alias for tooling/mfg

Just wondering if anyone has any tips for making an alias model for tooling or manufacturing, and not just a pretty picture.

I know that you’ll want to delete any extraneous data, like layers, old curves, shaders, lights, etc, and export as iges.

But, I’m wondering if there are other considerations that you typically take into account during the modeling process, such as certain rounds or fillets, ways of constructing surfaces, etc?

I know the answers may be too complicated to go into much detail, but a little insight would really help!


read some older threads. can find comments in them addressing this that might be helpful.

as ykh points out, there are other threads with good details. do the search for them.

in the meantime, these elements will affect your workload. give us some details.

tolerances: aircraft/automotive or kiddie pool?

downstream: going to what package, being reworked or detailed in a surface or solids package?

materials: plastic, metal, crackle finish paint, bare?

process: injection/roto/stamp/forge/cast etc?

no single bible exists for this because the criteria change depending on the above answers.

Thanks much for the responses so far!

I have read some of the older threads, still have a bunch to go through though. Lots of great info, slow internet…

Don’t have a specific project in mind, I understand that tolerances and such can change the approach drastically.

I’m just looking for general tips, like using a curve to create a tool path for a parting line instead of actually modeling the parting line. Things like that can be real time savers for everyone involved.

Thought it might be worth asking the question even just to raise awareness for those of us starting out. Not intended to waste anyone’s time by any means…

“like using a curve to create a tool path for a parting line instead of actually modeling the parting line. Things like that can be real time savers for everyone involved.”

i do this for CNC foams. not for tooling. when i hear “tooling/mfg” that means individual parts. and an assembly. components include wall stock. draft. aso. a parting line is automatic.

can only assume you send the file to someone else for continued work. true?


yes, you are right, sorry to confuse the terminology.

Perhaps I originally should have said “machining”? Tooling requires much more precision than a foam model, but some of what I’m looking for certainly applies either way.

Let’s say you are a student, like me, and you’re getting ready to make your alias model. Unbelievably, you will have access to the cnc machine in the engineering model shop, and would like to export your alias file as iges to cnc an appearance model in ren. (assuming help from someone who can properly set up tooling paths and the machine)

I know from past experience that some things in alias don’t always export as intended, causing lots of editing after import into the cnc software.

How much editing could be avoided simply by the way the model is generated in alias? Are there things that you do or don’t do as a rule? I understand the approach might change considerably based on what the final output is.

Are there any books or resources (besides old posts) that you can suggest?

Thanks again, sorry to sound like such a clueless noob!

oh yeah, as samweis said earlier, no single bible exists, but there must be a few resources that you’ve found to be helpful.

i’ve brought up single-surfacing often enough. thats the biggest thing i suggest. but doesnt even really have to be just one surface. just minimize patches.

suggest you try identifying a p/l early on. if clamshell then build top as single surface (or maybe two surfs). then build bottom as SS. if p/l is flat its a good place to separate for CNC layout. if not, good place to separate and then build pedestal to flat for CNC layout (then bandsaw off). you can also add your draft easier if you need to - which you might when you get a job and they really do tool off the surface.

curve on surf is one way. should try others. esp since CNC is better litmus for actual tooling.

It seems like everything has gone to solid modeling-> SLA-> plastic part.

Am I correct in assuming that alias is still a surface modeler and from alias one must translate to Pro-e or other solids app for shelling, bosses, etc.

Can Alias generate an SLA? Can you shell a part in Alias?


ykh- thanks for everything! Read about single surfacing, your machining notes help a lot too.

yes, alias is still a surface modeler. but thanks to the acis kernel, granite, and other internal advancements it can export watertight geometry to other packages as valid solids, no zipping gaps. or it can export directly to stl (sla) or slc format. and they finally added the ability to read binary stl files back in!

studio can perform booleans on solids. it can offset surfaces but sometimes doesn’t do a good job of creating good intersections between the resulting surfs, so you get bad trims or bowties on small radii (surfaces folding over themselves).

bosses and ribs can be done in studio but for most of us it makes more sense to do them downstream in pro/solidworks/etc. the engineers like that because they can make any changes to those features later and the designers love not having to surface that ugly crap (sorry, couldn’t resist).

re: modeling for quick cnc

set your tolerances before you model.

overbuilding, intersecting and trimming back is not necessary if nobody is adding radii or other features downstream.

don’t bother modeling the interior surfs if you’re just cutting outside surface from solid foam (i know, duh).

stitch anything you send out to check for gaps. also, use the stitch/shell tool to check your model every once in awhile to make sure you don’t have a gap in there by accident.

do not stitch without keeping your original model, as stitch does change some features of your surfacing.


i’d forgotten what those were called.

Thnaks guys! that’s the kind of stuff I was looking for!

good name for bowties…