This article is a reference article explaining how to work with various types of products in the Solid Model Analyzer, also known as SMA. It also explains the commands and properties that apply to SMA.
See Using Solid Model Analyzer - SMA (Overview) in the Microvellum Knowledge Center for an overview of the software.
See Solid Model Analyzer – SMA (Tutorial) in the Microvellum Knowledge Center for a tutorial demonstrating the use of SMA.
Microvellum Solid Model Analyzer supports the analysis of 3D solids in an AutoCAD drawing that can be machined with flat-panel processing.
The solids that you analyze with SMA to create Microvellum products must be carefully modeled and engineered before the analyzation process. The accuracy and quality of the finished parts will depend mainly on the accuracy and quality of the solids used to create those parts.
Products Requiring Microvellum Property Value Changes
- Over or under-sized part in X or Y (width or length). If you create a Microvellum product from a solid model and a part in the subsequent drawing is displayed in red, you may need to adjust the values for the SMA properties Part Size Minimum and Part Size Maximum. Both part width and length must be within the range specified by these two properties. See section Solids > Part Size below.
- Over or under-sized part in Z (thickness). If you create a Microvellum product from a solid model and a part in the subsequent drawing is displayed in red, you may need to adjust the values for the SMA properties Material Thickness Minimum and Material Thickness Maximum. The part thickness must be within the range specified by these two properties. See section Solids > Material Thickness below.
Products Requiring Solid Model Manipulation
- Grouped solids. Occasionally you may have a good reason to group solids using the UNION command in AutoCAD. This is a way of combining solids that don't touch each other.
Grouping solids may be done to maintain clearances between component solids, or to save labor as you create the product from 3D solids.
Another possibility is that you use the AutoCAD SUBTRACT command on a single solid object to create separate, but grouped objects.
While grouping the solids may make it easier to work with them in the development process, SMA requires that they be ungrouped to generate a Microvellum product. If you fail to ungroup, the solid SMA returns a single large block that is the overall size of the combined size of all the individual components, which is an incorrect representation of the parts. You will know if you need to separate them by the fact that if you click on one, all the solids of the group are highlighted, as shown in Figure 7 below. Use the SOLIDEDIT command with the BODY subcommand, and SEPARATE SOLIDS to separate the multiple solids for use with SMA. Alternatively, use the AutoCAD ribbon command found at "Home > Solid Editing > Separate > Separate Solids."
Fig. 1 – Separate Solids Joined by the Union Command
To regroup the solids after they have been separated, use the AutoCAD UNION command.
- Analyzation of solids containing nonplanar parts that require a merge of two different surfaces is in the beta test cycle. That means it is not yet fully developed and tested but may result in successful analysis in some scenarios. These solids may contain planar parts and nonplanar parts that have been joined together. You must add a joint to the solid to separate the planar and nonplanar parts before analyzation.
Fig. 2 – Wireframe Drawing Showing Junction Necessary to Split Planar & Non-Planar Parts in Red
Fig. 3 – Conceptual Drawing Showing Junction Necessary to Split Planar & Non-Planar Parts in White
Be sure to modify the solid object with a joint at the junction of the planar and nonplanar parts before analysis for accurate results. Some users have found that the SLICE command, the SOLIDEDIT > SEPARATE command, or a combination of the two might be helpful.
Products Requiring Further Engineering
- Machining within machining. As an example, let's say you have a 1" (25 mm) thick part. On that part, you have two round pocket cutouts 0.25" (6 mm) deep and 1.5" (38 mm) in diameter, directly across from each other. This leaves 0.5" (12 mm) of material between the two cutouts. If you then add a 1" (25 mm) diameter circular cutout between the two existing cutouts, you have machining that does not touch a face and should be used with Solid Model Analyzer. See the face in red in the following figure for the machining that must be re-engineered.
Fig. 4 – Wireframe Drawing Showing Machining to be Re-Engineered in Red
Fig. 5 – Conceptual Drawing Showing Machining to be Re-Engineered in Red
- Horizontal boring on non-original edges. As an example of this type of machining, visualize a toe kick notch with cam lock machining on the vertical non-original edge. SMA picks up the face 5 or 6 machining for the cam lock, but not the horizontal boring machining for the cam bolt. This is HBore machining on a non-original edge and should not be used with SMA. See the face in red in the following figure for the machining that must be re-engineered.
Fig. 6 – Wireframe Drawing Showing Machining to be Re-Engineered in Red
Fig. 7 – Conceptual Drawing Showing Machining to be Re-Engineered in Red
- Profiled edges. The only 'shaped' edge you should use in SMA is a mitered edge on an original edge. Miter functionality is limited on non-original edges (see the glossary below). All other profiles, including bullnose, waterfall, ogee, thumbnail, and other similar profiles, should not be used with SMA. The reason for this is that there is a possibility that a user could download a solid from the internet that contains a specific profile that the company cannot machine and would, therefore, be impractical for use by that company. It is necessary to machine those profiles offline with an edger or shaper. See the face in red in the following figure for one type of profile you should not use.
Fig. 8 – Wireframe Drawing Showing Profile in Red You Should Not Use in SMA
Fig. 9 – Conceptual Drawing Showing Profile in Red You Should Not Use in SMA
- Analyzation of nonplanar solids containing single-axis curves is supported in SMA. Analyzation of nonplanar solids containing single-axis curves AND machining is in the beta test cycle. This means it is not yet fully tested and supported but may result in successful analysis in some scenarios. The figure below is an example of a nonplanar part that contains machining that matches this description.
Fig. 10 – Conceptual Drawing Showing Machining in Red Currently in the Beta Test Cycle
SMA does not analyze 3D nonplanar parts containing double-axis (compound) curves. These parts contain endless possibilities for display and construction. We cannot anticipate your preference for how to break down the multi-axis curve and where to locate the joints for that curve. It must be possible to unroll the object to produce a flat panel part for it to be successfully analyzed by SMA.
There are two ways you will know if planar parts are accurate:
The first way is when you review the results of the analysis process. You determine that something is not accurate in the 2D or 3D, or there are parts drawn in the exception color (red by default) on the Microvellum product. When this occurs, check the settings at Options > Solid Analyzation. See the section below with the heading "Solids – Properties" for more information.
The second way is revealed as you carefully examine the Microvellum product for accuracy. This may include the use of the 2D Machining Tools to examine the exact machining applied. There are two methods needed to resolve errors found here.
Modify the source solid model.
Modify the Microvellum product using standard Microvellum tools such as the 2D Machining Tools, the Spreadsheet Editor, or Part Properties interfaces.
If you discover errors, check the parts by activating a drawing of the flat panel part. In the spreadsheet, there are two spreadsheet rows for each nonplanar part. The first row is the actual part that is sent to the nest and machined. It is assigned the material you already selected, and a token in the column "3D Draw Token" of "DRAW3DBOX." This part is machined but not drawn.
The second row for the part in the spreadsheet is drawn but not cut listed or machined. It is assigned a negative material of "-Block" and a token in the column "3D Draw Token" of "DRAWBLOCK Solid." SMA creates these two rows during analyzation to give the flexibility of separating the two entities for troubleshooting. Do not add draw tokens to this part other than what Microvellum gives it when it creates the product. Do not draw the part with the 2D Machining Tools, add machining, and expect it to be drawn on the 3D block representation of the product.
If viewed from within Part Properties, the row for the part sent to the nest and machined does not highlight anything in the drawing, whereas the parts for other rows are highlighted in the drawing. This may be interpreted to mean that it is a bad part, but this is not the case. It is merely the row containing the part to be machined and not drawn. The adjacent corresponding row contains the part that is drawn but not machined.
If none of the parts of the Microvellum product are displayed in the Exception Part Color (red by default), you can trust that the parts all came through correctly from the 3D solid to the Microvellum product.