Advice needed on computer for 3D modelling

Discussion in 'Design and Modeling' started by str254, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. str254
    str254 New Member
    So I've been trying to design a 3D model using 123AutoDesk Design using some computers I have access to in my department. The model has 100,000+ rectangular units that compose the greater structure. All of the machines I have used have crashed trying to build the full model so my boss have told me to buy a new computer for the job.

    Would anyone be able to give me some advice with regards to the hardware required for this sort of work? I'm assuming I need powerful CPU and GPU, but exactly what would be suitable I'm not sure.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated thanks!
  2. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member
    Do you mean that the model has 100,000+ faces which are quadrilateral or that the Model is comprised of 100,000+ sub-models?

    Are you sure it is the computer crashing and not the software? Quite average computers are able to build models of many million faces (normally triangles) - ok, some operations would become slow. If the program actually crashes that is often a problem with the program itself, often when some processor intensive instruction is performed. Some programs just have bugs (shock!).

    While what you are trying to do is probably proprietary, the more info you can give the more people can offer suggestions.

    Good luck
  3. str254
    str254 New Member
    Hi there. 100,000+ sub-models (those being individual rectangles). What would you suggest in terms of software? Someone suggested to me solid works which looked quite good.

    I have had a combination of crashes or "freezing" (as you said might just be processing) of the software. Either way, the time it takes when it is going slow makes it impossible to work and modify the structure even before I replicate it to its full scale.
  4. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    What kind of computer are you using now ? If it was not planned to be used for 3D design, you might simply be running out of memory.
  5. str254
    str254 New Member
    I have run on a variety of machines. None of which particularly prepared for 3D modelling or gaming or anything like that. Advice on the Mac vs PC debate?
  6. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member
    So you have created a model that is a lot of 2d quads, each separate from the other, and then you are performing an operation on them - which operation causes the crash?

    Are you sure your workflow is a sensible one? I am trying to imagine what you are trying to model starting in this way, and I am wondering whether it is the best way to proceed with any software and/or hardware combo.

    Btw, might be an idea to try to re-combine the 2 threads you have started.
  7. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    No Mac experience here - basically I would recommend going with whatever is more prevalent at your institution in case you need help at some point, but much will depend on software availability. (From what little I know on this particular topic, Macs used to be more common in graphic design (in the broadest sense), and PCs in mechanical engineering, but that may well have changed or vary by country/continent.
    If you are looking at buying SW, you may end up paying more for the license than for a new, state of the art computer anyway.

    Like AmlachDesigns, I am intrigued about what you are trying to achieve - the whole 100k rectangle thing sounds as if you were
    trying to piece together some kind of map from gridded data, not doing any sculpting or mechanical design. Can you tell us more
    about your project ?
  8. aeron203
    aeron203 New Member
    I suspect the problem is the software. 123D Design is primarily a solid modeling application (though it can display polygon models). With solid modeling, each rectangle is a surface (a complicated 3d entity that is potentially curved- even if yours happen to be flat) and will be treated like a separate "object". You can imagine a scene with 100,000 models would get pretty heavy. In contrast, polygon based models use a simpler way of defining shapes that wont use so much memory. If you let us know the nature of the shapes used we can recommend a solution.

    Solidworks is excellent and very capable, and may be able to do it, but obviously it uses solid modeling which would not directly adress your problem, if it is what I suspect it is.

  9. str254
    str254 New Member
    Thanks for all the advice guys it's a great help. Best way of recombining threads?

    So the image shown below is one of the repeat units for the structure that I need to repeat 130 odd times along the z axis to make a grid structure that is 4 cubic stacks high (50 microns in open cubic or pore size) and 13 x 13 mm.

    I managed to create one side of the structure before the program would crash, which you can see uploaded here. All I need to do is select the entire structure shown and repeat it 130 times to form the whole structure.

    I'm a Chemistry PhD student so the structure is needed for research. As such none of the computers in the department are geared for 3D modelling. I'm completely new to the area of 3D design myself so all your advice is great.

    Hope this is clear.

    Attached Files:

  10. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    From the picture It is not quite clear to me what the structure should look like (is this a periodic sieve-like structure or is there
    more structural variation along its length ?) I assume some sort of molecular sieve, electrode or fancy diffraction grating... or a cubist
    rendition of some MOF or zeolite ?
    Probably much easier both for you and your software to start from a brick-like slab and cut out holes, or at least assemble it from
    cubes and delete unwanted faces as necessary. (If it is actually periodic, just model the repetition unit and then tell the software
    to create N copies along one of its axes)
  11. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    OK, found you on the 'net :)
    Seeing that your group does crystallography as well, can't you abuse your usual crystal structure drawing software to build your
    gridded electrode (or whatever that thing is) from cubic coordination polyhedra ?
  12. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member
    There are many ways to skin a cat...

    Another way to achieve your goal is to create a cuboid with the required overall dimensions and then create a separate grid of rods of the required dimensions (perhaps once per axis, or re-use the rods and rotate them) and subtract the rods from the cuboid with a Boolean Difference. Or something along those lines.

    Another question is how would you print this - assuming that is your goal. 50 microns (0.05 mm if I am correct) is, I think too small for SW?
  13. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member

    My apologies for re-iterating this excellent idea.
  14. str254
    str254 New Member
    That is a great idea thanks. That makes sense with the grid that I want to achieve. You think that is likely to reduce the strain on the software/machine though?

    We are looking at buying a 3D printer from 3D systems. The ProJet 3500 HD Max can print in sizes of 50 microns in the x y plane and 16 microns in the z plane. This model is for a test print before we consider buying the system.

    Once I find a solution to designing the test sample we'll have it printed in a week or so, so I can do some analysis here. Inquiring about the type of computer requirements was to do with the design work we will do in the future if we buy this particular printer.

    I'll work on making the structure as you said cutting out of the overall cube and get back to you, see if it works. Thanks people!
  15. barkingdigger
    barkingdigger Well-Known Member
    Glad there's a possible solutuion!

    As a long-served AutoCAD pilot, I can safely say you want as much processor power, RAM, and HD space as you can get! Also, get a graphics card with its own memory, or you might find it fighting with ACAD for resources that will cause a crash. Just displaying your repeated grid can eat up lots of RAM...
  16. str254
    str254 New Member
    So we have ordered a top of the range iMac, can someone confirm that this will do the job with the previously mentioned structures? Also recommendations on software? It seems like LightWave 3D is my best bet.

    iMac Specs:
    3.4 GHz Quad-core Intel core i7
    32 GB RAM
    1 TB Fusion Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB GDDR5

    There's a lot of power in that so I'm assuming it'll be fine.
  17. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member
    The more processing power, memory, graphics chips etc the better, obviously. Plus, who doesn't want a better computer?

    But I'm surprised that you are pushing forward with spending cash without seeing if a different workflow or a different piece of software (and there are very many different programs out there) will do what you want first.

    The grid you have described may be a pain to set up but it's not so complicated and I estimate the number of triangles to be or the order of 13-14,000 only which is almost trivial by the standards of many models. Of course my maths could be wrong...
  18. str254
    str254 New Member
    We're under a pretty tight deadline for buying a 3D printer so need to sort this out pretty sharpish. I attempted the structure on solid works using a different system, but that couldn't handle it either. Plus, this machine will be used for lots of things (3D modelling and otherwise) in the group so they don't mind splashing the cash.

    Are there any LightWave/other users out there who can guide me in the right direction with regards to software?
  19. str254
    str254 New Member
    AmLachDesigns, structures I will be designing in the future will be get more complex so I'm allowing room for a lot more triangles (or something).
  20. OrsonY
    OrsonY Well-Known Member
    Well for what i can see is that we should know your current PC setup before consider to get a New 1. According the the spec. listed above well, it more then enough for 100k sub-object. If you have the resources($$) then you should go for it. I7 with 2gb Video card ...{ that ..... :eek: ... strong..}
    for lower spec. you can go for I5 with 1gb video card with 4 gb of ram.. Harddisk space isn't make alot of different since you will backup all those file to a portable drive, but make sure the main drive for the program and window need to be large and empty.
    another problem of slow down, sometime may cause by a background running software. So make sure which problem is affecting the slow down and crashing of the system.

    Before i end this, with above spec. you have to consider a power supply with above 500w or the system will be slowing down too after awhile of using due to the power consumption and overheating of the power supply . the system heat control security system will reduce the speed to reduce the power consume . hope this help too ..