Published: Friday, November 13, 2015
Heat Exchanger in 2D Rendering Have you ever heard of the saying “measure twice, cut once?”  The same could be said for designing a product or structure.  Designers use three-dimensional solid modeling (3D) and visualization software to improve the overall structure and workability of an object before it is ever built or modeled. 3D solid models represent a physical body using a collection of points in 3D space, connected by various geometric entities such as triangles, lines, curved surfaces, etc.  They are often used to represent structural frames and communicate design information for suppliers and manufacturers.

Although design processes and design management are often explored extensively, 3D software appears to be under-researched, and underutilized. Critical decisions made early in the project, such as the choice of structural frame, could help improve the structural integrity of the design. Seeing this in 3D is a vital step used to create the best version of a prototype that could become a production part.

Heat Exchanger in 3D Rendering There are three popular ways to represent a model in a 3D form. 

1.  Polygonal modeling – An array of points in 3D space, called vertices, are connected by line segments to form a Polygon mesh. The vast majority of 3D models today are built as textured polygonal models, because they are flexible and computers can render them quickly. However, polygons are planar and can only approximate curved surfaces using many polygons.
2.  Curve modeling - Surfaces are defined by curves, which are influenced by weighted control points. The curve follows (but does not necessarily interpolate) the points. Increasing the weight for a point will pull the curve closer to that point.
3.  Digital sculpting – 3 types of digital sculpting include:
    • Displacement - which is the most widely used among applications at this moment, volumetric, and dynamic tessellation.
    • Volumetric - based loosely on Voxels has similar capabilities as displacement but does not suffer from polygon stretching when there are not enough polygons in a region to achieve a deformation. 
    • Dynamic tessellation - similar to Voxel but divides the surface using triangulation to maintain a smooth surface and allow finer details.

All of these methods allow for very artistic exploration since the model will have a new topology created over it once the form and details have been sculpted. The result is a model that can then be used to create a prototype or printed with a 3D printer.  The possibilities are endless.

Solid modeling shortens design cycles, streamlines manufacturing processes, and accelerates product introductions by improving the flow of product design information and communication throughout an organization, as well as among its suppliers and customers. For your business, this means faster time-to-market and higher quality products translate into increased revenue, while reduced design costs. Seifert Technologies – Engineering Division can help you create these 3D solid models using the latest software such as SolidWorks, AutoDesk Inventor and PTC Creo, just to name a few.  We can work with you through every stage of development to ensure results.  Contact us today to meet with our team our experts.

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