Unigraphics as Art

This section contains images of models created in Unigraphics and UniSolids.  While many of them may not look like "art", this section will provide a review of the evolution of modeling over the years.

Star Trek Image (circa 1977)

This image shows a drawing created with an early version of Unigraphics at Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico.  For years this image was used by the Unigraphics development organization for testing plotters, the speed of display regen (remember this was before shaded models when 2D drawings were the primary type of models) and other tasks that required complex drawings.

Unigraphics I example (circa 1980)

An early example of a 3D model built in Unigraphics I.  Note that this is a wireframe model and the hidden-line image was created by editing the 3D curves manually.

Unigraphics I example (circa 1980)

This is an example of a complex 3D wireframe model of a CRT bezel designed on Unigraphics I.

Unigraphics I Drawing (circa 1980)

This is an example of drawing created in Unigraphics I.  Note that the section and detail views were created manually.

Early lofting example (circa 1981)

The image shows a lofting model of a high performance aircraft modeled in Unigraphics I.

PADL-1 Model (circa 1982)

The image above is of a PADL-1 model. PADL (Part and Assembly Description Language) was an early solid modeling system developed at the University of Rochester in New York in the late 70's and early 80's.  PADL-1 was used strictly as the basis for a prototype solid modeler based on the Unigraphics user interface which was used to gain experience in solid modeling and to elicit commentary from customers and industry experts.

The above model was actually created as part of a Unigraphics benchmark in 1982.  While the benchmark did not require the use of a solid modeler (which was understandable since there were NO usable commercial solid modelers available at the time) but it was demoed in order to gage customer reaction.  Note that using Unigraphics I this model, using 3D surface and wireframe techniques, took approximately 25 minutes to create (which was the best time among the systems that were benchmarked).  Using the PADL-1 based prototype system, the above model was created and displayed as shown in something under 1 minute and 30 seconds (granted we had a week to practice for the benchmark, but then so did the AE demoing Unigraphics).  In fact the customer did not believe that we did it from scratch (we were accused of retrieving an existing model) and we had to model it twice more, going step by step, before they fully understood what they had just seen.  Needless to say, Unigraphics won the benchmark and also got the contract.

PADL-1 Model (circa 1982)

The image above shows a simple PADL-1 model with section views and section arrows automatically generated by the software.


This is the same model, only this time the software has automatically generated the dimensions in the orthographic views.  Note that while these "drafting" features were part of the original PADL-1 code, they were never reimplemented in the PADL-2 code which was the commercial version (UniSolids was based on PADL-2).  The story was that these features were only included in PADL-1 so as to attract more investors and that there was never any intentions to attempt to implement automated drafting since it was considered impossible for real world models.

UniSolids Model (circa 1982)

The above images show a simple solid model created using UniSolids Version 1.0.  These models were created as part of a demo for a manufacturer of door handles and locks.  This was first commercial demo of UniSolids.  Note that Unigraphics lost this contract, however, nearly 15 years later the company did purchase Unigraphics and is now their primary CAD/CAM system.

UniSolids Model (circa 1983)

This model (and several others) was created using UniSolids Version 1.0 for a major benchmark.  Note that Unigraphics won the overall benchmark, but lost the contract to a competitor who did not participate in the original benchmark (it was a bit of a political thing).  Years later the competitor fell on hard times and had to dispose of the MCAD portion of their business, which ironically was acquired by Unigraphics (by then that original customer had moved on to another system and so the sales cycle on this deal is still incomplete).  However, this was the most successful loss in the history of Unigraphics.  You see, years later one of the managers from this customer, who had been a supporter of Unigraphics, left the company and joined EDS where he found himself in a position to influence GM to the extent that they took a serious look at Unigraphics, something that was not part of their original plans.  That manager later joined the Unigraphics team, after it became part of EDS, and has since moved up to the highest levels of Unigraphics management.  So the moral of the story is, always treat your customer with respect and professionalism, even if you lose the contract.  You never know, someone there might end up being your CEO someday.

UniSolids Model (circa 1983)

You see, this model has been around for awhile.  Note that it is modeled after an example from a freshman college drafting textbook.

UniSolids Model (circa 1984)

This is a model of the locking mechanism for an airline seat back adjuster.  The bottom image was used on a magazine cover as part of an article on early solid modelers.  Note that the red spring in the bottom image is NOT really helical since UniSolids could not actually model that complex of a shape, but the developers were amazed by the fact that the image looked correct even though they knew it was "faked".

UniSolids Models (circa 1984)

These models were created by the team from McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) that was working on the Space Station Alpha.  These parts were designed to be used with structures that would be assembled in orbit by unfolding a collapsed framework of beams.  Perhaps there are parts in orbit now based on these original designs done back in the mid-80's.

UniPCB Examples (circa 1986)
Example of the output of a UniPCB Auto-Route operation.
Example of the output of a UniPCB Auto-Placement operation.

UG/Solids Models (circa 1990)

UG/Concept Model (circa 1991)
The "famous" L-Shaped Bracket sketcher demo.

Unigraphics as "real" Art

Bruce Beasley is a Bay Area (Oakland, CA) artist who has been using first UniSolids, and later Unigraphics Solid Modeling, to design his sculptures.  For more information on how he uses the software, please select here:Cover Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 .

Unigraphics Solid Models, rendered with UG/Photo

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