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Landlocked surfboard design

Published 30 November 2010

Posted by Stephen Holmes

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Developing a product in an online community could give you something to look forward to next summer

Crowd sourcing ideas has been a concept for years, but now using forums like GrabCAD it’s developing a stage further to the actual design and production.

Siim Teller, the unlikely surfer in this story, is originally from central Estonia - not known for it’s devil-may-care surfer dudes.

Having caught the bug while on the West Coast of the UK three years ago Siim rates himself as a decent surfer, but one hankering after his own personal board, but in a surfless country like Estonia it was going to be hard.

This planted the idea of using crowd sourcing to design, engineer and eventually build a board.

Read more…

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Take to the polls: A Christmas vacation

Published 29 November 2010

Posted by Stephen Holmes

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This year I spent all my wages on Christmas lights, putting them up in July

26 full days before Christmas Day and TTTP is rushing off to a sunnier climate; one filled with sun, sea, sand and a free bar. As a result this will be the final poll of the decade.

Before getting misty-eyed at the end of an era, we’ll cast an eye over last week’s poll.

Seeing as everyone else is already packed, in the airport departures lounge and quaffing copious amounts of Duty Free booze, it’s down to me to piece together the facts.

Not entirely surprising is that over 30 per cent of those that voted are doing everything. At a time when everyone is being expected to cover all jobs to keep costs low most of you are doing the whole shebang.

But as the sharper amongst you might have noticed, this prompted a little debate on the ‘Comments’ section about what’s available for the “Everyman”.

As our own Al Dean put it: “Composer and Inventor Publisher do a good job of handling the technical illustrations, but there’s sod all for the “everyman” that does both.

“Arbortext is an excellent system for managing massively complex tasks, with multi-language and all that type of thing, but its not affordable unless you have a serious bottlebeck.

“Yes, many of the existing customers do and they get a very quick return on investment for what they invest… Not everyone CAN afford that sort of roll-out, either in terms of cash or justification.”

Some words of wisdom were also dealt out by Kevin Quigley who agrees with the lack of affordable tools for the rising numbers of you producing technical documents.

“What we all want is simple. We want something like Google Layout. Import the 3D Model, directly interact with it in the page layout, set thick n thin lines/render styles, add your text and notes, done,” says Kevin, adding: “Layout is the only app I have come across so far that does most of this in the context of the finished page. Just think what Adobe could have done…”

In an area where only 7 per cent of you are smugly avoiding anything to do with this it would seem a cost-effective tool is needed.

This week’s poll is something less dramatic and a lot more festive - we want to know what hardware you’d magically like to see in your stocking on Christmas morning? Don’t just tick the box, leave us a comment and feel free to get specific: How monstrous do you need your workstation to be? How fast your graphics? Would you want an iPad or another of the growing number of tablets?

See you in the New Year!

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Damiler switches 3d design strategy from Catia to NX

Published 25 November 2010

Posted by Al Dean

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This is a big one for the European automotive industry, Daimler AG has selected Siemens NX as its standard for worldwide vehicle development.

Starting in the summer of 2012, Daimler will integrate work from over 20 development centres and their most important suppliers on a single product development platform. Unfortunately, both companies have agreed not to disclose the contract value.

While there were a few scant details available, it seems that the company has taken integration between it’s own Teamcenter-based Smaragd (meaning a green coloured gemstone) PLM system as a priority and looking to fully connect the two disciples of 3D design and lifecycle management. With the Daimler brand now covering Mercedes, Smart, AMG and several more in the passenger automotive world and both Mercedes and Freightliner trucks, this has huge implications for the supply chain across europe and beyond.


According to the release, based on the combination of NX and Teamcenter, Damiler “will establish digital collaboration from initial concept design, through simulation during design, down to proof of concept of design solutions. The consolidation of digital product information in one single worldwide data pool will facilitate new vehicle development. The introduction of parallel processes in development, design, production planning and production will further optimize the entire value chain. The combination of NX CAD software with our product data management system Smaragd, which is based on Teamcenter, will integrate our entire product creation process from design through production planning down to managing production machines,” said Prof. Bharat Balasubramanian, who is responsible at Daimler for R&D product innovation and process technology.


Dassault followed the announcement with a rather odd press release entitiledDassault Systèmes Informed of Daimler CAD Decision”. Part of a regulatory requirement, the press release announced that DS has been “informed today by Daimler A.G of its decision to select CAD from Siemens.” The release then when onto state that the decision came as a surprise to Dassault Systèmes as no Catia V6 evaluation has been performed by Daimler A.G. The company was “informed by Daimler A.G. that, as CAD application portfolio was not its priority, its decision was based upon CAD integration in its home grown PDM system “Smaragd”.


The release then went onto point, with a slightly bitter tinge in the air, that V6 openness to other PDM systems is part of PLM V6R2011x, which was announced yesterday - obviously coming too late to be of much interest to Daimler. DS also went onto say that the company recently (September of 2010) renewed it’s contract for Catia until 2015 and will also be using Delmia, Enovia, Simulia, and 3DVIA tools, but it has which “Catia specialized applications would be replaced and which ones will have to remain in use.


The automotive world is one that’s in an interesting spot. Environmental pressures means that the development of alternative fuel vehicles is ramping up and if they’re not careful many of today’s leading brands will find themselves in a sticky spot.

Already, todays vehicles are dramatically different from those of 20 years ago. The proliferation of electronics and computer controlled sub-system is huge and the rise of alternative power technologies will further compound that. Damiler is one of the most intriguing as it’s span of products starts at the very small with the Smart brand vehicles (that are likely to lead the electric or hybrid vehicle charge through the world of Mercedes) into performance cars with the likes of AMG and of course, commercial transportation faces many of the same issues.

While I’m no expert on the subject, the automotive world is one that’s going to, if not already, face huge complexity. Now you not only have the complexity of platform sharing across not only products and brands, there’s an increasing drive for more variants based on that same platform (Mercedes is known for having a massive range of options in its vehicles already).

Things are going to be further compounded by the introduction of new drive and power-train technologies. To handle that complexity and variation, you’re always going to need to look at the management of the process as a key priority and if your design tools fit into it, come with native capabilities to find and reuse data, then it’s going to be a much more preferable choice to source both 3D design and life cycle management from the same supplier.

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Take to the polls: Technical publications

Published 22 November 2010

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with:

Are you a published author?

After a week away sunning itself on the tropical beaches of Blackpool, Take to the Polls has returned.

This week we’re looking at literature; not Cage & Avery Magazine, or those ‘exotic’ publications you found in the bottom drawer of your colleague’s desk, but technical literature and whether you get involved in producing it or stay well clear.

As always, click to vote, but feel free to leave comments, questions and anything else in the box below. The results will be shown next Monday, we promise.

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