TopSolid is one of the most popular software solutions for 3D modeling and creating printable3D models. It's a program that's been around for years, widely used by professionals and amateur designers from all over the globe.
There's no doubt that TopSolid is a powerful software designed to help users create vivid and realistic 2D and 3D models. You can use it to create a sketch of the product you want to print, then perfect it is using advanced 3D tools, and finally export your model in a 3D file ready for printing. But, before we get to the details, let's see what TopSolid all is about.
TopSolid is a CAD/CAM program developed by a French company called Missler Software. The company was started in 1977, and it's still going strong ever since. The company has spent the last 20 years developing and perfecting products designed for the mechanical wood and sheet metal industries. As a result, TopSolid can cover everything needed to create a fully functional device. That includes creating a basic design, making molds, making 2D and 3D models, and so on. It's got a set of advanced features that will make any modeling job more comfortable than ever.
We won't get into too many details because this software has many features to offer, but we will cover the ones that will make 3D modeling and printing seem effortless.
Integrated Project Data Management
While this feature isn't that useful for individual users, it saves a lot of time for larger companies. Namely, TopSolid comes with an integrated PDM platform that keeps a detailed library of all 3D models you've created. That means that you can share your work with the rest of your staff directly. All you need is to install TopSolid PDM on a dedicated computer on your network. Everyone connected to the network will then get access to the shared models, which can drastically improve mass production.
The PDM feature allows you to arrange data by time, date, and projects. You can create specific documents for each part needed to make your model work, create tutorials on how to assembly them, and so on. PDM will automatically track what's going on and provide you with a list of documents you can use to see how a project is going. Every change is then automatically applied to the documents in the vault, making sure that all project details are up to date. It even keeps a detailed history of all previous versions so that you can go back at any given time.
If you have any previous experience with CAD programs, you know how complicated they can be for beginners. Well, TopSolid has a different approach than most similar 3D printing programs. When you run it, you will arrive at the start page from where you can see and access recent projects and, of course, start new ones.
Beginners will love the tutorials section that holds an impressive 374-page user's guide with detailed explanations of all tools and features. You will also be able to access user forums and see what new features are added with every update.
Every time you open a document, you will be taken to a new tab surrounded by available tools. Every document will tell you details about when the last changes were made, and what documents are being worked on at the moment. The main menu below the document will show you a series of tabs packed with tool icons. There are dozens of options you can try to organize your projects, and the advanced tools allow you to make changes on the go. All of the information about your 3D projects will be visible at the same time, making it much easier to visualize the end product.
TopSolid can create a 3D model from a 2D sketch quickly. The process is quite simple, and you don't need a lot of time to figure out how it works. You have to draw a rough 2D model, and contours will appear automatically. Once you're happy with your sketch, all you have to do is to extrude it and make adjustments to the newly created 3D model.
If your 3D model has a lot of different parts, you will have to create 2D sketches for each part separately. The sketching is done using a top view of the work area, but you can also create spatial sketches with some built-in tools.
Importing STL Files
If you already have a ready 3D model you want to print, you can add it to the software directly. You can make changes if you want, but you can also export the file in several different available formats designed for specific uses. That includes 3D printing as well as classic machine manufacturing techniques. That means that you can quickly select the type of file you need and export it directly to your 3D printer. The printer will then follow instructions taken from the file and print out the 3D model you wanted.
Many people have great ideas and sketches, but they never go through with the realization because they don't know how to do it. That's where TopSolid has the most significant impact on beginners. You can create a doodle in any program, upload it to TopSolid, and get a 3D model preview with one click!
You will probably get a model that's not exactly as you've imagined it, but the available tools will allow you to make changes immediately. You won't need more than a few hours to master the process, and once you do that, you can print any 3D model in a matter of minutes.
TopSolid is a fantastic tool for 3D printing because it creates 3D models based on sketches instantly. Instead of having to create every part and model from nothing, you will start with more than half of the work done already. That's fantastic if you have large 3D printing projects, and once you see how it works in practice, you will love everything this software has to offer.