Problem: You just received a big manufacturing order from a top tier automotive or aerospace manufacturer. They’ve provided a 3D model created in CATIA. You have worked in different CAD software programs, but this is your first time diving into CATIA. Where do you start? How do you get up to speed quickly?
Before you start – Take time to learn about the basic functions of CATIA. Don’t try to dive into advanced features without knowing the basics first. You can create a lot of damage and waste a lot of time. You can use the training provided by Dassault Systèmes within CATIA, use the 3DSwym communities, attend classes, or depend upon a CATIA application specialist to provide support.
Tip #1 Understand how CATIA works
One of the most common problems I’ve encountered is working with users who start using CATIA without understanding the underlying methodologies and processes. You know who you are. Just because you’ve used SOLIDWORKS before, you can jump right into a CATIA file. For instance, I’ve worked with users who try to do advanced surfacing but they haven’t taken the time to learn basic surfacing or wireframes first. They get frustrated because it takes them too long to create the surface they’re looking for.
CATIA has a unique framework and methodology. Don’t try to make it work like another software program. Instead, learn how CATIA works, thinks, and acts. Understand how CATIA works with files and processes and your life will be much easier.
Tip #2 Use templates to streamline the design process
Once you have invested the time to learn the basics, it doesn’t make sense to keep doing the basic manual processes over and over again. You can use templates to capture the knowledge you’ve gained from your previous learning process. They help you and your organization save time and drive efficiency. Templates are also useful for transferring what you’ve learned to other users.
Tip #3 Understand how CATIA uses Universal Unique ID (UUID) numbers to identify drawing files
How CATIA identifies records is often confusing to the novice CATIA user. Understanding how universal unique IDs (UUID) work will help you and your team manage multiple CAD files.
For a basic understanding of UUIDs, check out this blog post from PLM evangelist Jonathan Scott at Razorleaf Corporation: CATIA V5 UUID Uniqueness Article.
Tip #4 Know how to convert a 2D sketch into a 3D shape
Converting a 2D sketch into a 3D shape is a common task performed by CATIA users. How you create your 2D sketch will determine how solid the 3D shape will be. You need to make a foolproof model. One way is by understanding the building blocks to create a great sketch. Make sure the sketch has the proper constraints and parameters. Then use the methodologies that CATIA has intended you to follow. You’ll then have a solid model that you can’t break because you’ve built it on such a strong foundation. That’s the key to becoming a great CATIA designer – doing the little things up front so that you don’t need to repeat them later.
Tip #5 Know when to ask for help
If you run into a problem or want to dive deeper into a particular function, start by leveraging the CATIA ‘Help’ functionality. In each functional area, you can click on the help page which provides examples of how to use the tool. If you can’t find an answer to your question using help, then you can contact your technical support team at Adaptive Corporation. You can submit a support ticket or reach out to your Adaptive sales representative and they’ll connect you with a subject expert.