The latest release of Delcam's PowerSHAPE hybrid CAD modeller offers easier to use surface modelling tools for designers working with complex shapes. It aims to overcome finally the belief that surface modellers are inherently too difficult to learn for the casual user and can only be operated by dedicated specialists.
The development focus for the new version, PowerSHAPE 7, has been to recapture the simplicity offered by the software when it was first introduced in 1999. "When we first launched PowerSHAPE, customers were impressed by features like the intelligent cursor which made the software so much easier to use than other surface modellers," commented Delcam's CAD Development Director, Stuart Watson.
"Since then, we have added more and more functionality to the program. While our established users have welcomed this process, it has made the interface more intimidating to potential new customers," he added. "For PowerSHAPE 7, we have re-organised the whole interface to place commands in a more logical structure and so make it easier both for new users to learn and faster for existing users to operate."
The other key innovation in PowerSHAPE 7 is Smart Surfacing. Like other surface modellers, PowerSHAPE has always provided a number of alternative methods for constructing a surface from a given set of lines, arcs or points. The user has had to choose between a number of solutions to pick the result that is most appropriate for the particular design.
With Smart Surfacing, the choice of method is made automatically by the software to give the best possible surface. If the user is unhappy with the automatic selection, or is simply curious to see other options, he can scroll through the alternative solutions.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Smart Surfacing is that the software's selection is updated automatically as extra information is added to the design. As any additional lines or points are inserted into the model, PowerSHAPE will review the chosen surfacing method and regenerate the surface if an alternative solution has become more appropriate.
PowerSHAPE 7 also features an additional morphing method for the distortion of an existing design into a new shape. Flexibox Morphing allows the user to push, pull, twist or bend any standard geometry into a complex design. It can be applied to whole models, or individual solids or sections of solids.
Morphing allows rapid styling changes to be made in a single operation that would otherwise require extensive, time-consuming modification of the separate elements in a design. It is, therefore, ideal for the "what if" stage of new product development, when designers need to generate quickly a number of variations on a new concept.
SOURCE: Delcam Plc