2012: The Beginning of the End for Polygons

Aaron Trocola @ Engineering.com wrote this nice piece about how volumetric representations, "models that are not just a 2D surface in 3D space" (a mantra here at Uformia), will help to bring about the end of polygons (at least for manufacturing). He contends, as we do, that volumetric representation allows for more complexity in designs going out to print (too many discrete features can result in a polygonal representation that is too heavy to calculate) and will also bring about multi-material printing.


We applaud Aaron's words, and thank him for acknowledging Symvol as a potential software solution towards this end.


A note on solids and solid modeling -
While solids used in traditional CAD package today are based on mathematically perfect surfaces and/or patches, they are still collections of 2D surfaces (same as meshes) defined in 3D space (2-manifolds). If the right tools are used and the user is thoughtful and careful about modeling the surface patchwork, the resulting model will be a closed or manifold surface that clearly separates the inside from the outside (in fact meshes can also be used to create a solid object). Unfortunately in practice "solid models" are often not solid as they will have cracks, hanging surfaces and intersections which increase with the complexity of a model. This has given rise to the marketplace of repair tools to fix "solid models".


We should also mention that we are not a voxel or discrete based modeler (although we can bring voxel data into our system). Our technology is to voxels what NURBS or parametric solids are to meshes and we are always watertight by default. As well we already offer experimental multi-material modeling inside our API (more about that later).



Via: Engineering.com