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Mold drafts and chamfers, an update question
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* October 11, 2010, 06:14:50 PM
Currently using V12 Pro which is fine for all my 2D sheet metal designs. Starting some plastic injection molded parts and finding it rather tedious doing the 3D designs that need to include mold drafting, chamfers and other fine detailing. Are there any long-term users who might be able to tell me if there are enough enhancements and improvements in V17 to justify the somewhat pricey upgrade costs? I think I can probably manage with V12 but it would help a lot if there were some new or additional tools to simplify this type of design.

I do realize there are many changes between V12 and V17 but to do a reasonable appraisal I would need to examine all the new features and improvements in every version since V12 and I thought there might be someone here who could answer the question from personal experience.




* October 11, 2010, 06:57:45 PM
I'd say, Upgrade to v17. Sometime during the v12 convulsion, the ability to extrude a profile along a path was lost. The "Sweep" tool was touted as an improved substitute, but in reality it has always been a sadly underpowered replacement. The situation was not fully rectified until v17, when the "Rail Sweep" tool was endowed with enough muscle to emulate everything the lost path-extrusion tool could ever do, and maybe a bit more.

...Also, in sheet metal design you may also find good use for the bending and unbending tools that appeared after v12.

Henry H


* October 11, 2010, 07:46:18 PM
I am thinking I can do this (mold drafts) with basic lofting techniques but it will be tedious and possibly somewhat error-prone. I wish the V17 manual was available online so I could read about these new features.

As far as sheet metal is concerned I am lucky in that I just need to design the finished product and our metalwork supplier can take the 2D drawings and do the un-bending to determine tools and paths. If I were a fabricator such tools would be mandatory.

Thanks for your thoughts, still pondering as I spend the evening learning lofting,



* October 11, 2010, 09:20:44 PM
The cone tool is mostly overlooked, but great for some mold drafts.  Check the "2D profile base" item, and the tool will recognise 3D splines as profiles for cone bases, giving draft that's continuously normal to curved faces without having to be worked and laid out like lofts.       


* October 11, 2010, 09:32:29 PM
At least in theory, you should be able to download a trial version. I don't know what all comes in the trial version, but if its like the regular program, then it will have the manual in PDF format.  The manual is pretty bare bones -- not a tutorial.


TCW Pro 14.2
TC Deluxe 16.2 Build 53.2

* October 12, 2010, 01:08:48 AM
I must confess to being a 3D noobee but in the past couple of days I think I've finally overcome most of the mental obstacles and am finding it all pretty amazing. V12.5 is actually working well for me and now that I see how these 3D objects work and I'm thinking it may be all I need. My current approach is to create a 2D shape on one plane, move an offset copy (either larger or smaller by the draft required)  to another plane and then using one of the various shape-creation tools to create the solid. It may not be the fastest or most efficient method but it would appear to be sufficient for my current needs. I'm going to experiment with that cone tool too.

Despite all my years in electronics, mechanical design, software design, etc. I still can't help being amazed by the power and capability we all have right here on our desktops.

Thanks to all for the helpful suggestions!



* October 12, 2010, 03:49:33 AM
Why not use the Draft Angle setting included in the Extrude tool?

I don't remember if this feature was part of the extrude tool in v12... so disregard if not.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 03:51:30 AM by GregT »

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* October 12, 2010, 09:19:17 AM
re: I wish the V17 manual was available online so I could read about these new features.

You can look at Sweep Shape Properties on the Sweep page to see if it's any help.

See also the Simple Extrude page.

John R.

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* October 13, 2010, 08:37:23 PM
Yes indeed, Extrude works well and V12.5 does include the Draft Angle setting. At first I was concerned because there is no way to selectively apply the draft angles and in this case I am building the finished part in sections which are butted together to form the complete design. With Extrude this leaves tiny crevasses when the drafts are moving in opposite directions. But the solution is so simple: just make the sub-part slightly larger in the area where it joins another section so it overlaps by at least the crevasse width and the problem is solved. Amazing this was all sitting here only awaiting my understanding!

Thanks again to all for the useful suggestions!