Jeff's MCAD Blogging

Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has over 35 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design and engineering. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CG, CAD, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design community. As editor of ShareCG, … More »

Skipping School To Innovate

 
June 27th, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

During the course of a year I get the opportunity to attend several events and meet a lot of new people involved with various aspects of design, engineering, and manufacturing. This week I attended an event called “3D Printing Day @ CSU.” Held on the campus of Colorado State University, it showcased the Idea-2-Product Laboratory, the brainchild of its director, and our good friend, Dr. David Prawel. It was a combination seminar series and tours of the Lab where a number of 3D printers were demonstrated.

One of the most interesting and compelling seminar talks was given by Easton LaChappelle, a 17-year-old from Mancos, CO who graduated from high school last month. His talk was on his experience with 3D printing, prosthetics, and telerobotics

Easton LaChappelle – Montage

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SIMULIA Simulates 3D Heart That Helps Define Future Diagnosis and Treatment

 
June 24th, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

For a truly unique spin on solving an age-old problem, Dassault Systemes recently unveiled the first 3D realistic simulation model of an entire human heart. Developed with a multidisciplinary team of heart experts to help combat cardiovascular disease, the Living Heart Project is launching the next frontier in diagnosing, treating, and preventing heart conditions through personalized, 3D virtual models.

The Living Heart project, launched in January 2014, unites cardiovascular researchers and educators with medical device manufacturers, regulatory agencies, and practicing cardiologists on a shared mission to develop and validate personalized digital human heart models and establish a unified foundation for cardiovascular in silico medicine. These models can serve as a core technology base for education and training, medical device design, testing and regulatory science—thereby creating a path for rapidly translating cutting edge innovations into improved patient care.

At the center of the project is a 3D heart model powered by SIMULIA applications to develop a comprehensive 3D heart model, capturing the electrical, mechanical, and fluid behavior of the heart in a realistic way. Other DS products used for the project included SolidWorks for modeling the heart and 3DVIA was used for animations and demonstrations.

SIMULIA Introduces the Living Heart Project

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PTC Live Global 2014: IoT and PTC Creo 3.0 Take Center Stage

 
June 19th, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

Along with over 2,000 other attendees, we just returned from the PTC Live Global 2014 conference and exhibition in Boston. It was a very good show at a very good venue — the Boston Convention Center.

The two biggest things we noted at the conference were PTC’s involvment and commitment to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the introduction of PTC Creo 3.0. We also noted a more upbeat crowd attending the show this year than in years past. The attendees we spoke with said the lighter attitude was due to PTC’s announcements, PTC’s corporate direction, and an economy that continues to slowly improve.

PTC Technology Update – PTC Live Global 2014 Keynote

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CAD/PDM Software Evaluation: Solid Edge/Teamcenter Rapid Start

 
June 13th, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of a series of four evaluation articles of CAD/PDM systems for SMBs.

Overview

Siemens’s Teamcenter Rapid Start is a product data management (PDM) solution that is preconfigured, yet extensible. As a preconfigured deployment option of Teamcenter, it is intended to address the most common PDM needs of SMBs. With its “simplified” installation process, Teamcenter Rapid Start applies preconfigured best practices to common engineering tasks and processes for SMBs.

In a stand-alone environment, all server and all client applications are installed on each machine. In a shared environment, server applications are installed on a single server. Each machine has network access to the server and has only the client applications installed.

The video that follows shows how to get started with Teamcenter Rapid Start PDM, and includes demos on CAD data management, document management, and process management.

Teamcenter Rapid Start

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RAPID 2014: New Developments in 3D Printing (and Scanning)

 
June 11th, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

I’m in Detroit this week attending the RAPID Conference & Exhibition produced by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).  The RAPID conference was co-located as part of a bigger event called the Big M — Manufacturing Convergence. The overall theme of the manufacturing event is “Shaping the Future of Manufacturing.” This theme was especially appropriate for RAPID and its focus on 3D printing and scanning.

This is the best attended RAPID event ever with well over 2,500 attendees from 27 countries.

I’ve seen a number of interesting things on the exhibit floor, but have been most intrigued by a new emerging class of hybrid 3D printers that employ both additive manufacturing (AM) and subtractive (conventional machining) methods. Some of the hybrid 3D printers included the following:

Hybrid (Additive & Subtractive Manufacturing) Machine by DMG Mori 

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3DCIC 2014 Sound Bites and Snippets

 
June 4th, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

Last week I attended the 11th 3D Collaboration & Interoperability Congress (3DCIC) 2014 as one of the event’s media sponsors. It focused on promoting and improving collaboration and data interoperability throughout the product lifecycle.


Ted Hall, the presenter of the Day 1 3DCIC Keynote Speech is also the inventor of ShopBot desktop CNC machine

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3DCIC 2014: Driving Product Development with Collaboration, Simulation, and Integration

 
June 2nd, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

Last week I attended the 11th 3D Collaboration & Interoperability Congress (3DCIC) in Colorado Springs, CO as one of the event’s media sponsors. The three-day event focused on promoting and improving collaboration and data interoperability throughout the product lifecycle — from concept through retirement.

For the first time this year, NAFEMS (the international association of the engineering modeling, analysis, and simulation community) held its fourth NAFEMS Americas conference, co-locating and coinciding with 3DCIC 2014.

CIC distinguishes itself by being a vendor-neutral event that addresses collaboration and interoperability across several industries for product development, simulation/analysis, manufacturing, and overall business purposes.

The theme of 3DCIC 2014, which attracted more than 250 attendees, was “Driving Product Development with Collaboration, Simulation, and Integration.” Progressive organizations have realized that the integration of design, analysis/simulation, manufacturing, downstream processes, and the supply chain are vital components for keeping them competitive and profitable. It’s really the underlying basis of the sought-after nirvana of PLM. This was also the focus of 3DCIC 2014 – the notion that collaboration is totally dependent on interoperability between disparate groups and processes.

Although it was challenging to carve away time during the conference, I was able to sit down with David Prawel, Founder and President of Longview Advisors and 3DCIC for his take on the conference, as well as the current state of collaboration and interoperability.

David Prawel

David Prawel, Founder and President of 3DCIC

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Software Evaluation: SolidWorks & SolidWorks Enterprise PDM

 
May 29th, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of a series of four evaluation articles of CAD/PDM systems for SMBs.

Overview

SolidWorks Enterprise PDM is one of two PDM products offered by DS SolidWorks and is a separate purchase. SolidWorks Workgroup PDM is available integrated inside of SolidWorks Premium and Professional.

Data cards are crucial elements for managing design data with EPDM because they contain metadata about the files, folders, items, and templates in the vault database. Data card information is stored centrally, so users can search and locate information about files, folders, items, and templates without needing local copies.

By adding controls such as text fields, list boxes, check boxes, and tabs, data cards are used for managing the design process.

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Book Review: Wohlers Report 2014

 
May 22nd, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

An organization that we know quite well, Wohlers Associates, Inc., recently released the Wohlers Report 2014, the company’s annual detailed analysis of additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing worldwide. According to the Report, in 2014, interest in 3D printing reached an unprecedented level and exceeded the $3 billion milestone. The phenomenal attention to AM began in 2012, and it was sudden. As Greg Morris of GE Aviation said, “It was like someone flipped a switch.” Governments, major corporations, investors, and the mainstream media developed an insatiable appetite for additive manufacturing, and it occurred quickly.

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Wohlers Report 2014

As it has from the beginning, Wohlers Report 2014 covers virtually every aspect of additive manufacturing, including its history, applications, underlying technologies, processes, manufacturers, and materials. It documents significant developments that have occurred in the past year, R&D and collaboration activities in government, academia, industry, and summarizes the worldwide state of the industry. This edition is the report’s 19th consecutive year of publication.

Wohlers Associates believes the industry will continue strong growth over the next several years. It will be fueled by sales of under $5,000 “personal” 3D printers, as well as the expanded use of the technology for the production of parts, especially metal, that go into final products. “The industry is experiencing change that we have not seen in 20+ years of tracking it,” stated Tim Caffrey, senior consultant at the company and one of two principal authors of the new report. He added, “What’s most exciting is that we have barely scratched the surface of what’s possible.”

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CAD/PDM Software Evaluation: Autodesk Inventor/Vault Professional

 
May 16th, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a series of four evaluation articles of CAD/PDM systems for SMBs.

Overview

Autodesk Vault Profession is one of three levels available from the company. Also available are Vault Basic and Vault Workgroup.

Vault Professional is a standalone application providing access to vault data. Integrated add-in clients for CAD and non-CAD applications are used to manage data. When working on files managed by any vault-type system, it is important to note that copies of files that are stored in the vault are checked out. Files are never directly edited in the vault; these files are read-only until they are checked out. In effect, copies of files are checked out of the vault for editing. In a vaulting scheme, a file can be checked out only by one user at a time. Changes made to checked out files are sent back to the server when a file is checked in.

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