Specialty Fabrics Review August 2021 - 62

[ MARKETS ] INDUSTRY IN FOCUS
" One thing with a camera is that
it reduces the need to revisit a site if
you missed something, " he says. " All
the data is there with a photo; you just
need to pull it out. "
 Carl Van Damme, Kyle's father, uses
plotter software to lay out and nest the
bimini top pieces before the plotter
draws them.
CAD tools for efficiency
Rhino® 3D CAD software for
patterning, designing and modeling
can create, edit, analyze, document,
render, animate and translate
NURBS curves, surfaces and solids,
subdivision (SubD) geometry, point
clouds and polygon meshes, according
to the company.
" One big advantage of Rhino is that
it's easy to learn and it's easy to use, "
says Van Damme.
According to Scott Davidson, who
 The Rhino CAD DXF file that shows the
layout of the window panels and strips.
works in business development for
Rhino, " Efficiency is everything. The
whole reason is to try to get a better
product in the same amount of time,
or the same quality product faster-
hopefully both, depending on the
complexity of the job. "
But he says sometimes there is a
different way to answer the question
about what kind of value the product
brings: " Does this give you the
confidence to do covers you previously
wouldn't have tried? "
 The finished product, lying on top of a
white piece of paper, after the plotter has
drawn on the Strataglass windows.
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Flattening software
From the outset, Rhino created
software as an open architecture-and
that has allowed companies such as
ExactFlat to add value by offering
products that increase the range of
its use, in this case to " flatten " 3D
drawings to 2D. ExactFlat's " plug-in "
software works with Rhino, the
company says, to design or refinish
almost any part of the boat, from the
interior upholstery to marine covers.
Other flattening software, such as that
from SolidWorks, also works with
Rhino products.
62 SPECIALTY FABRICS REVIEW / August 2021
" It's a very complex program, "
Van Damme says. " Just like the Rhino
3D CAD, we use a very small amount
of what it can do, but it's been working
well for us. "
Mark Jewell, president of
Tri-D Technologies Inc., maker of
ExactFlat, explains that sophisticated
mathematical algorithms are used to
generate 2D patterns from 3D source
geometry, accounting for material
curvature, warp, weft, weave, stretch
and strain.
" We know that fabricators expect
100 percent confidence in the accuracy
of 3D to 2D pattern making and
believe that we have perfected the
process to warrant their trust. "
And he expects digital patterning
to get more popular. " Doing the
measuring without technology is a
real learned skill, and few people are
interested in learning that anymore, "
Jewell says. " And the people who all
know it are retiring. "
While Van Damme chose ExactFlat,
MPanel offers similar software for 3D
design flattening. In fact, says Timothy
Akes, representative for the Americas
at MPanel Software Solutions in St.
Louis, Mo., " Sometimes we're a better
fit; sometimes ExactFlat might be a
better fit-it depends on what products
the fabricator is making. "
MPanel's first product was designed
for awnings, but MPanel Production,
released about a decade ago, is devoted
to marine fabrication.
" Some of our industry software
evolves from other products, such as
for upholstery, and fits well for that, "
Akes says. " Because of where ours
came from, it uses form-finding to
make covers and enclosures that fit
really, really well. "
Jeff Moravec is a freelance writer based
in Brooklyn Park, Minn.
http://www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com

Specialty Fabrics Review August 2021

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Specialty Fabrics Review August 2021 - Cover2
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