MCAD Tech News (#271)

10 Sep, 2009 By: Cadalyst Staff

Santolupo's High School Students Tackle Real-World Design Challenges

Unencumbered by preconceived notions, teens experiment with technologies of tomorrow.

By Kenneth Wong

Mike Santolupo was overseeing the development of a concept car, code-named Evolution. Set to be complete in four to six months, the exotic-looking passenger vehicle would incorporate wheelchair access, among other features. The rear hatch would open to release a ramp, allowing a wheelchair user to drive straight into the car.

Santolupo felt fortunate that he was surrounded by a team of designers unencumbered by preconceived notions of how a car is supposed to look. Some of the geometry and surfaces his team created might make old-school carmakers raise their eyebrows, but Santolupo wasn't the least bit troubled. After all, his mission was to create a new school of design.

In the 17 years he has been teaching design courses, Santolupo turned his classroom at John Paul II Catholic Secondary School in London, Ontario, Canada, into a ministudio. In his class, aspiring inventors, architects, and industrial designers ranging in age from 14 to 18 use Wacom tablets and refurbished HP workstations loaded with Autodesk AliasStudio, Autodesk SketchBook Pro, Autodesk Inventor, and Autodesk Showcase to put the theory of digital prototyping into practice.

Read more »

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Freelance writer Kenneth Wong explores the innovative use of technology
and its implications.


Peer Software Facilitates CAD Collaboration

A medical-device design firm coordinates multiple-office AutoCAD use via collaboration software.

By Jimmy Tam

By definition, standard business collaboration is anything but standard — it is tricky and often fraught with unforeseen problems. Exchanging Word documents, spreadsheets, or PowerPoint files is seldom a serial, linear process. Any number of small factors — for example, two people at different locations working on the same document simultaneously — can interrupt workflow and throw a project off course and behind schedule.

As if that weren't bad enough, CAD collaboration is an order of magnitude more difficult, complex, and error-prone. First, CAD files typically are far more complex than even the most dizzying legal document; in most scenarios, project team members must follow standardized procedures for part naming in the creation and development of a CAD file, a process which by itself can derail the project. Second, CAD projects are by their very nature iterative, because engineers must make sure their designs work, are manufacturable, and meet customer requirements. Implementing a collaborative framework for design and engineering firms comes with a unique set of challenges.

Synergy with AutoCAD
Several months ago, Synergy Surgical Technologies, designers of orthopedic implants and instruments, was seeking to redesign and expand its network to support and connect its main office in Redlands, California, and its satellite office in Austin, Texas. The main challenge was to implement a collaborative framework to support 10 engineers, evenly distributed between both offices.  Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Solid Edge Huntsville Area Regional Meeting

October 14, 2009
Huntsville, Alabama
During this event from PLM World, attendees can sharpen design skills, learn about synchronous technology, pick up some new tips and tricks, and meet the Solid Edge support team. Read more »

Autodesk University 2009

December 1, 2009–December 3, 2009
Las Vegas, Nevada
As the largest gathering of Autodesk users, developers, and partners, AU offers a setting where companies and institutions of all sizes can gain valuable information and learn strategies to help them thrive in today's economy. 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


CAD Manager's Toolbox: Laptops and CAD
Mobility isn't the only factor to consider when weighing the benefits of trading a fixed workstation for a laptop. You'll also need to evaluate the frequency with which you work with big models and large batches of files. Read more »

The Cost of CAD Software Today
You won't find many bargains right now, but you will find some vendors that are being flexible regarding lapsed maintenance contracts. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

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