• POSTED IN CAD, COMPOSER, SOLIDWORKS

    Getting Vector Graphics with Depth from SOLIDWORKS

    by Sean O’Neill on January 13, 2017
    Getting-Vector-Graphics-with-Depth-from-SOLIDWORKS11

    When I first came across the “Cartoon” feature in SOLIDWORKS, I admit: I was a bit stumped on how to best utilize the tool.

    While there are several ways to use this appearance mode, I stumbled upon a pretty neat way to use it for a recent graphic project I was working on. My goal was to extract a clean piece of vector art for use in an Adobe Illustrator design of a t-shirt. I wanted the t-shirt to feature a 3D printer churning out a worm gear part.

    If you’ve ever seen a worm gear setup, you’d know that the worm in the gear setup is helical in nature. I didn’t feel like attempting to draw the curves in Illustrator; I felt it’d be much more suitable if I could somehow extract exacting geometry from SOLIDWORKS.

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    • POSTED IN CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

      Exploring SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional

      by Joe Frank on January 11, 2017

      exploring-solidworks-pdm-professional1With the retirement of SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM fast approaching, it’s time for users to move to a new product data management solution: SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard.

      To help you understand more about the solutions, I recently delivered a webcast demonstrating the user interface for Standard and Professional. You can watch the recorded webcast to see how intuitive the interface is for managing data files and moving them through a workflow. Yet, while the interface may be the same for both PDM solutions, the capabilities are not. It’s important to understand the differences.

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      • POSTED IN FUNTECH NEWS

        Fisher Unitech Welcomes Prism Engineering Customers

        by Angelle Erickson on January 10, 2017

        logoLast year on June 1st, Fisher Unitech acquired Prism Engineering Inc. With this acquisition, Fisher Unitech became one of the leading technology providers in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions to provide manufacturing customers with solutions for product development, additive manufacturing, and subtractive manufacturing.

        Today, Prism Engineering’s name has officially changed to Fisher Unitech. To our new customers by way of Prism Engineering, welcome to Fisher Unitech and our growing and passionate community. Now that you are a Fisher Unitech customer, this blog will answer some questions you may have regarding your transition, along with a simple tour guide to get you started.

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        • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

          Building BattleBots Champions with SOLIDWORKS

          by Christa Prokos on January 6, 2017

          Back in the year 2000, a new American television series aired on Comedy Central called BattleBots. The name alone conjures up images of fighting robots, but exactly what kind of robots? Simply put, remote controlled machines designed for combat that would fight to the death in an arena. Funny yes, but also ingenious.

          BattleBots ran for a couple of years, then took a hiatus only to return to ABC TV in 2015. Imagine the evolution of technologies and materials that took place over those 15 years. Fast forward to 2017 and today’s fighting robots are more sophisticated and fiercer than ever. The ingenuity continues from spinning blades to clamping jaws and 250 pounds of heavy armor. BattleBots now has a global following with more than 150 countries soon broadcasting the show.

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          • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING

            New Year, New Strategy – Why you Should Implement 3D Printing for your Business

            by Rob Stipek on January 4, 2017

            The most recent Wohlers Report states that the additive manufacturing industry grew to $5.1 billion dollars and shows no projected signs of slowing down over new-year-new-strategy-why-you-should-implement-3d-printing-for-your-business1the next four years. This growth in additive manufacturing is driven by designers and manufacturers finding value in using the technology to enable better ways of bringing products to life. As manufacturing moves into the 4th industrial revolution, where additive manufacturing is crucial, implementing new technologies is essential in order to gain a competitive edge.

            Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing the more common term, is the process by which digital 3D design is used to build up a component in layers by depositing material. Since the 1980s, the use of 3D printing, along with the maturity of technology and materials, has driven the steady growth in replacing traditional manufacturing means. You can now commonly see manufacturers such as BMW, Oreck, and Airbus using 3D printing for applications ranging from prototypes to manufacturing floor tools.

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            • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

              Two Great Tools Every SOLIDWORKS User Should Know (But Many Don’t)

              by Toby Schnaars on January 3, 2017

              As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’ve been a user of SOLIDWORKS for 18 two-great-tools-every-solidworks-user-should-know-but-many-dont-1years and began teaching new and experienced users since 2001. Today we are going to examine two great tools in SOLIDWORKS that every user should know how to use, but many don’t:

              1. CTRL+Q = Force Regen
              2.  V.O.R. = Verification on Rebuild

              These two tools share the same theme: They both generate a rebuild, which is more thorough and elaborate, but takes a longer time to complete.

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              • POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                Are you stuck in the past waiting on the future?

                by Nick Licari on December 29, 2016

                Back in 1989, Doc Brown and Marty McFly promised me that in 2015 we wouldn’t need roads where we were going—we would have flying cars. By using this same concept today in the additive manufacturing community, I should still be driving my 1987 Chevy Celebrity until flying cars become available. As you can guess, I’ve purchased new cars since 1987. Think of all the advancements in automotive technology since then; sure it may not be as advanced as flying cars, but in 1989 had Hollywood been able to sell us on heated seats, GPS, park assist, and autonomous vehicles I think we may have been just as excited.

                So what does this have to do with additive manufacturing? Like Hollywood, large 3D printing companies are making big promises as to what their technologies may be capable of in the future… but not today. This futuristic “what if” is leading to more and more companies holding on to their 1987 Celebrities and barely getting by, hoping to buy that flying car when it becomes available rather than trading it in for current technology that is readily available and industry leading today. Companies such as HP and Rize Inc are constantly making promises on what their systems can do some day... but not today, or tomorrow, or the next year, or the year after that. So why would I buy their technology today?

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                • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

                  Lessons Learned in a FIRST Robotics Classroom

                  by Dan Erickson on December 27, 2016

                  lessons-learned-in-a-first-robotics-classroom1Kids these days are sharp! I was reminded of this fact during an opportunity to teach SOLIDWORKS to Macomb County FIRST Robotics teams “Thunder Chickens” and “I AM Robot”. Having spent my first five years at Fisher Unitech teaching and supporting SOLIDWORKS, the front of a classroom is familiar territory. Plus, a roomful of kids was a welcome change of pace (and an opportunity to be the oldest guy in the room for a change). I am glad I accepted their invitation.

                  I typically begin my classes by explaining my objective: to present the material as clearly and coherently as I am able; and my expectations of the class: to be attentive and engaged. But in this case, such a preamble seemed superfluous. These students were, after all, here by choice.

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                  • POSTED IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                    Happy Holidays! Here’s a Geek’s Guide to Gift Giving

                    by Angelle Erickson on December 21, 2016

                    happy-holidays-heres-a-geeks-guide-to-gift-giving-1Engineers and designers spend a big portion of their day down a continuous path of possibilities and creation. With technology changing and improving at such a rapid pace, having the latest and greatest can mean faster production and improvements in the overall work environment.

                    These engineers and designers in our lives are tech savvy. When inquiring about technical gadgets and gizmos they are the first person you turn to. So what kind of gift do you give to the person who is always on top of their game? In the 3D printing and CAD world there are many inspiring technologies.

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                    • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                      The Secrets of SOLIDWORKS Service Packs

                      by Sean O’Neil on December 19, 2016

                      Most times, when we talk about the version of SOLIDWORKS we use, we describe it in yearly terms such as 2015, 2016, or 2017. There are also times when we’ll specify a bit further, including the SOLIDWORKS service pack we’re using such as SP0.0 vs. SP5.0.

                      Every year, the newest version of SOLIDWORKS is showcased in launch events to show people top highlights of the new enhancements and features they can expect. However, with service packs, most people don’t get a great deal of visibility into what changes have been made between, for example, SP0.0 of a given year’s version and SP1.0 of that same release.

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                      • POSTED IN SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                        SOLIDWORKS Simulation Tech Tip: Flow Solver Scalability

                        by David Roccaforte on December 16, 2016

                        Back in 2015, I tried an experiment comparing model size (number of cells) to memory needs and solve time. When I used SOLIDWORKS 2016, it was better at taking advantage of multiple cores as shown below. 

                        flowsolverscalability

                        The old solver started to lose advantages around 6 cores per job. You can see that the green curve is still upward sloping after 6 cores, that is the new solver.

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                        • POSTED IN TRAINING, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                          New Year’s Resolution: Learn New SOLIDWORKS Skills

                          by Rachael Buhl on December 14, 2016

                          Before the new year begins, take a moment to consider what you want to accomplish professionally in 2017. Whether it’s a promotion, or just having more interesting and self-rewarding projects in your current role, learning new SOLIDWORKS skills could help get you there.  

                          Yet often the thought of taking training is followed with the worry of taking time out of the office. You’re not alone, like anyone with a new year’s resolution can tell you, it’s easy to make excuses that hold you back.

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                          • POSTED IN CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                            Nine Reasons Why You Need a PDM Solution - An Engineer’s Point of View

                            by Jodi Degenaer on December 12, 2016

                            It’s a bright, early Monday morning and I’m excited to get to work on a hot project. I start my SOLIDWORKS design software, click ‘File>Open’ and navigate to my assembly. A dialogue pops up. The file is in use by someone else.

                            Who has my assembly open, and why? It’s still only in the initial design phase. Hmm…I know Jeff is working on similar components. I give Jeff a call. He says he doesn’t have it open, but Mary had some of his files open the other day and I should try her. I call Mary and get no answer.

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                            • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, 3D PRINTING

                              Every Single SOLIDWORKS 3D Printing Feature

                              by Sean O'neill on December 9, 2016

                              Did you know that since 2010, SOLIDWORKS has introduced new 3D printing features in each software release? Finding every single one of them can be a challenge. This year, for example, SOLIDWORKS implemented over 215 pages of new functionality into SOLIDWORKS 2017. It is a lot to digest.

                              For this reason, we created an infographic that includes each and every SOLIDWORKS 3D printing feature. As a preview, this article covers three of its biggest highlights in depth.

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                              • POSTED IN CAD, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                                SOLIDWORKS 2017 Packs in New Electrical Functionality

                                by David Hofer on December 7, 2016

                                “SOLIDWORKS Electrical – what’s all this 2017 stuff anyway?” is how Bob Pease, the famous integrated circuit design expert and technical author, may describe the capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2017. He had a great way of explaining complex technical concepts and making them relatable to the general engineering population (us mere mortals).

                                I’m no Bob Pease by any stretch of the imagination, but in putting together descriptions of the electrical features and presentation content for Fisher Unitech’s recent SOLIDWORKS 2017 product launch events, I took system design concepts and related them to a simple robot that our technical team used as a platform to demonstrate the top new enhancements and features in SOLIDWORKS 2017. I think Bob would have appreciated this straightforward, albeit entertaining, approach.

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                                • POSTED IN CAD

                                  What Improvements Should You Expect After Switching CAD Software?

                                  by Jerry Fireman on December 5, 2016

                                  Switching to a new CAD software system requires an investment in time and money. Which raises the question of what kind of a return can you expect on that investment? Tech-Clarity, an independent research firm that specializes in CAD and related technology, recently surveyed 192 companies that have switched CAD software systems to find out what benefits they had achieved and was it worth the effort?

                                  what-improvements-should-you-expect-after-switching-cad-software1

                                  The survey showed that companies have reported significant improvements, starting with a substantial reduction in the amount of time required to bring new products to market. Top performing companies reduced product development time by 19% and time to implement engineering change orders (ECOs) by 15% while average performers reduced product development time by 14% and ECO time by 8%.

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                                  • POSTED IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                    When uPrint you win. How the uPrint will change the way you design.

                                    by Rob Stipek on December 2, 2016

                                    3D printing has become a beneficial tool for engineers and a necessity forwhenuprintyouwin streamlining and designing in the manufacturing industry. Unfortunately, many companies have yet to implement this technology for either the lack of perceived value or simply the unwillingness to change traditional processes. For manufacturers that are still on the fence, the Stratasys uPrint and uPrint SE plus are two affordable, yet powerful desktop machines that are capable of solving all of your manufacturing needs in real time. Built to perform, Stratasys uPrints are capable of creating anything from functional prototypes to manufacturing floor tools.

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                                    • POSTED IN SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                      Save a Life – Optimize that Design with SOLIDWORKS Simulation

                                      by Drew Buchanan on November 30, 2016

                                      The beads of sweat drip off my forehead as I drill my climbing anchor into the rock. I maneuver the rope through the anchor’s 9mm slot for the rope to fit through. After the rope is tucked through the anchor, I place the strap through my carabiner and secure it, then begin my climb upwards. As I move upwards my left foot slips on a piece of shale, and my hands lose their grip. I fall backward hoping my carabiner and anchor system holds. Thankfully, the carabiner’s suggested 9 KN engineering rating holds fine, and I fall only five feet instead of the 100 feet to the mountain floor.

                                      I realize many of you may not spend your free time hanging out on the side of a mountain 100 feet in the air on a small rock ledge—trusting that engineers adequately designed a four inch curved piece of metal to hold your weight. Regardless, we all rely on products we use daily that have been designed and optimized by engineers for our safety.

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                                      • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING MATERIALS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                        3D Printing Changing how Manufacturers Produce Complex Composite Parts

                                        by Rob Stipek on November 28, 2016

                                        3D printing technology is rapidly changing how manufacturers are creating 3d-printing-changing-how-manufacturers-produce-complex-composite-parts1concept models and end-use parts. One of the fastest growing applications is utilizing 3D printing technology for the tooling of complex and low volume composite parts. Boeing and other companies in the aerospace and automotive industries are finding that using composite materials instead of metal, greatly reduces the weight and cost of their part which, over time, has saved thousands of dollars. So how are these models produced? There are two primary ways 3D printing is making this possible.

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                                        • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING

                                          Food for Thought: Could 3D Printing Help with Thanksgiving?

                                          by Angelle Erickson on November 22, 2016
                                          food-for-thought-could-3d-printing-help-with-thanksgiving1

                                          The holiday season has officially begun, and many are beginning to prepare for guests to warm their homes and spectacular spreads of holiday treats, and oh—the turkey feast! But with much anticipation, there is always the panic of preparation. Need a helping hand in the kitchen? 3D printing has found new innovative ways to make food preparation and the culinary experience even more fun and exciting.

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                                          • POSTED IN DATA MANAGEMENT, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                            SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM Retirement - Are You Prepared?

                                            by Christa Prokos on November 21, 2016

                                            If you use SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM to manage your product design files, the time to start planning your migration to either SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard is now. You are probably already aware that this juncture would come.

                                            Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation gave ample time for customers to prepare for change when in the summer of 2015 it announced that it would phase out the aged product data management tool. SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM had reached the limit of what it could do with its architecture, the company said, along with advice that customers will be better served by migrating to either PDM Professional or PDM Standard.

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                                            • POSTED IN DATA MANAGEMENT, CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                              Upgrading to SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017 Part 3: PDM Professional Post-Upgrade Tips

                                              by Tom Starks on November 18, 2016

                                              Upgrading software should be something to look forward to, but it can also be time-consuming and challenging if you are not properly prepared. This is the final installment of a three-part blog series to help you with an easier and successful upgrade to SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017 Professional or Standard.

                                              In Part 1 I covered tips to help you prepare for your upgrade. In Part 2 I took you through the post-upgrade process, covering commonly missed items. For this blog, I will provide additional post-upgrade tips that apply to SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional. These tips will allow you to take advantage of the new 2017 tasks, since tasks are not available in SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard:

                                              • - Add the SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional 2017 SWPDFTaskAddIn
                                              • - Using the new SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional PDM 2017 Tasks

                                              Let’s get started.

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                                              • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                Do More with SOLIDWORKS 2017 Sheet Metal Enhancements

                                                by Rodney Harper on November 16, 2016

                                                Sheet metal parts are common across a wide range of industries from special machines, housings, and other critical product components. When your work involves creating sheet metal parts, you need the most flexible design approach possible. This includes flattening functionality. SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software gives you the ability to do all of this and now the new SOLIDWORKS 2017 release gives you even more critical new functions.

                                                Four main features in SOLIDWORKS 2017 that have been enhanced:

                                                1. Three bend corner relief
                                                2. Normal Cut has improved flattened results
                                                3. Punch Table support for mirrored and derived parts
                                                4. Define individual options per sheet metal body in a multibody part

                                                I’m excited to show you the new 2017 functionality. Improved manufacturability, less confusion from the manufacturing floor, and improvements in the interface will result in a better return on investment with SOLIDWORKS. Now let’s take a look at some examples I’ve put together for you.

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                                                • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, 3D PRINTING

                                                  The 3 Newest SOLIDWORKS 3D Printing Features

                                                  by Sean O'Neill on November 14, 2016

                                                  3D Printing is allowing the manufacturing world to innovate and iterate quicker than ever. It's important that our CAD design tools innovate in parallel. Accordingly, one good question buyers should ask is, "What SOLIDWORKS 3D printing features are available to SOLIDWORKS users?"the-3-newest-solidworks-3d-printing-investments11

                                                  In a survey done by technology research firm, Tech-Clarity, about 54% of companies claimed that the ability to support internal workflows was a key influence in selecting a CAD system. That was good enough to make it a top 5 consideration for your peers. A glance at the broader manufacturing landscape also shows that the 3D printing market, increasingly expanding its scope of capabilities and materials offered, projects to be a >$30 billion market by the year 2022.

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                                                  • POSTED IN DATA MANAGEMENT, CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                    Upgrading to SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017 Part 2: Post-Upgrade Tips

                                                    by Tom Starks on November 11, 2016

                                                    Often times, the thought of a software upgrade can be daunting and cause concerns over how time-consuming or challenging the process could be. With help from the experts, you don’t have to worry. This blog series provides tips and tricks to help make it easier for you to upgrade to SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or Standard. In Part 1 I covered tips to help you prepare for your upgrade. However there is always something that needs to be done after an upgrade and in this blog, I will cover the following post-upgrade tips:

                                                    • - Run the PDM Database Upgrade Tool
                                                    • - Manually upgrade any PDM Add-Ins like Dispatch or SWTaskAddIn

                                                    So let’s get started!

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                                                    • POSTED IN STRATASYS, 3D PRINTING

                                                      Stratasys J750 Changes How Engineers Validate Design

                                                      by Rob Stipek on November 9, 2016

                                                      For a design engineer, what is the best way to validate a CAD model? The most effective and efficient way is to use a 3D printer to rapidly produce a prototype. With a PolyJet 3D printer, for example, a designer can not only verify a design, but can also receive feedback on the look and feel of the physical prototype, or part.

                                                      PolyJet 3D printing is an extremely precise and detailed additive manufacturing technology that uses photopolymers to build up layers of material to create the desired part. The most technologically advanced PolyJet 3D printer, the Stratasys J750, was released earlier this year. The J750 gives design engineers greater capabilities that can improve the product development process even more. It is a step above the already industry leading precision 3D printing technology Stratasys offers.

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                                                      • POSTED IN CAD, SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                        Save Time with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Feature: Blended Curvature-Based Mesh

                                                        by Drew Buchanan on November 7, 2016

                                                        Finite element modeling (FEM) continues to evolve and makes solving multiphysics problems easier and easier for users. No longer, are the days of dedicated engineers or programmers sitting in cubicles writing code to solve finite element problems. SOLIDWORKS Simulation has set the bar for making FEM easier for users while still being computationally powerful. In this blog, I will cover one of the newer capabilities in SOLIDWORKS Simulation that can save you a lot of time: the “Blended curvature-based mesh” feature.

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                                                        • POSTED IN PDM

                                                          SOLIDWORKS PDM Upgrade Tips Part 1: Preparing for Your Upgrade

                                                          by Tom Starks on November 4, 2016

                                                          Your organization relies on SOLIDWORKS for product data management. How else would you centralize all your engineering data and related files in a secure repository? But if you use SOLIDWORKS PDM, then you know that the software does more than just provide a secure repository. Some of its benefits include integrating workflows, automating design and approval processes, providing version control and enabling collaboration across teams and locations. Now with SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017, you can do even more.   

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                                                          • POSTED IN CAD, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                                                            SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2017 - Collaboration Made Simpler

                                                            by Angelle Erickson on November 2, 2016

                                                            Teamwork is tried and true regardless of the industry you work in. In product development, the relationship between electrical engineers and mechanical engineers is highly dependent on how well they can collaborate on a project. Having the right tools to work effectively and efficiently not only controls the quality of product designs but the production time frame as well.

                                                            SOLIDWORKS Electrical is one such powerful tool for engineers. It not only displays a design to the very last detail but also makes communication extremely easier on both the mechanical and electrical ends of the project.

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                                                            • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING MATERIALS, 3D PRINTING

                                                              3D Printing Halloween Sci-fi Props

                                                              by Danny Jackson Levy on October 31, 2016

                                                              “More human than human” is the famous corporate tagline from the fictional company, Tyrell Corporation, in the 1982 Sci-fi classic movie Blade Runner. This quote is what kept me going as I worked to perfect the replica blaster that I have always dreamed of owning. Created by the infamous Hollywood prop maker, Richard Coyle, the original Blade Runner handgun prop is considered one of the most sought after sci-fi guns next to Han Solo’s blaster. 3d-printing-halloween-sci-fi-props1

                                                              The model I chose to create was designed by Andrew Forster and integrates the key characteristics of Coyle’s blaster. The forty component assembly was designed and toleranced for FDM 3D printing and requires a significant amount of post-processing to finish to spec. Since this was my first time making movie props, there was a great deal of learning involved to take the project from start to finish. For those interested in using 3D printing to make props, here are tips from my experience so you don’t have to learn the hard way.

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                                                              • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING

                                                                Efficiency, Flexibility and the Factory of the Future with 3D Printing

                                                                by Christa Prokos on October 28, 2016

                                                                The adoption of industrial 3D printing continues to grow with global spending on printers reaching nearly $11 billion in 2015. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that spending will rise to about $27 billion by 2019.  

                                                                Statistics aside, examples of industry growth are making recent headlines. “Airbus Standardizes on Stratasys Additive Manufacturing Solutions for A350 XWB Aircraft Supply Chain,” reads the headline of an October 13th press release from leading 3D printer and materials manufacturer, Stratasys.

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                                                                • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                  Tips for New SOLIDWORKS Users Part 3: Fully Define, Every Time

                                                                  by Toby Schnaars on October 27, 2016

                                                                  Welcome back to our series of tips for new SOLIDWORKS users. As I mentioned fully-define-every-time1in my last blog, I started teaching SOLIDWORKS CAD software to both new and experienced students in 2001.  This blog series covers three great tips I’ve learned over the years to help new SOLIDWORKS users get started off on the right foot:

                                                                  1. Always start your sketches the same way – and know when you are in sketch mode
                                                                  2. Keep your sketches simple
                                                                  3. Fully define, every time

                                                                  Today, we will finish up by covering the final tip:  Fully define, every time.

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                                                                  • POSTED IN CAD

                                                                    How to Select a New CAD System

                                                                    by Jerry Fireman on October 26, 2016

                                                                    With so many different computer aided design software options out there, how do you pick the one that will have the greatest positive impact on your business? Tech-Clarity, an independent research firm that specializes in CAD and related technology, recently surveyed companies that have switched CAD systems in order to find out what drove the decision process of companies that achieved the most favorable results.

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                                                                    • POSTED IN STRATASYS, 3D PRINTING

                                                                      How 3D Printing Improves the Sand Casting Process

                                                                      by Rob Stipek on October 24, 2016

                                                                      Sand casting is the process of using a mold made of sand to create metal casted parts. It is one of the oldest processes used to create metal parts, dating back thousands of years. The basic process of sand casting involves several steps: First, a part shape, runner layouts, and gates are placed into special sand to create a mold. Next, a molten metal material is poured into the mold and cooled to solidify it. Last, the sand mold is broken away leaving a metal part that is ready for clean up and production.

                                                                      Sand casting is used for a wide range of industry applications with the primary manufacturers being foundries and pattern shops. If this process seems so simple and has been around this long, how can 3D printing improve the sand casting process?

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                                                                      • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                        Get a better connection with SOLIDWORKS Interconnect

                                                                        by Angelle Erickson on October 19, 2016

                                                                        Collaborating with a customer or a supplier shouldn’t be a challenge, but with the many versions of CAD software being used in the industry these days, these challenges can exist. SOLIDWORKS 2017 has made helping customers and viewing different formats easier with Interconnect, a tool that will be part of their 2017 release.

                                                                        SOLIDWORKS 2017 is not only smoother and faster than ever before, but they have made enhancements to almost every feature and product in their software line. Interconnect is the icing on the cake for those who need to not only open and view data from other CAD software but who need to make changes that can be saved and reopened by the original user.

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                                                                        • POSTED IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                          The Business Boosting Benefits of 3D Printing

                                                                          by Christa Prokos on October 18, 2016

                                                                          About thirty years ago, 3D printing emerged as a new technology that could create objects from a digital file using a process known as additive manufacturing. Today, news coverage continues to follow the business boosting benefits it affords. 

                                                                          If you are new to 3D printing, here is how it is done: First, you make a virtual design of an object using a 3D-modeling CAD program to design a new object, or if you would like to make a design file of an existing object, you can use a 3D scanner to copy it. Next, the 3D printer prints the object by applying layer after layer of material to produce the complete object. The material can be anything from clear, rubberlike and biocompatible photopolymers to tough high-performance thermoplastics. It just depends on the application for which the object is created, and the 3D printer used.

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                                                                          • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                            Large Assembly Mode Made Easier with SOLIDWORKS 2017

                                                                            by Angelle Erickson on October 14, 2016

                                                                            As many users know, not every design produced in SOLIDWORKS is small. Some designs require over 100,000 parts and being able to view, manage, document, and assemble a large product should not be a daunting task. Luckily, SOLIDWORKS’ Large Assembly Mode has made that process easier. Available in SOLIDWORKS Standard, Professional, and Premium packages, Large Assembly Mode has key features such as configuration tools, large design review, and magnetic mating allowing users to view the whole picture or work in specific areas without the risk of losing data.

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                                                                            • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                              Tips for New SOLIDWORKS Users Part 2: Keep Your Sketches Simple

                                                                              by Toby Schnaars on October 12, 2016

                                                                              Welcome back to our series of tips for new SOLIDWORKS users. As I mentioned in my last blog, I started teaching SOLIDWORKS CAD software to both new and experienced students in 2001.  This blog series covers three great tips I’ve learned over the years to help new SOLIDWORKS users get started off on the right foot:

                                                                              1. Always start your sketches the same way – and know when you are in sketch mode
                                                                              2. Keep your sketches simple
                                                                              3. Fully define, every time

                                                                              My last blog covered the first tip. Today, we will move into the second: Keep your sketches simple.

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                                                                              • POSTED IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                3D Printed Prototypes Essential to Automotive Industry

                                                                                by Rob Stipek on October 10, 2016
                                                                                3d-printed-prototypes-essential-to-automotive-industry

                                                                                Balancing deadlines and quality work isn’t an easy task to accomplish, especially when you are challenged with creating complex automotive designs. OEMs and their suppliers are constantly looking for ways to improve process, while saving time and money. This is where using 3D printing for prototyping has become an essential part of the automotive design process.

                                                                                Validation of a design base on what a computer image shows you isn’t a foolproof way of ensuring design quality and traditional prototyping methods can be costly and expensive. By incorporating an onsite 3D printer, design engineers can print their CAD models and have them in hand within a matter of hours, ensuring quality and design validation at a speed and price that far exceeds traditional means. The value of having a part in hand to make a proper determination on design quality can be the catalyst to a project’s success.   

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                                                                                • POSTED IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                  Celebrating National Manufacturing Day

                                                                                  by Angelle Erickson on October 7, 2016

                                                                                   

                                                                                  celebrating-national-manufacturing-day-whitespaceThe first Friday in October is celebrated as National Manufacturing Day, where we commend those who have made American products with passion and determination. These are the same people who have inspired the upcoming generation of students to become further educated on developing the future. As we enter the fourth industrial revolution which will focus on the integration of data and communication, companies are focusing on skills, continued innovation, and setting new standards to drive the next generation.

                                                                                  So where does Fisher Unitech see manufacturing heading for the future? I asked Danny Levy, a 3D printing Application Engineer who works with our manufacturing customers, what his thoughts were on the topic. His insights were inspirationally optimistic.

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                                                                                  • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                    Tips for New SOLIDWORKS Users Part 1: Sketch Mode

                                                                                    by Toby Schnaars on October 3, 2016

                                                                                    Hello and welcome to the wonderful world of SOLIDWORKS. I’m excited to be your guide. I have been using SOLIDWORKS CAD software for 18 years, since my first training class back in 1998. I began teaching the software to both new and experienced students back in 2001. Throughout the years I have found that there are three great tips to help new SOLIDWORKS CAD software users get off on the right foot:

                                                                                    1. Always start your sketches the same way – and know when you are in sketch mode
                                                                                    2. Keep your sketches simple
                                                                                    3. Fully define, every time

                                                                                    This blog is the first in a series of three that will provide details on each tip. So let’s get started!

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                                                                                    • POSTED IN CAD

                                                                                      Is it Time to Switch to a New CAD System?

                                                                                      by Jerry Fireman on September 30, 2016

                                                                                      Your CAD system was cutting edge when you purchased it years ago but now it feels like a dull razor blade. Which raises the question – should you replace it now or try to get more out of your existing software? In favor of switching is the opportunity to pick out the latest and greatest solid modeling software that provides the best fit with your product development process. On the negative side, there are costs such as the new software, upgraded hardware, training, conversion of legacy data, etc. How do you decide when it’s time to switch?

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                                                                                      • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                        What’s New: SOLIDWORKS 2017 Technical Communication Tools

                                                                                        by Angelle Erickson on September 29, 2016
                                                                                        techcomm

                                                                                        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.

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

                                                                                          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.

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                                                                                          • POSTED IN DATA MANAGEMENT, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                            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.

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                                                                                            • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                              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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                                                                                              • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                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.  

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                                                                                                • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                  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.

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                                                                                                  • POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                                    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

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                                                                                                    • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                      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.

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