August 21, 2006
Alibre Software Fuels DIY Community
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Alibre, Inc. announced today they are working with Instructables to provide free 3D CAD software along with step-by-step tutorials to the large and growing Do-It-Yourself (DIY) community. The companies are working together to put the same class of technology used by large manufacturing enterprises and government agencies like NASA into the hands of "do-it-yourselfers."
quarterly publication from O'Reilly and the first DIY magazine dedicated to the technology enthusiast in all of us.
"3D parametric CAD is really going to enable people to enrich their projects on Instructables," said Eric Wilhelm, Instructables Manager at SQUID Labs. "It's amazing to see what do-it-yourselfers are capable of producing from almost nothing, so imagine what is possible with the same class of software used by large aerospace and automotive manufacturers. Once you get a tool like Alibre Design into the hands of smart, creative people great things happen, and we can't wait to see the impact of widely available 3D."
and associated 2D drawings to get an in-depth understanding of the project. They will also be able to modify and adapt designs to their specific needs and available parts. All models can also be exported or saved in industry standard formats like STEP so they can be used with any CAD System.
"Free access to professional 3D CAD software and an ongoing source of learning tools is a fantastic opportunity for Makers everywhere," said Phil Torrone, Senior Editor at MAKE. "Alibre and Instructables have made it incredibly easy for anyone to take advantage of this technology to dramatically increase their capabilities and productivity, and the huge turnout at our first Maker Faire earlier this year showed us that a growing segment of Makers are interested in doing just that."
While many projects on Instructables are simple, yet creative, uses for leftover materials or scrap people find in their garage or around the house, a significant percentage of the DIY community are serious hobbyists, inventors, woodworkers and so on, doing real design, engineering and manufacturing. Alibre sees this as a huge, untapped source of innovation and productivity, and the objective is to help foster and grow this creative group by equipping it with state-of-the-art 3D CAD software.
"Our vision is to make 3D CAD accessible to anyone who wants it by making it easy to use, easy to buy, easy to get support, easy everything," said Greg Milliken, CEO of Alibre. "As such we've attracted a large number of customers who are also part of the Do-It-Yourself community, folks who can't afford to spend thousands of dollars on 3D CAD but who are still doing serious work. We've found these people to be extremely resourceful, creating amazing things with very little. Their energy is infectious, so this is fun."
by Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
This is an interesting relationship between Alibre and Instructables, because both companies are focused on collaboration and its many implications and possibilities. The "free" software referred to in the announcement is Alibre's Design Xpress solid modeler. Admittedly, it's a 3D package for beginners, but you can't beat the price and it does, in fact, have a number of useful features and capabilities for handling parts, assemblies, and detail drawings.
It seems like the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset has enjoyed a resurgence the past several years -- in print, on television, blogs, podcasts, etc. The DIY community has proliferated to the point that has spawned local, regional, and international events for creating everything from software to games to robots, and I really glad to see it. As a long-time product designer and engineer (in a previous life), actually creating something physical was always very satisfying, and the dawning of a new generation of DIYers has got me excited again about re-engaging with a group that tinkers for the pure enjoyment of it.
Although Alibre is the only MCAD vendor currently represented, the Instructables CAD group is not Alibre-specific. Rather, it's a place to share your tips, tricks, and how-tos for any MCAD software package. Down the road, I think that Instructables users will appreciate the vendor-neutrality of the site. I recommend checking it out, learning something new, and sharing your knowledge in a fun environment.
I spoke briefly with Greg Milliken, CEO of Alibre, and he said that this relationship with Instructables is only the first of many things that will be announced by the company in the coming months. We discussed a number of future Alibre issues and advancements on a non-disclosure basis. Although we can't discuss it here right now, suffice it to say that there are some big and positive things brewing for the company and its customers that we will be covering as they become reality in the MCAD marketplace.
The Week's Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
New CAD Search Engine - 3DCADSearch Beta - Launched
The Web's first CAD- and graphics-targeted search engine developed by eDocHelp Publications, www.3DCADSearch.com, launched the first beta version of the new site. Feedback from the CAD and graphics community is encouraged. Users can filter their search to specific resources such as tutorials and then search within the results to narrow down their search. Search tips and best keywords are also suggested. www.3DCADSearch.com also comes with a CAD and graphics Help Desk and Knowledge Base. The Help Desk will be stocked with technology and CAD and graphics related FAQs. Users can browse the Help Desk, submit questions, comments, rate FAQs, and can email them to colleagues.
UGS' Velocity Series Momentum Continues
Velocity Series portfolio, NX CAM Express, a full- function numerical control (NC) programming application. In addition, UGS announced Solid Edge Version 19 and Femap version 9.2.
Swiss Engineering Company Switches To SolidWorks
surfaces on high-visibility parts.
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.
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