Designers vs. Stylists

From an essay about the difference between designers and stylists:

… the practice of design necessarily involves solving problems. Further, these problems present constraints; whether these originate in the client’s budget, the target audience’s availability, or in the technical limitations of the medium is immaterial.

The important part of this idea is that the task of the designer is to present the client with a solution within an ambit circumscribed by factors beyond his or her control, factors that limit the ability to unrestrainedly impose personal taste. When a designer—a Paul Rand, a Saul Bass, a Neville Brody—can consistently succeed at this and still develop a recognizable personal style, well, that (by my lights, anyway) is where all the artistry resides.


World Origin II

From the SpaceClaim help file it’s noted that you can start spinning a design around a highlighted line, edge or axis:

Additionally, you can highlight an edge (or other object) with the ALT key and use that as a spin center:

Well, guess what. The world origin consists of three axes … so any of the individual x, y, and z (shown below) axes may be used as a spin center.

Hope this helps save someone some time.

World Origin I

When using SpaceClaim, I’ll often want to start designing objects from the “front”, rather than from the “top”. From a default Trimetric view-

a natural inclination might be to simply select the Front view

to bring the drawing to the desired orientation. Doing so, however, will reveal (especially with animations turned on) that you would then be viewing the sketch grid edge on and not able to do any drawing. A different tact then, is required to get a frontal sketch plane.

The technique that I use is to start from my default Trimetric view and make sure that the World Origin is displayed.

If the origin is not display, it may be turned on using the Display tab:

Since the sketch plane is currently coincident with the XY (top/bottom) plane, we need to make it coincident with the XZ (front/back). The first step of this technique is to select the X and Z axis from the origin. But, since we are in 2D mode, we can’t select the Z axis. Time to switch into 3D mode and select the X and Z axis.

Since the two selected axes are sufficient to define a plane, we can then jump back into Sketch mode:

We can start drawing straight away or go one step further and view the grid head on with Plan View-

Voila. I’m now where I need to be in order to design with “Full Frontal Sketch(tm)”.

For quite awhile I couldn’t figure out how to start sketching in planes other than the XY when first starting a design. Normally one defines sketch planes from existing objects/faces/surface/etc, but with no objects to be had, that tactic is a non-starter. Additionally, with no objects, the Move tool (and the germane Move Grid option) is unavailable. Until I stumbled across the method outlined above, I would create a temporary block, select a face, start drawing and then ultimately delete the temporary block. Not too elegant.

Hopefully this post can save some folks time if you haven’t already stumbled across this method. I haven’t come across any documentation that mentions this strategy nor do I recall any tutorials that mention such.

As always, if you have a better/shorter/easier approach, drop a note in the comments.

Full Frontal Sketch(tm). Ask for it by name. Available in fine stores everywhere.

Knurl III

The following tutorial outlines a sequence of steps that may be used to create diamond knurls in SpaceClaim 2009+ SP1.

Create a chamfered cylinder. The dimensions of the puck below are 0.125″ x 0.500″ x 0.010″.

Switch to Sketch Mode and create a “comb” that defines knurl depth and spacing. The sample below has a tooth depth of 0.005″ and a tooth spacing of 0.010″.

Back to 3D mode.

Create a surface from the comb profile.

Pull a helical solid from the comb surface. Taper angle should always be zero. Pitch is shown to be 0.500″ with a height of 1″. The pitch may be varied to affect the geometry of the knurl diamonds.

If the pull is successful, a solid helical comb is created.

Using the Combine Tool, subtract the helical comb from the cylinder to begin the knurl. Since there are so many resultant solids to get rid of, I escape out of the combine operation after the second click and just use the Structure Tree to quickly get rid of the “groovy” solids.

Note that both right-handed (red) and left-handed (blue) helical cutters are required.

The beginning of the diamond knurl is shown where the right handed and left handed cuts overlap. Although the picture below shows one right-handed cut and one left handed cut, in practice I would do all of the right handed cutting first followed by all of the left handed cutting (or vice-versa) as I think it’s easier to keep track of one’s place that way.

To complete the knurl treatment, the helical solids must be moved up or down along the z-axis in order to cover the entire diameter of the puck. The movement distance must be in increments of the tooth spacing as defined above in order for the grooves to align.

Once that process is complete, the knurl should look like this. Do note that the subtraction process is computationally expensive, especially towards the end. For example, on my older, single core machine, the very last cut took well over twenty minutes.

If anyone has an alternative methodology for knurling in SpaceClaim, be sure to drop a note in the comments.