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May 10, 2007


Jon Banquer

Our customers ask us to change / suggest changes to their models if we feel we can make their model manufacturable at a more reasonable cost. Cost and quality are what our customers really care about. Our customers could careless about what we do with the design intent they have built into their solid model. We would love to be able to use a tool like SpaceClaim but we *never* will because of the way SpaceClaim is sold. Like any smart machining job shop we know we are in a cyclical business. When times are good we use the latest software. When times are bad we don't upgrade and make do.
Smarter machining job shops will *never* go for SpaceClaims annual licensing scheme because of the nature of the machining job shop business.

Jon Banquer
San Diego, CA

Howie Markson

The product is much more than a high-end 3D mark-up tool. I was addressing your specific question on how a machinist or tool maker might use the product.

SpaceClaim is a tool that enables someone to make changes, "best practices" are absolutely needed to ensure any change is properly managed within the process. We have not developed a standard set of best practices - but good suggestion.

SpaceClaim can be used for creating new models. It is well suited for concept design (mechanical) because of the ease to explore unanticipated design directions. SpaceClaim can be used for tooling and fixture design, for instance. Machine design is also possible, but if someone is working productively in SolidWorks (or any other feature-based CAD system)why switch?


So are you relegating your product to status as a high-end 3D markup tool? Or is this what you say when you talk to engineers, but when you talk to the tool room do you talk about changing models to be manufactured? I'm sure these are questions you run into. Have you established some sort of "best practice" to help your customers deal with situations where they are running into changes to engineered data on the shop floor, which continues to be an on-going and serious challenge for small to medium manufacturers?

Plus, as a second question, how do you see your product being used for creating new models? How feasible is it to do machine design in Spaceclaim?

Howie Markson

One example is documentating a change request for engineering review. An example given to me is an overseas manufacturer - where English is a second language and communication is difficult. If two parts do not fit together, they can change the model and send it to the design team to show what works in a clear, unambiguous format for their approval. Another may be during the prototype stage where manufacturing and tooling considerations need to be incorporated into the design prior to production. Here several ideas can made and evaluated by manufacturing and the best one communicated back to design for incorporation into the engineering solid model.


What are the situations in which you believe machinists and tool makers should be changing engineered solid models?

Howie Markson

The comparison between SketchUp and SpaceClaim makes sense because both allow you to create and modify models extremely easily using direct interaction with the graphics.

However, Sketchup uses a faceted modeler. SpaceClaim uses a BREP modeler which means the models are as accurate as other MCAD systems, such as SolidWorks.

Unlike organic free form modeling systems, SpaceClaim uses analytic surface types (planes, cylinders, cones, tori, spheres) for most surfaces in the model. NURBS are only used for "swoopy" type surfaces.

I would agree with Matt that a skilled SolidWorks user should continue to work in that system. However, there are those in design and manufacturing that need to work in 3D, perhaps with a SolidWorks model, and require a tool best suited for their needs.

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