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Friday, October 9, 2015

NX Tip of the Week October 9

NX Tip of the Week
October 9, 2015

NX - Surfacing Tools

Hello everyone - In this week's Ally PLM Tip of the Week, we will take a look at a few different surfacing tools within NX.  I'm defining surfacing tools as any tool required to get more than just a simple shape; more than just extrude or revolve.  The underlying curves are what give the surface definition.  The surface is only as good as the underlying curves.  You may have asked yourself, which surfacing command should I use to create my desired shape?  For example, if we are trying to loft a shape from section to section, you may be trying to determine the difference between Through Curves and Through Curves Mesh.  We will look at the requirements for some of these commands as well as some of the options.  All of these commands have the option to create a solid or sheet (surface) in the settings. 

When defining a surface we look at something called U and V lines.  U and V lines are the definitions for a surface.  Imagine you take a surface and mesh it.  The lines in one direction will be U direction and the lines perpendicular to the U lines will be V lines.

Typically, when we are defining the curves to create our surface, sections will be in one direction (U direction) and the cross curves will be in the other direction (V direction), for example.

Let's take a look at some of these commands:
1) Ruled Surface
Ruled surface requires two sections and only two sections.  The result uses a lofting technique from one section to the other.

2) Through Curves 

Through Curves requires a minimum of two sections, but can have more than two.  This is a lofting technique that can do more than two sections.

3) Through Curves Mesh 

Through Curves Mesh requires a minimum of two sections, but can have more than two.  It also requires a minimum of two cross curves, but can have more than two.  Cross curves are typically defined in the perpendicular direction to the section inputs.  This technique lofts from section to section and applies the cross curve definitions in the other direction.  The cross curves must be connected to the sections.

4) Studio Surface 

Studio Surface is similar to Through Curves Mesh as far as definition.  It produces swept for lofted features from a network of section strings, or a network of section strings and up to three guide strings.  It requires at least two inputs.  It can be two sections or one section and one guide/cross curve at minimum.  Studio Surface also has some other options for flexibility within the feature.  Studio Surface can create lofted shapes or swept shapes within the same command. Studio Surface also previews as soon at two inputs are defined.  The cross curves do not have to be connected to the cross sections to get a result.  

Studio Surface has an option called "Switch Strings" which can toggle your U and V line definition curves: 

5) Sweep Along Guide 

Sweep Along Guide requires one section and one guide curve.  It takes the section and sweeps it down the guide definition.

6) Tube 

Tube just needs a path definition.  The cross section is determined to be circular with tube parameters included.

7) Swept

Swept takes a cross section definition and sweeps it along a path.  It can have multiple sections but only up to three guide strings.  In the screen shot below, the section and guide curve is not connected.  They do not need to be connected for the swept algorithm.

8) Variational Sweep 

Variational Sweep takes a profile and sweeps it between two curves or surface edges.  Because it is a sweep, the sketch section is created with the on path option.  How the sketch is connected to the surface edges/curves determines its sweep path.  It varies as it transitions between the input curves.  You can sweep faces that are coincident, tangent, or normal to other curves and faces, add secondary sections to vary dimensions at specific locations, or extend the body beyond the length of the path or limit it.

In this Ally PLM Tip of the Week, we took a look at some of the requirements for the different surfacing tools.  This information can help you pick the proper feature for your desired surface requirement.

Brandon Carter
Senior Application Engineer
Ally PLM Solutions, Inc.

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