CAD software discussion forum > 3D CAD/CAM > best format for file imports

best format for file imports

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cutter

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posts: 55

Registered: 2011-11-23

Message 1 of 10

 best format for file imports
01-09-2009 07:57 . am | View his/her posts only
Talking to a developer at SE the other day about translators that are best for use in cam and he felt that in general STEP was the best. I know that VX touts iges but that has a reputation as a dated file format. Parasolids seems to work well in 14 but used to give me grief in 13. So for files coming in from other programs what is the general opinion here as to the best. There are also options for file translation but I have no idea how they relate to file output from others so this is an area I would like some general suggestions on best settings in general for inport and export.

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ChrisWard2k2

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Registered: 2011-11-22

Message 2 of 10

01-09-2009 10:10 . am | View his/her posts only
Hello Cutter

VX v14 has a new STEP translator and it is compatible with both AP203 and AP214 (AP214 is the most popular format these days, defacto in the motor vehicle industry). Of course I'm biased but I have to say that it is generally very good. I would agree that STEP has become by far the most important neutral format. IGES is not dead though, it remains popular in the aircraft industry and that is because it describes complex surfaces so well (NURBS).

All the VX translators have good presets for the "average" file import but of course not every file is average For typical mechanical components, STEP files arrive in VX as solids without any import settings requiring a tweak. If a model of a really tiny Object with fine detail is imported and does not arrive as a Solid, undo the import, tighten the modeling tolerance via Edit Preferences (e.g. from 0.01mm to 0.001mm), perform the import again.

When it comes to exporting, you can offer STEP, Parasolids and IGES, all of which can be written in a variety of flavours or versions. It's important to establish what the recipient prefers, export a file using the VX defaults and see how that fairs on the recipients system. If the data arrives with issues, you can try other versions or flavours of the format (go for the lowest common denominator). Keep in mind that some systems cannot cope so well with the organic Shapes that VX handles, therefore a perfect translation may not be possible in those cases.

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cutter

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posts: 55

Registered: 2011-11-23

Message 3 of 10

02-09-2009 05:17 . am | View his/her posts only
Chris, I see that 14.1 has numerous STEP improvements. Any idea when that may be released? Reading an article a while back talking about the amount of time lost by industry on translator problems and they estimated roughly 4.5 to 5 hours a week for the average engineer/user that did it full time. Now that was EVERY one of them as an average. I hope that industry does settle on STEP as the "universal" format as there needs to be one picked and used by all cad companies.

I believe with this recession that translator problems are starting to backfire on those companies that make life difficult for users as they see subscriptions drop and new sales are very tough. Many are opting to just stay where they are on an older version as it does what they basicaly want and it's paid for. I know I sit here this year and think of $2,700.00 just for maintenance and ponder value as does every other user I talk to. One of the chief complaints is problems that do not ever seem to go away like translator issues. I read for instance on the SWX boards how unhappy they are with ongoing problems only to see silly stuff like photo quality rendering as the exciting NEW big deal as the old cost you hours of productivity a week stuff is not resolved. A reliable program with fewer bells and whistles is what they and indeed all users want. PLM and Teamcenter are more worthless things that very few medium to small companies use and they are supposed to be happy when the new releases have PLM and TEAMCENTER they never use but still have trouble in the day to day basic functions that when they don't work shut the job down. Users consider this when they think of yearly costs and benefits and just want what they have to work. Alibre is going to pick up lots of these customers as they get tired of being ignored by mid range cad companies. Things that don't work right hurt your feelings less when the cost is significantly cheaper and some of my peers localy have made that decision this past week.

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ChrisWard2k2

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Registered: 2011-11-22

Message 4 of 10

02-09-2009 05:47 . am | View his/her posts only

Hi cutter

It has taken a long time, years longer than expected, for STEP to mature to the point of being useful. It is a complex standard too, so many CAD and especially CAM apps still do not import/export STEP as well as they should. VX was one of them until now. I think a number of the other CAD-CAM companies do need to "pull their socks up" and improve their translators. VX Corp realized this of course and a tremendous amount of man hours has been spent on huge improvements in STEP, Parasolids and DWG/DXF. I hope this leads to more VX sales as the word gets around. VX v14.06 was recently made available, hopefully v14.10 will follow soon.

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Mike

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Registered: 2002-8-28

Message 5 of 10

02-09-2009 04:40 . pm | View his/her posts only
Dave,

Thank you for reading the Release Notes on the web site. We have historically touted IGES because it is the oldest most mature translator out there. However, it was never written with Assemblies in mind. STEP and now Parasolids both import and export assemblies.

As far as CAM is concerned it really doesn't make any difference to us which translator is used. This might be the most forgiving aspect of the software. Our CAM works well with solids of course but also with surface data, healed or non-healed data. As long as there is not a hole between surfaces large enough for the tool to fall through, we can machine it.

V14.10 is scheduled for the week of September 13. But I will send an email notice when I think it is ready to download.

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cutter

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posts: 55

Registered: 2011-11-23

Message 6 of 10

02-09-2009 06:46 . pm | View his/her posts only
Hi Mike, actualy it can make a tremendous difference. Recently in V13 I had an imported part with 22 holes in it which were to be center drilled and then finished to correct size with ramp cut. It did not matter how I picked the features for cam as 8 out of 22 failed for parasolids import. 3 of 22 failed with iges import and none failed with STEP. Earl has seen this file by the way if you are curious. Really weird toolpaths that just drove me nuts and made a 1 hour job into a day and a half. Now the good news is this, V14 sailed right through this same part with no problems so whatever was the problem with translators here at least on this part have been fixed. Thats why you did not hear about it til now. I actualy spent a day with developement at SE on this problem, they are only 63 miles away so I get to do this, as they were concerned about it. It was their conclusion that the problem was at VX's end and with the same file created with the same version of SE having such a striking difference in identical imports between 13 and 14 I must conclude they are right. Very pleased with v14 so far and I have to say that this is what I had hoped to see for 12 and 13 and 14 has gone a long way towards removing my gripes of the past.

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Stefano

Assistant Engineer

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Registered: 2011-12-30

Message 7 of 10

07-10-2009 02:53 . am | View his/her posts only
Hi it's my 1st time on VX forum.
I usually work with the VDA file format.

I don't have any kind of problem. Obviously there is not the automatic feature recognition, or better i don't know if VX has this feature.

Ciao !!!

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ChrisWard2k2

Newbie

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Registered: 2011-11-22

Message 8 of 10

07-10-2009 07:45 . am | View his/her posts only
VDA is the German Automotive version of IGES. IGES itself is not really feature aware (it nearly was, development stopped around the time that features etc were being incorporated). I think a better CAD system approach is to have feature recognition methods once the geometry (from any source) has been imported. It is difficult though, because no two CAD vendors describe geometry in exactly the same way, and so the neutral format files they output, whilst conforming to the standard, are not necessarily ideal for the receiving program to work with.

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cutter

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posts: 55

Registered: 2011-11-23

Message 9 of 10

07-10-2009 07:51 . am | View his/her posts only
Wellcome to VX and the forums Sten. As far as I know VX does not have feature recognition like say Featurecam where all the holes are theoreticaly picked up and sorted in any given axis. There are probably some tricks here in VX I am not aware of though so good question. The closest thing I know of is the ability to pick holes by axis and a specific size range but even then you have to do the final sorting yourself as it will pick all the holes in that range.

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Mike

Newbie

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Registered: 2002-8-28

Message 10 of 10

07-10-2009 02:28 . pm | View his/her posts only
I think I made a faulty assumption. Does everyone know about the "Flag Hole Feature" command on the Utilities pulldown?
IGES, STEP and ParaSolids don't have feature data. You can add this feature information in CAD using "Flag Hole Feature" or in CAM using "Add Feature" Hole. This step is absolutely necessary only if you have threaded holes. If not, just import your part in 3D, open a cam plan and use tactics adding the entire part to the operation. Using "Tactics" VX will identify all cylinders as holes and match the closest tool in your library to that cylinder.
Check out the attached file.
Nobody has a Part001.VX on the their system I hope...

See also