Computer interpretation of engineering drawings as solid models
Much of the geometrical data relating to engineering components and assemblies is stored in the form of orthographic views, either on paper or computer files. For various engineering applications, however, it is necessary to describe objects in formal geometric modelling terms. The work reported in this thesis is concerned with the development and implementation of concepts and algorithms for the automatic interpretation of orthographic views as solid models. The various rules and conventions associated with engineering drawings are reviewed and several geometric modelling representations are briefly examined. A review of existing techniques for the automatic, and semi-automatic, interpretation of engineering drawings as solid models is given. A new theoretical approach is then presented and discussed. The author shows how the implementation of such an approach for uniform thickness objects may be extended to more general objects by introducing the concept of `approximation models'. Means by which the quality of the transformations is monitored, are also described. Detailed descriptions of the interpretation algorithms and the software package that were developed for this project are given. The process is then illustrated by a number of practical examples. Finally, the thesis concludes that, using the techniques developed, a substantial percentage of drawings of engineering components could be converted into geometric models with a specific degree of accuracy. This degree is indicative of the suitability of the model for a particular application. Further work on important details is required before a commercially acceptable package is produced.