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Product Development News - Quarter 2 Newsletter from Eng-IT

Welcome to our Q2 newsletter sharing information of interest for Ansys SpaceClaim and Discovery users.

In this issue of this quarterly newsletter, we cover two customer stories, the first of a boat modification using SpaceClaim for reverse engineering and Discovery to analyse the modification; and the second on a bike manufacturer using topology optimisation within Discovery to create a novel lightweight design for 3D printing.


Customer Story: AESC

From Scan to CAD model in SpaceClaim

With the recent updates within the iPhone 12 Pro, 3D scanning can now be facilitated with the new LIDAR sensor. It provides capability to scan objects between the size of a chair up to a car and for this boat modification project scanning of the rear of the boat was quick and easy.


Scanning reflective surfaces can cause a problem for many scanners, but the rear of this boat scanned well within five minutes and was ready for use. The measurements in the scan were not accurate to the millimeter, but proved sufficient for this project.

Scan-sheet metal.png

The generated STL data was then loaded and aligned in SpaceClaim.

SpaceClaim handles large amounts of mesh data very efficiently, and the Facets tab allows a variety of manipulation and cleaning processes on the triangulated mesh data to be undertaken.

The requirement was to extend the rear of the boat with a standing platform, and the scanned mesh data was used as the reference to create the solid model to the required dimensions and tangential to the hull boundary.

Sheet Metal from Solid Model

With the required extent of the additional platform defined, then the design was converted rapidly to an appropriate sheet metal structure based on 4 mm thick steel. The underside and side of the platform consisted of two separate parts each, are also two separate parts which cover half of the back. The top plate consisted of one part. While inside three more reinforcement plates were added.

Structural Integrity using Discovery

With the availability of real-time simulation within the SpaceClaim-enabled Discovery analysis solution, the created structure was able to be rapidly analysed for structural integrity and modal frequency analysis, to make sure that the material thickness chosen was fit for purpose.


Time to Cut, Grind and Weld

During welding, a few millimeters had to be ground away from the curvature to optimize the fit, but this had been known and was planned for within the design generation. It was expected that accurate tolerances would have to be accommodated and grinding something was going to be easier than having to add material at the end. In the end, it was a matter of a few millimeters.


At the moment, the boat is in its final stages of finishing, to be painted soon and then can be back in water well in time for the summer!

The latest release of SpaceClaim (V2021 R1) delivers innovative features for more precise and realistic modelling, and is available now for download (either or from the Discovery Forum). A few feature highlights:

Customer Story: Predator Cycling


Simulating the Genius Water Bottle Cage

When Aram Goganian was an avid 14-year-old bike racer, he became impatient with a company that he felt was taking too long to produce a new time trial bike. “I told them it’s not that complicated,” Goganian recalls. “That they should hurry up and do it. The company owner said, ‘If it’s that simple, you should do it.’” So he did. Twenty-two years later, he is still designing unique bikes and accessories at his company Predator Cycling.


With a goal of having a complete line of cycling-related products that they can 3D-print in-house and sell directly to consumers, Goganian used Discovery’s topology optimization functionality to design a revolutionary new bottle cage. While a device that attaches to the frame of a bike to hold a water bottle doesn’t seem like it should require much in the way of engineering innovation, it does if you work for Predator Cycling. Goganian wanted it to be the most efficient, durable and easy-to-use bottle cage on the market.

“Bottles are ejected from cages all the time, especially when you are mountain biking over rough terrain,” Goganian says. “This can be dangerous and inconvenient, and it slows you down.” The entry angle is one important parameter. How does the bottle enter the cage? At what angle?

“Traditionally you couldn't go in on the side,” he explains. “You had to come in straight from the top. We designed ours with a mouth that looks like a shark mouth opening. The idea was that you could come in from almost a 45-degree angle and insert the bottle. You can come in from the top almost straight down and access it. It makes it easy. The material properties of the cage make it super flexible. You can actually bend and twist it and it will just grab the bottle.”


Goganian came up with the idea for the Genius water bottle cage about 3 years ago, but he wasn’t able to build it until he had the topology optimization feature of Discovery, which starts with a standard design and analyzes where material can be removed without reducing performance.

You can watch an animation of the Genius bottle cage topology automation using Discovery on the Predator Cycling website, showing how topology optimization automatically removes material from the design to go from the starting shape to the nearly final shape.

“I absolutely love topology optimization,” he says. “It’s my favourite thing ever. We had this idea for a bottle cage that would be the perfect thing to 3D print, but we could never figure out how to do it until we found Discovery.”


Feature Highlight:
2D Constraints & Block Recording


Released in the last couple of releases of SpaceClaim has been the introduction of 2D Constraints and Block Recording. This provides an enhanced capability for creating parametric updates to your designs.

2D constraints can now be added while sketching to more easily create sketches to exact sizes and shapes. With the introduction of sketch constraints, sketch tools have been moved to their own tab in the ribbon (the simplified sketching mode can be retained if preferred in SpaceClaim Options> Advanced).

Tools in the Sketch Constraints group allow you to reduce the degrees of freedom (place constraints) on the drawing objects in 2D drawings and designs. Adding constraints restricts the type and range of movement of the objects, and links objects such that certain editing tasks on one drawing object will cause linked objects to be modified. V2021 R1 enhanced the implementation with ‘Autoconstrain’ – a useful addition for quickly applying and resolving constraints.

You can Save and Open models containing Sketch Constraints. Designs that include Sketch Constraints will open in Sketch mode. Leaving Sketch mode will trigger the deletion of all constraint data. However, combining the 2D constraint capability (with the application of Dimension Annotations exposing the driving parameters) and the new Block Recording capability offers the opportunity to have defining sketch representations controlling the replay and update of required geometry changes.

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