Version 7 rocks out of the box

VX Corporation, a CAD/CAM software developer, has launched Version 7 of its VX CAD/CAM software.

Version 7 includes dozens of new tools and major enhancements that include easier and faster assembly modelling, surfacing enhancements for quickly generating more complex shapes, and a new tool for optimising package design. There are also new interface elements to boost productivity, a new graphical approach for CAM, more drafting options, mould making enhancements, and more translation and healing options.

Surfaces of the CAD model can now be deformed by pulling any point on a face in any direction. VX claim that this is much more direct surface manipulation than offered by typical CAD systems.

A new Remove Faces/Fillets icon has been added to quickly fill in gaps created when extending, intersecting or trimming surrounding faces. Typically, designers rely on mould makers to add draft angles so that parts will eject cleanly from a mould. With this new VX command, mould makers can now easily remove fillets created by the designer, add the needed draft and then re-fillet. A new automatic extension function extends curves to a boundary to further speed modelling. VX Version 7 will then trim sets of faces even if they don’t intersect.

A new Design Optimiser allows users to easily vary dimensions to achieve a desired result. For instance, a bottle designer may require a target volume. Given a set height, how wide can the bottle be? A simple on-screen form with up to six driving variables tests a variety of ‘what-if’ scenarios.

VX Version 7 also boasts a number of new interface enahncements. In general, VX says, the icon-based interface has been optimised for speed so that the entire user experience is much more fluid and efficient. Attributes for curves, edges, lines, and faces are presented in a pop-up panel where it’s easy to quickly change, copy or save them.

After extensive user studies, menus have been arranged so that the typical user will spend less time in selecting the most frequently used commands.

In VX Version 7, the QuickMill suite of high speed machining functions has been enhanced so that users can control a host of roughing and finishing operations that are accessible through both a new VX CAM graphical user interface (GUI) and the existing CAM Tactic Manager.

The new VX CAM GUI reduces the steps necessary to create toolpaths, operations and output. The interface makes it easy to modify feed rates, speed of operations, machines and tools to be used. In addition, individual tool paths can be colour coded to analyse and visually check toolpath motions in large and complex toolpaths.

VX has also included a new single-step utility that creates multiple holes and counter-bore holes at the end of cooling channels. By simply picking the cooling channel, a user can have VX automatically compute the correct centre point direction and any offset needed to keep a plug below irregular surface faces. Threads can be optionally added.

A new Compare Components function minimises the need to recreate entirely new moulds for common or similar components by providing a summary display of changed, unchanged, deleted and new faces.

VX Version 7 also adds options for modifying parting faces and parting lines in mould design. For parting lines, users can now use a variety of intersecting faces.

While VX has offered automatic 2D and 3D dimensioning and layout before, it now provides additional drafting refinements, including the modification and import/export of bills of materials, charts and tables, the projection of 3D annotation text and dimensioning onto 2D layout views, and the creation of hole tables to better understand the number and kinds of holes to be drilled, joined and associated with other components. Layers are based on line types to easily distinguish components or structure.

VX also includes support for 3D DWG/DXF entities and export of VX STEP files to SolidWorks and Unigraphics formats. Third-party applications that do not read all standard formats, including STEP, will especially benefit. For STL-based prototyping, VX V7 will repair seams along mating facets in an exported STL file.

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