Computer Aided Design and Manufacture
This page describes just one of the many documentation projects I have
worked on. For details of my other projects, see my home
Hewlett-Packard ME Series 30
In 1986/87 I was in Böblingen, near Stuttgart, Germany for one
year, working on the documentation of the Hewlett-Packard ME Series 30
Computer Aided Design system (CAD). I worked with a team of technical
authors who were mostly concerned with the User Manual, and I was solely
responsible for both the System Manual and Interfacing Manual.
The HP ME Series 30 is a solid modelling system, used for mechanical
engineering and other engineering design purposes. The system runs on
HP9000 Series 300 workstations, using the HP-UX AXE operating system.
HP-UX is the HP implementation of UNIX, and AXE is a subset of HP-UX known
as the Application Execution Environment.
The System Manual describes the following:
- Installation and configuration of HP-UX AXE and the ME30 software.
- Writing macros to produce commonly used designs. A macro is a
sequence of instructions which would otherwise have to be issued
separately by the user.
- Customising. Changing the line types and colours, the screen menus
and the use of the graphics tablet (a device which uses a pen to select
commands from a tablet divided into sections).
- Data Exchange. This chapter describes links to Numerical Control (NC)
systems, for operation of machine tools and Computer Aided Manufacturing
(CAM). It also describes links to preprocessors for Finite Element
Analysis (FE) systems which perform calculations such as stress analysis
and heat transfer. In either case, a 2D or 3D model has to be created on
the CAD system, and then an output file is produced in an appropriate
format for the NC or FE system.
- Filing and Backup. Making routine backups to disks and tapes.
The Interfacing Manual describes links to NC and FE systems in greater
detail, and is basically an expansion of the Data Exchange chapter of the
System Manual. It includes the following:
- APT-AC. This is a 3D NC system based on a description the faces,
edges and points of a solid body. A 2D version of APT is described in
the Data Exchange section of the System Manual.
- COMPACT II. This is an NC system which operates in 2D, and to a
limited extent in 3D. The 3D implementation is known as "2.5D"
and is limited to bodies which have flat faces, or which are oriented so
that they can be viewed in 2D and any elliptical edges are linearised.
For example, if the curved surface of a cylinder is viewed in 2D it has
the appearance of a rectangle. The source geometry is a description of
faces, edges and points.
- GNC. This is a 3D NC system based on information about faces, and
closed sets of edges called KCURVEs.
- ANSYS. This is a 3D FE system based on keypoints, straight lines,
arcs and splines.
- FEMGEN. This is a 3D FE system based on faces, edges and points.
- PATRAN. This is a 3D FE system based on grid points and lines.
- A Model Interface, to provide a standard method of representing 2D
geometry and annotation so that translation programs can be used to
convert the data from one system to another. There were provisions
within the interface for possible future extensions to 3D.
I worked on this contract some time ago and I am not in any way a
representative of Hewlett-Packard. However, many of the systems described
on this page are still in operation and I am available for documentation
projects on any of them. I am also interested in any other CAD/CAM
projects and I can do my own design work using AutoCAD. Please get in
touch with me if you have any enquiries.
Mike Gascoigne, Write_on
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APT-AC is a registered trademark of IBM.
COMPACT II is a registered trademark of CADCentre Ltd.
PATRAN is a registered trademark of PDA Engineering.
FEMGEN is a registered trademark of FEMGEN AB.