• POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

    SOLIDWORKS Motion Analysis vs. SOLIDWORKS Mate Controller

    Madison Bryce by Madison Bryce on August 27, 2018

    SOLIDWORKS Motion Study Welcome back to my blog series where I’m taking you on the journey from an idea to a working model. See how I took my concept of an automated drink dispenser, designed it, 3D modeled it, coded it, and eventually, 3D printed it. In my previous blog, I discussed the design process using SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software. In today’s continuation, I show how I automated my machine directly in SOLIDWORKS and discuss some of the methods I used for coding the machine (including SOLIDWORKS motion analysis and mate controller) to match the automation I modeled. In future posts, I will show the process of 3D printing my drink dispenser using a Stratasys 3D Printer.

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    • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING, 3D PRINTING MATERIALS

      Material Mayhem: 3 Tips For Optimizing FDM 3D Printing Materials

      Gerald Matarazzo by Gerald Matarazzo on August 24, 2018

      3D printing materials3D printing is primarily known for its ability to dramatically increase efficiency in any environment it is applied to. From decreasing prototyping and labor costs, reducing cycle times, and instilling Lean Manufacturing principles (which you can learn more about from my recorded webcast), it is a major player in today’s advanced manufacturing fields. However, there is one facet of the technology that can lead to delays and increased costs if not managed correctly - 3D printing materials.

      As you can imagine, the more 3D printing is integrated into an organization, the more 3D printing materials are used. So, the more optimized your 3D printing process is in your organization, the more important it gets to follow proper material handling practices. Today I will specifically be focusing on FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), the world’s most popular 3D printing process, and if it’s from Stratasys, the process that uses real thermoplastics.

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      • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING

        3D Designs For 3D Printing: 3D Printed Bobblehead

        Keith Morris by Keith Morris on August 23, 2018

        3D Designs For 3D PrintingWhen people ask me what I do for a living and I respond with “I repair 3D printers”, most people are perplexed yet intrigued. Although 3D printing technology is becoming more mainstream, the general public, by and large, still don’t quite understand what a 3D printer actually is or how it works. So, instead of explaining how a 3D printer works, I will instead show an intrigued prospect a recent project I created. As a gift, I 3D printed a bobblehead version of my brother that was derived from a cartoon drawing that I designed for the label of his home-brewed beer.

        Thanks to my passion for creating 3D models, illustration, and graphic design, I was able to successfully develop, design, and 3D print this unique piece. Keep reading to learn more about 3D designs for 3D printing.

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        • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING

          What are 3D Printing Parts Services and When Would I Need Them?

          Lisa Hannon by Lisa Hannon on August 22, 2018

          benefits of 3D printing services3D printing parts services are used by companies that are working on a 3D printing project but can’t print some or all of the work themselves. It is commonly used for prototyping, concept models, and rapid production. Service providers with a good range of 3D printing materials and parts quality can also help with additive manufacturing in aerospace and medical, where precision and safety are particularly crucial.

          3D printing parts services are primarily used by people who need to use 3D printing but don’t have access to a 3D printer. Outsourcing their work gives them the parts they need without having to invest in their own hardware, and they can use the service as little or as much as they need it. This also makes the services popular with companies that have 3D printers but can’t handle the runs themselves, and need to outsource some of the work.

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          • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

            Using SOLIDWORKS SpeedPak to Improve Assembly Performance

            James Reeher by James Reeher on August 20, 2018

            solidworks speedpakDo you work with large assemblies in SOLIDWORKS but find that your system is running slowly, especially when using the rotate or zoom functions? If you’ve been searching for a technique or tool that can help eliminate or reduce this slowdown, you’ve come to the right place. SOLIDWORKS has a number of methods to address this issue but in this blog, we’re going to talk about a specific tool called SOLIDWORKS SpeedPak.

            What is a SOLIDWORKS SpeedPak? A SpeedPak is a special type of configuration for assemblies and sub-assemblies. These SpeedPak configurations are simplified graphical representations of those assemblies. SpeedPaks only include the graphics of the assembly and any selected faces, bodies, sketches, or reference geometry that you may need for mating or dimensioning purposes.

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            • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

              How to Mirror a Part in SOLIDWORKS

              Toby Schnaars by Toby Schnaars on August 17, 2018

            • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING

              What to Look for in a 3D Printer: The Best 3D Printers by Industry

              Lisa Hannon by Lisa Hannon on August 15, 2018

              what to look for in a 3d printerA 3D printer is a big investment in your company’s future. By driving innovation through streamlined production, reduced costs, and rapid design, a 3D printer can be a game changer in competitive markets - but picking the right one is not always straightforward. Narrowing down your options can become time-consuming, especially when you must consider the needs of both your company and the industry as a whole.

              To help simplify the process, we’ve broken down what to look for in a 3D printer in each of the major industries, as well as our recommendations for the best 3D printers by industry.

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              • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                Adding Serial Numbers to Your SolidNetWork License Manager

                Heather Dawe by Heather Dawe on August 14, 2018

                SolidNetWork License ManagerThe SOLIDWORKS SolidNetWork License Manager (SNL) is responsible for managing and distributing all of your SOLIDWORKS Licenses. This includes Network licenses, Network add-on licenses, and all SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard and SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional licenses.

                If you find yourself in the position where you have received a new license and need to add this license number to the SNL, the steps below will walk you through the process of adding and activating your new SOLIDWORKS license.  Let's dive in and take a look.

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                • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS PDM

                  Getting the Most out of PDM for Project Management

                  Christa Prokos by Christa Prokos on August 13, 2018

                  PDM project managementDeveloping products can be complicated. Turnaround is tight and unexpected delays always seem to happen at the worst moment. Managers need to adapt to problems as they arise, encourage collaboration, and keep the development on track - all while keeping costs low. Product data management (PDM) software was developed to meet those needs by simplifying the management of engineering data. When used correctly, PDM software can streamline workflow and increase collaboration while also keeping your files secure. Picking the right PDM and leveraging its capabilities are key to increasing productivity.

                  In this recorded webinar, product data management expert Joe Frank will take you through some of the best practices you can adopt using SOLIDWORKS PDM. Here are a few of the benefits you can experience when using PDM for project management.

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                  • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

                    SOLIDWORKS Designs: Fully Functional Drink Dispenser

                    Madison Bryce by Madison Bryce on August 10, 2018

                    SOLIDWORKS DesignIn order to produce high-quality products, designers, engineers, and inventors must have a strategy for a productive design process. There is a myriad of individual methods involved in a personal design process, all employing the use of specialized tools. Today’s technology has wholly revolutionized the design process, offering countless new possibilities for turning dreams into reality.If you had the power to bring your ideas to life, what would you create?

                    In this blog series, I’m taking you on the journey from idea to working model. Thanks to SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD and 3D printers provided by Fisher Unitech, I will be able to see my design come to life. I will use the multitude of tools of SOLIDWORKS to create a working simulated computer model and the high-quality precision and speed of a Stratasys 3D printer to build my model. I will then program my product to be fully automated. In this blog, I will discuss the design process from a couple of sketches to a working model. Let’s get started!

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                    • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                      How to Change Material in SOLIDWORKS: Customized and Standard

                      Toby Schnaars by Toby Schnaars on August 10, 2018

                      how to change material in SOLIDWORKSWelcome back to my how-to blog series, where I’ve been discussing common questions from new SOLIDWORKS users. In my first blog, I showed how to make a screw in SOLIDWORKS, in my second blog we took that same model and I demonstrated some tips and tricks while making a helix, and in my third blog, I showed how to make basic and custom threads in SOLIDWORKS. Today we’re going to talk about how to change material in SOLIDWORKS and I have some useful hacks on how to make them customizable to your specifications. Let’s get started.

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                      • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING

                        3D Printing Uses in Business: How Are Top Companies Taking Advantage of 3D Printing Technology?

                        Lisa Hannon by Lisa Hannon on August 8, 2018

                        3d printing uses in businessSince American engineer, Charles Hull invented the first 3D printer in 1983, the use of 3D printing technology has skyrocketed. Early in its development, additive manufacturing was hailed as a medical solution, and though there have been challenges, scientists are continuing to prototype 3D-printed organs.

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                        • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION

                          Optimize Your Designs While Cutting Costs with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Tools

                          Nathan Sneller by Nathan Sneller on August 7, 2018

                           SOLIDWORKS SimulationWhether you’re a small or large business owner, an engineer, designer, or laborer there are processes you can adapt to make your job easier. If you have a stake in your business, a reduction in parts could cut your raw material and labor costs and if your company offers a bonus for cost reduction, the reward can be pretty handsome. Even if your company doesn’t have a formal cost reduction program, going into a year-end review with a claim that you saved the company money can help put you ahead.

                          Regardless if your company calls it “cost reduction” or “Value Analysis & Value Engineering”, it all comes down to making more money on existing products by spending less to make them. It’s the easiest profitability. There are a few tools in the SOLIDWORKS portfolio that are crucial in assisting with this. In this blog, I share how to use SOLIDWORKS Simulation and SOLIDWORKS Plastics to make better products for less cost.

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                          • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

                            Always Have A Complete Packing List with SOLIDWORKS Pack and Go

                            Heather Dawe by Heather Dawe on August 6, 2018

                            SOLIDWORKS Pack and GoWhenever I travel with my computer, I always create a list of items I’ll need (computer, screen, charger, mouse, etc.) However, it never fails that once I get to my location that I realize I forgot the connecting cord or the widget that goes with my wireless mouse. If you’ve found yourself in similar situations then you know it’s a pretty similar feeling when you’ve gone through the effort to modify or create a top-level assembly in SOLIDWORKS only to send it to someone and have them greeted with the “Unable to locate the file” message. This message indicates that they are missing one or more references to your assembly. While I can’t help to remind you to pack your computer cords, I can help ensure you’ve “packed” all of your SOLIDWORKS components using a handy feature called SOLIDWORKS Pack and Go.

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                            • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                              How to Make Threads in SOLIDWORKS: Basic and Custom

                              Toby Schnaars by Toby Schnaars on August 3, 2018

                              make threads in SOLIDWORKSWelcome back to part three of my “how-to” blog series. In part one of this series I showed how to make a screw in SOLIDWORKS, and in part two I showed how to make a helix in SOLIDWORKS. In today’s blog, we’re going to take a look at how to make threads in SOLIDWORKS. The good news is that ever since the release of SOLIDWORKS 2016, the process couldn’t be easier. There are basic threads and custom threads. I’ll show you how to make both. Let’s get started.

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                              • POSTED IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

                                Passionate Makers and Speakers Attend Maker Faire Detroit

                                Angelle Erickson by Angelle Erickson on August 2, 2018

                                Maker Faire DetroitMaker Faire Detroit wrapped up its weekend-long festival on July 29th at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Thousands of people gathered for an event that is “part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new” according to their website. For over 10 years, Maker Faire has been inspiring kids and adults across the United States to embrace science and technology with hundreds of exhibitors that want to show you what they’ve made and to share with you what they’ve learned in the process. If you’re unfamiliar with Maker Faires or missed out on Detroit, here’s what happened.

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                                • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING

                                  Fisher Unitech Announces Channel Partnership with Nano Dimensions

                                  Angelle Erickson by Angelle Erickson on August 1, 2018

                                  Nano Dimension On July 30th, 2018 Fisher Unitech announced their channel partnership with Nano Dimension. Nano Dimension is a leading additive electronics provider that is disrupting, reshaping, and defining the future of how cognitive connected products are made. With unique 3D printing technologies, partnering with Nano Dimension will satisfy the growing demand for electronic devices that require increasingly sophisticated features.

                                  With this partnership, Fisher Unitech will now provide Nano Dimension’s award-winning DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D Printer, a one-stop solution for 3D printed electronics including PCBs (printed circuit boards) to the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and New England areas.

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                                  • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, CAD

                                    How to Get a SOLIDWORKS Free Trial

                                    Angelle Erickson by Angelle Erickson on July 31, 2018

                                    SOLIDWORKS Free Trial SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software offers a tremendous amount of solutions for all aspects of the design process. Jumping into a new CAD software or determining which CAD software is a perfect pick for you or your business can seem like a daunting task. To make the process easier, you can now get a SOLIDWORKS free trial of SOLIDWORKS Premium through MySolidWorks with no waiting or installation required. With this free trial, you can try SOLIDWORKS anytime, anywhere. Here’s how to get started.

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                                    • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                                      How to Make a Helix in SOLIDWORKS

                                      Toby Schnaars by Toby Schnaars on July 27, 2018

                                      make a helix in solidworksWelcome back to my “how-to” blog series. In this blog, I demonstrate how to make a helix in SOLIDWORKS. One of the most common applications for making a helix is in order to cut threads onto a model - and that’s exactly what I’m going to cover today. In my last blog, I demonstrated how to make a screw in SOLIDWORKS, and to continue with this blog series, I’m going to be working with that same model. Let’s get started.

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                                      • POSTED IN CAD

                                        Women in Engineering: Taking a Step to Bridge the Gap

                                        Madison Bryce by Madison Bryce on July 26, 2018

                                        women in engineeringWhen you hear the word “engineer” who do you imagine first? Chances are a woman is not the first person to pop into your head. That’s because the engineering profession is the field where women are underrepresented the most. The education and research movement to include women in the engineering workforce has improved the diversity of the field slightly, but there is still quite a bit of work to be done in order to close this gap. Engineers are making significant advancements in society, but to better all of society, we need a female perspective. More and more women are entering the engineering field, so in this blog let’s learn a little about some of the first female engineers in the world.

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                                        • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

                                          Landscape Forms Improves Productivity by Designing Outdoor Lighting and Furniture with SOLIDWORKS

                                          Christa Prokos by Christa Prokos on July 24, 2018

                                          Landscape FormsLandscape Forms designs and builds beautiful site furniture and lighting, primarily for public spaces and college, corporate and healthcare campuses. In the early 2000s, Landscape Forms switched from 2D design tools to SOLIDWORKS design software and over the decade shortened design cycle time by 30 percent and reduced time-to-market by 15 to 20 percent.

                                          Landscape Forms has also leveraged SOLIDWORKS to bring its optical and electrical design in-house and enhanced its ability to design organically shaped concrete site furniture and the tooling needed to build it. Fisher Unitech has provided training to upgrade user skills and responded quickly with expert technical support. “The result is that since 2011, Landscape Forms has reduced lighting design cycles by an additional 30 to 35 percent and time-to-market by 15 to 20 percent while reducing furniture design cycles by an additional 30 percent and time-to-market by 20 to 25 percent,” said Todd Halstead, CAD Team Leader for Landscape Forms.

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                                          • POSTED IN FUSED DEPOSITION MODELING (FDM), 3D PRINTING MATERIALS

                                            Stratasys Materials: When to use Polycarbonate, PC-ABS, and Nylon

                                            Dan Erickson by Dan Erickson on July 23, 2018

                                            Stratasys MaterialsWhen you purchase a Stratasys FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) 3D printer, your material options may seem endless, but it’s important to make sure you’re using the best Stratasys materials for your FDM applications. In my previous blog, I discussed understanding ABS, ASA, and PLA Stratasys FDM materials. Today, we're going to focus on Polycarbonate, PC-ABS, and Nylon materials, available to Fortus customers as the Engineering Bundle. Let’s take a look.

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                                            • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                                              How to Make a Screw in SOLIDWORKS

                                              Toby Schnaars by Toby Schnaars on July 20, 2018

                                              make a screw in SOLIDWORKSFor today’s tech tip we’re going to talk about how to make a screw in SOLIDWORKS. This is the first in a series that will cover the process - we’re going to start out by making the head of the screw, we’re then going to create a helix, followed by sweeping some threads along that helix, then we’re going to assign the material to the screw, and finally we’ll create both a left hand a right-hand version of the screw. Let’s get started.

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                                              • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

                                                Successful Start to SOLIDWORKS Concept to Consumer Tour

                                                Madison Bryce by Madison Bryce on July 19, 2018

                                                Concept to Consumer TourThe first stop on the SOLIDWORKS Concept to Consumer tour was a success! July 17th marked the first city of the tour presented by SOLIDWORKS and featuring URB-E kicked off in Detroit, MI. The company URB-E produces compact folding electric vehicles that provide stylish and quick transportation.

                                                The event is a comprehensive presentation of what it takes to create market-ready products through SOLIDWORKS. A group of elite SOLIDWORKS engineers presented the URB-E vehicle in a way that walked the audience through its entire design process. The URB-E took shape before everyone’s eyes and proved how essential SOLIDWORKS was in creating this product in a shocking six months.

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                                                • POSTED IN ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS PCB

                                                  Enable Collaboration & Streamline Workflow with SOLIDWORKS Electrical Training

                                                  Christa Prokos by Christa Prokos on July 17, 2018

                                                  SOLIDWORKS Electrical trainingIn an increasingly digital world, electronics have become a critical part of the way we communicate and get work done. Whether we notice it or not, electrical systems and printed circuit boards surround us every day.

                                                  In order to meet demand, designers and engineers have to create new products while continuously driving innovation and staying ahead of the competitive curve. Their success lies in their ability to design smarter products and unify the electrical and mechanical processes, but this is not always easy. Leveraging SOLIDWORKS CAD and improving communication between the different teams is crucial to improving workflow and lowering costs.

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                                                  • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS TRAINING

                                                    Learn SOLIDWORKS with a Customized SOLIDWORKS Course Guide

                                                    Rodney Harper by Rodney Harper on July 16, 2018

                                                    Learn SOLIDWORKSSOLIDWORKS training has long been seen as a cost-effective way to strengthen an individual or team’s skills in SOLIDWORKS without placing the time burden of training on more experienced employees. Online SOLIDWORKS courses, in particular, have become popular for offering flexible, expert-led SOLIDWORKS training to users of all levels.

                                                    Of course, the SOLIDWORKS courses you choose depend on your job title, duties, and ultimate goals for training. Whether you’re new to SOLIDWORKS and looking to pick up the basics or a seasoned user who needs to brush up on a new functionality, digging through the extensive SOLIDWORKS course catalog can be overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. To help solve this problem, SOLIDWORKS has developed customized SOLIDWORKS course guides that you can easily find with our Education Roadmap.

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                                                    • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS TRAINING

                                                      10 Tips for Success: SOLIDWORKS Certification Exams

                                                      Madison Bryce by Madison Bryce on July 13, 2018

                                                      SOLIDWORKS CertificationA SOLIDWORKS certification is the difference between saying you’ve worked with the software and proof of your expertise. I recently completed the process of becoming a Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate (CSWA) and a Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (CSWP). In this blog, I will be discussing what the SOLIDWORKS CSWA and CSWP exams are all about if you are ready to take them, and ten tips from someone who just successfully went through the process.

                                                      The CSWA certification is proof of your cutting-edge SOLIDWORKS skills that businesses seek out and reward. It is recommended to have taken a SOLIDWORKS Tutorials course as well as a SOLIDWORKS Essentials course before attempting the exam. The CSWA is a single section, three-hour online SOLIDWORKS exam based on part creation and modification from basic to advanced as well as some pretty standard assembly.

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                                                      • POSTED IN 3D SCANNING

                                                        Ask an Expert: What is the Best 3D Scanner For Me?

                                                        Angelle Erickson by Angelle Erickson on July 11, 2018

                                                        Best 3D scannerIf you’re looking for the best 3D scanner, you don’t have to look far. Artec 3D scanners bring the best handheld scanning technology to the table with the Artec Eva, Artec Eva Lite, Atec Space Spider, and the soon to be released, Artec Leo. Known for high accuracy, high versatility, and low cost - Artec 3D scanners make it easy to incorporate 3D scanning into your day to day activities. With a wide range of industries adopting 3D scanning including engineering, healthcare, entertainment, design, education, fashion, and even historic preservation, it’s important to understand which 3D scanner will be most suitable for your applications.

                                                        If you’re unfamiliar with the technology or just starting the process of adopting 3D scanning in your business, you may be asking yourself a few additional questions such as, “is 3D scanning hard to learn?” or “how hard is it to incorporate 3D scanning into my workflow?". To help guide you through the process and answer these questions I’ve asked our 3D scanning expert and Application Engineer Simon Indrele some of these burning questions.

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                                                        • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

                                                          SOLIDWORKS Concept to Consumer Tour: Coming to a City Near You

                                                          Angelle Erickson by Angelle Erickson on July 10, 2018

                                                          Concept to ConsumerDS SolidWorks is kicking off their Creation in Motion | A Concept to Consumer Tour in Detroit, Michigan July 17th, 2018.  The Concept to Consumer Tour features key speakers straight from SolidWorks as they take you through an entire project, from concept to consumer while explaining in full depth the entire SOLIDWORKS portfolio.

                                                          During these events, attendees will be introduced to URB-E, a company “dedicated to designing and developing products to meet growing consumer market needs.” URB-E creates and develops compact folding electric vehicles for clean energy transportation. URB-E used SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software in order to bring their drawings of a small “zippy” electric scooter start-up to a fully functional vehicle. During these inspiring half-day live events, attendees will experience a complete end-to-end product development workflow. Keep reading to learn more.

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

                                                            Know Your Stratasys FDM Materials: ABS, ASA, and PLA

                                                            Dan Erickson by Dan Erickson on July 9, 2018

                                                            Stratasys FDM MaterialsWhether you are considering the purchase of a Stratasys FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) 3D printer, or already have one, it’s important to us that it be used to its fullest potential. That means using the right materials in the right application. But if you’re new to the world of Additive Manufacturing, you may find the selection of materials to be a bit unfamiliar. In this blog series, I’ll try to shed some light on the Stratasys FDM materials, let you know where they shine, and what to expect when using them. Today I’ll focus on ABS, PLA, and ASA. Read on to learn more!

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                                                            • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                                                              Simplified Configurations and Working with Large Assemblies in SOLIDWORKS

                                                              Toby Schnaars by Toby Schnaars on July 6, 2018

                                                              Simplified ConfigurationsLarge assemblies in SOLIDWORKS can often be slow to open, slow to save, and slow to work with, and throughout this blog series, we’ve been exploring different options one can take to help with lag, locking up, and wait time. In this blog, we’re going to continue talking about large assemblies that are slow to work with and working with simplified configurations.

                                                              I often like to say that there is no silver bullet when it comes to working with large assemblies, it’s really a combination of a lot of different settings, but if there was one silver bullet it would be to learn how to utilize working with simplified configurations. Overly detailed models in your top-level assembly will significantly slow down your assembly performance and overly detailed models in your top level assembly are the number one contributor to lag.

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                                                              • POSTED IN DRIVEWORKS

                                                                DriveWorks Solo Demonstration: Here’s How it Works

                                                                Madison Bryce by Madison Bryce on July 3, 2018

                                                                DriveWorks Solo Are you constantly creating parts that are similar but also different? If you find yourself performing time-consuming and tedious work of slightly modified parts, you need configurations. SOLIDWORKS has a wide array of options when it comes to design automation. In my previous blog, I demonstrated how to create manual configurations a design table in SOLIDWORKS. Also in that blog, we created a set of K'NEX pieces. Today we will be using those pieces to create our own custom configurable box. To do this, we will be using a SOLIDWORKS Certified Gold Product that elevates your configurations to the next level: DriveWorks Solo.  

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                                                                • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING, CAD, EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

                                                                  FIRST Robotics Team “Calumet CoppperBots” Win Michigan State Championship

                                                                  Tajah Rayne Davise by Tajah Rayne Davise on July 2, 2018

                                                                  Calumet CopperBotsThe FIRST Robotics program has spent nearly 30 years inspiring young men and women to strive for improvement. Though improvements prove necessary, they are not always easy to achieve because they require hard work, time, and community support. Some FIRST Robotics teams have a rough start due to their location. As the most northern-placed team, the Calumet CopperBots, based out of Calumet, Michigan, are familiar with the hardships of geographical placement, but as their community realized the benefits of FIRST, the ball started rolling for them and today they are flourishing.

                                                                  For their first six years, from 2008 to 2014, the Calumet CopperBots were unknown to the vast majority of the community. Team meetings were held in the closet of a local machine shop for five years and a garage for another. Regardless of the condition, the Calumet CopperBots strived to complete the mission to build a robot that could drive because they didn’t believe they would be able to build a robot that could complete other goals. As crazy as this idea was, it worked. In 2014, the Calumet CopperBots won a district event, gaining them recognition from the school and the first stepping stone to their success.

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                                                                  • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                    Edit an STL File in SOLIDWORKS - It’s Easier Than You Think

                                                                    Dan Erickson by Dan Erickson on June 29, 2018

                                                                    STL File SOLIDWORKSIf you work with 3D Printers regularly, then you know what an STL file is. And you know what a pain they can be to work with. There are some very good STL editors out there, but they tend not to be “parametric” modelers, which can be difficult to use accurately. More importantly, this style of editing can be unfamiliar to Design Engineers. Luckily, if you have access to SOLIDWORKS 2018, you may be surprised how easy it is to edit STL files. Read on to learn how.

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                                                                    • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING

                                                                      How 3D Printing Can Change Your Approach to Medical Device Development

                                                                      Rick Gillespie by Rick Gillespie on June 27, 2018

                                                                      Medical 3D PrintingMedical 3D printing has come a long way over the past 30 years when Chuck Hull first filed a patent for a 3D printer and eventually spread the technology beyond anything we could have imaged. Since then, medical 3D printing has exploded, and doctors and scientists are using 3D printing for an array of different and life-changing uses. Whether it’s for prosthetic devices, hearing devices, or most recently surgeons using 3D printing for a life-saving kidney transplant, 3D printing has uses far beyond measure. In fact, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Dental 3D printing has also seen vast improvements in the concept and production of clear aligners, orthodontic molds, soft tissue models, and crown and bridge models. The technology, along with a plethora of materials, can help shape, create, and replicate life-like models and prototypes.

                                                                      I recently had the opportunity to speak at the Medical Device Technology Exchange (MDTX) event held in Secaucus, New Jersey. MDTX gathers a wide range of engineers and designers who want to be at the forefront of discovering the latest in cutting-edge medical technologies. This year’s conference was the thought leaders forum for medical device innovators who design, develop, or commercialize devices filled with interesting conversations to get creative juices flowing and learn from fellow experts.

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                                                                      • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

                                                                        SOLIDWORKS Optimization: Preparing for SOLIDWORKS 2018

                                                                        Christa Prokos by Christa Prokos on June 25, 2018

                                                                        SOLIDWORKS optimizationThe release of SOLIDWORKS 2018 brought exciting new capabilities and enhanced features to SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software. If you’re preparing to upgrade to SOLIDWORKS 2018 (or update your software in general) there are certain hardware requirements you’ll need to meet first, as well as considerations on how to best use SOLIDWORKS moving forward. Here’s what you need to know.

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                                                                        • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                                                                          How to create Manual Configurations and Design Tables in SOLIDWORKS

                                                                          Madison Bryce by Madison Bryce on June 21, 2018

                                                                          manual configurationHave you ever needed to create a series of parts that were similar but slightly different in a few features, dimensions, colors, etc? In SOLIDWORKS, you can easily create a part then configure it to the exact specifications necessary for the other parts without the tedious recreation process. In this blog, we will use K’NEX pieces to demonstrate this process.

                                                                          This is the first in a series of two blogs based on configurations modeled by K’NEX. Today we will discuss how to manually configure K’NEX connectors and then how to use a design table in SOLIDWORKS to configure K’NEX rods. In part two, we will discuss how to configure a K’NEX assembly and how to use tools like DriveWorks to create configurations. Let’s get started.

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                                                                          • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, CAM

                                                                            The Difference Between SOLIDWORKS CAM Software: CAM Standard Versus CAM Professional

                                                                            Amanda Osbun by Amanda Osbun on June 19, 2018

                                                                            SOLIDWORKS CAM softwareEver since the release of the new integrated CAM solution for SOLIDWORKS, people often ask, “what is the difference between the SOLIDWORKS CAM software packages: SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard and SOLIDWORKS CAM Professional?” In this blog, I’m going to entirely run through both packages to help you determine which SOLIDWORKS CAM software package is best for you. Let’s dive in.

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                                                                            • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TRAINING

                                                                              How to Get Free SOLIDWORKS Certification Exams for Subscription Customers

                                                                              Angelle Erickson by Angelle Erickson on June 18, 2018

                                                                              SOLIDWORKS Certification ExamCompleting a SOLIDWORKS Certification Exam and obtaining a Professional SOLIDWORKS Certification is a great achievement. Not only does it shine proudly on your resume, but it also shows employers, decision makers, and fellow team members your level of skill and knowledge of the software. Companies often have certain strategies and standards set as a business to help stay ahead of the competition and having a reliable, knowledgeable, and certified staff is appealing to potential customers.

                                                                              Did you know that if you have an active subscription with SOLIDWORKS you can take a free SOLIDWORKS Certification Exam? SOLIDWORKS offers a variety of different exams each focusing in a different area of the entire portfolio. Keep reading to find out what SOLIDWORKS certification exams are available and how to start testing your skills.

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                                                                              • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                                                                                SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation Tutorial: Fluid Flow Problems

                                                                                Drew Buchanan by Drew Buchanan on June 15, 2018

                                                                                Flow Simulation tutorial

                                                                                Testing fluid flow problems used to be a fairly complicated and difficult process to execute. With the advent of technology, you can now run fluid flow problems virtually. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has been around for the past 30 years, and it has become even more user-friendly and powerful than it was 30 years ago.

                                                                                One of the most common questions I hear from users new to CFD is how do I get started? In this SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation tutorial, I am laying out how to prepare a model for a fluid flow problem. Let's get started. 

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                                                                                • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, CAD

                                                                                  3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Switching CAD Tools

                                                                                  Madison Bryce by Madison Bryce on June 14, 2018

                                                                                  Switching CAD toolsSwitching to a different CAD software may seem like a daunting task. Not only is it essential to evaluate your company and its personal needs to decide if switching is right for you, but here are three questions that you should ask yourself before switching to SOLIDWORKS: Does switching to SOLIDWORKS make good business sense? Is SOLIDWORKS a software my team can easily learn? How would I go about transferring my legacy data?

                                                                                  In this blog, we will discuss these topics in three sections starting with the business sense of SOLIDWORKS and how the company and its value-added resellers work for you. Second, we’ll discuss the learning curve and ways to minimize it. Finally, we will consider the transfer of data and how new versions of SOLIDWORKS changed the game in Multi-CAD tools. Let’s get started.

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                                                                                  • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING, STRATASYS

                                                                                    Medical Device Makers use 3D Printing to Save Time, Money, and Relationships

                                                                                    Bruce White by Bruce White on June 13, 2018

                                                                                    3D printed medical devices“I feel the need for speed.” - Maverick (Tom Cruise) in the film “Top Gun”. This cool line from a slick movie about fighter pilots in the 1980’s could well be the battle cry of medical device makers both large and small today.

                                                                                    For Syqe, an Israeli startup, 3D Printing’s rapid prototyping capability was important to the firm from its inception. Perry Davidson, the medical founder and CEO of Syqe, figured another ‘excruciating slide presentation’ was not the way to win initial financial support for the firm, which makes sophisticated inhalers for controlled doses of pain medication, initially medical marijuana.

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                                                                                    • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                      How Much Does SOLIDWORKS Cost? Everything You Need to Know About SOLIDWORKS Pricing

                                                                                      Christa Prokos by Christa Prokos on June 11, 2018

                                                                                      SOLIDWORKS priceAre you interested in SOLIDWORKS software but don’t know where to get started? You’re not alone.

                                                                                      There are many factors to consider when making a new software purchase, including pricing, functionality, and overall fit. We’ve broken down the different SOLIDWORKS products available for purchase and the differences between them to help you make the right selection for your needs. Here’s what you need to know.

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                                                                                      • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, SOLIDWORKS PDM

                                                                                        Improve Your Archery Game with SOLIDWORKS PDM Tasks

                                                                                        Peer Larson by Peer Larson on June 8, 2018

                                                                                        SOLIDWORKS PDM Tasks If you’re like me, then you like archery. There’s a lot to like about it - the serenity of nature, the simplicity of a bow and arrow, and the cool morning breeze as you line up your shot. While there are many of you out there that are far better at it than I am, we can all agree that practice is the key item that makes good archery possible. Also, a great excuse to do it more.

                                                                                        So how does SOLIDWORKS PDM play into this? As it turns out, there are a number of factors that can get in the way of our precious practice time. One of them being work; specifically tedious and repetitive work. We’ve all dreaded those late nights and weekends where we have to open hundreds or thousands of drawings, check a standard or property, and make a simple adjustment all before release day (or ISO inspection day) - usually Monday morning. If this is a nightmare you’ve experienced, are soon dreading, or simply don’t wish to encounter you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started.

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                                                                                        • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TRAINING

                                                                                          SOLIDWORKS Online Training: Here’s What to Expect

                                                                                          Madison Bryce by Madison Bryce on June 5, 2018

                                                                                          SOLIDWORKS Essentials TrainingBefore enrolling as an engineering student at the University of Michigan, I had used CAD software for several years. During that time I’ve experienced formal classroom settings, informal settings, as well as learning the software by simply clicking around until I found a solution. Even though I eventually accomplished what I was trying to do, this method was time-consuming and didn’t always yield the most effective solution.

                                                                                          I recently had the opportunity expand my skills by taking a take a two-week SOLIDWORKS online training class called SOLIDWORKS Essentials. The experience I’ve had in the past with online learning involved recorded lectures, online classes, and tutorials so when I logged in the first day of the course, I expected a similar experience. Instead, I was introduced to a whole new way of learning.

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                                                                                          • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                                                                                            SOLIDWORKS Tips for Large Assemblies That Are Slow to Work With

                                                                                            Toby Schnaars by Toby Schnaars on June 1, 2018

                                                                                            SOLIDWORKS Large Assemblies In my SOLIDWORKS Large Assemblies blog series, I’ve talked about how large assemblies can be slow to open, slow to work with, and slow to save. Earlier in the series, we opened the assembly with a bunch of older version files and I was opening it from a network and it took seven minutes and thirty seconds to open. I went through the assembly and moved all the files to a location where they were getting the fastest possible data connection, opened all the files in a resolved state and made sure we had read/write access, we looked for any files with an unusually large file size and shrank those files, we resolved any errors in the assembly, sub-assemblies, and part files, and then we saved the assembly and all parts in the current version of SOLIDWORKS. After that, we closed the assembly and we toggled on the option to load components lightweight. I ended up cutting the total time down to just about twenty seconds just by following the steps talked about in previous blogs.

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

                                                                                              Antero 800NA: The High-Performance Thermoplastic

                                                                                              Lisa Hannon by Lisa Hannon on May 30, 2018

                                                                                              Antero 800NA With the rapid adoption of 3D printing across industries, companies are continuously looking for new ways to incorporate additive manufacturing into their workflows and create more efficient processes. While in the past chemicals and other harsh environments would make 3D printing impossible, today companies like Stratasys are creating new materials to meet the requirements of almost every application. Stratasys’ most recent release, Antero 800NA, is a heat and chemical resistant PEKK-based thermoplastic that manufacturers can use to cut costs and design more quickly.

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                                                                                              • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                                                                                                How to Leverage Animation Data from SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD Within SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional

                                                                                                Matt Haywood by Matt Haywood on May 25, 2018

                                                                                                SOLIDWORKS Visualize ProfessionalSOLIDWORKS Visualize, introduced to the SOLIDWORKS product suite in 2016, currently offers the option to export animation files from SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD to the SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional package. If you are running SOLIDWORKS Visualize Standard, it will NOT be possible for you to render animation files. SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional is a requirement.

                                                                                                While it is possible to fully define your animation within the SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional interface, you might save some time by exporting your existing animation from SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD. You might also find that you are most familiar with the SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD commands for creating animations. In this blog, we will take a simple assembly from SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, create a simple animation, and export to SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional with just a few easy steps.

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                                                                                                • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                  Comparing SOLIDWORKS Packages: Standard vs Professional or Premium

                                                                                                  Christa Prokos by Christa Prokos on May 22, 2018

                                                                                                  OLIDWORKS Standard vs Professional or PremiumWhether you’re just getting started with buying a license of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, or wondering if you should upgrade from SOLIDWORKS Standard to Professional or Premium, it’s important to take the time to make sure you choose the best SOLIDWORKS package for your needs. This blog will give you a helpful overview of SOLIDWORKS Standard vs Professional or Premium and how each package is different.

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                                                                                                  • POSTED IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

                                                                                                    PostProcess Announces Expanded Channel Partner Coverage Across North America

                                                                                                    Angelle Erickson by Angelle Erickson on May 22, 2018

                                                                                                    PostProcessPostProcess Technologies, based out of Buffalo, New York, is the pioneer of automated and intelligent post-printing solutions for industrial 3D printing. They provide solutions that remove the bottleneck of additive manufacturing - post-printing. Fortunately, they’ve made the process of removing supports and surface finishing printed parts easier, more consistent, and more efficient.

                                                                                                    Today PostProcess Technologies announced the expansion of their channel partner coverage in North America, securing agreements with AdvancedTek, Cimetrix, Fisher Unitech, and Tech-Labs.

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