Introducing I-DEAS Freeform 8m3

The I-DEAS Freeform 8m3 release provides hundreds of enhancements throughout the product that bring exciting advancements to existing 3D surface modeling technology especially in the areas of high quality and Class A surfacing. An overview highlighting a few of the 200+ enhancements contained in this release are described below:

  • Flexible lighting model
    The I-DEAS Freeform lighting model provides you with the freedom to control several aspects of the light definition for single or multiple light sources within a model. You can define how many lights you want, the type of lights you need, and the characteristics (intensity, angle, fall off) of those lights. Once defined, you can locate them right where you need them, then rotate and manipulate the model to 'shine' the light on the designated surface in order to expose surface flaws and imperfections.
  • New 3D constraint engine
    The I-DEAS Freeform 3D constraint engine enables associative modeling that can dramatically change the way you create surfaces for Class A and high quality modeling tasks. The I-DEAS Freeform constraint tools have been designed so the user can decide when, where, and for how long a constraint condition is needed without increasing model size or sacrificing robustness. By building in the constraints as you work, all design changes are reflected in real-time, which allows you to quickly explore different design themes without requiring excessive planning at the outset of the modeling session or tedious rework that is typical of other history based systems.

    Color coding to show the master and edit (or slave) curve relationship, the ability to quickly and easily invert the master/slave relationship, and the availability of a viewport pop-up with constraint editing options adds a great deal of freedom to the process. Constraint symbols appear on curves as they are created to indicate the type of continuity present.

    In addition to constraints, inherent associativities are included with several entity creation commands. Associativities such as these give you the power to maintain certain characteristics while modifying and editing your data. Features with associative properties include loft, sweep surface, fillet, flange, curve offset, and extrusion to name a few.

  • Extended functionality for curve-based surface development
    Both new and enhanced commands have been added to provide a more complete set of curve creation functionality for curve-based surface development, which is extremely important for high quality and Class A surfacing tasks.

    The new features reduce the repetition often required for creating families of curves, while infinite construction line and plane capabilities aid in the accurate creation of new geometry. Infinite construction elements are also relied on as aids for snipping and intersection operations. Other tools, such as an infinite workplane, have been added to benefit blank screen modeling operations. This workplane can serve as a sketch plane or can be used to intersect surfaces and curves.

    New construction commands allow
    you to quickly create single or multiple sets of infinite geometry.

    Plane set created using a 3D curve.

    Set of infinite lines (yellow) created between two existing lines (cyan).

  • System-wide curvature and surface evaluation tool improvements
    Curvature and surface evaluation tools provide you with real time and static information that allows you to create better curves and surfaces from the start, resulting in higher quality surfaces created in less time. Combine the detailed feedback from these tools with I-DEAS Freeform's many modification tools and you can easily evaluate and dynamically edit your models in the current view to correct problem areas.

    Several new curvature evaluation tools have been added along with many enhancements to an already powerful set of existing diagnostic tools. Overall enhancements to existing tools include:

    • Live updates of needle plots as you rotate and translate
    • Options for view dependant and direction dependant curvature evaluation
    • Additional curve sampling options
    • Ability to evaluate surface flow on multiple surfaces
    • Ability to evaluate curvature flow over multiple surfaces and in given directions
    • Capability to easily identify inflections for patch break points

    Specific new diagnostic commands and major enhancements include the following:

    • Realistic Environment Mapping
      With increased performance and greater interaction for environment mapping, including the option to select user-defined environment maps, users can evaluate the aesthetic properties of surfaces with ease and variety. For convenience, a number of additional predefined environment maps have been provided on the release CD.

    • Two-color zebra plots
      Diagnose surface flow and view surface shape and quality with zebra plots. Zebra plots, which ray trace stripes onto all visible shaded surfaces, provide yet another method for identifying surface flaws.

    • Surface gap/angle plots
      To perform checks on surface features such as offsets and panel shut gaps, you can now display the angle and gap between a surface boundary and another surface. The angle check can supply data that indicates surface problems which may cause poor visual appearance on fillets or other geometry.

    • Point, curve, and surface deviation plots
      The capability to calculate and display multiple deviation measurements allows you to compare the effects of different design iterations on your data. Deviations between a curve, a point, or a surface can be calculated and plotted; the distance reported depends on the component and the calculation options you choose. Toggles are also provided for selectively displaying and hiding the needle plot and/or actual displacement value.
  • Additional and Enhanced Sweep, Match, and Fillet Capabilities
    Fillet, Match, and Sweep capabilities have all added additional commands that provide new methods for creating different types of fillets and swept or matched surfaces, while enhancements to existing commands give users more control over how the respective entities are created and often speeds the various processes used by designers.

    For Fillets , you can now:

    • Preview all possible results, then accept all or select fillet(s) to keep.
    • Dynamically fit a fillet through existing geometry.
    • Create fillets across multiple entities.
    • Create constant or variable radius fillets.
    • Create fillets that vary in one or more selected ranges.
    • Align fillets to a preselected reference curve or in 3D or 2D space.
    • Apply approach options that 'soften' the visible fillet appearance.
    • Pick different options for aligning fillets to adjacent surfaces.
    • Specify an offset distance for the center radius fillet.

    Match commands include the capability to simultaneously match the boundaries of four surfaces without adversely affecting the others. In addition to matching boundaries, the match commands allow continuity at several levels from position and tangent continuity all the way up to continuity for curvature and curvature flow. Users can also perform a partial match to an interior surface, and thus limit the parameters of the matched surface. The option to match to a 3D curve has also been added.

    New functions for Sweep commands include those for generating single or multiple rulings. Additional options provide more choices for controlling the alignment or direction of the surface being swept. Options for creating the swept surface in the current view or in 3D space are available on all sweep commands.

  • Better data organization tools
    Managing data for surfacing jobs with complex data structures has just gotten easier. I-DEAS Freeform now allows the nesting of groups and filters. Nesting is particularly useful for illustrating detailed assemblies, with each group containing their respective part surface data.
  • Streamlined, intuitive workflow
    New functional menu groupings have been implemented throughout the interface to more closely reflect how you work allowing experienced and casual users to quickly feel comfortable with I-DEAS Freeform's commands. Similar commands such as system preferences, are now conveniently placed in one location for quicker access.

    Carefully redesigned icons complement the new look and feel of the I-DEAS interface, while the consistent color scheme, styling, and graphics used make the icons quickly recognizable by all users.

    With the icon redesign in I-DEAS Freeform and the new I-DEAS NT look and feel users will notice a consistent look between products.

    I-DEAS Interface

    I-DEAS Freeform interface

  • Extended hot key capability
    Rapid access to key modify, create, and diagnose commands is now readily available with the addition of a 'floating' tool shelf. The floating tool shelf is accessed via simple key combinations to put more functionality at your finger tips when you need it.




    Floating toolshelves appear in the viewport for quick access to key commands.
  • Native support for common third party file formats
    Sites with valid Databridge licenses will notice that Unigraphics and CATIA file formats are now accessible from within the I-DEAS Freeform interface. Simply open and save these files as you would other native file types-it's that easy. Additional external translators can also be authored and seamlessly integrated with the I-DEAS Freeform components.


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