SOLIDCast UNIT 38: Components: The Import/Export Function
SOLIDCast offers the ability to identify one or more shapes within a model, save these as a Component File, and then bring this Component File into another model. This ability allows the user to create a library of standard shapes (such as risers or gating components) and load them into model files. This also allows you to merge shapes from one model file into another, or to save an entire model along with its materials and load it into a new model.
When a Component File is created, the materials (and their properties) that are included in the Component File shapes are saved along with the shape geometry. When you import a Component File into a model, the materials in the Component File are added to the Material List in the model. For example, suppose that you create a Component File of a riser with a particular exothermic material for a sleeve. Later, you create a new model file with only the casting alloy as a material. You then import the Component File of the sleeved riser into the casting model. If you examine the Material List after performing the import function, you will find that the exothermic sleeve material has been added to the Material List.
If you are building a casting model and then import a Component File, the alloy definition will not change. For example, suppose that you create a riser with SS 304 casting alloy and save this as a Component File. Later, you create a casting model using ST 1030 alloy, then import the Component File. The riser in the Component File will be designated as a riser in the casting model, but the alloy will remain ST 1030, regardless of what alloy was in the saved Component File containing the riser.
One exception to the above occurs when you import a Component File into a blank model space, i.e., a new model with no shapes. In this case, the alloy definition switches to the alloy that was used when the Component File was saved. This allows you to treat a Component File as a complete model, with all material definitions intact.
Example: Creating and Using a Library Component Riser
As an example of using the Component Export and Import functions, consider the creation of a Component File containing a riser with an exothermic sleeve. The riser can be created as a complete model, with the bottom centered at the point (0,0,0). Start SOLIDCast, select File… New Model and create the riser and sleeve geometry. In this case, the model is created with a series of cylinders. This riser might appear as follows (the point (0,0,0) is at the very bottom center of the riser neck):
To save one or more shapes as a Component File, it is necessary to select those shapes. In this case, this can be done easily by selecting Edit… Select All Shapes. Now, from the main menu select Model… Export… Selection. You will be asked to enter a name for the Component File. In this case, we enter the name ExoRiser. Note that component files are saved with an extension of .mdc. Therefore, you can locate component files on your system by looking for files that end with an extension of .mdc. In this case, the file that is created is called ExoRiser.mdc.
Note that once you save this entire model as a Component File, it is not necessary to save the model as a Project. Also note that Component Files are saved in a compressed format, which saves hard drive space.
Now suppose that we later want to use this standard riser on a casting. First, we would create the casting model, which might appear as follows:
This model was created as a revolution of a 2D shape about the Z axis.
Now, to import the riser into this shape, we select Model… Import SOLIDCast 5.x Component. In this case we are importing a Component, so we select the first option. This causes the system to display a list of component files (.mdc files), as follows:
We can navigate to other folders or use the default folder and select the correct Component File. In this case we select the ExoRiser.mdc file which contains the riser created earlier.
Now the system will request that we enter a location to place the datum point of the Component File into the model file. In this case, we want the bottom center of the riser (the (0,0,0) point of the riser model) to be located at the point (10,0,9.9) on the model. This point can be determined by knowing the dimensions of the casting, or by reading the coordinates from the model display, with the model in an orthogonal (XY, XZ or YZ view). The coordinates are entered as follows:
This provides an “offset” for positioning the component in the model.
Clicking on the OK button causes the Component File to be inserted into the model as shown here:
When a Component File is loaded into a model, then all of the shapes included in the Component File are automatically grouped together and can be selected with a single click. In this case, assuming that we want three equally-spaced risers, we can just click on the Select Shape Mode icon, click on the riser, select Edit… Copy and make two copies in a ring about the Z axis at 120 degrees.
The result of this appears as follows:
To summarize, the Component Import and Export function can be used in the following ways:
1. To create libraries of standard shapes that can be imported into model files.
2. To merge shapes from two different model files.
3. To save a subgroup of shapes from one model file and load into a different model file.
4. To save an entire model file so that it can be imported into a new model space, or so that it can be sent to another machine or another user and then imported.