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April 1, 1997

3 Min Read
Cadkey targets moldmakers with solids

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Created in Cadkey 97, this part was originally designed using the 3-D wireframe modeler, then converted directly to a solid model.

When Baystate Technologies purchased Cadkey more than a year ago, the company was confident it could take a good product and make it better. In its most recent Windows95 and NT version - called Cadkey 97 - the software now includes an Acis solid modeler that lives up to the original promise.

Tool designers are among the most immediate beneficiaries of the revised package. A wireframe-to-solids converter lets moldmakers import a part's wireframe data, "solidify" that wireframe, then create a solid around it to define the mold. In addition, the hybrid modeler in version '97 also handles surfaces.

IMM recently viewed a demonstration conducted by Robert Bean, president and CEO of Baystate Technologies. "This release represents our antidote to 'bloatware,'" says Bean. "There are several PC-based solids packages on the market, but most are large in size and broad in scope. Users told us what capabilities were important to them, and we incorporated those using a simplified interface."

During the demo, Bean showed how relatively easily users can switch between 2-D and 3-D wireframe, solid, and surface models at any time during the design process. Solid models can be stretched and scaled without having to apply complex parametric constraints, then dynamically rotated for viewing. Editing functions such as trim, break, and fillet are easily executed as well. Users can model in solids from the start, or can convert a wireframe to solids, then desolidify back to wireframe if needed.

Several features are aimed directly at tool designers. For example, Baystate found that most tooling applications need a broad band of translations because jobs come in from a variety of CAD sources. In addition to IGES, DXF, DWG, CADL, and VRML data translators, the '97 version also offers an SAT file format that can be imported or exported directly to other applications that run on an Acis solid modeling kernel, including CNC machining. According to Bean, Cadkey is the only PC solids package to also include a translation utility that converts wireframe to solids for reuse of legacy wireframe data, mass properties analysis, and STL output for rapid prototyping applications.

Another feature incorporated for moldmaking involves macro capabilities. Users can custom design their own macros for common functions, machining strategies, even parting lines, then store them and link icons or hot keys to the macro for faster productivity.

If you're transitioning from DOS to Windows, Cadkey also offers a classic DOS-like interface option. It allows for a more familiar text interface and access to function keys to create and modify geometry.

Bean believes Baystate's package will compete successfully with other PC-solids packages such as AutoCAD Mechanical Desktop because Cadkey 97 offers greater ease of use, intrinsic and intuitive 3-D capabilities, and it costs about two-thirds less with its $1195 price tag.tradesco-imm412.gif

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