What’s New: SOLIDWORKS 2017 Technical Communication Tools

    by Angelle Erickson on September 29, 2016

    It has been said that communication is the key to success. So when bringing an idea to life, designers and engineers must be able to communicate their plans and thoughts with the rest of their team. In order to portray this, users have looked to SOLIDWORKS Technical Communications tools and have been successfully able to demonstrate and depict the most complicated designs in an easy to understand display format.

    The life cycle of a design begins with an idea. Often times, there are several stages involved in order to bring a design to life. Drawings and files are handed off from department to department to guarantee the original concept is portrayed properly and accurately. Eliminating spoken or written instruction between teams decreases the opportunity for error, which in turn will increase the production time. That’s why SOLIDWORKS’ Composer tool is used so often by designers and engineers to transcribe assembly instruction, provide a part list, and gather media for presentations. Continue reading


    The Power of PolyJet Technology for 3D Printing

    by Rob Stipek on September 27, 2016

    If you’re new to PolyJet technology, it works similarly to inkjet printing, but rather than jetting drops of ink onto paper, PolyJet 3D printers jet layers of photopolymer materials onto a build tray. With PolyJet materials, users get a unique way to create high quality 3D printed parts that incorporate color, texture, and multi-material capabilities all in the same build.the-power-of-polyjet-technology-for-3d-printing

    Why does PolyJet reign supreme?

    PolyJet technology produces highly realistic, functional 3D models in a wide range of materials. It also provides properties that span from rigid to rubber and opaque to transparent, solving all of your printing needs. There are also materials that perform similarly to engineering plastics which combine toughness and heat resistance. PolyJet enables designers, engineers, and artists to produce finely detailed models and prototypes for virtually any industry.

    Continue reading


    Latest and Greatest - SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017

    by Angelle Erickson on September 23, 2016

    The release of SOLIDWORKS 2017 is right around the corner and drumming up a lot of excitement for power users and new users alike. With every new SOLIDWORKS release, users anticipate enhancements and features that will increase their productivity and help make their design and product development processes easier.pdmcomp

    There is no better way to bring an idea and design to life than with the power of SOLIDWORKS. With multiple tools and functions such as electrical, simulation, and visualization, it’s possible to design a product seamlessly and effortlessly.

    Continue reading


    3D CAD and 3D Printing Meet Virtual Reality

    by Christa Prokos on September 22, 2016

    Virtual Reality, commonly referred to as VR, is becoming more and more prevalent in our lives. Just look at the obvious example of gaming. You probably know at least one person in your circle of friends or family who has told you to try out their VR headset to see something in a new way.

    3d-cad-and-3d-printing-meet-virtual-realityBeyond gaming and entertainment, VR is also used for business and educational purposes such as training, research, and engineering. We asked Dan Wagner at Prism Engineering, a Fisher Unitech company, to tell us more about VR and how he and a technical team of 3D CAD and 3D printing experts are using it for their engineering purposes.

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    The Right Tool for the Job Part 3: Getting Your Fix with Fixtures

    by David Roccaforte on September 20, 2016

    In the first blog in this series, I introduced SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard, our entry level but high value analysis package. In my second blog, I discussed the single body limitations in Sim Xpress and compared that with the extended capabilities in our more full featured tools. In this post, I will discuss the fixed constraint option in Sim Xpress and compare this to the capabilities of Simulation Standard.  

    Continue reading


    Want to Win a Robot?

    by Angelle Erickson on September 16, 2016

    Ever wish you could have a robot that would bring you your drink? Well now you can! Our robot, Fetch (Fully. Electronic. Tip-Proof. Claw. Handler.) is ready to quench your thirst, except for one minor issue: He’s struggling with motor drift.

    Continue reading


    Top New SOLIDWORKS 2017 Enhancements

    by Christa Prokos on September 15, 2016

    If you use 3D CAD design and modeling software,“The Power You Need to Drive Innovation,” is a headline that is bound to catch your attention—especially when it’s describing the release of SOLIDWORKS 2017.

    Industry news is a buzz about the launch of SOLIDWORKS 2017, the 24th annual release of the CAD, simulation, data management and collaboration software. User feedback drove 90 percent of the enhancements in this release. In the CAD tools alone, there are 250 new features and enhancements, and a total of 520 new enhancements spread across all SOLIDWORKS products.

    Continue reading


    Come Experience the Game Changing 3D Printer: Stratasys J750

    by Rob Stipek on September 9, 2016

    Ask anyone in business, higher education or the manufacturing community what their top objectives are and they’ll probably say it’s to achieve more, to solve more problems, and to act faster than what’s now possible—all while saving money in the process. Ask what’s holding them back and you’ll probably find a diverse variety of obstacles in their day-to-day work processes that hinder their progress.

    Having the right tools to do the job is one crucial element in solving problems and becoming more efficient and productive. Additive manufacturing, widely known as 3D printing, is one of those tools. It helps businesses, educators, and manufacturers breakdown production barriers. Using 3D printing reduces time and effort to produce parts, models, prototypes and other objects. And today, the game changing 3D printer is the J750 from Stratasys. You can come experience all that the Stratasys J750 has to offer at an upcoming Fisher Unitech J750 Roadshow Event

    Continue reading


    The Right Tool for the Job Part 2: The Single Body Limitation in Sim Xpress

    by David Roccaforte on September 8, 2016

    In my last blog, I introduced SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard and how it is a lot of analysis power for the money. One point that I made is that there are many times when SOLIDWORKS users might be trying to do too much with the free Xpress tools or might not realize what they are missing in a more complete solution like Simulation Standard Professional or Premium. In this blog, I will discuss the single body limitation imposed by Sim Xpress.

    Sim Xpress allows only a single body and "fixed" constraints that stop motion on the chosen face in the X, Y, Z directions. The main reason for this limitation is that it prevents users from creating an unstable model by accident. Fix any face in X, Y, Z directions on a single body and you are going to have a stable model. In other words it's a slam dunk that the solver will able to solve for equilibrium and we can find a solution. This limitation guarantees a solution but limits the areas we can accurately extract stresses from and limits the types of situations we can accurately reproduce.

    Continue reading


    Join Us at a SOLIDWORKS 2017 Launch Event Near You

    by Christa Prokos on September 7, 2016

    sw17cropWe are excited to announce that Fisher Unitech and our friends at Prism Engineering will be hosting a series of SOLIDWORKS 2017 launch events beginning next month on October 5th. With hundreds of new enhancements and features, the newest version of SOLIDWORKS promises to be the most powerful release yet.

    So if you’re just as geeked out about SOLIDWORKS 2017 as we are you’ll fit right in! Join us at one of our live launch events to engage with our experts and gain some tips and tricks, along with a deeper understanding of how industry-specific tools can address your personal designing needs.

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    Stratasys to Demonstrate Next generation 3D Printing at 2016 IMTS

    by Rob Stipek on August 25, 2016

    The 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions company, today announced it is previewing demonstrations of next generation manufacturing technologies at IMTS 2016 as part of its SHAPING WHAT’S NEXT™ vision for manufacturing. SHAPING WHAT’S NEXT builds on Stratasys’ industrial FDM® 3D printing expertise to respond to the needs of customers’ most challenging applications, addressing manufacturers’ needs to rapidly produce strong parts ranging in size from an automobile armrest to an entire aircraft interior panel. The Stratasys ecosystem of additive and traditional technologies, software workflows, materials development, and professional services align with individual application needs, better meeting quality, cost, and delivery metrics while unlocking the capabilities of additive manufacturing to revolutionize how parts are designed and built.

    Continue reading


    Simulation Standard: The Right Tool for the Job

    by David Roccaforte on August 23, 2016

    As the SOLIDWORKS Simulation Product Specialist at Fisher Unitech, I generally blog about tips and tricks using our analysis tools. Today’s blog covers one of the biggest engineering crimes that I witness these days: Trying to make your engineering problem fit the tools that you have, rather than using the right tool for the job.

    Continue reading


    3D Printing Goes for Gold at the Olympics

    by Angelle Erickson on August 16, 2016


    Michael Phelps had an extra pep in his step during the 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro. His Under Armour sneakers were more than just comfortable, they were 3D printed. Under Armour has incorporated additive manufacturing into its product development process along with other major brands such as Nike and Adidas.

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    FDM Additive Manufacturing and its Impact on the Automotive Industry

    by Rob Stipek on August 15, 2016
    The automotive industry is a very competitive market to be in. OEMs and Suppliers alike are constantly trying to better develop processes that increase production, productivity, and innovation while at the same time reducing cost and waste. One of the increasingly vital tools that automakers are coming to rely on is Additive Manufacturing, specifically Fused Deposition Modeling.
    Continue reading


    FDM and Polyjet Additive Manufacturing for Production Parts

    by Rob Stipek on August 8, 2016

    Everyone knows that additive manufacturing is great for taking a CAD design and turning it into a physical model. Prototyping and concept modeling have traditionally been where additive manufacturing has found its niche with production, design, and manufacturing engineers. Today users of professional 3D printers are taking the next steps in the evolution of the technology and finding ways to incorporate additive manufacturing into production parts. Producing end use parts with additive manufacturing technology not only dramatically reduces your production costs and delivery times, it also reduces inventory while creating new supply chain efficiencies and new business models.

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    Stratasys Announces New Promotion for the Workhorse uPrint 3D Printers

    by Rob Stipek on August 3, 2016

    Designers and manufactures in all industries are finding that having a true professional in house 3D printer can be crucial to product development success.  World leader in 3D printing Stratasys has announced an exciting new offer for those interested in bringing on board a professional grade 3D printer. The work horse Fused Deposition Modeling 3D printers uPrint SE and uPrint SE Plus for a limited time been given a special price reduction of a 30%. These machines are ideal for organizations looking for an affordable entry point into the world of professional 3D printing.

    uPrint SE List Price Reduction   From $13,900 to $9,900 uPrint SE list Plus Price Reduction   From $18,900 to $13,900
    With accessibility to thermoplastic ABS materials, these machines can build parts that help engineers do everything from validating designs to creating jigs and fixtures.

    Click here to download the uPrint spec sheet and learn more. 


    SUP 706 Game Changer for Polyjet 3D Printing

    by Rob Stipek on June 29, 2016

    SUP 706 support material is a game changer for those looking to create complex and detailed prototypes and concept models. This hands-free soluble support material promises to make the cleaning and post processing of 3D printed models, in particular those requiring intricately placed support materials, fast and easy. This material specific to Polyjet 3D printing, educes post-printing processing down to a two-step, automated soak and rinse process.soluble1

    Business that have projects that are time sensitive are reaping the benefits of SUP706 as time consuming post processing is drastically reduced and productivity is vastly improved upon.

    “The development of SUP706 provides a great combination of advantages for 3D printing users,” said David Tulipman, director of product management for PolyJet consumables at Stratasys. “Owners of PolyJet-based 3D printers can now print small, intricate features with greater reassurance, and clean several parts at once, enabling high volume 3D printing that’s both cost-effective and hassle-free.”

    To learn more about SUP 706 and other 3D Printing support materials that are opening up new 3D printing application check out Fisher Unitechs upcoming webcast on the benefits of using soluble support. Click here to learn more and sign up.


    Fisher Unitech and Milacron Team Up for 3D Printing Injection Molding Event

    by Rob Stipek on June 17, 2016
    Last week world leading provider of 3D printing technology Fisher Unitech and world leader in injection molding machining Milacon teamed up for an event showcasing the value of using 3D printed molds for low volume production. The event which was hosted at Milacron state of the art Batavia facilities introduced attendees to how industry is realizing the value of using 3D printed molds along with an onsite demonstration of just how the process works.


    Team members from both companies ran through presentations regarding how to pick the right injection molding machine for the right applications, Polyjet technology overview, and the process in which injection molders should follow when running 3D printed molds. This event was very technical in nature with the goal of providing attendees with a solid educational base to which they can apply in their own design shops. With the great turn out and positive feedback from attendees, this is the type of event that both Fisher and Milacron hope to replicate in the coming months.  If you have any questions regarding 3D printed injection molds and polyjet technology please click here to download “Top 5 Reasons to Integrate PolyJet into YourProduct Development Lifecycle”


    Important Announcement

    by Angelle Erickson on June 9, 2016
    We have an announcement to make!
    At Fisher Unitech, we make innovation possible, so we’ve expanded our reach to assist more designers and engineers.  We’re excited to announce our acquisition of Prism Engineering Inc.
    We are pleased to introduce...
    Prism Engineering is the Mid-Atlantic’s leading provider of SOLIDWORKS and Mastercam. With Training and Support centers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, Prism has a proven track record of value and satisfaction to their customers.
    Why Prism is the perfect match
    Together we take pride in half a century of combined experience working with product design and additive manufacturing customers. With the addition of Mastercam to the lineup, our hardware and software solutions now includes the world’s best-in-class CAM software, allowing customers to improve their productivity and advantage in the market.
    The value of values
    We believe strongly in our Core Values, and we have seen first-hand that Prism Engineering adheres to these same values.  Prism Engineering emphasizes the importance of their relationships, growth, work ethic, teamwork, and communication within their colleagues and their customers. Together we will strive for customer success and are excited to expand our team!

    For further questions related to this acquisition please visit our website


    Simulation Tech Tip: How can I simulate freezing water expansion?

    by David Roccaforte on June 8, 2016

    Now that spring is here ice is probably the last thing on your mind. Unless your designing a product where stress induced from freezing is a problem. One of my customers posed an interesting question.  How might we emulate freezing water in FEA ?

     As you may know water expands when freezing and this can wreak havoc on any structure where water is contained or trapped.  Hence all the lovely pot holes in the spring punishing our fancy alloy wheels.

    Continue reading


    Why You Need To Know About Variable Pattern

    by Jay Pinheiro on June 1, 2016
    With the release of SOLIDWORKS 2015, Variable Pattern was added to the available pattern types. For long time users who may have attended training in the past, this addition may go unnoticed. So why is it so important and why should you add it to your repertoire? The Variable Patterns most radical enhancement was its ability to pattern Reference Geometry. Let that sink in. Yes, you can pattern planes and sketches, not just Features, Faces, and Bodies. Let me give you an example of just how powerful this is.
    Continue reading


    Productivity Tools in Solidworks Simulation: 4 Part Blog

    by Justin Lafaive on May 31, 2016

    What if I told you there was a way to use tools inside Solidworks Simulation that would make you more efficient when running and/or setting up your FEA studies?  In this blog series, I will take through a wide range of tools that are primarily in Simulation Professional to help you do just that!

    Continue reading


    3D Printing for the Injection Molding Process

    by Rob Stipek on May 26, 2016
    In the world of injection molding, the amount of challenges that mold makers and part designers face can be overwhelming. Factors such as weld lines, air traps, balanced fill, and sink marks are just a small handful of issues that can be incredibly detrimental to producing a really good quality plastic part. Many designers utilize different simulation tools to ensure quality, but there is no substitute for being able to hold and touch a physical part, however tooling an aluminum mold for a small volume of parts can be rather expensive and take a fair amount of time to create.  This is where many injection molders are utilizing 3D print their molds saving both time and money when producing low volume production parts and prototypes.

    Utilizing Polyjet 3D Printing technology to create molds can be a great option under the right circumstances. These printers use a photopolymer to layer by layer build a molds core and cavity. The mold can be put into a mud base and injected with the actual material that the end use part will be made of. By doing this mold makers can produce parts that are high quality at a fraction of the cost. Granted these molds are not as durable as tradition injection molds but for low volume production 3D printed molds can be a major cost reduction tool.


    Stratasys Announces New Acceleration Kit for Fortus 900

    by Rob Stipek on May 20, 2016
    Earlier this week Stratasys released a new acceleration kit that will get builds in their

    Fortus 900 machines done faster and more effectively. The top of the line Fused Deposition Modeling machine current customers are using features the T20 extruder tip, this can be upgraded to a new T40 tip which will provide customers:

    · The largest available slice height for FDM systems.
    · Throughput 2-3 times faster on average compared to T20 tip.
    · Plug-and-play’ solution that requires no additional hardware.

    900 users will need to have the latest controller (Version 3.19) and insight software (Version 10.8) updates in order to utilize the upgraded tip. The Fortus 900 delivers to its customers all the available benefits that Stratasys FDM printers have available, this new tip enables user the ability to continue producing high quality parts, but in a way that enables more control and faster build speeds.


    Not Just Why 3D Printing, but Why the Stratasys J750

    by Rob Stipek on May 3, 2016
    In order to create great products creativity, prototyping, and concept validation are key. Design engineers have broken new ground in their designs with Stratasys’ new J750 3D printer. Ever since it’s April debut, the J750 has made waves with its creative capabilities.

    Incredible Part Realism

    A hallmark of the Stratasys J750 is its true full-color capability, a breakthrough in 3D printing technology. Although printing in various colors isn’t new, getting the quality you want along with a whopping 360,000 color selection is.

    Unmatched Versatility

    This versatility originates from its robust material capacity, accommodating input of up to six base resins. Because advanced PolyJet systems create composite materials right on the build tray, the number of material options is far greater than the number of input materials. In the Stratasys J750, those six base resins yield hundreds of thousands of colors, translucencies and durometers.

    Fast, Efficient, and Easy to Use

    Printing with the J750 is easy, starting with PolyJet StudioTM software to process your part. PolyJet Studio is the next generation of Objet StudioTM software and offers multiple improvements for workflow efficiency. Improvements include an intuitive interface that makes it easy to choose material, optimize the build, and mange print queues. After the parameters of the part are selected, the user hits “print” and it’s ready to build.
    The J750 is ideal for any user, whether you’re planning on creating detailed surgical guides or looking to produce color coded jigs and fixtures. For more information, click here to download the newly released J750 EBook.


    The Future of Manufacturing with 3D Printing Event

    by Rob Stipek on April 14, 2016

    World leading Stratasys 3D printing partner Fisher Unitech is excited to announce The Future of

    Manufacturing Event series highlighting the benefits manufacturing is seeing with the utilization of 3D printing. The landscape of manufacturing is transforming and 3D printing is becoming essential to production. Fisher Unitech welcomes all to this excellent opportunity to learn more about how 3D printing can increase time to market, drive innovation, and save costs.
    Participants of these events will learn about:

    • Fused Deposition Modeling and Polyjet Technologies
    • 3D Printing Applications and customer success stories
    • New J750 Features and Functionality
    • 3D Printing Materials Overview
    • 3D Printing Post Processing Techniques

    The Future of Manufacturing Event Series is complimentary to attend and breakfast will be provided at all locations for participants. Please click below to attend at any of the 4 current locations.-Troy, Michigan at the Fisher Unitech Headquarters May 5, 2016. Register 

    -Schaumburg, Illinois at the Hyatt Hotel May 10, 2016. Register 

    -Cincinnati, Ohio at Fisher Unitech Local Office May 17, 2016. Register

    -St Charles, Missouri at the St Charles Convention Center May 19, 2016. Register 


    More Video Opportunities to Learn Simulation and Analysis Fundamentals

    by David Roccaforte on April 13, 2016

    I just received an email from my analysis colleagues at SOLIDWORKS  kicking off a series of Simulation training videos.  This is one of the great things about SOLIDWORKS there's so many places to learn and this is a great team to learn from.

    Check out the series link:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLiKqXuECiKNKYUZ9N6cIAzADKQ2hUh3dO

    If you have not read my post from last year summarizing other places to find help you can check out that blog post here:


    Happy Simulating,



    New Stratasys J750 Breaking Down Design Walls

    by Rob Stipek on April 4, 2016
    Earlier today, Stratasys announced the J750, the latest addition to their world-leading professional 3D printer lineup. Building on the already successful high-resolution multi-material PolyJet technology, this printer delivers unrivaled aesthetic performance as the world’s first full color 3D printer.
    Unmatched Realism
    Full-color capability, texture mapping, and color gradients allow the creation of prototypes that look, feel, and operate like a fully finished product. Thanks to the Stratasys J750’s wide range of material properties, painting and assembly are no longer required.
    Maximum Versatility
    With the fastest PolyJet mult-material 3D printer, time for part intricacy and complexity is no longer a sacrifice. J750 allows users to take full advantage of unparalleled 3D printing by channeling a range of applications that previously required a several step process in order to achieve an all-in-one package with a vast array of colors and material properties. Users will now be able to print parts that feature Digital ABS alongside a variety of flexible Shore values and/or translucencies.
    Print with 6 Materials at Once
    The large, six-material capacity of the Stratasys J750 means you can load your most used resins and avoid downtime associated with material changeovers. Print simulated production plastics, like Digital ABS™, in half the time or with twice the resolution. With an astounding 360,000+ color combinations to choose from and multi-material capability, the Stratasys J750 allows you to bring even your most imaginative ideas to life.
    Customer Success For more information on how customers are utilizing the new J750, check outthis case study discussing build service provider Synergy is saving their customers time and money, while providing the most vivid detailed concept models ever produced by a 3D printer.


    A Comparison Chart Between SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard And Professional

    by Stephanie Medeiros on April 1, 2016

    You've probably heard the terms PDM Standard and Professional thrown around recently, but what exactly are the differences between the two? And why do they really matter if you're already using PDM Workgroup? We have the answers for you.

    We put together this chart below that shows the comparisons--and differences--between PDM Standard and Professional so you have a better understanding of their functions for your business.

    Click here to enlarge image

    There are some major differences between Standard and Professional, both with their own unique benefits for different company types and sizes. This is crucial information to know when you're ready to make the upgrade from Workgroup to either PDM solutions in the future.
    But the differences go deeper than that, plus both have so many more features and benefits that can't all fit into a single infographic or even one blog post.
    So, why does this all matter? SOLIDWORKS have announced they will be gradually phasing out Workgroup until it will be completely unsupported by 2018. There is still quite a bit of time to make the switch and we're here to help consult and support you every step of the way to make the upgrade as smooth as possible.Moving data to a newer platform can seem daunting, but the process can be made much easier when you have knowledgeable experts helping you at every point, ensuring you keep moving forward with your innovations.

    Want to learn more about both PDM Standard and Professional? Schedule a one-on-one demonstration with one of our engineers.


    Fisher Unitech Named Top Selling Stratasys Partner World Wide

    by Rob Stipek on March 24, 2016

    Stratasys, the industry leader in 3D printing, recently announced that Fisher Unitech LLC has been named the 2015 number one selling partner worldwide. The company, a SOLIDWORKS product life-cycle management solutions provider and Stratasys partner for over 19 years, supplies its customers with 3D Printing production equipment, materials, and build services.

    With a territory that ranges throughout the Midwest, Fisher Unitech’s strategic positioning throughout its territory with its sales and applications personnel has enabled them to develop working relationships with its customer base, strengthening the support needed to prove out the capabilities of 3D printing technologies. Over the course of Fisher Unitech’s partnership with Stratasys the strategy for success continues to be customer centric.

    The 3D printing team at Fisher Unitech focuses on two basic principles: applying their collective learning from applications ranging from automotive and aerospace, to consumer goods and medical and using this significant experience to solve seemingly unrelated challenges in manufacturing, tooling, product development and design. Fisher Unitech also empowers their team with the proper training and resources to become leading 3D printing experts.

    “It was very gratifying for Fisher Unitech to again receive the honor as #1 Stratasys Distributor Worldwide,” Says Fisher Unitech Director of 3D Printing Sales/Service Andy Dehart, “Stratasys has been a fantastic partner--providing evolving solutions for the broadening 3D Printer Market since the inception of our relationship in the early 90s, we are proud to be recognized by Stratasys in this regard and look forward to the bolder challenges in 2016.”

    To learn more about how Fisher Unitech is supporting customers with 3D printing applicaions, be sure to check out our upcoming webcasts


    New Stratasys Incentives Announced for Those Looking to Purchase 3D Printer

    by Rob Stipek on March 16, 2016
    3D printing is one of the fastest growing areas in manufacturing and design.  Recent announcements

    from Stratasys should give those interested in exploring the benefits of owning a 3D printer an incentive on why now is a good time to buy.

    Material Promotion:
    ·         50% off the first $15,000 (MSRP) of designated material of your choice for the first 6 months with purchase of any new SSYS printer listed at or above $75k (MSRP).
    ·         50% off the first $2,000 (MSRP) of designated material of your choice for first 6 months with purchase of any new SSYS uPrint.

    Trade-In Promotion:
     Trade in any old or Stratasys 3D printer and upgrade to the latest, leading technology from Stratasys.  (For certain printers, this promotion can be combined with other offers). Speak with your Fisher Unitech sales representative for more details.
    Buy a 3D Printer, Get One FREE
     Any new Stratasys Production Systems customers can now take advantage of the inclusion of a Mojo 3D printer OR two MakerBot Replicator 3D printers with any 3D printer purchase of 60k or more.
    For more information on these offers, contact your sales representative at Fisher Unitech. If you are just starting the process of checking out 3D printing, please join our upcoming webcasts to learn more! 


    3D Printing Spring Webinar Series

    by Rob Stipek on March 15, 2016
    3D Printing industry leader, Fisher Unitech, will be kicking off the month of April with a webinar series showcasing some of the major areas of applications and growth for 3D Printing. These webinars are all scheduled to take place at 2:00 PM EST and will educate participants in the industry changing applications that 3D Printing is enabling. design and manufacturing engineers alike will gain a better understanding of how 3D Printing is enabling users to create better quality parts faster and more cost effective than ever before.
    These webinars will be hosted by our Fisher Unitech applications engineers and will include a live Q&A session to address specific questions that are important to participants.
    These informative webinar presentations will specifically cover:
    For more information on dates and descriptions of these webcasts and please click here 


    3D Printing Manufacturing Floor Tools

    by Rob Stipek on March 10, 2016
    Maybe one of the best applications for 3D printing is the creation of unique and essential tools used

    on the manufacturing floor. There are countless times during the day where a manufacturing engineer needs a tool to help hold, position, place, or organize parts. For those reasons jigs, fixtures, check gauges, and other floor tools are ideas to be 3D printed, primarily using FDM technology.

    On the production floor FDM jigs and fixtures make work easier and safer. And companies that use FDM find that they have more of them than ever since they are so easy and inexpensive to make. Make a masking tool for conformal coating electronics and cut out manually taping each printed circuit board. Or build a dispenser for factory floor labels. For assembly operations use FDM for nesting assembly fixtures, rivet guides, or assembly guides. Need a one of a kind tool? You can easily produce that too.

    Using industry grade strong plastic like Nylon, Poly-carbonate, and Ultem that are available on Stratasys FDM printers, workers are able to quickly print the necessary tools needed to get a job done and always have them on hand as part repeat-ability is easily done on Stratasys machines. From R&D through inspection FDM is the tool to make work more efficient with jigs and fixtures.
    For more information on production of manufacturing tools using 3D Printing be sure to sign up for our upcoming webcast 3D Printing Manufacturing Tools 


    Baxter The Bartender: Robot Learns Bartending By Watching Humans

    by Stephanie Medeiros on March 1, 2016

    The robot serving up cocktails in the video probably looks familiar for SOLIDWORKS users because it's Baxter, the SOLIDWORKS mascot, from Rethink Robotics! The robotics team at the University of Maryland Robotics Department have developed an extraordinary program that allows artificial intelligence to learn how to properly mix a drink just by watching a human first and mimicking the steps.

    The innovative part is that Baxter (called Julia by the robotics team) can get the exact measurements because of the unique programming and camera attached. Previous automation programs in AI meant the measurements for the cocktail would have to be pre-programmed into the code and then the robot could access that data when a certain input is made--such as a martini--but AI learning the correct measurements by simply watching is unprecedented.

    The team behind the robotic bartender are Yiannis Aloimonos and Cornelia Fermuller of UMD Robotics.

    Even for machine learning and AI, CAD software has a place. A design still needs to be envisioned, created, and tested before we can get to the final step of a robotic bartender such as Julia.

    To learn more about SOLIDWORKS (and see more of Baxter), you can go to the Fisher Unitech website or check out our YouTube channel for video demos and tutorials.

    The UMD Robotics Department has a YouTube channel where you can see more robotics projects as well.


    30 Minutes to Smarter Design Decisions with SOLIDWORKS Simulation

    by David Roccaforte on February 23, 2016
    In the past 20 years, I have worked in manufacturing, product design and as a consultant/applications engineer for several simulation software companies. Working with many companies seeking to innovate and differentiate their products, I have seen personally that the decisions engineers make early in the design process often make the difference between success and failure of the products and the companies.

    The engineers might be seeking to add new features to a product that has been commoditized by new entrants in the market or to adapt an existing product to serve a new market. Inevitably they run into situations where they have to make choices in areas where they have little experience to draw on. At some point they build a prototype to test out the design, but which one or two of a dozen good ideas should they prototype? If they pick the wrong approach, they waste a month while their competition advances steadily forward to improve their own product.

    Often these companies compete with one or more large global companies that use simulation to predict the performance of their own design ideas before they build a prototype. Simulation enables these companies to try out more design alternatives and so to achieve a higher level of product performance at an earlier stage in the design process. These larger companies typically use high-end simulation tools that cost tens of thousands of dollars per seat and, because of their complexity, require highly-trained specialists to operate.
    But most smaller and mid-sized companies cannot afford the investment in people, software and hardware that would be required to use these tools. That’s why Corey Gulley, Simulation Applications Engineer for Fisher Unitech, and myself will be presenting an interactive live webinar to explain how SOLIDWORKS Simulation can greatly reduce the cost and difficulty of accurately predicting the performance of a design concept. SOLIDWORKS Simulation enables small and mid-size company engineers to achieve the same results as high end simulation software with much less expensive and easier to use tools that run inside the familiar SOLIDWORKS environment.
    We will present the SOLIDWORKS simulation portfolio which includes a wide array of tools for multiple physics that cover a huge variety of different simulation challenges. We will cover case studies showing how companies like yours have been successful using SOLIDWORKS Analysis tools. In addition we will show you how easily it is to do work directly within the SOLIDWORKS environment.
    Finally, we will describe Fisher Unitech’s broad array of services that can help you get the most from SOLIDWORKS Simulation. These services include classes covering every type of simulation offered by SOLIDWORKS, individual mentoring to help you apply these tools to your specific challenges and telephone support to help you get out of a jam quickly. We will provide plenty of time in the webinar for you to ask questions about your applications.

    Click here to reserve your spot to find out how your engineering team can get up speed quickly in using SOLIDWORKS Simulation to optimize your product in the least possible amount of time.

    About the author

    David Roccaforte earned a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He has been working with CAE tools since the mid-1990s when he was an engineering coop and later a product engineer with Automotive System Laboratory.  Seeing the value that CAE brings to the engineering process inspired him to concentrate on CAE during his graduate studies.  While finishing his graduate studies, he worked for Mechanical Dynamics as an engineering intern running vehicle dynamics analysis. 

    After finishing his graduate studies, David worked in the automotive Industry as an Engineering Analyst with Karmann Technical Development supporting the design of convertible roof systems for North American OEM’s.  From there Roccaforte joined MSC Software, one of the top companies in engineering simulation, where he worked as a Senior Application Engineer until he joined Fisher Unitech in 2010.


    New Objet Connex3 Enhances Workflow Experience with Adobe Partnership

    by Rob Stipek on February 23, 2016
    Since its release, the Objet Connex3 has been known for its smooth and finely detailed finishes with

    bright vivid color capabilities. Earlier this month, Stratasys announced a newly updated Connex3 that gives users a better streamlined workflow process and better color ranges with a partnership with Adobe.

    Stratasys is looking for ways to enhance the customer experience and the updated work flow process aims to do just that. This new process enables users to set up their 3D CAD model in the printer in two simple steps, an improvement from the previous seven step process. Also looking to enhance the customer experience, Stratasys has expanded the color spectrum with the assistance of Adobe. Under an exclusive partnership, Stratasys will use Adobe's 3D Color Print Engine which allows customers the ability to get better color pallet combinations and finer resolution from their prints. 
    Stratasys’ North American President, John Gould, commented on the change to the Connex line up sighting the goal of gaining more main stream adoption of the technology. "We have to simplify the workflow. It has to be file, preview, print and go," said Gould. "The partnership with Adobe streamlines the entire process with support for more than 1,000 colors."
    With these updates, Stratasys will look to promote the Connex3 as its sole line of Connex printers and will be discontinuing Connex1 and Connex2 versions of the printers, which did not offer the level of vivid color blending technologies as the Connex3.
    To Learn more about new Connex3 updates be sure to check out Fisher Unitechs upcoming webinar 


    5 Best Announcements & Presentations From SOLIDWORKS World 2016

    by Stephanie Medeiros on February 19, 2016

    We had quite the schedule while visiting Dallas for SOLIDWORKS World this year. Not only did we have a customer appreciation welcome reception the first day of World, we also had nine of our own engineers presenting breakout sessions throughout the three days. But we still had time to put together a list of our favorite announcements and presentations from SOLIDWORKS World. Here are five of our favorites!

    1. SOLIDWORKS For Kids

    We were very excited to hear that kids were a big focus at this year's World. A specialized version of SOLIDWORKS will help them become interested and certified in SOLIDWORKS for STEM related careers in the future. In fact, there are already a whopping 70,000 students across the United States certified in SOLIDWORKS! Not only is this initiative sparking interest in engineering in students, it is also promoting creativity within their designs created in SOLIDWORKS. Bridging analytical and creative thinking is a huge, innovative process that we can get behind.

    2. Design = Technology with Yves Behar

    This was an enlightening presentation with design legend Yves Behar, who talked about the close relationship between good design and good technology. In his presentation, Behar said that design equals technology because it needs to be people friendly. Without the person element, technology cannot exist. This also goes hand-in-hand with teaching engineers of the new generation about good design and encouraging creativity.

    3. Xdesign

    Need a browser-based SOLIDWORKS application that can do file management, modeling, model based definition, and design guidance? Then you're going to love Xdesign. Browser elements also means working in a highly secure cloud system that can save, archive, and retrieve everything that a project team needs without having to endlessly search for it.

    4. Part Supply

    On top of Xdesign, this innovative feature will allow designers in SOLIDWORKS to easily find and copy parts from a library stored in the cloud and utilizes geometry, meta, and contextual search to help you find those parts quickly. This cuts time on searching and even indexing parts drastically, allowing for more time to be spent on the actual project.

    5. Neil Gershenfeld and bringing machines back to urban economy

    The global economy is rapidly changing, which includes the job market along with it. That means thinking of machinery and robotics in a different light that implements both automation and people. MIT rock star Neil Gershenfeld put this into simple terms that anyone could get behind, such as bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States and being able to rapidly build new neighborhoods.

    Missed out on SOLIDWORKS World this year? We're hosting a live event in Wisconsin on Monday, March 7th, that will have highlights of the best announcements that came out of World. Plus, you'll get to see the most popular presentation we had at SOLIDWORKS World, hosted by the actual presenter. Sign up and reserve your spot!


    The Impact of 3D Printing in the Plastics Industry

    by Rob Stipek on February 17, 2016
    For plastics professionals, 3D printing has been a breakthrough for how plastic part design and production can now be accomplished.
    Plastic design engineers have been using 3D printing technologies such as Polyjet, to create physical

    models which have the same look and feel as the mass production part they’ve designed. By 3D printing their ideas, design teams can optimize every aspect from structural enhancements such as extra ribbing, to increasing wall thickness and visual changes. This visualization cannot be accomplished simply by looking at a model on a computer screen. Better understanding proof of concept is has been essential for keeping production goals on track.

    On the manufacturing floor, 3D printings impact has been equally important as it has been to the design team. Manufacturers are finding that by using Fused Deposition Modeling technology they are able to produce stronger parts. Jigs, fixtures, and check gauges are being created quicker and are less expensive than tools made from aluminum. Some companies, particularly in the Automotive, Aerospace, and Medical industries, are finding that by using FDM materials like Ultem or Polycarbonate that they are able to skip traditional manufacturing completely by producing their products directly from their 3D printer. This method greatly reduces the cost to produce expensive molds and if a part needs to be replaced, it can be reprinted quickly and inexpensively.
    An expanding application manufacturers are also finding to be a game changer, is using Polyjet digital materials to create molds for low volume blow or injection molding. These molds generally are a great option for parts that have a high complex design and are produced in low volumes. Some design teams that need safety or regulatory standards also like the option to use Polyjet molds because they can now have a functional prototype built with the same material as mass production parts. 



    by Rachael Hughes on February 16, 2016

    WIN A 3D MOUSE!!
    Have you ever wanted to smooooooth out your zoom and rotate movements in SOLIDWORKS?

    Have you ever wanted to speed up your modeling?
    Have you ever tried a 3D mouse?
    How can YOU get in on the next drawing?  
    -Take the survey at the end of the course
    -You're entered to win a 3Dconnexion 3D mouse!
    -Every course you take this quarter, fill out the survey for an entry!
    Fisher Unitech's Training Team is giving away a 3Dconnexion 3D mouse EVERY QUARTER!  Every time you take a training course, fill out the survey at the end of the course and you'll be entered into the drawing.
    This quarter (Jan-Mar), we are giving away:
    The 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Pro a $299 value
    Learn more about 3D mice on their website, and check out the product guide: http://www.3dconnexion.com/

    Sign up for a Fisher Unitech training class here: http://www.funtech.com/Training/Find-SolidWorks-Courses-by-Product


    Fisher Unitech 3D Printing Build Services Adding Value to Customers

    by Rob Stipek on February 11, 2016

    For the design and manufacturing industry, 3D printing has become an instrumental tool in opening new doors to how we create new products. However many have not been able to utilize 3D printing due to the initial challenges of return on investment, machine cost, or other company specific reasons. For those who need parts built quickly but can’t justify the purchase of a 3D printer, this is where Fisher Unitech’s build service team shines.

    Many current 3D printer users are finding that at certain times throughout the year their printer is overwhelmed with print jobs and can’t keep up with demand. Utilizing Fisher Unitech for a quick build that can reduce the workload on your in-house 3D printer is a common issues that we have been assisting out customers with for years. We have all the professional grade materials Stratasys offers on hand in our 3D printing centers and a professional staff who can meet the specifics of what customers need done.
    Budget Constraint:
    The investment in getting a 3D printer can be pretty substantial if your return on investment isn’t justified. The value that a build service brings to a company that only needs a handful of parts built a year can be instrumental to the quality of your project. For a design team to hold their 3D printed part in their hands and make an educated decision on whether that part is satisfactory to proceed to production or go back to your CAD and make design changes is a far greater value than looking at a design on a computer screen and trying to make the same decision. Relatively inexpensive parts can be produced in a timely fission that can be instrumental to the success of your project.
    Turn Around Time:
    Speed of production is one of the largest benefits that 3D printing brings to industries that utilize the technology. For many companies, being able to keep up with deadlines is sometimes the determining factor in evaluation the success or failure of project. The value that Fisher Unitech provides to our customers is a full line of Stratasys 3D printers in multiple locations throughout the Midwest that are run by a dedicated team to ensure deadline are met while maintaining a high level of quality.
    Expertise Build Team:
    Fisher Unitech has over 20 years of 3D printing experience. As the experts we can ensure part quality and make recommendations to customers that will help produce a great quality part.
    Extensive Material Selection:
    Customers are often looking for a specific look and feel of a part in order to do everything from functional testing to marketing focus group evaluations. As a Platinum Partner of the Stratasys, Fisher Unitech has access to the full range of Fused Deposition Modeling and Polyjet Materials. This enables us the ability to meet the needs of designers who want a part with a rubber like material for over molding, or machine floor workers looking for jigs, fixtures, and check gauges that need to be made of strong durable materials.
    To request information on how Fisher Unitech's Build Service Team can help you please fill out the form below 

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    3D Printing’s Impact in Sports

    by Rob Stipek on February 11, 2016

    Advancements in 3D printing technology have led to new innovative ways design and manufacturing

    engineers have brought products to life. In recent years, athletic and sports industries have quickly become one of the largest adapters of 3D printing.  Utilizing the speed of part production and flexible material options, the sports industry has made great strides in improving the athlete experience.

    All major sporting goods brands have adopted 3D printing to optimize their product lines. Major benefits companies are gaining from 3D printing can be found in prototyping and functional testing.  Polyjet technology lets users modify different material colors and deromiters, allowing a range of colors and having rubber-like over molding. Athletic apparel companies, such as Nike and Adidas, are able to print prototype shoes for design focus groups allowing feedback before mass production. Due to production speed, these companies can get their sample products reviewed within days or sometimes hours, keeping product time tables on track.

    Polyjet 3D printing technology has also been used for functional testing at Trek, the world leader of bicycle manufacturing. Engineers at Trek use their CAD software to design brackets and gear parts which can be functionally tested the same day.  This technology reaps the benefit to quickly validate designs and make necessary adjustments to optimize the part for performance.

    3D printing even made its way to the Super Bowl when Carolina Panther’s linebacker, Thomas Davis, broke his arm before the big game.  After Davis’ surgery, where a metal plate was to be placed in his arm, 3-D Elite and Whiteclouds designed a 3D printed custom sleeve to support his arm and help get Davis back onto the field. With the speed of 3D printing and its ability to utilize scanning technologies, a one of a kind brace was created.

    For more information on 3D Printing, be sure to check out our upcoming Fisher Unitech Webinars.


    Save Time And Money With Injection Mold 3D Printing

    by Stephanie Medeiros on February 5, 2016
    So much goes into creating an injection molded part, from the design team that creates the part in CAD to the quality engineers who have to fix issues that arise when a part is injected like short shots or warp. Due to all the bumps in the road injection molders encounter, the popularity of 3D printed injection molds is steadily growing.

    Reduction to CNC Que
    You can imagine the frustration of having to push back a job because you don’t have the bandwidth to keep up. This is why 3D printing is quickly becoming a valuable complementary tool to CNC shops. If, under the right circumstances, an injection mold that is intended for low volume production meets process conditions of the material and press clamp force, then having a 3D printer on hand can free up CNC time. This allows for a shop's CNC machines to be used for cutting larger, more expensive steel or aluminum molds which in turn allows a project to stay on schedule.

    Reduction in Mold Costs
    When you are producing large volumes of parts, then it makes sense to tool your mold out of durable materials such as aluminum or steel. However, for low volume production the cost of a mold sky rockets if you are not producing parts that can offset the cost of the mold tooling. Instead, you can 3D print the mold for about the tenth of the cost of an aluminum mold.

    Multiple Printer Applications (ROI)
    Engineering service companies and mold shops alike are finding the benefits of having a 3D printer are vast. Otentimes, print is brought in for print injection molds only but soon they become go to resources to print prototypes, jigs, fixtures, and end use parts effortlessly and for less of the normal cost.

    Speed of Printing Mold

    The time it takes to print an injection mold from a 3D printer can be done usually in less than a day. Multiple ink jet heads that cure layers of photopolymer mean the speed to build up a mold is done quickly.
    To learn more about 3D printing and how it can help your next project, please visit our 3D printers page on our website.


    Optimizing your CAD for FDM 3D Printing

    by Rob Stipek on January 20, 2016
    Whether modeling in SOLIDWORKS, Creo, NX, or any other Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, bringing your design to life is easy with a 3D Printer,  but it all starts with an STL file.  Here are some tips to consider for your next design, to get the best possible 3D Print, while reducing material waste.
    First, watch the walls. The width of thin walls should be designed as a multiple of the filament bead width, bearing in mind the number of perimeter toolpaths (aka “contours”).  For example, the standard configuration for Stratasys professional 3D printers produces one 0.5mm perimeter bead (with infill rasters in between).  Very thin walls should be either 0.5mm OR 1mm wide.  Any width in between is likely to be undersized and/or inconsistent.
    Next, mind the gaps. Most machines (or slicing software) have a minimum size for infill rasters, which might result in airgaps within thin walls.  For the example machine above, a 1.3mm wall isn’t quite wide enough to infill, so it’ll print as two thin flimsy walls side by side.  In this case, a 1mm wall would be more rigid, despite being narrower, because the two beads would be fused.
    Also be sure to remember that STL files (sometimes referred to as “Standard Tessellation Language”)

    are faceted; meaning they contain no curves!  So, when sliced into layers, every 'circle' is actually a polygon.  Thus, exterior curves will always be slightly oversized and internal curves will be slightly undersized.  The results can be improved by tweaking the STL export settings in CAD (use the “fine” resolution or better); just be consistent.  While designing, consider defining custom oversized hole standards or undersized library features, in order to get consistent fits for pins/holes.

    Last be sure to take into account orientation. Whenever possible, build cup-shaped parts open-end-up, to avoid unnecessary support.  But when that that’s not possible, consider that most machines can bridge short horizontal spans without building support underneath.  To minimize use of support material and speed up prints, stay out of the ‘support zone’ between 0° (horizontal) and 45°.  Also include chamfers or fillets to inside corners whenever possible, to reduce the length of horizontal spans (and the likelihood they will require support).  For example, a 1” diameter cup printed upside-down might result in a LOT of support material used.  But adding just a 1/8” chamfer reduces the unsupported “ceiling” to just ¾”, and might eliminate the need for support altogether.


    Simulation Tech Tip: How to Load Results Faster and Reduce File Size for Nonlinear and Transient Studies (Results Options)

    by David Roccaforte on January 8, 2016

    Here's a quick and simple tip for all multi step simulations , dynamic, non linear, drop  etc... You don't have to keep ALL the data for EVERY solution step the solver takes.  The solvers will take smaller steps for convergence purposes and a solution may have hundreds of steps. For a large model this means large files and computational overhead (aka lag switching between studies. The good news is we may not need every piece of data for post processing and we can control the data that is retained under "Result Options".

    For example:

    I had a nonlinear dynamic study that was about 200K degrees of freedom in size and it took 50 steps to solve.  The time to switch studies varied quite a bit depending on how much data I chose to retain.

    Save data for all steps  = over a minute
    Save every 2 steps load time = 7 seconds
    Save every 5 steps = 2 seconds

    Who wants to wait to review a study ?  When you look at the size of the results file it start to become understandable why there is a lag.

    If you have nonlinear or dynamic runs that take forever to load and you don't need to review every time step at every location you can modify the "Result Options".

    1. Right mouse button on "Result Options"  and choose Define/Edit:

    2. Decide if stresses are important, for example in a dynamic simulation we might only want to compare displacements and accelerations. If they are not needed for the study un-check the box.

    3. Check "Solution Steps":  Then define how often to save data.  In the above dialog if the solver takes 1000 steps to complete the problem we will save every tenth step.  You can also specify multiple "Sets" saving multiple increment values during different parts of the simulation (see the video).

    4. Lastly, choose how to handle sensor specific data.  Do we want to retain  all, none or specific sensors.  If you are not familiar with sensors check them out they are quite useful to define specific simulation quantities or locations to save data.

    After you click "ok" , this setting will apply to the next time you run the study.  You will benefit by using up less disk space and being able to move between studies faster.
    For a video example on a nonlinear seat spring model take a look here: Narrated Results


    Join Us In Dallas For SOLIDWORKS World 2016!

    by Stephanie Medeiros on January 7, 2016

    Right off the bat in the new year we have been keeping busy at Fisher Unitech, because we're gearing up for SOLIDWORKS World in Dallas, Texas. We're beyond excited because nine of our engineers were accepted as guest speakers at the event and we will be hosting a welcome reception mixer for customers, fans, and anyone interested in SOLIDWORKS.

    The welcome reception will be kicking off at Bob's Steak & Chop House in the Omni Dallas Hotel on Monday, February 1st, starting at 5:30 PM. This is an annual event we have been hosting at SOLIDWORKS World for the last five or so years and are looking forward to another amazing year at World!

    If you'd like to RSVP, all you have to do is fill out the form on this page and you're all set.

    Can't make it to the welcome reception? We also have nine speakers at SOLIDWORKS World, all with great presentations you don't want to miss out on.

    Here is the full list of speakers:

    Get A Move On: Marketing Quality Animation Skills, Jay Pinheiro

    Build Your Entire System In SOLIDWORKS -- PCB, Electrical & Mechanical, David Hofer

    Leveraging Reporting In EPDM, Lindsay Early

    Save Yourself! (The Perils of Saving Over a Network), Dan Erickson

    Basic File Management Without a PDM System, Rachel Buhl

    Sheet Metal: Everything You Wanted To Know & More, Cami Florence

    Design Automation With The Configuration Publisher, Rodney Harper

    SOLIDWORKS And 3D Printers, Nady Osmat

    Getting Started With Design Tables, Katie Huffman

    Here's to a great 2016 and hopefully we see you in Dallas!


    MakerBot Introduces New Smart Extruder

    by Rob Stipek on January 6, 2016
    MakerBot has seen some bumps in the road recently regarding the effectiveness and quality of their first generation Smart Extruder. On a Fused Deposition Modeling 3D printer, an extruder is a part used to dispense plastic filaments that build a part layer by layer. Generally the extruder has to heat up to a certain temperature to melt a spool of plastic then pushes the melted plastic out through the extruder tip.
    With the release of the latest version Smart Extruder, MakerBot hopes to deliver the hobbyist 3D printing community an easy way to swap out an old, worn out extruder for a brand new one. The thought behind these Smart Extruders is that over time extruders become clogged or  wear out, so rather than having to order new parts to fix your extruder, the Smart Extruders enables users a quick and easy way to simply install a brand new one. This, as you can imagine, saves time and is extremely convenient if you are in the middle of a build.

    The previous version of the Smart Extruder had trouble giving users the promised life span and reliability. MakerBot says the new version promises to deliver extruders that have life spans lasting over 700, while some tested extruders have gone over 1200 hours. The new Smart Extruders will also have the updated software that Makerbot released last fall which helps increase print speed. Along with new software, there are new sensors that detect when more plastic filament is needed to complete a print. The new Smart Extruder will be available to the MakerBot’s fifth-generation line of printers, which includes the latest MakerBot Replicator, the Z18, and Replicator Mini. 


    It's a Simulation Holiday, How long to cook that Bird?

    by David Roccaforte on January 5, 2016

    While I was deciding on an appropriate brine, rub and injection for this years Turkey I was curious how closely a quick and dirty simulation would come to the reality of my smoker out on the deck? So while I was waiting for the bird to thaw I started modeling one up.  Then, to calculate the fowl temperature versus time I used a 4 step process:

    1. Gather Data and make Assumptions:

    - I'm assuming homogeneous thermal properties.

    - Assuming the majority of heat transfer is via convection not accounting for radiation.

    - I'm modeling the turkey while cooking dinner so bones are not added. If anyone has a full 3D Turkey skeleton send it on over.

    I found some thermal properties for meats here:


    - Most of the standard material properties in Flow are temperature dependant however for this study I'm assuming conductivity and specific heat are basically constant in this temperature range.

    - Assuming constant ambient temperature.  When I get a second probe with recording capabilities I will try again with ambient temp(time).  Ideally with the control system on the pellet smoker it's pretty consistent so it's not too big of an assumption.

    Step 2. Create a Steady State Flow Simulation of the Smoker:

    With Flow I used parametric studies to estimate inlet flow rate and temperature to create a steady state ambient temperature of 325F.  I will use the ambient temperature and convection heat transfer coefficients from Flow rather than estimating them as boundary conditions in thermal.

    Cut Plot of Ambient Temperature in Flow
    Heat Transfer Coefficient on Surface Note it is NOT uniform

    Step 3.  Run transient thermal simulation:

    The transient study was run in thermal analysis to reduce tun times.  Running the full smoker model in Flow as a transient would take much longer to run. However we did use Flow to capture the non uniform convection which would be more difficult to apply in thermal.

    Transient Thermal Simulation Using Flow Convection 

    Now you not may be able to tell from the picture but I was in the holiday "spirit" and forgot to save my temperature probe data from the Turkey.....

    author trying not to cut off a finger
    This gave me a good excuse to smoke some more fowl.  In this case I had fewer guests to feed so I did a slightly more controlled experiment with Cornish hens. Through the beauty of CAD embedded simulation I just scaled down my turkey and then created a new configuration and re-ran with the Hens.
    Calibrating my model
    Step 4:  Conclusion/Comparison:  Time versus temperature calculations 

    Analysis Compared to Thermal Probe Temperatures over Time
    Here is a comparison of multiple probe points in the vicinity of the probe on both hens versus time. The actual probe data is in the middle which is a good thing and gives me confidence in my model.  If I was using this turkey to optimize Flow in the smoker this would be good enough to stop here.  If I needed more accuracy I would take into account the following:

    - Bone thermal mass
    - Variation in ambient with time
    - Possible variation of conductivity and specific heat with temperature
    - Take into account rotating the Hens halfway the smoke.

    I hope this give you some insight into the synergy between Flow and Sim Pro thermal and a basic understanding of the assumption that go into a thermal analysis.

    Here's a link to some video of the simulations: https://youtu.be/rs7C9d6q6zM

    Happy New Year!



    Reindeer Power: Overcoming Aerodynamic Inefficiencies on Santa's Sleigh

    by Corey Gulley on December 28, 2015
    Santa’s sleigh doesn’t appear to be the most aerodynamic design we’ve ever laid eyes on, so I opened up SolidWorks Flow Simulation to analyze it.  I wondered how much power each reindeer would have to provide in order to counteract the drag put on the sleigh.  Using SolidWorks as a CAD and CFD tool, I could both analyze and design the sleigh in the matter of hours.

    If you do a quick google search, you’ll see that in order for Santa to visit most children in the world, he would have to travel at 650 miles per second.  While that sounds great, I’m just going to go with a descent speed of a regional jet at 300 miles per hour as the initial velocity flowing around the sleigh.  This is of course the only input I need for my study, so I can establish goals, or criteria that I primarily want to analyze when I’m looking at my results.  The first parameter I need to figure out is how much power is acting on the sleigh.  Once I figure that out, I can estimate how much power each reindeer would have to provide in order to get the sleigh to move.  So I am calculating the force in the direction of the airflow, along with the velocity.   Multiplying these two values together gives me an estimate of the work (or power) acting on the sleigh.
    If you convert the equation goal (power) from N-m/s to horsepower, you’ll end up with about 1700 hp.  Given that there are nine reindeer, each reindeer would have to put out about 190 hp in order to counteract the work being done on the sleigh… that’s about the horsepower of my Civic SI for each reindeer.
    Looking at the cut plot displaying streamlines, you’ll see the velocity changes direction just behind the sleigh, indicating a drag region.  So, in summary, Santa’s sleigh not even close to full speed is hardly aerodynamic.  

    So given all of these tools we have, do you think we can quickly come up with a better design for Santa?  I came up with a sleeker look for Santa, and it should make his travels much more efficient.  After running a CFD study, the new design only has 120 hp acting on the sleigh.  This design is much lighter and aerodynamic, so Santa should be able to delivery all of his presents to the children on time! 


    Press Release: Fisher Unitech To Host 3D Printing for Manufacturing Webinar Series

    by Rob Stipek on December 15, 2015
    Fisher Unitech will be hosting a webinar series that will run throughout the months of January and February with all webinar presentations scheduled to take place at 2:00 PM EST. These webinars will offer participants a better understanding of not only the differences between Stratasys Fused Deposition Modeling and Polyjet 3D printing technologies but also how the design and manufacturing industries are utilizing 3D printing to make better quality products.
    All presentations will be given by our experienced Fisher Unitech 3D Printing Applications Engineering staff and will offer participants a question and answer session at the end of each presentation.
    These informative webinar presentations will specifically cover: 
    • 3D Printing Industry Trends and Forecasts
    • Additive Manufacturing Meets Traditional Manufacturing
    • Fused Deposition Modeling and Polyjet 3D Printing Materials Characteristics Overview


    3D Printing Helping the Aerospace Industry Take Off

    by Rob Stipek on December 9, 2015
    Whether it is on the commercial side or the military side of the aerospace industry, 3D printing is

    becoming a key component of getting projects off the ground. Commercial airlines are seeing a large spike in the utilization of 3D printing for end use parts. For companies like Airbus, 3D printing parts out of an ULTEM™ 9085 resin works great as this material is certified to meet Airbus material specifications. Utilizing Stratasys Fused Deposition Modeling 3D printing, Airbus has managed to produce more than 1000 flight parts for use on A350 XWB aircraft, which began delivery in December 2014.

    The benefits that a company like Airbus sees out of 3D printing end use parts is pretty substantial. FDM parts are lightweight yet still very strong. This is helpful for the airline industry because if you can reduce weight while still maintaining a high level of strength, then you can save money on fuel. Another benefit Airbus has found by 3D printing is ways to reduce its part inventory. With the speed and accuracy of 3D printing it is simple to quickly print a new part when it comes time to replace something that is old or worn out. By doing this Airbus frees up space in warehouses by reducing their overhead costs of storage of replacement parts.
    3D Printing is also having a major impact on government and military projects. U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Akron) and U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Dayton) have included a request in the proposed 2016 Defense Budget for 10 million dollars worth of funding to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, with the purpose of exploring and enhancing 3D printing capabilities in Airforce applications. 3D printing is also developing into a very important tool for NASA. There are numerous 3D printing projects that have been developed for space exploration including building parts for the land rovers that will be sent to Mars and even installing a 3D printer on board the international space station.

    With a reduction in design constrictions, increase speed, industry grade materials, and better productivity it should be no surprise 3D printing is becoming the perfect partner for Aerospace. 

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