Newest Software Release: Visiometa 1.0 Beta (889)

by Maximilian Mogilka

We are happy to present our latest software update as part of the open beta test. With plenty of new features and numerous bug fixes, this new version brings us one major step closer to the final release. The update is already available for all registered participants.

  • The project types "Analysis", "Design" and "Sculpting" are now combined in a unified overall project, which has made the internal program structure considerably more complex, but also makes work much easier for the user. In particular, iterative development processes can now be realized without disruptive export/import operations, which further emphasizes the defining speed aspect of Visiometa.
  • The serialization has been revised to make it easier to ensure downward compatibility later on. Length prefixes are now used for all stored entities. In addition, the file header is equipped with a so-called archive aanifest, which allows meta information to be stored with a project (version data, buffer sizes, titles, descriptions and so on). The system will be further developed in the near future, so the warning still applies that files written with this product version will not be readable in later versions.
  • The binary data in project files are now compressed with the "Deflate" algorithm to save memory. The reason for this is the sometimes enormous memory consumption of the internally used "BRep" format (OpenCascade) for CAD geometries (about four times larger than STEP).
  • Project files can now optionally be encrypted and password protected to facilitate secure data exchange. The program asks the user if encryption is desired when saving the file for the first time. A more extensive dialog for this is planned for later versions.
  • The order of the menus has been changed to improve the modified workflow since the introduction of the separate model import (ISSUE-282).
  • Vertices can now no longer be pushed down from their constraints by manually entering coordinates (ISSUE-215).
  • Fixed a bug in the creation of the Feeder Vertical component that prevented the model from being calculated (ISSUE-264).
  • The fillet increment is now a global setting that is defined in the "Basics" menu for all components at the same time (ISSUE-33).
  • The model origins are now initialized in the correct order again during STEP import. Previously, a change in the loading process led to incorrect application of the transformation data to the coordinate origin of the models (ISSUE-279).
  • Model data is now managed separately from its instances to allow for multiple shapes. Each model instance has a separately transformable coordinate origin derived from a common model transformation.
  • The DPI awareness of the main window has been improved in that now not only the display scaling is neutralized, but also the resolution of the primary screen is taken into account in the calculation of the virtual image resolution ("device pixel"). In particular, this makes the display on 4K (UHD) monitors consistent with the layout in the reference resolution (Full HD). However, the internal image size of the viewport is fixed and scaled accordingly on higher resolutions. This results in a slight loss of quality but also in better performance. In the long run, render scaling should become optional (ISSUE-104).
  • An unacceptable side effect when updating the profile data created a performance problem that was particularly (but not exclusively) noticeable when using a slope component. The problem has been fixed for the time being by removing the side effect (changing the fillet increment input), but this has the consequence that fully circular profiles can no longer be created. A thorough solution will be worked out in the course of the planned profile rework (ISSUE-27), which will be started in the coming days. In the meantime, there are no further performance limitations (ISSUE-285).
  • A serious error in thread synchronization has been fixed, which led to crashes that were difficult to explain in connection with the management of native program objects (e.g. meshes and profile data). The cause was the asynchronous finalization of managed references to shared objects by the garbage collector. The problem could theoretically occur in all program modes (ISSUE-52).
  • Fixed a bug where the application log file was not closed correctly under certain circumstances, causing error messages/crashes when exiting the program.
  • A bug in post-processing caused an unwanted "fade" effect when creating screenshots. The effect has been removed (ISSUE-259).
  • The cone stencil now has a circle sector parameterization to allow better adaptation to the part geometry (ISSUE-296).
  • The Shape Converter now uses incremental meshes for tessellation. This bypasses a serious bug in OpenCascade that caused sporadic failed import and load operations (ISSUE-304).
  • An error message is now generated if the gate torsion for the "Straight" component leaves the permissible value range. Previously, undesired splitting could occur if the gating surface was too inclined with respect to the branching feed (ISSUE-267).
  • All quaternions can now be manipulated through a new editor menu based on the input of axis and angle. The aim is, among other things, easier usability when defining multiple shapes.
  • When exporting model data from the Design Overview menu, it is now possible to specify in advance whether only the casting system components, only the model instances, or all solids are to be taken into account. In addition, a file dialog has been added to the model exporter display.
  • The discretization and solution data of the module calculation are now stored in the Visiometa project file (vmp). All data fields are automatically compressed to use as little memory as possible (ISSUE-290).
  • The cross-section profile as the basic building block of the casting system construction kit has been fundamentally revised to solve various problems in the usability and design of runners based on it. In particular, it is now possible to choose between a calculation method based on the cross-sectional area and a method based on the profile height. The calculation of compact profiles has been completely redeveloped, as has the calculation of the profile diameter. Finally, a large number of minor errors and inconsistencies have been removed, especially the ambiguity of input and output parameters (ISSUE-27, ISSUE-342, ISSUE-343).
  • In order to take account of the changes in the structure of the cross-sectional profile, all casting system components were revised. The knowledge gained in discussions with mold makers regarding the cost of fillets or free-form surfaces has also been incorporated. This has led to greater flexibility in the design and, in some cases, to improved operability (ISSUE-341).
  • The Sculpting interface can now (in addition to the file export) also be exported directly to the list of model data. This allows, among other things, the design of a multi-cavity mold without detours, with a model geometry based on the sculpting, which can still be changed dynamically during the design of the gating and feeding system.
  • The menu bars of the editor screen have been revised to reflect the new project structure. In the process, practically all project dialogs were adapted or redesigned accordingly. It was important for us to keep the original operating procedure as far as possible.
  • A large number of new glyphs and widgets have found their way into the user interface. Affected are, among others, the discretization dialog, the isosurface slider, the color selection dialog, the rotation dialog, the analysis dialog, and the file menu (ISSUE-271, ISSUE-94).
  • Under certain circumstances, incorrect surfaces were created during STEP export if the Fusion operator was used before. This is a bug in OpenCascade that cannot be fixed directly by us. Therefore a workaround was developed, which distinguishes between fused and non-fused shapes beforehand and uses a different export function in each case (ISSUE-336).
  • An annotation system has been implemented that allows the user to annotate notes, warnings, problem areas and other information directly in the 3D workspace. In addition, annotations can also automatically read solution values from the scalar fields (modulus, thickness, etc.). The feature is intended to improve the integration of different work steps into the user's planning process (ISSUE-203, ISSUE-348).
  • When exporting a design, a warning message is now issued if the structure of the casting system contains STL data. In order to perform Boolean operations, these must first be converted into CAD shapes. Because this process is extremely time-consuming, it is generally not recommended to use STL data in the design kit or to export it afterwards.
  • The modulus analysis now has an automated evaluation of the local extreme values that places annotations in the thermal centers at the push of a button. To filter irrevelant maximum spots, the user can specify a number of additional parameters, including the kernel radius, a modulus threshold, a minimum edge distance, and a limit for the number of detected hotspots (ISSUE-363).
  • The casting system construction kit now has a configurable "Duplicate" function, which can be helpful when designing multi-cavity molds. Among other things, the options can be used to control whether the duplicated objects are bound to the constraints of their originals, or whether the respective constraints themselves should be duplicated.
  • The accuracy option of the thickness map is now also available in the user interface. The calculation variant with high accuracy requires somewhat more computing time and reduces the mean error by two to three percent. In addition, a Gaussian filter can be switched downstream to eliminate discretization artifacts.
  • The projection of the undercut solution now no longer uses color interpolation to avoid the occurrence of unwanted visual artifacts (ISSUE-359).
  • The calculation of the fillets at the edge of the filter chamber has been changed so that the maximum radius is always limited to 1mm. Otherwise, there is a risk of damaging the filter when it is inserted into the chamber.
  • Screenshots of the viewport now include the UI overlay, and thus annotations, axis labels and other text, as well as legends and other graphics. The "Use Background" property has been removed from the Workspace View. If users wants to render a screenshot with a transparent background, they can open the "Background Config" (in the same inspector dialog above) and uncheck the "Enabled" property. The viewport will then display a tiled background - but on the actual screenshot it is completely transparent (ISSUE-379).

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