Reusing Your CATIA V5-6 Data Efficiently
As fun and as riveting as CAD work is, it can become monotonous when the same geometry must be made repeatedly. When there is a geometry that is commonly used throughout a company or design group, it is ideal to create a method that is also common in order to develop and reuse this geometry. This makes it so that users can find the geometry rapidly, easily edit their data in the future, or pass off their data without worrying about time lost during turnovers or issues with downward stability.
Users may choose to re-use their geosets if the repeated geometry is within their part. Conversely, the geometry is in another part they can utilize a tool called “Powercopy“. Powercopy builds a pre-made geometry using a set of inputs. In this blog we will discuss a fast and stable method for creating embosses by re-using geosets and then using Powercopy to instantiate the entire emboss multiple times.
In this demonstration we will be creating a basic square fillet like the one we see below. Certain terms that will be used during this demonstration are defined in this image.
1) First, create a geoset named “Inputs”, then place a geoset called “LOCATION 1” inside the Inputs geoset. Next, place a point on the Primary Surface. This point will represent the center of the emboss. This point can be made in many ways depending on the use case. The only requirement in this demonstration is that it defines the emboss location on the part. In this demonstration we are using a line defined by two points to represent a weld gun orientation. We then intersected this line with the Primary Surface and used this intersect as our locating point.
2) Create a Plane using the “Tangent to Surface” type. Use the point created in the previous step and the Primary Surface as inputs.
3) Create a geoset called “Embosses”. Within this geoset, create a sub-geoset called “Emboss 1” and another inside of that called “Side 1”.
4) Create a line using “Point-Direction” as the Line Type. Choose the location-defining point described in Step 1 for the Point. For the Support, choose the plane created in Step 2. Place this in any XYZ direction that is the least perpendicular to the support plane. The length Start and End values can be any values chosen by you.
5) Next, we will define the contour of the emboss walls. Create a line using “Angle/Normal to Curve” as the Line type. Use the line created in the previous step for the Curve, the Plane created in Step 2 for the support, and the point created in Step 1 for the Point. The angle will define one side of your emboss wall and can be chosen by you. The length can be chosen by you too, however, it must be long enough to intersect the other walls that will be created shortly. These values can be adjusted at any point in the process and will be reviewed later on.
6) Parallel this line using the plane created in Step 2 as the support. The offset value, or “Constant” will define where you want your wall to be with regards to the emboss center.
7) Create a sweep with “Line as the Profile” Type using the newly created Parallel as well as the plane created in Step 2 the as input for the Reference surface and Guide curve 1, respectively.
8) Copy the Side 1 geoset and paste in the Emboss 1 geoset. Rename this geoset “Side 2”. Renaming can be done by right clicking the geoset, selecting Properties, and then going to the tab named “Feature Properties”. Here, there will be a box to edit the Feature Name. Edit this box to change the name of the geoset.
- Note: The copy/paste portion of this process can be replicated using Powercopy. This process will be covered shortly using the finished emboss geometry.
9) Edit the Parallel line within Side 2 so that it is at the desired offset for your next wall. Reverse parallel and sweep directions if necessary.
10) You now have 2 of the 4 walls of your emboss.
11) Copy Side 1 and Side 2, paste them in Emboss 1 and rename them Side 3 and Side 4, respectively.
12) In the Side 3 geoset, change the angle of the line created in Step 5 to orient the sweep where you want your other wall to be placed. You will get a warning stating that the orientation has been inverted and if you want to re-orient it with the original. This was our goal so pick “No” for this.
- Repeat this for Side 4
13) Depending on how you set your variables for Steps 5-7, you may have to adjust the Start/End values of your parallel lines so that your walls intersect.
14) Next, you will use the “Shape Fillet” tool to create the outer boundary of your emboss.
- Regarding the fillet order, if there are more than 2 supports (ie. you need to fillet more than once) it is best practice to add to your fillet structure by choosing the newest addition as Support 2, with the already created fillets being used as Support 1. Repeat as many times as necessary.
15) Now that you have your emboss boundary, you can now fillet the top surface. This can be any surface defined by you.
- Note: You can fillet a plane with a closed In this example we simply offset the plane created in Step 2 to use as our top surface.
16) Now fillet this shape into the Primary Surface and you have now created your first emboss! (not counting any holes you may choose to make for weight reduction, clearances, etc). Keep in mind that the technique of copy/pasting geosets can be used for any geometry or workflow. This process allows you to repeat or edit geometry quickly while simply changing a few inputs to suit your needs.
17) For example, if you wanted to change the angle of a wall, you can now easily pinpoint the fillet, side, and driving variable to make this change.
18) You can also easily shift the entire emboss to new location by simply editing the input that drives the defining point we referred to in Step 1.
- To define the locating point this demonstration, we used a line between two points and intersected it with our main surface. Therefore, we only need to adjust one of the points that defines this line to completely move the entire emboss.
INSTANTIATING THE EMBOSS USING POWERCOPY
Being able to repeatedly instantiate a geometry within a part is a convenient process to follow. However, what about instantiating in any part across an enterprise? With Powercopies, you gain the ability save and store this geometry in a local area so any user across your company can instantiate it. Here we will demonstrate how to save and instantiate a Powercopy. (NOTE: you may require extra licensing that includes Knowledge capabilities. Please contact your Dassault Sales Rep if you do not have these).
19) Create Powercopy of the Emboss 1 geoset using the Product Knowledge Template toolbar:
- Select the ” Create a Powercopy” tool
- Name the Powercopy to whichever name suits you
- Select the geoset you want to copy/instantiate (in this case, Emboss 1)
- You will see your Powercopy Definition windows become filled in
- Check that your inputs make sense for your needs. In our demonstration our only inputs are the Locating Point of the emboss, the primary surface that the emboss will mate to, and the geometry that defines the top surface.
- In this demonstration Plane.7 is the plane normal to the primary surface and defines the offset for the top surface (Plane.9). Plane.9 is inside the Emboss 1 geoset and therefore, cannot be an input.
- Based on your top surface geometry and use case, you may wish to move your top surface in to the Input geoset in order to use it as an input. This is especially the case if the top surface is a specific surface that is not common about the entire primary surface. To change a command’s geoset, you can right click the command, choose “[command name] object”, select “Change Geometrical Set”, and select the geoset you want to place it in.
20) You will now see a Powercopy section added to your Tree with your new Powercopy inside it.
21) If you wish to rename your inputs so they are more intuitive, you can do so by double-clicking on your Powercopy to edit it, going to the Inputs tab, selecting the input of choice, and typing the new name in to the Name field.
22) To instantiate the Powercopy:
- Choose “Instantiate From Selection” from the Product Knowledge Template toolbar.
- Select which Powercopy to use from the Tree.
- The Powercopy will be created in your tree as a geoset. Choose the Destination and Name for your instantiated geoset.
- Choose your inputs (in our case, we copy/pasted LOACTION 1 geoset, edited the variables within it, and used the similar geometries as our inputs).
- If you receive red and green directional arrows, ensure they match in direction with regards to your geometry. You can reverse the red arrow’s direction by clicking on it.
23) If you wish to reuse this Powercopy in other parts, you may do so by one of two ways:
- Pick Instantiate From Selection (from the Product Knowledge Template toolbar) and select the Powercopy from the original part (the part must be open in session).
- Alternatively, you can save the Powercopy to a Catalog and instantiate from there. We will review this process now.
SAVING TO AND INSTANTIATING FROM A CATALOG
CATIA utilizes Catalogs as a data repository that all users across the enterprise can access. These Catalogs can contain Standard Parts, Macros, and Powercopies to name a few. Here we will focus on creating a Catalog for our new Powercopy and instantiating it from this Catalog.
24) In the Product Knowledge Template Toolbar:
- Select “Save in Catalog”:
- With “Create a new catalog” selected, click the “…” button to select a destination and name for the Catalog (NOTE: In order for this Catalog to be accessed by all users across a company, the destination must be in a location that also can be accessed by the entire company. Like a shared network drive, for example).
- Select OK
25) To access and instantiate your Powercopy, you must perform the following steps:
- Select “Instantiate From Document” in your Product Knowledge Template toolbar.
- Within the Insert Object window, select your desired inputs. If you have named the inputs within your new part to match the inputs of the Powercopy, you can simply select “Use identical name” and the inputs will auto-propagate.
- Once your inputs are filled in and your red/green arrows match, select OK and your Powercopy will instantiate.
26) Alternatively, you can search the Catalog for your Powercopy and instantiate from there. To do this:
- Select “Catalog Browser” command from the Tools toolbar.
- Once you are in the Catalog Browser window, navigate to the directory you placed your Powercopy in by selecting the folder icon next to the “Current:” bar.
- Instantiate your Powercopy by double-clicking it from within the window as shown below.
- You will now be able to follow steps in Step 22 to select your inputs and instantiate.