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CAD & 3D
Modeling Articles

Looking for answers to common technical issues regarding CAD and 3D modeling? Browse the topics below for in depth knowledge on many topics.

Export Nasties from Other CAD Programs

Our tech support department is often asked, “Why is this 2D file, which looks so simple, such a big and complicated mess when imported?” The answer is in the way that 2D file was exported from its original source.

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The Best Modeling Software for 3D Printing

Ashlar-Vellum CAD and 3D modeling programs are the best choice for designing products for 3D printing.

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Sending Files to Cutting Facilities Wanting a 3D Solid in a SolidWorks Format

Dear Ashlar-Vellum: Most laser and waterjet cutting vendors that I’ve contacted prefer solid models in a SolidWorks format over any other format. I would prefer, however, to use my MAC and either Argon, Xenon, or Cobalt. What should I do to send files to laser and waterjet cutting facilities who ask for a 3D solid in a SolidWorks format?   

—A Devoted Mac User.

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What are NURBS and Why are They Important to CAD and 3D Modeling?

The spline tools in all Ashlar-Vellum CAD and 3D modeling products create NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines) which are a superset of Bezier curves. These splines are curves created by a complex mathematical formula.

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What you Need to Know about Adobe’s PDF for 3D Modeling

Ashlar-Vellum’s technical department is often asked, “How do I import and edit a PDF into Cobalt (or Xenon or Argon)?” It’s a good question with a very complex answer.

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What’s Driving Your 3D Model?

We’re often asked what’s the difference between our 3D modeling products Xenon and Cobalt. When we say that Xenon has associative parametric modeling but Cobalt also includes geometric and equation-driven parametric constraints, most people’s eyes glaze over and they do one of two things, usually for the wrong reasons.

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Why is my CAD or 3D Modeling Drawing a Tiny Speck?

Occasionally our tech support line gets a desperate call saying, “When I open my CAD or 3D modeling drawing, it’s become a tiny speck!”

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What Do I Need to Know about 3D Printing?

Cobalt, Xenon and Argon all support 3D printers such as Z Corp, through the export of STL, DXF and WRL files. These printers are driven by a 3D tessellated mesh which is a collection of 3D triangles representing a closed volume.

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Do the 3D Modeling Tools in Cobalt, Xenon or Argon Support Sheet Metal?

While Ashlar-Vellum 3D modeling products do not currently have specific sheet metal commands, thousands of sheet metal designs are created each year in our software.

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CAD & 3D Modeling Support for Finite Element Analysis

Ashlar-Vellum CAD and 3D Modeling products export data to any number of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) programs. The issue is getting the data to the target program. FEA is a serious science best left to professionals using something more than the “light” FEA features built into some competitive CAD packages.

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CAD Support for Die and Box Design

Ashlar-Vellum has a long history of supporting box, die and point-of purchase design software makers as the precision CAD engine beneath their products on both Mac and Windows.

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Reading AutoCAD’s DWF Files

DWF files are created expressly to prevent further editing of a file. There are legitimate file viewers to see DWF files on both Mac and Windows.

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Lighting Techniques for Great Photo-realistic Rendering in Ashlar-Vellum 3D Modeling Software

by Troy Starkey, Paradigm Design Associates

Rendering within 3D modeling software is all about simulating the real world as much as possible. Lighting and the scene are the most import things to start with when setting up a rendering. Once the lighting and the environment are correctly set up, everything else falls into place.

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Why Can’t I Read this AutoCAD File?

If you’re having difficulty finding something in a file imported from AutoCAD and think Graphite v8 CAD software didn’t import the entire thing, try using View>Sheets. A new feature in Graphite v8 is the support for what AutoCAD calls layouts and Ashlar-Vellum refers to as sheets.

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When Tech Support Can’t Reproduce Your CAD or 3D Modeling Problem

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting an email back from tech support saying in effect, “We have tested the issue on three machines in our office and cannot reproduce the problem.”

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How to Trace Over an Image in Graphite CAD Software

Graphite users often ask how they can trace over an image in our precision CAD software. While this is a convenient technique for general shape extraction, it does not necessarily provide a precision drawing. Both parallax caused by the camera lens and perspective of the photograph greatly effect the accuracy of the drawing.

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Avoiding the ACIS Error Monster Or How to Build 3D Models that Really Work

You’re hard at work putting the finishing touches on a 3D model when suddenly it won’t shell or the edges can’t blend. On the screen, as if out of the black lagoon of 3D hell, looms the dreaded ACIS Error. Horrors! How was this monster invoked and how can you avoid becoming the object of his evil eye ever again?

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File Translation Tutorial for 3D Modeling

This article discusses some of the issues that commonly occur when translating files into and out of Cobalt, Xenon and Argon 3D modeling software to help you get the best possible result for the greatest collaborative effect.

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File Translation Tutorial for Graphite™

Discussed in this article are the common issues that occur when translating files into and out of Graphite CAD software, offering you tips to get the greatest possible result.

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Old CAD and 3D Modeling Software on New Operating Systems

Here are a few things you should know about legacy software:

  • Vellum 2.7
  • Vellum 3.0, 4.0, or 99, Vellum Solids 98, 99, 2000
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