Delcam updates Solid Doctor for CAD data repair

The 2013 release of Delcam’s PowerSHAPE CAD software, which is due for release next month, will include a major upgrade to the Solid Doctor module for data repair.

The module offers a comprehensive set of tools for the repair of CAD models from all sources, including IGES, STEP and native CATIA files.  It can be used to tackle all the common problems that are found when translating low-precision and incomplete data, including gaps and overlaps between surfaces, or duplicated and missing surfaces, and generate a valid, high-precision solid model.

“Users will not see an immediate difference when they open the new version of the Solid Doctor,” admitted PowerSHAPE Development Manager, Ian Watkins.  “Most of the changes have been in the background to make the automatic repair tools faster and even more robust.  We have also made the recommendations clearer on the actions that need to be taken to solve the different types of problem.”

The Solid Doctor uses a combination of automatic data repair tools, together with the surface creation and editing options that are available from PowerSHAPE.  This combination means that simple repairs can be carried out quickly and easily, while more complex problems can be overcome by deleting and replacing the existing surfaces within the model.

The first stage in using the Solid Doctor is to analyse the model to determine the extent of any inconsistency issues in topology or geometry.  These errors are labelled on the model and divided into separate categories.  For each category or class of inconsistency, Solid Doctor recommends the most appropriate course of action, including a possible automatic fix.

The user then applies the automated repair sequence.  Each corrected issue has its label changed from red to green as it is repaired.  The repairs can be inspected individually to ensure that the results are as required or the whole model can be checked again to highlight any further inconsistencies.

The second repair stage involves using Delcam’s unique trim region editing tools to correct larger issues that require manual repair, such as mismatches between the edges of the various surfaces within the model.  These include direct editing options for the trim boundaries, which allow very quick and flexible adjustment of the surface edges to overcome errors in the model.

For the more serious problems that remain, it will usually be necessary to generate replacement surfaces in the affected area.  This can be done easily using PowerSHAPE’s Smart Surfacing technology.  The user simply deletes the existing surfaces and sketches around the area to be repaired.  PowerSHAPE will then analyse the boundary and suggest the most appropriate type of surface to fill the space.  Tangency can be maintained with the surrounding surfaces if required.  If the user is not happy with the initial selection made by the software, he can run through alternative solutions until he is satisfied with the result.

Once the user is happy with the quality of the repaired surfaces, they are incorporated back into the solid model automatically.  This process continues until all the inconsistencies have been resolved.  Giving the user total control over how the part is repaired allows even poor quality or badly-damaged data to be repaired quickly and efficiently.  

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