Monday, August 24, 2015

Shadow cube - 3D model of C-A-D

Shadow cubes are an interesting design challenge, checking your imagination and your design skills in the 3D CAD software of your choice. The goal is to design a 3D model, that casts three different letters as a shadow in the individual orthographic views (top, side, front - X, Y, Z). So e.g. "C" in the top view, "A" in the side view and "D" in the front view. Start your Inventor, Fusion 360 or 123D Design and test yourself designing such model for an arbitrary combination of 3 letters. Be warned, some combinations are very difficult.

If you dare to endanger your own Karma by an innocent cheat, you can seek help through a useful tool, the programmers CAD modeler OpenSCAD. In this application, enter the following script and generate the 3D model by pressing F6.

// podle: UlrichB1


S=10; // size in mm

// "C" "A" "D" - modelled letters

intersection() {
 M("A", S); // "A"
 translate([0, S, 0])rotate([90, 0, 0]) M("D", S); // "D"
 translate([-S/2, S/2, 0])rotate([90, 0, 90])M("C", S); // "C"

 module M(t,s) {
 resize([s, s, s])linear_extrude(1) text(t, halign="center", font="Raavi:style=Bold");

Then you can export your model e.g. to the STL format - for 3D print or for further processing in another CAD application. If you want to get it into AutoCAD, you can use the conversion service STL2DWG. A sample AutoCAD model can be downloaded from the CAD/BIM block library, or viewed interactively through the online viewer A360:

The model in Fusion 360:

via Instructables and InventorGuru

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Autodesk Inventor on Citrix with accelerated graphics? Why not?

Application virtualization and the application publishing technology for intranet and internet users is already available for a long time, but it has been limited so far rather for office applications for performance reasons.

Hardware and software vendors now offer technologies allowing to access substantial graphical performance - yesterday's main limitation - which opens virtualization also for most demanding applications like CAD (or games). Autodesk also officially supports running its CAD software applications on virtualization platforms, specifically on Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop (there is a preferred partnership between Autodesk and Citrix). The list of supported applications and their system requirements can be found here.

Technical background
The single requirement on the side of Autodesk CAD software is to own a classic network license (NLM) - former requirements for a special Citrix license have been lifted since version 2014. On the Citrix virtualization server side, the key component today is the HDX 3D Pro technology, offering a set of graphics acceleration technologies like Direct 3D (used by Inventor), OpenGL or CUDA. These technologies allow to set profiles assigned to individual users in 3 levels, so that precious graphical performance is available exactly there where it is needed. In the highest, third level, suitable also for demanding CAD applications, the maximum graphical performance, or even direct access to the graphics card is available. This profile also supports 3D mice (controllers) often used by designers for easier control of 3D scenes. The hardware-level key component is a graphics card based on the nVidia Grid technology. Which type of card to choose from this type series? This decision depends on the expected load and application type. You can estimate the requirements from the following table:

What are the benefits of this scenario and when to consider it?

  • Workstation purchase costs - you don't need to invest in multiple expensive workstations
  • Service and maintenance - internal or external IT staff does not need to service this local hardware
  • Access from anywhere - CAD tools are available not only on-site but also remotely - designers can work from home
  • Multiplatform access – the client access works not only from Windows, but on any platform with Citrix XenApp clients (Android and iOS tablets, Linux and Apple computers)

We know how
CAD Studio in cooperation with AutoCont is ready to implement this platform at their customers.

The real customer experience with Autodesk Inventor can be assessed from the attached videos – comparing always the same task first on a standard mobile workstation and then in a virtualized Inventor session:

Monday, August 3, 2015

Autodesk Stingray - architectural visualizations in real-time

CAD Studio is a member of Autodesk AEC Blogger Council and so it can bring you exclusive information about upcoming Autodesk products. On August 19th, a new product will be released for attractive 3D visualizations generated in real-time - Autodesk Stingray.

Autodesk Stingray is originally a gaming engine, coming from the Autodesk's last year acquisition of the Bitsquid technology. It is now used by Autodesk not only for gaming applications but also for architectural visualizations. Stingray is linked with Autodesk Revit and 3ds Max. With these tools you can create interactive models of interiors and exteriors, which can be viewed by customers from any view in fully rendered style - on a PC, on mobile devices and through 3D glasses for virtual reality - Oculus Rift.

Stingray is not a classical plug-n-play application but rather a set of Windows tools for creating interactive visualizations. You can control the scene behaviour either by interactive tools or by the programming scripting language Lua. This application will be available through Desktop Subscription (rental, for 30$/month or 240$/year). Revit, or Revit linked with 3ds Max allows to make fixed rendered views and animations, which you can hand over to your customers. But with Stingray you can hand over models of the same scene in a similar quality, and this scene can be walked through and displayed from any view choosen by your customer. The LiveLink function will update the Stingray view on any change of the BIM model.

Using Stingray: