Basic CATIA tutorials part 2

CATIA Tutorials Part 2 – Basic CATIA training by

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Basic CATIA Questions That People Ask Us – part 2 (CATIA tutorials)

What is a feature? A feature is the essential building block of a solid model in any 3D CAD software. You start with 2D geometry, like circles and lines; you use the 3d tools of the part design workbench to turn these into 3d features. Then you build these features together into parts. And finally you fit your parts together into an assembly. So basically, features are the 3D output of your 2Dsketch.

So let’s say you start with a rectangle. Then you extrude it 20mm in the negative “y” direction (that’s “down”). Now you have a rectangular solid. It is now a feature. You want to punch a hole through the center, so you create a hole. The hole is another feature; it needs to start out as a circle of determined radius (dimenion constraint) with its centerpoint coincident (geometric constraint) to the midpoint of the the width of the rectangular face. So there are two separate features, but what you see on your workspace is a rectangle with a hole through it; you see their combined result. Together, they comprise a part. The good news is that you certainly don’t need to design every feature or part from scratch. You can use derived features (where another feature becomes the basis for your current feature). CATIA contains part libraries from which you can “place” a feature.

How is a feature different from a part body? The part body is where all the features you create in one part document are nested. The part body is the main node of your specification tree.

Can you tell me what a geometrical set is? You create this body; it includes your reference elements, planes, surfaces and wireframe elements.

I’d like to know about Centre Graph. This is a useful command; it brings any node you select (from the specification tree on the left side of your screen) to your workspace, on the middle-left side.

Can you tell me what Reframe On does? In some circumstances, elements of your work may not be visible in the main working area (called the workspace). If that happens, select the node you want to see, from the tree, and use Reframe On to make it visible in your workspace.

What on earth is a surface? Surfaces are used to create complex shapes, from which you create a solid later on. CATIA is unparalleled in its ability to work with complex surfaces; that’s why it’s the workhorse for the automotive and aeronautical design and engineering industries. So, what the heck exactly is a surface? A surface is a feature, just like any solid feature. But, it has zero thickness. So, if you create a sphere, you can think of the surface of the sphere as the theoretical “skin”, with no measurable thickness. Our CATIA tutorials cover surface design & modeling in CATIA.

Can you tell me what is meant by wireframe in CATIA? It’s like the 3D outline of solids. You use wireframe to help you create surfaces; these can replace geometry created in the sketcher workbench.

How do you get around CATIA? CATIA makes it super easy to see how your model was built, or its “history”–you see how it was built, and the order in which you built it. This happens in what’s called the specification tree, on the left hand side of your graphic area. This is the principal tool for nagivation through your work in CATIA. Every element of your work has a node in the tree–so that’s sketches, features, parts, surfaces, solids, and assemblies. The elements are nested in a parent/child logic, so that a sketch that was used to create an extrusion will appear indented under the extrusion. Each node can be expanded and collasped by clicking on the plus and minus signs next to the name. So, each element with a “child” element will be indicated with a plus sign. When that node is expanded, the element will display a minus sign. Our CATIA tutorials teach you all about navigating around CATIA…

In order to modify the orientation of your sketches or parts, as well as your assemblies, you can use the compass, which lets you navigate and manipulate views. Other CAD softare uses these also, and even the mouse functions are similar across CAD programs. So, combining your mouse click with Alt, Ctrl, Shift on your keyboard will have different effect. Generally you can shorten the time needed to finish a task by using these kinds of keyboard shortcuts.

You really need a mouse with a wheel if you don’t have one, but if your mouse is old-style and just has a middle mouse button, this is where you can do a lot of short cut work. You zoom in by holding down the middle mouse button and the CTRL key, then drag the mouse away from you. Zooming out: hold down the middle mouse button and the CTRL key, and drag the mouse toward you. You rotate by holding down the middle mouse button and CTRL, and moving your mouse left and right.

So that’s manipulating your view of your model. You can also control which tools you see on the screen. Each workbench is customizable. You can show and hide various toolbars. Each workbench comes with a number of toolbars, which is a pretty convenient way to organize the tools. You can choose which toolbars you’d like to display.

At the bottom of your CATIA v5 screen is a strip with some good information. It’s called the status bar.

The status bar appears at the bottom of the CATIA v5 window. It’s got three sections: the dialog box, the power input field bar, and the dialog display button. So, what’s in each one? The dialog box shows current info about any active tool or selected element. It also prompts you for the next action, which is pretty helpful for beginners. Next is the power input field bar, and this lets you type in commands and input data for tool input. This is old school, and a lot faster for pros than using the mouse for data entry. Then, there is the dialog display button, which shows or hides the current dialog box, in case you need to free up some more space at the bottom of the screen.

CATIA still makes use of many keyboard shortcuts, which you will use with greater frequency as you get more used to CATIA. In the older versions of CATIA, there was obviously much greater use of keyboard commands, as you find in AutoCAD (with the command line). Many Windows-based programs use these shortcuts, so you’ll be familiar with quite a few, I think:

CATIA KeyBoard ShortCuts

F1: Help

Shift F1: “What’s This?” Tool

Shift F2: Specification Overview

CTRL D:Fast Multi-Instantiation tool (Assembly bench)

CTRL E: Define Multi-Instantiation tool (Assembly bench)

CTRL F: Search

CTRL U: Update

CTRL Z: Undo

CTRL Y: Redo

CTRL S: Save

ALT ENTER: Properties

That’s all, folks! Thanks for reading this basic CATIA tutorial by

There’s many more ways to get around the CATIA workspace; these are just some of the basics. Our CATIA Video Tutorial shows you a lot more.

CATIA tutorials by Video-Tutorials.Net

CATIA tutorials by Video-Tutorials.Net