• POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

    Reducing the Cost and Lead Time of Form Tooling with Additive Manufacturing

    by Jerry Fireman on July 24, 2017

    reducing-the-cost-and-lead-time-of-form-tooling-with-additive-manufacturing-1Hydroforming is primarily used for low volume forming of sheet metal parts while thermoforming is mainly used for high volume forming of plastic sheets. The tooling used in these processes is typically produced by CNC machining of materials such as aluminum or wood which typically involves high costs and long lead times.

    Advances in additive manufacturing processes and materials now make it possible to create tooling for hydroforming and thermoforming in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional subtractive manufacturing methods. This blog will look at how several companies are using additive manufacturing to more efficiently make hydroforming and thermoforming tooling.

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    • POSTED IN 3D SCANNING

      5 Essential Tool Sets For Design X

      by Danny Jackson Levy on July 21, 2017

      Digital fabrication hardware plays a key role in enabling businesses to become more agile in their ability to create and modify designs. Alongside product development, there is a tremendous amount of consideration put into the engineering of tooling for manufacturing a component.

      A challenge that many companies face is the recreation and extraction of features from an existing design that does not have any native CAD associated with it. Be it legacy files, old/outdated tooling, or simply designs that have not been released by a vendor — reverse engineering has become essential to bridge the gap.

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      • POSTED IN MASTERCAM, EDUCATION AND RESEARCH, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

        The Camobots FIRST Robotics Team Climbs, Catches, and Overcomes Obstacles in 2017

        by Amanda Osbun on July 20, 2017

         

        The-Camobots-FIRST-Robotics-Team-Climbs-Catches-and-Overcomes-Obstacles-in-2017-1As with many things in life, when one chapter ends another begins. The same goes for FIRST Robotics team mentors and coaches. Mr. Mang was a mentor on FIRST Robotics Team 2600 at Jefferson Township High School in New Jersey, where I had the pleasure of working with him before he moved back to his hometown in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. There, he started teaching at his Alma Mater, Honesdale High School.

        Mr. Mang and a teacher from Western Wayne High School started a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team. Together, the two schools make up Team 4285, also known as the Camobots.

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        • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING MATERIALS, STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

          Agilus30 - 3D Printing Rubber - Everything You Need To Know

          by Lisa Hannon on July 18, 2017

          Agilus30-3D-Printing-Rubber-Everything-you-need-to-know-1Stratasys recently announced the release of a new family of 3D printing materials, Agilus30. This innovative, rubber-like material can be used to create flexible prototypes for a variety of applications. Here’s what you need to know about Agilus30 and Agilus30 Black.

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          • POSTED IN CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

            Don’t Let Mismanaged Product Data Hold you Back

            by Christa Prokos on July 17, 2017

            Don't-let-mismanaged-product-data-hold-you-back-1If you hear the British idiom, “don’t be penny wise and pound foolish” it’s probably in the context of making an important decision. In other words, don’t cut corners to save small amounts of money because it could cost you more in the long run.

            The same idiom applies to the decision to invest in product data management (PDM) software. Some companies choose to cut corners and skimp on PDM. They may think it’s too expensive, or takes too much time to set up, or that their engineers and designers won’t like the new process and it could slow down their productivity.

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            • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING TECH TIP, FUSED DEPOSITION MODELING (FDM), ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

              How Important is Orientation to your 3D Model?

              by Alex Pauley on July 14, 2017

              How-Important-is-Orientation-to-your-3D-ModelIn the world of 3D Printing, there are many decisions to make before printing your Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) models such as what material to use, what resolution to print at, and even what fill pattern to use. One of the most important aspects of modeling on an FDM machine is the orientation of your model.

              In this blog, I’ll cover five important factors that should be taken into account when picking the best orientation for your model along with aspects to consider when weighing your options.

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              • POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                Getting to Market Faster with 3D Printed Injection, Blow and Silicone Mold Tooling

                by Jerry Fireman on July 12, 2017

                Getting-to-market-faster-with-3D-Printed-Injection-Blow-and-Silicone-Mold-Tooling-1Injection molding, blow molding and liquid silicone rubber (LSR) molding are three remarkably efficient manufacturing processes for producing large volumes of highly accurate and often very complex parts. One of the challenges of bringing products to market with these processes is that producing functional prototypes with the right mechanical properties requires expensive tools with long lead times.

                Additive manufacturing addresses this problem by producing tooling for these and other types of molding that can be used to make limited runs of prototypes or low volume production parts from the same material and with the same physical properties as the final production parts. Molds made by additive manufacturing make it possible to evaluate more design iterations in less time at a lower cost, enabling companies to get products to market faster and reduce engineering and prototyping expenses.

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                • POSTED IN FISHER UNITECH NEWS, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                  Meet our Experts: Sean O’Neill - Senior Support Engineer

                  by Angelle Erickson on July 11, 2017

                  Meet-our-experts-Sean-Oneill-senior-support-engineer-1Next up in our Meet our Experts blog series is Sean O’Neill! Sean is a SOLIDWORKS Senior Support Engineer at Fisher Unitech based out of our Horsham, Pennsylvania office and has handled thousands of technical support cases along with delivering training on multiple products within the SOLIDWORKS portfolio.

                  After graduating from Villanova University, Sean worked in the building products industry before joining Prism Engineering in 2012. Keep reading to learn more about Sean and his passion for continuing to provide an exceptional customer experience.

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                  • POSTED IN CAD, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                    Designing Smart Products Requires a Smarter Approach

                    by David Hofer on July 10, 2017

                    Designing-Smart-Products-Requires-a-Smarter-Approach-1Today many of our daily interactions involve connected devices and connectivity is shaping the economy. Gartner predicts that the total number of smart or connected “things” will reach 20.4 billion by 2020.

                    Designing smart products for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 requires a smarter approach. In order to stay competitive business leaders need to assess their product development processes to ensure that they are striving for best-in-class performance. This includes keeping an eye on the ever-evolving state of product design tools.

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                    • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                      Tech Tip: The difference between a sheet format and a drawing template in SOLIDWORKS

                      by Matt Haywood on July 7, 2017

                      Almost every SOLIDWORKS user has the need to insert a unique company title block into the SOLIDWORKS drawing template. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few handy strategies that will streamline your process. Understanding the terms “Sheet Format” and “Drawing Template” in SOLIDWORKS terminology will be central to your success. Although they might look the same on the screen, they have distinctly different jobs within the SOLIDWORKS file infrastructure.

                      In general drawing templates are used to start a new drawing. A sheet format is an overlay or title block that we might see on the initial drawing template, but it can be hidden. Also, sheet formats are useful on multi-page drawings as you might want a different looking title block on subsequent pages in a multi-page drawing. Before we get to saving anything, let’s make sure we cover some background information. Here’s an outline of the topics we will cover.

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                      • POSTED IN TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                        More Control and Speed with SOLIDWORKS Visualize

                        by Laurie Luther on July 5, 2017

                        More-Control-and-Speed-with-SOLIDWORKS-Visualize-1Today we take it for granted that our digital product design and development process can run more efficiently with such software as SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD and all of its add-on tools for design validation, product data management, and more.

                        Now think about the phase in your product development process when you need images to show others what it will look like and how it is intended to perform in the real world.

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                        • POSTED IN DRIVEWORKS, FISHER UNITECH NEWS, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                          Meet our Experts: Aaron Winthers - Advisory Support Engineer

                          by Angelle Erickson on June 29, 2017

                          Meet-our-experts-Aaron-Winthers-advisory-support-engineer-11Have you ever contacted the Fisher Unitech SOLIDWORKS customer support team? If you have, chances are you’ve been helped by our technical support expert Aaron Winthers. Based out of our Horsham, Pennsylvania office, Aaron has been an Advisory Support Engineer at Fisher Unitech since 2014 specializing in DriveWorks.

                          Aaron earned his Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering degree, concentrating in product design, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and comes to work every day with a wealth of knowledge. Keep reading to learn more about technical support, our support team, and how Aaron contributes to the customer experience.

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                          • POSTED IN DRIVEWORKS, DESIGN AUTOMATION, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                            DriveWorks Design Automation is a Game Changer for Steiner Technologies

                            by Christa Prokos on June 28, 2017

                            DriveWorks-Design-Automation-is-a-Game-Changer-for-Steiner-Technologies-1Steiner Technologies produces a family of automatic back boring tools called the Autofacer. They have been using DriveWorks design automation software since 2010. In a recent blog post, Steiner Technologies explained how DriveWorks has significantly improved their processes to make them faster, better and more cost-efficient.

                            Read the full blog post below by Matthew Hoyt from Steiner Technologies to learn how implementing design automation has been a ‘game changer’ for them and the many benefits they’ve seen beyond internal operations.

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                            • POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                              Composite Tooling: Reducing Cost and Lead Time with Additive Manufacturing

                              by Jerry Fireman on June 26, 2017

                              Composite-Tooling-Reducing-Cost-and-Lead-time-with-Additive-Manufacturing-1One of the biggest challenges in producing fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite structures has long been the cost and lead time involved in making the metal or sacrificial tooling used to lay up the composite structures. Additive manufacturing has been used for a number of years to produce composite layup tooling but was limited by the lack of materials capable of withstanding the temperatures used for curing composite structures.

                              The Stratasys new ULTEM 1010 resin can be used at process parameters in excess of 350 degrees Fahrenheit, making it possible to use printed layup tooling for producing most composite structures. Switching from conventional manufacturing methods to additive manufacturing can reduce composite tooling fabrication expense and lead time by up to 90% while providing additional design freedom and weight savings.

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                              • POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                GrabCAD Print: Stratasys' 3D Printing Software

                                by Lisa Hannon on June 23, 2017

                                GrabCAD-Print-Stratasys-Announces-3D-Printing-Software- 1Stratasys recently announced an innovative new 3D printing software called GrabCAD Print. This free, cloud-based solution is designed to streamline the 3D printing workflow, and is built for accessibility and speed. Stratasys users will want to check out this new solution as soon as possible -- GrabCAD Print is the only option for the Stratasys F123 series, and it will eventually support all Stratasys 3D printers. Here’s everything you need to know about GrabCAD Print.

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                                • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                  SOLIDWORKS Premium Does it All: Here’s What to Expect

                                  by Ken LaVictor on June 22, 2017

                                  SOLIDWORKS-Premium-Does-it-All-Heres-What-to-ExpectAre you creating designs with a comprehensive 3D CAD solution? Do you have a place to store, manage, and analyze your designs? You can get all of that and more with SOLIDWORKS Premium. In this two-part blog series, I will cover toolsets included in SOLIDWORKS Premium. Remember, this is additional functionality not found in SOLIDWORKS Standard and Professional.

                                  Part one covered Simulation, Motion, and assembly level cost estimation. You can learn more about those toolsets here. In this blog, I’ll be covering three different areas: routing with piping and tubing, routing with electrical cabling and wire harnesses, and advanced surface flattening.

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                                  • POSTED IN CAD, SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                    Strength Check Your Designs with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional

                                    by David Roccaforte on June 21, 2017

                                    Strength-Check-Your-Designs-with-Simulation-Professional-1Simulation tools in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software are so user friendly and widespread these days that we often compare them to a spell checker analogy. Almost every application that requires entering text has a built in spell checker. Similarly every seat of SOLIDWORKS has some form of “Simulation” built in. You shouldn’t send on an email without a quick spell check, so why release a design without doing a performance check?

                                    Keep reading to find out how to quickly check your design the first time and eliminate repercussions.

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                                    • POSTED IN FISHER UNITECH NEWS, TRAINING, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                      Meet our Experts: Rachael Buhl - Senior Application Engineer Instructor

                                      by Angelle Erickson on June 20, 2017

                                      Meet-Our-Experts-Rachael-Buhl-Senior-Application-Engineer-Instructor-1Rachael Buhl is a Senior Application Engineer Instructor at Fisher Unitech and is based out of our office in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rachael has been passionately instructing students on SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software for three years to help users sharpen their skills and gain their certifications.

                                      Rachael is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert, with certifications in Mechanical Design and Composer. She has been a SOLIDWORKS user since 2011. Keep reading to learn more about Rachael and what got her interested in SOLIDWORKS.

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                                      • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                        SOLIDWORKS is not just CAD, it’s a Complete Product Development Platform

                                        by Christa Prokos on June 19, 2017

                                        SOLIDWORKS-is-not-just-CAD-its-a-Complete-Product-Development-Platform-1Where were you on November 1st, 1995? Perhaps you were a child, or a college student, or already building your engineering career. That was a long time ago. As you reflect back to 1995, you may already know the date’s significance. It’s when SolidWorks 95 was released — the first version of the computer-aided design and engineering software we know today as SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD.

                                        Now 21 years later, SOLIDWORKS is one of the most widely-used 3D CAD software solutions and a complete product development platform for today’s complex processes. In this post, I will cover how SOLIDWORKS improves collaboration and streamlines workflow with integrated solutions for product design, validation, documentation, and product data management.

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                                        • POSTED IN EDUCATION AND RESEARCH, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                          Northwestern University Provides SOLIDWORKS for Students, Researchers, and Entrepreneurs

                                          by Christa Prokos on June 16, 2017

                                          Northwestern-University-Provides-SOLIDWORKS-for-Students-Researchers-and-Entrepreneurs-1It takes competitive product design and development skills to advance careers in today’s market. Northwestern University, a private research university based in Evanston, Illinois recently upgraded to a campus-wide SOLIDWORKS software solution. The university will provide SOLIDWORKS software in classrooms for students and researchers, and at its incubator space, The Garage, an accelerator where start-ups gather to experiment, collaborate, innovate, and build new ideas.

                                          SOLIDWORKS 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software gives users the ability to turn ideas into products with tools for mechanical design, simulation, electrical design, data management, and communication. Individuals can securely share design models for team collaboration and with suppliers throughout the entire manufacturing process.

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                                          • POSTED IN DESKTOP METAL, RAPID PROTOTYPING, FISHER UNITECH NEWS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                            Fisher Unitech Partners with Desktop Metal to Provide Breakthrough Metal 3D Printing Solutions

                                            by Stacey Clement on June 15, 2017

                                            Fisher-Unitech-Partners-with-Desktop-Metal-to-Provide-Breakthrough-Metal-3D-Printing-Solutions-1Fisher Unitech announced today that it has partnered with Desktop Metal to add metal 3D printing solutions to its portfolio. Fisher Unitech will sell and service Desktop Metal 3D printing systems across Midwest, New England, and Mid-Atlantic geographies to provide affordable engineering and manufacturing 3D metal printing solutions covering the full product lifecycle — from prototyping to mass production.

                                            “We are excited to partner with Fisher Unitech,” says Desktop Metal’s CEO and Co-Founder Ric Fulop. “Fisher Unitech is an essential partner to help us fulfill our mission to make metal 3D printing more accessible, and we are pleased to have one of the largest sellers of 3D printers as part of our team.”

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                                            • POSTED IN PCB, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                                              How to Insert a Printed Circuit Board in SOLIDWORKS

                                              by Ken Reinert on June 14, 2017

                                              As I was walking around town recently, I noticed a woman pushing a baby stroller that had USB ports. Her phone was plugged into one and a travel mug was plugged into another. It occurred to me that so many things today are designed with a printed circuit board, even something like a baby stroller.

                                              Designers today have to consider not only the aesthetics of products, but how to integrate all the electronics that go with it. Trying to document that integration can be challenging without the proper tools. When you select the “Insert Printed Circuit Board” icon in SOLIDWORKS Electrical, you are given four options. Keep reading to find out what each of those options mean.

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                                              • POSTED IN STRATASYS, 3D PRINTING

                                                Printing Jigs and Fixtures Leads to Big Gains in Manufacturing Productivity

                                                by Jerry Fireman on June 13, 2017

                                                Printing-Jigs-and-Fixtures-Leads-to-Big-Gains-in-Manufacturing-Productivity-1Jigs and fixtures that hold parts or tools in just the right way to simplify manufacturing, assembly or inspection operations can dramatically increase shop floor productivity. For example, Digi International uses fixtures with integrated masks in a conformal coating process that eliminate the need for taping parts, saving about $123,750 for a typical production run.

                                                CPI Aero produces fixtures that hold aerospace assemblies with complex contours so that they can easily be inspected with gage blocks and calipers, saving dozens of hours per assembly. Genesis Systems Group increases the safety of waterjet cutting by using end of arm tooling (EOAT) for a robot to move the part around the waterjet, eliminating potential safety hazards involved in moving the waterjet.

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                                                • POSTED IN FISHER UNITECH NEWS, PCB, CAD, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                                                  Meet our Experts: David Hofer - Electrical Technical Specialist and CID

                                                  by Angelle Erickson on June 12, 2017

                                                  popappengineers-2Meet David Hofer, our SOLIDWORKS Electrical Technical Specialist and Certified Interconnect Designer located out of our Troy, Michigan headquarters. David has been one of our Electrical and Printed Circuit Board (PCB) experts at Fisher Unitech since 2014, specializing in developing electronic designs and helping companies get the best value from their SOLIDWORKS PCB and Electrical software.

                                                  David really knows his stuff. He’s been working with computer-aided engineering tools since the 1980s when he was programming and designing printed circuit board layouts. A high-speed imaging project arose in 2011 where he was introduced to SOLIDWORKS and the rest is history! Keep reading to learn what gets David so geeked out about SOLIDWORKS Electrical and PCB design software.

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                                                  • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                    Get a Fully Loaded Toolset with SOLIDWORKS Premium

                                                    by Ken LaVictor on June 9, 2017

                                                    Get-a-Fully-Loaded-Toolset-with-SOLIDWORKS-Premium-1As a former mechanical design engineer, I have always felt there were three tools that were a ‘must have’ in my tool belt. These tools include a 3D design tool, a data management tool, and a design analysis/validation tool.  I believe we need to design in a comprehensive 3D CAD solution. We need a place to store and manage those designs, and we need a way to analyze those designs in order to save on material costs and remain competitive. Today, I am fortunate to get some form of all three of these tools in one 3D CAD bundle: SOLIDWORKS Premium.

                                                    In this two-part blog series, I will cover toolsets included in SOLIDWORKS Premium. Keep in mind, this is additional functionality not found in SOLIDWORKS Standard and Professional. Our upcoming webcast will cover the differences between SOLIDWORKS Standard and Premium, so make sure to get registered to get your questions answered.

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                                                    • POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                      Stratasys Announces Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator

                                                      by Lisa Hannon on June 6, 2017

                                                      Stratasys-Announces-Continuous-Build-3D-Demonstrator-1Stratasys recently announced the creation of an innovative new product: the Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator. This multi-cell additive manufacturing platform is designed to continuously produce parts, and can be scaled to meet demand. Its innovative features could have major implications for the way additive manufacturing is done. Here’s everything you need to know about the Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator.

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                                                      • POSTED IN CAD, SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                        Getting Started: SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard

                                                        by Drew Buchanan on June 5, 2017

                                                        Getting-Started-SOLIDWORKS-Simulation-Standard-1In an increasingly technologically driven manufacturing environment, product lifecycles continue to be shortened and shortened. Designers are looking for ways to reduce costly prototypes, and to get a leg up on their competition. With the advent of computer aided engineering (CAE), designers and engineers are able to test out designs and determine if changes need to be made prior to prototyping and fabrication.

                                                        SOLIDWORKS Simulation is one of the many tools in the SOLIDWORKS CAE portfolio. This blog will provide you with a brief summary of SOLIDWORKS Simulation and SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard.

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                                                        • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING TECH TIP, FUSED DEPOSITION MODELING (FDM), ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                          How to use GrabCAD Print: FDM

                                                          by Dan Erickson on June 2, 2017

                                                          GrabCAD Print is the latest 3D Print-Preparation (aka "slicing") software from Stratasys. Today, it supports all current Stratasys FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) machines, as well as the J750 Polyjet machine, offering an intuitive user interface with improved scheduling functionality. For a high-level introduction to GrabCAD Print, check out this article. In today's blog, we'll discuss using GrabCAD Print for FDM  in practice, with a real-world example.

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                                                          • POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                            Additive Manufacturing Makes Less Expensive Manufacturing Aids in Less Time

                                                            by Jerry Fireman on June 1, 2017

                                                            Additive-Manufacturing-Makes-Less-Expensive-Manufacturing-Aids-In-Less-Time-1Companies that succeed in manufacturing nearly always develop a wide range of manufacturing aids – custom tools that help manufacturing floor employees do various jobs faster, more accurately, with fewer steps, etc.

                                                            For example, Diebold uses many different fixtures to hold small components while they are machined or assembled. Swift Engineering uses sacrificial internal tools to create hollow features in composite structures. BMW uses custom hand tools for attaching bumper supports as well as a wide range of other assembly and testing jobs.

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                                                            • POSTED IN TRAINING, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                              3 Ways to Get the Best SOLIDWORKS Training

                                                              by Angelle Erickson on May 31, 2017

                                                              3-Ways-To-Get-The-Best-SOLIDWORKS-Training-1Are you comfortable working in your SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software tools? Have you ever stumbled across a challenge that you wish you could have solved on your own but instead had to pass to someone else? Even if you just want to sharpen your skills, it’s never too late to consider SOLIDWORKS training.

                                                              SOLIDWORKS training allows users to become more comfortable on a daily basis to manipulate and create designs. Being able to confidently overcome challenges independently means completing a project and getting a product to market faster. Worried that you can’t fit training into your schedule? It’s easier and more convenient than you may think. Keep reading to learn three different ways to get the best SOLIDWORKS training that will work for you.

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                                                              • POSTED IN FISHER UNITECH NEWS, TRAINING, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                Meet our Experts: Rodney Harper - Technical Training Manager

                                                                by Angelle Erickson on May 30, 2017

                                                                Meet-Our-Experts-Rodney-Harper-Technical-Training-Manager-1Meet Rodney Harper! Rodney has been our technical training manager here at Fisher Unitech since 2008 and is based out of our office in Troy, Michigan. With over 13 years of experience working with SOLIDWORKS, Rodney wants to guarantee that his students get the best training experience available.

                                                                SOLIDWORKS training is offered in class, on site, or online to meet your needs. Rodney manages a team of skilled trainers and training administrators committed to making your learning experience the best it can be.

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                                                                • POSTED IN TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION, CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, COMPOSER, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                  What's New in SP3.0: Import SOLIDWORKS BOMs Into SOLIDWORKS Composer

                                                                  by Sean O’Neill on May 26, 2017

                                                                  A few weeks ago, I was teaching a rather large SOLIDWORKS Composer class. It was comprised of ten students, all hailing from one of our larger customers. With each passing lesson on how to make their product assembly instructions more decipherable and their product exploded views much quicker/lighter, I couldn't help but notice them giving those "where have you been all my life" eyes.

                                                                  While discussing bill of materials (BOM) tables, one of our more actively-involved students asked a very intuitive question: "Can we import our bill of materials from our SOLIDWORKS files into SOLIDWORKS Composer?" My answer then was different than my answer today because of a great timesaving enhancement to SOLIDWORKS Composer 2017 SP3.0.

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                                                                  • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                    What’s the Difference Between SOLIDWORKS Standard, Professional and Premium?

                                                                    by Christa Prokos on May 25, 2017

                                                                    Whats-the-difference-between-solidworks-standard-professional-and-premium-1We often get the question, “What is the difference between the three SOLIDWORKS packages (Standard, Professional, Premium)?” Another common question is, “When does it make sense to upgrade from Standard to Professional or Premium?”

                                                                    The answer depends on many factors and while there is a SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD matrix that outlines every feature in each package, it can be a bit complicated. This blog provides a quick overview of each package, as well as two easy ways to figure out which package is best for you.

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                                                                    • POSTED IN RAPID PROTOTYPING, STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                      Disrupting the Supply Chain with 3D Printing: An Introduction to FDM Composite Tooling

                                                                      by Lisa Hannon on May 23, 2017

                                                                      Disrupting-the-Supply-Chain-with-3D-Printing-An-Introduction-to-FDM-Composite-Tooling-1The blog below was originally written and created by Ross Jones, Application Engineer at Stratasys. Fisher Unitech is sharing it with our readers due to the compelling story of how the manufacturing industry is solving problems with time and cost to produce tooling prototypes.

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                                                                      • POSTED IN TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION, CAD, COMPOSER, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                        Technical Communications Come to Life with SOLIDWORKS Composer

                                                                        by Angelle Erickson on May 19, 2017

                                                                        Today, visual images are more important than ever. Just because a physical prototype of a product design isn’t available, doesn’t mean your training materials, assembly instructions, marketing and sales collateral should be put on hold. With SOLIDWORKS Composer you can start producing a range of technical communication graphical assets earlier in the product design process, helping to lower costs and speed time-to-market.

                                                                        Even nontechnical roles can use SOLIDWORKS Composer. The easy-to-use tools let you work directly from 3D CAD data to create associative 2D and 3D deliverables that automatically stay up-to-date with the latest design changes.

                                                                        Keep reading to learn more about SOLIDWORKS Composer and check out our recorded webcast "How SOLIDWORKS Composer Improves Technical Communications."

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                                                                        • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING MATERIALS, STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                          Nylon 12CF | Innovative 3D Printing Material for FDM Printers

                                                                          by Lisa Hannon on May 18, 2017

                                                                          nylon-12cf-innovative-3D-printing-material-for-FDM-Printers-1Stratasys recently launched a material in its new family of nylon, Nylon 12CF. This innovative new 3D printing nylon has a very high stiffness-to-weight ratio, and its potential applications are generating plenty of buzz in the 3D printing community. Here’s everything you need to know about Nylon 12CF.

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                                                                          • POSTED IN EDUCATION AND RESEARCH, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                            Steampunks, STEAMworks, and SOLIDWORKS in the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition

                                                                            by Amanda Osbun on May 17, 2017

                                                                            Steampunks-STEAMworks-and-SOLIDWORKS-in-the-2017-FIRST-Robotics-CompetitionI was a very shy, introverted kid who, although open to trying new things, would never imagine growing up to be the outgoing person I am today. I owe much of who I am to the FIRST Robotics team at Jefferson Township High School in New Jersey.

                                                                            The FIRST Robotics team started when I was a junior. One of my woodshop teachers suggested I get involved and here I am nine years later. I was on the team for my junior year and co-captain of the team during my senior year. I have been a mentor for the team ever since I graduated high school. Our team is Team 2600 or Team Falcon.

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                                                                            • POSTED IN DATA MANAGEMENT, CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                              How to Use the ‘Pack and Go’ File Management Feature in SOLIDWORKS

                                                                              by Matt Haywood on May 15, 2017

                                                                              In my opinion, one of the better file management features in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD is Pack and Go, which was introduced around 2007. Included in every release of SOLIDWORKS since then, this feature is still very useful today.  I’ve been providing SOLIDWORKS tech support for nearly 14 years and it’s fun to show unsuspecting users Pack and Go.

                                                                              In this blog, I’ll take you through two scenarios:

                                                                              1. Duplication of a data set for sharing or repurposing
                                                                              2. Organizing a data set by renaming multiple files simultaneously

                                                                              It’s true that these tasks can be done outside of Pack and Go, but I think you’ll find that through the use of Pack and Go, these processes will be completed faster and you will have fewer problems with mixed up file references.

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                                                                              • POSTED IN CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                Using Custom Search Columns to Create Simple Reports from PDM Searches

                                                                                by Peer Larson on May 10, 2017

                                                                                It can often be very useful to collect information about your files from a high level, such as if you were interested to learn the internal PDM Document ID or who in your department approved what when.

                                                                                You can use custom search columns to change how a search card displays information and then export your search results to Microsoft Excel. This can also be useful when tracking project management documents, as you can have all of your relevant fields show in the PDM search card and then export those results to Microsoft Excel for easy portability and communication.

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                                                                                • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                  These 9 SOLIDWORKS Blogs & CAD Sites Will Boost Your Productivity

                                                                                  by Stacey Clement on May 8, 2017

                                                                                  Starting your Monday by catching up on industry news can be a great way to encourage inspiration and innovation all week long. By starting two-way conversations with fellow designers and SOLIDWORKS professionals worldwide, you can begin to expand your network, share experiences, and learn helpful tips and tricks you’d never find within the confines of your office.

                                                                                  While we’ve worked hard to stock the Fisher Unitech blog with up-to-date SOLIDWORKS news, regularly synthesizing diverse viewpoints from across the web can help make you a more global designer. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of informative, entertaining, or just downright underrated CAD forums, SOLIDWORKS blogs, and design Twitter accounts—for the betterment of workweek productivity everywhere. So which online community is right for you?

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                                                                                  • POSTED IN DRIVEWORKS, DESIGN AUTOMATION, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                    Time to Test Drive DriveWorks Design Automation and Sales Configurator Software

                                                                                    by Christa Prokos on May 5, 2017

                                                                                    Time-to-Test-Drive-DriveWorks-Design-Automation-and-Sales-Configurator-Software-1Do you have repetitive design tasks that could be automated? Could the products you design be defined by rules? If you answered yes to these questions, it is time to add design automation and sales configurator software to your toolbox—specifically DriveWorks because you can use it in tandem with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD design software.

                                                                                    There are two DriveWorks software packages to choose from, DriveWorks Solo and DriveWorks Pro, which can also be used beyond the engineering department by marketing and sales teams. DriveWorks Solo and Pro provide the ability to automatically generate 2D and 3D drawings of your SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD models as well as manufacturing and sales data. Imagine the time and cost this can save your company and the productivity it can add to your day.

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                                                                                    • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                      How to Deal with Fixture Warnings in SOLIDWORKS Simulation

                                                                                      by Drew Buchanan on May 3, 2017

                                                                                      How-to-Deal-with-Fixture-Warnings-in-SOLIDWORKS-Simulation-00You sit down at your desk to finalize the design for a new product you are working on. You want to verify that the product does not fail under loading, and expect the finite element model to be fairly easy to set up and run.  However, much to your chagrin you run the model and a warning pops up.

                                                                                      If you have been working with SOLIDWORKS Simulation for a long time, you most likely have seen this warning box before. In today’s blog I will show a handy tool which can remedy this issue very quickly. It should be noted that all tips in today’s blog pertain to a traditional Linear Static Analysis, which is available in SOLIDWORKS Premium,  SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional, and SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium.

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                                                                                      • POSTED IN EDUCATION AND RESEARCH, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                        Jenison Robotics Team “Game Over” Uses SOLIDWORKS to Design Award Winning Robot

                                                                                        by Nathan Appel on May 1, 2017

                                                                                        Jenison-Robotics-Team-Game-Over-Uses-SOLIDWORKS-to-Design-Award-Winning-Robot-1I belong to Jenison Robotics’ team 457B named “Game Over” in Jenison, Michigan, near Grand Rapids. In Jenison Robotics, we use VEX Robotics technology to further our learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and grow skills in teamwork, leadership and problem solving. We also have a lot of fun.

                                                                                        I started using SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD fifteen months ago when I got a student edition for Christmas. I taught myself how to use the software using tutorials, along with guidance from my dad, who uses SOLIDWORKS at work. Last season, my dad showed my team and I how we could use SOLIDWORKS to design our robot. So, my goal for this year was to learn how to use SOLIDWORKS before the season even started so that when we did start practicing, I could fully design our robot.

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                                                                                        • POSTED IN TRAINING, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                          Ramp Up Your Work Performance with SOLIDWORKS Training

                                                                                          by Michelle Orleski on April 28, 2017

                                                                                          Ramp-Up-Your-Work-Performance-with-SOLIDWORKS-Training-1Are you being efficient or proficient in your workplace? It’s not simply a matter that one is better than the other, but it is important to assess which quality you possess and whether or not you and your employer are happy with your style of performance.

                                                                                          In this blog, you’ll learn how to understand your qualities and work ethic from a slightly different perspective, one that your employer may see. You’ll also learn how to determine how to tell the difference between being proficient and being efficient and the ways to enhance your workplace performance.

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                                                                                          • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS, UNCATEGORIZED

                                                                                            How to Utilize the SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal

                                                                                            by Toby Schnaars on April 26, 2017

                                                                                            Did you know that SOLIDWORKS has a customer portal? Whether you’re a new user, an existing user, or just need a little help, the SOLIDWORKS customer portal is an excellent resource available to all SOLIDWORKS subscription customers.

                                                                                            This blog will take you through how to use the portal, along with a step-by-step guide on how to get your questions answered before calling technical support.

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                                                                                            • POSTED IN PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                              Looking for the SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM Migration "Easy Button"?

                                                                                              by Joe Frank on April 24, 2017

                                                                                              Looking for the SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM Migration Easy Button 1With the retirement of SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM approaching, I’m getting a lot of questions about what to expect when migrating to SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard or Professional. I wish I could say there is an easy button, but there just isn’t.

                                                                                              Migrating your intellectual property out of your SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM vault is not an easy process. Many things need to be considered when setting up a SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard or Professional vault to accept your data. You want a vault that works for you, not the other way around.  Although there is not a simple program or “Pack and Go” process, I do know how to make the process easier.

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                                                                                              • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING MATERIALS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                                What’s the Difference Between Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing?

                                                                                                by Jerry Fireman on April 21, 2017

                                                                                                Any industry that is growing rapidly is going to attract more than its share of controversy. With a forecast growth rate of 28.5% between 2016 and 2022, according to MarketsandMarkets, the business of producing parts is no exception. One of the hottest issues at the moment is simply what do we call it – 3D printing or additive manufacturing? Or are both terms valid for different segments of the market? Or do they mean the same thing?

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                                                                                                • POSTED IN EDUCATION AND RESEARCH, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                  Dundee FIRST Robotics Team Goes from Concept to Competition with SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                  by Ethan Harper on April 19, 2017

                                                                                                  Dundee-FIRST-Robotics-Team-Goes-from-Concept-to-Competition-with-SOLIDWORKS-1If you’ve heard of the organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), you probably know that it is directly tied to STEM and STEAM, other common acronyms used in today’s classrooms that stand for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.

                                                                                                  You may not realize that FIRST was founded way back in 1989 “to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology." For me, the FIRST program has accomplished just that, as I have directly benefited from the features of STEAM that come into play every day during robotics. I am currently a sophomore at Dundee High School, in Dundee, Michigan and our team is the Dundee Vi-Borgs.

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                                                                                                  • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                    The Real Difference Between Standard and Professional SOLIDWORKS CAD

                                                                                                    by Sean O'Neill on April 18, 2017

                                                                                                    For many years now, SOLIDWORKS has provided three package tiers of its 3D CAD software: Standard, Professional, Premium. While changes and additions are made to these packages every year, each package has provided the ability for anyone to create parts, assemblies, and/or drawings.

                                                                                                    The difference between the three packages has really been found in what else it adds to your business. At the Professional level (and Premium, in additional ways), SOLIDWORKS provides tools that realistically accommodate the challenges faced by all multi-employee companies. This article explains how it does exactly this.  You can also learn more by watching the recorded webcast, 7 Key Benefits of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD Professional 2017

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                                                                                                    • POSTED IN SIMULATION, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                                      Why You Should Use Simulation and 3D Printing Technologies Together

                                                                                                      by David Roccaforte on April 14, 2017

                                                                                                      We often joke at Fisher Unitech that simulation technology, also known as Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), and 3D printing technology are competitors. In reality, for product development, they are engineering partners. Each has its respective strengths and weaknesses.

                                                                                                      It’s kind of like a buddy cop show. One has street smarts and the other is the brainy young whippersnapper. When they work together they solve tough crimes. Simulation and 3D printing technologies work together to help prevent engineering crimes: such as missing project timing dates and quality and performance issues.

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