With the Live Parts™ Add-in, you can create zones to represent geometric constraints on your Live Parts design. You can create three types zones:
- Fill zones represent regions of a design that are mounting or mating points with other components of an assembly. These regions must be precisely "filled" in a final Live Parts design.
- Exclude zones represent regions that a design must keep clear of - for example, a motion envelope for another component of an assembly. These regions must not contain any material in a final Live Parts design.
- Contain zones represent regions that a design must be "contained" within but need not fill (similar to design spaces in traditional topology optimization tools). These regions prevent serve as the outer boundaries for any material in a final Live Parts design. In practice, the effect of a container zone can be replicated by using several exclude zones.
You can create fill, exclude, and contain zones by selecting the associated solid bodies in an assembly. These bodies should be un-merged with other bodies in the assembly (unless the other bodies are to be considered part of the zone). You can select existing bodies, or you may need to create new bodies to act as reference geometry; these bodies may be entire components or components within a part in the assembly,
The geometry of a body used to create a zone can be as simple or complex as desired. While it is possible to include fine detailed geometry such as threads and tiny holes on a body, we recommend that features such as these be suppressed from bodies used as reference geometry; once your Live Part design has been grown and imported back into CAD, you can then back in these fine features to the finished part.
You can create zones using the method outlined below.
- Create solid bodies as required to act as reference geometry for your zone.
- Select Zone in the Live Parts Add-in toolbar.
- Click the Volume box and select the relevant body in your assembly for your zone.
- Use the Type drop-down list (under Parameters) to select your zone type (fill, exclude, or contain).
- (Optional) Check Smoothable (under Parameters) to fully smooth the triangle vertices of the cells within the confines of the zone. If this option is not checked (default), then triangle vertices are snapped to the geometry of the zone.
- Click the Checkmark as the top of the zone menu to accept the changes.
- Exclude zones can intersect contain zones or fill zones, and Live Parts prioritizes respecting the exclude zones.
- When using a contain zone, create all of your fill zones within the boundaries of contain zone. Otherwise, your Live Parts design will be unable to grow into the fill zones as they are outside the contain zone.
- If you find that your model has numerous exclude zones, consider instead creating a contain zone to represent the allowable design space (i.e. the inverse of the exclude zones).