Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SOLIDWORKS TECH TIP: Meshing Tips and Tools for Better Results (Part 8 - Final)

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 the final part in this series. Here, I will talk about some final tips in meshing your parts and assemblies.

Geometry Preparation
CAD geometry contains all the features necessary to make a part, but many of those features can be considered insignificant for analysis and should, therefore, be suppressed. With every benchmark I do, or any support case I work on, the first thing I will typically do is create a SOLIDWORKS Configuration and call it "FOR FEA." In this configuration, I will suppress the features and the parts that I believe will be irrelevant to the analysis and to the results that are being sought. For imported geometry, or parts with "artifacts" (those small sliver faces created when applying our standard SOLIDWORKS features), I will use the Delete Face command (Insert, Face, Delete). With the Delete and Patch option, a lot of times I can remove these small faces/artifacts and quickly simplify the model for meshing.

Mesh Control
If you are meshing an assembly, and one of the parts fails to mesh, open the part in its own window. Once you are able to mesh the part here, apply these mesh settings as Mesh Control in the assembly. Another, simpler method than the one just described is to apply mesh control to the failed component. In the Mesh Control property manager, you will find an option called "Use Per Part Size." This option will apply an appropriate mesh size as if the part was opened in its own window and meshed.

When All Else Fails
When all else fails, you'll be happy to know, Fisher Unitech will be here to support you. Contact our support team at (800) 816-8314 option #5, support@funtech.com, or via support chat at http://www.funtech.com/chat.

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.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Stratasys Announcements Bring Objet1000 Plus to Market and Expand Fortus Material Options

The design and manufacturing industry has a new 3D printing option when it comes to producing
large PolyJet parts. On Monday, April 13, 2015, Stratasys announced the release of the new Objet 1000 Plus 3D Production System. This new unit features a large build tray of 1000 x 800 x 500 mm, the widest combination of PolyJet materials, and increased build speeds. 

One of the truly unique features of this new 3D printer is the movement of the print head. Most other 3D printers of its kind will make a full pass when distributing material, much like a traditional laser ink jet printer; however, the Objet 1000 Plus will make a pass only as far as the part on the build tray before making another pass. In other words, it doesn't waste time passing over empty space. Due to its increased efficiency, this process can dramatically speed up build times. It is this combination of size and speed that makes the Objet 1000 Plus ideal for large car parts, aerospace components, or build service companies.

For both new and seasoned Stratasys Fortus Production Series users, the new Xtend500 system makes operation of your machine much more efficient. The Xtend upgrade allows you to pull filament directly from a specially-wound container, which holds more than five times the filament of traditional metal containers. 

With this new setup, a Fortus machine might run for more than 400 hours unattended and use up to 1,000 cubic inches of material. It has material compatibility for ABS-M30 in ivory and black, PC, and their associated support materials, so Fortus 360mc, 400mc, 450mc and 900mc 3D Production system users will be able to produce parts with less user supervision. 

Stratasys says this latest material system is aimed at manufacturers with prototyping needs and service bureaus producing large parts to help them cut back on the number of material changeovers.

And finally, Stratasys announced that Fortus customers who are using both older and newer Fortus 3D printers no longer need to use two different material canisters. After the release of the new Fortus 380mc and 450mc machines, which had their own advanced canister technologies that differed from older Fortus models, anyone using both types of Fortus 3D printers had to use different material canisters for the two different generations of machines. With the new Fortus Plus Upgrade, customers can use the same material canisters for all machines. This allows for the convenience of loading a wide range of Fortus materials from a shared inventory and helps streamline work processes.

Got questions? Our 3D printing team is ready to answer them. Contact us and let us know what you think, or request a quote on any of the above systems.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

SOLIDWORKS TECH TIP: Easy Template Storage

I have a template for everything. Problem is, every time I go to upgrade, I've got a long list of folders to point SOLIDWORKS to in Tools > Options > System Options > File Locations > Document Templates. I learned an awesome trick I want to share with you that makes this super easy.

First and foremost, store your templates away from your installation. Anything you customize should be saved outside of the default folders - and this location should be backed up regularly (I had to say it).

Keep all templates under a single top level folder, then categorize them by adding a sub-folder.

For example, my top level folder is called Templates 2015. Inside that folder, I have sub-folder for each of the classes I teach: Advanced Part, Assembly Modeling, and so on.

In Tools > Options > System Options > File Locations > Document Templates, I point only at the Templates 2015 folder.

The sub-folders will organize your templates and become the names of the tabs you'll see in SOLIDWORKS under the File > New Advanced Dialog:

Stay organized and thanks for reading!

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 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.)

RSVP: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wJMxMi52zsIo27tRPaKTrd-vGGZlmDCs9_6QJEvN9-E/edit?usp=sharing

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.