Thank you for your attention to what I consider to be the biggest issue in my field: plastic injection mold design (``CAD files vex designers,'' Sept. 21). The problem of bringing in files from other computer-aided-design platforms is a major struggle.
I am a contract mold designer working by myself out of a well-equipped home office. I spend more time trying to get customers' product data into a usable condition than I spend actually designing molds.
I have been in business since 1984, serving a small but loyal clientele in the Silicon Valley area of California. I purchased my first CAD system in 1990 and never looked back. I chose a midrange platform because it was what I could afford. I have stayed with Cadkey and have been able to serve my client base effectively with it.
The major bane of my existence, however, is the problem of bringing in product geometry from Pro/Engineer systems. I say Pro/E because that's mostly what I see, but you could say the same about any of the high-end platforms.
With the advent of solid-modeling, I have found that I can significantly decrease my design time by doing the bulk of my design in a solids environment. This works well when I get a part print and can model everything from the beginning in Cadkey. This is rarely the case, however. I usually get a surfaces file generated from Pro/E.
There is currently no way to bring in a solid from Pro/E to Cadkey, so I have to work in a far-from-efficient manner.
Nor can I afford to switch to Pro/E or Unigraphics or one of the other so-called high-end platforms — either from the standpoint of buying the core product with all the necessary modules or the learning time that would be required to regain my current proficiency with a new product.
What is needed is a reliable way to transfer solids geometry from one platform to another, because there is no way that everybody is ever going to have the same system.
When I had Pro/E in for a demonstration recently, their approach to this issue was to say that everybody who was anybody would soon have Pro/E, so why don't I give in to the monopoly? Definitely the wrong approach for an independent cuss like myself.
The major players need to give up on their respective secrets and poison pills and work together to make reliable file transfer a reality. One way to help this along is to keep the spotlight on this issue. Thanks again for the articles. I look forward to updates as you see fit.
J K Mold Design