VariCAD Files
VariCAD
VariCAD
Table of Contents
1. A. Reference Manual ............................................................................................................................ 1
2. Foreword ............................................................................................................................................... 2
3. Introduction to VariCAD ..................................................................................................................... 3
4. VariCAD Installation ........................................................................................................................... 4
Installing Upgrades ........................................................................................................................... 4
Hardware and Software Requirements .............................................................................................. 4
32-bit and 64-bit Versions ....................................................................................................... 4
5. Files and Directories Used by VariCAD ............................................................................................. 5
Running VariCAD the First Time ..................................................................................................... 5
Default VariCAD Files ..................................................................................................................... 5
Converting 2D/3D Objects to and from Other Formats .................................................................... 5
How 3D Objects Are Converted to STEP or IGES ................................................................. 6
Creation of STL format ........................................................................................................... 6
Directories ......................................................................................................................................... 7
6. Getting Started...................................................................................................................................... 8
VariCAD User Interface ................................................................................................................... 8
2D/3D Area ............................................................................................................................. 8
Status Bar ................................................................................................................................ 8
Toolbar Icons ........................................................................................................................... 8
Function Windows - Cancel and Back Buttons ....................................................................... 8
Mouse Buttons .................................................................................................................................. 9
Invoking and Running VariCAD Functions...................................................................................... 9
Finishing VariCAD Functions ................................................................................................. 9
Stepping Back within a Function ............................................................................................. 9
Additional Options within Functions..................................................................................... 10
Creating, Opening and Saving VariCAD 2D/3D Files ................................................................... 10
Backing up Your Files .................................................................................................................... 12
Working with Multiple Files ........................................................................................................... 13
Copy and Paste ...................................................................................................................... 14
Switching between 2D and 3D ........................................................................................................ 14
Undo and Redo ............................................................................................................................... 14
Dragging Objects ............................................................................................................................ 15
Listing System Information............................................................................................................. 15
2D Drawing vs. 3D Modeling ......................................................................................................... 15
7. System Settings (Preferences) ............................................................................................................ 16
Windows and Mouse Settings ......................................................................................................... 16
Sound .............................................................................................................................................. 16
Colors .............................................................................................................................................. 17
Other Settings.................................................................................................................................. 17
8. 2D Drawing ......................................................................................................................................... 18
Displaying the 2D Drawing Area .................................................................................................... 18
iii
Changing the View Using the Mouse and Keyboard............................................................. 18
Display Functions .................................................................................................................. 18
Rebuilding Functions............................................................................................................. 18
Zoom Functions ..................................................................................................................... 18
Saving Views ......................................................................................................................... 19
2D Display Settings ........................................................................................................................ 19
Screen Settings ...................................................................................................................... 19
Cursor Settings and Coordinate Listing ................................................................................. 20
Types of 2D Objects ....................................................................................................................... 20
2D Drawing Attributes - Units, Formats, Scale .............................................................................. 21
Units ...................................................................................................................................... 21
Format and Sheet Border ....................................................................................................... 21
2D Drawing Scale.................................................................................................................. 22
Attributes of 2D Objects ................................................................................................................. 23
Working with 2D Layers ....................................................................................................... 23
2D Object Colors ................................................................................................................... 25
Line Types ............................................................................................................................. 25
Visibility of 2D Objects ......................................................................................................... 26
Work Sets ........................................................................................................................................ 26
2D Coordinate System .................................................................................................................... 26
2D Drawing Aids ............................................................................................................................ 27
Grid........................................................................................................................................ 27
Construction Lines................................................................................................................. 27
Creating Construction Lines .................................................................................................. 28
Deleting Construction Lines .................................................................................................. 28
Increment Cursor Mode ......................................................................................................... 28
Ortho Mode ........................................................................................................................... 29
Selecting 2D Objects ....................................................................................................................... 29
Methods of Selecting ............................................................................................................. 29
Using Selection Windows (Marquees) .................................................................................. 30
Limited 2D Selections ........................................................................................................... 31
Automatic Object Detection .................................................................................................. 31
Deselecting Objects ............................................................................................................... 31
Finishing the Selection .......................................................................................................... 32
Selecting 2D Locations ................................................................................................................... 32
Defining Angles and Directions ...................................................................................................... 34
Writing Special Characters ............................................................................................................. 34
Mathematic Expressions ................................................................................................................. 35
Checking Objects, Distance, Angle and Coordinates ...................................................................... 36
Drawing 2D Objects........................................................................................................................ 36
Drawing Lines ....................................................................................................................... 36
Arrows ................................................................................................................................... 40
Drawing Curves ..................................................................................................................... 41
Creating Points ...................................................................................................................... 42
Creating Circles and Arcs ...................................................................................................... 42
Creating Text Objects ............................................................................................................ 44
Editing and Deleting 2D Objects .................................................................................................... 45
Deleting Objects .................................................................................................................... 45
iv
Changing Objects Geometry ................................................................................................. 46
Creating Corners, Chamfers and Fillets ................................................................................. 46
Breaking and Dividing 2D Objects........................................................................................ 47
Editing Text ........................................................................................................................... 48
Transforming and Copying 2D Objects .......................................................................................... 49
Translating, Rotating and Scaling ......................................................................................... 49
Mirroring Objects .................................................................................................................. 51
Offsetting Objects .................................................................................................................. 51
Stretching Objects ................................................................................................................. 52
Dimensioning .................................................................................................................................. 52
Single Dimensions - Horizontal, Vertical and Diagonal ....................................................... 53
Predefined Horizontal, Vertical and Diagonal Dimensions ................................................... 54
Serial, Baseline and Datum Dimensions ............................................................................... 55
Angular Dimensions .............................................................................................................. 56
Diameter and Radius Dimensions, Thread Dimensions ........................................................ 56
Dimension Attributes............................................................................................................. 57
Finish Symbols ...................................................................................................................... 58
Weld and Tolerance Symbols ................................................................................................ 59
Creating Leaders .................................................................................................................... 61
Editing Dimensions ............................................................................................................... 62
Hatching .......................................................................................................................................... 62
Solid Fill ................................................................................................................................ 63
Hatching 2D Objects ............................................................................................................. 63
Hatching 3D Sections ............................................................................................................ 64
Creating a Hatch Pattern ........................................................................................................ 64
Symbols .......................................................................................................................................... 65
2D Blocks........................................................................................................................................ 66
Creating and Inserting Blocks ............................................................................................... 66
Editing Blocks ....................................................................................................................... 67
9. Libraries of Mechanical Parts ........................................................................................................... 68
Selecting Mechanical Parts ............................................................................................................. 68
Inserting Mechanical Parts into 2D ....................................................................................... 68
Inserting Mechanical Parts into 3D ....................................................................................... 69
Working with Mechanical Parts in 3D .................................................................................. 70
Smart Functions using 3D Mechanical Parts ......................................................................... 70
10. Mechanical Part Calculations .......................................................................................................... 71
11. Printing and Plotting ........................................................................................................................ 77
Print Settings ................................................................................................................................... 77
Selecting a Printer ........................................................................................................................... 78
Batch Print ...................................................................................................................................... 79
Exporting Images as Bitmaps.......................................................................................................... 79
12. VariCAD on the Internet ................................................................................................................. 81
Trial Versions, Online Purchasing .................................................................................................. 81
13. 3D Modeling ...................................................................................................................................... 82
3D Display ...................................................................................................................................... 82
Dynamic View Manipulation ................................................................................................ 82
v
Rotating View Using the Arrow Keys ................................................................................... 83
3D View Tools ...................................................................................................................... 83
Saving Views ......................................................................................................................... 84
Shaded and Wireframe Display ............................................................................................. 84
3D Display Settings ............................................................................................................... 85
Precise Displaying ................................................................................................................. 87
Surface Shading ..................................................................................................................... 87
Setting 3D Display Performance ..................................................................................................... 88
Setting Graphic Adapter .................................................................................................................. 88
2D Drawing in 3D ........................................................................................................................... 90
Displaying Objects ................................................................................................................ 91
2D Drawing ........................................................................................................................... 91
Working with 3D ................................................................................................................... 91
Creating Solids ................................................................................................................................ 92
Creating 3D Solids from 2D Profiles..................................................................................... 92
Defining a 2D Profile ............................................................................................................ 92
Solid Insertion Point .............................................................................................................. 93
Revolving, Extruding, and Lofting Profiles .......................................................................... 93
Helical Surfaces and Coils ..................................................................................................... 95
Basic Solids ........................................................................................................................... 96
Cylinders, Cones, Boxes, Pyramids, Pipes, Spheres ............................................................. 96
Editing Solids .................................................................................................................................. 97
Selecting Solids ..................................................................................................................... 97
Visibility of 3D Objects ......................................................................................................... 99
Shading and Colors of Individual Solids ............................................................................... 99
Boolean Operations - Adding and Cutting Solids ......................................................................... 100
Boolean Operations ............................................................................................................. 100
Common Boolean Operations ............................................................................................. 103
Holes, Grooves, Cutting by Planes ...................................................................................... 103
Resolving Solids ........................................................................................................................... 104
3D Filleting and Chamfering ........................................................................................................ 104
Deleting Solids .............................................................................................................................. 104
Editing Shape of Solids ................................................................................................................. 105
Edit Solid Element Shape .................................................................................................... 105
Transforming and Copying Solids ................................................................................................ 110
Solid Object Coordinate System .......................................................................................... 110
3D Space Coordinate System .............................................................................................. 110
Inserting and Transforming Solids ...................................................................................... 110
Defining Vectors and Rotation Axes ................................................................................... 110
Transforming Objects Using their Axes .............................................................................. 111
Translating by Distance ....................................................................................................... 112
Dynamic Translation ........................................................................................................... 112
Rotating by Angle................................................................................................................ 112
Dynamic Rotation ................................................................................................................ 113
Additional Rotation around an Axis .................................................................................... 113
Setting the Direction of Solids Axes ................................................................................... 113
Positioning by Plane ............................................................................................................ 114
Additional Boolean Operation, Constraints Definition ....................................................... 114
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Changing Insertion Point, Displaying Axes ........................................................................ 115
Inserting and Copying ......................................................................................................... 115
Identical Copies of Solids .................................................................................................... 116
Defining 3D Locations ........................................................................................................ 116
Selecting Planes ................................................................................................................... 117
3D Locations Settings .......................................................................................................... 117
Mirroring and Rescaling Solids ........................................................................................... 118
Groups of Solids ........................................................................................................................... 118
Parameters ..................................................................................................................................... 119
Definition of Parameters ...................................................................................................... 119
Parameters in File ................................................................................................................ 119
Parameters in Scaled Solids ................................................................................................. 119
Type of Parameters .............................................................................................................. 120
Working with Parameters .................................................................................................... 120
Geometric Constraints................................................................................................................... 121
Definition of Constraints ..................................................................................................... 121
Constrained Objects............................................................................................................. 123
Types of Geometric Constraints .......................................................................................... 123
Chain of Constraints ............................................................................................................ 125
Fixed Object within Constraints .......................................................................................... 125
Constraining Angles ............................................................................................................ 126
Constraints in Solid Creation 2D Profiles ..................................................................................... 126
Constraining Objects in 2D Profile...................................................................................... 127
Selecting Vertexes ............................................................................................................... 128
Display Options ................................................................................................................... 129
Filleting, Chamfering and Radii of Circles or Arcs ............................................................. 129
Constraining Circular Arcs .................................................................................................. 129
Constraining NURBS Curves .............................................................................................. 130
Editing Constraints .............................................................................................................. 130
Deleting Constraints ............................................................................................................ 130
Coordinate Systems ............................................................................................................. 130
Exporting Views and Sections from 3D to 2D .............................................................................. 131
Creating 2D from 3D ........................................................................................................... 131
List of 3D View Exports, Updating Views .......................................................................... 132
3D Sections.......................................................................................................................... 134
3D Comprehensive Shapes ........................................................................................................... 136
Pipes and Wires ................................................................................................................... 136
Offset Patches – Thick Shells .............................................................................................. 138
Threads in 3D ...................................................................................................................... 139
Checking Functions and Calculations ........................................................................................... 140
Units of Calculation Results ................................................................................................ 140
Volume, Mass, Surface and Moment of Inertia Calculations .............................................. 140
Checking and Measuring Geometry .................................................................................... 141
Interference between Solids .......................................................................................................... 142
3D Assemblies .............................................................................................................................. 143
Creating Part Files, Assembly Files and Assembly Links ................................................... 144
Saving and Loading the Assembly Files ............................................................................. 144
Simultaneously Open Assembly and Part Files ................................................................... 144
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Managing the Assembly Connections ................................................................................. 145
Surface Development (Unbending) ............................................................................................... 145
14. Bill of Material, Object Attributes and Title Blocks .................................................................... 149
Object Attributes ........................................................................................................................... 149
Attribute Definition ............................................................................................................. 150
Groups of Attributes ............................................................................................................ 152
Output to Formatted Text (List of Parts) ............................................................................. 152
Title Blocks ......................................................................................................................... 152
Export to Other Systems ...................................................................................................... 154
Compatibility of Defined Attributes and Attribute Groups ................................................. 154
Working with BOM ...................................................................................................................... 154
BOM Objects ....................................................................................................................... 155
Displaying, Filtering and Sorting BOM Objects ................................................................. 156
Creating Files from BOM .................................................................................................... 156
Copying Data from Assembly into Parts and Vice Versa .................................................... 156
Supplementary Objects ................................................................................................................. 157
Solid and Assembly Attributes...................................................................................................... 157
Solid Attributes .................................................................................................................... 157
Assembly Attributes, Title Block Filling............................................................................. 158
15. Tips and Tricks ............................................................................................................................... 160
16. List of All VariCAD Functions ...................................................................................................... 161
17. Hotkeys ............................................................................................................................................ 180
18. Embedded Functions ...................................................................................................................... 182
19. B. Tutorial ....................................................................................................................................... 184
Using Tutorial ............................................................................................................................... 184
Working with Flash Examples ............................................................................................ 184
Controlling Flash Examples ................................................................................................ 184
Examples of 2D Drawing .............................................................................................................. 186
Using Construction Lines .................................................................................................... 186
2D Automatic Detection, Drawing Lines, Filleting, Offsets ............................................... 188
Drawing in Cursor Increment Mode and Keyboard Location Input .................................... 191
2D Mirroring, Creating Corners .......................................................................................... 193
Examples of 3D Modeling ............................................................................................................ 197
Creating Solids, Profile Extrusion ....................................................................................... 197
Inserting New Solids into 3D Space .................................................................................... 198
Changing Solid Insertion Point............................................................................................ 201
Selecting Solids ................................................................................................................... 203
Working with Library Parts ................................................................................................. 204
Transforming Solids ............................................................................................................ 206
Copying Solids .................................................................................................................... 210
Boolean Operations - Cut .................................................................................................... 212
Editing Solids Created from 2D Profiles ............................................................................. 215
Basic Solids ......................................................................................................................... 219
Boolean Operations - Add ................................................................................................... 223
Cutting Material with Box Tool .......................................................................................... 224
Editing Shape of Basic Solids ............................................................................................. 228
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Transforming Parts of Solids ............................................................................................... 230
Removing Parts of Solids .................................................................................................... 232
Transforming parts of solids after changes of their dimensions .......................................... 233
Filleting Edges ..................................................................................................................... 238
Editing Fillets ...................................................................................................................... 241
Creating Pipes ...................................................................................................................... 244
Creating 2D from 3D ........................................................................................................... 257
3D Shells ............................................................................................................................. 270
Sheet Metal Unbending (Surface Development) ................................................................. 284
3D Assembly ....................................................................................................................... 291
Parameters and Geometric Constraints ......................................................................................... 298
Definition of Parameters ...................................................................................................... 299
Modification of Parameters ................................................................................................. 302
Example of Parametric Filleting and Chamfering ............................................................... 307
Defining Geometric Constraints for New Objects ............................................................... 312
Defining Geometric Constraints for Existing Objects ......................................................... 318
Changing and Checking Geometric Constraints .................................................................. 325
Editing Constraints, Rebuilding Solids ................................................................................ 333
Constrained Angle ............................................................................................................... 341
Parameters and Constraints in Solid Creation Profiles.................................................................. 348
Using parameters and constraints in lines and circles ......................................................... 349
Circles and Fillets Radii ...................................................................................................... 356
Editing an Existing Constraints ........................................................................................... 360
Circular Arcs ....................................................................................................................... 364
NURBS Curves ................................................................................................................... 369
User Defined Coordinate Systems ....................................................................................... 374
Bill of Materials, Solid Attributes, Title Blocks ........................................................................... 383
Title Blocks Definition ........................................................................................................ 384
Attributes Configuration ...................................................................................................... 386
Solid Attributes .................................................................................................................... 393
Working with BOM ............................................................................................................. 400
Working with Supplementary Objects................................................................................. 408
Creating List of Parts ........................................................................................................... 409
Crash Tests (Interferences) ........................................................................................................... 416
3D Threads, 3D Sections, 2D Drawing in 3D ............................................................................... 418
Creating 3D Threads............................................................................................................ 419
2D Drawing in 3D ............................................................................................................... 421
Creating 3D Sections ........................................................................................................... 427
2D Drawing from 3D Containing Sections and Threads ..................................................... 430
Index ...................................................................................................................................................... 436
ix
Chapter 1. A. Reference Manual
1
Chapter 2. Foreword
This reference manual contains technical descriptions of the entire VariCAD interface, and consists
mainly of detailed descriptions of modules and functions. If you need only brief basic information, read
Getting Started (page 8) or Tips and Tricks (page 160). We recommend that you read this manual while
simultaneously using VariCAD.
To learn how to work with VariCAD, use the Tutorial section of this documentation. You can also work
with Quick Demonstration, which is at the end of Tutorial. Both Tutorial and Quick Demonstration are
available separately from VariCAD pull-down menu Help. The Quick Demonstration Flash movies are
obviously not available in the printed version of documentation. If you are not able to run Flashes on
your computer, select a version of Quick Demonstration with a VariCAD own animation viewer.
2
Chapter 3. Introduction to VariCAD
Designed for use in mechanical engineering, VariCAD contains the following modules:
• 2D drawing
• 3D solid modeling
• Libraries of mechanical parts
• Libraries of 2D symbols
• Bill of material, automatic filling of title blocks
• 3D parameters
• Geometric constraints
• Mechanical part calculations
• Sheet metal unbending (surface development)
• Crash tests (interferences)
• Pipes
• Thick shells
• Import from and export to other CAD systems
• Support for 3D threads
All of these modules are included with the standard VariCAD package; there is no additional cost for
any module.
3
Chapter 4. VariCAD Installation
VariCAD is distributed on CD‟s or as downloadable files from our FTP or website. To install VariCAD,
follow the installation instructions. When installing on Windows, VariCAD uses InstallShield routines,
and for Linux the installation is created according to Linux distribution. To uninstall VariCAD, use the
functions of your operating system. See also Trial Versions, Online Purchasing (page 81)).
Installing Upgrades
Upgrades for one year are included in a maintenance package. After the upgrade period expires, you can
purchase another one-year upgrade within another maintenance package. During the upgrade period, you
can simply install the new version over the old one, and all system files will be upgraded properly. Your
own 2D/3D model files will either remain unchanged or will be automatically upgraded when you start
the upgraded version of VariCAD. If you attempt to upgrade after the upgrade period has expired, the
installation routine will not work.
Hardware and Software Requirements
For Windows users, we recommend Windows Vista over older versions. For Linux users, we
recommend Kubuntu or openSUSE.
The minimum recommended RAM is 128 MB for working in 2D, and 256 MB for working in 3D. Large
3D assemblies need at least 512 MB. Working with insufficient memory can cause swapping problems
and a significant decrease in operation speed. For optimum performance, a graphics card that supports
OpenGL is required, with a minimum RAM of 16MB. With insufficient graphics card RAM, the 3D
display is forced to use software emulation and may be slow. For color settings, use true color mode;
256-color mode or high color mode is insufficient.
There are no special requirements for printers or plotters. Under Windows, VariCAD uses the device
drivers. You can also use VariCAD print drivers. VariCAD supports output to all standard output
devices - ink, pin, pen or laser. VariCAD drivers support PostScript, HPGL, PCL or EPSON. For Linux,
VariCAD uses KDE drivers, or you can choose to use VariCAD drivers.
32-bit and 64-bit Versions
VariCAD is available as a 32-bit or 64-bit version. The 64-bit version requires, of course, a processor
working in 64-bit mode and an operating system supporting 64-bit mode (like the 64-bit version of
Windows Vista).
The 64-bit version is recommended especially for work with extremely large assemblies.
For Linux operating systems, you should choose the correct version of VariCAD before installation. For
Windows, the correct version is selected automatically during the installation process.
4
Chapter 5. Files and Directories Used by
VariCAD
Running VariCAD the First Time
On Windows, VariCAD is installed by default to the Program Files directory. On Linux, the default
installation directory is “/opt/VariCAD”. The installation directories contain all system files. When
running VariCAD the first time, the configuration directory is created under your working directory.
Configuration files are copied to this directory, in which system settings are stored. A second directory
is also created automatically after VariCAD startup; this directory will contain your data such 2D/3D
drawings, additional data structures, bills of materials, etc. You are always informed when new
directories are created. The only file in the work directory is one that contains definitions of directories
used or created by VariCAD. To change the working directory, right-click on the VariCAD desktop icon,
select Properties, and edit the line “Start in.”
Default VariCAD Files
The files you create are stored as the following file types:
• *.dwb - 2D/3D files containing 2D drawings and 3D solids
• *.bkb - block files containing 2D objects (obsolete)
• *.sym - symbol libraries containing 2D symbols (obsolete)
If you need to transfer VariCAD projects to another VariCAD user, be sure to include all files of these
types. If you have to provide data created in a BOM import or export for another system, see Bill of
Materials (page 149). For Linux, VariCAD file extensions must be lowercase.
Converting 2D/3D Objects to and from Other Formats
VariCAD supports the following formats:
• *.STP - STEP 3D, import or export.
• *.STL – Stereolithography 3D, export.
• *.DWG - AutoCAD 2D, import or export. The DWG translator supports files from AutoCAD 9
through the latest AutoCAD. For AutoCAD 12 through the latest Autocad, you can load DWG files
created as a result of VariCAD export.
• *.DXF - Same as DWG. The DXF format should be used for all systems other than AutoCAD.
• *.IGS - IGES 2D, import or export.
• *.IGS - IGES 3D, export. If you save IGES file while VariCAD is in 2D mode, only 2D objects are
converted. If VariCAD is in 3D mode, only 3D objects are converted.
5
Chapter 5. Files and Directories Used by VariCAD
To import a specific file type, use the Files of Type field in the File-Open window. To export the active
file to another format, use File / Save As. You can also export only the selected objects to any supported
file format or import objects from any supported file format to the active 3D space or 2D drawing area.
Batch File Conversion - FCO
Use File / Batch File Conversion to convert multiple files of a selected format in a specified directory.
The converted files are written to another defined directory. You can also customize settings for data
translation. For DWG/DXF conversion, you can set units to inches or millimeters, or set the units to be
detected automatically. The default IGES settings should be sufficient for most 2D IGES conversions.
For STEP format, you can select an application protocol and usage of NURBS vs. analytic types of
curves or surfaces. Use the options in the Tools / System Settings menu to specify conversion settings.
How 3D Objects Are Converted to STEP or IGES
In general, 3D Objects are described as NURBS patches trimmed by NURBS curves. For some objects,
curves and patches can be described analytically. These objects are:
• Line
• Circle
• Plane
• Cylinder
• Cone
• Torus (created by rotating a circle around an axis) - spheres are included but not lemon-shaped
surfaces.
In most cases, the NURBS description is sufficient. However, analytic description can be faster and
more accurate, and may require less memory and less storage space when saved. The following commands enable you to set parameters for converting 3D objects to IGES or STEP:
STEP Export Settings - STPO
IGES Export Settings - IGSO
When exporting to IGES, you can also select the method of patch boundary description. You may want
to change this setting if the input for the created IGES file works inefficiently.
Creation of STL format
STL Export Settings - STLO
STL format contains triangles covering surfaces of all exported objects. You can select accuracy of such
approximation, a format of coordinates of triangle vertices, whether the objects are transformed to
ensure all coordinates are positive and whether the coordinates are expressed in millimeters or inches.
VariCAD exports all objects from the current file, or all selected objects, if the “Save Selected Objects”
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Chapter 5. Files and Directories Used by VariCAD
function is used. Some systems can require only one object in one file. In such case, use “Save Selected
Objects” and select only one desired object.
Sections in Exported 3D Objects
You can choose export to STEP, STL or IGES formats with sections. Normally, export of sections is
meaningless because sections are only used for display and do not describe geometry of the actual parts.
However, exporting with sections can be useful if you want to render 3D objects in a visualization
application. If the export with sections is not selected and the exported file contains any objects in an
active section, warning message is displayed and export is cancelled. You can export the sections only
when converting a single file, not in the batch files conversion.
Directories
Directories - PTH
This function is used to set directories of VariCAD backup files. We recommend not to use network
directories for backups. This directory is used also for work and temporary files created by VariCAD.
You can also define whether a directory of a particular file type is the same for both files loaded or
saved or is different for load and save operations. You can also define a different or same directory for
loading/saving complete files vs. loading file into the current file or saving only selected objects.
User Data Directories (2D/3D Files)
Directories used for user data saving or loading are by default the last used. Changing the directory
when the file is saved or loaded, you change the default directory for the next usage.
7
Chapter 6. Getting Started
VariCAD User Interface
The VariCAD window is divided into three parts. The largest part is the 2D drawing / 3D modeling area.
The part above the modeling area contains the Menu Bar. Below the modeling area is the Status Bar.
Toolbars are docked in various places on the screen, and toolbars can be undocked to become floating
windows.
2D/3D Area
This area contains the 2D or 3D objects you create. You can switch between 2D and 3D at any time, and
menus and toolbars will change accordingly.
Status Bar
For functions that do not require a window for input, all messages and prompts are displayed in the
Status Bar. The following items are displayed on the right side of the Status Bar:
• In 2D and 3D, current units in millimeters or inches
• In 2D, Ortho mode and Increment mode
• In 2D, cursor coordinates. Coordinates can be measured relative to a user-defined origin, as dX, dY
from the last point, or as an angle and radius from the last point.
Toolbar Icons
Toolbars can be docked to sit above, below, or to the side of the drawing area, or they can be used as
floating windows. Toolbars typically contain groups of icons for related functions, such as drawing
functions, basic solids, dimensioning, etc. We recommended not to remove the following toolbars:
• Switch to 2D/3D
• 2D layer selection box
• Command box
You can right-click on any toolbar to invoke a menu enabling you to add, delete, or reconfigure toolbars.
You can also manage toolbars by using the following function:
Toolbar Settings - TLBS
Function Windows - Cancel and Back Buttons
Most VariCAD windows have buttons for “Cancel” and “Back.” See Finishing VariCAD Functions
(page 9) or Stepping Back within a Function (page 9). Right-clicking while the cursor is inside the
window is equivalent to clicking OK.
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Chapter 6. Getting Started
Mouse Buttons
For both 2D and 3D, the default mouse settings are as follows:
• Left button - used for selecting objects or defining position
• Middle button - proceeds one step back within a function
• Right button - completes a selection, equivalent to pressing Enter or OK
Invoking and Running VariCAD Functions
To invoke a function, you can:
• Click the toolbar icon. To help you recall icon meanings, tools tips appear when you hold the cursor
over an icon. A short tool tip appears next to the icon; a more detailed description appears in the
Status Bar.
• Use the Menu Bar. Some functions are embedded in several menu layers.
• Enter the command in the command box. A command history list is created, in which you can access
previously used functions.
• Use hotkeys. Ctrl, Shift, Alt, and F-keys are used, sometimes with other keys, to invoke functions.
When Ctrl is used, the current function ends and is replaced by the new one. The F-keys only interrupt
the current function temporarily.
Some functions always behave as the embedded ones – current function is interrupted temporarily
regardless the method of embedded command calling. For instance, you can change a view or measure
distances without the necessity of finishing the current command. Measuring distances is especially
convenient. You can “Cut and Paste” results – use them as input for any values.
For a list of all embedded functions, see Embedded Functions (page 182)
Finishing VariCAD Functions
Many VariCAD functions are “continuous.” For example, when drawing a line, you define two
endpoints. After the line is finished, you can begin creating a new line. To end and exit a function, you
can:
• Invoke a new function
• Press Esc
• Click Cancel, if the function uses a window
If you exit a function by pressing Esc, the Status Bar displays “Ready.” If the cursor is still within the
drawing area, you can right-click to invoke the previous function.
Stepping Back within a Function
Functions are typically performed in steps. For instance, when drawing a line, Step 1 is to define the first
point, and Step 2 is to define the second point. To go one step back, you can:
• Click the middle mouse button, or press Ctrl + Backspace
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Chapter 6. Getting Started
• If there is a window, click “Back”
Stepping back enables you to repeat or correct previous input without having to exit the function. Using
Undo and Redo does not have the same effect; these functions actually change the 2D/3D object
database. See Undo and Redo (page 14)
Additional Options within Functions
Many functions provide additional, temporary options. If you need to select an object or define a location, toolbars will appear with options relevant to the current situation. For example, when creating dimensions you have the option of changing the dimension text or style while defining the dimension position.
Example of standard 2D selection toolbar
Example of 2D selection toolbar with additional option icons
For a list of all functions and commands, see List of All VariCAD Functions (page 161).
For a list of all hotkeys, see Hotkeys (page 180)
Creating, Opening and Saving VariCAD 2D/3D Files
Create a New File – DOP, Ctrl + N
VariCAD always starts with a new, empty file. This file has the default file parameters, and is assigned a
preliminary name of “NONAME” plus new file‟s serial number (for instance NONAME 1). In order to
save this file, you must assign a valid filename. If you want to create another new file, you can confirm
or change its parameters. Defined parameters of new file are:
• Units - choose between inches or millimeters. If you change these units later, existing 2D dimensions
will not change.
• Drawing format - choose layouts such as A, B, C, A4, A3, A2, etc. You can also define a custom
format, and the format can be changed at any time. The drawing format is relevant when printing, if
you select “Print according to format,” and for the Zoom Drawing Format tool. In addition, the 2D
sheet border is created according to the selected format. In 3D, the format is only used for the initial
dimensions of 3D space projection.
• Drawing scale - used only for 2D drawing. Dimensions, arrows, texts and other annotations are
created according to the defined scale. The scale can be changed at any time, but be aware that this
will change the existing annotation objects.
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Chapter 6. Getting Started
• Grid - spacing of the rectangular grid in 2D area.
New file creation window
Current File Attributes as Default - DEF
This function enables you to set the defaults for all new files. The dialog is similar to the creation of a
new file (see the previous function).
The mode (3D/2D), units (millimeters or inches), sheet border format, scale and 2D grid distance can be
defined in a window. Predefined 2D layers, 2D default line attributes (current layer, color and line style)
and angles of the construction lines are copied from the current file.
Open an existing file – DAD, Ctrl + O
Opens an existing file. You can also open an existing file by pressing Tab, if the previous function is finished and “Ready” is displayed in the Status Bar.
Open Recent Files
This function allows you to open a file from the list of recently used files rather than from the standard
file dialog.
11
Chapter 6. Getting Started
Close – CLO, Ctrl + F4
Closes the current file. Next current file is the file which was active previously. If only one file is open,
you are asked whether to exit the session or to create another new file with the default parameters.
Listing 2D/3D Files
When viewing a list of VariCAD files, a 2D or 3D component of the file is displayed in the preview
window. You can select whether the 2D or 3D will be displayed. By default, the component that was active when the file was saved will be displayed.
List 2D/3D Files - DRV
This function lists file content in a window larger than standard preview window of the file dialog.
Saving and Inserting 2D/3D Files
Save – DSV, Ctrl + S
Saves the current file. If the file was created as new or copied to new document window, you must define a valid filename.
Save As – SVA
Saves the current file. You can select a different filename or different file type, like STEP, DWG etc.
Save Only Selected Objects - DPS
Select objects first. Then define a filename. You can savea selected objects to any other supported file
type.
Insert Objects From File - DPO
Inserts all objects from the selected file to the current file. If you are in 2D, only 2D objects are inserted.
If you are in 3D, only 3D objects are inserted.
Selection of 2D objects is described at Selecting, 2D Objects (page 29). Selection of 3D solids is
described at Selecting Solids (page 97). 2D objects from another file are inserted similarly as 2D blocks
– see Insert Block (page 66). 3D objects from another file are inserted the same way as the solids are
transformed and copied – see Transforming and Copying Solids (page 110).
12
Chapter 6. Getting Started
Backing up Your Files
Backup - BAK
Backup saves 2D/3D files after a specified number of changes. If the session ends unintentionally, you
can recover your backup data the next time you use VariCAD.
Working with Multiple Files
Changing Active File
To change the current (active) file, you can always use pull-down menu “Windows” and select the file to
be active from the list. The list of open files is limited to 10 items. If the number of open files is greater,
use the following function instead:
Windows – WIN, Ctrl + 3
This function offers you a clearly arranged list of the open files. You can save or close any selected file
or activate selected file from the list.
Previous Document Window – SWD, Ctrl + TAB
Activates a previously active file. Repeatedly used, this function allows you to easily switch between the
two files.
Save All Changed – SVALL
Saves all changed open files to VariCAD native format. If the file is created as new or copied to a new
document window, you must always define its real name. If the file is imported from another format,
you must confirm or redefine the file name. If the current files are all from the native format, no dialog
is displayed.
New Document from Current Document - NDW
Creates a new file, copies all objects from the current file and activates this file.
Settings of Work with Multiple Files - WMF
You can configure:
• Whether the last open files are open automatically in the next session startup
• How the 2D objects are inserted from another file
• How the 2D objects are inserted from clipboard
13
Chapter 6. Getting Started
Copy and Paste
VariCAD works with separate clipboards for 2D objects and for 3D objects. During work with VariCAD,
you can store objects to a corresponding clipboard and whenever insert them to any open file.
Copy – CPY, Ctrl + C
Stores selected objects to the clipboard.
Paste – PAS, Ctrl + V
Insert objects from the clipboard to the current file.
Switching between 2D and 3D
Switch to 2D - 2D, Alt + 2
Switch to 3D - 3D, Alt + 3
You can switch between 2D and 3D at any time. To switch, you can:
• Click the 2D or 3D icon
• Use hotkey Alt + 2 to switch to 2D, and Alt + 3 to switch to 3D.
Switching between 2D and 3D also changes the available toolbars and menus. There is no direct link
between 2D and 3D data, but you can update 2D views after making changes in 3D by using 3D View
Exports (page 131).
Undo and Redo
Undo – UND, Ctrl + Z
Redo – RED, Ctrl + Y
When creating 2D or 3D data, you can use Undo to return backward step-by-step to previous states of
your 2D/3D objects. You can also return to where you began work, or to the point at which the file was
loaded. Once Undo has been used, Redo can be used to step forward. Undo/Redo history is separate for
2D and 3D objects. When working with assembly connections, this history is lost after parts are reloaded
into the assembly after changes have been made. If this occurs, you will receive a message informing
you of the problem.
14
Chapter 6. Getting Started
Dragging Objects
Many 2D functions, and some methods of 3D transformation, use dragging. In Windows and Mouse
Settings (page 16) you can choose between two methods of dragging. In both methods the cursor defines
the position of the reference point or insertion point.
• Dragging without clicking - position change is defined by cursor movement. If the cursor approaches
snap points (such as endpoints), the reference point will “stick” to this point until the cursor is moved
by at least half the aperture size. Left- or right-clicking ends the dragging movement.
• Clicking and dragging - objects are moved while the left button is pressed. If this button is not pressed,
you can define any location simply by clicking on it. Right-clicking or pressing Enter ends the
dragging movement.
Listing System Information
Information – INFO
Lists directories currently used by VariCAD.
2D Drawing vs. 3D Modeling
This section contains a comparison of 2D and 3D. For more detailed descriptions of specific functions,
see 2D Drawing (page 18) or 3D Modeling (page 82).
When starting a new design project, you need to decide whether to work in 2D or 3D. While there are
advantages to both methods, 3D modeling is usually more efficient.
Working in 3D allows you to:
• Create 2D drawings by exporting 3D views
• Update 2D views after 3D changes
• Calculate volume, mass or surface area of solids
• Check for interference between solids
• Use common Boolean and blending functions, such as automatic drilling of holes for screws, and
filleting
• Create an exact bill of materials by exporting solid attributes
• Enjoy a clearer display of your work
Working in 2D has advantages as well. Hardware requirements are smaller, and work is faster. If you
only need to create a few small drawings that won‟t be updated or changed, working in 2D is more
efficient.
15
Chapter 7. System Settings (Preferences)
All system settings are available in the Tools menu. If you change 2D drawing parameters such as text
height or dimension style, the settings are saved when the session is finished. If you change system
parameters such as colors, warning sounds, or file backup, the settings are saved immediately.
In most cases, new settings take effect immediately. There are a few settings, such as directories, that do
not take effect until the VariCAD session is finished. In these cases, you are informed of this by a
message.
This section describes a few functions for general system settings. Functions used to manipulate settings
are described in greater detail in other sections of this help system.
Windows and Mouse Settings
Windows and Mouse - WPST
Sets the position of windows and method of dragging.
Windows and Mouse Settings window
Sound
Sound - SOU
Turns on or off warning sounds. Warning sounds are used when you enter invalid data, if you attempt to
close a modified file without saving, etc.
16
Chapter 7. System Settings (Preferences)
Colors
Colors - COL
All colors used by VariCAD can be modified, such as colors of 2D or 3D objects, colors of 2D drawing
in 3D, colors used for auxiliary images, and highlighting colors. You can save a modified color scheme
as a new palette. There are predefined palettes as well.
The following colors can be set:
• Colors for 2D objects. You can modify color 1-9 for 2D objects. You can also set colors for auxiliary
objects, the grid or construction lines used in 2D.
• Colors for 3D objects. You can modify colors 1-32 for 3D objects. Using this option, you can also set
colors for auxiliary objects used in 3D, a color for the background and a type of the cursor used for
objects selection.
• Colors for 2D drawing in 3D. You can modify all colors used for 2D drawing in 3D (this drawing is
used, when you define or edit a profile for extrusion, rotation etc…).
Except of 2D colors, all settings allow you interactive changes of a selected color. You can change a
selected color‟s coordinate dynamically, dragging a scrollbar associated with the red, green or blue color
coordinate. A pattern drawing is displayed and you can visually check changes of the color. For rough
settings, you can use a standard color dialogue.
Important note: If you change the background color, change, or at least, check the color of the crosshair
cursor and other colors, which may be inexpressive on the changed background.
Palettes - PAL
This function allows you to define a new color scheme (palette), rewrite an existing palette or select a
defined palette as current. If you created your own color settings previously and if you want to select a
new palette, the current settings will be rewritten. We recommend saving the current settings as a new
palette, if you want to use them again in the future.
Other Settings
Miscellaneous Settings - OST
Turns on or off the following warning messages:
• If the loaded file contains invisible objects
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Displaying the 2D Drawing Area
To change the view, you can use the zoom functions or use the corresponding combinations of mouse
buttons and keys.
Changing the View Using the Mouse and Keyboard
The following keyboard and mouse combinations can be used to manipulate the view:
• Zoom - Shift + left mouse button, or right then center mouse buttons. Moving the cursor up enlarges
the objects; moving down shrinks them.
• Zoom – using mouse wheel
• Pan - Ctrl + left mouse button, or center then left mouse buttons. Moving the cursor shifts the view.
Display Functions
All functions controlling the display are available in the Display menu. Zoom functions can also be
invoked by pressing F5.
Rebuilding Functions
Redraw - F6
Quickly refreshes the 2D area.
Regenerate - REG
Regenerates and redraws all 2D objects.
Zoom Functions
You can change the size of the view by using the following zoom functions:
• Window - the view is defined by the two opposite corners of the desired view window.
• Move View Window - the entire 2D area is displayed in a small window and you can define the new
view size and position.
• Zoom All - the view is sized so that all visible 2D objects will fit inside.
• Zoom Format - the view size is set according to current drawing format.
• Previous View - the display returns to the previous view.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
View Window
Saving Views
The Save View function enables you to save the current view for future use. To display a saved view,
use the Restore View functions. You can save up to eight views. The Predefined Views toolbar makes it
easy to switch between saved views. See also Saving Views (page 84).
2D Display Settings
Screen Settings
Circle Drawing - SCR
Enables you to increase the number of segments used to draw 2D circles. When the number of segments
is high, circles will always appear smooth even when zoomed closely. Increasing the segment number is
only available within the current session. A high number of segments can slow drawing speed.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Cursor Settings and Coordinate Listing
Cursor – APE, F7
Sets the type of crosshair cursor, aperture size, and the type of coordinates listed in the 2D Status Bar.
The crosshair cursor is used for creating selection windows or when automatic detection of 2D objects is
turned off. Coordinates can be measured relative to a user-defined origin, as dX, dY from the last point,
or as an angle and radius from the last point.
Cursor window
Types of 2D Objects
In 2D drawing you work with basic objects. These objects behave like individual entities when selected,
and they can later be combined into blocks. The basic 2D objects are as follows:
• Point - used mostly as construction aids
• Line - includes single lines defined by two points, multiple (chain) lines, and curves such as splines or
ellipses
• Arc - includes arcs and circles
• Arrow - similar to lines, with arrowheads at endpoints
• Hatch - for filling closed areas
• Text - single-text lines or a note containing up to ten text lines
• Symbol - can contain lines, arcs, arrows and/or texts
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
• Dimension - can contain lines, arcs, texts or arrows
For more information about creating blocks, see 2D Blocks (page 66).
2D Drawing Attributes - Units, Formats, Scale
File attributes can be defined when creating a new file (see Creating and Opening VariCAD 2D/3D
Files (page 10) (page 8) ). This section describes the functions used to change 2D drawing parameters
such as drawing units, format and scale. Attribute functions can be found in the Tools menu.
Units
Change Units - CHU
Change units in the current file by toggling between inches and millimeters. For example, an object
defined to be 1” long will convert to 25.4 mm. Dimension text values do not change, nor do attributes of
inserted mechanical parts. For example, Screw M10 will always have the same attributes, even if units
are changed.
Format and Sheet Border
Drawing Format - FMT
Changes the current drawing format. The format controls the view area, sheet border, and print
attributes.
Sheet Borders Definitions - SBD
You can define custom sheet border formats, modify existing formats, and define the method of drawing
sheet borders.
Formats window
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Sheet Border window
Sheet Border - BOR
Creates a sheet border around the 2D drawing area. The lower left corner of border corresponds to the
origin in global coordinates. Border width and length are determined by the drawing format. Border
drawing method setting is defined in Units and Sheet Border.
2D Drawing Scale
Drawing scale only affects 2D annotation objects such as text, dimensions, symbols and arrows. The
scale affects the proportions of these objects. For example, with a 1:2 scale, a 100 mm line will print as
50 mm long. Text 3 mm high will print as 3 mm high. Changing the scale does not affect dimensions.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Change Drawing Scale - SCH
Changes the 2D drawing scale. The scale is defined when the file is created, and this function can be
used to change the scale. All objects in the file remain unchanged. New annotation objects such as
dimensions and text are created in different proportions. We recommend finalizing the drawing scale
before starting to assign dimensions.
Attributes of 2D Objects
2D objects have the following attributes:
• Layer
• Color
• Line Type
• Visibility (blanked or unblanked)
Working with 2D Layers
You can define up to 250 layers in each file. Each file contains one predefined layer named “0.” In 2D
assembly, layers can be used to distinguish between separate details. For detail views or 3D view
exports, layers should be used for distinguishing outlines, axes, dimensions, hatches etc.
Each layer is defined by name, color and line type. New objects are always created in the active layer.
The active layer can be changed at any time, even during object creation. You can also change the
current color or line type without changing the layer. For each object, its layer, color or line type can be
changed at any time.
If objects from another file are inserted into the current file, objects from unknown layers are inserted
into Layer 0.
Setting the active layer
Layers - LAY
Creates new layers, and edits or deletes existing layers. You cannot delete the active layer, a layer containing objects, or Layer 0.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Layers window
Automatic Layer Changing - ALS
Automatic layer switching is useful for drawing 2D details. Layers are switched according to the
executed functions. Drawing functions like Line or Arc tools create objects automatically placed in
Layer “outline.” Hatches are placed in “hatches;” dimensioning are placed in “dimension.” Layer
changing works when you use the default layer setting from VariCAD installation. Otherwise, you must
turn Automatic Layer Changing off and select layers manually.
If Automatic Layer Changing is active, the following is the list of default layer names and their
behavior:
• The second layer is named “outline,” and is active during drawing functions
• The third layer is named “axis,” and is active while creating axes
• The fourth layer is named “dimension,” and is active while creating dimensions
• The fifth layer is named “hatches,” and is active while creating hatches
Change Layer - MLA
Changes the layer of selected objects to that of another object, or to a layer selected from the list of layers.
Highlight Layer - CHL
Shows all objects on a specified layer, enabling you to check that the layer contains the correct objects.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
2D Object Colors
For 2D and 3D objects, there are nine colors you can use. By default, the colors are set as follows:
Sample
Number
Color
1
white
2
red
3
green
4
blue
5
cyan
6
magenta
7
yellow
8
dark red
9
dark cyan
Colors for each number can be redefined using the Colors (page 17) or Palettes functions. For printing,
line thickness is set according to color number. For color printers, you can map colors to other colors.
For traditional pen plotters, color numbers define pen numbers.
Change Color - MPE
Changes the color of selected objects.
Line Types
The following line types are available:
Sample
Number
Line style
1
continuous
2
dotted
3
centerline
4
short dashed
5
dashed
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
6
dash-dot-dot
7
dash-dot
Change Line Type - MLT
Changes the line type of selected objects.
Visibility of 2D Objects
Blank 2D Objects - BLA, Ctrl + B
Makes selected objects invisible. You can blank temporarily redundant objects, or objects that cannot be
selected. Blanked objects are not printed, nor are they selected in selection windows.
Unblank 2D Objects - UBL, Ctrl + U
Unblanks objects that were blanked, either in the entire drawing or in a specified area. You can also
unblank individual objects, or all objects on a specified layer.
Work Sets
Work sets can be used to hold 2D objects. Work sets are useful when you want to delete or translate an
entire set of objects. When inserting 2D objects from another file, you can place all new inserted objects
into their own work set.
The following functions are used to manage work sets:
Add to Work Set - ATW
Delete from Work Set - RFW
Clear Work Set - CLW
Deletes all objects from a work set
Highlight Work Set - CHW
Helps you verify objects in the work set
2D Coordinate System
VariCAD uses two types of coordinate systems. The absolute coordinate system has its origin at the
lower left corner of the drawing area. The user-defined coordinate system is, by default, identical to the
26
Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
absolute system until a new origin is defined. The user-defined coordinate system is unique for each file.
When 2D coordinates are used, they are always relative to user-defined origin.
Locates the user-defined origin while defining the locations of a 2D objects
User Origin - UCO
Locates the user-defined origin or resets to the absolute origin.
2D Drawing Aids
The following aids are available to help you while creating 2D objects:
• Grid
• Construction lines
• Ortho mode
• Increment cursor movements
Grid
The orthogonal grid provides better drawing orientation and enables snapping to grid points. The grid is
displayed in two levels of brightness. When the grid density is too high to display, the grid is
automatically turned off. Snap distances can be smaller than the grid spacing.
The grid can be especially useful when translating entire sections of a 2D drawing or inserting 3D view
exports. Grid snapping is available even when the grid is not displayed. Entered values are rounded to
the nearest multiple of the snap distance. If you want to use the same grid in subsequent files, save the
current settings as default.
Grid – GRI, Ctrl + G
Sets the grid spacing or turns the grid on or off.
Construction Lines
Construction lines are “helper,” “auxiliary,” or temporary lines, independent of any other objects. You
can create individual constructions lines or a mesh, and objects or other construction lines can be placed
at the intersection points of other constructions lines. Construction lines can be horizontal, vertical, or
diagonal according to two user-defined angles.
The number of construction lines is limited to 100 for horizontal or vertical, and 30 for diagonal. You
can define Angle 1 and Angle 2, but if any constructions lines using those angles exist, they must be
deleted before the angle can be changed. Construction line functions are available in the Construction
Lines toolbar, and from the Objects / Drawing Aids menu.
27
Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Creating Construction Lines
You can create construction lines as:
• Single lines that pass through a selected point
• Groups of lines that have a specified distance from a specified origin (a negative distance creates new
construction lines in the opposite direction)
• Groups of lines that are offset at a specified distance from the previous line (a negative distance
creates construction lines in the opposite direction)
• Single lines that are tangent to a selected circle or arc
Deleting Construction Lines
You can delete all construction lines, delete individually by type (horizontal, vertical, diagonal), or delete all lines by type.
Construction Lines toolbar
Example: construction lines used to create a side view
Increment Cursor Mode
When not in Increment mode, the cursor moves smoothly and defined locations are based on display
resolution. When using Increment mode, cursor locations are rounded to the nearest multiple of the increment distance. The square or arrow cursor movements are still smooth; only the resulting locations
are rounded. Crosshair cursor movements “jump” in the defined steps. Increment mode is indicated in
the Status Bar. Increment mode is especially useful when used in conjunction with a user-defined origin.
Increment Cursor Mode - STP, F9
Turns Increment mode on or off, or sets the xy increments of cursor movement.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Ortho Mode
In Ortho mode, lines are always horizontal or vertical. You can also use Alternating Ortho mode, in
which lines alternate between horizontal and vertical, regardless of cursor position. Ortho mode is indicated in the Status Bar.
Ortho On - F11
Turns on Ortho mode. If Ortho mode is already on, Alternating Ortho will be used. Pressing F11 again
will change the direction of the next line from horizontal to vertical or vice-versa.
Ortho Alternating H/V
Turns on Ortho mode, alternating horizontal and vertical lines. The first line is horizontal.
Ortho Alternating V/H
Turns on Ortho mode, alternating horizontal and vertical lines. The first line is vertical.
Ortho Off - Shift + F11
Selecting 2D Objects
While working with 2D objects, you almost always need to select other objects. In a typical function,
you must select one or multiple objects, finish the selection, and then the function processes the selected
set. For example, selection is used when deleting objects, translating objects, changing object color, etc.
Temporary toolbars provide selection options.
Methods of Selecting
The most direct way to include objects in the selection set is to left-click on them. Objects are selected if
they are within the cursor aperture, and selected objects are highlighted in a different color.
A temporary toolbar appears during object selection, which provides additional selection options. All
options are also available on the Select menu. You can select single objects, or groups of objects that
share attributes such as a particular color. You can select groups of objects from the entire drawing, or
you can use selection windows. You can also access selection options by entering the relevant command
keys (which are not case-sensitive). When using commands, the desired object must already lie within
the cursor aperture.
Selecting Types of Objects
These options enable you to select single objects of a certain type, that are found within the cursor aperture. When using these selection options, automatic detection is irrelevant.
29
Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Icon
Key
Use
L
Selects a line
P
Selects a point
A
Selects an arc or circle
S
Selects a symbol
Shift + 6 (^)
Selects an arrow
C
Selects a hatch
N
Selects text
D
Selects a dimension
1-8
Selects objects in a work set
Selecting Groups of Objects
Icon
30
Key
Use
R
Selects objects completely inside the selection window
I
Selects objects completely or partially inside the selection
window
I
Selects objects completely or partially outside the selection
window
O
Selects objects completely outside the selection window
V
Selects objects on a specified layer
B
Selects objects of a specified color
Y
Selects objects of a specified line type
T
Selects a group of objects of a specified type. You can select from
the entire drawing, or use a selection window.
Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Using Selection Windows (Marquees)
Selection Windows - 2RG
Use this function to determine when and how selection windows will be used. If, during a selection, you
click in the drawing and nothing is selected, you can set the system behavior to do one of the following:
• Display a warning message
• Start a selection window whose behavior must be determined
• Start a selection window whose behavior is defined by which corner the window starts (upper left,
lower right, etc.)
Selecting Objects Related to 3D Solids
Icon
Key
Use
E
Selects a profile to be used to create a solid. The profile is
selected segment by segment.
F
Selects a profile to be used to create a solid. The profile is
identified automatically.
M
Selects all objects linked to a single 3D solid. These objects are
created by exporting a 3D view.
G
Selects all objects belonging to a 3D view export.
Limited 2D Selections
Some functions, such as Fillet and Chamfer, require you to select a limited number of objects. In this
case, there is no need to finish the selection group. If you need to select two segments that share a corner,
you can select the segments individually or select the corner itself. To select by using the corner, click
when the V symbol appears on the corner. See also Creating Corners, Chamfers and Fillets (page 46).
Automatic Object Detection
With Automatic Detection, the cursor detects objects within the aperture. Press “+” to activate
Automatic Detection, and press “-“ to deactivate it.
Deselecting Objects
To delete objects from a selection set, active Deselect and use the normal methods to select
objects - each selected object will return to its unselected state. Pressing X while selecting will
also deselect objects.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Finishing the Selection
Press Enter or right-click to complete the selection set.
Selecting 2D Locations
Most 2D objects require geometric input in the form of X, Y coordinates. VariCAD makes it easy to select certain significant locations relative to existing objects. To select a point on an object, move the
cursor over the object so that it is highlighted. Clicking on the object will select the point closest to the
cursor. If cursor approaches a snap point, such as an endpoint or midpoint, a symbol appears next to the
cursor. Clicking when you see this symbol selects the point. The following letters indicate snap points:
Letter
Snap Point
L
Line endpoint
M
Line or arc midpoint
A
Arc endpoint
X
Intersection
S
Connection point of a symbol or block
@
Center of circle or arc
1
0-deg point of a circle or arc
2
90-deg point of a circle or arc
3
180-deg point of a circle or arc
4
270-deg point of a circle or arc
You can also use icons, keys, and Snap menu items to specify snap points or other geometric locations.
If you use the keyboard, the desired point must already be within the cursor aperture. The Snap menu
also enables you to permanently use certain snaps.
Automatic detection of a snap point
2D Snap Points
Icon
32
Key
Location
L
Nearest endpoint of a line segment
M
Midpoint of a line or arc
Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
A
Nearest endpoint of an arc
5
Center of an arc or circle
X
Intersection of two segments (intersection point must lie within
cursor aperture)
F
Intersection of two segments (select both segments, can also find
intersection of segment extensions)
P
Point (must lie within cursor aperture)
Z
Insertion point of a block or symbol
S
Connection point or insertion point of a block or symbol
1
0-deg point of a circle or arc
2
90-deg point of a circle or arc
3
180-deg point of a circle or arc
4
270-deg point of a circle or arc
O
Nearest point on an arc or line
Spacebar
Nearest grid point
C
Nearest intersection of construction lines
Combination Location Points
Icon
Key
Location
G
Defined distance from the nearest line endpoint
B
Intersection of a selected object and a line created from the last
point at a specified angle
6
Intersection of a selected object and a line created from the last
point, perpendicular to this object
T
Tangent point on a selected object, directed from the last point
E
Halfway between two defined points
Points Defined by Keyboard Input
Icon
Key
Location
K
Enter X, Y coordinates
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
D
Enter dX and dY from the last point
R
Enter the distance and angle from the last point
Other Points and Functions
Icon
Key
Function
W
Redefine the user origin
N/A
I
Snaps to the center of the cursor aperture
N/A
+
Turns on automatic detection of objects
N/A
-
Turns off automatic detection of objects
Defining Angles and Directions
Some functions, such as symbol insertion or mechanical part insertion, allow you to determine the rotation angle of inserted objects relative to line segments. Angles are measured counterclockwise from the
+X direction (to the right of the origin). Temporary icons and keys are provided to specify the method of
angle definition. The available angle directions are:
Icon
Key
Angle definition
L
Direction is relative to the line proceeding to the left
R
Direction is relative to the line proceeding to the right
D
Direction is relative to the line proceeding up
U
Direction is relative to the line proceeding down
In some cases, the angle can be defined perpendicular to a selected line segment.
Writing Special Characters
Special characters can be used in dimension text. When setting the dimension text location, you can
change the text itself.
Text Input - click this icon to write special characters directly from the window.
The following special characters are always available:
• %%c - diameter sign
• %%d - degree sign
• %%p - plus/minus sign
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
• %%% - converted to single %
If you use a US keyboard, you can use the following keys:
• ~1 - plus/minus sign
• ~2 - diameter sign
• ~3 - degree sign
Mathematic Expressions
If you need to specify a numeric value, you can enter a number or a mathematic expression. If either the
expression or number contains errors or invalid characters, a warning message is displayed.
Mathematic expressions can contain the following operators:
• + (plus)
• - (minus)
• * (multiply)
• / (divide)
• ^ (exponent)
Numbers and variables can be written in brackets or parentheses with unlimited insertion levels.
Mathematic expressions can also contain the following functions:
• sin, cos (sine, cosine)
• tan, atan (tangent, arc tangent)
• asin, acos (arc sine, arc cosine)
• log (decimal logarithm)
• ln (natural logarithm)
• exp (exponent of e)
• rtd (converts radians to decimal values)
• dtr (converts decimal values to radians)
• sqr (square)
• sqrt (square root)
You must enclose arguments in brackets or parentheses. Trigonometric function arguments are entered
in degrees.
Example of correct expression: 1+2*sin(30)+2*(2^2+sqrt(9))
The result is 16.
Calculator - CAL, Shift + F9
Enter and solve mathematic expressions.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Checking Objects, Distance, Angle and Coordinates
Checking functions for 2D objects are accessible from the Objects / Check menu or from the 2D Check
toolbar.
2D Coordinates - COO
Displays X, Y coordinates of a selected point.
2D Distance - DIS
Displays the distance between two points.
Angle - ANG
Displays the measurement of an angle. You can define an angle by the following methods:
• By line direction
• By two points
• Between two lines
• By three points
Angles are always measured counterclockwise, and their values are displayed in degrees.
2D Object Information - ODT
Displays information about a selected 2D object. Object type, layer, color, line type, and work set (if
any) are always listed. The displayed data depends on the type of object:
• For a point - X, Y coordinates
• For lines - endpoint coordinates, length and angle of each segment
• For circles and arcs - centerpoint coordinates, radius, start and end angles
• For text objects - font name and text attributes
• For symbols or blocks - connection points, insertion point and name
• For block - attributes
Drawing 2D Objects
This section describes the various 2D objects you can create. See Selecting 2D Locations (page 32) for
details on defining and selecting locations.
Drawing Lines
The following functions enable you to create lines and objects created from lines, such as rectangles and
polygons:
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Line – LIN, Ctrl + L
With this function you can create a single line, a multi-segmented line, or a freehand curve. While
creating lines, the following additional options are available:
Endpoints - the default mode, in which each mouse click defines a segment endpoint.
Close - joins the last point and the first point to close the line.
Local Ortho - uses Ortho mode only for the current line. Local Ortho enables you to use a
rotated coordinate system, as opposed to the standard Ortho mode invoked by pressing F11.
Freehand - creates a freehand curve by holding the mouse button.
Separate Objects - creates each line segment as a separate object.
One Object - creates one object that contains all the line segments.
Multi Line - MLL
A multi line is a group of parallel lines that acts as one line. Before creating multi lines, you can set parameters such as number of lines, line distance from the center, and rounding.
Multi Line Attributes - change properties during multi line creation.
Multi Line window
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Example of multi lines created within one function
Shaft - SHAFT
Creates shafts or other symmetrical 2D objects. Before creating shafts, you can define coordinate display,
rounding, chamfering or creation of conical or cylindrical parts. When drawing shafts, coordinates are
displayed as dX, dY. You can choose whether dX is measured from the first shaft point (total length
from beginning) or from the last point (length of the created segment).
Shaft Attributes - change properties during shaft creation.
Shaft window
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Example of object created by Shaft
Axis - AXIS
An axis can be created in two ways:
• Two points - the axis is defined as a line between two points, with an extension past the points.
• Arc or circle - a set of two axes will be created at the circle/arc centerpoint.
Axes created at center of circle, and between two points
Rectangle - RECT
Creates a rectangle by defining two opposite corners.
Polygon - POL
A polygon is an object in which all sides have the same length. The polygon can fit inside or outside a
specified radius, and you can define the number of sides (vertices) and vertex location.
Polygon window
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Tangent Line - TAN
Creates a tangent line by selecting two circles or arcs. The tangent line endpoints are located where you
select the circles/arcs.
Arrows
Arrows - ARR
An arrow is a single- or multi-segment line that has an arrowhead at the end of its last segment.
Arrow Attributes Setting - ARA
This function is available on the Tools menu. You can set the following attributes:
• Style of arrowheads
• Length of arrowheads
• On which ends of line the arrowheads are created
Arrows window
Example of various types of arrows (each arrow is a single object)
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Drawing Curves
Graphs - GRA
A graph is a curve defined by x, y coordinates loaded from a text file. Coordinate values stored in a text
file must be separated by spaces.
Ellipse - ELL
An ellipse can be created by defining major and minor axes, or by projecting a circle. To create an elliptical arc, you can define start and end angles. Identical angles will produce an entire ellipse. You can
easily specify identical angles by pressing the Space Bar once while entering the first angle, and again
(without moving the cursor) while entering the second angle.
Ellipse window
Example of ellipse
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Spline - SPL
A spline is a curve defined by a series of points. The spline passes through the defined points. You can
choose to create an open or closed spline, and define the number of segments used for curve displaying.
Closed curve are connected smoothly – gap between first and last point is spanned. Splines are created
as B-spline curves.
Creating Points
Points are used in 2D as auxiliary objects.
Point - POINT
Creates single points by clicking on point locations.
Points on Arc - POC
Creates points along an arc. You can specify a number of equally-spaced points, or define the distance
between points.
Points on Line, Number - PLN
Creates a specified number of equally-spaced points along a line.
Points on Line, Distance - PLD
Creates points along a line, separated by a specified distance.
Points from File - PFF
Inserts points from a text file, listed as X, Y coordinates. Each set of coordinates in the text file must be
separated by a space.
Creating Circles and Arcs
Circles and arcs are actually the same objects; a circle is a 360 degree arc. Angles of arcs are measured
counterclockwise, with zero degrees along the positive X axis.
Circle Center Radius - CCR
Creates a circle defined by a centerpoint and radius.
Circle Center Point - CCP
Creates a circle by defining the centerpoint and a point on the circumference.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Circle 2 Points - CR2
Creates a circle by defining two circumference points and the radius. The circle is created when you
specify the side of the circle center, relative to the line connecting the two circumference points.
Circle 3 Points - C3P
Creates a circle by defining three circumference points.
Circle Tangent to 2 Objects - CT2
Creates a circle tangent to two objects (lines, circles, arcs) with a specified radius.
Circle Tangent to 3 Objects - TG3
Creates a circle tangent to three objects (lines, circles, arcs).
Group of Holes - HOL2
Creates a group of holes (circles) along a circle or line.
Arc Center Radius - ACR
Creates an arc by defining the centerpoint, radius, and start and end angles. To create an entire circle, the
start and end angles must be identical. You can easily specify identical angles by pressing the Space Bar
once while entering the first angle, and again (without moving the cursor) while entering the second angle.
Arc Center Point - ACP
Creates an arc by defining the centerpoint, point on circumference, and start and end angles. To create
an entire circle, the start and end angles must be identical. You can easily specify identical angles by
pressing the Space Bar once while entering the first angle, and again (without moving the cursor) while
entering the second angle.
Arc 2 Points - AR2
Creates an arc by defining the radius and two endpoints. The arc is created when you specify the side of
the arc center, relative to the line connecting the two endpoints.
Arc 3 Points - A3P
Creates an arc by defining the first endpoint, a point on the circumference, and the second endpoint.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Arc Point Tangent - APT
Creates an arc by defining the radius, point on circumference, and a tangent line or arc. The arc is
created when you specify the side of the arc center.
Arc Tangent to 2 Objects - AT2
Creates an arc tangent to two lines or arcs, specifying the arc radius.
Creating Text Objects
There are several ways you can add text to your drawing: as single text lines, as notes of up to 10 lines,
or inserted from a text file. Text can be horizontal or drawn at a specified angle. See Editing Text (page
48) for details on modifying existing text.
Text Attributes - TXA
You can set the following text attributes:
• Text height
• Text angle - angle of the text line (single-line text or text file inserts are horizontal, but the angle can
be changed later)
• Text slant - the angle of individual letters
• Line spacing - relative to text height
• Text width - relative to text height
• Text insertion point
• Text font (most have fixed width, except for Simplex1)
Text Attributes window
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Note (Multiple Lines) - NOTE
A note is a single object containing up to 10 lines of text. Notes are inserted by drag and drop, and you
can define text width as a ratio of two distances.
Single Text Line - TEX
Single text lines are drawn horizontally. First locate the start point of the text, then type the text. Press
Enter to finish each line. Before selecting the text start point, you can also:
Copy Text Attributes - use attributes from a selected text object.
Insert Text File - TXI
Inserts text from a file into the drawing. Select the file, then select the lower left point of the first text
line. You are asked to confirm each line, and you can interrupt insertion and redefine the position of
subsequent lines. You can also cancel the insertion before reaching the end of the file.
Inset Text File window
Editing and Deleting 2D Objects
This section describes how you can change the shape of selected 2D objects and text. For information on
how to select objects, see Selecting 2D Objects (page 29).
Deleting Objects
Delete 2D Objects – DOB, Ctrl + D
Deletes one or more selected 2D objects.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Changing Objects Geometry
Trim - TBO
Removes sections of lines and arcs that lie on one side of a trimming curve. You can also define a temporary trimming line by defining two points.
Remove Segment - RSG
Removes a segment from an arc or line. The removed segment is defined by two points.
Extend - EBO
Extends lines or arcs to a defined curve. You can also define a temporary extension line by selecting two
points.
Break Line - BLN
Creates break marks on a selected line, by selecting the location of each break mark.
Example of break lines
Circle from Arc - CEC
Creates a full circle from a selected arc.
Edit Spline - ESP
Edits the selected spline. Select one of the spline definition points and drag it to a new location. While
dragging, the spline shape updates dynamically. Press Enter or right-click to finish editing.
Creating Corners, Chamfers and Fillets
Each of these functions can be applied to line or arc segments. You can select both segments at once by
selecting the intersection snap point, indicated by a V-shaped symbol at the cursor. If segments are selected separately, you can choose to apply the function to the first, second, or both segments. If any
segments will be trimmed as a result of the function, select the segment on the non-trimmed portion.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Selecting an intersection to be rounded
Result of rounding
Corner - CCO
Creates a sharp corner at the intersection of selected segments. Segments will be trimmed or extended to
create the corner, so select the segment on the non-trimmed portion.
Chamfer 2D Corner- CHM, Ctrl + R
Creates an angled chamfer between two lines. You can define the chamfer by distance along each segment, or by distance and angle for one segment. You can choose whether to trim or extend segments.
Fillet 2D Corner – RND, Ctrl + F
Rounds the corner between lines or arcs. When applying a fillet to two arcs, you can choose a convex or
concave result. You can also choose whether to trim or extend segments.
Breaking and Dividing 2D Objects
Explode - EXP
Explodes selected 2D object into their basic elements. Objects are exploded according to their type as
follows:
• Lines, rectangles, polygons become single line segments
• Arrows become lines
• Hatches becomes lines
• Dimensions become lines, arrows, circles and text
• Text becomes single text lines
• Symbols become the objects they contain
• Blocks become the objects they contain; nested blocks become single blocks
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Divide by Point - BPO
Divides a line or arc at the selected location, creating two separate objects.
Divide by Curve - BBO
Divides a line or arc by a specified curve, creating two separate objects. You can define a temporary
curve by selecting two points.
Editing Text
Edit Text - ETX
Modifies the selected text. The text lines appear in the editing window where they can be edited.
Text Attributes - TAC
Changes attributes of the selected text. Before selecting text to change, define the new attributes and
whether the text parameters, font or insertion point will be changed.
Align Text - JTX
Moves text lines horizontally, aligned to a centerpoint or to another selected point.
Text Width - TWD
Changes the width of the selected text width. The new text width is determined as ratio of two distances
you defined with the cursor.
Move Text Vertically - MTI
Moves text lines vertically. The move distance is a factor of line spacing, and you must enter the number
of lines to move. Text can be moved after text is deleted, or in order to insert text between lines.
Move Text window
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Explode Font - BTF
Explodes 2D text letters into line segments. This is useful when you want to create a profile from a
single letter, to be used in Extrude, for example.
Transforming and Copying 2D Objects
Transformation functions enable you to change an object‟s location or scale, and move, copy and rotate
objects. All functions allow you to either define transformation parameters first and then apply them, or
to perform the transformation dynamically. See Dragging Objects (page 15).
Translating, Rotating and Scaling
Translate or Copy 2D Objects– MOV, Ctrl + T
Moves or copies objects by first defining a translation vector. The vector is defined by two points and
indicates distance and direction. If objects are to be copied, you can specify the number of copies, and
the original object is preserved. Multiple copies are made along a row.
Vector Translate window
Moving and copying
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Dynamic Translation - DRG
Moves or copies objects, with cursor movement defining the new object locations. Select the objects,
define their insertion point, and select new locations of the insertion point. If you choose not to delete
the original objects, copies will be made.
Rotate or Copy 2D Objects - ROT
Rotates objects around a defined point by a specified rotation angle. You can choose to rotate only, or to
rotate and copy. If multiple copies are made, each copy is separated by the rotation angle.
Rotating and copying
Dynamic Rotation - DRO
Rotates dynamically using the cursor. Select objects, define the center of rotation, and select a reference
point. The cursor movement defines the direction from the rotation center to the reference point. You
can choose to rotate only, or to rotate and copy.
Translate and Rotate - DTR
Both moves and rotates objects. Select objects and define the first and second reference points. Then define new locations of both reference points. If you choose not to delete the original objects, copies will
be made.
Scale - SCA
Rescales objects. Select the center of scaling and the scale value. You can choose to scale only, or to
scale and copy. If multiple copies are made, the scale value is applied to each copy progressively.
Dynamic Scaling - DSC
Scales dynamically using the cursor. Select objects, define the center of scaling, and select a reference
point. The cursor movement defines the scale value. If you choose not to delete the original objects,
copies will be made.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Array Copy - CTA
Creates an array of copied objects. Define the origin of rows and columns, the direction and distance
between columns, and the direction and distance between columns. Then specify the number of copies
in rows and columns. This value is the number of new copies; the original object is not included. You
can also define the number of copies by using the cursor to select the location of the last objects in rows
and columns.
Mirroring Objects
Mirror - MIR
Creates a mirror image of selected objects. The mirror axis can be an existing line, or you can define a
temporary line by selecting two points. You can choose whether to delete existing objects. If you use
non-isotropic mirroring, the mirrored object will be created on the same side of the mirror axis, and will
be scaled perpendicular to the mirror axis. Scaling is only possible for lines.
Mirror window
Offsetting Objects
Offset - OFFS
When offsetting objects, you can define an offset distance or create the offset so that it passes through a
specified point. You can offset to individual lines, arcs, and polylines, or you can create a continuous
offset curve by selecting a chain of connected objects. To do this, select the first line or arc in the chain
close to the beginning of the chain. In other words, do not select the segment close to where the next
segment is connected.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Offset window
Stretching Objects
Stretch - SOB
Uses the cursor to define the new shape of selected linear objects. Use a selection window to encompass
the corners and endpoints of line segments you want to move. After selecting objects, select a reference
point and move the cursor to stretch the objects. To stretch horizontally or vertically, turn on Ortho
mode.
Stretch to Direction - DST
Stretches objects along a defined direction. You can stretch objects horizontally, vertically or by a
diagonal vector defined by two points. Define the line dividing the preserved and translated parts of the
objects to be stretched, the objects, and the reference point. Move the cursor to move the reference point.
This type of stretching can only be done on lines; other types of objects are moved without being
stretched.
Dimensioning
Dimensioning enables you to describe geometry by displaying measurements. All dimensioning functions can be found on the Dimensioning toolbar or in the Objects / Draw menu. To create dimensions,
select the objects to measure and drag the mouse to locate the dimension text (see Dragging Objects
(page 15) ). Dimensioning tools have several options for additional formatting and settings.
The figure above shows additional icons and the text change window in the toolbar.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Once created, the dimensions can be easily edited (see Editing Dimensions (page 62) ). Format and style
of dimensions and dimension text can be modified using Dimension Attributes (page 57). Changing
dimension text height affects the length of leader lines arrows.
Single Dimensions - Horizontal, Vertical and Diagonal
Horizontal Dimension - HDI
Vertical Dimension - VDI
Diagonal Dimension - SDI
Single dimensions are defined by selecting start and end points, then locating the dimension text.
Dimension Format - Before the text location is defined, you can change the current dimension
format. You can also use Dimension Format to set the format of future dimensions.
Dimension Format provides the following options:
• According to defined input (default) - cancels all other previously selected options.
• Current Dimension Serial - select the dimension you want the current dimension to be aligned with.
For example, if you select a horizontal dimension, the current dimension will be in series with it, at
the same level. This creates a chain of aligned dimension at the same level.
• Current Dimension Baseline - similar to Current Dimension Serial, except that baseline dimensions
are created.
• All Dimensions Serial - similar to Current Dimension Serial, the current and future dimensions are
affected, until another option is selected.
• All Dimensions Baseline - similar to All Dimensions Serial, except that baseline dimensions are
created.
• Toggle Points and Arrow - switches between points and arrows on the leader lines. This option is
useful when space is limited.
• Center Dimension Text - for the current dimension, all texts will be automatically centered.
Dimension arrows changed
Dimension text is created automatically, and you can use Dimension Attributes (page 57) to define parameters. For the current dimension, you can change text directly in the text input window in the temporary toolbar. This toolbar contains the following additional options for text modification:
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Tolerance - modify the dimension tolerances.
Text Input - add text and special characters. Characters such as the degree sign, diameter sign,
or plus/minus sign can also be created directly from they keyboard - see Writing Special
Characters (page 34).
Dimension Text Attributes - controls the dimension text properties such as text height, angle,
and font. Leader line arrow size is controlled by dimension text height.
To change the text scale, use Dimension Attributes (page 57). This is useful when a rescaled detail is
dimensioned.
For diagonal dimensions, the dimension angle is defined by the start and end points. To change this, you
can use the following additional options:
Define Dimension Angle - enables you to change the dimension angle.
Automatic Dimension Angle - returns the dimension angle to the default.
Predefined Horizontal, Vertical and Diagonal Dimensions
Predefined dimensions contain standard text characters such as diameter symbols. These are useful when
dimensioning objects like circles or threads.
Horizontal Diameter Dimension - HDM
Vertical Diameter Dimension - VDM
Diagonal Diameter Dimension - SDM
Horizontal Thread Dimension - HTH
Vertical Thread Dimension - VTH
Diagonal Thread Dimension - STH
Example of predefined dimensions
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Serial, Baseline and Datum Dimensions
These functions create multiple dimensions. The first dimension in this group is defined as for single
dimensions (by 2 points), and subsequent dimensions in the group require only one point.
Baseline dimensions are a group of parallel dimensions that all start at the same point. The offset between parallel dimensions is defined in Dimension Attributes (page 57). Datum dimensions consist of a
line of points, at each of which the dimension defines the total distance from the start point. Serial dimensions are a chain of aligned dimensions that define the distance from point to point.
Horizontal Baseline Dimensions - HPD
Horizontal Serial Dimensions - HSD
Horizontal Datum Dimensions - HDD
Vertical Baseline Dimensions - VPD
Vertical Serial Dimensions - VSD
Vertical Datum Dimensions - VDD
Diagonal Baseline Dimensions - SPD
Diagonal Serial Dimensions - SSD
Diagonal Datum Dimensions - SDD
Example of baseline, serial and datum dimensions
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Angular Dimensions
Angular Dimension - ADI
Angular dimensions define the angle between two lines. You have the same additional options as for the
linear dimensions, as well as the following:
Greater Than 180 - dimensions the angle greater than 180 degrees.
Less Than 180 (default) - dimensions the angle less than 180 degrees.
Complementary Angle On - dimensions the complementary angle.
Complementary Angle Off - turns off the complementary angle dimensioning.
Example of default angular dimensioning, complementary angle dimensioning and dimensioning of
angle greater than 180 degrees
Diameter and Radius Dimensions, Thread Dimensions
Radius Dimension - RDI
Diameter Dimension - DDI
These dimensions are defined by selecting an arc or circle and locating the dimension text. Additional
options for radius dimensions include:
Mark Arc Center On - creates a mark at the arc center.
Mark Arc Center Off - turns off marking.
Thread dimensions - THR
Thread dimensions behave like diameter dimensions, except the predefined thread symbol is used.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Dimension Attributes
Dimension Attributes - DMA
Available on the Tools menu, Dimension Attributes enables you to change dimension styles and other
properties. The following properties can be modified:
• Text attributes - height, slant and font. Text height controls the size of leader arrows.
• Dimension attributes - distance between parallel baseline dimensions, distance between text and
leader lines, text centering, dimension scale, witness line creation, tolerance position, angle
dimensioning and number of decimal digits
• Arrow style
• Dimension Style - text angle, position with respect to leader lines, inch and foot representation and
definition of radius, diameter and thread symbols
Dimensions window; basic settings
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Dimensions window; setting dimension style
Example of dimension styles
Finish Symbols
Finish Symbols - FSY
Finish symbols are created by entering a roughness value, or by selecting a symbol for unmachined surfaces. Symbols can be attached to a line, arc or dimension witness line, or they can float. When attaching
to a 2D object, you can drag the symbol around the object before selecting its final position.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Finish symbols example
Weld and Tolerance Symbols
Weld Symbols - WSY
The weld symbol includes a basic symbol, supplementary symbol, dimension of weld size, and weld
process symbol. When defining a symbol, you can change text and other attributes, and see a preview
before creating it. You can also save up to nine symbols for future use. To create a weld symbol, first
select the weld location and then select the symbol location.
Welding Symbols window
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Example of welding symbol; this symbol was created within one function.
Weld Symbol Settings - SWS
Available on the Tools menu, allows you to choose whether the weld symbols will be created according
to ISO or ANSI standards.
Tolerance Symbols - TSY
Similar to welding symbols. Datum feature symbols can also be created.
Tolerance Symbols window
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Creating Leaders
Leaders - POS
Leaders are typically used in 2D assembly drawings. Leader attributes are defined first, then the location
on a 2D object, and then the location of the leader text. Text positions must be defined for the first and
second leaders. The dX and dY values of the two leader texts are used to locate texts for the next leader.
After the first leader, you need only to define the 2D object for the next leader and confirm the text position, and the value of each leader is automatically increased. As with dimensions, the leader value can be
modified in the text window of the temporary toolbar. While defining leader positions, the following options are available:
Leader Attributes - modify leader attributes
Leader Distance - define distance between adjacent leaders. This setting is useful only when
dragging requires the left mouse button to be pressed.
Leader Text Attributes - modify leader text and text properties
Leader Attributes window
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Example of leaders
Editing Dimensions
Edit Dimension Text - EDI
Edits the text of a selected dimension. The same text editing options are available as when you created
the dimension.
Move Dimension Text - MDT
Uses drag and drop to move the text of a selected dimension. Be careful when using this function, because if you create more dimensions after moving the text, you could have overlapping objects.
Edit Dimension - EDM
Change any attribute of a dimension. You can change everything about a dimension except for the original dimension definition points and the 2D object itself. One additional option is available:
Edit Multiple Dimensions - modify multiple dimensions, according to the properties of the first
selected dimension.
For more information see Dimensioning (page 52)
Hatching
Hatching functions, typically used to identify sections, are used to fill a closed area. A simple hatch
consists of lines at a specified angle and separation distance. You can also select a predefined hatch
pattern and density, or create your own pattern. Hatch boundaries can be defined by selecting individual
segments, by automatic boundary detection, or by automatic detection of 3D section boundaries
exported to 2D. Hatch boundaries must be closed, and any entities that are partially inside the boundary
are not used. Hatch boundaries may contain islands.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Solid Fill
To use a solid fill, choose the horizontal line pattern and define a hatch distance smaller than the
thickness of printed lines.
Hatching 2D Objects
Simple Hatch - HAT
Uses a pattern of straight lines. You can define the distance between lines and the line angle. Select each
segment of the hatch boundary. For segments that need to be trimmed for the hatch (such as overlapping
lines), reselect the segments that are to remain in the boundary. (This trimming is used for hatching only,
the original objects do not change.) The following additional options are available during boundary selection:
Create Temporary Boundary Part - creates temporary lines and arcs for hatch boundary
segments. These objects will be removed after hatching. You can also select single segments
from a multi-segmented line.
Change Previous Hatch - change previously created hatches.
Pattern Hatch - PHA
Pattern Hatch is similar to Simple Hatch, except that you can select a predefined hatch pattern and specify the density.
Hatch Patterns Window
Simple Hatch - Find Boundary - AHB
Like Simple Hatch, the hatch pattern consists of straight lines. Rather than select each boundary segment,
click just one segment. Then select a point on the side of the segment within the desired boundary. You
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
can continue selecting more boundaries, or add islands. Press Enter or right-click to finish the boundary
definition. The following additional options are available during boundary selection:
Set Boundary Detection - ignores any open segments crossing the area boundary, and ignores
any small gaps.
Remove Objects Temporarily - ignores selected objects. Select these objects first. Before
hatching, the objects will be removed temporarily, and will be reinserted after hatching is
complete.
Pattern Hatch - Find Boundary - APH
Similarly to Simple Hatch, Find Boundary, you can select a pattern to fill a detected boundary.
Hatching 3D Sections
Sections from 3D objects that are exported as views to 2D can be hatched the same way as objects
created in 2D. In addition, 3D section boundaries can be automatically defined.
Simple Hatch - 3D Section - HSE
The hatch pattern is the same as for Simple Hatch. Select a segment of the 3D section, and the entire
boundary is automatically identified. If a 3D section is created from more than one plane, it may be necessary to remove some of the automatically detected lines inside the boundary.
Add/Remove - removes objects from the temporary set. Because the boundary is selected
automatically, you can use this option to remove any restraining lines across the area.
For more information see Selecting 2D Objects (page 29).
Pattern Hatch - 3D Section - HPSE
Similarly to Simple Hatch - 3D Section, you can select a pattern to fill a detected boundary.
Creating a Hatch Pattern
Create Pattern - CHP
Create your own pattern or edit existing patterns. Each pattern is created as up to eight groups of lines.
Each group is defined by an angle and a basic distance. You can define some lines in the group to be
blanked. Each line can be assigned a line style, consisting of a number of line segments of specified
length.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Symbols
Symbols are sets of 2D objects. Symbols are defined by:
• An insertion point
• Connection points - used after insertion for snap locations
• Name and comment
You can insert symbols from standard libraries and create your own symbol libraries. The standard
VariCAD package offers libraries for hydraulic symbols, pneumatic symbols, and electrical symbols.
Welding, tolerance and finish symbols are managed by other functions, see Dimensioning (page 52).
Example of symbols
Insert Symbol - SLI
Inserts symbols from the open library. If no library is open, select the library first. When inserting symbols from a library, you can use icons to select symbols. During insertion, the symbol automatically adjusts its dimension to the current drawing scale. The following additional options are available while inserting symbols:
Rotate Symbol - rotates the inserted symbol by a specified angle.
Scale Symbol - changes the scale of the symbol.
Open Symbol Library - SLA
If you want to create, edit or insert your own symbols, open the symbol library first.
Create Library Symbol - SLC
Create your own symbols and save them to the open library. Define the insertion point and connection
points, select symbol objects, and assign a name and comment. You can also choose whether inserted
symbols will use their original line attributes, or whether the attributes will depend on the current settings.
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
Edit Symbol Names - SYC
Edit symbol names and comments, or delete symbols from a library. To add or change the symbol itself,
use Create Library Symbol.
2D Blocks
Objects created in 2D can be combined into blocks. Blocks behave and are selected as single objects.
The only time individual objects can be selected is when changing object color or line type. Connection
points are used to define snap points for the block. A block is defined by:
• 2D objects, including nested blocks
• Insertion point
• Connection points (up to 32)
• Name and attributes
Blocks can be inserted into the current file, can be stored and inserted into other files.
There are libraries of mechanical parts (screws, bearings, threads, etc.) you can insert into your drawings.
These are inserted as blocks, with predefined attributes. For more information, see Libraries of
Mechanical Parts (page 68).
Creating and Inserting Blocks
Create Block - BLC
To create a block, define the insertion point, any connection points, 2D objects that comprise the block,
and block name and attributes. You can use one of the block attributes as the block name, and you can
select whether the attribute will be blanked or unblanked. For visible attributes, the location of attribute
text must be defined.
Save Block - BLS
Saves the selected objects to a file with the extension *.bkb. Enter the filename, define the insertion
point, and select the block objects to be saved. It is recommended to select only one object.
Insert Block – BLI, Ctrl + K
Inserts saved blocks into the drawing. You can select blocks from a list of saved blocks. Select the
location of the insertion point, and you can drag the block to new locations. Insert Block is also invoked
when you insert a part from a mechanical part library. This type of block is selected from an icon menu
and created according to predefined dimensions.
During block insertion, you have the following additional insertion options:
Rotate or Scale - enables you to:
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Chapter 8. 2D Drawing
• Rotate the inserted block by a specified angle
• Scale the inserted block by a scale value
• Orient the X axis of the block along or perpendicular to a selected line. The X direction is
defined from the insertion point to the right
• Insert the block at the origin
• Scale the block according to the drawing scale (not available for library parts)
• Change units from mm to inches or vice-versa (not available for library parts)
New Insertion Point - changes the block insertion point. Insert the block first into a temporary
position and then select the new insertion point.
Editing Blocks
Edit Blocks - BLE
If no block is open for editing and this function is invoked, you can select a block to edit. The selected
block is highlighted and you can use any 2D functions to create, edit, or delete block objects.
If a block is currently open for editing and this function is invoked, the block objects are highlighted and
inserted into a temporary work set. You can select other objects to add to the block, or select objects to
be deleted from the block. See also Selecting 2D Objects (page 29).
Change Block Insertion Point - BIE
Redefine the block insertion point.
Edit Block Attributes - BAE
Add, edit or delete attributes of the selected block. The attributes list appears after you select the block.
You can blank or unblank attributes as well, and for visible attributes you can change text position or
text attributes as well.
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Chapter 9. Libraries of Mechanical Parts
All mechanical parts can be found on the Parts menu. The following parts are available:
• Screws (bolts)
• Nuts
• Washers
• Pins and splines
• Rings
• Rolled profiles (structural steel)
• SKF bearings
• Spline shafts (only for 2D)
• Threads (only for 2D)
The parts are created according to the following standards:
• ANSI
• DIN
• Other standards, including European standards and ISO
All parts have predefined default names and attributes. The names indicate the part definition and basic
dimensions according to the chosen standard.
Selecting Mechanical Parts
Select a part (screw, washer, etc.) from the Parts menu. The icon menu appears from which you can
select a specific part, such as a hex bolt. To define the dimensions, you can select:
• One basic dimension from the list. The other dimensions will depend on this basic dimension. For
example, for defining a bearing, select the shaft diameter.
• One basic dimension from the list, then other dimensions from the list. For example, for defining a
screw, select the bolt diameter. Then a list of lengths appears, depending on the selected diameter.
• One basic dimension from list, then enter the other dimensions manually. For example, for defining a
rolled profile, select the profile dimensions and then enter the desired length of the beam.
Inserting Mechanical Parts into 2D
When defining part dimensions in 2D, you can also select the method of drawing or which view of the
part will be inserted. For example, when defining a rolled profile you can choose whether or not to hatch
the section. When defining a screw, you can choose to insert the front view, left view (axial view), and
head.
Mechanical parts are inserted as blocks, and have predefined connection points. For details on inserting
blocks, see Insert Block (page 66).
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Chapter 9. Libraries of Mechanical Parts
Mechanical Part window - 2D
Inserting Mechanical Parts into 3D
When defining part dimensions in 3D, you can:
• Select whether the part is inserted as a new part, or replaces a defined part. An example of replacement would be replacing one type of screw with another. If you define the parts to be replaced by
name, you can replace all instances of a part in the entire file. See also Selecting Solids (page 97).
Mechanical Part window - 3D
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Chapter 9. Libraries of Mechanical Parts
Working with Mechanical Parts in 3D
Mechanical parts are created according to respective standards and they should not be modified. If you
attempt to edit shape of library mechanical part, warning message is displayed. Rolled profiles can be
edited without any warning.
Smart Functions using 3D Mechanical Parts
If possible, some mechanical parts have defined method of cutting or trimming other solids. For example, if you want to create hole for screw, you can use screw as “cutting tool” and create hole as exact
negative copy of cylindrical part of screw. This method corresponds with creating hole with thread. If
you select corresponding modification of counterpart, hole with diameter greater than screw diameter is
created. Hole‟s diameter is created according to respective standard.
Example of 3D library parts.
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Chapter 10. Mechanical Part Calculations
Part calculations can be accessed from Objects / Calculations. Only ISO units (mm, N, MPa etc.) are
used for calculations. Values can be calculated for the following mechanical parts:
• Compression springs
• Tension springs
• Keys
• Spline shafts
• Screws
• Pins
• Spur gears
• Straight bevel gears
• V-belt drives
• Roller chain drives
• Beams or shafts (for bending and torsion)
Compression Spring Calculations window
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Chapter 10. Mechanical Part Calculations
Square Key Calculations window
Spline Shaft Calculations window
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Chapter 10. Mechanical Part Calculations
Bolted Connection Calculations window
Round Pin Calculations window
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Chapter 10. Mechanical Part Calculations
V-Belt Drive Calculations window
Spur Gear Dimension Calculations window
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Chapter 10. Mechanical Part Calculations
Straight Bevel Gear Calculations window
Roller Chain Calculations window
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Chapter 10. Mechanical Part Calculations
Beam Calculations window
2D Area - 2DA
Calculates 2D surface area, bending section modulus and center of gravity of a selected 2D area. These
values can be used in mechanical part calculations. A closed boundary must be defined, and islands can
be included. You can define a boundary automatically or segment by segment. When the results are
displayed, you have the option to create construction lines at the center of gravity.
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Chapter 11. Printing and Plotting
For Windows users, VariCAD enables you to print to devices that use Windows drivers. Linux users can
use KDE print capabilities. All users can always use VariCAD print drivers as well.
Print Settings
Select the printer first. Then you can define how and what to print. By default, the 2D drawing format is
printed at a scale of 1:1.
Print Settings - WPS
Enables you to define the printed area, scale, rotation, and line mapping.
Defining the Printed Area
There are two ways to define the printed area:
• Entire drawing - the size of the printed area is the same as the current 2D drawing format (A1, A2,
etc.). Only objects within the format boundary are printed.
• Only displayed objects - prints only objects that are visible onscreen. You can change the zoom or the
view window for the desired print area.
Changing the Print Scale
By default, scaling is disabled, but you can select two scaling options:
• Fit to sheet size - the printed area is scaled to fit the size of the printed sheet. If the ratios of the sides
of the printed area and the sheet dimensions are not consistent, scaling will still be isotropic (circles
remain circles).
• Desired area scaled - scaling is defined by a value.
Changing the Print Rotation
By default, the area is rotated so that the longer side of printed area will be parallel to the larger side of
the printed sheet. There are the following additional rotation options:
• Portrait - the shorter side of printed area is parallel to the longer side of the sheet
• Landscape - same as automatic rotation, can be used if the printer driver gives unexpected results
• Do not rotate - can be used if the printer driver gives unexpected results
Defining the Printed Sheet Size
By default, the sheet size is the same as drawing format, or the maximum size allowed by the printer.
There are the following additional sheet size options:
• Maximum possible format - the printed sheet size will fit the maximum size allowed by the printer.
• Format according to drawing - resets the default.
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Chapter 11. Printing and Plotting
• Select format from list - select a standard formats such as A1, A2, etc. The selected size is the sheet
size of printed sheet.
Color and Thickness Mapping
When using a color printer, you can map the display colors to printer colors. For standard printers, you
can always map display colors to print line thicknesses. The result is different if the colors are mapped
first. Line thickness and color mapping can be done within the Print Settings function, or by the Line
Mapping function (described below).
Print window
Line Mapping - LWD
Defines printed line thicknesses or colors.
Selecting a Printer
Print - WPR, Ctrl + P
Select a printer from the list of printers available in your operating system. The driver for each printer
must be installed and set properly.
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Chapter 11. Printing and Plotting
Print, VariCAD Drivers - PRN
Creates output to any device using PostScript, HPGL/2, HPGL, PCL5 or Epson formats. You can select
a printer listed in the window, or a printer compatible with any listed device. You can save your output
to a file, or you can change or define the printing command of your operating system.
During printing, the operating system sends a temporary file to the printing device. In the command, the
filename must be replaced by the sequence %s. For example, “copy %s LPT1 /b” is the Windows
command for sending data to the parallel port. Default commands are predefined for this method of
printing.
Batch Print
Batch printing means sending more files to print at once. First, select the files to print. Then define the
method of printing. Print settings can be defined for each file individually or for all files, and settings are
the same as for single prints. See Print Settings (page 77).
Once defined, batch print settings can be saved to a configuration file, which lists all printed files and
their settings. If you need to print multiple files again, you can use this batch configuration file.
Batch printing is handled by the following functions:
Batch Print, Predefined - BPRP
Batch Print - BPRW
Batch Print, VariCAD Drivers - BPRV
Exporting Images as Bitmaps
Bitmap File from 3D - BMP
You can create a bitmap file from 3D display. The image is saved to *.bmp format in true color mode
(24 bits per pixel). Bmp file can be used for printing or inserted into documents. Before the file is saved
to disc, the following properties can be set:
• Output of entire display or output of defined rectangular area.
• Pixel density. The bitmap pixel density can be easily defined in relation to display. If the value equals
1, bitmap quality is the same as obtained from display scanning or “print screen”.
• Number of pixels for printing. The pixel density is defined approximately according to the printed
format. You can select paper size and number of pixels per 100 millimeters or per 10 inches,
respectively.
• Number of pixels defined exactly. Changing these values, you modify also the output height-to-width
ratio. This setting is available only for output of a defined rectangular area.
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Chapter 11. Printing and Plotting
Before the bitmap image is created, you can check objects displayed inside the output area (full screen
or defined rectangle). The display can be finally changed by standard functions like zoom, pan or view
angle. If you need to change displaying from standard to precise (allowing perspective, light position
changes etc) or if you need to change the color palette, perform these changes before the bitmap output
function is called.
If the bitmap file is prepared for printing, then consider color palette changes – especially the background color. The white background is usually the best option for printed 3D objects. The pixels number
(or dots number) for printing should be set according to the paper size, printer settings (dpi) or color vs.
grey scale printing. 1000 dots per 100 mm or 2500 dots per 10 inches give you reasonable sufficient
quality of the printed document.
Bitmap creation
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Chapter 12. VariCAD on the Internet
If your computer is connected to the internet, you can use the following tools to easily access VariCAD
web pages from within VariCAD.
Home Page - INH
Opens the VariCAD home page
What’s New Page - INN
Opens the page describing new versions
Upgrade - INI
Opens the page containing system upgrades and download links. See also Installing Upgrades (page 4).
Feedback - INF
Opens a page your can fill out with your feedback
Web Browser Settings - INST
Define which web browser will be used to access VariCAD web pages. We recommend using your
default browser.
Trial Versions, Online Purchasing
You can download a 30 day trial version from the VariCAD website. After registration you will be able
to download a trial version for free. When you purchase a VariCAD license or upgrade, you receive a
license and keycode that will convert your trial version to a fully functioning version.
The following tools are provided for working with downloaded versions:
Online Purchase - PCHS
Purchase licenses or upgrades
Registration - TREG
License Code - ELCD
Enter your license and keycode
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3D Display
The 3D display provides the following features:
• Shaded and wireframe views
• Standard views (top, left, etc.)
• Dynamic rotation, pan and zoom
• Defining the center of view rotation
• Rotate using arrow keys
• Save and restore views
• View undo and redo
Dynamic View Manipulation
You can use the following methods to change your view dynamically:
• To rotate: press Ctrl, Shift key, and the left mouse button, and move the mouse to rotate. The speed of
view rotation is dependent on dimensions of all visible objects. This works well in most cases except
the large zooms.
• To rotate: press Ctrl, Shift key, and the right mouse button, and move the mouse to rotate. The speed
of view rotation is dependent on dimensions of a displayed area. This works well especially if large
zoom is used.
• To rotate: press the right mouse button, then the left button, and move the mouse. This is the same as
Ctrl, Shift and left mouse button.
• To rotate: press the right mouse button, then the left button, Ctrl key and move the mouse. This is the
same as Ctrl, Shift and right mouse button.
• To zoom: press Shift and the left mouse button, and move the mouse. Move the mouse up to shrink,
down to enlarge.
• To zoom: press the right mouse button, then the middle button, and move the mouse.
• To zoom: you can also use the mouse wheel.
• To pan: press Ctrl and the left mouse button, and move the mouse.
• To pan: press the middle mouse button, then the left button, and move the mouse.
• To refresh view, press F6
For dynamic view rotation, zoom or pan all keys and/or mouse buttons must be held simultaneously, of
course.
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Rotating View Using the Arrow Keys
You can use the arrow keys to rotate the view around a specific axis. Press Shift, Ctrl, or both, and then
press the following:
• Left or right arrow to rotate around the Y axis
• Up or down arrow to rotate around the X axis
You can use the keys in combination to change the view angle.
3D View Tools
Left View - VLE
Right View - VRI
Front View - VFR
Back View - VBA
Top View - VTO
Bottom View - VBO
View to Plane - RNP
Sets the view perpendicular to a selected plane. This tool is useful especially when creating a 2D view
export.
Rotate View Around X 90 Deg - X90
Rotate View Around X 180 Deg - X180
Rotate View Around X 270 Deg - X270
Rotates the view by the specified angle around the global X axis
Rotate View Around Y 90 Deg - Y90
Rotate View Around Y 180 Deg - Y180
Rotate View Around Y 270 Deg - Y270
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Chapter 13. 3D Modeling
Rotates the view by the specified angle around the global Y axis
Undo View - ZPR
Redo View - ZRD
Zoom Window - ZWI
Defines the zoom by specifying opposite display corners
Zoom All - ZALL
Adjusts the view to display all visible objects
Predefined View - PRV
Sets the view according to predefined angles.
Predefined View Settings - PVS
Predefined view is created from front view by rotation around X, Y and Z axes of display. This function
defines the rotation angles.
Saving Views
You can save up to eight views that contain rotation, zoom and pan settings. The Predefined Tools toolbar enables you to easily restore these saved views.
Save View - click this icon and select the number of the saved view.
The other icons on this toolbar restore the numbered views. Your views are saved with the file.
Both the 2D and 3D components of a file can each contain eight saved views.
Predefined Views toolbar
Shaded and Wireframe Display
Shade/Wireframe Entire Display - SHW
Switches the display from shaded to wireframe or vice versa.
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Chapter 13. 3D Modeling
3D Display Settings
3D Shading and Edges Settings - 3DS
Enables you to change how 3D objects are displayed. You can define:
• Displaying edges. You can define shininess of edges, edges darkness and whether the tangent
connections of patches are displayed.
• Surface reflectance. Enables to set light attributes and defines method of surface shading. See Surface
Shading (page 87).
Colors and Wires of Solids - SCO
This function defines:
• Density of nonplanar surface wires. Density setting affects solids displaying, if all space is displayed
as wireframed or if a particular solid is displayed as wireframed.
• If the entire solid is displayed in the same color. Otherwise each component added to the solid during
past Boolean operations is displayed in the original color.
• Colors of new solids. New 3D objects like a solid, hole, filleting etc are created in the selected color.
You may also select different colors for entire groups of objects. Thus, the objects are distinguished
easily from the rest. This option overrides objects' own colors, if turned on. Turned off, the objects are
displayed again in their own colors.
You may select a distinct color for:
• Filleting
• Chamfering
• Threaded surfaces
• Mechanical parts inserted from libraries
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Chapter 13. 3D Modeling
Solid display settings window
View Rotation - Arrow Keys - S3K
Sets the increments of view rotation when Shift, Ctrl, and arrow keys are used.
Auto View Rotation Center - VCN
Sets the view rotation center to the center of gravity of all visible solids.
Define View Rotation Center - VCNI
Sets the view rotation center to a specified location.
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Precise Displaying
Precise Rendering - SRD
Renders 3D objects precisely. Smoothly rendered images are more realistic and can be used in product
presentation materials such as brochures. For this type of rendering, it is recommended to work in
true-color mode. You can use a graphics application to capture VariCAD screens. Once selected, precise
rendering persists until any 3D edit function is used. It means that you can use all functions working
with display, like standard views, view rotation etc. and precise rendering is still present. Some settings
are similar to standard display settings, however set values can be different for each display mode.
For precise rendering, you can set the following attributes:
• Surface reflectance. Enables to set light attributes and defines a method of surface shading. See
Surface Shading (page 87).
• Display perspective. You can turn perspective on or off. If the perspective is on, you can smoothly
change relative eye distance. This distance is defined as eye distance from nearest 3D space location
divided by 3D space dimension.
• Light position. Defines the light position by the cursor movement.
• Reset light position. Sets the light position above the center of display.
• Round surface smoothness. Each nonplanar surface is displayed as a certain amount of tiny planar
facets. If the number of facets is increased, displaying is more precise and slower. Facets are obvious,
for instance, on a cylinder in large zoom, if the sight line is parallel to the cylinder axis.
• Edges displaying. You can define shininess of edges, edges darkness and whether the tangent
connections of patches are displayed. These settings are similar to standard display settings.
• Threads displaying. Optionally, you may select a schematic display of threads. Threaded surface is
distinguished by a helix curve exactly corresponding to the thread pitch. We recommend turning off
the different color of threads if you want to display helixes at threaded surfaces.
Surface Shading
For surface shading, you can set the following attributes:
• Ambient reflectance. Defines darkness of the surface lighted under a great angle (diverted surface).
The angle of lighting is angle between ray of light and surface‟s normal.
• Specular reflectance. Defines lightness of surface lighted under zero angle. If set to 0, no light spot
under light source is displayed and surface shininess setting is ineffective.
• Surface shininess. Defines contrast of the light spot under the light source.
• Light ambient intensity. Defines intensity of scattered light. This value can be set only for precise
displaying.
It is recommended to combine precise displaying with selection of the proper color palette. All values
can be easily changed, effect is seen immediately and values can be reset whenever.
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Shading surface settings window
Setting 3D Display Performance
OpenGl Settings - OGL
You can tune up performance of 3D objects displaying. This function allows you to select between two
different approaches to OpenGl display-lists:
• Safe Mode. This mode is generally better, requires less memory, file open functions are faster and
activating any file from the open files is significantly faster.
• Alternative Mode. This mode can be faster in 3D objects redrawing, especially when you rotate,
rescale or pan the view dynamically. Alternative mode is not recommended for ATI-based graphic
adapters.
Other settings are related to the method of objects displaying. They can be commonly set to two levels:
• Maximum Performance Settings. This option is default and gives you more comfortable display of 3D
objects, especially highlighting detected objects. If the graphic adapter is set to antialiased display,
this option is necessary. Otherwise, the objects may not be detected properly (especially the edges
alone), or the objects are not displayed correctly, when they are highlighted under the cursor.
• Basic Settings. This option is better for slow computers without an accelerated graphic adapter.
Settings related to the method of displaying can be performed individually, according to the current
system behavior. For most of the hardware, the default settings are the best option.
Setting Graphic Adapter
We recommend that you set the graphic adapter (graphic card driver) to obtain the best display of 3D
objects. The setting must be done from your operating system and depends on the currently used driver.
Usually, the accelerated adapters allow you a lot of settings. The following images show you settings of
a NVIDIA adapter. The other types (like ATI) allow you similar settings.
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Typical default settings
Recommended settings
Do not set Antialiasing-setting value to more than 8. Otherwise, detection of 3D edges may not work
properly. Without antialiasing, the edges and boundaries of shaded objects are jagged, if displayed under
an angle close to 0 or 90 degrees.
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Example of the aliased display method
Example of the antialiased display method
Test of Hardware - HWTEST
This function is useful if you want to compare performance of different hardware, like graphic adapters,
main boards, processors etc. You can also use this function for comparison of the safe and fast modes set
in “OpenGl Settings”. Basically, hardware test prepares solids for 3D display and displays them. Time
of both tasks is measured.
Results are only informative and can vary with different VariCAD versions. To obtain correct values,
use rather large assemblies or more complex objects. For comparison of results, use always the same
unchanged file, 3D view, graphic resolution and settings.
2D Drawing in 3D
If you create a new profile further used for rotation or extrusion to 3D or if you edit an existing profile
of solid, VariCAD uses 2D drawing functions directly in 3D space. 2D drawing in 3D uses the same
functions as the standard VariCAD 2D editor or 3D modeler, but the functions are limited only to
drawing, editing or display control.
You can select the drawing plane, if you create a new profile (see Creating 3D Solids from 2D Profiles
(page 92) )
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Displaying Objects
The 2D profile is drawn in one color. You can switch display of objects using the following functions:
Toggle between thick and thin outlines display in 2D
Switch on/off the auxiliary grid in the drawing plane
Toggle all 3D solids display between shaded and wireframed
Work with zoom, pan or view rotation or undo-redo of view changes are the same as in 3D. There are
additional methods related to the 2D drawing plane:
Define zoom by two window corners in the drawing plane
Drawing plane perpendicular to a view
Zoom all in the projected drawing plane
Select a center of 3D view rotation in the drawing plane
2D Drawing
The functions are limited to drawing or editing lines, arcs, curves or points. 2D drawing in 3D does not
support any functions working with texts, dimensions, blocks or hatches. You can use Copy and Paste;
insert an existing drawing into the drawing plane or save selected objects to a file. If unsupported objects
(like text objects) are inserted from another drawing, they are automatically deleted.
Usage of construction lines is the same as in 2D. Auxiliary grid, however, can be switched between
sparse or dense pitch and switched off. The pitch is initially defined automatically according to dimensions of edited profile. You can change the pitch in a command:
Parameters of Aux. Grid - AXGP
Working with 3D
During the definition of a location in the 2D drawing plane, you can select the location in 3D space. The
result is the nearest perpendicularly projected point in the drawing plane. Press the following icon in the
2D location toolbar to allow this:
3D location projected into the drawing plane
You can also create new 2D objects (lines, arcs or curves) as an intersection of a selected 3D solid and
plane:
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Chapter 13. 3D Modeling
2D Object as Solid X Drawing Plane - SXDP
2D Object as Patch X Drawing Plane - PXDP
Creating Solids
Many 3D solids can be created by extruding, rotating or lofting 2D profiles. Other basic solids such as
cylinders, boxes, cones or pyramids can be defined by entering dimensions. Nearly all mechanical parts
are comprised of basic solids, which can be joined and/or trimmed. Combining and subtracting solids
are called Boolean operations, and resulting solids are called “Boolean Trees.” VariCAD provides tools
to add solids and to use one solid to cut another, either keeping or deleting the cutting solid.
Commonly-used Boolean operations such as drilling holes, creating grooves, and cutting by a large box
are also available. Blending functions are provided for rounding and chamfering solid edges.
Creating 3D Solids from 2D Profiles
Using 2D profiles to create solids enables you to model a wide range of objects. The solid shape can be
edited by modifying the original 2D profile.
Defining a 2D Profile
When using a 3D function that requires a 2D profile as input, you will be optionally switched to the 2D
drawing area. You can stay in 3D and create the profile using 2D drawing in 3D. In this case, you can
define a drawing plane:
• As an existing plane at a solid
• Plane created by selected axes at a selected solid
• Plane defined by 3 points
• Plane created by selected axes of 3D space
If you create a new profile used for extrusion, rotation or other similar method of solid creation, the
created solid is pre-inserted according to the profile‟s location in 3D space.
If you edit an existing profile of a solid, you will always stay in 3D and the profile will be edited with
2D drawing methods in 3D.
Profiles are comprised of 2D line, arc segments or NURBS 2D curves. There are two methods of profile
detection:
Detect Profile Segments (or press E) - define the profile segment by segment
Detect Profile (or press F) - select one segment and the entire chained profile is detected
Pressing Enter or right-clicking finishes the profile definition. When the solid is created, you return to
3D space in which you can define the object location. See Transforming and Copying Solids (page 110).
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Profiles used for 3D solids must be continuous. If multiple profiles are used, they cannot intersect; one
profile must completely encompass the other profiles. Profiles used in a Revolve operation cannot
intersect with the revolving axis.
Lines, circles or circular arcs can be selected for all type of solid creations. 2D splines (curves) can be
selected only for full or partial rotation or for extrusion.
Solid Insertion Point
Prior to selecting a 2D profile, most solid functions require you to enter the solid height or revolving angle. Along with these parameters, you can also identify the solid insertion point and set the X axis direction. If you do not select an insertion point, the point at lower left point of profile will be used. If you do
not set the X axis, the default 2D X axis will be used. The insertion point and X axis direction are used
when inserting the solid into 3D space.
Example of Insertion Points
Solid Insertion Point Setting - IPST
This function is available under System Settings. Although this setting can be done within the profile
definition, not all functions offer this. Insertion point setting during profile definition is possible only
when the solid height or rotation angle is defined. You can use this function at any time, and it will set
the insertion point for subsequent solids. You can also choose whether to define the insertion point and
X axis direction automatically.
Revolving, Extruding, and Lofting Profiles
Full Revolve - RSO
Revolves one open or closed profile 360 degrees about a revolving axis. For an open profile, the axis is
defined by the profile endpoints. For a closed profile, you must define the axis. If the insertion point is
defined automatically, it is located at the first defined point of the revolving axis. When selecting closed
profiles, multiple profiles are allowed inside one outer profile - this will create holes in the solid.
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Example of Full Revolve using an open profile
Partial Revolve - RSOP
Similar to Full Revolve, except that you can enter a revolving angle less than 360 degrees.
Example of Partial Revolve using closed profiles
Extrude - ESO
Extrudes, or sweeps, a profile to a specified height, forming a solid. Profiles must be closed and multiple
profiles are allowed inside the outer profile - this will create holes in the solid.
Prismatic Loft - PYR
Creates a solid by lofting one closed profile, or one closed profile with one inner profile, by a specified
height toward another, similar profile or profiles. Lofted profiles must be similar - two circles, rectangle
of the same orientation, polygons of the same orientation, etc.
Loft Rectangle to Circle - PRC
Similar to Prismatic Loft, this function lofts a rectangle toward a circle or vice-versa. The rectangle can
have rounded corners.
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Example of Extrude, Prismatic Loft and Loft Rectangle to Circle
Helical Surfaces and Coils
Coil (Rotated Profile) - PRR
Similar to Prismatic Loft, Coil creates solids by lofting one profile to another while rotating as well. The
2D profile can be open, in which case only one profile is used and the revolving axis is defined by the
profile endpoints. With closed profiles, multiple profiles are allowed inside the outer profiles - this will
create holes in the solid, and the revolving axis must be defined. The base and top profiles must be similar to one another, as in Prismatic Loft (page 93).
Example of solid coil, created by lofting and rotating profiles
Helix - HLX
Creates a solid by extruding and rotating a 2D closed profile. Multiple profiles are allowed inside the
outer profiles - this will create holes in the solid. You can choose whether the profiles represent the radial, normal or axial section. For example, a spring uses a circle as the normal section. Using a negative
rotation angle will result in a helix with left ascent.
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Example of spring helix defined by a normal section
Basic Solids
Basic solids are easy to create; you only need to specify basic dimensions. Editing involves changing the
basic dimensions, or modifying any 2D profiles that are used. When entering solid dimensions, you have
the option of copying any or all dimensions from another solid of the same type. Primarily, dimensions
of solids are edited using spatial dimensioning. Optionally, you can select entering dimensions in panel.
In panel, you can also change basic shape, like chamfering cylinders etc.
Cylinders, Cones, Boxes, Pyramids, Pipes, Spheres
The basic solids are as follows:
Box - PRS
Cylinder - CYL
(with option of rounding or chamfering either end)
Cone - CON
Pyramid - TPY
(uses rectangular base)
Pipe Elbow - PEL
Pipe - PIP
Cone Pipe - CPI
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Solid Elbow - ELW
Sphere - SPH
Cylinder window
Editing Solids
Solids can be edited by:
• Changing the location of their components (see Inserting and Transforming Solids (page 110) )
• Deleting their components (see Deleting Solids (page 104) )
• Adding or removing volume (see Boolean Operations (page 100) )
• Changing basic solid shapes (see Editing Basic Solids (page 105) )
• Changing visibility, color, shading, or method of detection
Selecting Solids
Edit functions, like other functions, require you to select objects. You can select objects one at a time, or
use methods for selecting groups of objects. Many functions allow you to select an entire solid or only
its components. For example, you can delete entire mechanical parts, or only a hole or fillet.
Objects are detected for selection when the cursor passes over them. If wireframed displaying is used or
if a particular solid is displayed as wireframed, object is detected if the cursor passes over an edge or
wire. The density of wires for automatic detection can be defined in 3D Colors and Wires of Solids
(page 85). Selected objects are stored in a temporary work set, and are highlighted and displayed in
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wireframe. You can add or remove objects from this set. Pressing Enter or right-clicking finishes the
selection and processes the objects in the set.
In some functions, only certain types of objects can be selected. In such situation you can‟t detect all
objects. For instance, you can‟t edit basic solid‟s shape, if the solid is imported from STEP. Such objects
can‟t be detected in solids selection for basic shape editing.
During object selection, a temporary toolbar appears. It contains the following selection options:
Icon
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Hotkey
Selection
T
Entire Solid - solid and its components will be selected.
S
Single Elements - only the basic solid will be selected. This is
useful for selecting a basic solid added to another solid, such as a
rib or fillet.
B
Branches - components of solids (Boolean branches) will be
selected. Components are detected as the cursor passes over the
solid, according to how they are connected to the root solid.
N/A
Selecting objects from a list of the Boolean tree.
A
All Solids - selects all visible solids in the file.
R
Completely Inside - selects objects completely inside the
selection window.
I
Inside - selects objects completely or partially inside the selection
window.
U
Outside - selects objects completely or partially outside the
selection window.
O
Completely Outside - selects objects completely outside the
selection window.
P
Previously Selected - once again selects objects selected in
previous action
G
3D Group - selects a group of 3D objects. The list of groups is
displayed and you can select the group.
N/A
Selects an entire constrained group.
E
Names or Attributes - select objects according to their names or
attributes
N/A
Undo Selection – cancels last selection step
X
Select/Deselect - switches between adding and deleting objects
from the selected set.
Chapter 13. 3D Modeling
3D Selection Settings - SLS
For 3D objects selection, you can modify:
• To highlight wires of nonplanar patches, if the cursor passes over them. Edges are always highlighted.
• Size of the cursor aperture.
• If the wires of the selected solids are displayed always up. Otherwise they can be displayed as
partially hidden under other solids, if such solids are above them.
• Configure whether and how the selection window (marquee) is started, if you click the left mouse
button and no 3D object is under the cursor.
Visibility of 3D Objects
For large files, shading can be time-consuming, and you do not always need to have all items visible.
Blanking objects can improve system speed. When loading files, you have the option to be warned when
objects are blanked. Blanked objects, however, are not processed in any operations.
Blank - BL3, Ctrl + B
Makes selected objects invisible.
Unblank - UB3, Ctrl + U
Unblanks objects that were blanked.
3D Groups Management – 3GR, Ctrl + F1
Among other possibilities, this function also changes visibility of 3D groups. See Groups of Solids (page
118) for details on solid groups.
Shading and Colors of Individual Solids
You can shade all solids or only selected solids. If the display is switched to shaded, all objects will be
shaded except those objects set to display in wireframe. Wires drawn on edges or surfaces are hidden
behind shaded objects. Turning off the shading of selected objects allows you to see inner parts of an
assembly.
Shade/Wireframe Selected Solids - SHC
First select shaded or wireframe then select the solids to display.
3D Groups Management – 3GR, Ctrl + F1
Among other possibilities, this function also changes shading of solid groups. See Groups of Solids
(page 118) for details on solid groups.
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Example of selective shading
Change Color - CS3
Changes colors of selected solids or their components. When solids are set to all be created in the same
color, changing a component color will not have any effect because components use the color of the root
solid. See Colors and Wires of Solids (page 85).
Boolean Operations - Adding and Cutting Solids
Adding solids together and using one solid to cut volume from another are called Boolean operation.
These operations can be performed when solids have volume in common (overlap) or have at least one
common (or partially common) surface. In addition to Boolean operations described in this section, there
are other predefined Boolean operations including drilling holes, milling, creating grooves, filleting and
chamfering.
Boolean Operations
Add Solid – ADD, Ctrl + A
Combines two solids into one object. First select the solid to be added, then select the solid to be added
to. Although the final result is the same, the selection order can be important. If the solids have properties such as certain attributes or group membership, the final solid will have the properties of the second
selected solid - the root solid.
Cut, Delete Cutting Solid – CUT, Ctrl + W
Uses one solid as a cutting tool to remove volume from another solid. The cutting solid is then deleted.
For example, to create a conical hole, use a cone as a cutting tool to remove volume from a cube.
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Example of Cut, Delete Cutting Solid. The spline is the cutting tool, the pin is the root solid.
The spline is embedded into the pin.
The resulting cut solid. The spline is deleted.
Cut, Keep Cutting Solid - CUTS
Similar to Cut, Delete Cutting Solid, except that the cutting solid is not deleted.
Selective Add - ADDPC
Similar to Add, used to add solids that overlap or extend past the root solid. Select the added solid at the
section you want to remain; other sections will be trimmed.
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Example of Selective Add. The cylindrical pin is to be added to the U-iron. The pin is selected where
indicated.
The resulting added solid. Only the section selected was added, the rest of the solid was trimmed.
Using the same initial solids, the pin is selected at a different location.
The resulting added solid. The middle section only was added.
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Selective Cut, Delete Cutting Solid - CUTPS
Similar to Cut, Delete Cutting Solid. For the cut solid, only the section you select will remain; other sections will be deleted. The cutting solid is also deleted.
Selective Cut, Keep Cutting Solid - CPSS
Similar to Selective Cut, Delete Cutting Solid, but the cutting solid is not deleted.
Solid Intersection - SIN
The result of the solid intersection is a volume common for both selected solids.
Common Boolean Operations
Hole, Mill, and Groove all use a cutting tool to remove volume. The dimensions of the cuttings tools are
specified as for basic 3D elements; you can also copy dimensions from another object. For example, in
the Hole function, you can copy the dimensions of an existing hole.
Holes, Grooves, Cutting by Planes
Hole - HOL
Remove cylinders (holes) from objects. You can optionally create recesses, or use a chamfered or tapered bottom.
Hole creation window
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Mill - MILL
Removes volume by using a box as a cutting tool. If the box dimensions are large enough, you can, in
effect, cut by plane.
Groove - GRV
Removes volume by using a spline tool.
Resolving Solids
Explode Boolean Tree - TRX
Resolves a selected solid into its basic parts. Solids used for adding or cutting are changed back to their
original objects.
3D Filleting and Chamfering
When using these blending functions, first select the edges to be filleted (rounded) or chamfered.
Selected edges must be continuous. Then specify the fillet radius or chamfer distance. Rounded or
chamfered edges are kept if the solid changes during editing. The Fillet function resolves fillet
overhangs and undercuts in most cases.
For filleting, you can select optionally:
• Whether the rounded corners will be created, if two edges at the corner are rounded and the third edge
is rounded finally. You can suppress the creation of rounded corners if the surface of the solid will be
selected for further unbending. Edges rounded previously to version 2007 do not create rounded
corners. To change this, edit their properties.
• If the filleting of the edge will be cut in case when the selected edge segment has another adjacent
segment tangentially connected and not selected for blending (continuous edge is not selected completely, only some segments are selected).
3D Fillet - RN3, Ctrl + F
3D Chamfer - CH3, Ctrl + R
For chamfering, you can define a chamfer distance different for each side of the chamfered edge. If you
select an edge of a threaded surface (for instance, end of screw or edge of threaded hole), optionally, the
chamfer distance may correspond to the respective thread.
Deleting Solids
Delete Solids – RMS, Ctrl + D
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Deletes selected solids. You can select entire solids as well as their components. For example, you can
use this function to delete holes, fillets, ribs, etc. If such parts are selected, the solid will be regenerated,
which may take time for complex objects.
Editing Shape of Solids
Edit Solid Element Shape
Edit Solid - MSO
This function allows you to:
• Edit the shape of one or more similar basic solids together. This is the default option whenever editing
of basic solids is started.
• Change basic solids locations within the entire solid. See Transforming and Copying Solids (page
110) for more details how to change object‟s location.
• Translate basic solids according to previously changed dimensions.
Method of solid‟s shape editing is selected from toolbar:
Icon
Key
Use
N/A
Edit shape of basic solids or blending
N/A
Transform elements within solid
N/A
Translate basic solids according to previously changed
dimensions
N/A
Change diameter of pipe or wire
N/A
Change thickness of shell
N/A
Shell pattern edit
Enter
Finish selection of elements to be edited
N/A
Undo edit change
Enter
Finish editing
The Enter key (finish) is available either for “finish selection” or for “finish editing”.
Edit Solid Element Shape
Select a basic solid to be edited. After selecting the first object, you can select more same basic elements
from solid. Then confirm selection. If more objects were selected, shape change is performed for all of
them at once. For instance, you can change several holes, fillets or any same elements together.
Following objects are considered as the same elements:
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• Basic shapes as boxes or cylinders, see Basic Solids (page 96).
• Holes, predefined cuts or predefined grooves.
• Fillets or chamfers.
• Objects created by profile extrusion, rotation or lofting.
For instance, if the first selected object is a box, then other selected objects can be only boxes until the
selection is finished. If the first object is a fillet, then next can be only fillets, etc. To distinguish how an
object will be edited, the cursor is changed according a type of the object.
Cursor types:
Cursor
Use
Object cannot be selected – object belongs to different solid than first selected
object or object is different than first solid
Spatial dimensions will be used for object‟s shape modification
Object is fillet
Object is chamfer
2D creation profile will be edited
Object is shell, thickness will be changed
Object is pipe or wire, diameter(s) will be changed.
Object cannot be changed. Object is imported from STEP.
Object cannot be changed. Object is in active section.
Shell shape editing, spatial dimensions will be used.
Shell shape editing, fillet radius will be changed.
Shell shape editing, chamfer distance will be changed.
Shell shape editing, 2D creation profile will be edited.
Shell shape editing, element cannot be changed – object is different than first
selected object or object is imported from STEP
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Pipe segment editing, shape of straight segment or elbow will be changed.
As a basic solid, you can select solids used in Boolean operations - a solid added to another solid, or a
cutting solid used to remove volume from another solid. As a basic solid, you cannot select any object
imported from STEP. If the solid to be edited was created from a 2D profile, such as an Extrude or
Revolve, you can edit the 2D profile. If the cursor passes over such an object during solid selection and
the object is highlighted, the creating profile is also displayed. Together with this profile, its axes are
displayed, too. This allows you easy orientation while editing the profile. After selecting the solid, the
system switches to 2D drawing in 3D, and 2D editing functions are available. The profile is displayed
with its original X and Y axes. When the editing is completed, click the icon on the Edit 2D Profile
toolbar. Then reselect the profile‟s 2D objects. See also Defining a 2D Profile (page 92). When editing
2D creation profile, you can leave the task only by clicking any icon in 2D Edit toolbar. This toolbar
offers you to:
• Finish editing. After such an option, select a new profile and editing is completed.
• Step back to another solid selection.
• Edit solid using spatial dimensioning or table of solid dimensions, if the edited object was originally
created as a box, cylinder, pyramid, hole or another predefined 3D solid.
Rotated object created from a profile
Editing the object‟s profile
Predefined solids (box, cylinder, pipe, etc.) or results of predefined Boolean operations (hole etc.) can be
comfortably edited using spatial dimensioning. Optionally, you can select dimensions definition in the
table (window). Such an option allows you to change also basic parameters, like add a recess to a hole.
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Example of the solid edited using spatial dimensions
Example of fillet editing
After specifying changes, the entire solid is regenerated. It is possible that editing will cause a situation
in which the solid cannot be regenerated. Example: a 10mm hole drilled into a 20 x 20 x 20 cube. If the
diameter of the hole changes to 50mm, the solid cannot be regenerated. In cases like these, you will
receive an error message, and the Boolean tree remains unchanged.
Change Basic Solids Locations within the Entire Solid
See Transforming and Copying Solids (page 110) for more details how to change object‟s location. For
changing the object‟s location within entire solid, you can select object of any type (unlike the selection
for shape editing), except the blending.
Translate basic solids according to previously changed dimensions
This option is available only if the translation distance and direction can be exactly determined. For
instance, if you change height of a box, you can translate any other objects in direction of Z-axis of the
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box at a distance predefined as a difference of the previous and new height. Thus you can easily
preserve position of any objects relative to changed side of the box.
If the option is available, an arrow in a respective direction is displayed. You can select objects to be
translated and then click arrow or icon. You can also click the icon first and then select objects to be
translated.
If you need only to change the solid element‟s location use Transforming and Copying Solids (page 110)
instead.
Editing of Shells
Shell is created as offset patches connected to selected patches at a given thickness. You can change:
• Thickness of entire shell (see edit options above).
• Shape of elements of solid the patches are selected from (shape of pattern).
• Position of elements of solid the patches are selected from.
Selecting elements for a shape change, the cursor type is changed differently than for other ordinary
solids - see Cursor types (page 105).
The shape of the pattern can be changed separately. You may extract a copy of the pattern solid back
into 3D space. Then, you may perform any editing functions. After the all changes, select again the
corresponding shell for pattern editing. Confirm, add or remove patches. The shell will be rebuilt. This
method allows you to rebuild the shell, if you need:
• Pattern solid changed with Boolean operations.
• Work with geometric constraints within the pattern solid.
• Rebuild the shell from different pattern patches.
Example of the shell editing
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Editing Pipes or Wires
Pipes or wires are created as a set of cylindrical segments and elbows.
You can change:
• Diameters of the entire pipe or wire at once (see the respective option above).
• Shape of selected elements of a pipe or wire. If used and more elements are selected, all dimensions
are copied to all selected elements. Do not use such a method if the only diameter is changed. Use this
method for more elements only if all elements should have the same lengths and diameters or in case
of elbows with the same angles and radii.
Transforming and Copying Solids
Solid Object Coordinate System
When locating a solid in 3D space, it is placed by its insertion point. The insertion point of each solid is
defined during the solid creation. When solids are joined together, the default insertion point becomes
the point of the object to which the other object is added (the root solid). When inserting multiple
objects, the insertion point of the first selected object is used. You can redefine the insertion point
location at any time.
Each basic element has its own axes. These axes are displayed when the object is inserted, or whenever
its position changes. The origin of a solid‟s axes is at its insertion point. These axes can be used for
translation and rotation for the attached solids, as well as for other solids.
3D Space Coordinate System
The global X, Y, and Z axes of 3D space are always displayed at the lower left corner of the 3D area.
These axes indicate only the axis directions; the origin may be elsewhere. When first inserting a solid,
the solid axes are identical to the global axes, until the solid position is changed.
Inserting and Transforming Solids
Translate, Rotate, Copy Solids - STC, Ctrl + Q
First select the objects to be transformed or copied. Then define their new location. You can select entire
objects as well as their separate components such as holes. If components are selected, some parts may
not regenerate after transformation. For example, if you move a hole outside its object, the hole cannot
be generated. In this case you will receive a warning message. Methods of insertion, translation, copying,
etc. can be selected from the 3D Location toolbar. This temporary toolbar appears whenever solids are
inserted or transformed. There are also case-sensitive hotkeys for most options.
Defining Vectors and Rotation Axes
Some functions require a predefined vector or rotation axis. You can define these by the following
methods:
• Two points
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• Axis of a rotation surface (for instance a cylindrical surface)
• Selecting a point and normal plane
• Selecting X, Y or Z axis of the entire solid
• Selecting X, Y or Z axis of a solid‟s part. If this or previous option is selected, axes preview is
displayed whenever the cursor passes over each object.
Transforming Objects Using their Axes
Whenever transforming or inserting any objects, their axes are displayed at the location of the object‟s
insertion point. Although you can use any transformation methods clicking icons in the panel (see in the
next sections), the most comfortable method is to use the axes directly:
• Click the outer section of the axis (arrow). Then you can define a translation distance for translation in
arrow‟s direction. You can also make more copies in this direction.
• Click the rotation arrow. Then you can define an angle of object‟s rotation. Rotation is performed
around the corresponding axis.
• Click the inner section of the axis. Pop-up menu appears and you can select dragging, axis direction
along or against the defined vector or additional rotation around the corresponding axis. Two more
options are also available for each object – inserting into the circle‟s center or halfway between two
points.
Example of solid‟s transformation axes.
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The color of the axes could be different for color palettes. By default, for a dark background the X axis
is red, Y axis white and Z axis green. For a light background, X axis is red, Y axis blue and Z axis green.
Translating by Distance
Moves solids according to a specified axis and distance.
Icon
Key
Use
x
Moves along the solid‟s own X axis
y
Moves along the solid‟s own Y axis
z
Moves along the solid‟s own Z axis
t
Defines a vector along which to move
T
Moves along the predefined vector
Dynamic Translation
First define a location, which is projected to a dragging vector. The solid insertion point is translated
along the vector to the projected location. Move the cursor to translate objects dynamically. Press Enter
or right-click to finish translation. You can drag objects simply moving the cursor or the objects are
moved only if you detect a new location. See 3D Locations Settings (page 117).
Icon
Key
Use
N/A
Moves dynamically along the solid‟s own X axis
N/A
Moves dynamically along the solid‟s own Y axis
N/A
Moves dynamically along the solid‟s own Z axis
N/A
Defines a vector along which to move dynamically
N/A
Moves dynamically along the predefined vector
Rotating by Angle
Rotates solids around a defined rotation axis, by a specified angle.
Icon
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Key
Use
u
Rotates along the solid‟s own X axis
v
Rotates along the solid‟s own Y axis
w
Rotates along the solid‟s own Z axis
Chapter 13. 3D Modeling
r
Defines an axis around which to rotate
R
Rotates around the predefined axis
Dynamic Rotation
First, define a reference point. The reference point is rotated to a plane, which is defined by a rotation
axis and a defined point. You can also use the cursor to dynamically rotate around the axis. Press Enter
or right-click to finish rotating. You can drag objects simply moving the cursor or the objects are moved
only if you detect a new location. See 3D Locations Settings (page 117).
Icon
Key
Use
N/A
Rotates dynamically along the solid‟s own X axis
N/A
Rotates dynamically along the solid‟s own Y axis
N/A
Rotates dynamically along the solid‟s own Z axis
N/A
Defines an axis around which to dynamically rotate
N/A
Rotates dynamically around the predefined axis
Additional Rotation around an Axis
VariCAD allows you to perform additional rotation of transformed objects around an axis. You can
select rotation from a panel containing transformation commands or from a pop-up menu after clicking
the inner part of the translation axis. Then enter a rotation angle and the objects are rotated around the
corresponding axis. Axes remain in the same position.
Additional rotation can be conveniently combined with geometrical constraints and parameters.
Icon
Key
Use
N/A
Additional rotation around own X axis
N/A
Additional rotation around own Y axis
N/A
Additional rotation around own Z axis
Setting the Direction of Solids Axes
These functions can be used to reorient a solid by changing the direction of its axes.
Icon
Key
Use
N/A
Sets solid X axis direction along defined vector
N/A
Sets solid X axis direction along previously defined vector
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N/A
Sets solid Y axis direction along defined vector
N/A
Sets solid Y axis direction along previously defined vector
N/A
Sets solid Z axis direction along defined vector
N/A
Sets solid Z axis direction along previously defined vector
N/A
Sets all solid axis directions along all axes of another entire solid
N/A
Sets all solid axis directions along all axes of another part of solid
Positioning by Plane
These functions enable you to position solids relative to a selected plane. The solid axes can be directed
along or against the plane normal. See also Selecting Planes (page 117).
Icon
Key
Use
N/A
Sets X axis against plane normal
N/A
Sets X axis along plane normal
N/A
Sets Y axis against plane normal
N/A
Sets Y axis along plane normal
N/A
Sets Z axis against plane normal
N/A
Sets Z axis along plane normal
N/A
Sets normal of any selected solid‟s plane along another plane
normal
N/A
Sets normal of any selected solid‟s plane against another plane
normal
Additional Boolean Operation, Constraints Definition
After the final position of transformed or inserted objects is defined, you may optionally perform a
Boolean operation. Objects can be added to or cut from a selected root solid.
You may also select repeated Boolean operations. In such a case the operation is performed each time
you press Enter or click the corresponding icon (the Insert icon). The object is used as a Boolean
operation tool, the operation is performed and then the copy of the original object is transformed again.
Using this method, you may repeatedly insert and add solids to one selected root solid. You may also
add multiple solids to one root solid at a time.
You can also define geometric constraints. Constraints are defined after a Boolean operation. For more
information about the geometric constraints, see Geometric Constraints (page 121). Available options
are:
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Additional Boolean Operation after Location
Insert and add to a selected solid.
Insert and cut from a selected solid.
Insert and add to a selected solid repeatedly.
Insert and cut from a selected solid repeatedly.
Stop the repeated Boolean operations.
Define or Edit Constraints after Location
Insert and add to a selected solid.
Insert and cut from a selected solid.
Changing Insertion Point, Displaying Axes
You can redefine a solid insertion point at any time. If you are transforming multiple solids, the insertion
point of the first selected solid is used, but you can choose to use another insertion point. There are also
options for displaying solid axes. See also Solid Object Coordinate System (page 110).
Icon
Key
Use
n
Defines new insertion point
N
Defines solid whose insertion point will be used
Inserting and Copying
Transformed solids are inserted into their final position by pressing Enter or right-clicking. You can also
choose to copy instead of insert. In this case, you must insert the transformed objects first. After
insertion, the objects are copied and you can continue inserting. You cannot insert a copy into the
position of the original object.
When an object is copied, its attributes are copied as well. Therefore, we recommend assigning
attributes before copying. You can also create identical (linked) copies that share future edits (see Identical Copies of Solids (page 116).
Icon
Key
Use
Enter
Insert - inserts object into their final position
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N/A
Undo - goes one step back, undoes previous transformation
+
Copy
-
Cancel Copy - turns off copying
N/A
Copy, creates identical copies
Identical Copies of Solids
When copying solids, you can choose to create identical (linked) copies. This means that if any member
of the copy group is changed, the change is automatically implemented on all group members. When
one object in the group is selected, all identical copies are highlighted. Identical copies are also created
when inserting a part into an assembly.
When copying members of a group of identical copies to another location, newly created objects are
members of identical copies only if identical copying is turned on. In case of plain copying, these objects do not belong to a group of identical copies.
Break Identical Copy Link - RSI
Enables you to select objects to be removed from the group of identical copies or from group of solids
inserted from a part (assembly-part connection). This breaks the link between the objects.
Break Identical Copy Group - RIC
Breaks connection between all solids and a corresponding identical copy group.
Defining 3D Locations
Using snap points and significant locations can be used when inserting and transforming solids, as well
as in other functions such as measuring and checking. You can use either toolbar icons or keyboard keys.
The cursor automatically detects solid edges and curves. If the cursor approaches a snap point, a symbol
appears next to the cursor. Clicking when you see this symbol selects the point. The following letters
indicate snap points:
• E - edge endpoint
• M - edge midpoint
To snap to an endpoint E, midpoint M, or arc/curve center of gravity point C, press the corresponding
key when the edge is highlighted. To use the toolbar icon, click the icon first and then click the edge or
object. If you click on an edge when no snap point is indicated, the location is defined at the point on the
edge nearest to the cursor.
If you select any specific location mode clicking icon in select toolbar, then the only selected mode is
performed. For instance, if you select location of midpoint of edge, whenever you approach any edge, its
midpoint is highlighted. The point can be detected clicking left mouse button wherever over
corresponding edge. Predefined location mode persists until any selection is performed, or until any
other mode is selected or until you click the same icon again.
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There is a difference between the center of gravity of a curve and the center of an arc. The arc center is
the point from which all arc‟s points are at same distance. Only for a full circle are the center and center
of gravity identical.
Icon
Key
Use
m
Midpoint of edge
e
Edge endpoint
2
Circle or arc center
c
Center of gravity of edge
N/A
Snap to nearest point on selected edge
k
X, Y, Z coordinates
d
Delta X, delta Y, delta Z from a specified point
g
Between two points, at a defined distance from the first point
b
Halfway between two defined points
p
Solid (element) insertion point
q
Entire solid insertion point
N/A
Intersection of a rotation surface axis and a plane
N/A
Intersection of a line and a plane
Selecting Planes
The cursor automatically detects planes. If plane selection is required and the cursor moves over a plane,
all plane boundaries are highlighted. The plane is selected by clicking when the plane is highlighted. It is
possible to have plane boundaries common to more than one plane and select plane of wireframed object.
In such cases, approach the plane boundary from inside the plane, proceeding toward the boundary.
3D Locations Settings
3D Location Settings - 3DL
The following location options are available:
• Allow dragging by cursor - if used, you can dynamically change location by dragging the cursor. If
not used, location is defined by specifying the insertion point. See also Dynamic Translation (page
112) or Dynamic Rotation (page 113).
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• Allow detection of inserted or translated solids - if not used, you cannot detect any points or planes of
inserted or translated objects.
• Insert new solids at the location of the previous insertion (selected by default) - this is convenient for
most situations. However, when changing zoom and pan settings, you might not see the new object. If
this occurs, define the location at some specified point and the object will appear. If this option is not
selected, solids are inserted into the origin of coordinate system.
• Wires of transformed objects are displayed always up. Otherwise they can be partially hidden by other
solids above them.
Mirroring and Rescaling Solids
Mirror - MIRR3
The mirror plane must be defined first, by one of the following methods:
• An existing plane
• By three points
• By two axes (XY, XZ, or YZ) of a solid, or for Boolean solids, two axes of any element
• By two default axes of a solid, or for Boolean solids, two axes of its root solid
Then select the objects to be mirrored. The mirrored copies contain all attributes (if any) of the original
solids. If attributes are copied, you will receive a warning message and you can verify that names are
attributes are correct for the copies.
The copies are not identical (linked) to their originals. Therefore, some attribute names should be different. For example, the material can be the same, but the name “Right Side” should be changed to “Left
Side” for the mirrored copy.
Scale - RSSO
Rescales solids. Select the objects and define the scaling center and value.
Groups of Solids
Solid groups are identified by a unique name. Each solid can belong to any defined group. When selecting solids, you can also select objects from or in a group. Groups are also useful for changing visibility
or shading, and they can be used to define subassemblies.
3D Groups Management - 3GR, Ctrl + F1
Manages groups of solids. You can define new groups, change a group name, add or delete group objects, delete all group objects, or highlight objects belonging to a selected group. You can also change
visibility or shading of all objects belonging to a selected group.
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3D Groups window
Parameters
Parameters may be used whenever a 3D object requires defined values. The value input can be a
numerical constant, single parameter or mathematical expression, optionally containing parameters.
Parameters may define object's dimensions or position within a corresponding solid, if used together
with geometric constraints. Changing parameter values, all the affected 3D objects are rebuilt.
Parameters are not supported in 2D.
Definition of Parameters
Parameters may contain letters and numbers. A parameter must begin with a letter, not with a number.
Allowed letters are a..z and A..Z, usage of diacritical marks, Greek or Cyrillic letters or Japanese or
Chinese characters is not possible. Definition of mathematical expressions is described in: Mathematic
Expressions (page 35).
Parameters may be defined in the function PAR (see below), or may be written into the input field
instead of numeric values. If a parameter does not exist, you can confirm the creation of a new one. The
default numeric value for numeric input is also offered as a default value of the new parameter.
Parameters in File
Once defined, a parameter is stored in a parameter table. The parameter table is a part of 3D space.
Parameters are saved and loaded together with the corresponding 3D/2D file (document). If a document
contains objects inserted from part files (if a document is an assembly file), then each assembly group
has its own parameter table. The parameter table used for an assembly group is, in fact, the parameter
table inserted from the corresponding part file.
If a file is inserted into the current file (document), a parameter table of the inserted file is compared
with the current parameter table. If new parameters are not defined in the current table, they are accepted.
If they exist and have different values, they are rejected and corresponding dimensions are changed to
constant values.
Parameters in Scaled Solids
If you scale selected solids and the solids use parametric values, all such values are changed into
constants. Similarly, all parametric values are changed into constants if you change units of the current
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document (millimeters to inches or vice versa). In both cases you are acknowledged before the
operation.
Type of Parameters
Parameters are divided into three types:
• Linear parameters. These parameters are used for definition of length, diameter, thickness, fillet
radius etc. Linear parameters may be used in mathematical expressions. Value of a parameter
corresponds to current units (millimeters or inches).
• Angular parameters. These parameters are used for definition of angles. Angular parameters may be
used in mathematical expressions. Value of a parameter is related to angular degrees.
• Thread parameters. This type of parameter can be used for thread definition. For instance, you may
use the parameter “t” instead of “M10”. Whenever the parameter “t” is redefined, the correspondent
thread is changed. Thread parameters may be used only as single parameters and not in expressions.
Working with Parameters
Add, change or remove parameter values – PAR
This function allows you to work with all parameters used in the current 3D space and assembly groups.
You can:
• Define a new parameter. Select a type of the parameter; define a parameter name and value. Thread
parameter values are selected from a list of threads. If assembly groups are present, select a new
parameter location – 3D space or an assembly group.
• Change a value. Select a parameter and change its value. You may change values of multiple
parameters before the changes are applied to corresponding solids.
• Rename parameters.
• Delete parameters. If a parameter used in geometry is deleted, the corresponding parametric value is
changed into constant value.
After changing parameter values, system checks:
• If new values of objects comply. For instance, you cannot define the inner pipe diameter greater than
the smaller diameter.
• If the mathematical expression can be evaluated. You cannot divide by zero or value close to zero,
you cannot calculate an angle if the sinus is greater than 1 or smaller than -1 etc.
Then, all affected parametric values are recalculated and solids are rebuilt. It is possible that element
shapes or positions are incorrect for new parameters and the corresponding Boolean tree cannot be rebuilt. Such solids are highlighted and changes are not finished. You may correct new values and rebuild
solids again.
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Parameter window
Geometric Constraints
Geometric constraints allow you to fix a position of an element inside the Boolean tree. Whenever a
shape of the solid is changed, the position of constrained elements is redefined according to a new
shape.
Definition of Constraints
Constraints may be defined:
• If a new object is created and its location is defined
• If objects are inserted from a file or clipboard and their location is defined
• If an object is selected for transformation. In such a case, you may select an element from the Boolean
tree (for instance, a hole). Constraints are defined within an existing solid. Or, you may select one or
more entire solids. Then, the constraints may be defined only if you perform an additional Boolean
operation and these solids are add to or cut from an existing root solid. The constraints are defined
within such a complete solid.
Constraints cannot be defined:
• If you select the entire solid and a solid element.
• If you select multiple elements belonging to multiple solids.
• If an object is inserted from a mechanical part library.
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• If the selected element belongs to a Boolean tree, but the other elements are only blendings.
• If you select multiple elements and they are already constrained in different groups.
• If you perform complex solid editing.
To define a constraint, click the inner part of corresponding object‟s axes. Optionally, you may click an
icon in the Constraint panel. To edit a constraint, click the outer part of an axis. Then you may select:
• Delete the constraint.
• Highlight the constraint.
• Edit a distance used in the constraint (not available for all types of constraints)
You may work with constraints within a function transforming solids or their elements, see Additional
Boolean Operation, Constraints Definition (page 114). The constraints can be created or edited after the
location is defined. Another option is to skip a location definition:
Geometric Constraints, CST
This function works with constraints without necessity to define a location.
Either for the function “Solid Transformation” or “Geometric Constraints”, transformations necessary
for a particular constraint are always performed. It is more convenient to define a location and then to
switch to constraints definition than to define a location only within the constraint definition. Transformation possibilities within the constraint definition are limited.
Constraint definition, Constraint panel
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Constrained Objects
Constraints fix a constrained object in its movement along an axis or in rotation around the axis. The
constraining is performed for the insertion point of the object. You may change a location of the
insertion point until constraints are defined. Then you may change the location of the insertion point
only temporarily within the current function. The change is not accepted permanently.
Also, you cannot change permanently a location of the insertion point, if the corresponding element is an
anchor for another constrained object and this object is constrained right to the insertion point.
Selecting Constrained Objects
This option, which is available for objects selection, allows you to select an entire constrained
group.
If you select elements of a solid for transformation, the complete constrained group is detected. You
cannot change a location of a single element of the constrained group individually.
Automatic detection of a constrained object is displayed at the cursor:
Cursor
Use
A constrained group or constrained object is detected
The already constrained object cannot be selected for the current constraint
definition
Constraining Multiple Objects
You may select multiple objects for constraining. The insertion point is the point of the first selected
object. If you need to add a new object into a constrained group, select the group and a new object (or
multiple new objects). They are added automatically.
This option, which is available in the Constraint panel, allows you to remove an object from the
constrained group.
Cancel All Constraints
This option, which is available in the Constraint panel, cancels all constraints of the currently
defined group.
Types of Geometric Constraints
All constraints are related to a specified axis. Direction of the axis may be selected along or against to a
normal or another axis in dependence on a particular situation.
Definition of a constraint rewrites all existing constraints whose fix any axis of the object the same way
as the new constraint. Fixed movements, fixed rotations or defined directions for the constrained object
are displayed in the upper part of the Constraint panel.
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Available Types of Geometric Constraints
Distance to solid's insertion point. Constrained object is at a defined distance from the insertion
point of a selected object (another solid element). Distance may be both positive or negative
(along or against the axis arrow), or zero. This type of the constraint is often used for definition
of a distance between holes or other solid elements.
Distance from a patch, the axis is not directed. Intersection between the axis and the selected
patch is calculated. The constrained object is fixed at a specified distance from the intersection.
Location at a patch, the axis is not directed. This constraint is similar to the previous, but the
distance is always zero.
Location at a patch, the axis is directed according to a normal. The nearest point at a patch is
found. Then the object is moved to the nearest point and the corresponding axis is directed
against or along the normal of the patch at the location. This type of the constraint fixes the
object at a surface and adjusts always its orientation. It can be used often for location of a hole
– the object is always at the surface and the axis is always oriented perpendicularly to the
surface.
Location at a circle center, the axis is directed according to the normal of a planar surface. This
constraint is especially usefull for joining pipe or shaft segments.
The axis is directed according to a plane normal. This constraint is performed always as first
before the other constraints. It defines orientation of the constrained object. Only one axis can
be oriented this way.
The axis is directed according to a rotation axis. The axis is parallel to the axis of the rotation
surface.
Object is constrained at a distance from a rotation axis. An axis selected from the remaining
two axes is simultaneously directed according to the rotation axis.
Removing Constraints According to Corresponding Axes
Clicking an outer part of object‟s axes, you may select deletion of the corresponding constraint (see
above). If you need to cancel the constraining of a selected axis, use following options:
Constraint fixing movement along the axis is deleted.
Constraint fixing rotation around the axis is deleted.
Constraint fixing alignment of the axis is deleted.
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Chain of Constraints
Constraints within a solid cannot be defined without a limitation. Basically, if an object A is constrained
to an object B, then the object B cannot be constrained to the object A. All objects can be constrained to
an object which is not constrained further.
If the object A is constrained to the object B (for instance, fixed at a distance from a patch of the object
B), and the object B is constrained to the object C, a sequence of objects A, B and C creates a
constrained chain.
Regarding the already existing constraints, you cannot anchor a constrained group at an object, if:
• The object is from a different solid.
• The object is from a different chain of constraints,
• The object is constrained at the currently defined group, not only directly, but also over multiple
constrained links.
System automatically blocks the selection of anchors, if the constraint is not possible. The cursor is automatically changed at such a situation (see Selecting Constrained Objects (page 123)
Chain of constraints
Fixed Object within Constraints
When the position of constrained elements is redefined according to a new shape, it may be moved inconveniently. For instance, you may define a chain of constraints within a shaft. After changing a length
of a segment, all remaining segments are moved. You may want objects to be moved in opposite direction. You can fix a selected element from the entire solid. Then the element remains always in the same
position – it is not translated or rotated. If no element is fixed then elements without constraints remain
at the same location.
This option, which is available in the Constraint panel, allows you to fix a selected element to
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the current location.
Constraining Angles
To constrain an angle, perform an additional rotation around an axis first.
See Additional rotation around an axis (page 113). As angular value, enter or define a new parameter.
Then constrain selected objects, if they are not already constrained.
If you change the corresponding angular parameter, the angle is recalculated and the constrained objects
are rotated according to the new angle. The necessary condition for fixing angles by parameters is that
the objects must be constrained at least once – no matter which constraining method is used. Otherwise,
after change of the angle the axes are rotated instead of the objects.
Another advantage of additional rotation around axes combined with constraint definitions is a possibility to constrain objects in any direction, regardless of the initial state of their axes. Objects are always
constrained in direction of X, Y or Z axis. The axes are directed according to how a solid was created,
and the direction may not be always convenient. After transformation of objects and additional rotation
around an axis, you may constraint objects exactly in desired direction.
Additional rotation around an axis
Constraints in Solid Creation 2D Profiles
You can change the shape of a solid created by rotation, extrusion or lofting of a 2D profile, when you
define constraints and parameters for objects of the profile.
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Constraining Objects in 2D Profile
You can define constraints for a group of vertexes. Vertexes are:
• Endpoints of a line curve or arc
• Centers of a circle or circular arc
• Interpolation points of NURBS curve
Vertexes of a solid creation 2D profile
If you need to work with 2D creation profile constraints and parameters, select a solid for editing. Then
click the corresponding icon in the edit toolbar – 2D edit mode is switched to profile constraint mode.
After performing a change, the profile is always edited in constraint mode. From constraint mode, you
can switch editing back to 2D edit mode similarly – clicking an icon in the constraint toolbar.
Switching 2D edit mode to profile constraint mode
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Vertexes can be constrained at a distance to the center of coordinates or to another vertex (to an
anchoring point). The distance may be a constant value, parameter or an expression containing
parameters. If the corresponding parameters are changed, position of vertexes is relocated.
Vertexes can be constrained in direction of X axis, Y axis or in radial direction. Constraints can be
defined for X axis and Y axis independently. However, if vertexes are constrained in radial direction,
then constraints in x-direction or y-direction are not available and vice versa. Trying to define such an
unavailable constraint, you are informed that the existing constraint will be overridden.
A constraint is defined for a group of one or more vertexes. After selecting vertexes, define a referent
point. The constrained distance is a distance from the coordinate center or anchoring vertex to the
referent point (vertex). All other vertexes are moved together with the referent point, if the constrained
distance is changed.
List of Available Constraint Methods
Icon
Method
Constrain objects in X direction to the coordinate center
Constrain objects in X direction to another object
Constrain objects in Y direction to the coordinate center
Constrain objects in Y direction to another object
Constrain objects under an angle and distance to the coordinate center
Constrain objects under an angle and distance to another object
Changes definition of an arc: 2 points, radius vs. 2 points, radius, center
Change a chamfer distance
Change a radius of an arc, circle or fillet
Display constraints and coordinate systems
Check profile dimensions
Edit an existing constraint
Delete an existing constraint
Edit an existing coordinate system
Redefine the coordinate system for the created constraint. X-Y coordinates are
defined under an angle.
Selecting Vertexes
You can select vertexes clicking them one by one, or use following options:
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Select vertexes inside the selection window
Select vertexes outside the selection window
Toggle between adding and removing from the selection set
If certain vertexes cannot be selected, they are displayed in different colors. Selection of some vertexes
can be blocked, if:
• The vertexes have defined different coordinate systems than first selected vertex - if a constraint is
created.
• The vertexes belong to a different constrained group than the group selected for editing or deleting.
You can also pick a set of vertexes first, finish the selection and then select a following step from pop-up
menu.
Display Options
Working with a 2D solid creation profile, you can change display similarly as in edit mode:
Toggle between thick and thin outlines in 2D
Toggle entire display between shaded and wireframed
Filleting, Chamfering and Radii of Circles or Arcs
Radius of a circle, arc or fillet can be defined as a parametric value. Chamfer distances can be also
defined as parametric values. It is not necessary to define a constraint to change a value of radius or
chamfer distance. Select an object and redefine the value.
Rounded or chamfered corners are detected as filleting or chamfering, if the blend operation was
performed in 2D edit mode in 3D environment. If the profile was created in 2D drafting module, only
filleting of two linear segments is recognized. In case of a rounded or chamfered corner, the end-point
vertex is at location of the original corner. Connection of a fillet arc or chamfer line to the original linear
or arc profile segments is displayed differently. The connection cannot be selected for constraint
definition, but can be selected for values measurement.
Constraining Circular Arcs
By default, arcs are defined by two endpoints and radius. If necessary, you can add the arc center to the
definition. In such case, the endpoints must be explicitly calculated if they are constrained - otherwise
they may not be at the radius distance from the arc center.
An exception of constrained endpoints of circular arcs is a situation when the endpoints are constrained
only in x-direction or in y-direction. For example: if an endpoint is constrained in x-direction, the
x-coordinate is exactly defined. If this point is an endpoint of a circular arc, its distance from the arc
center is also exactly defined. The y-coordinate of such an endpoint is recalculated after change of an
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x-constraint or radius of the arc. According to a corresponding geometry, there may not be a solution. If
the solution exists, a new arc endpoint location is defined.
Constraining NURBS Curves
NURBS curves are created as interpolation curves defined by a set of points. The shape of the curve can
be modified, if you change locations of the interpolation points. The interpolation points can be
constrained as other vertexes – either each point individually or the set of points as a constrained group.
Editing Constraints
To edit a constraint, select a vertex first. If the vertex is a member of two constrained groups (for
instance, a group constrained in x-direction and a group constrained in y-direction), select which group
is edited. Add or delete vertexes to or from the selected group. Finally, confirm or edit the constrained
distance. It is not possible to change the reference or anchoring point, if the edited constraint is
constrained to another vertex.
Deleting Constraints
Select a vertex from a constrained group to be deleted. Confirm removal of the selected group.
Coordinate Systems
By default, the world coordinate system is used. X axis is directed to the right, Y axis is directed up.
Location of the center of the coordinate system is defined during profile creation. If necessary, you can
redefine the coordinate system for a group of selected vertexes. The coordinate system can be defined
with following methods:
Center at a selected vertex, X-direction to a selected vertex
Center at a selected vertex, X-direction under a defined angle
Center defined by XY, X-direction to a selected vertex
Center defined by XY, X-direction under a defined angle
Reset the coordinate system to default
If the center coordinate or X-axis angle is defined, you can use parameters instead of constant values. If
the center position or X-axis angle is changed, position of all vertexes in the group is recalculated, too.
If the coordinate system for a set of vertexes is redefined, you can create a constraint only for vertexes
with identical coordinate system.
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Exporting Views and Sections from 3D to 2D
You can create 2D drawings from your 3D model by exporting views. For each view export, you can use
all objects or only selected objects. Exported objects can be clipped to a defined rectangle, if you need to
create only a small detail from a larger part.
Creating 2D from 3D
2D View from 3D - 32E, Ctrl + X
The following options are available for exporting views:
• Visible lines - you can select the layer, color or line type of created lines. Colors can be copied from
the solids.
• Hidden lines - set to be removed by default, but you can turn this off. If hidden lines are to be created,
you can set their 2D line attributes.
• Tangent connection lines - smooth connections of tangent surfaces, such as a fillet and its neighboring
surface. Tangent connections can be removed, or created in different 2D line attributes.
• Define whether the current view is exported or define export of selected basic views, like the front
view, left view etc.
• Optionally define a clipping rectangle, if the current view is exported.
• Select a method of insertion into 2D area.
• Select a method of creating threads. By default option, the threads are created according to common
2D drawing rules. If the threads are projected in the axial direction or direction perpendicular to their
axes, (threads are in basic views like a side view, front view...), you may select line attributes of
created 2D thread objects. You can distinguish ends of threads as well as secondary thread diameters.
• Define 2D colors. In 3D, you can work with 32 colors, while in 2D the number of colors is only 9.
This option maps colors of 3D solids to colors of 2D objects. Colors corresponding to this map are
used only if the 2D objects are created according to the color option.
Define the export method, and select the exported objects, if necessary. Define the view position in the
2D drawing. Optionally, you can define 2D position using drag and drop or by translation new objects.
If the latter possibility is used, define a translation vector (position “from”, position “to”) and confirm
the insertion. 3D section outlines are exported to 2D as boundaries that can be detected as a single object.
This boundary can be easily used in hatching functions. See Hatching 3D Sections (page 64) (page 18).
You can also set a position of each view in 2D area:
• For created basic views, define a mutual position of the front view and other views. For instance, you
can define whether the left view is inserted into 2D to the right or to the left side of front view.
• Define gaps between each view and distances from 2D area margins.
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3D View Export window
List of 3D View Exports, Updating Views
The view export is added to a list of predefined exports, if during the export creation the option “Add
this view export to list of exports“ is selected.
The view export list is used whenever you need to update 3D views after 3D changes. Each stored view
export contains:
• Export method - hidden line removal, attributes, etc.
• List of exported objects (optionally)
• Definition of corresponding 3D view
• Definition of active sections (optionally)
• Definition of clip rectangle, if any (if used, the window clips 3D objects before exporting is
performed)
• 2D position of exported view - if this position is changed, all such changes are stored in the 2D list of
transformations. You can translate, rotate or rescale the exported view. It is necessary to select all
objects created from one view. See Selecting 2D Objects (page 29) (page 18) - selecting view. If only
some 2D objects are transformed, this change is not stored in the list of transformations.
If the view update function is invoked, each export from list is performed. For each export the view is
set, the corresponding section is turned on, objects are selected and the 3D view is exported to 2D.
These objects are inserted into 2D. All this is done automatically. You can select whether the old 2D
objects will be removed or changed, to distinguish line attributes before and after the update.
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If you choose to change line attributes of old 2D objects, you can switch between old 2D objects and
new 2D objects. This switching always highlights changes, and you can see what is new or what was
deleted. Exporting a view creates only outlines. If there are any dimensions, hatches, or other 2D
annotations, you can adjust them according to the changes. When all additional 2D changes are
complete, remove the previous view export. If this view is not removed, the 2D update cannot be
performed.
3D section outlines are exported to 2D as boundaries that can be detected as one object. This boundary
can be used in hatching functions. See Hatching 3D Sections (page 64).
Update 2D after 3D Changes - 32EN
Creates new 3D-to-2D view exports.
Old/New View Export, Updated 2D - SON
In 2D, switch between old and new 3D to 2D view exports to compare and update 2D after 3D changes.
This allows you to easily distinguish changes and modify the corresponding 2D objects – especially dimensions and hatching.
Remove Previous View Export - ROL
In 2D, remove all old 2D view objects exported before the last export. Perform the function after all
changes in 2D are finished.
Updating 2D after changes in 3D
Update 2D after 3D Changes Setting – 32SET
Manages a list of predefined view exports. This function is available also from Update 2D after 3D
Changes or from Creating 2D from 3D. The view export can be selected from the list as well as from
corresponding 2D objects. You can:
• Redefine method of 2D creation for selected export
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• Highlight corresponding objects in 2D
• Redefine method of 2D creation for all exports together
• Remove selected export
• Remove all exports
Management of defined view exports
3D Sections
With VariCAD you can create 3D sections. Sections can be turned on or off at any time. If a section is
active, displayed solids are cut by the sectioning tool. If the solid is part of an active section, some
functions cannot be performed. If this happens, you will receive a warning message.
Each section is defined by:
• Name
• Section planes (sectioning tool)
• Solids that are sectioned
If you need to change the color of the section planes, use function Change Color (page 99). Switch the
select mode to selection of single solids (single parts of Boolean trees) and select a section plane as an
object for color change.
For more information about exporting sections to STEP or IGES, see How 3D Objects Are Converted to
STEP or IGES (page 6) (page 5).
Section Planes, Sectioning Tool
Section planes are the planes of the sectioning tool. If the section is turned on, operation similar to Boolean cut is performed and the sectioning tool cuts the sectioned solids. As a sectioning tool, you can select a box or any solid created by extrusion. If the extruded profile contains more lines, the section has
more section planes. Shape or location of sectioning tool defines how the solids are cut by sectioning.
3D Section Management - SEM
Turns on or turns off selected section. Allows you to define a new section, define the sectioned solids,
section planes or cancel definition of 3D section.
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3D section - the box is the sectioning tool
Sectioning results (rotated view)
3D Sections window
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3D Comprehensive Shapes
Pipes and Wires
Pipes or wires are created as a set of cylindrical segments and elbows. Define diameters and the elbow
radius first. Then define a path of the pipe or wire in space. To define the path, you can use similar tools
as for solids insertions or translations. Location of the tri-axes tool defines a location of the pipe segment
endpoint. Before each confirmation of the location, you can easily redefine tri-axes tool position or
adjust this position according to other spatial objects. See Transforming and Copying Solids (page 110)
for basic location modes.
You can define straight segments, while each connection is automatically rounded by an elbow. You can
insert an elbow directly at the finished straight segment and define its rotation. You can also bend a pipe
around a corner in space as well as around or according to other pipe‟s elbow. You can finish the pipe
selecting an axis (for instance flange‟s axis or hole‟s axis) - an elbow and straight segment is created.
The straight segment is finished right at the selected axis. The next location selected anywhere at the
selected axis allows you to create a pipe straight into the desired location under the desired direction.
For definition of pipes or wires in space, you have more additional options available than for locations
of solids:
Icon
Use
Elbow radius redefinition
Diameter redefinition
Creates elbows between straight segments automatically, segments are defined by
endpoints
Creates single elbow defined by start tangent and point
Creates elbow and straight segment to intersect selected axis
Locate at intersection of two selected axes
Pipe/wire segment endpoint at current location
Clicking the inner part of the tri-axes tool, you can obtain more options for corresponding axis than for
locations of solids:
Icon
Use
Dynamic rotation around selected axis, reference point at end of X axis
Dynamic rotation around selected axis, reference point at end of Y axis
Dynamic rotation around selected axis, reference point at end of Z axis
Bend pipe around corner, start at direction of selected axis
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Bend pipe around another elbow or axes intersection, start at direction of selected
axis
While defining a path of a pipe or wire, Enter or right-click has different meanings according to the
given situation. If a segment is inserted and no new location of tri-axes is defined, Enter causes the pipe
creation is finished. All previously defined segments are merged into a single pipe or wire. If a segment
was created and a new tri-axes location is already defined, Enter defines new segment‟s endpoint. VariCAD uses different cursors to distinguish each situation:
Cursor
Use of Enter
Use of Step Back
End point of
segment is
defined
If a segment was created before, tri-axes are located back at the
endpoint of this segment. Otherwise back to geometry
confirmation
Pipe or wire is
finished
Last segment is removed
Pipes - PIPES
Creates pipes in space. Radial intersection is ring – defined by outer and inner diameter.
Wires - WIRES
Creates wires in space. Radial intersection is circle – defined by diameter.
Creation of pipe
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Offset Patches – Thick Shells
Shell is created as the offset patches are connected to the selected patches at a given thickness. Select
patches on a solid first. Then define a thickness. You can select whether the resulting shell is created as
outer layer to the selected patches (creation in a direction of the normal), or the selected patches are
outer layer of resulting shell (creation against a direction of the normal). You can select also if the
original solid remains in space or is removed after the shell creation. In both cases, copy of the shell
pattern is stored in the shell object and remains available for further shell shape editing.
Selecting patches for shell definition, you can select patch by patch or use the following option:
All solid‟s patches are selected. Then you can some of them deselect.
Shell objects can be used as sheet metal parts.
Offset Patches (Shells) - OFP
This function creates shell objects.
Creation of shell
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Shell defined in previous example
Threads in 3D
Threads can be created on an existing outer cylindrical surface, as a threaded hole or by inserting a
threaded cylinder (a threaded end of shaft, for instance). Once created, the threads are properly exported
into 2D drawing area or into STEP files. Checking interferences, the threads are correctly distinguished
not only according to their diameters, but also according to their pitches and types. If a solid containing
threads is to be rescaled, scaling values are limited to available standard thread diameters.
Parts inserted from mechanical parts libraries are correctly fitted with threads, too. The threads are
present at screws or nuts inserted from the libraries. Screws and nuts created in versions prior to
VariCAD 2008 are not automatically changed to objects fitted with threads.
If you create a threaded hole or outer threaded cylinder (a screw), you can select a thread from a list of
threads. There are two types of threads available:
• Metric Threads, for work with ISO units (millimeters)
• Unified Screw Threads, for work with imperial units (inches)
Type of an existing thread can be changed only after a change of the units in the entire document
(millimeters to inches or vice versa).
Functions available for thread creation:
Threaded Hole - THH
Threaded Cylinder (Screw) - THS
Outer Thread Cutting Tool - OTC
Outer thread can be cut only at a diameter equal to a standard thread diameter.
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Selecting a thread from a list of threads
Checking Functions and Calculations
Units of Calculation Results
3D Results Units Settings – RUS
You can select, whether the results of volume, mass, moment of inertia and surface area calculation will
be displayed in:
• ISO units (meters, kilograms)
• Other units (inches, feet, pounds)
• Both unit systems.
Volume, Mass, Surface and Moment of Inertia Calculations
Volume, Mass Center of Gravity - VOL
Select the objects. The calculation provides object volume and coordinates of the center of gravity. You
can then select the mass density from the list of materials, or enter the mass density manually, to recalculate the mass. If multiple objects are selected, the calculation incorporates all objects into the results.
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Surface Area - SAR
Select the objects for surface area calculation. If multiple objects are selected, the calculation incorporates all objects into the results.
Moment of Inertia - MIN
Define the axis about which the inertia is calculated and select the objects. The moment of inertia is
calculated, and you can select or enter the mass density to change calculated result. If multiple objects
are selected, the calculation incorporates all objects into the results.
Checking and Measuring Geometry
Some of these functions require location input. For more information, see Defining 3D Locations (page
116).
3D Coordinates - 3DCO
Displays 3D coordinates of a selected point.
3D Distance - 3DD
Displays the distance between two selected points and dX, dY, dZ between the points.
Distance Point Plane - DPP
Measures the shortest distance between a point and a plane.
Distance Point Cylinder - DPC
Measures the shortest distance between a point and a cylindrical surface, as well as the radius of the cylinder and distance to cylinder axis.
Cylinder Dimensions - SCY
Displays dimensions of a cylindrical surface.
Angle between Planes - APL
Measures the angle between two planes.
3D Object Information - ODT3
Displays information about a selected 3D object, including name and attributes, membership in solid
groups and identical copy groups, and definition of any sections.
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3D Space Information - STAT
Displays information about all objects in the 3D space, including number of solids, number of blanked
solids, defined sections, assembly links and defined groups.
Interference between Solids
When inserting parts into an assembly, you may insert some parts incorrectly. This could cause solids to
overlap other solids. Interference checking enables you to check for situations like this. After each test,
the result of interference checking is displayed. Intersection curves of colliding objects are always displayed. The following options enable you to display more information:
Highlight all interferences together
This function is useful at the beginning of interferences solving. All objects are displayed as wireframed
and in no expressive color. Intersection curves, identical objects or objects engulfing smaller ones are
highlighted. Thus you can easily see any interference even within large assembly.
Highlight solids in selected interference
If the intersection curve is selected, corresponding solids are highlighted.
View rotation center to interference
Function allows you to move the view rotation center to the center of gravity of the selected intersection
curve. This is useful especially when the particular interference is solved and you need to change views.
Solid engulfing smaller solids
If any small solid is completely engulfed by a larger solid, the larger object is highlighted and smaller
object is displayed as wireframed within the larger one.
Identical solids
This option highlights two or more identical objects at the same location. Such identical objects can occur especially during blanking/unblanking.
Finish interference displaying
You can check interferences using these functions:
Interference between Groups - CRT
The interference check is done between two groups of solids. The groups remain defined, enabling you
to repeat the check after editing.
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Repeat Interference Check - CRTR
Repeats the interference check between the previously defined groups.
All Interferences - ASCH
Checks for interference between all solids.
Interference without Selected - ASCHN
Checks for interference between all solids except for those selected.
Interference Selected vs. Rest - ASCHS
Checks for interference between selected solids and the rest of the solids.
Interference within Selected - ASCHB
Checks for interference only within selected solids.
Display Interferences - CHRD
Displays previously calculated intersections among solids. You can calculate these intersections once,
and display the results repeatedly. If the objects in interferences are removed or blanked, corresponding
interference is not displayed. If they are unblanked or if removing is undone, then interference is
displayed again. On the other side, no edit changes affect displaying the interference. It is recommended
to recalculate interferences often, if the objects are edited.
3D Assemblies
VariCAD enables you to define connections between part files and assembly files. Parts can be created
and edited in their own files and then inserted into assemblies. If a part is edited, the change is
transferred to all assemblies that contain the part. In addition, you can change a part within the assembly
file and update the original part file, as well as other assemblies that contain the part. It is generally
faster and more efficient to edit parts in their own files, since there is much less data in these files. But
editing within the assembly can be handy if you need to edit only a small detail, especially a detail that
affects other parts.
If the current file contains any parts inserted from another files, the file becomes as assembly file, and
"Assembly" is displayed on the right side of the Status Bar. If the file contains a part used in an
assembly, or an object identified as a part, "Part" appears on the Status Bar.
Using links between parts and assemblies provides many advantages. However, you do not have to use
links when working with multiple solids. Unlike other CAD systems, VariCAD provides freedom and
flexibility when working with assemblies.
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Creating Part Files, Assembly Files and Assembly Links
There are several ways to create assembly-part links:
• In the current file, select an object and use the Create Link from Part function. Define the filename for
the part, and the object is saved to this file. The current file becomes the assembly file
• In the current file, select an object and use the Create Link to Assembly (Assemblies) function to
"mark" the part to be used later in an assembly. Only one object in a file can be identified as a part.
• Make the current file as assembly by using File / Insert Objects from File and insert a file containing
the defined part.
Saving and Loading the Assembly Files
While editing an assembly file, changes can be saved to part files as well as to the current assembly file.
When opening an assembly file, the parts are loaded as they were last saved then the parts are updated
from the part files. Therefore, if parts are changed after the assembly was saved, the changed parts will
be used.
If part files cannot be located, a list of broken assembly links is displayed and you can use the following
methods to resolve them:
• Leave the part as it was saved in assembly, and you can resolve links later. If you know the part file
has not changed since the assembly was closed, this is the best option.
• Break the link permanently.
• Search for another file or directory. If there are parts in another directory, you can select one of them
as a replacement. The new directory is identified, and you can change all links to use this path.
If you choose not to resolve any links, the parts will remain as they were saved last in the assembly.
Simultaneously Open Assembly and Part Files
VariCAD allows you to work with multiple open files. While working in the assembly file, you can
open part files from the assembly. Transferring changes between parts is managed by the following
function:
Assembly Changes Transfer Settings - DSO
This function enables you to define links between open files - from part to assembly, assembly to part,
or both. When changes are transferred, undo-redo history is lost when the file becomes active (windows
are switched).
Open Part File from Assembly - EDE
Select the part, and its file opens. If the part in an assembly is changed, changes are transferred into a
newly open file automatically only if the transfer is allowed (see above).
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Managing the Assembly Connections
Create Link from Part- DIA
Defines an object as a part and exports it to its own file. The current file becomes the assembly, and the
part-assembly link is established.
Break Link from Part - CSI
Breaks the assembly link for one group defined by the selected solid.
Break All Links from Parts - CAI
Break all part-assembly links in the current assembly. The current document loses the assembly status.
Create Link to Assembly (Assemblies) - DEE
Defines the selected object as a part. The current document becomes a part file.
Break Link to Assembly (Assemblies) - CDE
Break the part definition. The file is no longer a part file.
Change Link to Assembly (Assemblies) - ROI
If a file has a defined part, use this function to define a different part. Corresponding parts in all
assemblies are changed according to this selection.
Surface Development (Unbending)
Surface Development enables you to create an unbent (flattened) version of a 3D surface and transfer it
to a 2D drawing. This enables you to represent parts created from sheet metal. Moreover, you can create
these parts as filled objects, if you only need to obtain a developed surface. Each bent surface can be
created as an outer or inner shell.
You can develop only surfaces through which lines can be laid, such as cylindrical or conical surfaces.
Planes can also be developed, but they are displayed with no change in 2D. You can select more than
one surface to develop. For multiple surfaces, the function resolves connections of developed patches.
These unbent objects are created in the 2D drawing at a 1:1 scale, and can therefore be used as template,
if 2D drawings are plotted. Surface outlines are lines or curves approximated into short line segments.
The XY coordinates of outline points can be saved to a text file. Leaders can also be placed at outline
points.
If the sheet is thin enough, you can ignore its thickness. Otherwise, the thickness must be defined and its
value is incorporated while calculating the surface development.
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Surface Development - SDE
The following properties must be defined before selecting the surfaces to develop:
• Whether the text file with outline points will be created
• Whether the origin and leaders will be created in 2D development
• Material thickness (if undefined, zero is used)
• Line attributes used in the 2D drawing
Surface Development window
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After defining these properties, select the surfaces to be developed. Press “Enter” or right-click to finish
surface selection. The following are additional options:
Select the entire solid created from a sheet metal. This option is available only if no other
patches are selected. If the entire solid is selected, you can deselect some of its patches, if
necessary.
Other available options allow you to switch between select and deselect mode, undo previous selection
or finish selection and perform unbending.
After selecting surfaces, define the material thickness. If the selected surfaces are surfaces of a sheet
metal, the thickness is calculated automatically and you can confirm its value. Otherwise, define
whether the thickness is significant. If yes, then define thickness value and select if the surface is an
outer surface of the sheet metal or if the sheet metal is an additional layer of the surface.
The final step is to drag to insert the unbent surface in the 2D drawing. If necessary, define the surface
origin and leader positions.
Selection of surface to be developed (unbent)
2D display of developed surface
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Selection of more surfaces
2D display of developed surfaces
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and Title Blocks
This section describes how to work with BOM‟s, attributes of 3D objects and assemblies, and methods
of how to create a list of parts, automatically fill title blocks and how to manage other non-graphical
data.
Object Attributes
Each solid or assembly can have a defined name and attributes. Mechanical parts such as screws, bearings, and rolled profiles have predefined attributes and names. Attributes and names can be used as a
method of selecting solids (selecting solids according to their attributes). Attributes can be inserted into
title blocks in 2D area, can be listed in files containing the list of assembly parts and can be exported into files suitable for other systems, like spreadsheets. The object name is, in fact, a sort of attribute.
BOM, Attributes and Title Blocks Settings
This function allows you to define new attributes, edit or delete existing attributes, manage attribute
groups, title blocks and create files suitable for other systems. Attributes and their properties are described below.
BOM, Attributes and Title Blocks Settings
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Attribute Definition
Attribute Name
Each attribute has its own name. The name must be unique among all defined attributes. The name
should represent the meaning of the attribute value. For instance, if the attribute defines material of a
solid, then the attribute should be named “material” or similarly.
If the attributes are defined in different configurations, their names are used for recognition of
compatible values – see Compatibility of Defined Attributes and Attribute Groups (page 154)
Attribute Type and Attribute Value
The type of attribute determines the method of attribute definition or other attribute behavior. Although
each attribute may be defined as an attribute of “General” type, it is always better to consider the best
type of given attribute. You may use the following types:
Name of Object – defines name for object recognition (for instance “Shaft 32-150” etc…).
Defined names are usually demanded for the list of parts. If the name is not defined, the solid
cannot be processed in BOM. Only one attribute of the type “Name of Object” can be defined
among all available attributes.
Mass – value is mass (weight) of the solid. If defined, VariCAD allows you to calculate mass of
the solid using the same method as in the function “Volume, Mass, and Center of Gravity”.
After calculation, you may select the result in various units (kg, g, lb, oz etc...).
Surface Area – value is the surface area of the solid. If defined, VariCAD allows you to
calculate surface area of solid using the same method as in the function “Surface Area”.
Manufactured / Purchased – value defines if the part is manufactured (documentation is
created) or if it is purchased. According to this attribute, other attributes may be required as
mandatory or may not be required at all. Manufactured objects may require other different
attributes (like, for instance, drawing number) than the purchased ones (like, for instance,
purchase code).
Number of Objects – for a single solid, the value is always equal to one. In BOM, the value is
automatically counted as a sum of the same objects in the assembly. For the assembly, you may
obtain the value as a sum of the number of objects of all parts.
Date – value contains a day of the month, month and year. You may configure the format of
date representation, using the function BOM, Attributes and Title Blocks Settings (page 149).
You can select the same representation as in the operating system or you may define your own.
File – value contains an existing file, usually the file containing the corresponding part or the
assembly file. You may select the file name from directory listing or you may choose it from
the current file or file of a part defined in the assembly link.
Material – value contains material of the corresponding part. If defined, you may select from
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previously used values or you may copy the material from another solid.
Standard specification – value usually contains specification of standard, like DIN, ANSI etc…
This attribute is automatically defined for solids inserted from mechanical parts libraries, like
for screws, nuts, bearings etc...
Attribute of a general type – can be used always if the previous types are not the best option.
For the general attribute, you can also define more methods of value definition - see below.
Attribute values can be:
• Text value – can contain any sequence of letters and digits (used for name, file name, description...)
• Integer value – contains whole numbers (used for a number of objects...)
• Real value – contains numbers with the decimal point (used for mass, surface area ...)
• Date value - contains a date
Value from 3D Solids or 2D Area
If the attribute is defined as attribute of a general type, you may select an additional method of its value
definition. You can obtain value also as:
• Length measured in 3D
• Sheet thickness measured in 3D
• Cylinder diameter measured in 3D
• Any value measurable in 3D
• Scale of 2D area
• Format of 2D area
Other Definitions of Attribute
For each attribute, you can define also:
• When the attribute is required. If defined as required and value is missing, the warning sign appears in
the corresponding line during attribute definition. You may check for missing attributes using the
function "Check Attributes".
• Copy value from assembly. Value of the attribute can be copied from the attribute of the assembly the
object belongs to (for instance Assembly Number).
• Sort criteria.
• If value is countable and how to create sum of objects.
• Additional definition for type "file" - whether the attribute of the file type means a file containing the
corresponding part.
Group membership, output to formatted text, title blocks or output to export files is described in
following paragraphs.
If the attribute is listed in the Solid Attributes definition window or in BOM, Attributes and Title Blocks
Settings window, you can always see usage of the attribute:
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The attribute is used in the list of parts (in formatted text files, suitable also for insertion into
2D area)
The attribute is inserted into title block (or more title blocks).
The attribute is used in text file suitable for import into other systems.
Groups of Attributes
You may create a new attribute group, or rename or delete an existing one. For an attribute, you can
select or deselect a group the attribute belongs to. In the function "Solid Attributes", you can assign (or
detach) the selected attribute group for the corresponding solid. The same can be done for an assembly
or file in the function "Assembly Attributes, Title Block Filling".
Attribute group allows you to define different attributes for different objects. If the attribute group is
defined for an object, extra attributes from this group are demanded.
For instance, you can define a group named "Sheet metals" and an attribute named "Sheet metal
thickness". If you assign the group "Sheet metals" for a solid created as sheet metal, then during attribute
definitions for this solid the attribute "Sheet metal thickness" is required. On the other side, the attribute
"Sheet metal thickness" will not be required for a shaft.
Output to Formatted Text (List of Parts)
From BOM, you can create a formatted text file that contains a list of parts. Formatting is correct if the
text file uses fixed-width font. If the file is inserted into 2D VariCAD area, columns are formatted
properly for the fixed-width fonts. In 2D area, you can insert such a file into predefined tables using the
function "Insert Text File - TXI".
Name and attributes of each part in the list can be divided into more lines.
For an attribute, you can define:
• If the attribute is printed into a formatted text file
• Width of the column in characters
• If the text is left or right aligned
• If a new line is created after the attributes value
• Optional insertion of spaces before the attribute value
Order of attributes written into such a formatted text file is the same as order in BOM, Attributes and
Title Blocks Settings.
Title Blocks
You can define one or more title blocks. For a title block, you can define the corresponding 2D file with
the title block itself. For an attribute, you can define its insertion into the title block.
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Title Block Definition
Define a title block name. The name must be unique among other defined if you use more than one title
block.
For title block automatic insertion into 2D area, define:
• 2D file with objects representing the title block. Prepare the file first. You can select a corresponding
file from the list of files. In this case, the title block must be created with its insertion point at
x=zero/y=zero coordinates. You can also select objects of the title block from the current file and then
define the insertion point. In this case, open the file with objects first and then define the title block.
• Title block's insertion point relative to one of four corners of the drawing area.
• Title block for assemblies, parts or documents having no defined assembly-part status. Before
automatic title block insertion, you have to select a title block from the list. If the current document
has a defined assembly-part status and the title blocks are predefined differently for each such status,
the selection is narrowed or skipped (in case of the only one option).
Once properly defined, VariCAD inserts the title block automatically into the desired 2D location
whenever necessary.
Attribute Insertion into Title Block
For an attribute, you can select the title block the attribute is displayed in. One attribute may be
displayed in more title blocks. Then define:
• Text properties like text height, slant, font or color (color can be mapped into line width for output to
printer).
• Text location relative to title blocks insertion point. You can easily locate text using the cursor in 2D
area, if the current file contains the corresponding title block.
Attributes to title blocks
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Export to Other Systems
From BOM, you can create a text file suitable for other systems, like spreadsheets. Order of attributes
written into such a text file may be different than the order in BOM, Attributes and Title Blocks Settings.
From the list of attributes, you can define if the selected attribute is exported or define its order among
the other exported attributes.
The name and attributes of each part in the file are written into one line. For export, you can also select
an extra object - a level of insertion. In such case, the value determines whether the object in the line
represents a part or assembly.
You can define a format of the text file:
• If the attributes are written into fixed-length records or if they are separated by selected characters
(usually by ";" or by "|")
• How the value of the attribute "Manufactured - purchased" is represented
Compatibility of Defined Attributes and Attribute Groups
Before you will use the attributes, BOM and title blocks permanently, you should consider their proper
configuration and change the settings according to your customs. The file containing the settings is a
part of VariCAD distribution, but take it rather as an example. First time used, the settings are initialized.
From then, the attributes are recognized automatically. You may change their names (not only their
values) and VariCAD always accepts them properly.
To allow such behavior for more users in one company, you must use the only one configuration file.
The best option is to save the settings into location accessible via local area network. In the function
"BOM, Attributes and Title Blocks Settings" select the option:
Change Path. You can load the settings from the selected directory (or LAN site). Next time
you work with BOM, attributes or their settings the configuration is loaded from or saved to
this directory. You can also redefine the configuration site saving the configuration into a
selected path.
If you work with files created according to other attributes settings, the attributes match your settings
only if they have identical attribute names (lower/upper cases are ignored).
If the solid attributes in files are defined according to an old attribute mask (in VariCAD versions older
than 2007-3.00), they are recognized properly, too.
Compatibility of defined attribute groups follows the same rules as compatibility of attributes.
Working with BOM
BOM contains a legible list of assembly parts, their names and attributes. BOM allows you:
• To edit solids' attributes easily within one function
• To list, open or activate files associated with selected part
• To create files containing the list of parts, files suitable for other systems or to copy attributes into
part files to be later used for title block filling
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You can create BOM using three following methods:
Create BOM at Basic Level – BOM, Ctrl + E
Each BOM object is a part belonging to the current assembly (to the current file).
Create BOM Containing Assembly – DSS3
The first object in BOM is the current assembly; next objects are the parts belonging to this assembly.
Create BOM from 3D Assembly Group – BOMG
Each BOM object is a part from the current assembly (from the current file), same as the BOM creation
at basic level. Only parts belonging to the selected solids group are inserted into BOM.
BOM Objects
BOM object is either the current assembly or a part of the current assembly. It is listed in one BOM line.
Object's name and attributes are arranged in corresponding columns. Right clicking an object, you can:
• Edit its attributes
• List the corresponding file (if defined)
• Open the corresponding file
• Activate the corresponding file (if already open)
• Highlight the corresponding part or parts
Left clicking an object, you can edit its attributes.
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Displaying, Filtering and Sorting BOM Objects
To sort objects according to selected attribute values (or alphabetically according to names) left click the
header of the attribute column.
You can use more options to define how the objects are displayed:
Display Columns. This function can be selected from the pop-up menu, or performed after right
click the list header. You can select an attribute to display values in the column or deselect an
attribute from displaying values in the column. You can also select the attribute the entire list is
sorted according to.
Filtering Objects to Display. It is possible to define filters for displaying objects. Filter allows
you to display objects with a certain range of attribute values or to display objects with attribute
values containing defined character sequences. For instance, if you want to create a list of all
screws in the assembly, define a filter for object's name containing sub-text "screw".
Creating Files from BOM
You can create output to following files:
Output to Formatted text, see Output to Formatted Text (List of Parts) (page 152).
Attributes Output to Part Files. Data are suitable for the title block filling. To fill part title
blocks after attributes export, perform function Assembly/Part Attributes, Fill Title Blocks
(page 158) for each file containing the corresponding part.
Output to Text Files. The output is suitable for other systems, like spreadsheets. See Export to
Other Systems (page 154)
Copying Data from Assembly into Parts and Vice Versa
If the BOM is created as BOM containing an assembly, extra options are available:
Attribute Values from Assembly. Some attributes may have defined option "Copy Value from
Assembly". For instance, a value of the attribute "drawing number" from the assembly is a
value of the attribute "assembly number" in the part. This function copies the attribute value
from the assembly into the corresponding attribute of each part.
Sum of Attribute Values. For attributes with the corresponding option, value in the assembly is
sum of values from all parts. Weight of the assembly is obtained as sum of all weights of parts.
This function defines attribute values of the assembly as sum of corresponding attributes of the
parts.
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Chapter 14. Bill of Material, Object Attributes and Title Blocks
Supplementary Objects
Supplementary Objects - SPO
You can define supplementary objects for the current document. Supplementary objects are all objects
not created as 3D solids. Typical example is oil, paint, welding electrodes etc. In BOM, all
supplementary objects are at the same level as the other 3D solids. They are correctly listed in the BOM
exports, a list of parts or wherever assembly parts appear.
Working with supplementary objects interface is similar to working with BOM. You can add, delete or
edit a selected object.
Solid and Assembly Attributes
Solid Attributes
Solid Attributes - SAT
Define new attributes, change existing attributes or delete attributes of a selected solid. Attributes are
defined according to the BOM, Attributes and Title Blocks Settings (page 149). If you need to define
mass or the surface area, there are geometric calculation functions available. Using the “Number of
Items” attribute is not relevant when creating a BOM from 3D. In 3D, the number of items is defined
automatically as the exact number of currently existing parts.
You can also define an attribute group or groups for the selected solid. Then you may define extra
attributes belonging to the selected attribute group.
Solid attributes definition
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Chapter 14. Bill of Material, Object Attributes and Title Blocks
Attributes from List - ATL
Define attributes from the displayed list of solid names or attributes. The solids that use a selected value
are highlighted. From the highlighted group, select the object whose attribute you want to change. This
function changes attributes of each object individually.
Change Identical Attributes - MTC
Changes one attribute value to a new value for all objects. First, select the attribute from the attributes
list. Then select the old value, enter the new value, and all old values will be replaced with the new ones.
For example, you can select the attribute “material” and replace all instances of one material with
another.
Check Attributes - ATC
You can choose to check for missing names, missing attributes, or missing attributes according to their
definition – see BOM, Attributes and Title Blocks Settings (page 149). If objects with missing desired
values are found, attribute definition is performed. You can exclude objects from attribute checking, so
that these objects are ignored during next checking.
Assembly Attributes, Title Block Filling
Assembly/Part Attributes, Fill Title Blocks - AAT
Define new attributes, change existing attributes or delete attributes of the current file – either assembly
or part file. Attributes are defined according to the BOM, Attributes and Title Blocks Settings (page 149),
the same way as in the function "Solid Attributes", described above. If you define attributes of a part file
containing a part from assembly links, the attributes are defined exactly for this part. Otherwise the
attributes are connected to the current file instead to a solid. This function also allows you to fill title
blocks.
Fill Title Block, Define Attributes - AAT2
Similar function as the previous - available in 2D.
Filling Title Blocks
Select a title block first. If you have defined only one title block, then the selection is skipped. If the title
block has no corresponding file defined or if the corresponding file was not found, then you cannot
insert the title block into 2D. You can only insert 2D text objects representing attribute values (name,
date, material etc…) relative to title block's insertion point.
Automatic insertion of the title block is possible, if you need the title block always at the same location
relative to one of four corners of the drawing area. Insertion of attributes uses 2D text properties defined
in BOM, Attributes and Title Blocks Settings (page 149). The title block location and location of texts
are defined in the same function.
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Chapter 14. Bill of Material, Object Attributes and Title Blocks
Fill Title Block – only fills the selected title block. If started in 3D, VariCAD switches itself
into 2D. Then select a title block's insertion point. All defined attributes are inserted into
predefined locations in the title block area – 2D text objects are created.
Update Title Block – fills or updates the selected title block. If the title block was filled
previously, the old objects are automatically removed first. The other is the same as in the
previous option.
Insert Title Block - if the selected title block does not exist, then it is inserted automatically. All
defined attributes are inserted also automatically into predefined locations relative to the title
block's insertion point. If the title block is already filled, the old objects are removed first.
159
Chapter 15. Tips and Tricks
Although most of the interactions within VariCAD are obvious, the system provides some additional
conveniences you may not know about.
Display Changes
• To pan, press Ctrl and the left mouse button while moving the cursor. You can also press the middle
and then left mouse buttons simultaneously.
• To zoom, press Shift and the left mouse button while moving the cursor. You can also press the right
and then middle mouse buttons simultaneously.
• To zoom, you can also use the mouse wheel.
• To rotate the view around the center of rotation, press Shift, Ctrl, and the left mouse button while
moving the cursor. You can also press the right and then left mouse buttons simultaneously. For large
zoom, press Shift, Ctrl and then right mouse button simultaneously. If the left mouse button is used,
the speed of view rotation is dependent on dimensions of all visible objects. If the right mouse button
is used, the speed of view rotation is dependent on dimensions of a displayed area.
These view shortcuts are always available.
More tips
• To go one step back in a function, press the middle mouse button or Ctrl + Backspace.
• You can open a file by pressing Tab, if you are not currently in a function and “Ready” is displayed in
the Status Bar.
• If the current function does not use a window, right-clicking is the same as pressing Enter.
• If the current function uses a window, right-clicking while the cursor is inside the window is the same
as clicking OK.
• You can invoke last command (function) by right-clicking the drawing area, if you are not currently
in a function and “Ready” is displayed in the Status Bar.
• If you need to enter any value, like distance or angle, you can enter a mathematical expression instead
of a single value.
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
Drawing Lines and Curves
Icon
Command
Hotkey
Description
LIN
Ctrl + L
Line
ARR
N/A
Arrow
GRA
N/A
Graph
AXI
N/A
Axes
RECT
N/A
Rectangle
POL
N/A
Polygon
TAN
N/A
Tangent Line
ELL
N/A
Ellipse
BOR
N/A
Sheet Border
MLL
N/A
Multi Line
SHA
N/A
Shaft
SPL
N/A
Spline
LAX
N/A
Axes
CAX
N/A
Circle Axis
Command
Hotkey
Description
CCR
N/A
Circle Center Radius
ACR
N/A
Arc Center Radius
CCP
N/A
Circle Center Point
ACP
N/A
Arc Center Point
CR2
N/A
Circle 2 Points
AR2
N/A
Arc 2 Points
Drawing Circles and Arcs
Icon
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C3P
N/A
Circle 3 Points
A3P
N/A
Arc 3 Points
APT
N/A
Arc Point Tangent
AT2
N/A
Arc Tangent to 2 Objects
CT2
N/A
Circle Tangent to 2 Objects
TG3
N/A
Circle Tangent to 3 Objects
HOL2
N/A
Group of Holes
Command
Hotkey
Description
NOTE
N/A
Note (Multiple Lines)
TEX
N/A
Single Text Line
TXI
N/A
Insert Text File
Command
Hotkey
Description
POI
N/A
Point
POC
N/A
Points on Arc
PLN
N/A
Points on Line, Number
PLD
N/A
Points on Line, Distance
PFF
N/A
Points from File
Command
Hotkey
Description
HAT
N/A
Simple Hatch
CHP
N/A
Create Pattern
AHB
N/A
Simple Hatch, Find Boundary
PHA
N/A
Pattern Hatch
Creating 2D Text
Icon
Creating Points
Icon
Hatching
Icon
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
APH
N/A
Pattern Hatch, Find Boundary
HSE
N/A
Simple Hatch, 3D Section
HPSE
N/A
Pattern Hatch, 3D Section
Command
Hotkey
Description
HDI
N/A
Horizontal Dimension
VDI
N/A
Vertical Dimension
SDI
N/A
Diagonal Dimension
RDI
N/A
Radius Dimension
DDI
N/A
Diameter Dimension
ADI
N/A
Angular Dimension
FSY
N/A
Finish Symbols
HPD
N/A
Horizontal Baseline Dimensions
HSD
N/A
Horizontal Serial Dimensions
HDD
N/A
Horizontal Datum Dimensions
VPD
N/A
Vertical Baseline Dimensions
VSD
N/A
Vertical Serial Dimensions
VDD
N/A
Vertical Datum Dimensions
SPD
N/A
Diagonal Baseline Dimensions
SSD
N/A
Diagonal Serial Dimensions
SDD
N/A
Diagonal Datum Dimensions
HDM
N/A
Horizontal Diameter Dimension
VDM
N/A
Vertical Diameter Dimension
SDM
N/A
Diagonal Diameter Dimension
HTH
N/A
Horizontal Thread Dimension
VTH
N/A
Vertical Thread Dimension
Dimensioning
Icon
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
STH
N/A
Diagonal Thread Dimension
THR
N/A
Thread Dimensions
POS
N/A
Leader
WSY
N/A
Welding Symbols
TSY
N/A
Tolerance Symbols
Command
Hotkey
Description
DOB
Ctrl + D
Delete 2D Objects
ROL
N/A
Remove Previous View Export
BLA
Ctrl + B
Blank 2D Objects
UBL
Ctrl + U
Unblank 2D Objects
ETX
N/A
Edit Text
MTL
N/A
Move Text Vertically
TWD
N/A
Text Width
TAC
N/A
Text Attributes
EDI
N/A
Edit Dimension Text
MDT
N/A
Move Dimension Text
EXP
N/A
Explode
BLN
N/A
Break Line
MLA
N/A
Change Layer
MPE
N/A
Change Color
MLT
N/A
Change Line Type
BPO
N/A
Divide by Point
BBO
N/A
Divide by Curve
TBO
N/A
Trim
EBO
N/A
Extend
Editing 2D Objects
Icon
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
CEC
N/A
Circle from Arc
CCO
N/A
Corner
RSG
N/A
Remove Segment
CHM
Ctrl + R
Chamfer 2D Corner
RND
Ctrl + F
Fillet 2D Corner
JTX
N/A
Align Text
EDM
N/A
Edit Dimension
ESP
N/A
Edit Spline
BTF
N/A
Explode Font
Transforming and Copying 2D Objects
Icon
Command
Hotkey
Description
MOV
Ctrl + T
Translate or Copy 2D Objects
DRG
N/A
Dynamic Translation
ROT
N/A
Rotate or Copy 2D objects
DRO
N/A
Dynamic Rotation
SCA
N/A
Scale
DSC
N/A
Dynamic Scaling
DTR
N/A
Translate and Rotate
MIR
N/A
Mirror
OFFS
N/A
Offset
STRVECT
N/A
Stretch by Vector
CTA
N/A
Array Copy
DST
N/A
Stretch to Direction
SOB
N/A
Stretch
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
Grid, Construction Lines
Icon
166
Command
Hotkey
Description
GRI
Ctrl + G
Grid
HCL
N/A
Horizontal C.L.
HCI
N/A
Horizontal C.L. Offset
HCF
N/A
Horizontal C.L. from Point
HCT
N/A
Horizontal C.L. Tangent
VCL
N/A
Vertical C.L.
VCI
N/A
Vertical C.L. Offset
VCF
N/A
Vertical C.L. from Point
VCT
N/A
Vertical C.L. Tangent
1CL
N/A
Angle 1 C.L.
1CI
N/A
Angle 1 C.L. Offset
1CF
N/A
Angle 1 C.L. from Point
1CT
N/A
Angle 1 C.L. Tangent
1CS
N/A
Define Angle 1
2CL
N/A
Angle 2 C.L.
2CI
N/A
Angle 2 C.L. Offset
2CF
N/A
Angle 2 C.L. from Point
2CT
N/A
Angle 2 C.L. Tangent
2CS
N/A
Define Angle 2
D1H
N/A
Delete Horizontal Construction Line
D1V
N/A
Delete Vertical Construction Line
D11
N/A
Delete Angle 1 Construction Line
D12
N/A
Delete Angle 2 Construction Line
DAH
N/A
Delete All Horizontal Construction Lines
Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
DAV
N/A
Delete All Vertical Construction Lines
DA1
N/A
Delete All Angle 1 Construction Lines
DA2
N/A
Delete All Angle 2 Construction Lines
DACL
N/A
Delete All Construction Lines
Command
Hotkey
Description
COO
N/A
2D Coordinates
DIS
N/A
2D Distance
ANG
N/A
Angle
ODT
N/A
2D Object Information
CHL
N/A
Highlight Layer
2DA
N/A
2D Area
2DA
N/A
2D Drawing Area Properties
Command
Hotkey
Description
ATW
N/A
Add to Work Set
RFW
N/A
Delete from Work Set
CLW
N/A
Clear Work Set
CHW
N/A
Highlight Work Set
Command
Hotkey
Description
TXA
N/A
Text Attributes
ARA
N/A
Arrow Attributes
DMA
N/A
Dimension Attributes
FMT
N/A
Drawing Format
2D Check Functions
Icon
2D Work Sets
Icon
2D Settings
Icon
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
DCC
N/A
Displayed Cursor Coordinates
ORTH
N/A
Ortho, Next Horizontal
ORTV
N/A
Ortho, Next Vertical
LAY
N/A
Layers
STP
F9
Drawing in Increment Mode
ORT
F11
Drawing in Ortho Mode
UCO
N/A
User Origin
OMO
Shift + F11
Turn off Ortho Mode
STO
N/A
Increment Mode Off
SWS
N/A
Weld Symbol Settings
SCH
N/A
Change Drawing Scale
Command
Hotkey
Description
IGSO
N/A
IGES Export Settings
IGSI
N/A
IGES 2D Import Settings
STPO
N/A
STEP Export Settings
STLO
N/A
STL Export Settings
DWGI
N/A
DWG/DXF Import Settings
OFIS
N/A
Old 3D Files Import Settings
WMF
N/A
Working with Multiple Files Settings
PTH
N/A
Directories
SOU
N/A
Sound
BAK
N/A
Backup
SCR
N/A
Circle Drawing
APE
F7
Set 2D Cursor
COL
N/A
Colors
System Settings
Icon
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
SBD
N/A
Sheet Borders Definition
CHU
N/A
Change Units
WPST
N/A
Windows and Mouse
2RG
N/A
Selection Windows
ALS
N/A
Automatic Layer Changing
PAL
N/A
Palettes
OST
N/A
Miscellaneous Settings
TLBS
N/A
Toolbar Settings
Command
Hotkey
Description
BLS
N/A
Save Block
BLI
Ctrl + K
Insert Block
BLC
N/A
Create Block
BLE
N/A
Edit Block
BIE
N/A
Change Insertion Point
BAE
N/A
Edit Block Attributes
Command
Hotkey
Description
SLA
N/A
Open Symbol Library
SLC
N/A
Create Library Symbol
SLI
N/A
Insert Symbol
SYC
N/A
Edit Symbol Names
Command
Hotkey
Description
DOP
Ctrl + N
New
2D Blocks
Icon
Symbols
Icon
Files and Windows
Icon
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
DAD
Ctrl + O
Open
CLO
Ctrl + F4
Close
DSV
Ctrl + S
Save
SVA
N/A
Save As
DPS
N/A
Save Selected
DPO
N/A
Insert Objects from File
SVALL
N/A
Save All Changed
TXV
N/A
List Text Files
DRV
N/A
List 2D/3D Files
RCFA
N/A
Open Recent Files
EXT
N/A
Exit
WIN
Ctrl + 3
Windows
NDW
N/A
New Document from Current Document
SWD
Ctrl + TAB
Activate Previous Window
FCO
N/A
Batch File Conversion
DEF
N/A
Current File Attributes as Default
Command
Hotkey
Description
WPR
Ctrl + P
Print
WPS
N/A
Print Settings
PRN
N/A
Print, VariCAD Drivers
BPRP
N/A
Batch Print, Predefined
BPRW
N/A
Batch Print
BPRV
N/A
Batch Print, VariCAD Drivers
LWD
N/A
Printed Lines Mapping
BMP
N/A
Bitmap File from 3D
Printing
Icon
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
Other Functions
Icon
Command
Hotkey
Description
INFO
Shift + F3
Information
RED
Ctrl + Y
Redo
UND
Ctrl + Z
Undo
CAL
Shift + F9
Calculator
Command
Hotkey
Description
ZPR
N/A
Undo View
ZRD
N/A
Redo View
RDR
F6
Redraw
SON
N/A
Old/New View Export, Updated 2D
REG
N/A
Regenerate
ZOOM
F5
Zoom
ZWI
N/A
Zoom Window
ZCS
N/A
Dynamic Zoom
PAN
N/A
Pan
ZALL
N/A
Zoom All
EAV
N/A
Move View Window
ZFO
N/A
Zoom Drawing Format
ZMM
N/A
Zoom Window Coordinates
2D Views
Icon
Saving and Restoring 2D or 3D Views
Icon
Command
Hotkey
Description
ZSV
N/A
Save View
ZRE
N/A
Restore View
RS1
N/A
Restore View 1
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
RS2
N/A
Restore View 2
RS3
N/A
Restore View 3
RS4
N/A
Restore View 4
RS5
N/A
Restore View 5
RS6
N/A
Restore View 6
RS7
N/A
Restore View 7
RS8
N/A
Restore View 8
Command
Hotkey
Description
ZPR
N/A
Undo View
ZRD
N/A
Redo View
2D
Alt + 2
Switch to 2D
3D
Alt + 3
Switch to 3D
VLE
N/A
Left View
VRI
N/A
Right View
VFR
N/A
Front View
VBA
N/A
Back View
VTO
N/A
Top View
VBO
N/A
Bottom View
PRV
N/A
Predefined View
VCN
N/A
Auto View Rotation Center
VCNI
N/A
Define View Rotation Center
X90
N/A
Rotate View Around X 90 Deg
X180
N/A
Rotate View Around X 180 Deg
X270
N/A
Rotate View Around X 270 Deg
Y90
N/A
Rotate View Around Y 90 Deg
3D Views
Icon
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
Y180
N/A
Rotate View Around Y 180 Deg
Y270
N/A
Rotate View Around Y 270 Deg
ZRD
N/A
Redo View
SHW
N/A
Shade/Wireframe Entire Display
RNP
N/A
View to Plane
PVS
N/A
Predefined View Settings
SRD
N/A
Precise Rendering
OGL
N/A
OpenGl Settings
HWTEST
N/A
Hardware Test
Command
Hotkey
Description
SXDP
N/A
2D Object as Solid X Drawing Plane
PXDP
N/A
2D Object as Patch X Drawing Plane
AXG
N/A
Aux. Grid On/Off
AXGP
N/A
Parameters of Aux. Grid
THL
N/A
Thick/Thin 2D Outlines
ZALLP
N/A
Zoom All in Drawing Plane
DPV
N/A
Drawing Perpendicular to View
ZWD
N/A
Zoom Window in Drawing Plane
VCNI2
N/A
Define View Rotation Center in Drawing Plane
Command
Hotkey
Description
RSO
N/A
Full Revolve
ESO
N/A
Extrude
RSOP
N/A
Partial Revolve
2D Drawing in 3D
Icon
Creating Solids from 2D Profiles
Icon
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
PYR
N/A
Prismatic Loft
PRC
N/A
Loft Rectangle to Circle
HLX
N/A
Helix
PRR
N/A
Coil
Command
Hotkey
Description
PRS
N/A
Box
CYL
N/A
Cylinder
PEL
N/A
Pipe Elbow
TPY
N/A
Pyramid
PIP
N/A
Pipe
CPI
N/A
Cone Pipe
CON
N/A
Cone
ELW
N/A
Solid Elbow
SPH
N/A
Sphere
Command
Hotkey
Description
STC
N/A
Translate, Rotate, Copy Solids
PAR
N/A
Parameters
CST
N/A
Geometric Constraints
RMS
Ctrl + D
Delete Solids or Blendings
CS3
N/A
Change Color
BL3
Ctrl + B
Blank
UB3
Ctrl + U
Unblank
MSO
N/A
Edit Solid or Blending
Creating Basic Solids
Icon
Editing Solids
Icon
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
SHC
N/A
Shade/Wireframe Selected Solids
MIRR3
N/A
Mirror Solid
RSSO
N/A
Scale Solid
Command
Hotkey
Description
OFP
N/A
Create Offset Patches (Shells)
PIPES
N/A
Create Pipes in Space
WIRES
N/A
Create Wires in Space
THH
N/A
Threaded Hole
THS
N/A
Threaded Cylinder (Screw)
OTC
N/A
Outer Thread Cutting Tool
Command
Hotkey
Description
CUT
N/A
Cut, Delete Cutting Solid
ADD
Ctrl + A
Add Solid
CUTS
N/A
Cut, Keep Cutting Solid
TRX
N/A
Explode Boolean Tree
CUTPS
N/A
Selective Cut, Delete Cutting Solid
ADDPC
N/A
Selective Add
CPSS
N/A
Selective Cut, Keep Cutting Solid
SIN
N/A
Solid Intersection
3D Comprehensive Shapes
Icon
Boolean Operations
Icon
Common Boolean Operations, Blending
Icon
Command
Hotkey
Description
HOL
N/A
Hole
MIL
N/A
Mill
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
GRV
N/A
Groove
RN3
Ctrl + F
3D Fillet
CH3
Ctrl + R
3D Chamfer
Command
Hotkey
Description
CRT
N/A
Interference between Two Groups
CRTR
N/A
Repeat Interference Check between Two
Groups
CHRD
N/A
Display Interferences
ASCH
N/A
All Interferences
ASCHN
N/A
Interference without Selected
ASCHS
N/A
Interference Selected vs. Rest
ASCHB
N/A
Interference within Selected
Command
Hotkey
Description
DIA
N/A
Create Link from Part
CSI
N/A
Break Link from Part
CAI
N/A
Break All Links from Parts
DEE
N/A
Create Link to Assembly
ROI
N/A
Change Link to Assembly
CDE
N/A
Break Link to Assembly
EDE
N/A
Open Part File from Assembly
DSO
N/A
Assembly Changes Transfer Settings
RSI
N/A
Break Identical Copy Link
RIC
N/A
Break Identical Copy Group
Interference between Solids
Icon
Assemblies and Identical Copies
Icon
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Chapter 16. List of All VariCAD Functions
Creating 2D Views from 3D
Icon
Command
Hotkey
Description
32E
Ctrl + X
2D View from 3D
32EN
N/A
Update 2D after 3D Changes
32SET
N/A
Update 2D after 3D Changes Setting
SEM
Ctrl + F2
3D Section Management
Command
Hotkey
Description
3GR
Ctrl + F1
3D Groups Management
3D Groups
Icon
Bill of Materials, Object Attributes, Title Blocks
Icon
Command
Hotkey
Description
BOM
Ctrl + E
Create BOM at Basic Level
DSS3
N/A
Create BOM Containing Assembly
BOMG
N/A
Create BOM from 3D Assembly Group
SPO
N/A
Supplementary Objects
SAT
N/A
Solid Attributes
MTC
N/A
Change Identical Attributes
ATL
N/A
Attributes from List
ATC
N/A
Check Attributes
AAT
N/A
Assembly/Part Attributes, Fill Title Blocks
AAT2
N/A
Fill Title Block, Define Attributes
ATM
N/A
BOM, Attributes and Title Blocks Settings
3D Calculations and Check Functions
Icon
Command
Hotkey
Description
RUS
N/A
3D Results Units Settings
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3DCO
N/A
3D Coordinates
3DD
N/A
3D Distance
VOL
N/A
Volume, Mass, Center of Gravity
SAR
N/A
Surface Area
MIN
N/A
Moment of Inertia
STAT
N/A
3D Space Information
ODT3
N/A
3D Object Information
DPP
N/A
Distance Point Plane
DPC
N/A
Distance Point Cylinder
SCY
N/A
Cylinder Dimensions
SDE
N/A
Surface Development
APL
N/A
Angle between Planes
CPP
N/A
Check Pipes
PATCHI
N/A
3D Patch Information
CURVI
N/A
3D Curve Information
Command
Hotkey
Description
3DL
N/A
3D Location Settings
3DS
N/A
Shading and Edges Settings
SCO
N/A
Colors and Wires of Solids
SLS
N/A
3D Selection Settings
S3K
N/A
View Rotation - Arrow Keys
IPST
N/A
Solid Insertion Point Settings
3D Settings
Icon
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Mechanical Part Calculations
Icon
Command
Hotkey
Description
TSP
N/A
Tension Spring Calculation
CSP
N/A
Compression Spring Calculation
SQK
N/A
Square Key Calculation
SSC
N/A
Spline Shaft Calculation
RPC
N/A
Round Pin Calculation
BCC
N/A
Bolt Connection Calculation
BEN
N/A
Shaft and Beam Calculation
FDC
N/A
Spur Gear Calculation
CDC
N/A
Straight Bevel Gear Calculation
VBE
N/A
V-Belt Calculation
RLC
N/A
Roller Chain Drive Calculation
SKF
N/A
SKF Bearings Calculation
Command
Hotkey
Description
ELCD
N/A
License Code
TREG
N/A
Registration
PCHS
N/A
Online Purchase
INST
N/A
Web Browser Settings
INH
N/A
Home Page
INN
N/A
What's New Page
INI
N/A
Upgrade
INF
N/A
Feedback
FAQ
N/A
FAQ
VariCAD on the Web
Icon
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Hotkey
180
Icon
Command
Description
Ctrl + A
ADD
Add Solid
Ctrl + C
CPY
Select Objects to Clipboard
Ctrl + E
BOM
Bill of Material
Ctrl + G
GRI
Grid
Ctrl + K
BLI
Insert Block
Ctrl + L
LIN
Line
Ctrl + N
DOP
New
Ctrl + O
DAD
Open
Ctrl + P
WPR
Print
Ctrl + S
DSV
Save
Ctrl + T
MOV
Translate or Copy 2D Objects
Ctrl + V
PAS
Objects from Clipboard
Ctrl + W
CUT
Cut Solid
Ctrl + X
32E
2D View from 3D
Ctrl + Y
RED
Redo
Ctrl + Z
UND
Undo
F1
HFU
Context-Sensitive Help
F2
DSV
Save
F5
ZOOM
Zoom
F6
RDR
Redraw
F7
APE
Set 2D Cursor
F9
STP
Drawing in Increment Mode
F11
ORT
Drawing in Ortho Mode
Chapter 17. Hotkeys
Shift + F3
INFO
Information
Shift + F9
CAL
Calculator
Shift + F11
OMO
Turn off Ortho Mode
Ctrl + F1
3GR
3D Groups Management
Ctrl + F2
SEC
3D Sections Management
Ctrl + F4
CLO
Close
Ctrl + 3
WIN
Windows
Ctrl + TAB
SWD
Activate Previous Window
Alt + 2
2D
Switch to 2D
Alt + 3
3D
Switch to 3D
Hot Keys Common for both 3D and 2D Edit Functions
Hotkey
Icon
Command
Description
Ctrl + B
BLANK
Blank Objects
Ctrl + D
DELETE
Delete Objects
Ctrl + F
FILLET
Fillet Edge/Corner
Ctrl + R
CHAMFER
Chamfer Edge/Corner
Ctrl + U
UNBLANK
Unblank Objects
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Icon
182
Command
Description
RS1
Restore View 1
RS2
Restore View 2
RS3
Restore View 3
RS4
Restore View 4
RS5
Restore View 5
RS6
Restore View 6
RS7
Restore View 7
RS8
Restore View 8
ZSV
Save View
ZALL
Zoom All
ZWI
Zoom Window
ZFO
Zoom Drawing Format
ZPR
Undo View
ZRD
Redo View
VLE
Left View
VRI
Right View
VFR
Front View
VBA
Back View
VTO
Top View
VBO
Bottom View
X90
Rotate View X 90 Deg
X180
Rotate View X 180 Deg
X270
Rotate View X 270 Deg
Chapter 18. Embedded Functions
Y90
Rotate View Y 90 Deg
Y180
Rotate View Y 180 Deg
Y270
Rotate View Y 270 Deg
RNP
View Perpendicular to Plane
PRV
Predefined View
VCN
Auto View Rotation Center
VCNI
Define View Rotation Center
SHW
Shade/Wireframe Entire Display
ODT3
3D Object Information
SON
Old/New View Export, Updated 2D
STP
2D Drawing in Increment Mode
ORT
2D Drawing in Ortho Mode
ORTH
Ortho Alternating Horizontal/Vertical
ORTV
Ortho Alternating Vertical/Horizontal
OMO
Turn off Ortho Mode
GRI
2D Grid
UCO
2D User Origin
STAT
3D Space Information
3DD
3D Distance
3DCO
3D Coordinates
DPP
Distance Point Plane
DPC
Distance Point Cylinder
APL
Angle between Planes
SCY
Cylinder Dimensions
HFU
Context-Sensitive Help
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Using Tutorial
In this section of manual there are examples of 2D drawing and 3D modeling. Each example contains an
animated flash, set of related images and description. Some of the flash frames or separate images
contain labels displaying which key or mouse button will be pressed in the next step. Clicking only the
VariCAD objects is described; obvious behavior like a left click icons or buttons is omitted. Description
of zoom, pan or 3D view rotation is omitted, too. The printed version of the manual contains only static
images and description.
All images were scanned in 800x600 resolution. Generally, we don‟t recommend working in such
display resolution. It is the lowest possible for VariCAD. This resolution was selected because all
tutorial images can be displayed completely in any higher resolution.
Location of toolbars can be different from your settings – partially because in 800x600 resolution the
amount of toolbars is limited and partially because you may change the position or configuration of
toolbars.
If the system requires user input like a button click or key press, corresponding text is displayed in the
drawing area. Omitted are descriptions of obvious inputs like clicking the icons or panel buttons. In
some cases, you can click an icon, press Enter or right click elsewhere (usually if you have to finish
selection, etc). Not all possibilities may be displayed in such situations.
Working with Flash Examples
To use Flash examples, you need the proper plug-in in your web browser. For the help system under
Windows, the proper plug-in must be installed in Microsoft Internet Explorer - regardless of your default
browser. Windows HTML help system works with Explorer core.
If you have not installed any plug-in yet, and if your computer is connected to the Internet, it should be
installed automatically. If automatic installation fails or if your browser is not able to run flash examples
properly, visit the www.macromedia.com and download the flash plug-in.
Controlling Flash Examples
Buttons controlling flash behavior
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The Flash examples used in the tutorial can be controlled with the following elements:
• Tracking Button. The best method to explore each Flash example is to drag the tracking button. Left
click the tracking button, hold the mouse button down and move the mouse. Dragging right displays
the next frames (images), dragging left displays the previous frames. Thus you can easily change
frames as fast as you need and easily return back, if necessary.
• Position Slider. Click to the left side of the tracking button to display the previous frame. Click to the
right side of the tracking button to display the next frame.
• Other buttons. You can also use “play”, “stop”, “next”, “previous”, “to beginning” or “to end” buttons.
If you play a sequence continuously (click “play” button), each frame is displayed for 1.5 second and
then changed.
Objects Created in Tutorial, Corresponding Files
Example 1
Example 2
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The examples displayed above are built from scratch. The tutorial shows each step of the creation. 2D
drawing is demonstrated when creating 2D profiles, which are used for 3D extrusion later. After
finishing the creation of the 2D profiles, 3D editing is demonstrated.
Other examples, like creation of 2D from 3D, sheet metal unbending, assemblies or shells use the
existing files.
2D drawings and 3D objects created in the particular steps are available in the directory samples¥tutorial
in VariCAD installation. File names of the corresponding files appear in the VariCAD window upper
frame. The paths of files can be different, however.
Examples of 2D Drawing
Using Construction Lines
Creating grid of construction lines
When creating any 2D drawing, you can use a grid of auxiliary construction lines – see Construction
Lines (page 27). Here, each new vertical construction line is defined by a distance from the previously
created construction line. Horizontal construction lines are defined by a distance from the fixed point in
the following step. Location of the origin (first point or fixed point) is defined at the cursor nearest grid
point in both cases.
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To define a location at the grid point nearest to the cursor, simply press the spacebar. The auxiliary mesh
of points is useful for initial location of objects. Coordinates of such a location are rounded according to
the grid settings. See Grid (page 27).
Drawing lines using a grid of the construction lines
To define a location at the intersection of construction lines nearest to the cursor, you can press the key
“c”. In this example, a line is created and each segment‟s endpoint is located at the intersection of the
construction lines. Generally, you can select a method of 2D location from “Snaps” toolbar. Automatic
detection is available in many cases.
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2D Automatic Detection, Drawing Lines, Filleting, Offsets
2D filleting
To fillet corners, you can detect them automatically or select both line or arc segments individually. The
automatic detection is used in this example. Similar methods are available also for chamfering and creation of corners. See Creating Corners, Chamfers and Fillets (page 46).
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2D offset, a curve is temporarily integrated from arcs and line segments
Define an offset distance before the offset is created. In this case, offset is created to the object which is
temporarily integrated from line segments and arcs. Click the first segment near its outer endpoint. Then
a side of the offset is defined. The side is relative to the first selected segment. Such a segment is marked
with the star at the endpoint. See also Offsets of Objects (page 51).
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Drawing a line, automatic 2D location
Finally, both curves (original and offset) are connected at the ends. The location of the points of the
connecting lines is detected automatically.
To learn more about various methods of 2D location (definition of line endpoint, arc center, arc endpoint,
point on 2D NURBS curve etc), see Selecting 2D Locations (page 32).
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Drawing in Cursor Increment Mode and Keyboard Location
Input
Drawing in the cursor increment mode
The cursor increment mode is a very convenient method of 2D drawing. Located positions are rounded
to the defined values. The cursor increment mode can be set, turn on or off whenever you click the corresponding icon. If used, the increment mode is signaled in the status bar as highlighted “DX DY”. You
can check the exact cursor position in the status bar when drawing a line or defining a 2D location. Consider, whether you need to display the distance from the last 2D enter or relative to the user defined
coordinates origin. In this particular example, the cursor increments are set to 1 mm and displayed coordinates are x and y distance from the previous enter.
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Keyboard location input
If you need to define a 2D location as x-y distance from the last enter, in the absolute coordinates, or at
the distance and angle from the last enter (like in this example), select the corresponding mode from the
toolbar or press an accelerating key (D, K or R) – see Selecting 2D Locations (page 32). It is necessary
to finish the keyboard input before line drawing itself is finished.
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2D Mirroring, Creating Corners
Mirroring
To create the right side of the profile, the left side is mirrored. Still in the cursor increment mode, you
can easily define the vertical mirror axis.
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Creating a corner
Exceeding segments are cut off by creating a corner. Automatic detection of the corner is similar as in
the fillet or chamfer functions ( Creating Corners, Chamfers and Fillets (page 46) ).
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Offset of a single segment at the defined distance
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Creating a corner
The inner part of the profile is created as a line offset to the outline. Again, the exceeding segments are
cut off by the Corner function. Another method how to cut off such segments is, for instance, trimming
by a line or arc segment. After trimming the segments, the exceeding segments are cleared from display.
If any other objects are lying under them, they are temporarily blanked. To fix this, redraw the display
by pressing “F6” or, very easily, by turning the mouse wheel one notch forward and backward.
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Examples of 3D Modeling
Creating Solids, Profile Extrusion
Solid‟s insertion point definition relative to the extruded profile
To create a solid by the profile extrusion, prepare a corresponding 2D profile first. Select 2D objects to
define the extruded profile; then define the height of the extrusion and the insertion point. Automatic
detection of the entire profile is used as a method of the profile selection in this example. For more
information about the profile selection, see Defining a 2D Profile (page 92). For more information about
the solid insertion point, see Solid Insertion Point (page 93).
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Inserting New Solids into 3D Space
New solid insertion
When inserting objects into 3D space, you have a lot of functions allowing you to define the object
position. Some of them are described in the next examples. By default, the objects are inserted into the
same location the previous objects were inserted into. Then you can transform them to another desired
location. Transformation of the solids is described in the reference manual at Inserting and
Transforming Solids (page 110).
In this case, there are no previously inserted objects. Thus the solid is inserted into the coordinates‟
center (0, 0, 0). In some situations, new solid can be inserted out of the viewport (displayed area). This
can happen if you perform any solid insertion and then change the angle of the view, zoom or pan. For a
beginner, this can be confusing. In such a situation, simply perform “zoom all”, or locate a new object
insertion point at any visible or desired location. Then the new objects will be transformed, and at least a
part of them will be displayed in the current viewport.
If you work in 3D, you need to change the display frequently. See Tips and Tricks (page 160) or 3D
Display (page 82) how to perform this.
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Selection of another solid profile
The file containing 2D profile for another solid is open as a second file in this case. The solid profile is
selected by a rectangular area - all objects completely inside the defined rectangular area will be
extruded.
To work with multiple files (or, by another word, documents) is always convenient. The documents
were switched from menu “Window” in this example. If you work only with two documents, you can
switch between them pressing “Ctrl + TAB”. In this case, each file contains 2D profile. Solids are extruded from both profiles.
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Selection of the solid for copy and paste
Another extruded solid was created. This solid is inserted into the clipboard to be used later for the
“paste” function. Then the files are switched again and this solid is inserted from the clipboard into 3D
space.
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Changing Solid Insertion Point
Changing the solid insertion point
The solid is inserted at the location of the previously inserted object. In this situation, it is convenient to
change the location of the insertion point of the inserted object before the inserted object is transformed.
Here, the location of the new insertion point is at the automatically detected end of the highlighted edge.
All next transformations will be relative to this new insertion point (until the next insertion point
change).
This insertion is performed within the function “paste”. Insertion of a new solid or solids, insertion of
objects from other file, function paste and transformation of the selected objects use similar methods.
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Inserting and copying solid
The solid is inserted into a new location after the change of the insertion point. Here, the location was
automatically detected at the endpoint of the edge. Because of the necessity to insert the solid again to
another location, copying solids was selected – in a panel on the right side, click the copy icon before
inserting objects. In this example, the identical copying was selected. All objects copied in this mode
share future editing changes. The insertion is confirmed by pressing “enter” key or by the right click.
The solid is inserted, a new one is created automatically at the same location and you can insert the new
solid to another location. All procedures are repeated similarly for the insertion on the right side in the
following steps.
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Selecting Solids
Selecting solids
While working with multiple solids in 3D space, you may need to change colors of some objects. The
entire scene is then more legible. In this example, the cross bar is changed to yellow color and the two
beams to blue color. Here, the solid selection is a part of the function changing colors of the solids. The
most simple selection is used – selection of the entire objects by their automatic detection. For more
information about solid selection, see Selecting Solids (page 97).
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Working with Library Parts
Checking the distance
The cross bar will be attached to the beam with a bolt connection. You need to know the distance between the two opposite planes before the correct screw dimensions are selected. Here, the distance between the upper and lower planes is important. The distance is measured from a point which is at the
lower plane edge to the upper plane.
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Selecting a screw from the list
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Transforming Solids
Changing the direction of the axis
Some important methods of solid transformation are demonstrated in the example of screw insertion.
For more information, see Inserting and Transforming Solids (page 110).
X axis of the screw (red color of axis) must be oriented against the normal of the upper plane. Left click
the inner part of X axis of the inserted object, select the direction against plane‟s normal and then select
the plane.
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Inserting between two locations
The screw is located at the half width of the yellow cross bar. Both locations on the sides of the cross bar
can be detected automatically; the screw is inserted between them.
Inserting between two locations, inserting at the circle center (center of circular edge) or changing the
insertion point of the inserted object are the often used functions. Because of this, you can reach them by
left clicking the inner part of any axis of the inserted object. These functions are not specific for the particular axis.
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Dragging along an axis
To define the location in Y axis direction (blue-color axis), you can drag the inserted screw along this
axis. While dragging, all selected locations are projected perpendicularly to a point on the dragging line
(axis) and the object is located to this point.
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Dragging along an axis, location definition
The screw will be inserted exactly at the half of the blue beam width. To achieve this, select the
midpoint of the highlighted edge. The blue beam is symmetric; the midpoint of this edge is at the beam
half width. Confirm the insertion of the screw. The nut is inserted similarly in the following steps.
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Copying Solids
Copying solids
The screw and nut were selected. To allow copying, click the icon copy, then the icon OK (insert) or
right click. Objects are copied and you can define their new location. Unlike in the previous example,
there was used the plain copy mode. Objects do not share any future editing changes.
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Translation of solids
The translation of copied solids is defined by two points in this case. In the next step, the translation
distance is defined. The distance between the two points is offered by default. Click OK to accept the
default value and the objects are translated. Then confirm the insertion.
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Boolean Operations - Cut
Cutting solids – creation of a hole for the screw
To create a hole for the screw, the screw was selected as a cutting tool. The hole was cut into the upper
part (yellow cross bar). In this step, the screw is selected as a cutting tool again and the solid to be cut is
the blue beam. If the cutting tool is a library part (like this screw) with the defined ability to modify the
counterpart, a pop-up menu is displayed and you can select the option. In this example, the hole is
created according to the respective standards – with the exactly defined diameter for the screw diameter.
For Boolean cut, the function “Cut, Keep Cutting Solid” was selected. Because the two blue beams are
identical copies, the hole is created into both of them at once.
VariCAD allows you to modify solids in any files regardless of how many other solids are in the particular file. There are no exactly defined assembly files or part (detail) files. One of the major advantages is
the fact that you can modify any part according to other part, like in this example. On the other side, you
may define assembly links to make editing changes at once for more identical objects. See 3D Assemblies (page 143).
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Drilling hole – shape definition
Drilling a hole, cutting material off with a box tool and creating a groove are so-called predefined Boolean operations. This example demonstrates the creation of a hole. To define depth of the hole (dimension l), measuring distance in 3D is performed. The thickness of the cross bar is measured in the following steps and then the certain excess is added to the result. The extension of the measured thickness allows drilling through the entire material.
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Drilling hole – tool insertion
The tool creating a hole was transformed similarly as other inserted objects were transformed in the
previous examples. The hole is created after confirmation of the tool position. For more information
about Boolean operations, see Boolean Operations (page 100).
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Editing Solids Created from 2D Profiles
Selecting a solid to be edited
The function “Edit Solid or Blending” is selected to change the shape of the profile which creates the
blue beam. If the cursor hovers above any object created by the profile extrusion, rotation or lofting, the
profile is highlighted. 2D mode in 3D space is activated after the selection, and you can change the
shape of the profile. See Editing Basic Solids (page 105). Editing solids created as basic shapes (box,
cylinder, hole etc) is demonstrated in Editing Basic Solids (page 228). Here, the second beam is
highlighted too, because it was created by identical copying. Editing changes will be applied to both
profiles equally.
Solid‟s profile is always edited by 2D tools in 3D space. For more information about 2D drawing in 3D
space, see 2D Drawing in 3D (page 90) or 2D Drawing in 3D, Tutorial (page 421).
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Stretching a part of the profile
To make the lower profile part wider, the function “Stretch” was selected. The parts of the objects to
stretch are inside the defined rectangular area. The stretching reference point is selected. In the next
steps, a new position of the reference point is defined by entering dx and dy relative to the original position. Line segment endpoints lying inside the rectangular area are moved according to the defined x and
y distance. Similar steps are used for moving the left part of the profile to the left.
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Finish profile editing
After finishing profile editing, the height of the extrusion is defined (remains the same for this example)
and objects creating the profile are confirmed, added or removed.
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Confirm the editing change for both original and identical copies
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Basic Solids
Creating a box
In this example, the box dimensions are defined, the box is inserted similarly as in the previous examples, and then the hole drilling is selected. For more information about basic solids, see Basic Solids
(page 96).
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Translation of the tool drilling the hole
The tool drilling the hole was directed against the normal of the selected plane, moved to the lower left
corner (automatically detected the end of the highlighted edge) and then the translation in Y direction
was selected. To perform such translation, click the end arrow of the respective axis. Here, the translation distance is defined. In the next steps, translation in Z direction (green axis) is performed the same
way and the position is confirmed. The second hole is created and inserted similarly. All used methods
of transformation were already demonstrated in the previous examples.
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Insertion of the second box
The second box was defined and initially inserted at the location of the previous object (the second hole
in this example). The insertion point of the new box is redefined.
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Confirmation of the final box position
The box was moved to the upper right corner, the location was automatically detected at the edge‟s
endpoint.
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Boolean Operations - Add
Boolean operation – add
To join the second box to the previously created solid to create one single object, the function “Add” is
used. Select a solid to add and solid the previously selected solid will be added to. Both objects are
joined into one new shape.
For more information about Boolean operations, see Boolean Operations (page 100).
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Cutting Material with Box Tool
Transforming the position of the cutting tool
Function “Mill” allows you to cut material with a box-shaped tool. In this example, the tool‟s dimensions were defined and the tool was moved to the edge to be cut. Then the tool was rotated around X
axis. The angle between the tool Y axis (blue) and the upper plane of the solid is 20 degrees. In this example, the translation against Z axis arrow will create the cut at the distance of 15 mm from the original
edge, measured on the left side of solid. As you can see, mathematic expressions can be entered instead
of single values. For more information about entering mathematic expressions, see Mathematic Expressions (page 35)
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Chamfering 3D edge
Chamfering edges allows you to cut an edge under 45 degrees. Selecting the edges is similar to selecting
edges for 3D filleting.
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Transforming the position of the cutting tool
Another box-shaped cutting tool was inserted, directed according to planes and moved to the midpoint
of the edge. Drag along X axis to move the tool exactly under the axis of the hole. Dragging was described in the previous example Dragging along axis (page 206).
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Dragging along the axis to a position
For exact definition of the tool position under the axis of the hole, the center of the circular edge of the
hole was selected as the location to drag to. Then the position was confirmed, material was cut off and
the second position was selected similarly. After selection and confirmation, material will be cut off at
the second location, too.
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Editing Shape of Basic Solids
Editing a hole
If the solids are created as basic shapes (box, cylinder, hole etc), you can edit them very easily with spatial dimensions, as shown in this example. Editing shapes created from the profile is demonstrated in
Editing Solids Created from Profile (page 215)
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Copying the shape
Select copying the shape to copy the exact shape of the right hole to the left hole.
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Transforming Parts of Solids
Selecting a hole and groove for transformation
If you need to change the position of any basic parts creating 3D object, switch the object selection to
select the single elements or to select the branches of Boolean tree. See Selecting Solids (page 97). In
this example, the hole and groove are selected as single objects.
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Transformation of the objects
After selection of a solid‟s part for transformation, the original shapes (in this example the tool creating
the hole and the tool creating the groove) are displayed and you can define a new location. After
confirmation, the objects are moved to the new location.
For transforming parts of solid, you can use also a respective option of the function “Edit solids”. The
edit function allows you to transform only sub objects from one solid at once and allows you to change
shapes, too. The function “Solid transformation” used here allows you to transform entire parts as well
as their sub parts at once, but does not allow to change shapes.
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Removing Parts of Solids
Selecting parts of the solid to be deleted
If you need to delete any part or parts of the solid, switch the object selection to select single elements or
to select branches of Boolean tree. See Selecting Solids (page 97) - selection is the same as in the
previous example demonstrating transformation of the parts of the solid. The groove and the chamfer of
the edge are selected to be deleted in this example. The chamfered edge will be rounded in the next steps.
Selecting edges for filleting and fillet radius definition is similar to the methods of chamfering,
demonstrated previously in Chamfering (page 224)
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Transforming parts of solids after changes of their dimensions
Selecting part of the solid to be edited
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Shape after the dimension change
You can conveniently translate any parts of solids together with a change of the shapes. In this example,
the box, which creates base, is wider after the editing. A new shape spreads to both sides in X-direction.
Select the translation in the predefined direction and the box translates to the left – the same position of
edges at right side is preserved. For more information about editing solids, see Editing Solids (page 105)
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Selecting parts of the solid to be translated
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Defining translation
The box is edited and translated. Then, the left hole and cutting tool creating the chamfer are selected. In
the next step, the selected objects are translated along X-axis to the left at a distance of 20 mm (box is 20
mm wider). The left hole and groove are again at the same distance from the left side after the editing
change.
You cannot select filleting at the left side for translation. All blendings are automatically rebuilt after
shape or position changes.
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Solid after editing
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Filleting Edges
Filleting, selecting edges if two edges in a vertex are sharp and one is obtuse
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Filleting, selecting edges to create a rounded corner
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Filleting, final state
If you need to blend an edge created from more segments continuously as one object, select all these
edges together. Especially filleting will be done more efficiently. Moreover, in some cases the edges
selected separately cannot be rounded. On the other side, you cannot select three edges in one vertex
together.
If you need to create a rounded corner, select two edges in this corner (preferably at once), perform
filleting and then select the remaining edge and perform filleting on it. If you need the edges rounded
with different radii, then select and round each edge separately.
If one edge in a corner has a radius significantly greater then other two edges, you must round this edge
first and then select and round remaining two edges together with a new edge at the end of the
previously created fillet (see example in the image above).
Similarly, if you need to round edges in the vertex containing two sharp and one obtuse edge, round the
obtuse edge first and then select and round remaining edges with the edge at the end of the previously
created fillet (see again the example in the image above).
It is better to have displaying of all edges (including the tangent ones) turned on. First impression could
not be the best, but you can always use different settings for precise display. In the work mode and
especially while filleting edges, it is always clear where the edges have their ends and if some edge is
created from more segments.
For more information about blending, see Blending (page 104)
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Editing Fillets
Selecting fillet to be edited
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Selecting another fillets within one function
You can select and define change for more separate fillets at once. After all changes are defined, the
solid is rebuilt.
For more information about editing solids, see Editing Solids (page 105)
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Solid after editing
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Creating Pipes
Pipe according to Other Solids in Assembly
Definition of a pipe start point
Define each location of pipe segment‟s endpoints similarly as in the function 3D Transformation (page
110). You have more methods available for definition of a pipe path, see Pipes (page 136). In this example, the pipe start point is adjusted according to the edge of the blue beam, than the point is dragged
along Y (blue) axis down to the selected location and finally lifted up to the desired distance from the
foot. Here the end point of the straight segment is defined.
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Dragging a pipe segment end point
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Lifting a pipe segment end point to a desired distance
You can easily bend pipes around corners, as shown below.
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Defining pipe direction, elbow will be created around corner
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Selecting planes of the corner the elbow is created around
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Pipe bent around a corner
If you create straight segments, an elbow with a defined radius rounds each vertex of the pipe path. Press
Enter, click the corresponding icon or right-click to complete the pipe creation.
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Pipe according to Other Existing Pipe
In this example, the pipe start point is adjusted according to other pipe endpoint. Then the locations of
endpoints of segments are defined according to the existing pipe. Select the direction pointing to the
next location. If necessary, rotate the axes properly first. Select the first and second pipe segment connected by the elbow. The new elbow is created around the existing elbow. Thus, you can create a new
pipe parallel to the existing one.
Definition of a pipe start point
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Selecting a location at other pipe to create an elbow
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Defining pipe direction, elbow will be created around other elbow
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A pipe created parallel to the existing one
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Editing a Pipe
You can edit the shape of the pipe similarly as shapes of other solids – see Editing Solids (page 105).
First, the diameter of the entire pipe is changed. Next, the angle of the elbow is changed and the adjacent
pipe segment is rotated to a new correct position. A point defining rotation is at the center of segment‟s
end circular edge. The new location of this point is at the center of the end circular edge of the changed
elbow.
Selecting a pipe to change its diameters
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Changing an angle of the elbow
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Rotation of an adjacent segment to the correct position
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Sticking the point, which defines rotation (center of rotated segment) to new location
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Creating 2D from 3D
Creating 2D, First 2D Definition
You can export 3D views to the 2D drawing area. In this example, the basic predefined views are exported (left view, front view, top view). Then the area clipped by a rectangle is exported. This export is
enlarged as a detailed view in the 2D area. Finally, the general view is created. While exporting, the option “Add this view export to list of exports” is active. This enables you to change 2D drawing after
changes in 3D. For more information, see Exporting Views and Sections from 3D to 2D (page 131).
Selecting method of 2D creation
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Inserting 3D views into 2D
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Selecting area to create detailed view in 2D
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Scaling objects exported from selected area
After the 2D objects from the corresponding 3D view are created, you can translate, rotate or rescale
them. Select all objects from the particular export. Thus the connections between 3D and 2D remain and
2D is properly updated after changes in 3D. Transformed 2D objects are updated at their new locations.
As shown here, area clipped by rectangle is scaled by factor 2. All 2D objects are selected by 2D rectangular area before scaling.
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Completed 2D drawing
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Updating 2D after 3D Changes
2D drawing before 3D change
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Performing one of editing steps in 3D
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Updating 2D according to predefined exports
Performing 2D update after 3D changes, you can select whether the old 2D objects are deleted (as used
here), or if they remain and their 2D line attributes are changed – this allows you to easily distinguish
changes in 2D drawing.
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Detail of 2D updated after 3D changes
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Changing Predefined Method of 2D Creation
You can change or delete particular predefined exports of 3D views. This can be especially useful if you
need to change the 2D attributes of created views (color or line type), or if you need to stop the creation
of 3D view you do not need any longer. In this example, the change of the color of tangent connections
in the selected general view is performed. Generally, the colors of the lines in 2D corresponds with line
thickness for printing.
List of predefined view exports
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Selecting a predefined export for change
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Changing predefined export attributes
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2D after changed attributes of export
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3D Shells
Creating 3D Shells
You can create a shell as connected offset patches and selected original patches. Sheet metal parts can be
created initially as shells. See Offset Patches – Thick Shells (page 138). In this example, the patches for
offset are selected by the option “All except detected”. Otherwise, you have to click each patch separately.
Creating a solid as a shell pattern
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Selecting patches
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Shell thickness definition
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Result
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Editing 3D Shells
You can edit either the shell thickness or the shape of the shell pattern solid. In this example, thickness
is edited separately.
Selecting a shell for thickness change
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Selecting fillets of the shell to be changed
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Changing dimensions of the box creating base of the shell pattern
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Changed shell
This example demonstrates how to change a shape of a pattern solid the shell was created from. If you
need to change the pattern with Boolean operations, work with constraints or create the shell from different patches, you need to extract the pattern solid into 3D space. After all changes, select patches again
and the shell is rebuilt.
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Selecting a shell
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After extracting the pattern into 3D, blank the shell or move the pattern away. Otherwise the editing
may be difficult – the shell would interfere if you select objects.
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The pattern solid was edited. A box was added and connection between the original solid and the new
box was chamfered. The shell will be unblanked.
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The shell is selected again. If the corresponding pattern was extracted into 3D space previously, you
have to reselect patches for the changed shell.
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Selection of additional patches
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Changed shell
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Sheet Metal Unbending (Surface Development)
Detecting Sheet Metal Automatically
For unbending, you can detect sheet metal automatically. This works if detected objects have the
thickness significantly smaller than the other dimensions. Surface development (sheet metal unbending)
uses the bending coefficients. These coefficients correct the unbent dimensions according to the sheet
thickness. For more information about surface development, see Surface Development (page 145).
In this example, the entire solid is detected at once. Then confirm the thickness and locate the unbent
shape in 2D area.
Table of bending coefficients
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Selection of the option to detect the entire solid at once
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Thickness confirmation
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Outlines of the unbent solid in 2D area
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Selecting Surface for Unbending
You can select each patch of the solid for unbending. After the selection, define the sheet thickness. In
the following example, the file containing XY coordinates of unbent surface is created. Coordinates are
listed for outline points in 2D, where leaders mark their locations.
Here, the selected surface is the outer surface of the full cylinder. The result is the same as for unbending pipe.
Selecting a surface for unbending
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Outline of the unbent surface in 2D
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File containing XY coordinates
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3D Assembly
Creating Assembly Connections
You can create assembly links between assembly files and files containing parts. If an object connected
with an assembly link is changed, the change is copied into all files where the object is present. On the
other side, it is not necessary to define assembly links whenever you work with more solids in one space
(in one file).
In this example, the assembly link is created, the part is open simultaneously and then edited. After
switching back to the assembly, the changes are automatically created for the corresponding solid. For
more information about assemblies, see 3D Assemblies (page 143).
Selecting a solid to become a part linked to assemblies
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Part edited, switching back to the assembly
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Changes in the assembly after the part was edited
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Changing Part
Part is edited, then saved and file is closed. Assembly file is open and the corresponding part is changed
automatically.
Editing a part
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Closing a changed part file
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Open the assembly file
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Assembly file containing changed part
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Parameters and Geometric Constraints
Definition of Parameters
For more information about parameters, see Parameters (page 119).
During solid editing, a parameter is defined instead of a constant value. The diameter value 12 is
offered as a default value of a new parameter.
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Another new parameter is defined.
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Both holes will contain the changes. Diameter and chamfer values are changed from constant numeric
values to parametric ones. In the next step of this example, the width of grooves is also changed to
parametric value.
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Modification of Parameters
Checking solids containing the selected parameter
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The solids are highlighted
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Change of a parameter value is selected repeatedly.
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Definition of a new value
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Solid after changes of parameters – diameter of holes, chamfer of holes and width of grooves are
changed.
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Example of Parametric Filleting and Chamfering
Chamfering the selected edge – the chamfer value is different for each side of the selected edge.
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Defining the fillet radius. Parameter r1 was selected for previous filleting. The new value will be
selected from a list of defined parameters.
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Selecting a new parameter from the list
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Blending of edges is finished
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Changing the selected parameter
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Blending after parameter changes
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Defining Geometric Constraints for New Objects
For more information about constraints, see Geometric Constraints (page 121).
The box was selected and transformed into the current location. Instead of the definitive insertion, a
geometric constraint definition was selected. The box will be added to a selected root solid.
Geometric constraints can be defined only within a Boolean tree. Constrained location is the location
of element‟s insertion point.
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Selecting an axis the constraint is defined for
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Selecting a type of constraint
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Selecting a patch - this type of constraint fixes the movement of objects along the corresponding axis.
The object is fixed at the intersection of the axis and the selected patch. The rest of axes are
constrained similarly in the next step of this example.
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All defined constraints are confirmed. In the upper part of the Constraint panel there are icons
displaying constrained movements relative to axes X, Y and Z.
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Defining Geometric Constraints for Existing Objects
Selecting an existing object the constraints will be defined for
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Selecting a constraint, in this case the object will be constrained at a distance from the selected patch.
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Defining a distance from the patch - a parametric value is selected instead of a constant.
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Selecting a constraint for another object, the selected method will constrain object at a distance from a
solid.
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Selecting a solid - the previously selected object will be fixed at a defined distance. The defined
distance is a distance between the two grooves.
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Selecting other solids for constraint definitions. Constraints may be defined for multiple objects. Any
changes of position within the Boolean tree are performed for the entire constrained group at a time.
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Finishing constraint definitions for a pair of holes. The holes are constrained with two types of
constraints. First, they are fixed at a distance from selected patches. Second, the axis of the hole is
directed against the normal of the selected patch and the insertion point of the hole is fixed on the
surface of this patch.
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Changing and Checking Geometric Constraints
Constraints defined in the previous example contain parametric values. Here, new values are selected.
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The solid was rebuilt after changes of parameters. The pitch between the grooves at the bottom is
defined by geometric constraint. After the change, the pitch is different. The pitch between the holes
remains constant. Moreover, both holes are constrained as one group. If you need to fix both holes at
the grooves below individually, the hole at the right side needs to be removed from the constrained
group. Then, define its constraints separately.
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Selecting a removal from the constrained group
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Selecting an object to be removed from the constrained group
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Definition of constraints for the second hole
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A constraint at a distance from the patch was selected. Because the detected patch belongs to an
object constrained in a different order, the selection is blocked automatically. If a constraint was
performed, such a solid would not be rebuilt properly.
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You may display a scheme of constrained links. The scheme highlights links between objects.
Blocked selections are more obvious, if you click an object in the list. You can see an anchored object
as well as an object the selected one is anchored at. Obviously, you cannot anchor an object A to an
object B if the object B is already anchored to the object A (directly or via a chain of multiple
constraints).
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Scheme of links among constrained groups. Selected objects are highlighted.
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Editing Constraints, Rebuilding Solids
Selecting a constraint to be edited
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Highlighting of constraint is selected – you may highlight a selected constraint to see either
constrained objects or anchors.
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Constraint is highlighted
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Second constraint was selected for distance editing. This constraint defines a pitch between groves. A
new value of the pitch is defined.
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Constraint change also transforms corresponding objects.
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All constrained objects are transformed. Here, movement of the hole at the right side is constrained at
the groove below. After the groove changes its position in X axis direction, the hole is automatically
moved.
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A change of the dimension of the box is selected.
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The shape of the box is changed. It is extended to both sides in X axis direction. Without any
geometrical constraints, the rest of all objects would remain at the current positions.
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All shapes and positions were changed. The box at the right side is constrained also to the right patch
of the edited box. After shape changes, this object is moved to the right automatically. The holes and
grooves are constrained also to the left patch of the edited box. Consequently, they are moved to the
left after the shape changes.
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Constrained Angle
VariCAD allows you to perform additional rotation of transformed objects around an axis. Such rotation
may be beneficial for transformation of solids. Objects are rotated and the axes directions are not
changed.
Another very convenient usage of the additional rotation around axes is a possibility to constrain objects
under an angle. In such case you have to define an angle with a parametric value and the objects must be
constrained. Whenever the angular parameter is changed, the constrained objects are rotated according
to the new angular value.
Function “mill” is performed. Cutting box is additionally rotated around the X axis.
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As value of rotation, a parameter named “angle” is selected.
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Value 30 degrees was assigned to the defined parameter. Here, the object is already rotated around the
X axis with angle of 30 degrees.
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A constraint is defined – Z axis perpendicularly to a selected patch. The defined constraint allows
further proper rotation of objects, if the value of the angular parameter is changed.
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Solid cut under an angle as a result of previous operations.
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A new value of the angular parameter is defined. Other parameters in the parameter table cannot be
used for value copying – they are linear parameter, the changed parameter is of angular type.
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Solid after parametric change of the cutting angle
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Parameters and Constraints in Solid Creation Profiles
You can define constraints for a set of vertexes of a 2D creation profile. Vertexes can be constrained
relative to another vertex or to the center of the coordinate system. You can also define radius of circles
or arcs as a parametric value.
The vertexes are endpoints of lines, circle centers, intersections of lines or arcs (in case of filleting or
blending) or interpolation points of NURBS curves.
Using parameters and constraints in lines and circles
To define constraints and parameters within a solid‟s creation profile, first select a solid for editing.
Then switch 2D edit mode to constraints definition – click the corresponding icon in the edit toolbar.
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Selection of a method of constraining
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Selection of vertexes for constraint definition. Selected vertexes will be constrained to the coordinate
center at a distance.
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Reference point is defined. The constrained distance will be distance between the coordinate center
and the selected reference point.
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Distance is defined. Instead of a constant value, a new parameter named “length” is created. In the
following step, a numeric value will be assigned to this parameter.
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In this example, the circle center is constrained at X direction to the selected vertex (marked with the
anchor).
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After distance definition, the circle is moved. Distance from the center to anchoring point was defined
shorter than the previous distance.
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Circles and Fillets Radii
Selecting change a of circle or arc radius
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Selecting a circle for radius change
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Radius definition, the parameter is used
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Definition of a radius of a fillet. The radius of the circle has been changed; the new value is smaller
than the previous value.
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Circle and fillets after changes
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Editing an Existing Constraints
Different method of selection is used in following examples. You can click an object (vertex, chamfer,
fillet, arc or circle) and then select an action from the pop-up menu.
Selecting a vertex
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After finishing selection, an action is selected from the pop-up menu
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A new distance is defined for the group of constrained vertexes.
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The profile after change of the constrained distance. In this example, the two right vertexes are
constrained at a distance to the center of the coordinate system. The center of the circle is constrained
to the vertex from this group. If the constrained distance of the right vertexes is changed, the position
of the circle is changed together with the new length.
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Circular Arcs
By default, arcs are defined by two endpoints and radius. If necessary, you can add the arc center to the
definition. In such case, the endpoints must be explicitly calculated if they are constrained - otherwise
they may not be at the radius distance from the center.
Selecting arc definition change
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Confirmation of change after the arc was selected
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Selecting vertexes for a constraint in X direction to the coordinate center
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A new distance for the vertexes was defined. Because the vertexes are constrained in one direction,
the vertex common for the arc and the line is recalculated automatically. Distance in X direction is
defined for the constraint, the vertex must be also at the radius distance from the arc center. Location
of vertex is calculated automatically.
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Opposite vertexes were constrained similarly.
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NURBS Curves
NURBS curves can be modified by parameters and constraints, if you constrain the curves interpolation
points.
Selecting a method of constraint
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Definition of a distance to the center of coordinates. The distance is defined as a parameter. In
following steps, the parametric distance is defined for multiple interpolation points.
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The cam before change of the shape – value of parameters was not changed yet
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Changing distances of points from the center – the parameters are modified
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The cam after parametric change of the shape
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User Defined Coordinate Systems
You can redefine the coordinate system of vertexes to work more conveniently with them. The coordinate system allows you to move the origin or to rotate XY axes.
Selecting redefinition of the coordinate system
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Vertexes selected for change of the coordinate system
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Method of coordinate system redefinition
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In previous step the coordinate center was selected (a corresponding vertex is marked with „0‟). A
vertex defining direction of X axis is being selected.
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Selecting vertexes for constraint definition. If a vertex is selected and the vertex belongs to a group of
vertexes with redefined coordinates, you cannot select vertexes with different coordinate systems –
otherwise the constraints cannot be defined. In this situation, the not-selectable vertexes are redrawn
in different colors.
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Constraint distance is defined.
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The vertexes were moved according to the newly defined constraint.
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Another constraint is defined – this time for the right three vertexes. A new distance to the coordinate
center is defined as shorter than the previous distance.
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After performing the new constraint, vertexes were moved. Because one of them defines direction of
X-axis from the previously redefined coordinate system, corresponding vertexes are transformed, too.
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Bill of Materials, Solid Attributes, Title Blocks
Title Blocks Definition
Before you will use the attributes, BOM and title blocks permanently, you should consider their proper
configuration and change the settings according to your customs. For more information about settings,
see BOM, Attributes and Title Blocks Settings (page 149.
Title Block Definition
First, create a title block in 2D as plain 2D objects. In this example, the title block is defined from such
an existing drawing.
Title block name definition
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Title block insertion point definition
After the insertion point is defined, select objects of the title block.
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Insertion point relative to the selected corner of 2D area
Selected 2D objects are saved into the defined file. Then the position of the title blocks insertion point
relative to 2D area is defined. The title block is ready for use.
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Attributes Configuration
In this example, a new attribute "dwg. no." is created. The attribute type is defined as "General" type,
value is "Text" value, the attribute is configured to be printed into formatted text and to be displayed in
the title block. The attribute will be required for all manufactured parts.
Attribute type and attribute value
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When a new attribute is required
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Definition of output to formatted text files (used as a list of parts)
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Definition of output to the title block
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Attribute position in the title block
Attributes Groups
The attribute group allows you to define different attributes for different objects. If the attribute group is
defined for an object, extra attributes from this group are demanded.
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New attribute group definition
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Group membership for the defined attribute
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Solid Attributes
This example shows you how to define solid attributes of various types.
Definition of the attribute "dwg. no."
Attribute "dwg. no." was configured as "Required for Manufactured Parts". If such an attribute is missing, the warning sign is displayed in the first column of the attributes list. This attribute is the attribute of
the type "General", value is text.
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Definition of attribute "weight"
The attribute "weight" was configured as of the type "Mass". During its definition, you can use volume
and mass calculation from 3D module. Select the result from the list of results calculated for various
units (like kg, lb ...)
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Definition of the attribute "material"
You can copy value of the attribute "material" from another solid (as in this example) or you can select
from previously used materials.
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Definition of the attribute "scale" (scale of 2D area)
The attribute "scale" was configured to obtain value from the corresponding file - from its 2D part
drawing scale.
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Definition of the attribute "date"
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Extra Solid Attributes from Attribute Groups
In this example, the attribute group "Sheet metal" is assigned to the solid the attributes are defined for.
Then the extra attribute "thickness" is required.
Definition of the attribute "thickness"
The attribute thickness was configured to allow sheet metal thickness measurement.
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Sheet metal thickness measurement
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Working with BOM
Displaying BOM Objects, Filling Title Blocks
BOM contains a legible list of assembly parts, their names and attributes. BOM allows you to edit solid
attributes or export data to various types of files.
BOM containing an assembly
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Display of columns settings
This function can be invoked by right click at column headers or from the pull down menu. You can also
left click the column header. Then the list will be sorted according to attributes in this column.
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Copy of assembly attributes "dwg. no." to part attributes "assembly number"
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Updating data of title blocks
All attributes are copied into corresponding part files. Then the files are ready for filling title blocks. If
the part files belong to part-assembly link, the data are updated always automatically. Attributes "assembly number" are updated as a result from the previous step.
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Open the corresponding file containing a part
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
In 2D, select the function "Fill Title Blocks"
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Automatic title block insertion and filling
In this example, the title block is automatically inserted and automatically filled. If the title block was
inserted and filled previously, the old data are removed first.
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Title block automatically filled
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Working with Supplementary Objects
You can create a list of supplementary objects like paint, oil, grease, welding electrodes or other similar
items. Such objects cannot be created in 3D modeler, but they must appear in BOM.
Creating a supplementary object
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Creating List of Parts
In this example, a list of assembly parts is created from BOM directly. You have to define only the insertion point of the first line of the text table, the position of the last line and the table lines are inserted
automatically. If the list is longer than the defined space (the vertical difference between the two points),
you can continue to insert the remaining part of the table at a different location. Configuration of table
lines (records) allows you to change text attributes and text locations for each object separately. For instance, a record may contain multiple lines and variety of text styles.
BOM, selecting output to a formatted text table
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Defining text insertion into the prepared table
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Filled table
In this example, a list of assembly parts is created via a text file. BOM saves the list into a formatted text
file. The text file is inserted into 2D area. The 2D drawing contains a prepared table. Width of columns
and text attributes of text objects correspond to width of columns of solid attributes, see Definition of
output to formatted text files (page 386). The text file is available also for other programs. On the other
side, this method works correctly only for fonts with fixed width and configuration is more difficult than
in the previous example.
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
BOM, selecting output to a formatted text file
Select a file name, the list of parts is saved.
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Insert the text file into 2D area
The drawing contains the prepared table. Select a location of the first line properly. In this example, the
lower left corner of the first inserted line is at the highlighted grid point.
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Inserting each line of the text file
415
Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Filled table
416
Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Crash Tests (Interferences)
Checking interferences reveal colliding objects, more identical objects at a same location or smaller objects engulfed by larger ones. For more information, see Interference between Solids (page 142).
Result of interferences checking
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Highlighted interferences
After checking, you can zoom each situation and change colliding solids‟ shapes or positions. In this
example, the two screws were inserted and no corresponding holes were created into the T-bar.
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
3D Threads, 3D Sections, 2D Drawing in 3D
Creating 3D Threads
You can create threaded holes, insert threaded cylinders (used often as threaded ends of shafts) or create
a thread at an outer cylindrical surface. If the current units are millimeters, you can select threads
according to ISO (metric threads). If the units are inches, the threads are selected from list of Unified
National Screw Threads (according to ANSI). For more information, see Threads (page 139).
This section of the tutorial shows you creation of a thread in the part used in the assembly example.
Selecting a thread
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Definition of a threaded hole
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Insertion of a threaded hole
421
Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
2D Drawing in 3D
In 3D, you can draw a profile further used for extrusion or rotation to create a new solid. Such a solid is
pre-inserted into 3D space according to profile‟s location. This method can be, for instance, used for
creation of a solid used as a section tool (like in this example). For more information, see 2D Drawing in
3D (page 90).
Selecting a drawing plane
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Location projected from 3D into the drawing plane
2D was switched to “Ortho” mode. Outline of the section tool is created right according to an existing
3D solid. To define profile‟s location, use the projection of 3D points – here is the projection of a circular edge center (intersection of axis of the hole and the drawing plane, more exactly). The profile is
created as a multi-line and trimmed with the function creating a corner.
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Drawing a profile
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Finishing a profile
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Inserting a new solid extruded from 2D profile
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Creating 3D Sections
Section tool definition
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Selecting a section tool
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Selecting solids to be sectioned
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Sectioned solid
The thread was redrawn with the function “precise rendering”. Optionally, you can turn on drawing of
the thread helix at threaded surfaces during the precise rendering.
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
2D Drawing from 3D Containing Sections and Threads
If a 2D drawing is created from 3D views with threads, the threaded surfaces are redrawn according to
the current configuration. The configuration is available in the 3D export dialogue window. This
example shows 2D creation of all outer or inner threads‟ diameters according to ISO standards.
Active 3D sections are exported into 2D as cut solids. If the particular export is inserted into a list of
exports and if the 2D creation is repeated, the corresponding sections are turned on or off the same way
as they were switched during the first export creation.
3D view export definition
Front, top and left views were exported separately. Before the left view export, the section was switched
off. The exported views are positioned at intersections of construction lines in 2D drawing area.
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Positioning the created view
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Hatching the sections
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Section outline detected at once
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Chapter 19. B. Tutorial
Creation of axes
435
Calculations, Solids, 140
Calculator, 35
Center of Gravity, 140
Chamfer, 2D, 46
Chamfer, 3D, 104
Check Functions, 3D, 140
Checking Functions, 2D, 36
Circles, Drawing in 2D, 42
Coil, 95
Colors, 17
Colors, 2D Objects, 25
Colors, 3D Objects, 100
Commands, 161
Commands, Using, 9
Cone, 96
Constraints, 121
Construction Lines, 27
Construction Lines, Creation, 28
Construction Lines, Deleting, 28
Coordinates, 2D, 36
Coordinates, 2D System, 26
Coordinates, 2D, Listing, 20
Coordinates, 3D System, 110
Coordinates, Check in 3D, 141
Copy and Paste, 14
Copy, 2D Objects, 49
Copy, 3D Objects, 110
Copy, Identical, 116
Corners, 2D, 46
Cursor, Setting, 20
Curves, 2D, 41
Cut, 100
Cut, by Plane, 103
Cut, Selective, 100
Cylinder, 96
Index
2D Area vs. 3D Space, 14
2D Drawing in 3D, 90
3D Display Performance, Setting, 88
A
Add, 100
Add, Selective, 100
Angle, between Planes, 141
Angle, Definition in 2D, 34
Angle, Measuring in 2D, 36
Arcs, Drawing in 2D, 42
Arrows, 40
Assembly, 143
Assembly Connection, 144
Attributes of Solids, 157
Attributes of Text, 44
Attributes, Missing, Check in 3D, 158
Axes of Solids, Direction in 3D, 113
Axes, Creation in 2D, 39
Axis of Solid Rotation, 110
B
Backup of Data, 12
Bill of Materials, 149
Bitmaps, 79
Blending, 2D, 46
Blending, 3D, 104
Blocks, 66
Blocks, Creation, 66
Blocks, Edit, 67
Blocks, Insertion, 66
BOM, 149
Boolean Operations, 100
Box, 96
Break, 2D Objects, 47
C
Calculations, 2D Area, 76
Calculations, Mechanical Parts, 71
D
Default File Attributes, 11
Deleting, 2D, 45
Deleting, 3D, 104
Dialog Box, 8
Dimensions, Creating, 52
Dimensions, Edit, 62
Dimensions, Setting, 57
Directories, 7
Display, 2D, 18
436
Display, 2D, Setting, 19
Display, 3D, 82
Display, 3D, Setting, 85
Distance, 3D, 141
Distance, Measuring in 2D, 36
Divide, in 2D, 48
Dragging, 15
Dragging, 2D Objects, 50
Dragging, 3D Objects, 112
Drawing Area, 8
Drawing, Creation from 3D, 131
Drawing, Update from 3D, 132
DWG, 5
DXF, 5
Grid, 27
Groove, 103
Groups of Solids, 118
H
Hardware, 4
Hardware, Testing, 88
Hatching, 62
Hatching 3D Sections, 64
Helix, 95
Hole, 103
Hotkeys, 180
I
E
Icons, 8
IGES, 5
Increment Cursor Mode, 28
Input, 2D Location, 32
Input, 3D Location, 116
Input, from Keyboard, 34
Insertion Point, 3D, 93
Insertion Point, 3D, Redefinition, 115
Installation, 4
Interference, 142
Internet, 81
ISO units, 140
Elbow, 96
Ellipse, 41
Evaluation, 81
Extend, 46
Extrude, 93
F
File, Assembly, 144
File, Exporting, 5
File, Formats, 5
File, Importing, 5
File, New, 10
File, Part, 144
Files, Batch Conversion, 6
Files, Listing, 12
Files, Multiple Open, 13
Files, Open, 11
Files, Recently Used, 11
Files, Save, 12
Fillet, 2D, 46
Fillet, 3D, 104
Format, 2D, 21
Functions, List of, 161
Functions, Using, 9
G
Geometric Constraints, 121
K
Keyboard Input, 34
L
Layers, 23
Layers, Automatic Switching, 24
Layers, Changing, 24
Leaders, 61
Light, setting, 87
Line Types, 25
Lines, Drawing in 2D, 36
Location, 2D, 32
Location, 3D, 116
Loft, 93
437
Redo, 14
Redraw, 18
Rendering, Precise, 87
Rescaling, 3D Objects, 118
Revolve, 93
Rotation, 2D, 50
Rotation, 3D, 112
Rotation, Dynamic, 2D, 50
Rotation, Dynamic, 3D, 113
M
Mass, 140
Mathematic Expressions, 35
Mechanical Parts, 68
Mechanical Parts, Insertion into 2D, 68
Mechanical Parts, Insertion into 3D, 69
Mirroring, 2D, 51
Mirroring, 3D, 118
Moment of Inertia, 141
Mouse, Buttons, 9
Mouse, Setting, 16
Multiple Documents Interface, 13
O
Offsetting, 2D, 51
OpenGl, Setting, 88
Ortho Mode, 29
P
Pan, 2D, 18
Pan, 3D, 82
Parameters, 119
Paths, 7
Pipe, 96
Pipes, 136
Plane, Positioning according to, 114
Plane, Selecting, 117
Points in 2D, 42
Polygon, 39
Preferences, 16
Print, 77
Print, Batch, 79
Printers, 78
Profile Constraints, 126
Profile, Extruding, 92
Profile, Lofting, 92
Profile, Revolving, 92
Purchasing, On-Line, 81
Pyramid, 94, 96
R
Rectangle, 39
438
S
Scale of 2D Drawing, 22
Scaling, 2D Objects, 50
Section, 134
Selecting, 2D Objects, 29
Selection, 3D Objects, 97
Settings, 16
Shading, 84
Shafts, 2D, 38
Sheet Border, 21
Sheet Metal Unbending, 145
Shells, 138
Snap Points, 2D, 32
Snap Points, 3D, 116
Solids, Add, 100
Solids, Attributes, 157
Solids, Calculations, 140
Solids, Colors, 100
Solids, Copying, 110
Solids, Creation, 92
Solids, Cut, 100
Solids, Editing, 97, 105
Solids, Groups, 118
Solids, Individual Shading, 99
Solids, Insertion Point, 93
Solids, Interference, 142
Solids, Intersection, 100
Solids, Selecting, 97
Solids, Transformation, 110
Sound, 16
Sphere, 96
Spiral, 95
Spline, 2D Curve, 42
Spline, Edit in 2D, 46
Status Bar, 8
STEP, 5
Step Back, 9
STL, 5
Stretching, 2D, 52
Surface Area, 141
Surface Development, 145
Symbols, 65
Symbols, Creation, 65
Symbols, Finish (Surface), 58
Symbols, Insertion, 65
Symbols, Tolerance, 59
Symbols, Welding, 59
View, 3D, Changes, 82
View, 3D, Saving, 84
Visibility, 2D, 26
Visibility, 3D, 99
Volume, 140
W
Window, 8
Windows, Setting, 16
Wireframe Display, 84
Work Sets, 2D Objects, 26
T
Tangent Lines, Creation in 2D, 40
Text Attributes, 44
Text Objects, 44
Text, Creation, 45
Text, Editing, 48
Thickness of Printed Lines, 78
Threads, 139
Title Blocks, 158
Toolbars, 8
Transformation, 2D, 49
Transformation, 3D, 110
Translation, 2D Objects, 49
Translation, 3D Objects, 112
Trial, 81
Trim, 46
Z
Zoom, 2D, 18
Zoom, 3D, 82
U
Unbending, 145
Undo, 14
Units, 21
Upgrades, 4
User Interface, 8
V
Vector of Solid Translation, 110
View Export to 2D, 131
View Exports to 2D, List of, 132
View, 2D, Changes, 18
View, 2D, Predefined, 19
View, 3D, Basic, 83
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