Okay, here we are, waiting for the ZW3D 2011 press briefing to start via GoToMeeting.
(For those not sure what ZW3D is, this is the CAD/CAM software formerly known as VX. Chinese software maker ZWSOFT bought VX of Florida last year, and then renamed it "ZW3D." ZWSOFT is better know for their ZWCAD software based on IntelliCAD. I find it pretty interesting that a member of the IntelliCAD Technical Consortium could afford to purchase another CAD vendor.)
GoToMeeting is telling us that we are successfully connected, but "Waiting for Organizer...". The Webinar was to start at the yawn-inducing time of 7:45am, but I had been already up for two hours, working with a European client.
Well, the sound works. We are getting word that the Webinar will begin shortly, will begin shortly, will begin shortly; a picture of Bob Fischer, vp of ZWSOFT America has appeared. I've had Webinars from two other CAD vendors experience problems over the last year, so these delays are not new.
"Sorry for the internet problem, as part of the China Telecom conection to the overseas is broken..."
"Thank you for attending ZW3D 2011 Press Briefing"
Not good signs.
Mr Fisher promises us that his company's SmoothFlow is a better way to do direct editing with history. Rather than using menus to edit models, ZW3D (nee VX) now works interactively with geometry you select. Click an edge, you get the most-likely editing functions, like fillet and chamfer, using drag handles. A menu at edge of the screen lets you enter precise values, or in input boxes next to the feature.
Also new: defeaturing, which they call "simplifying." The software includes importers for Pro/E and other MCAD competitors.
These enhancements are new to VX-ZW3D, but not to other MCAD systems,
The CAD module is linked to the CAM module, called ZWCAD Machining. Changes are linked, so that they are reflected in each other.
In assemblies, can link features, so that changes to one updates linked parts.
After moving a part, "fixes" can be applied that adjust other parts automatically. I'm not sure how this works, but looks impressive.
Double-click on components (parts) to drill down through an assembly to get to the specific part, to more easily edit it. Now showing us how he can edit non-native data, such as changing the radius of a hole's fillet.
Machining software also works with point cloud data, and creates a tool path. Showing us a scan of a face being machined: roughing, semi-finishing, and finishing.
Mr Fisher is emphasizing "any geometry': all major CAD products, point clouds, STL import/export (3D printing), and image data(!). A digital photograph placed in ZW3D was turned into NURBS, and then machined.
Showing us 5-axis machining, part of the Machining Suite, and now plastic design. Changes to the CAD design of a plastic housing is reflected in the mould's design automatically. Core and cavity are created in one step.
Also linked to their 2D package to create drawings. Not clear if this is ZWSOFT. He is summing up, mentioning the 1,000,000 parts included. Q&A should be coming up.
Q: Is the 2D module ZWCAD or one that is inside ZW3D?
A: It is part of ZW3D, so that it can handle point clouds, etc.
Q: Is there a relationship between ZWSOFT and ZW3D?
A: Not yet. There is import/export capability. Might integrate them in the future more efficiently.
Q: Does ZW3D import NURBS with small gaps?
A: I've used direct edit to heal. Can pick up a face, pull it over to close the gap. But ZW3D can work with unhealed geometry, one of the original paradigms of VX kernel.
Q: What is the advantage of being owned by ZWSOFT.
A: VX was a small, brilliant group of developers on the space coast of USA, but did not have the team for support and UI. UI was not great, but now they are part of a company with development and marketing resources. The group in Florida concentrates on the kernel, China on the rest of it. Instead of a few people, now hundreds of employees.