We talk a lot about CAD from the perspective of product development and the early stages of design, but what about when you have to repair a part or machine that’s currently in use on the shop floor? Field repairs such as this are common, and up until recently, they could take months to complete.
Imagine this design workflow: Instead of sending a machine or part across the world for repair, you could simply scan and import the data of the broken part, quickly modify the design In NX CAD, then send the file to a 3D printer and repair the part onsite. This is not merely a mental exercise; a workflow such as this is now reality if you have the most recent version of NX at your disposal.
This is exactly what you will see in the tutorial today. My colleague @ScottFelber walks us step-by-step through the process of bringing in scanned data to repair a broken part in-field using Convergent Modeling in NX. Even if you’re not performing a field repair, these steps will help you in the case you have to modify a design for which the original drawings are no longer available.
Start by opening the two separate STL files that are the result of a field scan conducted at the machine’s location on-site.
First, use the NX measuring tools to calculate the distances these parts will have to move in order to be positioned correctly again.
Next, move the green part back to where it belongs adjacent to the blue part. Use the Move Object command and enter the distances we just measured to position the part correctly in the context of the blue part.
With the part properly positioned, you will notice there is some material missing that was unaccounted for during the scan. To remedy this, create a patch of a solid body to fit into that area. Sketch a simple rectangle to cover the missing area between the convergent bodies.
Extrude the sketch, taking care to ensure it is the same thickness of the existing parts. Again, use the measuring tool to find the exact thickness of the convergent bodies.
Once the thickness of the patch has been determined, use the Boolean Unite command to stitch the bodies together.
Unite the two convergent bodies first, then unite with the B-rep solid body patch we just created in the previous steps. You are left with a new, complete solid body that can be used for other applications, whether it be machining or 3D printing to create a brand new part that can be installed out in the field.
Convergent Modeling was first introduced in NX 11 and continues to be updated with new functionality.