CAD Tech News (#60-2)

15 Mar, 2017 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ Onshape Continues to Reshape Itself, Adding Sheet Metal Capabilities and More

Cloud-based mechanical CAD solution's new tools enable users to work in flat, folded, and tabular modes simultaneously.

By Cadalyst Staff

In the two years since its public beta launch, the fully cloud-based MCAD solution Onshape has undergone a high-speed growth process. What was "a good basic mechanical CAD program" at launch has been built out extensively, and the commercial product is continually adding further capabilities.

That's been possible because the company implements Onshape updates at a rapid clip — typically every three weeks. Notable features released just since the beginning of 2017 include the capability to edit parts within the context of assemblies and sheet metal design tools that allow users to work concurrently on flat, folded, and tabular views.

Onshape launched sheet metal part creation capabilities in February, fulfilling a longstanding customer request.
Onshape launched sheet metal part creation capabilities in February, fulfilling a longstanding customer request.

The speed with which customer suggestions and problems can be addressed, in comparison with installed software, is one of the benefits of delivering an application through a web browser, the company says. As Onshape's Lou Gallo put it shortly after the beta launch, "More often than not, users are pleased to discover their issue has been resolved within six weeks — not within a number of years! Unlike with traditional CAD, which requires every user to know about and install each hotfix, Onshape can push out a hotfix as quickly as 24 hours."

In addition, because users are accessing a common version of the software, everyone is always up to date. But as welcome as they may be, continual updates to the software capabilities are a double-edged sword, making training an ongoing necessity. Another downside of this model is that customers cannot control the timing of new version implementation by delaying installation until a more convenient moment.

Feedback vs. Roadmap

Darren Henry, vice-president of product marketing for Onshape, stressed that customer requests are important, but they are not the only factor guiding the software's development. "Onshape's Sheet Metal design tools were one of the most requested enhancements from our customers and would-be customers," he told Cadalyst. "It was always a key part of our road map, but it's important to note that 'filling holes' is not the goal of our development team.

"As for our product development priorities, Onshape's team simultaneously follows its long-term roadmap and shifts short-term priorities based on the feedback of customers in every three-week sprint cycle. ... Our long-term roadmap for full-cloud CAD is a direct response to the many pain points of traditional CAD." Read more »

▶ Stratasys Replaces Dimension Line, Reflecting Shifts in Rapid Prototyping Market

The F123 series is intended to help less-experienced users produce prototypes at a lower cost than the company's previous generation of 3D printing technology.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Although it has grown rapidly in recent years, the rapid prototyping market still has great potential according to Stratasys, a manufacturer of 3D printing and production systems. Drawing on survey feedback, Stratasys has concluded that less than one-quarter of the professional prototyping market — estimated to be worth $10–15 billion globally — is currently being served by 3D printing technology.

"We believe there are significant untapped opportunities," said Rich Garrity, president of Stratasys Americas, in a press conference at SOLIDWORKS World 2017. "We see designers in many cases still using handmade methods," such as sculpting clay and carving foam, to create prototypes.

Leaving the Old Dimension Behind

Last month, Stratasys announced its F123 series, a new family of fused deposition modeling (FDM)-based 3D printers that replaces its Dimension series. To meet the needs of design workgroups that create prototypes for concept verification, design validation, and/or functional performance, Stratasys designed what it calls an "end-to-end solution for prototyping" that produces dimensionally accurate, repeatable prints. The F123 series is also "office-friendly," meaning it has no special ventilation, space, safety, or electrical supply requirements. "We think this a much smarter version of prototyping than what's available today," said Garrity.

The F170, the smallest of the three models in the F123 series, has a 10" x 10" x 10" maximum build size and supports ABS-M30, PLA, and ASA materials. The F270 has a 12" x 10" x 12" maximum build size, and supports the same materials. The F370 has the largest maximum build size at 14" x 10" x 14"; it supports the three materials above plus PC-ABS. Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's editor in chief.


Learn about Motion Analysis using Behavioral Modeling in Creo Parametric 3.0
April 5, 2017
12 p.m. ET
Motion Analysis is often required to evaluate parameters based on the entire range of motion for an assembly. This type of analysis can only be performed in Assembly mode using a Motion Analysis feature in the top-level assembly.

In this webcast, learn to:

  • Setup and Run a Motion Analysis
  • Review analysis results

This webcast is ideal for engineers and designers who want to run their designs through a series of scenarios while meeting design criteria. Read more »


Creating 3D Interior Views in Revit Architecture
In this Pluralsight video tutorial, Pierre Derenoncourt demonstrates how to use a 3D camera within Revit Architecture to create an interior view inside a model. Watch the video »

Use a Sketch Fillet in SOLIDWORKS
Pluralsight presenter Shivani Patel demonstrates the use of a sketch fillet in SOLIDWORKS, and explains its pros and cons. Watch the video »

AutoCAD Video Tips: Teach AutoCAD to Recognize Your Spelling Mistakes
Thanks to AutoCorrect, AutoCAD is pretty good at deciphering misspelled commands. But every once in a while, we flub a command that AutoCAD just can't figure out. Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how to train AutoCAD to identify your misspellings — and as a bonus, learn a great trick to play on your coworkers! Watch the video »

CAD Manager Column: BIM Is Becoming More Difficult
Paradoxically, as building information modeling (BIM) becomes more commonplace, it's not getting any easier — it's just the opposite. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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