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New features in Live Parts v1.7
Released on October 4, 2018
- UPDATE New Live Parts user interface
Live Parts has a new user interface. The interface provides a more familiar means of navigating the application, and it also provides users with the ability to view progress of the Live Parts growth process for a given design (via the cells born/killed graph) and more powerful methods for editing force and gravity expression values in real-time. For more detail on the new Live Parts user interface, please refer to this article.
- NEW Save and open Live Parts designs
Users can now save Live Parts designs for later access by clicking File->Save or File->Save As in the menu bar. Using Save overwrites any files already in the model folder (C:\Program Files\LiveParts\model) with the same filename, including the original ".lpi" model imported from SOLIDWORKS. Using Save As saves the current state of the design under a new name. Users can click File->Open to open a saved design and export or continue to grow the design.
This new save/open functionality allows users save fully grown models for later use. It also allows users more easily explore Live Parts designs by preserving the state of a design mid-growth and then creating and saving several variations of a fully grown design each with variations in forces or gravity.
Below is an example model ("Pedal_saved.lpi"), which users can find in the model folder (C:\Program Files\LiveParts\model), that has been opened after having been previously saved.
- NEW Force tree
Users can now easily select a specific force (previously defined in the SOLIDWORKS Add-in) to modify by checking the corresponding force ID in the force tree within the advanced controls window (see image below). Future releases will also include force highlighting in the Live Parts model/design to make it easier to visually identify the force.
- NEW Force expression editor
Users can now edit the values of gravity and forces in real-time using by either (i) dragging sliders or (ii) editing pre-defined force expression directly in the advanced controls window in Live Parts. Previously, users were only able to edit the magnitude and directional values of forces and gravity in Live Parts using constant values. The additional flexibility provided in release v1.7 allows users to more easily explore design variations and the impact of different load cases on optimized designs.
- NEW Dynamic cells born/killed graph
Live Parts now features a dynamic graph that shows the rate that cells are being born and killed. This graph provides users with a useful means to understand where the current Live Parts design is in its growth process: initially, designs exhibit significant cell growth, and the green line in the graph rises correspondingly. As the design matures, the Live Parts growth process typically begins killing cells and the red line in the graph rises correspondingly. As the design reaches a steady state, the number of cells born and killed will decrease and approach zero (unless gravity is set to a reasonably high number, for example, 0.2 or higher).
In the image below, the "JetMount" model was in a steady state until one of the forces was manipulated in real-time using the advanced controls window. Both the green and red lines, associated with cells born and cells killed, respectively, increase in response as the Live Parts growth process begins to optimize the design.
- NEW Auto-update mechanism
The Live Parts for SOLIDWORKS Add-in now has an auto update mechanism built-in that will detect if there is a newer version available and download/install it automatically when opening and using Live Parts in SOLIDWORKS.
- UPDATE Improved error reporting
The Live Parts for SOLIDWORKS Add-in now includes new error dialogs for a number of problematic model states. For example, if models contain empty gradients (i.e. no volumes associated), users will receive an error message.