart and CATProduct files, we decided to look into third-party software to do this for us as neither CATIA nor SolidWorks offers a straight-across transformation. Numerous contacts with aftermarket companies yielded few results. However, it was discovered that by saving a SolidWorks part file as a .STEP file and then opening that .STEP file in CATIA would cause it to be automatically converted into a solid body and be able to be saved as a CATPart. This worked well for individual parts, but assemblies were still unknown. Later in the summer semester we found out that whole SolidWorks assemblies could be saved as a .STEP file and then when they were opened in CATIA, CATIA would convert both the assembly and the parts into individual CATProducts and CATParts, respectively. This allowed there to be a straight-across transformation from completed assemblies between platforms. We used this method to convert the ME301 radial engine, the ME301 dynamometer, and the Howell V4 Hybrid planetary assembly into CATProducts. One downside about using this method as opposed to third-party software is that constraints are not transferrable, just positions. This means that a transformed product will not have the ability to be a flexible assembly.<br />In addition to the projects above, we also created a simple cheat sheet that allows users of SolidWorks to enter CATIA and have a way to relate terms between the two programs. The table below shows these relations.<br />SolidWorksCATIA V5GeneralPartPartAssemblyProductDrawingDraftingSketchesSmartDimension(Double-Click) ConstraintRelationsConstraints DefinedPowerTrimQuick TrimPartsExtrudePadExtruded CutPocketBlindDimensionThrough AllUp to LastFlip Side to CutReverse SideReverse DirectionReverse DirectionRevolveShaftRevolved CutGrooveSweepRibSwept CutSlotLoftMulti-Selection SolidRibStiffenerHole WizardHoleReference GeometryReference ElementsAssembliesMatesConstraintsInsert ComponentExisting ComponentExploded ViewExplodeSolve As Flexible/RigidFlexible/Rigid Sub-AssemblyRebuildUpdateConcentricCoincidentCoincidentCoincidentDistance = 0ContactDistanceOffsetDraftingNoteTextAutodimensionGenerate Dimensions<br />FAN HUB<br />The Howell V4 project from spring 2008’s ME421 course has a small engine fan in it that consists of a compound-curve 5-bladed assembly. This would have been difficult to machine in our shop economically, so as a test of both SolidWorks-CATIA interoperability and using CATIA to produce a .STL file, we opted to print the part using our Dimension BST1200 3D printer. The fan’s dimensions needed to be slightly modified to accommodate the printer’s minimum printing thickness, but after that was accounted for the part came out of the printer perfectly and will be used in the final assembly of the Howell V4 engine.<br />