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workflow/workaround for heavy sketches

Discussion in 'Using Alibre Design' started by Avander, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. Avander

    Avander New Member


    kinda new to Alibre, used Fusion360 and various other until january this year when i took the plunge to Alibre Design expert, most of what i do goes pretty smooth but heavy sketches, for example perforated steel plates, simple plates but they contain around 8-9000 holes, this sort of work really kills my computers, any good workaround?

    my laptop only takes 16gb ram, i have not upgraded cpu yet but will do so next, Lenovo thinkpad T430 yea it's old but runs fine for everything except these plates..
  2. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    Unless you are working off a MainFrame computer I'd avoid creating Perf material on any CAD program - it just kills the processing time. Handle the perf with a notation on the drawing or, if rendering, in the image.

    Search the forum on "Perf" to see other threads about it.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
  3. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    Usually do a corner of it shown, then the rest noted.

    It also makes a difference if it is done as one big array, or repeated subarrays, if you need to show it for some reason. But 8000 holes is pushing it far beyond reality for processing.

    There should be some sort of "simulated representation" as fr threads, to do those when it is important to see them.
  4. Avander

    Avander New Member

    Yes i know this is pushing it, have tried sketches like this in Alibre, Inventor and Fusion 360 on a couple computers, the office workstations (not for cad, just general office work) My laptop (really old and not really for cad but my cad laptop crashed) and my desktop (gaming computer with really sufficent specs for CAD) and every combo stumbles, most of my work is for 3d printing or lasercutting but these jobs is sent to a company that punches? the sheets, they are swamped with work so they have no time to educate me in how they want these sort of jobs presented and i am self taught in the world of CAD so any pointers is very helpful, tried earlier on Facebook but a lot of the tips are from people doing hobbie stuff or in house, i have to make these look somewhat good in order to send out (want to make a good impression).
  5. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    For any repeat patterns, don't pattern sketches, but pattern the features they create.

    i.e. make a single perforation, extrude cut to make a feature, pattern the resultant feature. It's not perfect (and is still processor intensive), but a fraction of doing it in a single sketch!

    As other have said, for manufactured or rendered parts, don't actually model the perforations, add those as notations or a render material. If your doing 3D printing ... it's going to be processor hungry which ever way you do it.
  6. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    Better to use Topology Pattern per Max.
    simonb65 likes this.
  7. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    Out of experience I can tell that isn't going to make it easier.
  8. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    You are correct @HaroldL, I hadn't see that post by max!
  9. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    Guys we're talking 9000 holes here. It just isn't worth the effort.
  10. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    No kidding...... something to be handled in Keyshot.......
  11. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    If you NEED to tell them where to 3d print, lasercut, or punch the holes then ignore all the above advise and create your parts in CAD. However Alibre Design may not be the right CAD. If you can do it in 2D (or export flat patterns to add the rest of the holes in 2D) then I would suggest Draftsight (or AutoCAD if you already have it).
  12. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    You've got me curious. So, just how large and thick are these "plates"? And what is the perf pattern spec (hole size, shape, pattern)?
  13. sz0k30

    sz0k30 Senior Member

    Lets start by saying beyond any shadow of doubt, that there isn't any company in this galaxy that can punch 9,000 holes at the same time. They may punch them continuously, but not at once.
  14. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    This! Sheets with holes will be water/laser/plasma cut or punched. This is solely a 2D job.
  15. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    Two issues.....

    1) Models to show to product manager or whomsoever......

    Do model rendering in Keyshot, and probably there will be less problem. The marketing folks will not be measuring each hole, nor counting them. Just make it look as the holes will be, and should be fine.

    2) Description for the vendor.

    If the vendor punches, they likely have standard centers which will be a LOT cheaper to make. Ask, and if you can use that, just tell them the area to be punched, and how many rows, columns of holes. They do the rest.

    Yes, if you waterjet, etc, you need to put actual hole for every location. Much $$$$$ to go that way for 9000 holes. But as mentioned, do it in AutoCAD which only has 2D. Easy-Peasy, and they usually want either that file, or a DXF anyway.
  16. Markaj

    Markaj Member

    What I’d do is model the part (assuming you actually need a 3D model) but put as many reference holes in as needed to just datum the rest of them off, unfold it (if needed), then export into 2d cad. In 2d CAD you can put the rest of the holes in.
    If it’s going on a turret punch, just a note would do, but it’s just as easy to put the holes in in 2d cad. Lasering/Waterjetting a load of perforations in a plate isn’t always the best way of doing it.
    NateLiqGrav likes this.
  17. idslk

    idslk Alibre Super User

    Hello colleagues,

    has any one done a picture search for "perf metal wall"? There you can see that a detailed model (for these sheets with pictures...) of a "only perforated sheet metal" can be useful...

  18. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    Unless it is a custom shape and pattern there are IPA standard perf patterns already defined. In my last life we would just give an over all sheet size and call out the IPA standard to be punched. To make things real simple we would just purchase 16-18 ga perforated sheet material that could be sheared to a size that would cover a cutout. The perf sheet was then spot welded onto the part with the cutout. Huge cost savings. And for the perf sheet drawing there were no holes on it. All it had was over all size dimensions and a note with the IPA spec.

    We had some products that had, IIRC, .156 X .132 oval holes in either a 2" X 72" or 6" x 24" area that we punched in .080 Alum with a custom cluster punch. That really gave the turret fab a workout.

    There are some companies that will either invest in the machines and the progressive tooling to punch a perf pattern in the field of a sheet, for example on electronic cabinet doors or shelves or pay the piper to have it done by a vendor.

    How did you get the idea that anyone said the holes were punched at one time?
    JST likes this.
  19. JST

    JST Alibre Super User


    Those folks in the biz gang punch, usually a row or two at a time, marching right across a rectangular area. They have lots of gang punch options, just a setup charge away.

    Perf welded is clearly the cheapest.
    bigseb likes this.

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