September 24, 2007
Alibre Design 10.0 Released
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Hidden lines are automatically generated, along with support for centerlines and various other key annotations and symbols like GD&T, weld symbols, threads, and so on. The system also allows flexible control of dimension and annotation properties providing support for national and international standards, as well as custom corporate standards.

Exploded views of assemblies with support for BOMs and balloon callouts are also provided, along with a BOM editor that lets you customize the BOM. Finally, 2D drawings are bi-directionally associative with the model.

For v10, it sounds like there are a number of new and enhanced features that will benefit most users of Alibre Design Professional and/or Expert, primarily in the areas of performance and productivity.

A good example are the direct editing push/pull tools that let you edit or delete model features with a push or pull of the mouse, without having to be concerned with design history or editing features or sketches. Just grab a face and pull it up to increase its height, or click and remove fillets or nearly any model element for making rapid alterations without a design history. While Alibre is hardly the first to implement push/pull tools, they make a nice addition to the package.

This time around in v10, Alibre CAM is built into Alibre Design Expert. You can set machining commands for commonly used manufacturing processes and better ensure the model is built as specified. Alibre CAM’s biggest advantage is looks, feels, and behaves a lot like Alibre Design.

Alibre CAM is actually a 3D milling package built with CAM technology provided by MecSoft, developers of VisualMill, that includes 2.5- and 3-axis milling, as well as approximately 50 pre-built post-processors.

With Alibre CAM you can define tool paths and run machining simulations on part models from directly within Alibre Design Expert. Once the simulations are complete and tool paths defined, you can output G code to a machine tool and start cutting parts. The level of integration really comes into play when you have a design change to make. Since the tool paths are parametrically associated to the part, when a change is made to a part, the tool path updates automatically.

If you are in the market for a good mainstream modeler - and you have some flexibility on your demands for free-form surfacing and large assemblies, Alibre Design may be a good choice. Alibre Design does not have all the bells and whistles that some of the competition does, but that offers the benefit of making it relatively easy to learn and use. Alibre Design's collaboration capabilities are powerful and unique. The product has appeal for a wide spectrum of potential users, and users new to CAD (2D or 3D) should have a positive experience with Alibre Design as theyenter the world of 3D digital design. It’s also a good value for the money and the capabilities it offers. I’m
anxious to try v10 out for myself.

The Week’s Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

Robert McNeel & Associates and
SpaceClaim Corp. announced interoperability between
Rhinoceros and
SpaceClaim, enabling product stylists to include 3D mechanical design elements in their designs. The interoperability solution allows Rhino files to be opened directly in SpaceClaim for creating and modifying solid geometry. The 3D model can then be sent back in the Rhino file format for precise surface modifications by the industrial designer. SpaceClaim Professional 2007's intuitive 3D and Rhino's free form modeling are compatible. Industrial designers must work closely with product engineering to develop stylized surfaces that also meet mechanical design requirements. This requires data exchange between surfacing and design applications. Rhino and SpaceClaim integration
meets that need by enabling product stylists to create free-form surfaces in context of the product design. For instance, from within SpaceClaim industrial designers can directly modify 3D geometry, such as support ribs or bosses, which conform to the stylized surfaces. Precise surface modifications can be made within Rhino and accurately transferred to the SpaceClaim model. Product engineering benefits from receiving more complete designs that require minimal modification.

Noran Engineering, Inc. (NEi) announced that the U.S. Naval Academy has selected its
NEi Nastran Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software for use in its accredited degree program in Naval Architecture. The Academy’s curriculum covers many different types of ships, boats, and vehicles that operate on, above, or under water and involves the analysis and simulation of hull shapes, stability, structure, arrangement, survivability, maneuverability, and seaworthiness. The objective is to have students learn modern techniques of marine vehicle design and analysis. Noran Engineering's NEi Nastran has a solid presence in the U.S. Naval community offering highly specialized capabilities to Navy contractors such as the ability to simulate the response of ship
components to shock loads like mine, torpedo, depth charge or missile detonation. Beyond the U.S. Navy, Noran Engineering's software extends to the global marine engineering community covering the industry from defense projects and commercial vessels to luxury pleasure crafts and high profile racing like the America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race.

SAMTECH announced that it has been appointed by
AIRBUS as “Referenced Supplier” for CAE and development services in structural analysis. Under this agreement, the Master Agreement Contract (MAC), signed between Airbus and SAMTECH, SAMTECH will provide CAE software and services to several AIRBUS sites and to all the AIRBUS partners worldwide registered under the “AIRBUS Extended Enterprise.” This AIRBUS decision is the result of the reliability of SAMTECH during a partnership between the two companies that started 20 years ago. SAMTECH also provides development and support services for Airbus parametric structure optimization applications based on the SAMTECH BOSS Quattro platform and embedding
Airbus proprietary knowledge and processes.

UGS PLM Software, a division of
Siemens Automation and Drives (A&D) announced UGS PLM Software-sponsored racing team
Andretti Green Racing (AGR) -- whose cars are developed with the help of UGS PLM Software technology -- won the 2007 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series Championship. Andretti Green Racing uses UGS NX digital product development software for all of the design and development work the company performs on its fleet of eight race cars. Although IRL rules limit the modifications a team can make to the car body and engine, engineers still have quite a bit of leeway in other areas such as the suspension. Fine-tuning these areas often means designing and fabricating new parts in the brief interval between races.

PTC announced the availability of the industry's first comprehensive out-of-the-box solution for creating, publishing and delivering technical service manuals. Built on
Arbortext dynamic publishing software, this solution enables customers to publish high-quality service manuals with embedded interactive illustrations quickly with minimal configuration. The PTC service manual application is a solution that has the power to transform the process of publishing service documentation to significantly improve the quality and efficiency of service organizations. The service manual application includes capabilities to create text and interactive graphics, collaboration, content management and configuration, and dynamic publishing. It is enabled by the latest release of the following Arbortext dynamic publishing software:

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-- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.


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