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Fancy footwork

Published 13 February 2009

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: rhino, proengineer, autocad, eamz, symatron, united nude

For those of us men spending this afternoon (and possibly the early hours of tomorrow morning) finding a gift for our loved ones in time for Valentines Day tomorrow (yes it’s tomorrow), then DEVELOP3D are on hand to help.

These Eamz shoes are from United Nude, a company that works with designers from all industries. Referencing the classic Eames chair, founder and designer Rem D Koolhaas wanted it to embody the same sense of cool. “It’s an ode to them, saying that the Eames chair is so cool and so clean in its design that you can create a shoe from the concept of it,” says Rem.

Developed with the assistance of Dutch master shoe-maker Rene van den Berg, the shoe took a lot of designing. “I drew the heel myself in AutoCad since I am a trained architect and this is the software that I’ve always used and feel most comfortable with,” explains Rem, adding “Since the Mono Eamz has a fully moulded upper, you’re dealing with double curved surfaces and you use 3-D software like Rhino, Pro/E or Symatron to make high-level moulds.”

Following several rounds of prototyping, adjustments, and scanning, the heel was finally completed in design, although the assistance of a motorcycle factory had to be enlisted in order to manufacture it.

You still have a few hours in which to get a pair. That is, if you can remember her shoe size.

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The future, the past and obliteration on the menu for Solidworks World keynote

Published 11 February 2009

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: solidworks, solidworks world, jeff ray

SolidWorks World 2009 Monday Keynote – Jeff Ray by SolidWorksCorp

As the announcer bellowed his name as though a boxer was entering the ring and the blistering music rang in my ears I actually got a bit excited about Jeff Ray’s keynote speech at this year’s Solidworks World (SW).

I was slightly taken aback by the rock and roll entry, but it didn’t hold back CEO Jeff. Customer service is up to 91%, 1.2 million people are firing through the customer portal, and localisation of languages has been upped to 16.

So how would he grade their performance overall last year? “I would say it’s a B, but it’s a B-minus because we have plenty of room to improve.”

A survey of users after the last SW said they spend 70% of their time in SW, a huge chunk of their working lives to be in one program, and Jeff seemed set to make sure users have the chance to give their opinion.

Located in the customer portal, Brainstorm, a way to vote publicly about what goes into Solidworks, was key to this message of interaction. “It’s going to be a core part of the R&D process for those people who have access to the customer portal,” said Jeff, adding “The key word here is transparency. We’re going to show you everything and we trust that you’ll give us your best advice in our best interest.”

Showing that his inner cool belies his age, Jeff even gives out the tweet code for everyone to chase-up later on Twitter.

The outlay for the next version was summed up through “three things we have to concentrate on” – and this came through obliterating installs, obliterating the upgrade process, and the way that users have to work when managing design data. “When you need to go find that part, or that assembly, you have to become a database administrator. And we need to obliterate that language,” explained Jeff, his heart clearly set on destroying the niggling parts of the Solidworks experience. “It shouldn’t matter where those files are located – if they’re on your hard drive, on the server, or out in the cloud – you shouldn’t care and you shouldn’t have to talk to the computer in the language that it understands.”

Despite his rallying it was a tricky crowd. Although the audience was there through their love of SW, many of the claims were being met with stony silence as everyone waited for the news of what the financial crisis was to bring.

Jeff attacked this with a bit of history. “Some of the great inventions that we take for granted today came out of adversity.” He began, before extolling the virtues of Spam rising up from the Great Depression. He also gave examples of companies pushing their designs in the modern world – an interesting micro-windmill, UV water treatment for developing nations, and a baby incubator made from readily available car parts – as how resourceful thinking and design is already starting to blossom from our own recession.

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Making the cut

Published 11 February 2009

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: arrk, flymo

This little Flymo is a prototype put together by ARRK comprising of 25 CNC components in ABS and clear acrylic, whipped together in under a fortnight that allowed for actual field trials to cut grass.

Garden tool manufacturer Husqvarna called upon ARRK to assist in the development of their new rear collection lawnmower, the Multimo 360XC.

After successful trials ARRK was then commissioned to produce vacuum castings to build 15 fully assembled lawnmowers to be used for photo shoots and marketing meetings.

The components were fully finished, textured, assembled and then delivered to the client within four weeks, just in time for the product launch.

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Dyson digs deep for British manufacturing

Published 09 February 2009

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: dyson, royal college of art

James Dyson, renowned inventor and hoover enthusiast, has made a giant donation of £5 million to the Royal College of Art to rediscover the nation’s talent for making things and rescue the manufacturing industry.

Speaking to the Observer this week, he said: “You often hear of British designers who’ve gone abroad and designed things for Apple, Volvo, Sony and so on, but if we are able to go on training very good designers and engineers, and manufacturing is given the right sort of support by government, I believe we can turn the tide and start exporting more than we import – and have great fun in the process.”

His educational charity, the James Dyson Foundation, makes the donation to help fund a new building on RCA’s Battersea campus in south London, including a lecture theatre, gallery space, studios and 40 business “incubator units” where recent graduates will be able to take their designs from the drawing board to production.

Dyson added: “Manufacturing is not a Dickensian, dark-satanic-mills place where you end up if you’re thick: it’s a very exciting intellectual exercise that is clean, poses fresh challenges every day and involves using science, design and engineering to make groundbreaking, wonderful products that the world wants.”

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