Importing DXF Center Lines


Importing DXF Center Line Designs in Sheet Lightning Pro v6

This is a powerful new feature of Sheet Lightning Pro v6 that truly unleashes the design potential of the product.

It is now possible to design a chute, structure, or other sheet metal design with any level or complexity of intersections using a conventional CAD system to simply create a 3D line layout. Sheet Lightning will then import the DXF file of this design and automatically interpret the 3D lines into tubes/pipe. Once the design is imported you can then modify the section sizes and parameters to create virtually any design within the products section design set.

What does this mean?

With a bit of 3D design experience using only 3D lines in a regular CAD system it is possible to create the most complex design structures. Consider exhaust manifolds, bike frames, tubular steel structures, playground slides, chutes with complex branching. The list goes on. Try loading one or two of the examples supplied with the demo.

Spiral with Spokes      

Fig: Complex Spiral Design with Spokes - Loaded as DXF 3D Center Lines

We have even provided a simplified tube design of the the Eiffel tower to prove the power and potential of this feature. Here is an image of the base:


Fig: Eiffel Tower Design Importing Example

How Does it Work? - The 3D lines are imported and converted into tubes. Any lines that end with their ends coincident at the same point are connected with a bend intersection. This means any number of lines/tube can be connected at the same point. Any lines that end exactly on a midpoint of another line are interpreted  as a tee intersection. If circles are placed on the line ends the circles are interpreted to be the tube diameter at that end, so by placing different diameter circles at each end the line is interpreted to be a cone. Any circle placed on a midpoint of a line is interpreted to be the diameter of the whole object - a tube. Here is a another structural example:

Stand DialogStand_Structure2

Fig: Structurel Design Imported via DXF 3D Center Lines

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