MCAD Tech News (#272)

22 Oct, 2009 By: Cadalyst Staff

First Look Review: MapleSim 2

Powered by the Maple technical computing engine, MapleSim is a 3D modeling and simulation solution that lets users specify and evaluate myriad simulation conditions for physical models.

By Jeffrey Rowe

If you've had any exposure to the 3D CAD world in the past 15 to 20 years, you've almost certainly experienced parametric modeling. Parametric 3D models digitally represent and simulate the physical look, feel, and behavior of objects. A mathematical model, such as a 3D CAD or physical model, is a simplified representation of certain aspects of a real system.

When you create a mathematical model, you move from the real world to the world of abstraction, building your model on math concepts such as equations and functions rather than physical parts with features. Next, the model is solved using mathematical techniques. Finally, the solution to the mathematical problem is translated into a solution that can be applied to the initial problem that began in the real world. Mathematical modeling really goes full circle because it begins and ends in the real world. Math, after all, is the language that describes the physics and physical world around us.

MapleSim 2 from MapleSoft is a 3D modeling and simulation system built on the company's Maple 13 mathematical computing engine. The products build on the power of mathematical modeling to perform fast, accurate calculations that result in simplified, highly efficient models. Using MapleSim, you could create a system diagram on screen in the same way you would draw it on paper, and the software would automatically generate the model equations. Generated code can be exported to real-time and other applications and runs 10 to 100 times faster for complex models, according to MapleSoft. Available for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh platforms, MapleSim offers dynamic analysis, control design, and optimization capabilities and supports custom component creation and live design documentation.

I've used parametric 3D modelers for many years — including Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks, and PTC's Pro/ENGINEER — and I was eager to explore parametric mathematical modeling using the latest versions of Maplesoft's flagship products. This product suite also gave me an excellent opportunity to brush up on my fundamental mathematics skills with Maple 13. Read more »

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Jeffrey Rowe is the principal consultant of his independent firm specializing in design, engineering, technical communication, education, and business development.


Solid Thinking: SWUGN Technical Summits

The one-day SolidWorks User Group Network events bring users together for learning, networking, and lunch.

By Richard Doyle

Beginning in 2007, the SolidWorks User Group Network (SWUGN) created a series of technical events called the SWUGN Technical Summits. These one-day learning and networking events are held monthly in cities across North America and offer a choice of ten technical sessions presented by local users, SolidWorks employees, and reseller representatives. Over the past three years, the events have grown in popularity and regularly attract some of the top SolidWorks talent from around the country.

SWUGN Technical Summit History
The origin of the SWUGN Technical Summits can be traced back to 2004, when the All-Texas SolidWorks User Conference (ATSUC), a two-day user-run learning event, was held in Austin. The conference featured technical presentations and SolidWorks Partner exhibits and was attended by more than 130 users. Building on the success of ATSUC, user groups from the Midwest introduced the Midwest SolidWorks User Conference in 2005. Using the same model, the Midwest event attracted more than 230 SolidWorks users in the first year and was successful for several years afterward. Similar events were held in eastern Massachusetts and southern California.

Although each event was well attended and popular with attendees, the static locations, the two-day format, and difficulty in scheduling vendors required to help offset costs eventually took its toll. The events required a lot of work for the organizers, and attendance and vendor interest began to slip. For these reasons, the decision was made to try something new. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Introduction to Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0

October 26–30, 2009
Portland, Oregon
During this hands-on course from training provider TriStar, attendees will focus on learning core modeling skills. Topics will include sketching, part modeling, assemblies, drawings, and basic model management techniques. Read more »

Edgecam Efficiency Workshop

November 3–4, 2009
East Berlin, Connecticut
Steve Harrison of Planit/Edgecam and Joe Sanders of M2 Technologies will lead this two-day workshop hosted by manufacturing design technology consultant M2 Technologies. Attendees will learn implementation tools to help get the most from their investment. Read more »

ESPRIT World Conference 2010

May 18–21, 2010
Long Beach, California
ESPRIT customers, DP Technology staff, and guests from around the globe will gather at this conference for technical sessions, social events, and the unveiling of the latest version of the ESPRIT CAM software. Read more »

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


What’s New at


solidThinking 8.0 Puts Emphasis on Creativity for Industrial Designers
3D modeling and rendering solution delivers restyled user interface and other new features including optional Inspired module for generating design options inspired by nature. Read more »

Q&A Series: Autodesk Subscription, Part 4
How do I use Previous Version/Home Use? What is it? Read more »

CAD Manager's Toolbox:
What to Do When Old Tools Won’t Work on New 64-Bit Operating Systems

The upgrade to a new OS can spell trouble in the form of incompatible peripherals. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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Lynn Allen

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