Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stratasys and Automation Alley Joining FISHER UNITECH to Deliver Update on 3D Printing

FISHER UNITECH, a top reseller of SOLIDWORKS 3D design software and Stratasys 3D Printers, will host a technical counsel on the advancement of 3D printing on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM at Automation Alley, located at 2675 Bellingham Dr. in Troy, MI. FISHER UNITECH has partnered with Stratasys Corp. and Automation Alley to deliver a riveting update on the ground-breaking improvements in additive manufacturing, including both PolyJet and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technologies. 

Attendees can expect to hear from industry experts on how 3D printing has revolutionized manufacturing and receive free advanced training. The FISHER UNITECH rapid technology team will present on several new ways that 3D printing is being used in tooling and industrial automation including injection molding and metal casting applications. Guest speaker Michael Wegman from Stratasys Corp. will give attendees insight on the Stratasys business strategy and advances in materials science that are driving new uses for additive manufacturing. 

"3D printing is entering an exciting new phase for manufacturing due to advances in our build envelopes and new materials.  We are looking forward to joining FISHER UNITECH at Automation Alley to share our insights on these advances," said Michael Wegman from Stratasys Corp.

"We are excited to share our expertise in 3D printing applications with the Automation Alley community," said Charlie Hess, President at FISHER UNITECH. "In addition, we are pleased to have Michael Wegman present the Stratasys strategy for additive manufacturing. It will be a productive event for those interested in applying 3D printing to their product development process."

The 3D Printing Tech Update is complimentary and all are welcomed to attend.  Registration is required. For more information, registration and the complete agenda, please visit

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

SOLIDWORKS COMPOSER TIP: Mirroring Parts in Composer

Recently, I was contacted by a customer that was struggling with creating an opposite-hand version of a part in Composer and wanted to know if it was even possible. The engineers had only provided him with one side; however, both a left-hand version and a right-hand version of the component existed.

Composer *can* do this utilizing the "Symmetrize" function. Symmetrize makes the geometry symmetrical according to the desired point, plane, or axis.  Simply select and copy your geometry, then select "Symmetrize" to create a mirrored version.

I've prepared an example in the short video clip below.

Remember: it's the little things!

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, July 11, 2014

CAD Jobs: SOLIDWORKS Drafter and Electrical Harness Drafter in Elkhart, IN

Our friend Arlene at TechniPower is recruiting for a client of hers, and is looking to fill two positions. Check out the descriptions below, and if you think you're a good fit for either, contact Arlene at the information provided at the bottom of this post. Good luck!


Your daily responsibilities include initial design, development, and maintenance of production prints while communicating with various external and internal customers.

This is approximately a 4+ month contract and will probably go permanent for the right candidate. My client is located Elkhart, IN.


  • SOLIDWORKS proficient
  • CSWA Certification a strong plus
  • Minimum 2 years drafting/detailing experience
  • Previous drafting/design experience with Plastics or Fiberglass - surfacing, a plus
  • Previous design/detailing within automotive or RV industries, a plus
  • Sheetmetal design experience
  • Good written and communication skills

  • Electrical Harness Drafter

    Design and develop detail layouts and harness prints for electrical circuits and power distribution systems; electrical circuits include but are not limited to 12V, 120V, and A/V. Requires basic knowledge of RVIA, NEC, and CSA codes.

    This is approximately a 4 month contract and will probably go permanent for the right candidate. My client is located in Elkhart, IN.


  • Technical School Graduate in Electrical systems or Associates Degree in Electronic Technology, preferred
  • Working knowledge of AutoCAD  (using 2011)  and MS Excel.
  • Knowledge of SOLIDWORKS a plus – client is converting to SOLIDWORKS for the harnesses
  • Create 2D/3D detail routing prints for harness installations. Minimum of 2 years experience within this field preferred
  • Implement new electrical ideas and enhancements.

    (847) 296-6020 x144 (Inside Illinois)
    (800) 898-5154
    FAX:  (847) 296-6027

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    Revolutionizing Injection Molding with 3D Printing: On-Demand Webinar

    STRATASYS On Demand Webinar

    How PolyJet 3D Printing is Revolutionizing Injection Molding

    Injection Mold
    Thermoplastic injection molded  prototype created
    by Diversified Plastics using 3D printed molds.

    Learn how PolyJet 3D Printing is rapidly transforming the injection molding industry by viewing our webinar, 3D Printed Rapid Tools for Injection Molding.

    During this webinar, you'll learn:
    • The role and value of 3D printed injection molds
    • Which materials are best suited for use
    • How other companies are using 3D printed injection molds
    • Tips for successful design, production, fitting and finishing
    • How companies like Seuffer saved 96% in production time and 98% in molding costs as compared to traditional metal molds
    If you're a product designer, engineer, manufacturer or educator, don't miss this inside look at how Stratasys technology is able to produce injection molded prototypes at a fraction of the time and cost of producing metal molds. 

    Learn More

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

    QUICK TIP: SOLIDWORKS Inspection Template Editor "Mapped Out"

    SOLIDWORKS Inspection provides a helpful tool when it comes to creating and editing Inspection sheets in the form of a template editor (shown here).

    However, I've found that searching through the various pull downs to access the precise token necessary for my template can be a little bit daunting. So to make things a little easier, here's the mapping of what can be found under each heading. I hope this helps - and remember, it's the little things!

    SOLIDWORKS Inspection Template Editor Dropdown Variables

    Document Token

    ·         Date Created
    ·         Name
    ·         Path
    ·         Title
    ·         GUID

    Project or Property Token

    ·         Part number
    ·         Part Name
    ·         Part Revision
    ·         Drawing Name
    ·         Drawing  Number
    ·         {Part Number]-{Part Revision]

    Bill Of Material Token

    ·         FAI Report Number
    ·         Part Name
    ·         Part Number
    ·         Part Serial Number
    ·         Supplier Code

    Specification Token

    ·         Certificate Code
    ·         Code
    ·         Custom Approval Verification
    ·         Name
    ·         Specification Number
    ·         Supplier Code
    ·         Type

    Characteristic Token

    ·         Balloon Location
    ·         Balloon Number
    ·         Characteristic Number
    ·         Classification
    ·         Custom field 1-10
    ·         File path
    ·         File name
    ·         For reference
    ·         Full balloon location
    ·         Inspection Method
    ·         Key
    ·         Lower limit
    ·         Minus tolerance
    ·         Operation
    ·         Plus tolerance
    ·         Quantity
    ·         Sheet
    ·         Specification (image)
    ·         Sub type
    ·         Type
    ·         Units
    ·         Upper limit
    ·         Value
    ·         Zone
    ·         Basic
    ·         Balloon number

    Measurement Token

    ·         Value

    Friday, June 20, 2014

    Robots, Fashion, and the Future of Manufacturing: Our Big M/RAPID Recap

    Last week, we had the pleasure of attending the co-located Big M and RAPID conferences at the Cobo Center in Detroit. Although our team spent most of their time at our booth and the rest at the slot car races run by our new friends at Materialise, we did get a little time to wander around and take in the sights.

    Laura with S. Scott Crump, co-founder of Stratasys
    One of the things we wanted to do at the Big M was show the many different facets and uses of 3D printing, from the serious to the fun. It's why we brought with us a little Makerbot, along with a Fortus 250 and Objet30 Pro, which between them cover a wide range of applications from at-home hobby use to large-scale industrial use. 

    It's also why we took this fashion piece from designer Francis Bitonti and reworked the top part into "armor" to be worn by our events coordinator, Laura. One of our SOLIDWORKS engineers took the original model and reworked it to fit Laura's frame, as well as to print on a much larger machine, and our 3D printing team prototyped it until they found the best material for the job. Laura's dress proved quite popular, and a few people even stopped by to try it on themselves, but we're probably most proud to have gotten the attention of Scott Crump, the inventor of FDM and co-founder of Stratasys.

    Bar2D2 by rp+m
    Enough about us though - here are a few cool things we saw at the show.

    One of our customers, rp+m, were a favorite at the show, and it's easy to see why. Just ONE of the many cool things to see at their booth, Bar2D2 here is a robot that dispenses mixed alcoholic beverages; he holds four different fluids, which can be combined to create a variety of mixed drinks on demand. Bar2D2 was created using a variety of 3D printing tech - Fused Deposition Modeling and PolyJet from multiple Stratasys machines, and EOS Direct Metal Laster Sintering.

    He even turns his head and makes the distinctive beep and whistle sounds you might expect! We of course waited until after the show to try his drinks, but maybe next we can cross the pop culture streams and get him to serve us Earl Grey, hot?

    Although we stopped at the stunning art gallery - who wouldn't? - what really caught our attention was a vast array of innovative technologies on display. We briefly mentioned EOS' DMLS when talking about R2D2, but we also saw ultrasonic 3D printing, BAAM (Big Area Additive Manufacturing) from materials like ceramics and fiberglass, metal coatings on FDM parts, and so much more.

    We finished out the week more excited than ever about the future, and the innovations yet to come. If there's one thing we took away from Big M and RAPID, it's that this is a VERY exciting time to be in manufacturing.

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    SOLIDWORKS INSPECTION TIP: Multiple Instances on your Inspection Report

    Adding multiple instances to your inspection report where one feature is identified or duplicated on a given part is a snap. Let's look at the example.

    In this example, a 10mm radius is called out in one location and by default will only show up as one item on the inspection report. However, the dimension is typical and somewhat critical to our specific application.
    To add line items to the inspection report, simply change the quantity in the Properties tab (in this example, it was changed to 2). Then right-select the specific dimension in the Characteristic tree above. Here you can specify to "Make characteristic for each instance."
    This will create an indexed item on the inspection report for multiple instances. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
    Remember, it's the little things!
    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, June 13, 2014

    I Wanna Go Fast - Our 3D Printed Slot Car Race at RAPID

    Our design iterations
    Tuesday night, at the Big M Event/Rapid 2014 manufacturing trade show in Detroit, Funtech Racing participated in the Materialise Slot Car Championships The race featured 24 competitors from corporations such as Ford & GE, local universities such as Northern Illinois & University of Michigan, and resellers of Additive Manufacturing equipment and services. 

    Each team was given the same chassis, but were required to build their own body using 3D Printing and/or Additive Manufacturing.
    As you can see from the photos, we used several different machines: uPrint, Fortus 250, Objet 30 Pro, and our new Objet500 Connex3; we also tried various materials, including the Vero color options, Tango Black Plus, ABS+ and Vero Clear to build multiple models to verify our design for form fit and function and to improve the overall look of our car.

    Official rendering of Funtech Racing
    After four grueling heats of racing, Funtech Racing qualified for Slot Car Championship Finals by placing in the Top 4.  

    Led by our fearless rookie driver, Nick Licari, Funtech Racing was able to secure a 3RD PLACE finish overall! We were able to achieve all of that despite a nasty collision with our old AMUG friend Jason Lopes from Legacy Effects.

    The Funtech Racing Slot Team

    Driver: Nick Licari (RT Senior Support Team Leader)
    Car Designer: Dan Wiggins (Engineering Manager – Training/Consulting)
    RT Advisor: Ben Hartwig (RT Services Manager)
    Design Consultants:  Elise Hess (Marketing Intern), Laura Gorvokovic (Marketing Event Coordinator)

    We would like to thank Materialise for hosting such a wonderful event and a special thanks to our new friends Jim and "Super" Joe from Nomad Raceways for teaching us the ropes of slot car racing.

    Pre-Race Staging

    Post-race carnage

    Watch our video of the tense championship race below, or click to watch the official Materialise Highlight Video.

    We will have some more photos in our Rapid 2014/Big M review posts next week.

    This post was co-written by Nick Licari and Dan Wiggins

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    Stratasys Unveils New Color Palettes for Connex3 3D Printer at Big M Event

    Over 500 New Material Options for the Connex3 3D Printer

    Some very exciting new material options for the Objet500 Connex3 3D Printer were unveiled last night at the RAPID/Big M event in Detroit. The new materials cover a total of ten new color palettes. The six TRIFLEX palettes contain flexible materials expanding both the clear and opaque color options; the remaining four are rigid and substantially expand the gray color palette, while also adding the option for a sleek, reflective lustre - fantastic for consumer electronics in particular.

    Triflex Material is Ideal For...

    • Consumer goods: Color overmolded prototypes (sporting goods, toothbrushes), color flexible kitchen gadgets (spatulas, ice cubes), multi-material sporting goods, sleek and reflective surfaces for electronics prototypes, colorful soft-touch toys
    • Automotive: Sleek gray prototypes, overmolded interior components
    • Entertainment: Many subtle grays and grayish tones, flexible and vibrantly colored components
    • Medical Devices/Research: Increased options for flexible materials, clear components for liquid flow observation combined with gray housings

    Click here for a video on the new material options, as well as data sheets and more details about Connex3 materials, including the Triflex set of palettes.

    Monday, June 9, 2014

    SOLIDWORKS TECH TIP: Incoming Inspection Documents

    Today's tip covers how to create detail drawings that only show the dimensions you need checked.

    Your model will have features that need to be held to a tight tolerance and others that are not so tightly held. If you are sending the model to be milled in a CNC machine, there is no need to create and send a complete detail drawing – simply send the model. You can create an incoming inspection document that identifies only the dimensions critical to your part, only the ones that need to be checked.

    Here's how it works.

    First you create the part: