ZWCAD 2021 Beta Is Open to Tryout

ZWSOFT today launched ZWCAD 2021 Beta, which smooths the way to faster display, finer visuals, and better user experience. If you wish for a speedy and pleasurable design process, this version will lighten your workload and mood.

Better Visuals Generated More Quickly

As the R&D leader of ZWCAD, Charles Zhao explained in the all-in-one CAx Interview, the second step to accelerate the drawing opening process, namely, data visualization was to be taken with the aid of multi-core CPUs and GPUs as well as parallel processing. Now, the promise has been fulfilled. In ZWCAD 2021 Beta, the reading of drawings becomes approximately 30% faster (compared with ZWCAD 2020) with a smoother display of objects.

Adjustable Transparency for Clearer Drawings

You can now specify the transparency of objects, hatches, references, layers, etc. to distinguish them. For higher efficiency, the transparency of objects in a layer can be set all at once.

Adjustable Transparency for Clearer Drawings

More Precise Design at 4K Resolutions

If you own a 4K monitor, you can rest assured that ZWCAD 2021 Beta will bring a pleasing visual experience. You can, therefore, design more accurately without sore eyes.

More Precise Design at 4K Resolutions

Manage All Xrefs in One Manager

External files in the format of DWG, DWF, PDF, PNG, etc. are frequently used as references in CAD. In this version, all the Xref managers are merged into one so that you can conveniently check and manage them without switching between panels.

Manage All Xrefs in One Manager

A Unique Layer for Each Viewport

Viewport layers allow you to vary the layer properties (layer color, line type, line weight, plot style, etc.) in each viewport without affecting those of the drawing. Hence, you can easily mark or highlight some specific parts to suit your needs.

A Unique Layer for Each Viewport

Formulas Enable Faster Calculations

Now that table and field formulas are available, you can utilize formulas, such as Sum, Average, and Count in ZWCAD 2021 Beta like you do in Excel®. As a result, calculating in the table and more specifically, creating bills of materials becomes effortless.

Table and Field Formulas Enable Faster Calculations

New features that improve user experience are far more than the ones mentioned above. For example, application developers can also have a better porting experience thanks to the upgrade of Visual Studio® to 2017 version and APIs for Tool Palettes and Ribbon. Experiencing is believing, we warmly welcome you to give ZWCAD 2021 Beta a try.

Happy CADing: How to Design a Mask Press Roller

Figure 7. The model of mask press roller and N95 masks

To stay safe against the COVID-19, masks become the “close friends” of most of us at present. But do you know how to create one? Except for the buzzword melt-brown fabric, a tool called mask press roller is needed for pressure cutting and forming during the production. Follow 5 simple steps and learn to design a mask press roller for N95 masks in ZW3D.

Figure 1. The model of the mask press roller
Figure 1. The model of the mask press roller

Step 1: Draw the outline on the sketch according to the design drawings.

Figure 2. Draw the outline of the mask on the sketch
Figure 2. Draw the outline of the mask on the sketch

Step 2: Design the hobbing lines for the mask. Select the edge line of the sketch and get two auxiliary lines by Offset. Then draw the outline of a small rectangle, extrude it to get a solid, and pattern the solid to get multiple ones according to the auxiliary line. In this way, you finish the first hobbing line. Use the same method to acquire another one. Finally, mirror the hobbing lines to finish the main part of the mask as the picture shown below.

Figure 3. Design the hobbing lines for the mask
Figure 3. Design the hobbing lines for the mask

Step 3: Design the main body of the press roller. Draw a sketch on the XZ plane and create the press roller by Revolve.

Figure 4. Use Revolve command to create the press roller
Figure 4. Use Revolve command to create the press roller

Step 4: Use Unfold to Plane to get the face of the highlighted part of the press roller. Then use Move to place the mask onto the center of the unfolded plane.

Figure 5. Put the outline of the mask onto the unfolded plane of the press roller
Figure 5. Put the outline of the mask onto the unfolded plane of the press roller

Step 5: Use Wrap to Faces to glue the unfolded plane with the outline of the mask to the press roller.

Figure 6. Use Wrap to Faces to wrap the mask around the press roller
Figure 6. Use Wrap to Faces to wrap the mask around the press roller

Okay, now you get the mask press roller. Using parametric sketches, and flexible design tools driven by Solid-surface Hybrid Modeling technology, you can easily design a mask press roller.

Figure 7. The model of mask press roller and N95 masks
Figure 7. The model of mask press roller and N95 masks

Have you got the tricks of mask press roller design? Why not try to make one yourself? Download ZW3D for practice now. Finally, I hope you stay safe and healthy.

Happy Cading with ZW3D

Design an Elegant Pull Handle with ZW3D.

A pull handle is the first thing you touch when opening something. Its shape and style indicate the owner’s taste — classic or modern, simple or delicate. But no matter which style, streamlined shape and smooth touch will be the basic demands for its design. So today, I am going to share how to design an elegant pull handle in ZW3D. Why not follow me and DIY one for your house?

Figure 1. Design an elegant pull handle in ZW3D
Figure 1. Design an elegant pull handle in ZW3D

First, create a 3D curve profile

Step 1: Create the main profile sketch on the XY plane, then sketch three curves on the XZ plane separately as the profile of the handle model.

Figure 2. Create the profile sketches for different sides of the handle
Figure 2. Create the profile sketches for different sides of the handle

Step 2:Extrude the middle curve located on XZ plane to create a surface, then project the main profile onto the surface by Project to Face Command. After that, you will get the 3D curve profile.

Figure 3. Project the main profile onto the extruded surface
Figure 3. Project the main profile onto the extruded surface

Step 3: To better control the middle of the handle, create a section curve for it on the YZ Plane by Sketch command.

Figure 4. Create a sketch for the section curve on YZ Plane
Figure 4. Create a sketch for the section curve on YZ Plane

Second, generate the surface

You need the U curves and V curves to construct the surface of the handle. You’d better sketch them separately, so that you can create the surface more easily.

Step 1: Click Curve Mesh in Free Form tab, then click the input box of Curve segment and select three curves (First U Go, 2nd U and Last U Go) as U curves. It’s worth noting that you should click the middle button of your mouse to finish the selection for each curve. For the discontinuous curves, you can press the shift button while picking the curves to select a complete one.

Figure 5. Create U Curves
Figure 5. Create U Curves  

Step 2: Repeat the same operations of Step 1 in Curve Mesh to create V curves.

Figure 6. Create V Curves
Figure 6. Create V Curves

Step 3: Select all the U curves and V curves in Curve Mesh, then click OK. After that, the top surface will be generated.

Figure 7. Create the top surface
Figure 7. Create the top surface

Step 4: Repeat Step 1-3 to create the bottom surface, then sew the top surface and the bottom surface by selecting the top surface in Sew command.

Figure 8. Create the bottom surface
Figure 8. Create the bottom surface

Third, add pillars and render

Step 1: Create two pillars on the main profile plane by Cylinder. Then connect the pillars and the main part of the handle by Blend Face.

Figure 9. Create pillars and connect them with the handle
Figure 9. Create pillars and connect them with the handle

Step 2: Combine the independent shapes into a complete one by Add Shape. Make thread holes by the Hole command. Finally, render the handle by adding colors and materials as you need.

Figure 10. The handle model after rendering
Figure 10. The handle model after rendering

Step 3: Insert the handle into the furniture like a cabinet in the assembly environment.

Figure 11. Insert the handle into a cabinet in assembly environment
Figure 11. Insert the handle into a cabinet in assembly environment

So far, an elegant pull handle with streamlined shape has been finished in ZW3D. Have you got the tricks? Practice makes perfect. Why not design handles in your own styles with ZW3D? Look forward to your masterpiece.

Work-from-Home Success: Learning from a Veteran Constructor

Work-from-Home Success Learning from a Veteran Constructor

While those viral videos of work-from-home fails are amusing, it is not the case when you experience them. From where the statue of the bear and the strawberry tree locates, Miguel Ángel de Mingo, CEO of ZWSpain (MP Scia Ingenieria S.L.) who had years of experience in the construction industry shares his thoughts on how to stay productive at home in this special period.

The Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree in Madrid, Spain
The Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree in Madrid, Spain

The Covid-19 has placed us in a situation hitherto unpredictable. It has changed our family life, working practices, and ways of socializing. And in many cases, such unusual circumstance has generated in us a sense of solidarity as well as uncertainty.

As they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Thanks to this pandemic, we realize the importance of technology in our lives and, of course, in the primary economic sectors, such as engineering and construction. As a member in the construction sector, I’d like to share my experience of how to utilize technology to get used to this new normal and continue my design work efficiently. I hope it will do a little help to you in this hard time.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Technological innovations that accelerate your work

Since my team and I deal with CAD software daily, we know a thing or two about relevant technological innovations and how to incorporate them into work. So, for us engineers, the first thing we need is an efficient design tool. It mustn’t consume a big chunk of your computer’s memory nor require fancy hardware. As one of such systems, ZWCAD is lightweight and runs well on most computers. Moreover, under its flexible network licensing policy, users can borrow licenses at home, which is the same as registering a stand-alone one.

What’s more, ZWCAD fulfills the necessary premises to be a benchmark in the construction industry. One is that its compatibility and flexibility allow you to communicate data effectively among different programs with your team. Therefore, you won’t feel like working alone, but instead connected, creative, and productive. The other is that you can integrate your routines into ZWCAD via APIs like LISP, .NET, VBA, etc. That enables you to continue your daily design work at home.

Haven’t had one? Here is the good news. ZWSOFT is now providing free ZWCAD, ZW3D and CADbro licenses for whoever needs to work at home until May 31st! This is indeed the embodiment of solidarity in difficult times.

Stay safe, stay at home, and stay productive with free ZWSOFT products!

Get a better command of innovative technologies

Now that we have technological innovations, the second step will be incorporating them into our work. That is, we keep grasping new CAD skills and improve our work efficiency.

But how to achieve that goal when we have to stay at home? Online learning resources and technical support are always helpful. For example, ZWSOFT global partners are providing various online services to their local users. And just like what we have been doing over the past 10 years, my ZWSpain team offers free webinars (Click to review the one on point clouds and digital topographic models!), open courses, tutorials on different solutions and messages about the latest news in the industry. With direct, prompt, personalized, and highly professional technical support, our users are getting used to a new way of working, and their productivity rises.

It might not have crossed your mind that teleworking could be widely adopted, but that time has arrived. Now, it has become clearer that to get ahead, we must continue equipping ourselves with the knowledge of new technologies. With a useful tool like ZWCAD and the online support offered by ZWSOFT partners, I believe that you’ll succeed in CADing even while working from home!

Have you got some tips from Miguel? If you have any other bright ideas of working from home efficiently, don’t hesitate to share with us in the comment area! Last but not least, we hope all is well with you, wherever you are. Stay safe, stay at home, and stay productive with free ZWSOFT products!

Try ZWCAD free for 30 days!

How Solid-Surface Hybrid Modeling Drives More Flexible CAD and Mold Design

Previously, I shared with you what is Solid-Surface Hybrid Modeling technology and its benefits. Briefly speaking, it is an in-depth combination of solid modeling and surface modeling, enabling you to design products with solids and surfaces simultaneously. After knowing what and why, today, I am going to show you how to use it to drive CAD and mold design.

Flexible CAD Design

  • Flexible Boolean operations for both surfaces and solids

In ZW3D, with Solid-Surface Hybrid Modeling technology, the Boolean operation works for both solids and surfaces, which means that you can cut surface with solid and vice versa, reducing tedious steps and setting your imagination free. Take the bumper design as an example. It is not easy to get a surface with a square groove, but it can be done by cutting the bumper surface shape with the square solid by just one step of Boolean operation in ZW3D. Big time saver!

Direct Editing for native and non-native data

It’s quite common to receive CAD files without history from your upstream and downstream suppliers. Here, Direct Editing functions based on the Hybrid Modeling technology help you directly edit the non-native CAD models. While editing, the constraints of the geometry will be remained and the modifications will be updated in real time for dynamical preview. Watch the model below. If you want to reinforce its structure by adding ribs, just use the DE Pattern to pattern the original shape. Convenient, right?

More flexible tools for much easier design

Emboss Morph Wrap

As Solid-Surface Hybrid Modeling technology eliminates the barrier between solids and surfaces, it enables lots of useful functions such as Morph to transform the shape easily, Wrap to glue solid or surface shapes to a model, Emboss to convert an image into a 3D surface as the below video shows, etc.

To summarize, ZW3D gives you a highly flexible modeling environment. Dealing with complex product design becomes easier than ever.

Efficient Mold Design

  • Powerful verification and healing tools

As mold design is a highly specialized field, many manufacturers choose to outsource it to professional teams. So if you are working on mold design, it is fairly commonplace to receive non-native models with gaps or open edges. Thanks to Solid-surface Hybrid Modeling technology, various verification tools and healing features in ZW3D are ready to help you analyze and automatically heal tiny unmatched faces, detect open edges and fill the gaps of models, ensuring the manufacturability of the product.

non-solid mold parting
  • Faster non-solid mold parting

Usually, you can only finish the parting work when the model is perfectly watertight, which is sometimes inefficient especially when you need to offer quotations. Based on the unique Solid-surface Hybrid Modeling technology, ZW3D enables you to do parting work for non-solid part models, making your team more competitive in the fierce market. Splitting molds by parting lines or face region definition is flexible as well. Watch the video to see how it works!

Driven by Solid-Surface Hybrid Modeling technology, ZW3D provides more possibilities to create something that cannot be done solely by solid modeling or surface modeling. It can help you deal with product design and mold design more flexibly and efficiently. That’s all about the application of Solid-Surface Hybrid Modeling technology I would like to share today. Why not have a try in ZW3D? If you have more ideas about it, please comment. Until next time.

CADprofi® and ZWCAD: Professional CAD Solutions for Architects and More

For over a decade, CADprofi® and ZWCAD have been offering professionals better CAD programs together. Now, with the CADprofi® 2020 suite ported to ZWCAD 2020, architects, constructors, mechanics, and electrical engineers can deliver first-rate projects with fewer exertions.

Founded in 1996, CADprofi is an international developer of CAD add-ons with 2 branches in Poland and Germany. Available in 24 languages, CADprofi applications are well received by more than 136,000 professionals worldwide.

Four Modules—Architectural and More

The CADprofi suite includes 4 mutually compatible modules—Architectural, Electrical, HVAC & Piping, and Mechanical. With 4 competitive features in common, they can serve at every design stage, such as BOM generation and data exportation. Since the article length is limited, the spotlight will be given to the Architectural module this time.

First, you have access to up-to-date libraries of objects used by the leading manufacturers in your industry. In this new version, the library of doors and gates has been updated, allowing you to choose and insert them with the desired parameters visually.

CADprofi-the up-to-date library of doors and gates

Second, you can expand these libraries with objects and symbols of specific standards, such as the furniture and appliances of your company. Third, there are intelligent tools for completing your projects. For instance, title blocks in your architectural drawings can be filled with no effort. Lastly, the advanced editing commands allow you to modify entities directly in the drawings, boosting your productivity. The Quick Edit function would be a good example. The selected objects can be quickly mirrored, copied, scaled, deleted, rotated, etc.

CADprofi-Quick Edit

Moreover, there are unique functions in every module. Architecture-wise, you can create evacuation plans easily with related symbols. Graphical legends can be automatically generated. The dimensions and number of treads are up for you to determine when you design stairs. The list can go on and on.

Creating evacuation plans easily with CADprofi in ZWCAD

The Common Cause

Back in the days when CADprofi was seeking a technical partner to complement their CAD capabilities, they were told by SZANSA that ZWCAD could be an ideal CAD platform. Since then, their applications have been fully ported to ZWCAD.

Besides, CADprofi and ZWCAD both value the compatibility, efficiency, functionality, and usability of programs. Therefore, a bond has been forged. Also, the good service and support ZWCAD provides have been reinforcing it. “ZWCAD is a powerful CAD platform that combines advanced 2D tools and intelligent 3D direct modeling. That’s why we believe that CADprofi and ZWCAD is a perfect CAD bundle,” acknowledgedthe CADprofi technical team.

The Positive Feedback

Ever since the first porting, CADprofi has been receiving positive responses from customers who use ZWCAD in their everyday work. In 2018, CADprofi was awarded the title “Trusted Solutions 2018” in the CAD Software category by COMPUTER BILD, one of the best-selling computer magazines in Europe. To live up to the customers’ expectations, they plan to continue creating add-ons on ZWCAD, one of the best CAD platforms they consider.

The CADprofi team

The 4 CADprofi modules are available individually or in a package that can help you achieve more with only half the total costs. To try out this combo, you can download the latest ZWCAD for free and shop the CADprofi Suite online.

Dayaram Chose ZW3D to Design and Manufacture Precision Molds

Dayaram Industries, a professional manufacturer of precision molds in India, chose ZW3D to design and manufacture products efficiently. “We selected ZW3D because it is all-in-one, powerful, intuitive and fast.”

Established in 2004, Dayaram Industries is a professional manufacturer that provides a wide range of high-quality molds like rubber molds, surgical molds, surgical rubber molds, and surgical instrument molds. Being able to design and manufacture products under core industrial norms, the company always successfully caters to all the requirements of clients and thus enjoys a high reputation.

Higher competitiveness realized by ZW3D

“As our company uses advanced software with integrated CAD/CAM capabilities and the latest manufacturing machines that are known for bulk output in less time, we can satisfy all the requirements of the clients on time,” said the head of Dayaram Industries.

Image courtesy of Dayaram Industries.jpg
Image courtesy of Dayaram Industries

The software mentioned above is ZW3D, one of the secret “weapons” the company uses to compete in the market. While specializing in mold design, Dayaram is also capable of bringing a product from concept to reality, so it needs full-featured software which not only offers powerful and efficient functions for mold design, but also supports the whole process from designing to manufacturing. ZW3D perfectly meets their needs.

The head of Dayaram Industries said: “We selected ZW3D because it is all-in-one, powerful, intuitive and fast. Many design tools require long preparation and setup, whereas we often design entire product families, so we need a very dynamic and flexible approach. We must have all the features of parametric CAD in intuitive and easy-to-use software. ZW3D fits that description.”


So, how ZW3D helps Dayaram design and manufacture different kinds of precision molds?

Flexible design driven by parameters

In product design, the powerful data translator, flexible design tools and parametric mechanism improve the design efficiency of the team. Usually, they design products by themselves or based on the third-party files. ZW3D is compatible with most mainstream 3D formats, such as Catia®, SolidWorks®, STEP, DWG, OBJ, etc. When receiving files, Dayaram can easily open them and get accurate geometric data with the powerful translator, saving them time and cost switching between different platforms. Then, they start designing. No matter designing from zero to one or directly modifying the data, the design tools which are driven by the hybrid-modeling technology enable them to finish the work efficiently. Last but not least, all the models are parametric, so that they can be modified quickly by changing the parameters.

Full functions for whole-process mold design

Mold design is their major work and ZW3D offers a range of professional tools for the whole design process, including product verification, healing, parting design, detail design, mold assembly, BOM and 2D drafting. Among them, the analysis and parting tools are especially helpful for Dayaram. The analysis tools can automatically detect and heal tiny unmatched faces as well as open edges and gaps on models, saving engineers much time fixing problems. As for the mold parting, engineers can split the product into different regions based on the results of region analysis, and then create parting faces by “patches” and “auto parting faces”. Finally, trim the workpiece into molding parts by one click. Clear and easy.


Abundant strategies deliver faster CAM programming

Machining is the last step of the workflow. Efficiency and safety are the keywords in this section. ZW3D CAM offers more than 40 types of 2-axis and 3-axis strategies, which enable Dayaram to deal with different kinds of machining work easily. For example, the Hole Tactic can automatically recognize hole features and generate toolpaths, saving programming time by 70%. 


Dayaram stays competitive in the fierce market with product features like durability, high strength and optimum finish. It is happy with ZW3D, not only for its capabilities of making such excellent products, but also for its professional and timely technical support, as was commended by the head of Dayaram, “Thanks to ZW3D’s expanded services, we deliver projects with greater speed and efficiency across industries.”

Electrode Focus™ for ZW3D: Electrode Design can be SO EASY

Electrode Focus™ for ZW3D

Electrode is the “cutter” of EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining) machine. Its importance to EDM machine is the same as a cutter to the CNC machine. Because usually this “cutter” can only be used once, making electrodes as fast as we can is a constant pursuit of all the electrode designers. However, many troubles and headaches are also waiting in front:

  • Omit to create electrodes for some hidden or unobservable areas after EDM is done;
  • Repeat simple modelling steps even for those very simple electrodes;
  • Repeat cut steps when getting an electrode from a complicated cutout;
  • Deal with a mass of electrodes one by one, which seems to be endless;
  • Find that the machined surface is not accurate after EDM is done.

Do you have the above headaches? Don’t worry, here I will introduce to you an electrode design application. You will love it after you know it.

The application is Electrode Focus, which has been integrated into ZW3D. The main process is shown below. Checking -> electrode modeling -> operations to improve EDM productivity -> electrode inspection. Same with most designers’ workflow, these four main steps are easy to learn and understand. Now let’s go deeper into it.

Figure 1. The workflow of Electrode Focus for ZW3D
Figure 1. The workflow of Electrode Focus for ZW3D

Step 1: Interference Check

When a workpiece which needs to be done by EDM is put on your table, you may print out its 2D drawing and open its 3D model, to check the areas that need to do EDM, check the size of cutter you have, etc. Even if it takes a lot of efforts, but still, you may miss some areas after EDM is done, or misuse a cutter. Similar mistakes happen almost every day. How to prevent?

In Electrode Focus for ZW3D, Check electrode face will help you solve the above headaches:

  • Tool adaptability check, which will help you decide whether the area needs EDM or not;
  • Holder interference check, which will help you select a proper cutter for CNC;
  • Interference check on bottom and corner areas with minor sloping surface, which will do you a big help, because those areas are very difficult to check by eyes.
Figure 2. EDM face checking
Figure 2. EDM face checking

After checking electrode face, now you can start electrode modeling without worries.

Step 2: Electrode Modeling

  • Electrode Extraction

Usually, to create an electrode, you’ll need to create a block, use it to cut out an electrode from the model of a component, separate the cutouts one by one if needed, and edit it step by step, which takes you too much time. Now in Electrode Focus for ZW3D, two extraction methods are provided to simplify your design process, which are Auto mode and Block mode.

For those target areas with sharp and clear boundaries, you can select Auto mode and click these faces, then an electrode will be created automatically without separating and editing it. Or you can switch to block mode to design electrode.

Figure 3. Electrode Modeling with Auto mode
Figure 3. Electrode Modeling with Auto mode

Compared with the traditional electrode design process, in Block mode, there are many options for you to deal with those complicated electrode models.

Figure 4. Electrode Modeling with Block mode
Figure 4. Electrode Modeling with Block mode
  • Editing Tools

What’s more, there are two powerful tools for you to edit electrodes, one is Smart trim to face, the other is Split Shape.

With Smart trim to face, you only need to pick the face which you want to keep, then it will be trimmed directly by intersecting curves, as shown in the picture below.

Figure 5. Smart trim to face
Figure 5. Smart trim to face

There are four types to split shape here: face, curve, two points and position, which help you split shape in seconds.

Figure 6. Split shape with curve and face
Figure 6. Split shape with curve and face

Now you may understand that no matter how you design electrodes, you will do it faster with Electrode Focus in ZW3D.

  • Electrode Blank

After electrode head design is done, now we are going to create the electrode blank. In Electrode Focus for ZW3D, you only need to select the bottom face of the electrode head, then a blank will be created immediately. Also, you can select the blank types as you need.

Figure 7. Create electrode blank
Figure 7. Create electrode blank

Text Engraving

Next, we can engrave the electrode text on the blank easily and quickly by the Text engraving function.

Figure 8. Engrave text on electrode blank
Figure 8. Engrave text on electrode blank

After the above steps, normally we can enter the machining stage. It’s necessary to make it clear that the electrode is not like other products. We make it, not because of the market demand, but the EDM process requirement. So we need high productivity of electrode machining to speed up the machining of the whole component.

Step 3: Functions for Productive Electrode Machining

Electrode Focus for ZW3D provides almost all the functions which you could think of to improve electrode machining productivity. With these functions, you can pattern electrodes, create electrode BOM, create setting sheet for both CNC and EDM, replace electrodes in order, etc.

  • Pattern Electrode

If there are two or more same features need EDM, you’ll need to pattern them in assembly. Pattern Electrode can help you in two ways, one is Move copy, and the other is Mirror copy.

Figure 9. Move copy or Mirror copy to pattern electrodes
Figure 9. Move copy or Mirror copy to pattern electrodes
  • Electrode BOM

You can export electrode material sheet and part list. Also you can export electrode models separately to deal with them flexibly.

Figure 10. Electrode BOM
Figure 10. Electrode BOM
  • Electrode Sheet

For CNC/EDM operators, a clear and accurate setting sheet is so important since it decides how smoothly electrodes will be machined and EDM process will go. In Electrode Focus for ZW3D, you can create sheets for both CNC and EDM.

Figure 11. Electrode sheet
Figure 11. Electrode sheet
  • Electrode Replacement

When machining a mass of electrodes, their different sizes will make a big trouble when you try to sort and replace them. With Electrode replacement, now you do so easily by one click.

Figure 12. Sort and replace electrodes by Electrode replacement
Figure 12. Sort and replace electrodes by Electrode replacement

With these four functions, I think your electrode machining productivity will be hugely improved!

Step 4: Electrode Inspection

How accurate the component will be, in many situations, depends on how accurate the electrode is, especially for those electrodes with 3D surface. Inspecting electrodes before EDM and CNC machining is a key step to guarantee the accuracy. Is there an easy way to get the position data of these surface points? The answer is yes, Inspection point will help you make it – you can click any point you want to measure and export the data to Excel or .txt formats.

Figure 13. Electrode Inspection
Figure 13. Electrode Inspection

Now we’ve finished designing an electrode and make it ready for EDM with Electrode Focus for ZW3D. I hope it can help you improve efficiency of electrode design. Download ZW3D 2020 and Electrode Focus with 30-day free trial>> Give it a try and get surprised.

How 3D Printing Is Helping Medical Professionals Fight COVID-19

3D-printing communities worldwide are doing their best to help.

There are many 3D-printing communities working around the world right now to helpfight the effects and spread of the coronavirus. The number of COVID-19 cases continues its upward trajectory, underscoring a shortage of medical supplies. The problem is that medical facilities in the United States, and in many countries all over the world, are in desperate need of N95 masks, face shields and other protective equipment. Individual states in the U.S. are in part contributing to the shortage of supplies in a bidding war over the remaining national supply.

The whole world is coming together to help fill the shortage of medical supplies needed by medical professionals in hospitals around the world. There is a #MillionMaskChallenge trending on Twitter, and the 3D-printing community is rising to the challenge. Some 3D-printed designs are clearly innovative and usable, such as the 3D printed door opener from Belgium-based Materialise.

But there are some questions about the efficacy of one critical medical item that is in very short supply: the N95 mask. Designers and engineers have created 3D files to print out N95 masks, but the mechanics of 3D printers may exclude them from printing truly viable N95 masks with fused filament fabrication (FFF) printing. The mechanics of this type of 3D printing may not supersede cloth in terms of creating a tight enough seal for proper production and use. Layer-by-layer, FFF printing can leave air gaps that are hard to detect. Despite this one caveat, the 3D-printing community around the world is rising to the challenge, globally helping medical professionals in many ways.

CoVent-19 Challenge for Engineers and Designers

The CoVent-19 Challenge is perhaps the most prominent initiative asking engineers and designers to develop ventilators that can be shipped and used quickly. Anesthesiology residents of Massachusetts General Hospital and Stratasys are supporting the initiative and spreading the word throughout the GrabCAD community.

HPIs Collecting and Posting Medical Supply 3D Files

Download HP’s Collection of 3D Files to Fight Coronavirus

HP has designed and printed face masks to donate for the global 3D-printing community to make and assemble. The first products that can get out the door, HP said, include 3D-printed components for face masks, face shields, mask adjusters, nasal swabs, hands-free door openers and respirator parts.

3D-printed ventilator components. (Image courtesy of HP.)

HP also plans to begin testing and validating designs for other applications, including a mechanical bag valve mask (BVM) that is designed for use as a short-term emergency ventilator. It’s also working on validating several hospital-grade face masks and expects them to be available shortly.

3D-printed swabs from FormLabs (Image courtesy of FormLabs.)

FormLabs has 60,000 printers under its command and has designed and printed a swab that will be used for testing the population in the United States. In the last few days, they received a notification from the FDA that the swab will be a Class I exempt product with one restriction: it must be manufactured in an ISO 35-controlled facility.

The European Commission and Cecimo

The European Commission is asking the 3D-printing community to gather information on what medical equipment and components can be designed and 3D printed. There is a European trade organization for additive manufacturing, Cecimo, to organize this task, help bolster medical supplies and brainstorm for more innovative ideas that could help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The European Commission will distribute Cecimo’s 3D-printed medical supplies to buyers that include healthcare organizations and various national authorities. Cecimo’s website contains a list of companies that can print medical supplies and has put out a request to their community, urging them to help in any way possible. The European Commission is taking care to reduce the amount of red tape involved in making designs available without any issues involving intellectual property claims.

(Image courtesy of Czech Institute of Informatics.)

The CIIRC R95 respirator and half-mask designs pictured above were created and printed by the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics. This design is posted on HP’s collection of 3D files. They are in the process of testing and evaluating the design for approval through official medical testing organizations.

(Image courtesy of Stratasys.)

Stratasys Joins in the Effort

The PPE (personal protective equipment) equipment for medical personnel pictured above is manufactured from a 3D-printed plastic frame and a clear plastic shield. For medical professionals, this mask goes on top of a particulate face mask for two layers of total protection. According to Stratasys, a hospital contacted them and stated that 1,500 of these PPE face shields were used in just one week. The hospital in contact with the company also mentioned that they were down to only six days of inventory of the PPE face shields over the course of a regular week.

Stratasys also set up a COVID-19 response page with relevant 3D-printing information. Stratasys Direct manufacturing facilities in Texas, California and Minnesota printed 5,000 frames and attaching clear plastic shields, with support from Dunwoody College of Technology in Minnesota, that will cover the faces of medical professionals working in close proximity to patients afflicted by the deadly coronavirus. They plan to ramp up production in the coming weeks.

3D-printed valves used in hospitals were designed and manufactured by FabLab Milan in Italy. (Image courtesy of FabLab Milan.)

FabLab Milan was called on by local hospitals to design and create 3D-printed valves for use inventilators. A local hospital ran short on replacement valves for respirators while treating patients. After contacting their supplier for more, hospital staff were told that they were none available in the time required. Massimo Temporelli, founder of FabLab Milan, caught wind of the hospital’s need and reached out to 3D-printing company Isinnova, which immediately brought a 3D printer to the hospital in northern Italy. The Venturi valves needed are used to alter oxygen and air flow on respirator masks. Patients using the respirator masks are suffering from shortness of breath, and the Venturi valves are critical components to keeping the respirators properly functioning. Isinnova’s founder, Cristian Fracassi, delivered 100 Venturi valves to the hospital. Now, Isinnova is working on designs to transform snorkeling masks into CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) masks.


Ford Motor Company has several additive manufacturing systems in place at its factories and is producing plastic face shields and components for PPE gear. According to the company, they will be ramping up assembly of face shields to over 100,000 per week.


Volkswagen created a task force for transforming its manufacturing facilities into viable production units capable of producing ventilators and medical equipment. This includes 3D-printing medical components from over 125 industrial 3D printers.


Dentistry company SmileDirectClub claims that is one of the largest 3D-printing manufacturers in the U.S. and opened its facilities to produce medical supplies and components (face shields and valves thus far) to help supply workers treating the pandemic.

(Image courtesy of Materialise.)


Download Materialise door opener

Materialise designed a 3D-printed door opener that allows people to open and close doors via their arms rather than their hands. The design is available to download for free. Materialise posted a directive for the 3D-printing community to print out its design, which will help stop coronavirus from transmitting itself to the population on this high-traffic everyday object.

Bottom Line

The ongoing contributions and efforts by the global 3D-printing community to help truncate wait times for badly needed medical supplies is a noble and critical mission in the fight against our coronavirus pandemic. The practical and nimble nature of 3D design coupled with 3D printing is helping. Face shields, ventilator valves, door-openers and swabs for testing printed by the thousands will surely continue to make a difference against the pandemic.

Cooling Loop – Your Secret Weapon to Create Cooling Channels

Cooling Loop

If you are a mold designer working on the injection mold, you must understand the importance of designing a reasonable cooling system, which greatly affects production efficiency since cooling takes most of the mold cycle time.

However, cooling system design can be difficult because it’s at the end of the mold design process, before which, designers need to design the cavities, slides, etc. So when it comes to cooling system design, there will be many “obstacles” in the plate.

What makes it even harder is that the design of cooling loops (also called a cooling channel) is tedious. Usually, you need to go through at least 4 steps.

Step 1: Create a sketch or a 3D sketch for the cooling route.

Figure 1. The sketch of the cooling route
Figure 1. The sketch of the cooling route

Step 2: Along the route, use Swept Rod to create the basic shape of the loops.

Figure 2. Create the shape of cooling loops by Swept Rod
Figure 2. Create the shape of cooling loops by Swept Rod

Step 3: Use Cut command to hollow out the cooling loops on the plate of the core/cavity based on the shape of the rods.

Figure 3. Hollow out the cooling loops with Cut command
Figure 3. Hollow out the cooling loops with Cut command

Steps 4: Finally, add other cooling components, for example, joints.

Figure 4. Add joints to the end of the cooling loops
Figure 4. Add joints to the end of the cooling loops

So, to finish cooling loops design, you may use commands such as 3D Sketch, Swept Rod, Cut, General (to insert general standard parts), etc. Quite tedious, right? But, the headaches haven’t ended yet. Design changes are inevitable during design process. If you need to change the route or diameters of the loop, it brings more troubles to you.

Figure 5. The tools used to create a cooling loop in the traditional way
Figure 5. The tools used to create a cooling loop in the traditional way

Reading so far, you may be unwilling to recall the complex process of creating a single cooling loop. Take it easy, my friend! Next, I will show a secret weapon in ZW3D 2020 to help you speed up cooling loop design.

In ZW3D 2020, cooling loops can be created with one command

Cooling Loop. You can easily create two types of cooling loop — Single object or Two objects. Unlike the traditional method, you can directly generate the channels by continuously picking points at the locations you want, so you skip the steps like drawing sketches and creating pockets on the plate.

Figure 6. Cooling loop types-Single object and Two objects
Figure 6. Cooling loop types: Single object and Two objects

What’s more, you can preview the position of the cooling loops dynamically during the creation process, to prevent intersecting with other components in the plates.

Figure 7. Create cooling channels with dynamic preview
Figure 7. Create cooling channels with dynamic preview

After creating the loops, you can insert other cooling components like joints, plugs and oil rings by Cooling Parts. It allows you to choose the supplier and the type of parts, and to input or adjust parameters like diameter, thread size and safe distance under dynamic preview.

Figure 8. Insert cooling components based your needs by using Cooling Parts
Figure 8. Insert cooling components based your needs by using Cooling Parts

Just by several clicks, the cooling system design is done. The tricky task becomes an easy job.

How about modifying the cooling loop? First, select “Cooling” in Part menu, then right-click the relevant step in the history tree, and you can easily redefine the position and the size of the cooling loops, and also adjust the parameters of other components as introduced just now.

Figure 9. Redefine cooling loops
Figure 9. Redefine cooling loops

So far, I have shared all the tricks about cooling loop design in ZW3D 2020, which can greatly simplify your workflow. Instead of taking so much time to calculate the route or the position of the cooling loop, you can create one in a more flexible way.