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Rob Stupplebeen. I hadn't heard of Voxels till now, but of the litle I've just read, the Voxel using software would have to create the voxels. SolidWorks does not have an export function for this. A model could be sliced up into cubes, creating a multi-body part, but I don't know if the Voxel software would recognise that. Rob; Thanks for the suggestion- I have included neutral formats in my searches so far, I also suspect these will be much more likely to meet with success.

I do not run or own the software package that is used by my customer so I cannot fully defend the inability to read iges files. I do know that most software is written with specific goals and specifications- many, many 3D design systems were written that do not use nor even acknowledge formats like Iges, step, or stl. The "heritage" of the "voxel software" being used is in the medical field- using "sliced data" files orginally generated from MRI scans. The colors for various organs and tissues are then assigned to a discrete "pallette" and the similar colors on adjacent layers slices are combined and cut into small cubes or "voxels".

Apprently this technique has been used for some time quite successfully to generate very accurate shapes of internal organs. Obviously the original goals did not include mechanical CAD software or formats. Now we are providing additional capability for the system that utilizes 3D CAD models of organs SolidWorks to accomplish some unique molding and fabrication. These same CAD models can be very useful as simulation input to the medical types ONLY if we can arrange it in voxels for input to their system. I deliberately ommited these details in the original post but perhaps it is useful in some way.

I would describe it as evolving and merging disparate systems. One of the secrets to doing real time 2D graphics with small computers is to get the problem into pixel space as soon as possible, so all of the math associated with the image can be done with integers. Bresenham's algorithm instead of trig. I'm guessing that voxels are used for similar reasons; not surprising given the amount of data to be stored and presented. When the issue was first raised, I was thinking it should be a simple matter to 'voxelize' a DXF file, just by rounding all the float numbers to a chosen voxel size, a task that could be done by unix style filters What is surprising is that there seems to be zero overlap in file formats.


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Maniacal, the useful neutral CAD file formats have been documented formally, and are available to the public. Can your customer name a similarly documented and disclosed file format for voxels? Or has he otherwise disclosed in what form the data is to arrive at his demarcation point?


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  • Here's an interesting little macro to voxelize a solid body. It will create individual voxel bodies for an entire part. The voxel size and fill percentage are constants at the top.

    Curve and surface fitting: an introduction

    Basically, the macro will create a cubical body for each cube of the part that is filled to at least the fill percentage. This will take a long time to run if you make the voxel size very small compared to the model size. I don't particularly think it's actually very useful, but I've never seen a macro yet that takes pure math and makes dumb geometry out of it, so I thought I'd give it a shot. GetMassProperties 0. Mike Halloran- I really appreciate your insights and replies- these look genuinely helpful.

    You seem to have a good understanding of the underlying conundrum with file formats that do not easily "bridge" the CAD world to the Medical files I will see if I can find a "neutral" format that is acceptable to the customer's needs and helps define a mutual "demarcation".

    Handleman: WOW! Your reply may be exactly what I need if I can figure how to use it. Thank you very much for the effort and interest you've shown! Can you give me an idea of how this can be used? I need to know the input data format, how to "execute" the file, etc Thank You! Handleman: I copied and pasted the script- assuming it is a macro to run in Soliworks, renamed the extension as. I then tried running the "macro" on a simple cube about 1in x 1in x.

    Curve and surface fitting: an introduction

    I cannot see any changes to the actual part or any new file that may have been created In fact, computer games used this for 3d graphics before hardware 3d processing was common. So apparently tools exists for at least one direction. This program appears to do this function, but may or may not be suitable for your needs. It can import 3D cad format and convert it to its native format then to a voxel format. Maniacal, a cube is exactly the wrong example to feed to Handleman's code. If I'm understanding it correctly, it will just subdivide the original cube into a bunch of smaller cubes, all adjacent and visually indistinct.

    Better to start with a cylinder or a sphere. But you've then still got a Solidworks file, not a voxel file The correct extension. Once you accept the name, you should be presented with a code editing window containing a couple of lines of code. Completely delete those code lines and paste in the macro text, then save. Then you can run the macro. You should modify the constant for voxel size based on your model size. What you really need more than anything else is communication. For you customer to simply say "send me voxels" is absurd. What was your customer paying for?

    Mechanical drawings, however, are nowhere near enough to describe a product: mechatronic components, software whose share in products is ever increasing , instruction manuals, and other accompanying documents serve as additional information carriers. Making this knowledge readily available across the enterprise is one of the key pillars of CAD data management , which in turn requires integrated item and parts management to really make a difference.

    CAD data not only includes CAD models, drawings, and bills of materials , it also extends to CAD-related information such as specifications, calculations, production notes NC programs , routings, assembly information and much more. CAD data management concerns itself with structured storage, not just using a file system, but in an organized and structured fashion. There simply is no other way to efficiently handle technically sophisticated products and ensure a short time to market. CAD data management how it should be:. Demands on CAD data management are growing.

    Flat data hierarchies and non-integrated item and parts management are still the norm in many companies that continue to rely on the working methods of early 2D CAD systems. Many companies, however, have grown accustomed to this outdated approach despite the fact that it is usually highly inefficient and cumbersome and, most of all, extremely limited in its capabilities.

    After all, the number of systems that contribute to the creation of production related information and with it, the number of related CAD data management tasks is higher than ever: MCAD, ECAD, plant and machine control systems, and the entire suite of Office applications keep generating ever growing amounts of heterogeneous data. The only way to do that is through true end-to-end digital transformation.

    CAD data management systems need to make their information available and reusable to ensure it is immediately actionable for other systems without prior human intervention.

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    Regardless of their size or industry, companies simply cannot afford to not address these demands of digitalization. For this very reason, the purpose of a modern CAD data management system is to create references and links between all the different pieces of information needed to describe a product, also known as as dependency knowledge.

    It creates a network of knowledge that is readily available without any manual effort. The error rate goes down, time and resources can be better spent elsewhere, and it becomes that much easier to handle product data and the information it conveys. The project began as a Pilot ….

    ACIS - Wikipedia

    This book is concerned with problems and solutions associated with the exchange of data between different computer aided design, engineering and manufacturing CAx systems. After an analysis of the current problems a new strategy consisting of a …. Internationally recognized experts in the field of holographic interferometric testing, X-ray testing, and structural analysis by finite element techniques have come together in ESPRIT project to develop a system that integrates these ….

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    Kroszynski, B. Palstr9Sm 1.