Alibre Design : 3D CAD/CAM Software with Sheet Metal Conversion

Alibre Design now makes 3D designing easier and more robust with major enhancements, including a complete top to bottom code re-write, native 64-bit version, powerful sheet metal conversion tools, and a myriad of time saving tools and customization features.

The software comes with a rich set of 2D drafting, 3D sketching, and drawing creation tools. Though the software uses history-based modeling methods, it also includes a small set of tools that imitate direct-editing operations (Feature > Direct Edit). This function lets you push and pull on faces or pockets and bosses to adjust geometry constructed parametrically. In other words, the software is still history-based; but it gives you the option to edit your geometry as if you were using a direct-editing program.

Alibre Design Expert introduces the Scale or Mirror Part command, which lets you scale a part up or down (for example, scaling it up 1.5 times its original dimensions) or create a mirrored copy of a part along a chosen plane (XY, YZ, or ZX plane). Scale is a useful command to use if you suddenly discovered you had underestimated the size of the part needed to fit in a socket, for example. Mirror will let you easily create left-handed components that are identical to the right-handed ones (or vice versa). However, if you need to edit the scaled or mirrored part, you’ll need to fix the original sketch or part, because the dimensions of the newly created part are dependent of the original one. (For example, if you scale a part with a 1-inch extrusion 1.5 times, the displayed dimension on the newly created part doesn’t automatically get updated to 1.5 inch.)

Perhaps the biggest addition to Alibre Design is the Convert to Sheet Metal tool. The feature is intended to be used with imported sheet metal parts without any feature history. It’s not intended to convert a part originally designed as a solid part into a sheet metal part. (It doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but if you do, depending on the complexity of your part, the conversion results may be unpredictable.)

Using the command (Features > Convert to Sheet Metal), you can select a surface as the initial tab, then let the software automatically detect associated bends and holes. Once you confirm the list of features generated by Alibre, your imported part becomes a native Alibre sheet metal part, with a list of features that can be edited.

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