Yesterday I posted some news about a new program that had been added to the SolidWorks Labs website called CB Model Pro. Tonight I had my first chance to sit down a play with it a bit. I must say I’m pretty impressed with what I see so far!
First and foremost, you REALLY have to think differently when modeling in CB Model Pro vs. modeling in SolidWorks. The program uses boolean type objects as starting points. A few examples of this would be spheres, cones, cylinders, & cubes. Once you choose your starting shape, there are multiple tools available to morph that shape into something that could look completely different from what you started with! One thing that amazed me was the speed at which you can change the shapes. Basic modification tools include Point Pull, Flatten, Bend, Neck, Scale, & Poke. There are also a few tools included that allow you to draw on the model. You can then use the drawn entities to shape the model based on curves or areas drawn. The package also includes a Paint shop that allows you to apply colors, textures and decals to your model. Many of the functions are similar to Cosmic Blobs. CB Model Pro has a few more features and a much more traditional user interface.
I really haven’t had much time with the software yet, but was pretty amazed at how quickly you can get up to speed. One of the sites that I found really useful was the CB Model Pro Fans Blog. The site is run by Tom Meeks. He has quite a few video tutorials posted that are very helpful! Some of the shapes he has created are really amazing especially when you see the starting shape vs. the ending shape.
After spending probably an hour watching some tutorial videos and playing around a bit in the software, I decided to tackle my first real attempt at a model. My goal was to create a computer mouse. I wanted to see how well I could get the software to conform to the general shape I had in my head. I fully expected to spend probably 30 minutes or an hour working before I would have anything even remotely presentable. To my amazement, I had something very close to what I was looking for in only 10 minutes! Add another 5 minutes for some rudimentary painting and I was done! Now, I’m not going to sit here and say this is a perfect model by any means, but it’s not bad for a first timer! In case you are wondering, the shape started as a sphere.
One of the things that really interest me about this program is the fact that you can export mesh data in STL, OBJ, WRL, & 3DXML formats. I took my mouse and exported a .OBJ file. I then opened the model in SolidWorks using ScanTo3D. The mesh came in VERY clean! The only thing I was a little disappointed in was that the textures did not import at all. Outside of that, you really couldn’t ask for better mesh data to work with.
I’ve made the CB Model Pro file and the SolidWorks mesh file available for anyone who wants it. Click HERE to download it. (SolidWorks file is in 2008 format).
As I get some time, I’ll dive into this software a little more. CB Model Pro definitely has some potential to be used as a concept creation tool. On top of that, it’s a pretty fun package to play around with!
Stay tuned…more to come!