New: Background color for semantic PMIs

We observe a clear tendency that traditional 2D drawings are replaced by 3D models in manufacturing companies. The advantages are obvious: If 3D CAD systems are used anyway, the derivation of a 2D drawing is an additional effort that usually cannot be automated. Considering that CAD designs are frequently changed, one understands the desire to avoid this effort. Therefore, an attempt is made to store the information, that makes up a 2D drawing, in a 3D model. This includes metadata in the title block, various views, sections, dimensions and tolerances. For all this there are suitable counterparts in 3D: Metadata can be placed as free text blocks (billboards) in a 3D scene. The 3D models can be provided with product manufacturing information (PMIs) such as surface finishes and tolerances, which are linked to a specific object or part geometry (feature). 3D models can also be dimensioned for this purpose. To prevent the display from becoming too confusing due to a large number of PMIs, views (sometimes called captures) can be created. They may show only a part of the model, rotated to a certain position and orientation, with only a fraction of the manufacturing information.

To make PMIs easier to read, we have introduced a new option in 3DViewStation to give the texts a background, similar to our text-annotations (Markups) and dimensions. 

It is important to know that PMIs do not have a background and therefore may be more difficult to read if they are e.g. in front of a geometry. This is usually only a problem if you display the 3D model with all PMIs or if you rotate and zoom freely. In contrast to this, the PMIs are usually positioned well readable in predefined PMI views. 
Besides semantic PMIs there are also graphical PMIs. These are from the early days and are slowly disappearing. Here there is only a collection of lines that are readable for us humans. But in this case there are no text objects and therefore no possibility to provide them with a background.


New: Recognize complexity of geometries - helps avoid problems during export

The Kisters 3DViewStation is first of all a CAD viewer, which should enable as many users in the company as possible to access CAD data quickly and easily: load, view, rotate, measure, cut, compare ... Since 3DViewStation can also export to standard data formats, it is also used to export exactly the state that is currently on the screen, e.g. to STEP or JT. 

However, if you are not very careful, the file size of the exported file can almost explode. This depends on how you have loaded the CAD file on the one hand and on the other hand in which variant of the target format you want to save and which object types are supported. 

Let's start with the export format. 
If you want to export to STEP data, you usually do this in order to be able to read it into a CAD system later. CAD systems usually expect BREP data, the exact description. This means for example for a cylinder: center of the circle, radius and height. This is "cheap" in terms of necessary storage space. A NURBS description of a cylinder already needs more space. However, it is most unfavorable to convert geometries, which are only available as tessellation, triangulation, into the very common STEP AP214. Here every triangle is translated into a surface and the complexity of the STEP file increases dramatically. This is what we call "expensive". Also, hardly any CAD system will be able to process such data properly. Even an export in STEP tesselated (AP242) will not help here. 

Now let's have a look on the input file format:
If we have native CAD data, such as Catia or NX, then we can be sure that we will be able to read the BREP portion of it. Some file formats contain besides the BREP also a tessellation, which can be used for fast reading. So in case you know in advance that you will need BREP later - because you want to export to a BREP format like STEP AP214 or JT - then you should select the import options in Kisters 3DViewStation (or the batch tool KAS) to preserve the BREP. However, it might happen that within an assembly the one or the other file is only tessellated. As we know now, these will cause problems later when exporting.

And this finally leads us to the topic: 
With new functions, which are currently available as APIs or in the KAS, we can color-code how complex a geometry is, whether it will be "expensive" to export, whether it consists of a simple description or possibly a jumble of triangles or other fragments. The result makes it easier for a user to recognize where problems are to be expected and where not. If necessary, it might still be possible to intervene and correct before the export is completed.

The pictures below show the same assembly twice, once loaded in BREP mode, once loaded in tessellation mode. The threshold values and associated colors can be freely defined.


New: Show attributes of faces

Once again a new feature on the subject of attributes: In the properties window of the 3DViewStation various things are displayed, among others these are the settings for the background, the illumination or the alignment of the main axis. If objects were selected, you can see information like node name, material, color and transparency. Some of the properties can be edited. If the corresponding options were set during import, attributes that were stored as metadata in the CAD system will also appear here. 

A new feature is that attributes are now supported not only for bodies, but also for surfaces. To do this, first activate the surface selector and then select the corresponding surface. 

At this point, we would like to point out once again that attributes can be used very well with our search and filter function to isolate the relevant objects from a large number of objects.


New: Import of attributes from CSV file

We all know the properties window in 3DViewStation. If nothing is selected, you can see general settings for the display, the background, lighting, display of the coordinate system and more. Mostly, however, the interest is in the properties of the currently selected object or selection, such as node name, material, color, and transparency. Attributes are also displayed here that were stored during work with the CAD system - insofar as they were also imported by setting the corresponding options. Attributes can be used very well with our search and filter function, e.g. to quickly filter all objects with a certain release status or with a certain material or last editor.

However, there are also cases where important metadata for CAD objects are not located in the CAD file itself but in one or more systems and should now be displayed as attributes within 3DViewStation. The most elegant solution here is an integration of 3DViewStation into the corresponding system, since 3DViewStation has the necessary APIs. Manipulating a 3DVS or VSXML file is also a possibility, but this requires some programming effort. 

However, to give users now also an interactive possibility, we have developed an import function for attributes that are available as CSV file. The structure of the CSV file is fixed: the first column contains the node name, followed by key/value pairs for the respective attributes. The following screenshots show a geometry with only CAD attributes, then a sample CSV file, finally the result after the import: the original and added attributes.


3DViewStation v2022.8 Release

We released 3DViewStation version v2022.8 with the enhancements described below. The new 3DViewStation versions are available for download .

Export 2D:

  • DXF Export: support of coordinate systems

Functions & Features:

  • New: Import attributes from a CSV file - uses a fix schema
  • New: Background color for semantic PMIs
  • New: More BOM options: Bounding box, gravity center, structure level
  • New: Show face attributes
  • New: API only so far: Identify node complexity - helps recognizing poential export issues

More at https://help-viewer.kisters.de/productfamily/en/3dvs_versioninfo_intro.php


New: transformation using 3 points

Most of the time it is not necessary to use the transformation functions of the Kisters 3DViewStation, because all objects have been placed correctly in space. However, if this is not the case, the 3DViewStation offers several ways, such as

  • free move
  • move along a direction
  • rotate around an axis
  • position surface to surface
  • position axis to axis
  • bring 2 coordinate systems into congruence
  • move and rotate with boundary conditions: e.g. fix axis or direction
  • etc

All these ways require some practice. Therefore, an automatic overlay and alignment function has recently been implemented, which is mainly used as a preparation for a 3D comparison and which usually gives very good results: Best-Fit.

Now we have released another interactive and yet quite easy to use transformation function: the use of 3 points on each of two geometries. Here, the first points in each case are brought into congruence, the other two determine the alignment. 


3DViewStation v2022.7 Release

We released 3DViewStation version v2022.7 with the enhancements described below. The new 3DViewStation versions are available for download .

IMPORTANT: This release contains security updates. We recommend updating to this version as soon as possible.

Import 2D:

  • NX 2206 

Export 2D:

  • WMF (raster) 

Functions & Features:

  • New: Transform: three points to three points 
  • New: Copy/Paste in 2D scenes 
  • New: Load structure only, then reload all nodes automatically
  • New: Setup option to generate extensive support information for critical cases (default: on)
  • Improved: speed of VSXML import
  • Improved: Activation licensing improved

More at https://help-viewer.kisters.de/productfamily/en/3dvs_versioninfo_intro.php


Video: News of 3DViewStation V2022.1 up to V2022.6

a quick video showing mainly light related news of 3DViewStation V2022.1 up to V2022.6.

News Video 3DViewStation v2022.1 to v2022.6


3DViewStation v2022.6 Release

We released 3DViewStation version v2022.6 with the enhancements described below. The new 3DViewStation versions are available for download .

Import 3D:

  • STEP, IFC and Creo Import: choose codepage to display node names correctly 

Functions & Features:

  • Rework of node movements in structure tree
  • Structure tree: CSV Export
  • Structure tree: horizontal scrollbar
  • Option to turn material rendering off
  • Animated focus (includes translation, rotation and ghosting)
  • TIFF 8bpp import

More at https://help-viewer.kisters.de/productfamily/en/3dvs_versioninfo_intro.php


DWG / DXF: 2D and 3D reading

DWG and DXF data are mainly 2D data, means drawings, but they can also contain 3D objects.
Until now, 3DViewStation has always displayed the 2D content only. From now on both 2D and 3D content can be displayed.

If you load with "2D preferred" the file will be treated as a document by 3DViewStation:

  • in case of a real drawing it will be displayed as usual in 2D
  • in case of a pure 3D model it will be mapped to 2D. This was our previous behavior without 3D-DWG / 3D-DXF support.

If you load with "3D preferred" a 3D scene will be created:

  • a 3D model is loaded in 3D mode and rendered as expected
  • a 2D drawing is placed in 3D space. You can now load 3D geometries and place them on the 2D plan.