Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Check out this video from SpaceClaim.
You know the deal: The model you got from the CAD dudes or dudettes is either some dumb file or it's filled with vital CAD features and constraints that are extraneous complications for CAE analysis. Thus, you fuss over the thing way too long simplifying the model and preparing it for analysis. That's the nature of the job. SpaceClaim doesn't think you have to work that way, and they have a pretty good argument that they have a better approach.
SpaceClaim enables analysis- and simulation-driven design by giving analysts tools that simplify model simplification, clean-up, and manipulation. It starts with a data interoperability module that lets you import a model in one of the widely deployed formats. Once you have that file in SpaceClaim, you can de-feature and prepare it for analysis efficiently: remove unneeded rounds, stitch faces, create surfaces, fix gaps, blow away stuff that just bloats a mesh, and so on. To go along with its CAD interoperability, SpaceClaim has APIs to analysis systems like ANSYS, Comsol, CFdesign, Bunkspeed, and Rhino. So, once done prepping, you're ready to go and do some work.
Then, SpaceClaim lets you edit and save the 3D model. Two good things here. One, you can play around with designs to get things as you think think they should be. Two, you can then have a 3D model that communicates to the CAD team exactly how, what, and where the design has changed. You can add notes too.
But here's the thing: you do all of this as you would naturally if most systems let you. SpaceClaim has this spare toolbar and context-sensitive menus that let you work without overloading you with a clutter of all your potential options. You grab stuff and move it around. You highlight and delete, add some stiffening ribs, change parameters, or just what-if around the model until you have it the way you want for further analysis or communicating with the CAD people. No CAD expertise required.
I haven't even begun to do justice about what SpaceClaim can to do make CAE-design loop more efficient. Check out this video from SpaceClaim to see some examples for yourself. It's 8 minutes well spent.
Thanks, Pal — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering Magazine