Friday, March 27, 2015

3D Printing Thermoplastics in Color with ASA

One of the things some 3D printing users like about using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology is that they get to use common, industry-grade materials to print their parts, and a very
popular material Stratasys offers to its FDM users is ASA Thermoplastic. This tough, durable plastic is ideal for making functional prototypes and, in some cases, even end-use parts. 

There used to be a drawback, however: ASA had a very limited number of color options available, so unless you wanted beige or black, there would still be prepping and painting to do after printing the part in order to get the desired color.

In order to address this drawback, Stratasys recently launched a new color palette for their ASA thermoplastic, which now includes red, orange, yellow, green, dark blue, white, dark gray, and light gray. This new range of color options give users a better grasp of color effectiveness, particularly for end-use parts. 

ASA Thermoplastic is one of the most popular all-purpose prototyping material mainly because it’s very durable and is UV resistant, making it ideal for end- use outdoor parts. Now, due to the new range of colors which are available for use in all Fortus professional printers, including the 360, 380, 400, 450, and 900 3D production systems, ASA thermoplastic desirability has been further enhanced.

I will be covering this new addition to the ASA family, along with the entire 2015 Stratasys portfolio, in a webcast next week. Click here to register and join me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

EMSWUG (Eastern Michigan SW Users Group) Meeting - April 16 in Rochester Hills

Mark your calendars for a daytime EMSWUG meeting, coming up on April 16th. Our very own Esteban Gaytan will be there with all kinds of great SOLIDWORKS tips and tricks!

Look over the information below and then be sure to RSVP using the link at the bottom of this post.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fanuc Robotics America
3900 W Hamlin Rd
Rochester Hills, MI 48309-3253

*       Free meeting, free lunch & giveaways.
*       Improve your SOLIDWORKS Skills
*       Help EMSWUG to celebrate its 10th Anniversary.

11:30                    Doors open
11:30 - 12:15        Lunch & Networking
12:15 - 1:45          "SOLIDWORKS Tips and Tricks" Esteban Gaytan
  1:45 - 2:00          Break & Networking
  2:00 - 3:30          "Use of the Alt key and other things" by Darin Grosser
  3:30 - 3:45         Giveaways & Wrap up

Both presenters will show you some useful tips and tricks for SOLIDWORKS.

Add your name to the Google List if you can make it to the meeting: (this helps us purchase the right amount of food.)


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

FLOW SIMULATION TECH TIP: "Geometry Check Tool," the Key to Flow Happiness

I find that new Flow Simulation users can get frustrated when they try to apply a boundary condition and they get an error such as "The face is not on the boundary of fluid and a solid." This is a very literal error and can be easily fixed by learning how to use the Geometry Check tool. This Flow Simulation tool can be used to show were Flow thinks the fluid is, and if there are any bad geometric relations or gaps in the model.

You can find this by clicking on the Flow Simulation "Tools" menu or on the left-hand side of the Command Manager. The left side meaning it is one of the first commands you should use, since our command managers are laid out in a left to right fashion!

Flow Simulation uses your existing geometry to figure out the fluid in the model rather than forcing you, like many CFD codes, to manually create your fluid volume. This workflow is going to be much faster once you realize how to use the tools that we have at our disposal to automatically figure out this fluid volume.

Take a Look at this video example:

Happy Simulating!

For more training and tutorials on the many 3D CAD Modeling solutions in the SOLIDWORKS family of products and add-ons, please feel free to look through our Webcast Archive, register for an upcoming webcast or event, or look into our 3DU SOLIDWORKS Training and Certification courses.

Friday, March 13, 2015

ELECTRICAL TECH TIP: Component and Wire Marking in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

Three Steps:
1.      Create a title block that has embedded Row/Column/Sheet Number tags
2.      Modify marking formulas for components and wires of the active project
3.      Use symbols and wires on the sheet or use "Update Marks" and "Renumber Wires" commands.

1.     Create Title Block that has embedded Row/Column/Sheet Numbers tags.
a.      Start a new Title block (or copy/modify existing title block with rows/column info)
                                          i.     Go to Library > Title Blocks > New

b.      Ensure "With Rows" and "With Columns" is checked in the "Title block Properties"

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

SOLIDWORKS TECH TIP: Model Visualization - Part 2: Perspective

If you missed Part 1 of our dive into Model Visualization you can view the blog post here.

In my last post, we discussed the orientation of the model and how we're actually moving our picture plane, not the object. In this post, we'll dive into perspective.

The video below covers the same material, so feel free to watch it instead of or alongside your reading of this blog post.

Axonometric example model can be downloaded here.

When using SOLIDWORKS to design, we use a two-dimensional screen to represent a three-dimensional object. Like a magic act in Vegas, we do this through an illusion. For the illusion of depth, we can use perspective. There are a multitude of different types of perspective, but for SOLIDWORKS - and product design in general - we usually only need three: One-Point, Two-Point, and Three-Point Perspective.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Savings up to 27% on SOLIDWORKS and Simulation this March

Whether you're an existing SOLIDWORKS user needing more seats or brand-new to the software, anyone interested in purchasing more seats of SOLIDWORKS this month is in luck. Hot off the presses, we just received authorization from our friends at SOLIDWORKS to offer the below discounts.

From now until March 31st, you can receive an 18% discount on all seats of SOLIDWORKS Professional. For those who require a more robust version of the CAD software, even greater savings can be had with the purchase of SOLIDWORKS Premium - up to a 25% discount. Both the professional and premium seat purchases will require a SOLIDWORKS subscription service.

The greatest savings on this March promotion come with the purchase of SOLIDWORKS Premium, along with a Simulation upgrade for only $1,000. This combination can save a company or individual user up to 27% off what they would normally pay.

We're very excited about this promotion, and that's a lot of versions and numbers, so here's a simple recap:

SOLIDWORKS Professional$1,000 or 18%
SOLIDWORKS Premium$2,000 or 25%
SOLIDWORKS Premium with $1,000 Simulation upgrade$4,000 or 27%

Click here to contact us for more information or get a quote to fit your needs. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Stratasys 3D Printing Roadshow Hits St Louis

The challenges that face the design and manufacturing industry are pretty daunting. It is not an easy task to bring a product to market and it’s made that much more difficult when trying to optimize production while still keeping costs down. However, those in the St Louis area will have the opportunity to learn how 3D printing is helping to make better products faster while reducing costs.

Additive manufacturing leader Stratasys is inviting the St. Louis design and manufacturing industry out to their Digital Manufacturing Road Show. The event is scheduled to take place March 10th 2015 at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac. Presentations given will focus on real solutions customers are using to improve on their current manufacturing processes.

"We will be featuring examples from across the world of industrial 3D printing  augmenting manufacturing processes, changing production paradigms, and saving time and money while providing exponentially greater agility and creativity," said Chen Yurista, Director of Thought Leadership Programs at Stratasys.

Click here to register for this event or see more information.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

SOLIDWORKS TECH TIP: Model Visualization - Part 1: Orientation

With exciting new technology like Microsoft's Hololens being recently revealed, I thought it might be useful to understand how SOLIDWORKS handles viewing of models and hopefully open up a discussion about how these new technologies might affect our design processes in the future.

We'll break this down into 4 categories.
  • Orientation
  • Perspective
  • Camera
  • Stereoscopic 3D, Augmented Reality, and the Future


One of the first things I get asked by brand-new users is "How do I rotate the model?" In most cases, I interpret this as "How do I rotate my view of the model?"

What's the difference?

If we're going to deep dive into our view of models in SOLIDWORKS, it's important to understand that we aren't moving the model when we hold down that middle mouse button - we are moving our view of the model. If we go to the actual command we're using and take a peek at the tool tip, it even says that the name of the tool is "Rotate View" and the tool "Rotates the model view." We're not rotating the model itself.

Rotate View Tool TipView Tools

In fact, all of the view tools are moving our orientation to the model, not the model itself.

Another way to think of this (and will be more important as we cover perspective) is the idea of a picture plane. Imagine if your laptop's screen were actually a cutout. Instead of moving the model around, we're moving around our laptop or moving the Picture Plane. You can see in the image below that the picture plane is moving around the trailer.

Now, what about zooming?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Additive Manufacturing Streamlining the Production Floor

For most people in the manufacturing industry, the driving factors for change are generally getting a project done faster, cheaper, and with improved quality. This is where additive manufacturing, or 3D printing as it's more commonly referred to, has really begun to find its niche with manufacturers. Professional 3D printers provide a wide range of printer sizes and durable materials that manufacturers are applying more and more to the production of floor tools.

Manufacturing relies on tools to maintain consistent quality and ensure production efficiency. Traditional methods for the production of manufacturing tools can be expensive and time-consuming; this can limit the amount of tools on the floor, and slows down production when a tool is not functioning properly. When utilizing 3D printing tools in-house, it is easy to optimize designs and increase the number of tools on the production floor. Engineers can easily evaluate the performance of the tool and make quick, cost-efficient adjustments to the design as needed. Also, because 3D printing is the process of adding layers of plastic to a tool until is completed, you can exponentially expand the range of design options available compared to a traditional tooling process.

Labor and time involved in learning how to utilize a new technology is a major factor for implementation; fortunately, 3D printing is an easy to utilize technology. If you have your CAD geometry available for Jigs, fixtures, templates, or gauges, then it's as easy as making a few clicks and sending the part to print.

Users can print one or multiple tools at the same time. The printing process generally takes a few hours, and when complete, your workers have the most up-to-date, accurate tools available. Also an added benefit of the use of 3D printed tools is the reduction of worker fatigue. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Polyjet plastic materials have far less weight than traditional CNC tools.

There are a multitude of companies from automotive suppliers to medical device producers that are already seeing the benefits of using 3D printing.

For more on FDM 3D printing technologies for jigs and fixtures, click here to learn more about and register for our 3D Printing Jigs and Fixtures with FDM webcast.

For more on PolyJet 3D printing technologies for jigs and fixtures, click here to watch a video and download a whitepaper.

Monday, February 16, 2015

SOLIDWORKS TECH TIP: Meshing Tips and Tools for Better Results (Part 7)

Since I am always being asked what makes a good mesh, I decided once again to blog about a list I put together a while ago. This was a general list, in no particular order, of things you can do, things you can use, and things you can look for in creating a mesh; knowing you have a good mesh, you can feel better about the results you are getting. This is part 7 in the series and will look at Mesh Diagnostics. Be sure to check in next time for part 8, where I give my final tips/thoughts on meshing.

Mesh Diagnostics

During the meshing process, components that fail to mesh will be highlighted (in red as seen below). If you miss it while the Mesh Progress window is active, a complete list of all the failed parts will be listed in the Simulation window (seen below in the center image) at the end of the meshing process. The part/body will also be highlighted in red in the parts list.