The CAD Loaders for MODO are ideal for designers, engineers, product visualization specialists and 3D generalists who need to bring specific industry-standard CAD data formats into MODO for visualization or design. As you import these formats, the CAD Loaders give you interactive control in MODO over how geometry is tessellated and provide efficient methods for accommodating incoming CAD files with many repetitive elements.
The chart below shows how CAD Loaders for MODO allows you to import NURBS surfaces saved in ParaSolid, IGES and STEP file formats directly into MODO.
Click on the chart above to view each of the MODO CAD Workflow Tools.
The CAD Loaders are based on Parasolid© – an industry-leading geometry kernel with associated APIs for translating Parasolid’s XT data format and other popular industry formats.
The CAD Loaders are available in two configurations, Advanced and Basic:
“The CAD Loaders for MODO are an awesome addition to my workflow. The quad-based import option is an outstanding improvement. Eliminating triangles from my imported geometry results in an asset that is easier to work with and occupies a smaller memory footprint. In addition, the wide variety of CAD formats is a huge plus.”
– Paul McCrorey
The CAD Loaders utilize Parasolid technology to bring industry standard CAD formats into MODO.
Included in your purchase is a free MODO/CAD workflow tutorial by Paul McCrorey of McCrorey Digital. Covering over 2 1/2 hours, this video series ($60 value) explains how to use MODO to perform organic, subdivision surface modeling of a motorcycle gas tank, import the resulting surface into SolidWorks for complex CAD operations and, finally, bring the completed tank back into MODO for advanced visualization. For a brief overview of this video series, please click here.
Parasolid is the world’s leading 3D solid modeling component software used as the foundation of Siemens PLM’s NX and Solid Edge products. This geometric modeling kernel is also used in many other 3rd party Computer-aided design (CAD), Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), Computer-aided engineering (CAE), Product visualization, and CAD data exchange packages. A Parasolid file commonly has the extension .x_t and the binary version is .x_b. Siemens estimates that Parasolid XT data files represent over 40% of all 3D model data stored worldwide. Parasolid files are supported by the Basic and the Advanced versions of the CAD Loader for MODO Plug-in.
IGES (The Initial Graphics Exchange Specification) is an ANSI standard file format which defines a vendor neutral data format that supports the digital exchange of information among Computer-aided design CAD, Computer-aided manufacturing, and Computer-aided engineering systems. IGES files up to 5.3 are supported by the Advanced CAD Loader for MODO Plug-in.
STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product model data) files are an ISO standard for the computer-interpretable representation and exchange of product manufacturing information. Officially it is known as ISO 10303. STEP can be used to exchange data between CAD, Computer-aided manufacturing, Computer-aided engineering systems. STEP files of type AP203 and AP214 are both supported by the the Advanced CAD Loader for MODO Plug-in.
“The ability to import a CAD model and get instant feedback through the preview render without ever having to tessellate the mesh is priceless! I can evaluate the quality of my renders and make adjustments to the tessellation on the fly. I’ll be spending much less time doing guesswork, and more time making sweet renders!”
– Branden Coker
The CAD Loaders for MODO, in addition to loading the specified CAD formats, also provide control over how geometry is imported and to give you options for handling large files with repetitive elements:
Interactive surface tessellation
You can opt to load in a lighter Open GL representation of your incoming CAD data, which can can then be tessellated interactively by adjusting settings on a per-item or group basis after loading them into the scene. Once the desired tessellation parameters are determined you can save the item to a mesh. This ability to apply different tessellation during a session is possible because the incoming surfaces are maintained as parametric surfaces by the Parasolid kernel during import.
Optimized mesh results
For your resulting mesh, you can choose between Convex (mixed quads and triangles) and Quad NGon (mixed quads and ngons). Since not all CAD files are alike, you can set parameters like Distance Tolerance, Angle, Minimum and Maximum Edge length to optimally tessellate the data coming into MODO. This lets you import files that might have been unreadable/unusable before, and lets you quickly arrive at the best settings for the particular dataset and use you have in mind.
Many CAD models have repetitive geometry elements. If your imported file contains instances, they can be loaded as copies, instances or replicators in MODO. This can greatly reduce memory use and boost interactivity.
Static mesh option
Normally, you will use the CAD Loaders to save to a mesh representation but an additional option is to save it as a static mesh. Static meshes in MODO are specially constructed lightweight representations of polygonal data which cannot be edited but can be rendered.
The CAD Loaders for MODO are based on Parasolid© – an industry-leading geometry kernel with associated APIs for translating Parasolid’s XT data format and other popular industry formats. The Parasolid Communicator component licensed by The Foundry includes boundary representation import and advanced surface and topological interrogation support.
Top image shows non-optimal polygons in MODO as a result of importing CAD data without using the CAD Loader. The second image shows how the CAD Loader has imported the same CAD data into MODO by maintaining the Nurbs surfaces. In the last image, you can see see how well organized the resulting polygons are after meshing the incoming CAD surfaces.
Top image shows incoming CAD file instances optionally imported as MODO instances. The second image shows the result of optionally importing the incoming CAD file instances as ultra lightweight MODO replicators.
Main dialog box used when importing CAD file.
In the first image the CAD items are maintained as Nurbs surfaces in MODO prior to rendering or conversion to meshes. In the second image you can see the CAD item, represented as a surface in MODO, being converted to a mesh. The third image is a close-up view of the optimized polygon tessellation in MODO. The final image shows the result: a complex USB Stick CAD model imported and rendered in MODO using the CAD Loader.
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