I have been an advocate for Microvellum's Solid Model Tools since their inception. As time goes by however, these tools are in need of some major improvements. A few things that come to mind:
- Better analyzation of parts (especially radius parts) to rotate and fit in the SMALLEST shape possible.
- Better control of grained parts (longest edge doesn't cut it; users need to have a better way to designate grain direction without "Force Width/Length" as that is only good for nesting - manual cut lists will still generate wrong orientations).
- Rotation of end studs in radius situations (need to be perpendicular/parallel to extruded parts).
- Better/accurate 3D representation of analyzed parts (see image below).
- Better analyzation of dados (angled/radius plates with dados often result in errors at CNC due to odd shapes, extra vectors, etc.).
- Better true shape nesting based on the actual shape (would probably be a lot better if the first bullet item was fixed). On virtually every work order I will receive messages saying "max iteration reached without results", or "part too large to be nested."
These are some of the more recent things I've come across when using the tools but there have been other things that need improvement.
Currently, as a work around for best nesting/machining results, the only sure method is to draw every part out using the 2D Part Editor, rotating and adjusting vectors to fix any weird anomalies, and then using the 3D solid model for any drawing purposes - because once you've drawn and fixed every part, the redrawn Microvellum product is an absolute mess (see image 2 below).
With it's current state and "work arounds" there is really no time saved/gained by using the Solid Model Tools (unless you're simply just building products with straight parts - but then again, that's not what these tools were designed for).
What plans are there to improve these tools? These tools are one of the biggest differences in why companies choose Microvellum over their competitors. They can be absolutely amazing!!
Image 2 (parts fixed in 2D editor to nest without errors):
(I plan to submit these products to Microvellum Support, but that will have to wait as the current work arounds to produce a solid work order for the shop has put me WAY behind schedule.)