wildfire 3 review

Wildfire 3.0 – the road test… (feels more like 2.1)

inally got a couple of hours to try Wildfire 3.0… (read pre-release thoughts)

From the PTC blurb mentioning “hundreds of reasons” – and listing their “top 10”, you’d think this was another revolutionary release of Pro/ENGINEER (maybe not as big as 2001-WF1, but at least WF1-2?). From a first look at core modelling, drafting + assembly, it feels more like a minor update. It’s a bit better: quicker, nicer and easier in places, but there are also several key areas untouched by the Wildfire make-over.

Here we’ll look at the 3 top areas mentioned in the literature: Sketching, Drafting + Assembly (click images for larger screenshots):

Sketching is a bit quicker
The new palette gives you access to common shapes, that you can drag, drop + resize as required. I gather you can also create your own palette shapes – could be handy… Plus – getting to sketch requires one less step than WF2 – skipping the dialog box (available via Sketch Setup). That’ll save hundreds of clicks in a typical week. And you can lock dimensions for the life of the model (unlike WF2 sketch dim locks, which evaporated on exit).

Drafting is a bit nicer
The long-awaited Part Simplified Reps are here! (see this post from PTC/USER 2004 where I talked to PTC’s PLM – and they predicted WF4)

Plus the oft-mentioned Shaded views – more for marketing than design me-thinks…

Rad dims more editable, with plenty options for the text…

Assembly catches up with modelling
Yes, now there’s an assembly dashboard instead of dialog box. It took some clicking around to get the hang of, but here’s a few points:

  • Ctrl+Alt+Mouse still works – so you can still spin/pan before constraining.
  • Define multiple constraint sets, and turn on/off.
  • The power of Right-click comes too! [see screenshot] – mate/align, delete/disable, change offset, etc – duplicating the dashboard.
  • Interfaces and Mechanism Connections are now built-in alongside the assembly constraints.

Oh, and PDFs are a bit easier The new “Save to PDF” button produces tidy output (certainly looks better than our current Ghostscript output). – plus there are plenty options to set – and you can create searchable text.

Anyway – that’ll do for now. Post comments if you have feedback, or you get a look @ Sheetmetal, CAM, etc…

Some updates that sadly didn’t make it this time

  1. Edit > Setup still uses righthand menus.
  2. The Failure Diagnostics process looks identical to WF2 – shame.
  3. Creating cross-sections follows the same righthand menus.

And finally: it seems to work with Pro/INTRALINK 3.3, but remember to add the graphics tag (-g:opengl) – to the Launch command.

The age-old incompatibility issue is carried forward – a WF3 file could not be opened by WF2 (even after I tried to trick it by changing the header in a text editor!). This is another reason upgrades will take time, particularly in larger companies who need to co-ordinate across many users.

OK, so there may be a couple of reasons to upgrade, but remember to consider your Data Management too. WF3 is officially supported only on Pro/INTRALINK 3.4 M030+ and Pro/I 8.0+ (more @ the build code list)

Extra notes: Olaf Corten has updated his config.pro search tool to include WF3 PTC provides a useful WF3 Resource Center, including Menu Mapper