MCAD Tech News (#307)

12 May, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

Student Team Outfits Prize-Winning Racecar with 3D-Printed Parts

The FaSTTUBe team uses an HP Designjet to prototype designs and produce components for the Formula Student Germany engineering competition.

By Zorione Riezu

It was on a racetrack in the German city of Hockenheim that a team of bright young engineering students from Berlin demonstrated that 3D printing is not just for prototyping. The Formula One city is also home to the annual Formula Student Germany international racecar design competition. The team in question, FaSTTUBe (Formula Student Team, Technical University of Berlin), used an HP Designjet color 3D printer not only in the modeling phases of its car's design, but also in the production of some of the car's final parts, helping to secure for the University the prize of Best Prepared Car for Scrutineering.

The FaSTTUBe team used 3D-printed parts to prototype designs and to help build their entry in the Formula Student Germany racecar design competition.
The FaSTTUBe team used 3D-printed parts to prototype designs and to help build their entry in the Formula Student Germany racecar design competition.

Formula Student is a competition that helps shape and inspire new generations of engineers. It provides students in universities around the world with practical experience and skills for use in a wide range of industries. A total of 76 teams from 18 countries took part in the 2010 German edition, which has links to Formula Student in the UK, and Formula SAE in the United States and Australia.

Printing Real Parts Reduces Design Time

"We don't have much time on our hands," said Nils Schaupensteiner, a third-year student and project manager for FaSTTUBe. "A new racecar has to be designed every year, and we have only six or seven months to develop the whole car. We produced all of the components of the car's air-intake system in ABS plastic using the printer. The geometry of these parts is very complex, and normally it would take a lot of manual steps and processes to make the system. With the printer, we were able to do it in a matter of hours."

In addition to the air-intake system, the team also 3D-printed parts such as boxes, covers for electronic components, and cable bridges. "We raced the car containing these parts on many test tracks and in Hockenheim," said Schaupensteiner, "and the parts withstood the temperatures and stresses endured." Read more »

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Zorione Riezu is HP's Designjet 3D Printer series marketing manager.


From the Trenches: Reprogram Your Mouse Buttons

Want to use your thumb button for Escape? It's easy to modify your multibutton mouse to suit your preferences.

By Richard Leveille

I started off with four users. We purchased four mice with buttons on the "thumb" side of the mouse, such as the Logitech MX310. We program the thumb button on the mice to behave as the Escape key. I now have 200 users. They all have this type of mouse (or similar), so there is no issue with accidentally pressing the F1 key because they never have to reach for the Escape key. The users absolutely love it.

Each mouse driver is slightly different, but all have the same basic functions. You will always have the ability to program mouse buttons when you have a multibutton mouse.

We try to buy mice with the standard right-click and left-click buttons and wheel, plus one additional button for the thumb. (Sometimes it's nice to have a mouse with a "thumb" button on both sides of the mouse — similar to the Logitech MX310 shown below — so you can program it for a right- or left-handed user.)

To reprogram a multibutton mouse such as a Logitech MX310, G5, or G3 (or any typical gaming-style mouse), start by going to Control Panel and selecting Mouse Properties. You will typically find a Button tab at the top of the Mouse Properties dialog box. Read more »

Looking for more mouse-related advice? Visit Cadalyst's CAD Tips site to read user opinions on the Best Mouse for CAD Users!

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Richard Leveille is a systems administrator for Bath Iron Works.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


EASTEC Exposition
May 17–19, 2011
West Springfield, Massachusetts
EASTEC Exposition, organized by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, is an annual precision manufacturing event where manufacturers gather to learn about new innovations and upgrade their equipment and capabilities. Read more »

NAFEMS World Congress 2011
May 23–26, 2011
Boston, Massachusetts
This biennial event from NAFEMS, the International Association for the Engineering Analysis Community, compiles analysis and simulation-specific papers in one independent, international event. Read more »

RAPID 2011 Conference & Exposition
May 24–26, 2011
Minneapolis, Minnesota
The RAPID conference and tradeshow, co-located with the 3D IMAGING event, will explore how additive manufacturing and 3D printing are being used to reduce design and development time, cut timeframes, and lower production costs of products in a variety of industries. Read more »

PlanetPTC Live
June 12–15, 2011
Las Vegas, Nevada
This event will comprise customer case studies and best-practice sessions, PTC University training sessions, product update and roadmap sessions led by PTC product managers, hands-on learning labs, and corporate vision and strategy updates. 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


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