RE: Maestro alternatives

From: Caffrey, Tim (
Date: Wed Apr 08 1998 - 17:10:28 EEST

I am very familiar with BridgeWorks, moderately familiar with Vista, and
(although it looks like a great piece of software) not very familiar with

Vista has a lot of features, and requires a lot of operator interaction to
guarantee a good support file. If the part is complicated, it may produce
over 100 regions, and your confidence level may never reached the point that
you are sure all 100 supports for those regions were good--thus, you'll need
to view each region/support separately in the Vista viewer to be sure it
will work. That means a lot of pre-process time. On the positive side, you
can customize supports for particular regions if you want to or need to.

BridgeWorks, on the other hand, has a lot of features, but can be automated
with a batch file in the Unix environment. Our default BridgeWorks batch
process is about 99.5% successful in supporting stl files that have been
verified with 3Dverify. We check our support stl in View to insure the
support file is adequate. For those 0.5% that don't support well, we try a
series of corrections--adjustment of arguments/switches in BridgeWorks,
using BridgeWorks in SolidView, using Vista, re-orienting the part,
re-converting the stl from the native CAD or IGES file, etc. I like
BridgeWorks because it is an automated support generator, with the emphasis
on "automated".

As far as taller supports are concerned: we use a separate BridgeWorks
default file for tall-featured parts. This will produce a more robust
support than a "standard" BridgeWorks support--tall columns will have more
stable cross members because the cross members start wide at the platform
and taper at a prescribed angle as they grow, and web breaks and profile
breaks are eliminated, which stabilizes a support structure (breaks were
created to facilitate the drainage of resin from support structure). You can
even give columns, webs, and/or profiles a specified thickness (i.e. greater
than one cured line width) if you so choose.

Good luck.
Tim Caffrey
Plynetics Express, Inc
1425 Payne Rd
Schaumburg IL 60173

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Monica & Glenn Whiteside []
> Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 1998 8:49 PM
> To:
> Subject: Maestro alternatives
> Importance: High
> Dear RP-ML:
> Has anybody out there found a more efficient and user-friendly substitute
> for Maestro?
> We are running 60-70 hour builds (platform is full of parts) and having
> trouble with some of the taller supports floating away - we try to review
> and modify any questionable supports but in large builds this can chew up
> a
> lot of time given the relatively poor graphical interface of Vista and
> View
> (we found we have to use the "Custom Draw Supports" option often to get a
> true idea of the support cross sections).
> In reading information on Materialise's Magics RP, they say they can
> generate supports and slice to the desired format. I assume this means
> you
> obtain a .bff file you can run on a SLA? What's the price of Magics RP?
> Any other recommended part positioning/support generating/slicing RP
> software out there for stereolithography and what is the price per seat?
> Any help would be appreciated.
> Glenn Whiteside
> Cessna Aircraft
> e-mail:
> or
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