More about Nastran-in-CAD – review of AutoDesk’s new software

More about NASTRAN-in-CAD – Review

Hello there! Picking up where we left off in my last section on the review of Nastran-in-CAD software. Take a look at this mesh detail below, for which I only had to make one adjustment; it’s a tremendous step up from the current in-CAD simulation capability, where normally I need to spend quite a bit of time zooming and tweaking and updating and waiting. I’ve posted a larger image just so you can see the interface and quality better, so please just give it a second to load.

More about Nastran-in-CAD Mesh Detail

More about Nastran-in-CAD – Mesh Detail

First run of the Nastran-in-CAD mesh for the processor assembly was pretty good.

What’s also useful is that the Nastran Solver offers real time solutions, ie, during analysis. Here’s a sample of the Nastran output window that displays during the simulation run, with warnings and issues noted in red text:

More about Nastran-in-CAD - Output

More about Nastran-in-CAD – Output

The Nastran output window offers real time solutions.

There’s a couple glitches that AutoDesk is aware of and working on for the next release:

  • General – The CAD undo-redo stack sometimes crashes once we enter the Nastran environment and make CAD changes. As a workaround Service Pack 1 deletes the stack and disables further undo-redo in Nastran, but you get it back when you return to CAD.The first service pack corrected several bugs, meaning that AutoDesk is pleasantly responsive to our input. For example, 3D sketches can now be edited from the Nastran environment, a pretty handy fix.A couple other notes: vault check-in/check out workflows aren’t supported with the in-CAD data; neither is Explicit Analysis. Surface contacts have to be defined manually for multi-body solids. And, there’s some tools on the Results panel that stay active when we switch results type from the browser.
  • Mesh – there were several issues updating meshes, for example, with large models containing a lot of sketch segments, or when features got suppressed and unsuppressed. These were fixed with Service Pack 1. But sometimes components created with the Design Accelerator don’t mesh properly. Also, weld beads are not supported, either for meshing or as a material property.

Now that complex FEA simulation is embedded in CAD, is this a task suited to all designers? Nope. At least not without specialized training. Sure, in-CAD gives us the amazing broad range of constraints and boundary conditions to set up accurate tests. The trick is determining what the meaningful tests are for any particular design, and how to set them up. You need the physics and engineering under your belt to get that right. Real-world physics means scenarios can vary significantly from expectation. So, this isn’t for everyone. Staff need training in how to figure out the right loads and constraints for each particular design.

That’s it for this extended review where we learned more about Nastran-in-CAD software, embedded into the interfaces of SOLIDWORKS and Inventor. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


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