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Machine Design

Direct modeler quickly builds large assemblies

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Fabricator Auto Metal Craft, Detroit, uses SpaceClaim 3D CAD software to import suppliers’ 3D models for prototyping assemblies. That’s because the software can open files from any CAD package, including NX, Catia, SolidWorks, and Pro/ Engineer.

“Speed is important to us in prototyping because the large number of parts involved would otherwise take a long time to accurately assemble,” says co-owner of Auto Metal Craft Kevin Woody. “For instance, an automobile instrument panel can have 50 parts, while an appliance assembly can contain over 100 resistance welds.”

Auto Metal Craft is typically working with 20 customers on a total of 80 projects at any given time. At one time, the complexity of projects, combined with issues in converting data, kept the company from taking on more work. But SpaceClaim from SpaceClaim Corp., Concord, Mass., easily handles complex parts and data conversion. For example, engineers can import several different file formats to build assemblies and then create accurate fixtures around them. With other software, this can take up to 10 hr. With Space- Claim, it takes 10 min.

SpaceClaim also lets users alter designs, regardless of the software they were created with, instead of starting from scratch. “The software lets you pull, push, move, fill, cut, and combine models,” says Woody.

SpaceClaim also has features specific to the automotive industry that let Auto Metal Craft and other shops work in the same modular grid-coordinate system as their automotive customers.

Additionally, the software supports model prep for FEA, which is helpful for simulating die manufacturing.

© 2012 Penton Media, Inc.

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