Geomagic 3D CAD Design Gallery
Geared Steam Engine by Joe Martin (Click on image to enlarge)
Recent developments in 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) have brought the price of programs down to where a home shop user can have access to design tools that rival that of the professional programs purchased by engineers and big companies. Programs like Solidworks, Pro/E, Catia, Inventor and SolidEdge cost many thousands of dollars. However, for the small business or home shop users, programs like Geomagic Design offer all the important features to design sophisticated parts and assemblies for less than $200. We present here examples of clever work done entirely in the computer using Geomagic. There are two categories: 1) Projects re-created in 3D from existing 2D plans and 2) New projects designed from scratch in the computer.
The old way vs. the new way to design and build parts—Computer Craftsmanship
The old way was to sketch out an idea on paper and then draw up a set of plans either on a drawing board or in a 2D CAD program like AutoCAD. Then a prototype would be built from the plans and parts fitted together. Once the inevitable mistakes were discovered and design changes were made, eventually you ended up with a corrected set of plans and an actual working prototype you could look at from any angle and move the parts to make sure it was what you wanted before going into production.
That has all changed with 3D design programs. Now the designer can start making parts right in the computer. He can rotate them around and visualize them from all angles on the screen. He can color them. He can build up assemblies of various parts to make sure they fit together. He can then apply constraints to the various parts so they move in the proper relationship to each other, and he can animate the whole assembly right on the computer screen. He can also easily convert the drawing into conventional 2D plans with dimensions, and he can create cross-sectional views and even exploded views with just a few simple commands. All of this is before the first part is even made.
Once the assembly is completed in the computer, there are two ways to translate that into a physical object you can hold in your hand. One is to use modern 3D printing technology. The drawing is sent to a 3D printer where it goes from a drawing directly to reality. Various technologies using plaster, plastic and even metal build a part in thin layers. Molds for the part can also be built in the printer so the part can be cast. The other method is to translate the information in the drawing into a text based language called G-code. This is the language modern CNC machines understand, and they can machine the design from a solid block of material (anything from foam to metal) to produce the actual parts exactly like the ones in the drawing. This is the way things are done now in the industrial world.
We invite all users of Alibre/Geomagic 3D software to send in your projects for display in the gallery below. Tell us a little about the project and why you chose to build it in the virtual world. To submit the actual Geomagic file that you created, we suggest you adopt the following guidelines for organizing and successfully sending your files.
1. Create a folder on your desktop called "Geomagic Files"
2. Inside that folder create another folder named for the particular project you are working on.
3. Each time you create a new part, save it to that project folder. To successfully recreate the entire assembly, all the parts for the project must be located in the same folder.
4. To send the file to us, compress the entire project folder into a .ZIP or .RAR type file format to reduce its size and attach it to an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If the file is still over 10 MB, consider saving it to a CD or DVD and sending it to us by mail.
If you have and advanced edition of Geomagic Design or if you purchased the special "Sherline Edition" you have the ability to save your files in other common formats. To send just an image of the final project, save it in .JPG format and attach it to an e-mail.
For those interested in learning what a 3D CAD program can do, CLICK HERE to see a Quickstart Guide to the Geomagic Design 3D CAD program. Click on any of the headings on the left side to watch a video that walks you through the steps involved in computer part design.
Industrial Archeology—Recreating objects and assemblies from existing plans
Geared steam engine by Joe Martin.
The mechanism features a planetary gear the circles inside a ring gear, keeping the connecting rod level.
A small oscillating steam engines called "Millie" by Joe Martin
Plans: From plans reprinted in Tabletop Machining by Joe Martin from a design by Ed Warren originally published in ModelTec magazine
Opposed piston steam engine by Joe Martin
Using the 3D design process to create new projects
Model R/C Airplane design by Jerry Nelson
Jerry is an R/C flyer, retired hobby shop merchandiser and former user of SolidEdge 3D CAD software. He designed this airplane in Geomagic and didn't run across any operation he couldn't do in the $199 Geomagic Personal version that he had been able to do in the much more expensive SolidEdge program. He was even able to have Geomagic calculate the plane's actual center of gravity by inputting material selections for each part. The plans were taken from a full-size homebuilt airplane and scaled down to 1/4 size. Like the real plane, the model will be built using metal panels with fiberglass cowling, wheel pants and wing and elevator tips. In the drawing Jerry was able to confirm that fuel tanks will fit, linkages will clear bulkheads, etc. Working out problems in advance in the drawing assures perfect part fits the first time when the model is actually built.
Jerry's design is based on is the Thatcher CX4, a VW-powered, single-place sport aircraft that has a wingspan of 24' and weighs just 520 pounds empty.
NOTE: Jerry Nelson, along with Joe Martin, Bud Crane and Ed Shipe were the founders of the sport of Formula 1 R/C pylon racing in the 1960's.
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