Off The Racks...On the Web

Imagine shopping for a wedding dress online. As you go through the 3D catalog, you find three dresses you like: the waistline of this dress, the neckline of that dress and the fabric of another. The catalog is interactive so you can see what the dress you want looks like with the alternate fabric, preferred neckline and different waistline. Making alterations online and keying in your credit card number, you order the very dress you've created, which will be manufactured according to your specifications

Maybe tomorrow...Today, however, 3D PartStream.NET augments design communication between manufacturers and their customers by allowing companies to view products from all angles, interrupt dynamic CAD models of their products and configure, and view, translate and download these models based on their specific requirements.

Alden Products of Brockton, Mass. offers it's customers an interactive 3D online catalog. Alden manufactures connectors, cable assemblies, and termination devices used in a massive array o electronic equipment, from computer components to heart defribillators For example, a medical products manufacturer can configure and view 3D solid models of Alden connectors and visualize how the latter will fit their defribillator designs.

Alden used SolidWork 3D PartStream.NET and i-mark's Web-based catalog technology for its interactive, online catalog. The software significantly reduces the tedious and time-consuming process of guying parts and components. Manufacturers can use the program to upload designs using a variety of CAD applications, conduct batch uploads, and add new product configurations with ease.


For years, researchers have worked toward the creation of a Total Artificial Heart (TAH) to keep patients alive in lieu of human donors. The Cleveland Clinic research team, led by Dr. William A. Smith, is working toward that goal with the help of advanced technology in materials such as polymers and metals, new 3D photography software from Raindrop Geomagic and more traditional CAD/CAM software. The Clinic has a long history of being an aggressive contributor to research and development for heart-failure patients., but its most ambitious project to date is the MagScew Total Artificial Heart, developed in collaboration with Foster-Miller Inc.--which could ultimately be implanted permanently.

"Unlike LVADs [Left Ventricular Assist De ices], which are designed to aid one ventricle of the native heart, our TAH is a device that replaces the sick natural ventricles and native valves of a patient," says Stephen Weber, senior research engineer in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. " Applications for this system would exist for patients with end-stage heart failure who would survive until a suitable heart donor is located for transplant or for patients who are not eligible for heart transplantation."

"We needed this model to be as accurate as possible to ensure proper blood flow within the chamber," Weber says. He turned to Advanced Design Concepts, a 3D modeling and CAD service bureau in Pewaukee, Wis., to supply a surface model and 3D solid model representation of the chamber so as to reverse engineer the complex geometry's of the blood pump housings in the TAH.

Researchers sent ADC a plastic model of the internal volume of one of the blood p ump chambers to make the computer models. The unusual shape makes it difficult to scan and generate an accurate 3D model for the device.

Barbara Kent, July 2001

Editor-in-Chief, Advanced Imaging Magazine