• POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

    GrabCAD Print: Here’s what you Need to Know

    by Dan Erickson on March 6, 2017

    If you’ve been in the 3D printing world a while, GrabCAD is probably not unfamiliar to you. Along with Thingiverse and MyMinifactory, GrabCAD has been a stalwart repository of 3D-printable files; notable, in native CAD formats. Over the past 8 years, GrabCAD has been (and remains) an invaluable resource to some two million members.

    grabCAD-Print-Heres-what-you-need-to-knowSo what’s this GrabCAD Print thing, you ask? Well, it’s a slicer. Like Catalyst, Insight, and others, it slices a CAD model into thin layers, and then writes the instructions for a 3D printer to lay down material for each layer. GrabCAD Print supports polygon-based STL files, but unlike most, also directly reads native geometric modeling file formats like SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, UG/NX (among others) and the usual neutral formats (e.g., step, parasolid, iges); even assembly files.

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    • POSTED IN SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

      Simulation Tip: Animating Transient Results in SOLIDWORKS Flow 2017

      by David Roccaforte on March 3, 2017

      Today, I was running a SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation (CFD/Computational Fluid Dynamics) model of a blow mold tool. The goal of the analysis is to compare cooling line effects on tool surface temperatures.

      Simulation-Tip-Animating-Transient-Results-in-SOLIDWORKS-Flow-2017-1Molding is a transient process and XY plots are important but it’s very useful to see heat migration through the parts via animation. This is one of the big values of design validation. We can visualize phenomena that are difficult to see or measure physically.

      In the process, I was using a new SOLIDWORKS tool for animating surface plots and cut plots. It made my life so much easier that I had to stop working and started writing this blog.

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      • POSTED IN FISHER UNITECH NEWS, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

        Revisiting FETCH and the SOLIDWORKS 2017 Design Contest

        by Angelle Erickson on March 2, 2017

        On September 7, 2016, we proposed on our blog a design challenge for our SOLIDWORKS community. We introduced FETCH, a claw robot that our technicalRevisiting-FETCH-and-the-SOLIDWORKS-2017-Design-Challenge-1 team modeled in SOLIDWORKS 2017 using the software’s top new features and enhancements. Unfortunately, there was one small hiccup. We wanted FETCH to be able to lift and carry a beverage can to one of our thirsty engineers. He couldn’t do it. The weight of the can caused motor drift.

        That’s where our SOLIDWORKS community came in. We asked you to submit your mechanical fix ideas in our SOLIDWORKS 2017 design challenge contest. The person to submit the best design would win FETCH.

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        • POSTED IN FISHER UNITECH NEWS, SOLIDWORKS

          Fisher Unitech Awarded SOLIDWORKS Elite Club for Outstanding Sales and Support

          by Christa Prokos on February 28, 2017

          Earlier this month, Fisher Unitech and Prism Engineering (now Fisher Unitech) each received recognition from Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS Corp. for outstanding sales and support services. This is another example of how well aligned the companies were when Fisher Unitech acquired Prism Engineering in June of 2016.Fisher-Unitech-Awarded-SOLIDWORKS-Elite-Club-for-Outstanding-Sales-and-Support

          The two SOLIDWORKS Elite Club awards were presented to Fisher Unitech at the SOLIDWORKS World 2017 conference held February 5-8 in Los Angeles, California. Fisher Unitech’s Subscription Manager, Chad Vannatta, and Director of Software Sales, Chris Tarka, accepted the awards on behalf of the company.

          The awards recognize Fisher Unitech as one of the top SOLIDWORKS technology and services providers in North America. Membership in the SOLIDWORKS Elite Club signifies that Fisher Unitech exceeds the highest standards for customer retention, subscription support renewals, and software technical support.

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          • POSTED IN CAD, SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

            How to Design a Filtration Unit with SOLIDWORKS and solidThinking

            by Drew Buchanan on February 22, 2017

            Recently, as I was drinking a cup of tea, I appreciated having hot and clean water to drink. I thought about the process of obtaining that water. Specifically, about the filtration process. I wondered, what if I could simulate the filtration process within SOLIDWORKS? I quickly realized that I could do more than simulate the filtration process. I could simulate the casting of individual parts as well as the injection molding of specific parts of the apparatus.

            With that understanding, I set forth to utilize SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, SOLIDWORKS Plastics, and solidThinking’s Click2Cast software to optimize the design. In this blog, I will lay out the steps to analyze a filtration unit with three different simulation and analysis solutions. There is also a recorded webcast you can view that includes demonstrations of what I cover in this blog.

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            • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

              SOLIDWORKS 2018 Sneak Peek at SOLIDWORKS World 2017

              by Ken Lavictor on February 16, 2017

              As SOLIDWORKS World 2017 came to a close last week, I was thrilled once again to get a glimpse of one of the most anticipated product announcements. Every year, SolidWorks gives us a sneak peek of new features and enhancements to come in the next release of SOLIDWORKS software. In this case SOLIDWORKS 2018!

              Below, you will see this small sampling of new functionality slated for SOLIDWORKS 2018.  Please keep in mind, this is just a preview of what ‘might’ make it to the SOLIDWORKS 2018 release. Many more features will be added by fall of 2017, some may change, and some may take a little longer than anticipated to get out there—so here is a list of the potential new enhancements to SOLIDWORKS 2018:

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              • POSTED IN DESIGN AUTOMATION, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                4 Key Ways SOLIDWORKS Stands Out

                by Sean O'Neill on February 15, 2017

                When SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD was first released back in 1995, it was already leveraging some of the core functionality and modeling principles we know today. At that time, it quickly came to prominence as a parametric solid modeler. You could sketch, add rules-based constraints to these sketches, and then extrude them into 3D features. Here’s proof.

                4-crucial-elements-that-make-SOLIDWORKS-different1But what has SOLIDWORKS become, and what has SOLIDWORKS been, in the days that have come to pass? For years – many years, in fact – SOLIDWORKS has given users the ability to make manufacturing drawings and assembled part systems in ways that sync seamlessly with their included parts and one another. Furthermore, as the design and manufacturing world has advanced, SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD has advanced with it. In many cases, it’s proven to be a catalyst of this spheric advancement.

                For those new to (or relatively inexperienced with) SOLIDWORKS, here are four key ways SOLIDWORKS stands out as a CAD platform.

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                • POSTED IN SIMULATION

                  solidThinking: Empowering Engineers with the Right Design Validation Toolsets

                  by David Roccaforte on February 13, 2017

                  If you read a few of my SOLIDWORKS Simulation tutorials and finite element analysis blogs you will notice the recurring “tool” theme. As an engineer and gearhead, I love anything that will help me do my job better, whether it’s extracting a broken bolt from a cylinder solidThinking-Empowering-Engineers-with-the-Right-Design-Validation-Toolsets-1head or determining the optimal amount of material to meet performance specifications. Show me a tool that can help me do it better and I’m listening.

                  One of my fondest memories as an engineering intern was the day my manager approached me with a tool catalog. This was before online ordering when PO’s were still done by hand.

                  He said, “Pick out what you think we need for the mechanical lab, and order two of everything.”  As a student with an internship being able to fill up the gas tank felt like a luxury. Now I get to order any tool we might need? I was in heaven.

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                  • POSTED IN CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                    Quick Lesson on the Value of Product Data Management

                    by Brian VanderPloeg on February 10, 2017

                    Product Data Management or PDM, is the often overshadowed acronym on the engineering whiteboard of design process workflow. Acronyms CAD, CAE and CAM stand boldly circled for the next software investment while PDM can get crossed off or postponed for consideration next year. Yet a PDM system has as much to offer in the way of business value and user benefits as the other acronyms, which, if you are new to the world of product development, are short for: Computer-Aided Design, Computer-Aided Engineering, and Computer-Aided Manufacturing.

                    So what exactly is PDM and why should it stand worthy of a bold circle for your organization? After fifteen years of helping a variety of product design and manufacturing companies solve business challenges with software, I have an “in the trenches” understanding of PDM.

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                    • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                      SOLIDWORKS World 2017 Recap: SOLIDWORKS 2018, sustainability, and the future of design

                      by Stacey Clement on February 8, 2017

                      Kishore Boyalakuntla, the Senior Director of Product Portfolio Management and Brand User Experience Leader at SOLIDWORKS, kicked off today’s General Assembly with a discussion of the new SOLIDWORKS Ecosystems and the exciting products we’ll see in SOLIDWORKS 2018.

                      Boyalakuntla began with the Design to Manufacturing Ecosystem product, SOLIDWORKS CAM, which will be released in SOLIDWORKS 2018 next fall. According to the presenter’s slide, the Design to Manufacturing Ecosystem has an intelligent knowledge base and tolerance based machining.

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                      • POSTED IN EDUCATION AND RESEARCH, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                        SOLIDWORKS and its Impact on our Future Generation

                        by Angelle Erickson on February 7, 2017

                        SOLIDWORKS World 2017 kicked off day two with an exciting morning. This morning’s focus was raising awareness for the vast community of SOLIDWORKS User Groups (SWUGs) located all around the country. SWUGs enable users to get together to share tips, tricks, and educational presentations to strengthen and enhance their user experience.

                        Not only is it important to support and promote the education of SOLIDWORKS technology to current power users, but there is a determination to get high school students and young adults involved to craft their minds and brighten their future.

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                        • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                          SOLIDWORKS World 2017 - Creating the New, the Next, and the Never Before

                          by Christa Prokos on February 6, 2017

                          Over 5,000 people are gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center until February 8th for SOLIDWORKS World 2017, which started yesterday amid the buzz and excitement of the Super Bowl.

                          As if SOLIDWORKS World alone isn’t enough buzz for SOLIDWORKS software enthusiasts. Every year, this passionate and global community of engineers, innovators and partners gather together to share ideas and learn about the latest in 3D design.

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                          • POSTED IN STRATASYS, 3D PRINTING

                            Introducing the F123 Series 3D Printers

                            by Stacey Clement on February 6, 2017

                            3D printing fans, rejoice - the next generation of FDM 3D printers from Stratasys is here! Stratasys announced its new line of 3D printers, the F123 series, at the SOLIDWORKS World conference on Monday, Feb. 6. The line includes three powerful printers: the F170, F270, and F370.  We have all the details of the big announcement, plus a webcast on the new line that is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 8.

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                            • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, 3D PRINTING

                              SOLIDWORKS World Preview 2017

                              by Stacey Clement on February 2, 2017

                              SOLIDWORKS World 2017 will be here on February 5th, giving designers the opportunity to network, learn about new products, and choose from 200+ breakout sessions for a fresh perspective on the 3D design industry. Sessions will cover technical training, reseller training, and general topics.

                              This year SOLIDWORKS has also introduced the Learning Path, where attendees can choose from one of four Learning Paths: Internet of Things, Model Based Definition, Additive Manufacture, and Subtractive Manufacturing. According to SOLIDWORKS, the learning paths will “give attendees a jump start in these important and emerging aspects of manufacturing.”

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                              • POSTED IN PCB, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                                PCB Design Revolution with Altium and SOLIDWORKS

                                by Joel Desilets on January 31, 2017

                                Multidisciplinary engineering teams are working together more today than ever before to develop products. This is because products now neePCB Design Revolution with Altium and SOLIDWORKSd to wirelessly connect and communicate with other devices, spurred by the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) within consumer electronics, manufacturing, healthcare, and automotive industries.

                                If you use Altium Designer, you can now maintain your preferred workflow and realize the value of the SOLIDWORKS PCB Connector, engineered specifically to bridge the gap between your electrical design in Altium and your mechanical design in SOLIDWORKS.  

                                There are several advantages that both Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and SOLIDWORKS designers will notice given the ease of moving models back and forth between Altium Designer and SOLIDWORKS.  

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                                • POSTED IN CAM, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                  Mastercam is the Only CAM for Me

                                  by Mike Steelman on January 27, 2017

                                  Controlling and automating machine tooling and other equipment on the manufacturing floor with software isn’t a new concept. For those familiar with the process, it’s simply called “CAM”. For anyone new to the process, CAM means computer-aided manufacturing.

                                  Here’s how it works

                                  First, you design a part you want to machine using a CAD software tool such as SOLIDWORKS. Then you open your SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD design file in your CAM software tool. Now keep in mind that not all CAM software tools are the same. So I will use Mastercam for my example. Mastercam is the world’s most widely-used CAM software and for good reasons.

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                                  • POSTED IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                    The Future of the Automotive Industry - 3D Printing Takes the Wheel

                                    by Rob Stipek on January 25, 2017

                                    Since the beginning, the automotive sector has been taking advantage of 3D printing for manufacturing and design applications. With a quick turn around rate, companies are able to produce concept models, functional prototypes, and manufacturing aids in a short amount of time. With this technology at hand, today’s technologies have drastically improved from the idea of a prototype to the full production of 3D printed vehicles like the Local Motors Strati concept car.

                                    Automotive industries are seeing the positive effects of using additive The-Future-of-the -Automotive-Industry-3D-printing-takes-the-wheel1manufacturing. Paul Susalla, the section supervisor of Rapid Manufacturing at Ford stated, “You can come up with a really optimized part at the end of the day...That’s all because of the speed with which we can produce the prototype parts without tooling.” Not only are 3D printed prototypes great for a fast turnaround, but statistics are being proven with numbers.

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                                    • POSTED IN 3D SCANNING, CAD, 3D PRINTING

                                      Digitizing Real-World Objects with 3D Scanners

                                      by Danny Jackson Levy on January 20, 2017

                                      Digitizing-Real-World-Objects-with-3D-Scanners1Engineers today have a wide array of software in their virtual toolbox which they can use to create precise 3D representations of designed models. However, the typical old school manufacturing facility contains an abundance of legacy components, worn out tools and other parts which may not have accurate CAD data associated with it.

                                      Enter 3D scanning, a technology integral to the progression of manufacturing through what is described as ‘the fourth industrial revolution’.

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                                      • POSTED IN CAD, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                                        A New Way to Design Printed Circuit Boards

                                        by Angelle Erickson on January 17, 2017

                                        A-new-way-to-design-printed-circuit-boards1Understanding the lay of the land is extremely important when mechanical and electrical engineers are working on a design. Even when using the same CAD system, a back and forth disconnected process can leave room for error and create major setbacks.

                                        Many engineers experience the headache of having significant changes made in a design and feeling like they have to start from scratch. Even simple changes in a design can completely alter the routing of circuits and connectors in a PCB.

                                        If you’ve ever found yourself in this scenario, help is a click away. You can now use SOLIDWORKS PCB, powered by Altium. This intuitive software will help eliminate your frustrations associated with changes in circuit board design.

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                                        • POSTED IN TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION, CAD, COMPOSER, SOLIDWORKS

                                          Getting Vector Graphics with Depth from SOLIDWORKS

                                          by Sean O’Neill on January 13, 2017
                                          Getting-Vector-Graphics-with-Depth-from-SOLIDWORKS11

                                          When I first came across the “Cartoon” feature in SOLIDWORKS, I admit: I was a bit stumped on how to best utilize the tool.

                                          While there are several ways to use this appearance mode, I stumbled upon a pretty neat way to use it for a recent graphic project I was working on. My goal was to extract a clean piece of vector art for use in an Adobe Illustrator design of a t-shirt. I wanted the t-shirt to feature a 3D printer churning out a worm gear part.

                                          If you’ve ever seen a worm gear setup, you’d know that the worm in the gear setup is helical in nature. I didn’t feel like attempting to draw the curves in Illustrator; I felt it’d be much more suitable if I could somehow extract exacting geometry from SOLIDWORKS.

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                                          • POSTED IN CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                            Exploring SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional

                                            by Joe Frank on January 11, 2017

                                            exploring-solidworks-pdm-professional1With the retirement of SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM fast approaching, it’s time for users to move to a new product data management solution: SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard.

                                            To help you understand more about the solutions, I recently delivered a webcast demonstrating the user interface for Standard and Professional. You can watch the recorded webcast to see how intuitive the interface is for managing data files and moving them through a workflow. Yet, while the interface may be the same for both PDM solutions, the capabilities are not. It’s important to understand the differences.

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                                            • POSTED IN FISHER UNITECH NEWS

                                              Fisher Unitech Welcomes Prism Engineering Customers

                                              by Angelle Erickson on January 10, 2017

                                              logoLast year on June 1st, Fisher Unitech acquired Prism Engineering Inc. With this acquisition, Fisher Unitech became one of the leading technology providers in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions to provide manufacturing customers with solutions for product development, additive manufacturing, and subtractive manufacturing.

                                              Today, Prism Engineering’s name has officially changed to Fisher Unitech. To our new customers by way of Prism Engineering, welcome to Fisher Unitech and our growing and passionate community. Now that you are a Fisher Unitech customer, this blog will answer some questions you may have regarding your transition, along with a simple tour guide to get you started.

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                                              • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

                                                Building BattleBots Champions with SOLIDWORKS

                                                by Christa Prokos on January 6, 2017

                                                Back in the year 2000, a new American television series aired on Comedy Central called BattleBots. The name alone conjures up images of fighting robots, but exactly what kind of robots? Simply put, remote controlled machines designed for combat that would fight to the death in an arena. Funny yes, but also ingenious.

                                                BattleBots ran for a couple of years, then took a hiatus only to return to ABC TV in 2015. Imagine the evolution of technologies and materials that took place over those 15 years. Fast forward to 2017 and today’s fighting robots are more sophisticated and fiercer than ever. The ingenuity continues from spinning blades to clamping jaws and 250 pounds of heavy armor. BattleBots now has a global following with more than 150 countries soon broadcasting the show.

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                                                • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING

                                                  New Year, New Strategy – Why you Should Implement 3D Printing for your Business

                                                  by Rob Stipek on January 4, 2017

                                                  The most recent Wohlers Report states that the additive manufacturing industry grew to $5.1 billion dollars and shows no projected signs of slowing down over new-year-new-strategy-why-you-should-implement-3d-printing-for-your-business1the next four years. This growth in additive manufacturing is driven by designers and manufacturers finding value in using the technology to enable better ways of bringing products to life. As manufacturing moves into the 4th industrial revolution, where additive manufacturing is crucial, implementing new technologies is essential in order to gain a competitive edge.

                                                  Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing the more common term, is the process by which digital 3D design is used to build up a component in layers by depositing material. Since the 1980s, the use of 3D printing, along with the maturity of technology and materials, has driven the steady growth in replacing traditional manufacturing means. You can now commonly see manufacturers such as BMW, Oreck, and Airbus using 3D printing for applications ranging from prototypes to manufacturing floor tools.

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                                                  • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                                                    Two Great Tools Every SOLIDWORKS User Should Know (But Many Don’t)

                                                    by Toby Schnaars on January 3, 2017

                                                    As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’ve been a user of SOLIDWORKS for 18 two-great-tools-every-solidworks-user-should-know-but-many-dont-1years and began teaching new and experienced users since 2001. Today we are going to examine two great tools in SOLIDWORKS that every user should know how to use, but many don’t:

                                                    1. CTRL+Q = Force Regen
                                                    2.  V.O.R. = Verification on Rebuild

                                                    These two tools share the same theme: They both generate a rebuild, which is more thorough and elaborate, but takes a longer time to complete.

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                                                    • POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                      Are you stuck in the past waiting on the future?

                                                      by Nick Licari on December 29, 2016

                                                      Back in 1989, Doc Brown and Marty McFly promised me that in 2015 we wouldn’t need roads where we were going—we would have flying cars. By using this same concept today in the additive manufacturing community, I should still be driving my 1987 Chevy Celebrity until flying cars become available. As you can guess, I’ve purchased new cars since 1987. Think of all the advancements in automotive technology since then; sure it may not be as advanced as flying cars, but in 1989 had Hollywood been able to sell us on heated seats, GPS, park assist, and autonomous vehicles I think we may have been just as excited.

                                                      So what does this have to do with additive manufacturing? Like Hollywood, large 3D printing companies are making big promises as to what their technologies may be capable of in the future… but not today. This futuristic “what if” is leading to more and more companies holding on to their 1987 Celebrities and barely getting by, hoping to buy that flying car when it becomes available rather than trading it in for current technology that is readily available and industry leading today. Companies such as HP and Rize Inc are constantly making promises on what their systems can do some day... but not today, or tomorrow, or the next year, or the year after that. So why would I buy their technology today?

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                                                      • POSTED IN EDUCATION AND RESEARCH, SOLIDWORKS

                                                        Lessons Learned in a FIRST Robotics Classroom

                                                        by Dan Erickson on December 27, 2016

                                                        lessons-learned-in-a-first-robotics-classroom1Kids these days are sharp! I was reminded of this fact during an opportunity to teach SOLIDWORKS to Macomb County FIRST Robotics teams “Thunder Chickens” and “I AM Robot”. Having spent my first five years at Fisher Unitech teaching and supporting SOLIDWORKS, the front of a classroom is familiar territory. Plus, a roomful of kids was a welcome change of pace (and an opportunity to be the oldest guy in the room for a change). I am glad I accepted their invitation.

                                                        I typically begin my classes by explaining my objective: to present the material as clearly and coherently as I am able; and my expectations of the class: to be attentive and engaged. But in this case, such a preamble seemed superfluous. These students were, after all, here by choice.

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                                                        • POSTED IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                          Happy Holidays! Here’s a Geek’s Guide to Gift Giving

                                                          by Angelle Erickson on December 21, 2016

                                                          happy-holidays-heres-a-geeks-guide-to-gift-giving-1Engineers and designers spend a big portion of their day down a continuous path of possibilities and creation. With technology changing and improving at such a rapid pace, having the latest and greatest can mean faster production and improvements in the overall work environment.

                                                          These engineers and designers in our lives are tech savvy. When inquiring about technical gadgets and gizmos they are the first person you turn to. So what kind of gift do you give to the person who is always on top of their game? In the 3D printing and CAD world there are many inspiring technologies.

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                                                          • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                            The Secrets of SOLIDWORKS Service Packs

                                                            by Sean O’Neil on December 19, 2016

                                                            Most times, when we talk about the version of SOLIDWORKS we use, we describe it in yearly terms such as 2015, 2016, or 2017. There are also times when we’ll specify a bit further, including the SOLIDWORKS service pack we’re using such as SP0.0 vs. SP5.0.

                                                            Every year, the newest version of SOLIDWORKS is showcased in launch events to show people top highlights of the new enhancements and features they can expect. However, with service packs, most people don’t get a great deal of visibility into what changes have been made between, for example, SP0.0 of a given year’s version and SP1.0 of that same release.

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                                                            • POSTED IN SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                              SOLIDWORKS Simulation Tech Tip: Flow Solver Scalability

                                                              by David Roccaforte on December 16, 2016

                                                              Back in 2015, I tried an experiment comparing model size (number of cells) to memory needs and solve time. When I used SOLIDWORKS 2016, it was better at taking advantage of multiple cores as shown below. 

                                                              flowsolverscalability

                                                              The old solver started to lose advantages around 6 cores per job. You can see that the green curve is still upward sloping after 6 cores, that is the new solver.

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                                                              • POSTED IN TRAINING, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                New Year’s Resolution: Learn New SOLIDWORKS Skills

                                                                by Rachael Buhl on December 14, 2016

                                                                Before the new year begins, take a moment to consider what you want to accomplish professionally in 2017. Whether it’s a promotion, or just having more interesting and self-rewarding projects in your current role, learning new SOLIDWORKS skills could help get you there.  

                                                                Yet often the thought of taking training is followed with the worry of taking time out of the office. You’re not alone, like anyone with a new year’s resolution can tell you, it’s easy to make excuses that hold you back.

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                                                                • POSTED IN CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                  Nine Reasons Why You Need a PDM Solution - An Engineer’s Point of View

                                                                  by Jodi Degenaer on December 12, 2016

                                                                  It’s a bright, early Monday morning and I’m excited to get to work on a hot project. I start my SOLIDWORKS design software, click ‘File>Open’ and navigate to my assembly. A dialogue pops up. The file is in use by someone else.

                                                                  Who has my assembly open, and why? It’s still only in the initial design phase. Hmm…I know Jeff is working on similar components. I give Jeff a call. He says he doesn’t have it open, but Mary had some of his files open the other day and I should try her. I call Mary and get no answer.

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                                                                  • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, 3D PRINTING

                                                                    Every Single SOLIDWORKS 3D Printing Feature

                                                                    by Sean O'neill on December 9, 2016

                                                                    Did you know that since 2010, SOLIDWORKS has introduced new 3D printing features in each software release? Finding every single one of them can be a challenge. This year, for example, SOLIDWORKS implemented over 215 pages of new functionality into SOLIDWORKS 2017. It is a lot to digest.

                                                                    For this reason, we created an infographic that includes each and every SOLIDWORKS 3D printing feature. As a preview, this article covers three of its biggest highlights in depth.

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                                                                    • POSTED IN CAD, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                      SOLIDWORKS 2017 Packs in New Electrical Functionality

                                                                      by David Hofer on December 7, 2016

                                                                      “SOLIDWORKS Electrical – what’s all this 2017 stuff anyway?” is how Bob Pease, the famous integrated circuit design expert and technical author, may describe the capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2017. He had a great way of explaining complex technical concepts and making them relatable to the general engineering population (us mere mortals).

                                                                      I’m no Bob Pease by any stretch of the imagination, but in putting together descriptions of the electrical features and presentation content for Fisher Unitech’s recent SOLIDWORKS 2017 product launch events, I took system design concepts and related them to a simple robot that our technical team used as a platform to demonstrate the top new enhancements and features in SOLIDWORKS 2017. I think Bob would have appreciated this straightforward, albeit entertaining, approach.

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                                                                      • POSTED IN CAD

                                                                        What Improvements Should You Expect After Switching CAD Software?

                                                                        by Jerry Fireman on December 5, 2016

                                                                        Switching to a new CAD software system requires an investment in time and money. Which raises the question of what kind of a return can you expect on that investment? Tech-Clarity, an independent research firm that specializes in CAD and related technology, recently surveyed 192 companies that have switched CAD software systems to find out what benefits they had achieved and was it worth the effort?

                                                                        what-improvements-should-you-expect-after-switching-cad-software1

                                                                        The survey showed that companies have reported significant improvements, starting with a substantial reduction in the amount of time required to bring new products to market. Top performing companies reduced product development time by 19% and time to implement engineering change orders (ECOs) by 15% while average performers reduced product development time by 14% and ECO time by 8%.

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                                                                        • POSTED IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                          When uPrint you win. How the uPrint will change the way you design.

                                                                          by Rob Stipek on December 2, 2016

                                                                          3D printing has become a beneficial tool for engineers and a necessity forwhenuprintyouwin streamlining and designing in the manufacturing industry. Unfortunately, many companies have yet to implement this technology for either the lack of perceived value or simply the unwillingness to change traditional processes. For manufacturers that are still on the fence, the Stratasys uPrint and uPrint SE plus are two affordable, yet powerful desktop machines that are capable of solving all of your manufacturing needs in real time. Built to perform, Stratasys uPrints are capable of creating anything from functional prototypes to manufacturing floor tools.

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                                                                          • POSTED IN SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                            Save a Life – Optimize that Design with SOLIDWORKS Simulation

                                                                            by Drew Buchanan on November 30, 2016

                                                                            The beads of sweat drip off my forehead as I drill my climbing anchor into the rock. I maneuver the rope through the anchor’s 9mm slot for the rope to fit through. After the rope is tucked through the anchor, I place the strap through my carabiner and secure it, then begin my climb upwards. As I move upwards my left foot slips on a piece of shale, and my hands lose their grip. I fall backward hoping my carabiner and anchor system holds. Thankfully, the carabiner’s suggested 9 KN engineering rating holds fine, and I fall only five feet instead of the 100 feet to the mountain floor.

                                                                            I realize many of you may not spend your free time hanging out on the side of a mountain 100 feet in the air on a small rock ledge—trusting that engineers adequately designed a four inch curved piece of metal to hold your weight. Regardless, we all rely on products we use daily that have been designed and optimized by engineers for our safety.

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

                                                                              3D Printing Changing how Manufacturers Produce Complex Composite Parts

                                                                              by Rob Stipek on November 28, 2016

                                                                              3D printing technology is rapidly changing how manufacturers are creating 3d-printing-changing-how-manufacturers-produce-complex-composite-parts1concept models and end-use parts. One of the fastest growing applications is utilizing 3D printing technology for the tooling of complex and low volume composite parts. Boeing and other companies in the aerospace and automotive industries are finding that using composite materials instead of metal, greatly reduces the weight and cost of their part which, over time, has saved thousands of dollars. So how are these models produced? There are two primary ways 3D printing is making this possible.

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                                                                              • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING

                                                                                Food for Thought: Could 3D Printing Help with Thanksgiving?

                                                                                by Angelle Erickson on November 22, 2016
                                                                                food-for-thought-could-3d-printing-help-with-thanksgiving1

                                                                                The holiday season has officially begun, and many are beginning to prepare for guests to warm their homes and spectacular spreads of holiday treats, and oh—the turkey feast! But with much anticipation, there is always the panic of preparation. Need a helping hand in the kitchen? 3D printing has found new innovative ways to make food preparation and the culinary experience even more fun and exciting.

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                                                                                • POSTED IN DATA MANAGEMENT, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                  SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM Retirement - Are You Prepared?

                                                                                  by Christa Prokos on November 21, 2016

                                                                                  If you use SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM to manage your product design files, the time to start planning your migration to either SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard is now. You are probably already aware that this juncture would come.

                                                                                  Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation gave ample time for customers to prepare for change when in the summer of 2015 it announced that it would phase out the aged product data management tool. SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM had reached the limit of what it could do with its architecture, the company said, along with advice that customers will be better served by migrating to either PDM Professional or PDM Standard.

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                                                                                  • POSTED IN DATA MANAGEMENT, CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                    Upgrading to SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017 Part 3: PDM Professional Post-Upgrade Tips

                                                                                    by Tom Starks on November 18, 2016

                                                                                    Upgrading software should be something to look forward to, but it can also be time-consuming and challenging if you are not properly prepared. This is the final installment of a three-part blog series to help you with an easier and successful upgrade to SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017 Professional or Standard.

                                                                                    In Part 1 I covered tips to help you prepare for your upgrade. In Part 2 I took you through the post-upgrade process, covering commonly missed items. For this blog, I will provide additional post-upgrade tips that apply to SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional. These tips will allow you to take advantage of the new 2017 tasks, since tasks are not available in SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard:

                                                                                    • - Add the SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional 2017 SWPDFTaskAddIn
                                                                                    • - Using the new SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional PDM 2017 Tasks

                                                                                    Let’s get started.

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                                                                                    • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                      Do More with SOLIDWORKS 2017 Sheet Metal Enhancements

                                                                                      by Rodney Harper on November 16, 2016

                                                                                      Sheet metal parts are common across a wide range of industries from special machines, housings, and other critical product components. When your work involves creating sheet metal parts, you need the most flexible design approach possible. This includes flattening functionality. SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software gives you the ability to do all of this and now the new SOLIDWORKS 2017 release gives you even more critical new functions.

                                                                                      Four main features in SOLIDWORKS 2017 that have been enhanced:

                                                                                      1. Three bend corner relief
                                                                                      2. Normal Cut has improved flattened results
                                                                                      3. Punch Table support for mirrored and derived parts
                                                                                      4. Define individual options per sheet metal body in a multibody part

                                                                                      I’m excited to show you the new 2017 functionality. Improved manufacturability, less confusion from the manufacturing floor, and improvements in the interface will result in a better return on investment with SOLIDWORKS. Now let’s take a look at some examples I’ve put together for you.

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                                                                                      • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                        The 3 Newest SOLIDWORKS 3D Printing Features

                                                                                        by Sean O'Neill on November 14, 2016

                                                                                        3D Printing is allowing the manufacturing world to innovate and iterate quicker than ever. It's important that our CAD design tools innovate in parallel. Accordingly, one good question buyers should ask is, "What SOLIDWORKS 3D printing features are available to SOLIDWORKS users?"the-3-newest-solidworks-3d-printing-investments11

                                                                                        In a survey done by technology research firm, Tech-Clarity, about 54% of companies claimed that the ability to support internal workflows was a key influence in selecting a CAD system. That was good enough to make it a top 5 consideration for your peers. A glance at the broader manufacturing landscape also shows that the 3D printing market, increasingly expanding its scope of capabilities and materials offered, projects to be a >$30 billion market by the year 2022.

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                                                                                        • POSTED IN DATA MANAGEMENT, CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                          Upgrading to SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017 Part 2: Post-Upgrade Tips

                                                                                          by Tom Starks on November 11, 2016

                                                                                          Often times, the thought of a software upgrade can be daunting and cause concerns over how time-consuming or challenging the process could be. With help from the experts, you don’t have to worry. This blog series provides tips and tricks to help make it easier for you to upgrade to SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or Standard. In Part 1 I covered tips to help you prepare for your upgrade. However there is always something that needs to be done after an upgrade and in this blog, I will cover the following post-upgrade tips:

                                                                                          • - Run the PDM Database Upgrade Tool
                                                                                          • - Manually upgrade any PDM Add-Ins like Dispatch or SWTaskAddIn

                                                                                          So let’s get started!

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                                                                                          • POSTED IN STRATASYS, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                            Stratasys J750 Changes How Engineers Validate Design

                                                                                            by Rob Stipek on November 9, 2016

                                                                                            For a design engineer, what is the best way to validate a CAD model? The most effective and efficient way is to use a 3D printer to rapidly produce a prototype. With a PolyJet 3D printer, for example, a designer can not only verify a design, but can also receive feedback on the look and feel of the physical prototype, or part.

                                                                                            PolyJet 3D printing is an extremely precise and detailed additive manufacturing technology that uses photopolymers to build up layers of material to create the desired part. The most technologically advanced PolyJet 3D printer, the Stratasys J750, was released earlier this year. The J750 gives design engineers greater capabilities that can improve the product development process even more. It is a step above the already industry leading precision 3D printing technology Stratasys offers.

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                                                                                            • POSTED IN CAD, SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                              Save Time with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Feature: Blended Curvature-Based Mesh

                                                                                              by Drew Buchanan on November 7, 2016

                                                                                              Finite element modeling (FEM) continues to evolve and makes solving multiphysics problems easier and easier for users. No longer, are the days of dedicated engineers or programmers sitting in cubicles writing code to solve finite element problems. SOLIDWORKS Simulation has set the bar for making FEM easier for users while still being computationally powerful. In this blog, I will cover one of the newer capabilities in SOLIDWORKS Simulation that can save you a lot of time: the “Blended curvature-based mesh” feature.

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                                                                                              • POSTED IN PDM

                                                                                                SOLIDWORKS PDM Upgrade Tips Part 1: Preparing for Your Upgrade

                                                                                                by Tom Starks on November 4, 2016

                                                                                                Your organization relies on SOLIDWORKS for product data management. How else would you centralize all your engineering data and related files in a secure repository? But if you use SOLIDWORKS PDM, then you know that the software does more than just provide a secure repository. Some of its benefits include integrating workflows, automating design and approval processes, providing version control and enabling collaboration across teams and locations. Now with SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017, you can do even more.   

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                                                                                                • POSTED IN CAD, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                  SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2017 - Collaboration Made Simpler

                                                                                                  by Angelle Erickson on November 2, 2016

                                                                                                  Teamwork is tried and true regardless of the industry you work in. In product development, the relationship between electrical engineers and mechanical engineers is highly dependent on how well they can collaborate on a project. Having the right tools to work effectively and efficiently not only controls the quality of product designs but the production time frame as well.

                                                                                                  SOLIDWORKS Electrical is one such powerful tool for engineers. It not only displays a design to the very last detail but also makes communication extremely easier on both the mechanical and electrical ends of the project.

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                                                                                                  • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING MATERIALS, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                                    3D Printing Halloween Sci-fi Props

                                                                                                    by Danny Jackson Levy on October 31, 2016

                                                                                                    “More human than human” is the famous corporate tagline from the fictional company, Tyrell Corporation, in the 1982 Sci-fi classic movie Blade Runner. This quote is what kept me going as I worked to perfect the replica blaster that I have always dreamed of owning. Created by the infamous Hollywood prop maker, Richard Coyle, the original Blade Runner handgun prop is considered one of the most sought after sci-fi guns next to Han Solo’s blaster. 3d-printing-halloween-sci-fi-props1

                                                                                                    The model I chose to create was designed by Andrew Forster and integrates the key characteristics of Coyle’s blaster. The forty component assembly was designed and toleranced for FDM 3D printing and requires a significant amount of post-processing to finish to spec. Since this was my first time making movie props, there was a great deal of learning involved to take the project from start to finish. For those interested in using 3D printing to make props, here are tips from my experience so you don’t have to learn the hard way.

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                                                                                                    • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING

                                                                                                      Efficiency, Flexibility and the Factory of the Future with 3D Printing

                                                                                                      by Christa Prokos on October 28, 2016

                                                                                                      The adoption of industrial 3D printing continues to grow with global spending on printers reaching nearly $11 billion in 2015. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that spending will rise to about $27 billion by 2019.  

                                                                                                      Statistics aside, examples of industry growth are making recent headlines. “Airbus Standardizes on Stratasys Additive Manufacturing Solutions for A350 XWB Aircraft Supply Chain,” reads the headline of an October 13th press release from leading 3D printer and materials manufacturer, Stratasys.

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