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Discoverability & DriveWorksXpress

Published 11 November 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: solidworks, design, driveworks, automation, discoverability, kbe, knowledge based engineering

One thing that is a constant source of puzzlement is how the average user finds out about all the new tools, software and technology that’s present in the application set they have already acquired. Take SolidWorks. Look at the list of ‘stuff’ it does and its huge, from standard part, assembly and drawings tools, through all the Xpress products and then you get into all the tools that are part of the Office offerings - there’s a huge amount to discover and learn. I’ve banged on about how important printed manuals were in that informal learning process outside of formal training, but of course, the web can play a huge part in not just shortening that learning curve, but also in just flagged up the fact that something even exists and what it can be used for.

DriveWorks worked with SolidWorks in the last few release cycles to introduce DriveWorksXpress - for a tool that’s essentially free for many SolidWorks users, its incredibly powerful - but how do you find out if Rules-based automation is for you? well, the team has just released a whole bunch of targetted examples, to show you the type of thing it can do, including Stainless Steel Extraction/Ventilation Hood, Porch/Entrance Canopy, Vehicle Suspension System, Hydraulic Cylinder.

Automation means you cut out the crappy boring stuff, formalise your standard designs variants and get to work on the really interesting stuff. If you’ve got SolidWorks, its there. Go play. and if that’s not enough, get a copy of their fantastic Little Book of Rules. I take my hat off to these guys and the shear effort they put in - if only all vendors did the same.

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FirePro V5700 vs Quadro FX 1700 with Catia

Published 11 November 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: cad, amd, hardware, catia, hp, nvidia, quadro, firepro, ati, 3d modeling

DEVELOP3D’s hardware expert, Greg Corke, has been playing with graphics hardware again (it keeps him out of trouble). This time he’s been comparing the performance of FirePro V5700 vs Quadro FX 1700 in Catia V5.

As the blurb says: The FirePro V5700 and the Quadro FX 1700 are tested side-by-side for real-time performance in CATIA using the standard CATBench high polygon count models. These tests were conducted at X3DMedia in London on Oct 25, 2008 under the supervision Greg Corke and Martyn Day of Develop 3D magazine. The tests were run on identical HP xw8600 workstations.

See the next issue of DEVELOP3D (coming very soon) for more the first in a series of articles on how to tune your graphics performance and get the best out of your hardware - this month its Catia (as you might have guessed), but we’ll be covering all the biggies in the coming months.

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Huntsman join the Direct Manufacturing set

Published 10 November 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: rapid prototyping, direct manufacturing, hunstman digitalis

Huntsman Advanced Materials, a long time supplier of materials to the prototyping industry (it has the RenShape and Aralidite brands) is going to launch a rapid manufacturing machine which “significantly reduces production times and costs.” In a press release that says a lot, but gives away very little indeed, Huntsman claims to have “this new technology with pinpoint accuracy and speed which will make mass customisation a reality.” There’s also very little sight of the press release actually online either.

The machine is to be branded as the Araldite Digitalis and is based on a new polymeric additive fabrication system capable of manufacturing “at speed large numbers of parts simultaneously with previously unattainable accuracy.” The only details that are made available are that the system is based on entirely “new” micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS).

The release also claims that the system is “different from the light reflecting MEMS technology used in 3D printers. At the heart of Araldite Digitalis is the MLS MicroLightSwitch, a radical new exposure system operating via a computer controlled micro-mechanical shutter system which enables a large surface area of radiation curable resin to be selectively exposed in a single step. There is fast uniform exposure with high accuracy.”

While Huntsman provides very few additional details, reading between the lines, it sounds like the system is similar to that found in the Envisiontec machines, which are based on consumer level DLP micro light switching/reflecting devices. Huntsman expects Araldite Digitalis to be in commercial use later in 2009. If you want to have a look, wait for them to update the web-site or check ‘em out at Stand No J164, Hall 8.0 at EuroMold 2008.

I am puzzled about why they would choose to name a product that’s “easy to use and maintain” after a plant that’s pretty much entirely poisonous.

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Autodesk post Fluid for Jesus Phone

Published 10 November 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: autodesk, multi-touch, ipod touch iphone, autodesk fluid

Everyone except me has an iPhone it seems (yup, I love my blackberry to death. its own death usually) and I’ve finally got an excuse to get one, or at least an iPod Touch. Autodesk has just released its first (as far as I’m aware) foray into the world of the multi-touch device. Yes, it has been demoing all manner of large scale multitouch goodness for some times, but this is the first demo that’s available for a decent, consumer level product. If you’ve got an enabled device, look here or more details are here.

This technology has been around for some time, but this is still very very cool. Its a fluid simulate, activated and interacted with by multi-touch. What I really want is a motion and multi-touch senstive version of the Chameleon.

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