Cadalyst

AEC Tech News (#275)

19 Aug, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff


3D Design Turns Shipping Containers into Lifesavers

With the help of the nonprofit C2C and volunteers armed with ArchiCAD, simple steel boxes are transformed into health-care facilities for resource-strapped communities.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Like a sculptor who eyes a rough-hewn block of stone and perceives the potential for a statue, an architect can see possibilities hidden within unlikely materials — even going so far as to envision health clinics crafted from cast-off shipping containers.

Also known as intermodal or freight containers, these large, corrugated steel boxes protect products being transported by road, rail, or sea — or all three. They're a familiar sight at shipping yards around the world; when painted bright blue or orange, the neatly stacked rectangles look like Legos on a grand scale.

But those cheerfully colored stacks may be a depressing sight for those who know why the containers pile up. Thanks to cheap production and discrepancies in the volume of goods traded between countries, containers may do nothing more than rust after being used just once. Mali Ouzts, a designer for San Francisco architecture firm Anshen + Allen, explained that it can be less expensive for a shipping company in the United States to purchase a brand-new container from China than to recertify a used container and ship it back across the ocean — especially if it will be making the return trip empty.

That means that those stacks of out-of-work containers are growing. Fortunately, ideas on how to give them new life are also on the rise. Communities and designers are increasingly viewing containers as a valuable, low-cost building resource, and repurposing them for everything from hotels to emergency housing. Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.

New Z Corporation 3D Printers Start at $14,900

Monochrome ZPrinter 150 and multicolor ZPrinter 250 offer speed and ease of use at an entry-level price.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

Z Corporation is rounding out its line of 3D printers with two new commercial-class, entry-level models: the ZPrinter 150 ($14,900, monochrome) and the ZPrinter 250 ($24,900, multicolor). The new models are smaller in scale and physical footprint but offer features commonly associated with higher-end models, such as speed, ease of use, and the industry's lowest operating (per-model) cost, Z Corporation reports. The ZPrinter 150 and ZPrinter 250 are available now through the company's worldwide reseller network.

The new ZPrinters also print five to ten times faster than other 3D printing technologies, according to Z Corporation, and can print multiple, stacked models simultaneously. They incorporate automation features first offered in the mid-range ZPrinter 450, including automatic set-up, automatic powder loading, and self-monitoring of materials and print status. They are clean, quiet, and free of hazardous waste.

ZPrinter 150 and 250 specifications include:

  • 300 x 450 dpi resolution
  • minimum feature size of 0.016" (0.4 mm)
  • vertical build speed of 0.8" (20 mm) per hour
  • build size of 9.3" x 7.3" x 5" (236 mm x 185 mm x 127 mm).

Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief.
 

Cadalyst Labs Review: NVIDIA Quadro 5000

New 'ultrahigh-end' graphics card is so fast that it should pay for itself quickly.

By Ron LaFon

Based on NVIDIA's new Fermi architecture and part of the new group of professional graphics cards that the company classifies as "ultrahigh-end," the Quadro 5000 graphics card introduced today succeeds the company's speedy and deservedly popular Quadro FX 4800. In addition to dropping the "FX" designation, the Quadro 5000 differs from its predecessor in a number of ways.

The NVIDIA Quadro 5000 is a double-width graphics card. Measuring 4.376" wide x 9.75" long, it requires a single PCI Express 2.0 x 16 slot but occupies the space of two slots. It has one dual-link DVI-I connector, two DisplayPort connectors, and a single stereo connector. Maximum power consumption is 152 W. I have heard of heating problems associated with the Fermi architecture cards, but none were evident during the course of my tests, indicating that the active thermal solution for the Quadro 5000 is effective.

The NVIDIA Quadro 5000 is among the first of the Quadro line that is based on the company's new Fermi architecture. It boasts 2.5 GB of onboard GDDR5 memory. Read more »

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Ron LaFon is a principal at 3Bear Productions in Atlanta and a contributing editor for Cadalyst.
 

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

 

Webinar: Manage Spaces, People, and Assets with FaciliCAD
August 27 and September 10, 2010
2 p.m. CT
Bill Kilp, CEO of faciliCAD, will walk attendees through a standard facility management day: adding data, editing people and assets, and publishing that data to an online portal for users to view and query without having to install any other new tools. Read more »

Intergraph 2010
August 30–September 2, 2010
Las Vegas, Nevada
Intergraph 2010, the international conference for users of the company's engineering and geospatial software, will feature nearly 200 sessions led by industry authorities and customers from around the world. Read more »

Webinar: Lifecycle Assessment and BIM for Sustainability
September 14, 2010
10–11 a.m. PT
Robert Middlebrooks will lead this webinar from Autodesk, which will address the need for architects, engineers, construction professionals, and building owners to focus on the best decisions during conception, design, construction, and operations in order to support sustainability objectives. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Cadalyst.com. Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to news@cadalyst.com.

   

What’s New at Cadalyst.com

 

Australian Utility Maps Meters with Customized GPS Software
A made-to-order handheld application helps Goulburn Valley Water's field workers collect data quickly and accurately — without becoming GIS experts. Read more »

Avatech Tricks Tutorial: Using Design Review with Autodesk Inventor Files
A paperless review process enables designers and reviewers to electronically measure, mark up, and track changes to 2D and 3D designs. Read more »

New Z Corporation 3D Printers Start at $14,900
The modest purchase and operational costs of the company's latest models, the ZPrinter 150 and 250, may make 3D printing more appealing to price-sensitive professional users. Read more »

Cloud-Based CAD, Part 3
CAD can find a home in the cloud — under certain circumstances. What scenarios favor this technology over conventional software? Read more »


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