January 28th, 2013 by Jeff Rowe
The MCADCafe crew just returned from SolidWorks World 2013 in Orlando. During the conference we saw, heard, and experienced many interesting things, but one of the most intriguing was SmartBird, from automation technology supplier, Festo.
Toward the end of the second day’s general session at SolidWorks World, Elias Knubben, Head of Corporate Bionic Projects at Festo took the stage to discuss the work his group does at Festo. One of the projects he discussed was SmartBird, a radio-controlled ultralight flight model with excellent aerodynamic qualities and extreme agility for a robotic “bird.”
He gave a good presentation on the project, but the exciting part was when an actual working model was brought on stage and sent soaring over the crowd. It flew several times around the auditorium and came to rest when the controller steered SmartBird back toward the stage into Elias’ outstretched arms — he caught it in mid-air to end the flight.
This bionic/robotic “bird” was inspired by the herring gull, and can start, fly, and land autonomously – with no additional drive mechanism. Its wings not only beat up and down, but also twist at specific angles for specific flight characteristics. This is achieved with an active articulated torsional drive unit, which in combination with a complex control system attains a high level of efficiency during flight operations. In other words, Festo has succeeded in creating an energy-efficient technical adaptation of a flight model from nature.
With SmartBird, Festo has deciphered the flight of birds – an age-old dream realized that I along with the rest of the audience found fascinating.
January 23rd, 2013 by Jeff Rowe
Are you actively involved with or just plain interested in the mechanical design workflow from concept through manufacturing? If you are, then make MechSpot.com your electro-mechanical resource and community.
MechSpot.com is a new, innovative, and unique online community that is building a collaborative knowledge base for mechanical design and engineering.
Anyone is welcome to join the MechSpot.com community – students, schools, educators, professionals, companies, organizations, DIYers, hobbyists, and enthusiasts.
Receive the benefits of Mechspot membership including peer feedback, unlimited uploads and downloads, a growing creative collaborative community, streaming video, news, jobs, your own customizable portfolio, and much more!
Why should you join MechSpot.com?” Just some of the compelling reasons include:
Your unique URL will be www.mechspot.com/CompannyName (This is your login name – just like it is on Facebook and YouTube.). Mechspot will replace your YouTube and Facebook pages, because it’s just more effective for reaching your audience.
For example, YouTube only allows you to upload and present videos, and these video pages contain advertisements. Mechspot, on the other hand, has no advertisements and allows you to present a wide range of digital content. This ability lets you tell an entire story with videos that present company and product overviews, success stories, tutorials, etc. You can supplement your story with white papers, brochures, specifications, and other collateral material, show off your visualizations, and offer trial software for download.
As a second example, Facebook uses your page, which you pay them to advertise, to place their advertisements on, and of course, doesn’t offer any of the wide range of digital content placement that we do.
Both of these social sites, by their nature, have general audiences and are not targeted toward the mechanical engineering and manufacturing groups you want to reach.
MechSpot.com is absolutely free to sign up for and use. Everything on the site is 100% free to view and download.
MechSpot.com’s official launch date is January 28, 2013, but you can become a member right now. After the site launches, additional functionality will continually be added, including enhanced social connectivity, mobile apps (For Apple, Android, and Windows), and a member-customizable newsletter. And that’s only the beginning – MechSpot.com is a dynamic community that will grow along with you.
Sign up and come join us today!
We hope to see you online!
Explore & Learn with us!
January 17th, 2013 by Jeff Rowe
MechSpot.com is an innovative and unique online community for building a collaborative knowledge base for mechanical design and engineering.
Are you involved with or interested in the mechanical design flow from concept to manufacturing? If you are, then make Mechspot your mech-community home base.
All are welcome to join the MechSpot.com community – students, schools, educators, professionals, companies, organizations, DIYers, hobbyists, and enthusiasts. There is something for everyone at MechSpot.com!
Experience and contribute to a growing collaborative knowledge base.
Receive the benefits of Mechspot membership including peer feedback, unlimited uploads and downloads, a growing creative collaborative community, streaming video, news, jobs, your own customizable portfolio, and much more!
You might be asking yourself, “Why should I join MechSpot.com?” The following are just some of the reasons why the MechSpot community is the right place for you and your work:
Another question you might be asking yourself is, “Does MechSpot cost anything?” The answer is, no. It is absolutely free to sign up for an account and use. Everything on the site is 100% free to view and download, drawing a large potential audience, and giving your work the exposure it deserves.
So, what are you waiting for? Join us today and sign up now for your free account.
MechSpot.com’s official launch date is January 28, 2013, but you can become a member right now. After the site launches, additional functionality will be added, including enhanced social connectivity and a member-customizable newsletter, and that’s only the beginning. MechSpot is a dynamic community that will evolve along with our members’ needs.
If you’ll be attending SolidWorks World 2013 in Orlando, stop by and see us in Booth #308 for a personal demonstration of Mechspot.com and how you can benefit from being a part of this exciting new venture. Sign up and come join us today!
Explore & Learn!
January 10th, 2013 by Jeff Rowe
3D Systems Acquiring Geomagic
3D Systems announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Geomagic, Inc., a leading global provider of 3D authoring solutions including design, sculpt and scan software tools that are used to create 3D content and inspect products throughout the entire design and manufacturing process. This acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close during the first quarter of 2013, after those conditions are met. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The combination of Geomagic’s powerful sculpting, modeling, scanning and inspecting software tools with 3D Systems’ portfolio strengthens its 3D authoring platform and positions the company for accelerated growth in the fast-growing, 3D content-to-print space. The transaction adds complementary products and technology, increases the company’s reseller coverage globally and is expected to be accretive to its non-GAAP earnings in the first full year following the completion of transaction.
“Geomagic represents the perfect strategic fit for us and we will be thrilled to welcome 3D pioneer and Geomagic Founder and CEO Ping Fu as our Chief Strategy Officer once the deal has closed,” said Abe Reichental, President and CEO, 3D Systems. “Our complementary capabilities in product development, channel coverage and marketing combined with greater efficiencies are sure to result in more affordable and user friendly solutions that will delight our customers and could present attractive long term shareholder value. In line with that, we intend to expand the range of our 3D authoring solutions further into new manufacturing and consumer applications and concurrently maintain and enhance the existing Geomagic and Rapidform product lines.”
“We have worked with 3D Systems for many years to accelerate adoption of 3D content-to-print solutions and believe that now is the right time to combine our efforts to further democratize access to design and 3D printing,” said Ping Fu, Founder and CEO of Geomagic. “Joining 3D Systems provides us with the scale, resources and strategic platform to realize our shared vision of delivering functional, affordable and extensible 3D authoring solutions for the benefit of professional designers and engineers, as well as the exciting maker’s movement.”
Strategic and Financial Benefits
Bend Not Break – A New Book by Geomagic CEO, Ping Fu
Geomagic is proud to announce that our CEO and co-founder, Ping Fu, is releasing her book today. “ Bend Not Break” (Penguin) is a story of personal resilience and of business success by someone who is almost an accidental entrepreneur. A heartbreaking history living through Mao’s cultural revolution, her family is forcibly split up, and an 8 year old Ping is raising and protecting her 4 year old sister. Exiled from China in her early twenties, with no money and little English, Ping manages to make it through with waitressing jobs and university in the U.S., a focus on computer science education and unexpected encounters with innovators and entrepreneurs. From those combined experiences, Ping created an innovative and industry leading 3D software company, Geomagic, which delivers 3D imaging and design technologies to the world.
New York Post, Dec 30 2012
“Today, Ping Fu is the CEO of tech firm Geomagic, which she founded with her husband. She’s come a long way. At 8, her family in Shanghai was torn apart by the Cultural Revolution — she and her younger sister sent to a re-education camp in another city. Ping was forced to eat what she calls “bitter meals” of dirt, animal dung and tree bark. She was raped at 10, a political prisoner at 25. Finally deported to America, she arrived her with just $80 and knowing almost no English. Her success at the American Dream is a real triumph.”
Booklist – Starred Review
“Fu speaks to the need for humanity to practice love in business relations in order to avoid inflicting pain on future generations. This well-written tale of courage, compassion, and undaunted curiosity reveals the life of a genuine hero who remains committed to making the world a better place.”
“The book reflects the tone of its author: clear, honest and unassuming.”
“Ping’s eloquent prose and remarkable attitude shine through in every word—and her compelling story will remind more than one reader to be thankful for what they have.”
Ping and her book will be featured soon on Bloomberg news, BBC world News and more across the coming weeks. To order a copy please go to: http://www.bendnotbreak.com/purchase.html
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
What a month it’s been for Geomagic and its Founder and CEO, Ping Fu:
The acquisition of Geomagic by 3D Systems continues to consolidate the 3D scanning software sector by yet another player. The acquisition of Geomagic comes on the heels of a competitor. Just three months ago, 3D Systems acquired Rapidform, another global provider of 3D scan-to-CAD and inspection software tools.
With the additions of Rapidform and now Geomagic, 3D Systems has secured a cornerstone of its self-proclaimed fifth growth initiative: “To create a seamless, digital scan, design and print platform for the benefit of its customers. This important growth initiative is consistent with the company’s overall drive to democratize and deliver integrated 3D content-to-print solutions. Rapidform broadens 3D Systems’ range of capabilities with complementary products and technology.”
What all this means is that 3D Systems now has a greater ability to capture, process, and print 3D objects. That’s a pretty wide spectrum of capabilities, but one that is tightly tied together from both the software and hardware sides.
Like seemingly all sectors of engineering software, and increasingly hardware, market consolidation marches on. How this will impact current and future customers remains to be seen. However, as I’ve said in the past, don’t expect this to be the end of 3D Systems’ acquisition strategy.
With the acquisition, Ping Fu’s title and functions changes from CEO to Chief Strategy Officer, but I’m pretty confident that she’ll continue to have tremendous influence on Geomagic’s direction and purpose in the 3D Systems scheme.
I’ve read excerpts of the book, Bend Not Break, and have found it to be both interesting and inspiring. Ping Fu came to the U.S from China in 1983 on a student visa with no virtually money or English language skills. She went on to earn BS and MS degrees in computer science, as well as co-found Geomagic in 1997. At the time she wanted to develop software that could take 3D scanner data, process it, and output it on 3D printers. Her ultimate goal was to do for 3D printing what Adobe did for desktop printing/publishing.
Overall, it’s a fascinating story of the birth of an industry, including all of its triumphs, innovations, as well as roadblocks. Through it all, though, she has proven to be a very smart technology proponent, but also very grounded with unshakeable integrity. Although I’ve only read portions of the book, I am anxious to read it in its entirety and highly recommend it, even if you’re not necessarily a “tech-oriented” reader.
Lastly, being introduced later this month, Geomagic Spark enters a competitive market, but as unique 3D software that combines a live 3D scanning interface, 3D point and mesh editing capabilities, modeling design, assembly modeling, and 2D drawing creation in one comprehensive application. While traditional CAD packages have modeling capabilities, (with few exceptions) they lack the tools to process 3D scan data into usable 3D for modeling. Geomagic Spark, however, incorporates 3D scan data functionality, integrating Geomagic’s scanning technology with direct modeling capabilities, using the SpaceClaim platform. With this combination, you can create accurate, manufacturable solid model parts and assemblies using combined scan and CAD data in the same application. Partial scan data also can be used for creating models.
I’ve met with Ping Fu a few times over the years and have always found her to be intelligent, engaging, and honest. We wish her and Geomagic the best in future endeavors going forward.
Product and Company News
VCollab and intrinSIM announce new partnership with MSC Software CorporationDassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Platform Adopted by Olympus Technologies Singapore to Accelerate Medical Device Time to Market
Related MCAD News
Corporate Moves, Views, and News
December 31st, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
Well, another year is just about over, and what a year it’s been for the MCAD industry. Let’s qualify that statement, though. Busy, yes. Innovative and disruptive? With relatively few exceptions, not so much.
Granted, a lot went on, but the magnitude of the events just seemed smaller this year than in recent years past.
With that said, let’s take a brief look at some of the major things that did transpire in 2012:
There were a number of incremental technological advances, but the two that really caught our eye this year were:
Direct modeling that continues to attract proponents from a list of MCAD vendors that continues to grow every year, and 2012 was no exception.
Reverse engineering and 3D modeling contained in one package — Geomagic Spark — an innovative scan-to-cad platform that incorporates SpaceClaim as its CAD engine.
Autodesk acquired HSMWorks (CAM software),Inforbix (PLM software). To complement its “virtual prototyping” initiative, Autodesk also acquired Qontext and its enterprise social collaboration software technology.
3D Systems continued its buying binge that began a couple years ago by acquiring Z Corp., Vidar, Rapidform, Viztu Technologies, FreshFiber, and a couple major service providers.
PTC acquired Servigistics for its service lifecycle management (SLM) software that could change how traditional PLM is viewed.
New Computing Platforms
Although not really new, tablets continued to make their way into the tool palette for designers and engineers. They are still used mostly for viewing and markup, but some interesting sketching, conceptual design, and rudimentary simulation showed up on tables in 2012. The future of tablet engineering software applications is tied closely to the next category, the cloud.
It wasn’t all that long ago that an MCAD executive referred to the cloud as “mere vapor,” but that is rapidly changing as real engineering applications become available.
Autodesk 360 is a cloud computing platform suite of services that include PLM, simulation, rendering, and conceptual design. Will these cloud-based services ultimately replace traditional applications that reside on users’ computers? That remains to be seen, although Autodesk has not made a definitive statement one way or the other.
Kenesto is a cloud-based service for social business and process collaboration. A socially oriented PLM, if you will that is an interesting approach. With Michael Payne and Steve Bodnar on board, this company and technology could be poised to go places.
This segment of the larger rapid prototyping/additive manufacturing industry really took off, thanks largely to MakerBot’s Replicator 2 machine. 3D printers distinguish themselves by being lower in cost (less than $5,000), but also (for the most part) producing less than stellar parts.
A New Kid on the Block?
Several of the founders and early employees of SolidWorks, including Jon Hirschtick, Dave Corcoran, Scott Harris, and John McEleney are back together again. They have formed a company with a venture known as Belmont Technology. What they are up to remains to be seen, but there is strong speculation that they are developing an innovative approach to 3D design (no surprise there). Absolutely no details have been disclosed to date, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be a cloud-based platform. This will be one to watch as an encore from some very smart guys.
That’s anybody’s guess, but look for huge news from DS SolidWorks, starting with the product announcement(s) it is likely to make at its annual user conference in late January. Expect to see more of a presence of Solid Edge in the MCAD market. Autodesk should make its intentions more clearly known on its future software offerings — whether they will be on-premise, cloud-based, or a combination of the two. 3D printing will continue to proliferate because of prices that continue to plummet and quality that incrementally improves. Interoperability will continue to be a major challenge for mixed CAD environments. Look for more native engineering software available on the Mac platform.
Whatever happens in 2013, the technical/engineering software industry will continue to be a fascinating and vital place to be, and I’m glad to be a part of it.
December 20th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
We have seen a lot of interesting things happen in the MCAD industry this year – everything from acquisitions to new products. One of the things that I’ll remember this year for is an especially innovative product that was announced this month and will be introduced in January – Geomagic Spark.
Geomagic Spark enters a competitive market, but as unique 3D software that combines a live 3D scanning interface, 3D point and mesh editing capabilities, modeling design, assembly modeling, and 2D drawing creation in one comprehensive application. While traditional CAD packages have modeling capabilities, (with few exceptions) they lack the tools to process 3D scan data into usable 3D for modeling. Geomagic Spark, however, incorporates 3D scan data functionality, integrating Geomagic’s scanning technology with direct modeling capabilities, using the SpaceClaim platform. With this combination, you can create accurate, manufacturable solid model parts and assemblies using combined scan and CAD data in the same application. Partial scan data also can be used for creating models.
Geomagic Spark is well-suited for engineers and manufacturers that design in 3D from existing objects or those that need to finish or modify scanned parts.
Geomagic Spark can handle scan and mesh data from both parts and assemblies
Geomagic Spark is the result of a collaborative effort between Geomagic and SpaceClaim, a company known for its 3D direct modeling capabilities. The companies’ partnership began when Geomagic introduced its initial SpaceClaim integration in the 2012 release of Geomagic Studio. Based on user feedback, both realized that a fully integrated application was viable and could change the landscape of designing directly from 3D scans. This resulted in the creation of Geomagic Spark.
“Geomagic Spark, in a single application, introduces a whole new paradigm for the capture/modify/make process. It can be used by CAD professionals but, more importantly, by the millions of manufacturing engineers who are not CAD experts,” said Tom Kurke, president and COO, Geomagic. “The high level of support, technical expertise and the quality API from SpaceClaim allowed Geomagic Spark to come to market quickly.”
Geomagic Spark’s integrated package includes point cloud, mesh, and CAD modeling in the same user interface. You can scan directly into Geomagic Spark or load an existing point cloud or polygon mesh. From there you can choose from the range of automated tools used to convert and edit data into a polygon mesh: sampling, noise reduction, wrap, mesh simplification, etc. Geomagic Spark’s solid modeling tools simplify the process of creating solid geometry from the mesh, with curve, surface, and solid extraction. Once a solid model is created, you can compare the solid model to the mesh upon which it is based, identifying areas of deviation. 2D drawings with annotations and dimensions are available and can be created interactively with the 3D data. This combination of 3D data processing and CAD functionality promotes process efficiency in reverse engineering, production-focused manufacturing, prototyping, concept modeling and creation, documentation, and production.
Geomagic Spark makes scanning and designing in 3D a more straightforward process. With SpaceClaim’s direct modeling you can interact with models without the complexities and limitations of a multi-level feature tree.
Geomagic Spark follows the typical Geomagic workflow logic, starting with Spark and transitioning over to SpaceClaim in a seamless process under the same UI.
Some of the features in Geomagic Spark include:
According to Evan Fader, Geomagic regional manager, Geomagic Spark was not created to replace other Geomagic products, such as Qualify and Studio, but rather, to complement them. In a nutshell, Spark is intended to quickly reverse engineer and model parts and assemblies. Beyond availability as a standalone product, Geomagic Spark also will be available as part of Geomagic’s new Enterprise Bundle, which will also include Geomagic Studio and Geomagic Qualify.
When it hits the market early next year on January 28, 2013, the price for Geomagic Spark will be $9,900, plus $1,800 maintenance.
I’m on the list for a software trial when Geomagic Spark is released next month. Based just on a brief Web demo, this is one I’m looking forward to because it could really be a game changer for directly converting scanned data into 3D models.
December 11th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
With SolidWorks 2013 now available, the roll out of partner products is just beginning. One of the first we’ll cover is InspectionXpert for SolidWorks 2013, an add-in for SolidWorks 2013.
InspectionXpert for SolidWorks is first article and in-process inspection software that automatically creates bubbled print and inspection reports for quality control inspection purposes. This automation minimizes time-consuming, error-prone processes for (according to the company) a time savings of more than 90%.
Integration into SolidWorks ensures direct access to the necessary dimensions, tolerances, units, and custom properties of SolidWorks 3D models and 2D drawings, so ballooned drawings and inspection reports can be created quickly.
InspectionXpert’s Characteristic Tree displays the dimensions, geometric tolerances, notes, hole callouts, weld and surface finish symbols extracted directly from SolidWorks drawings. Filtering capabilities enable specification of which types of drawing annotations to include in an inspection form. This alone can be a big time saver.
Inspection characteristic data is saved in a SolidWorks file for reuse or subsequent updates. InspectonXpert revision changes require just a refresh of an inspection project with InspectionXpert when a revision change is made. Accept the changes to re-balloon a drawing or model, as well as export the updates to a new inspection report form. Another time saver.
InspectionXpert integrates with quality systems including a direct publish to Net-Inspect and synchronization with CEBOS MQ-1. Because InspectionXpert exports to Excel/CSV inspection data can be imported into almost many database or other software programs, including CMM, ERP, MRP, etc.
I’ve reviewed InspectioXpert in the past and have found it to be one of the easiest to use and comprehensive first article inspection programs available.
The price for InspectionXpert for Solidworks 2013 is $1,395 for the license and $279 for first year maintenance — a total of $1,674.
For more information on InspectionXpert for SolidWorks: http://www.inspectionxpert.com/
November 29th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
Autodesk Ushers In New Era of Cloud Based Design
Autodesk previewed Autodesk Fusion 360, the world ’s first comprehensive cloud-based 3D modeling offering, at Autodesk University.
Autodesk Fusion 360 allows design and engineering professionals to more easily create 3D product designs and collaborate with others in the cloud. The cloud technology behind Autodesk Fusion 360 offers anytime, anywhere access, from virtually any mobile device or web browser and puts essential data at the center of the design experience. It also supports an open design environment, allowing designers to readily incorporate and modify CAD data from virtually any source.
“Data is at the center of the product design process, and the cloud frees that data to be accessible anywhere, anytime, ”; said Robert “Buzz ” Kross, senior vice president, Design, Lifecycle and Simulation at Autodesk. “Autodesk Fusion 360 will give designers and engineers the first powerful, easy-to-use and complete cloud-based design solution.”
Autodesk Fusion 360 leverages the Autodesk 360 cloud-based platform and adds to Autodesk ’s cloud portfolio for manufacturers, which includes Autodesk PLM 360, a cloud-based product lifecycle management offering, and Autodesk Simulation 360, a comprehensive set of simulation tools delivered securely in the cloud.
3D Industrial and Mechanical Design in the Cloud
A comprehensive product design tool geared toward small business professionals, Autodesk Fusion 360 capabilities span all aspects of industrial and mechanical design, melded with anytime, anywhere access to data, collaborative and social development capabilities the cloud has to offer. Autodesk Fusion 360 also connects to advanced capabilities such as large scale mockup, simulation, PLM and rendering.
Next Generation User Experience
Autodesk Fusion 360 offers a radically different user experience through an intuitive interface that conforms to the role and level of user expertise. Autodesk Fusion 360 provides built-in guidance to novice users to speed the learning curve, and the ability to turn off guidance and access deeper functionality for design experts. Regardless of their level of expertise, users can start designing in a matter of minutes and begin to leverage Autodesk Fusion 360 ’s integrated social collaboration tools.
Redpoint Studios, a New England based industrial design and product engineering consultancy, recently adopted Autodesk Fusion 360 to help their clients bring compelling new products to market faster. “The learning curve is phenomenal. In a matter of days I was modeling blends and transitions that would take months, if not years, of skill building to achieve in a NURBS modeler, ” said Matthew Harris, Industrial Designer, Redpoint Studios, LLC. “The potential for this product is huge and I can ’t wait to see what ’s next. ”;
Autodesk Fusion 360 will be available on a term basis making it affordable to businesses of all sizes. This delivery model will provide maximum flexibility and eliminate the high upfront costs of software license purchases, as well as the annual expense of software updates and upgrades. It is an ideal fit for professionals and small businesses seeking flexibility to scale their product design tools to fit changing project needs.
Autodesk Fusion 360 is expected to be generally available next year. For more information and a chance to experience Autodesk Fusion 360, visit www.autodesk.com/fusion360.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Although I couldn’t attend Autodesk University this year, it didn’t stop me from briefly speaking with Keith Perrin, Autodesk Senior Industry Manager about Autodesk’s Fusion 360 the day before the official announcement at AU. I actually spoke with him on an Amtrak train between Chicago and Detroit while passing by the steel mills in Gary, Indiana. Somewhat fitting.
What was Project Forge when I spoke with Perrin the day before the announcement became Autodesk Fusion 360 the next day at AU.
I had been wondering about what plans Autodesk had for T-Splines after acquiring it, and the answer came in the form of Fusion 360. Also in the mix is Autodesk’s direct modeling technology, Fusion. It seems that Fusion 360 is intended to appeal to users who may or may not have other CAD experience. It combines capabilities for conceptual design for the industrial designer, as well as design refinement capabilities for the design engineer.
Fusion 360 is an extension into CAD of some other cloud-based technologies that Autodesk already offers for simulation and PLM. Perrin said that Fusion 360 is an example of another one of the jigsaw pieces coming together for Autodesk’s Digital Prototyping initiative in the cloud.
With functions coming from both T-Splines and Fusion, Autodesk Fusion 360 will offer a hybrid modeling approach with explicit, direct, and parametric modeling capabilities.
The UI sounds interesting as Perrin said it would be gesture based with relatively few buttons and pulldowns. He also said that the UI would lend to Fusion 360’s discoverable approach with no formal training required. The “training” is embedded in the application and provides self-paced guidance. Exactly what this is remains to be seen, but sounds like an interesting approach.
Because Fusion 360 is intended to work in mixed CAD environments, interoperability was a big deal and got a lot of attention during development. Built-in translators residing in the cloud will provide for import and export of design data in most major formats.
Fusion 360 is due out as a marketable application in early 2013. Going forward Fusion 360, because of its cloud/online nature, will be frequently updated throughout the year, and not restricted and subject to Autodesk’s annual major release cycle.
For now, Fusion 360 is being developed for and will initially be available for PC and Mac desktop platforms, but should be available for iOS, Android, and Windows tablets down the road. Ultimately, this will provide for design and collaboration capabilities on both desktop and mobile platforms.
When asked about pricing, Perrin said that it would be “aggressive,” but had yet to be determined.
Although I’m not totally sold on the cloud concept for design work, Autodesk Fusion 360 might be a game changer as it combines various aspects of conceptual design and design refinement. I’m anxious to sign up for a trial and experience what design in the cloud is all about.
The Week’s Top Stories
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the news items that were the most viewed during last week.
Geomagic announced Geomagic Spark, the newest addition to the company’s line of 3D scan, design and inspection applications According to the company, Geomagic Spark is the only 3D software that combines a live 3D scanning interface, robust 3D point and mesh editing capabilities, comprehensive modeling design, assembly modeling, and 2D drawing creation in one complete application. While traditional CAD packages have modeling capabilities, they lack the tools to process 3D scan data into usable 3D. Geomagic Spark, however, incorporates 3D scan data functionality, integrating Geomagic’s advanced scanning technology, 15 years in the making, with the direct modeling capabilities of the SpaceClaimplatform. Now, users can create accurate, manufacturable solid models and assemblies using combined scan and CAD data in the same application, even with partial scan data.
OPEN MIND, developer of hyperMILL, software for programming CNC machine tools, and CGTech, developer of VERICUT software for simulating CNC machine tools, announced today a renewed agreement between their two companies. As part of this relationship, the two companies work closely to provide integration between their products and customer support. CGTech and OPEN MIND have already worked together to create an interface between hyperMILL and VERICUT. The interface, which continues to be enhanced, is designed to help their mutual customers create a better machining process by providing an easy way to verify hyperMILL’s post-processed machining paths in VERICUT.
Additive manufacturing and machining are usually regarded as competing processes. However, the two technologies are being combined in a project at the French research centre PEP, where Delcam’s PowerSHAPE CAD software and PowerMILL CAM system are being used to finish machine parts created by laser sintering. PEP is the main technical centre for innovation in the French plastics industry, specializing in the injection molding of thermoplastics. The main areas of expertise of PEP’s researchers and engineers include design and simulation of parts and processes, injection molding processes and tooling, and plastics materials.The Delcam software was first chosen by PEP for PLATINNO, a technological innovation platform for tooling undertaken in association with CETIM, France’s main research centre for mechanical engineering. The aim of the project is to provide support – technical, human resources and financial – for companies working in the French plastics sector. With support from CETIM, which has undertaken research into high-speed machining for many years, PEP was introduced to all the main CADCAM vendors to assess their systems. The organisation particularly liked the Delcam software, not least because the company could meet all of its needs. It acquired PowerSHAPE, PowerMILL, PowerINSPECT and ArtCAM.
Aras announced the launch of a new solution designed specifically for companies that run Autodesk Vault with Inventor and AutoCAD. Aras VPLMTM for Autodesk Vault provides packaged functionality out-of-the-box for corporate-wide PLM business processes, enabling global companies that run Autodesk software to improve product quality, accelerate time to market and achieve greater profitability.Built on top of Autodesk Vault Professional, Aras VPLM extends the capabilities of Autodesk Vault to drive PLM processes throughout a company and its supply chain for collaboration across organizations including product development, operations, quality, purchasing, sales & marketing and other groups worldwide. Scalable and secure, Aras VPLM is a business-ready solution for New Product Development and Introduction (NPDI), Complex Configuration Management, Enterprise Change Management, Outsourced Manufacturing, Quality Compliance and more.
Product and Company News
Related MCAD News
November 20th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
It seems that one of the most talked about events in the engineering software space this year has been Autodesk’s acquisition of HSMWorks. The misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding this acquisition have been amazing.
In an attempt to get a better handle on the reasons and implications for the acquisition, I spoke briefly with Carl White, Director of Manufacturing Engineering Products at Autodesk.
He said the primary reason for the HSMWorks acquisition was to get into production workflows that previously had been untouched (from Autodesk’s perspective). He feels that the acquisition will help round out Autodesk’s Digital Prototyping philosophy, since he believes that HSMWorks is oriented to both CAM programmers and designers.
For the near term, White said that Autodesk is looking hard at the best way to integrate HSMWorks into the workflows of Autodesk (Inventor) customers. He said that Autodesk intends to keep improving the underlying HSMWorks kernel and will remain neutral and CAD agnostic. OK, I’ll buy that for the time being.
Longer term, he said that Autodesk would be exploring more cloud options with HSMWorks, but couldn’t elaborate at this time. There’s that cloud thing again . . .
He said that the HSMWorks channel is viable and still running, but didn’t elaborate too much on that point.
In closing, White said that Autodesk realizes that it is largely dealing with mixed, and not exclusive, CAD environments. He maintained that Autodesk is not in the business of acquiring technology companies to shut them down.
This is an example of Autodesk making an acquisition as part of its strategy to becoming a bigger presence in the plug-in software business. White said that Autodesk is committed to continuing to develop HSMWorks to benefit both Inventor and SolidWorks users.
So, after talking with Autodesk’s Carl White about the fate of HSMWorks product and customers, I came away with a feeling that it may not be the doom and gloom situation purported by some, but this is one to watch closely to see what actually happens as we move forward.