MCAD Tech News (#277)

24 Feb, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

SolidWorks World 2010, Part 2: New Products for SolidWorks Users

A tour of the Partner Pavilion finds endless new tools for structural steel design, CAM, prototyping, and much more.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

No report on SolidWorks World 2010 would be complete without a rundown of all the action in the Partner Pavilion. Held early this month in Anaheim, California, the event brought about quite a bit of activity among the exhibitors, as you'll see. Information provided here was gathered from a tour around the Partner Pavilion, meetings during the week, and press releases. If I missed an update, send it to

Part 1 of this report, SolidWorks World 2010: Clouds, Macs, Movie Making, and More, shares my overview of SolidWorks announcements and action at the event. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief.

User Review: InspectionXpert First-Article 2010

CAD-based tool for quality-inspection reporting allows one person to do the work of five and still meet the demands of customers.

By Nathan Byman

MIC Group is a contract manufacturer of complex machined products and assemblies, specializing in exotic metals and serving the oil and gas, aerospace, and defense markets. A subsidiary of J.B. Poindexter Company, we have operations in Brenham and Houston, Texas; Duncan, Oklahoma; Monterrey, Mexico; and Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malaysia.

As a contract manufacturer, MIC Group must provide inspection data sheets with true, measured dimensions for every part we ship. On average, our parts have 300 dimensions to verify, and they often have as many as 1,800 elements. A tool called InspectionXpert First-Article has enabled our company to reduce this verification task from a five-person job to a one-person job, all while reducing job lead times and improving the accuracy of reported data.

Launched in 2005, InspectionXpert was designed to simplify the process of creating inspection forms and ballooned inspection drawings for first-article and in-process inspections. These reports and drawings are created directly from CAD drawings of just about any file format, including AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and Solid Edge, as well as CAD-neutral raster formats such as PDF and TIFF. The InspectionXpert platform is also fully integrated with many popular CAD packages including AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, Pro/ENGINEER, and CATIA V5, and even more integrations are in the works. Read more »

Avatech Tricks Tutorial: Look at This Motley Crew — Sheet Metal and Multi-Bodies in Autodesk Inventor

With the help of a workaround, you can use multi-body tools in the sheet metal environment.

By Anthony Dull

It has always been my opinion that "skeletal modeling" is the most effective method of assembly creation in 3D CAD, so when Autodesk introduced multi-bodies in Inventor 2010, I was energized — a whole new methodology that allows you to build your entire assembly within the context of a single part file! I was devastated, however, when I got a warning dialog box saying I could not use the multi-body tools in the sheet metal environment. Undeterred, I found a workaround I would like to share with you.

What's It Going to Take?

In this example, we are going to build a simple metal picture frame with glass and backing. The driving geometry behind our design intent is the sheet metal frame, so that's where we will start. Using the default template Sheet Metal.ipt, create a new sheet metal part and build it using the typical sheet metal tools.

After we draw the sketch to represent the glass, you will notice the New Solid option in the extrude dialog box is grayed out when you try to extrude it. So you would think that our story ends here, but if you will click Convert to Standard Part under the Environment tab, you will notice that it was the sheet metal environment that disables the multi-body functionality; returning to the standard part environment gets us back to where we want to be. Read more »

Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


March 23–25, 2010
Los Angeles, California
WESTEC will include keynotes covering defense/aerospace, renewable energy, and the economy for manufacturing, as well as technical sessions on topics like machining of small parts and advances in additive manufacturing. Read more »

ESPRIT World Conference 2010
May 18–21, 2010
Long Beach, California
ESPRIT customers, DP Technology staff, and guests will gather at this conference to learn about the latest version of the ESPRIT CAM software. Read more »

PLM Road Map 2010
September 28–29, 2010
Plymouth, Michigan
Presentations will cover mechatronics, transforming PLM into a dynamic infrastructure for business decisions, optimizing processes for the extended enterprise across the full product lifecycle, critical issues in simulation, and requirements-driven product development. 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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Tell Cadalyst About Your Favorite Freebie and You Could Win!
Do you have a favorite free software tool? Send your favorites to Cadalyst! Tell us where you got it and why you like it. If we publish your suggestion in our upcoming feature article, we'll send you a Cadalyst T-shirt. Plus, two lucky winners will also receive a copy of Cadalyst magazine Winter 2010 edition signed by Autodesk technical evangelist Lynn Allen!

Win Over Your Users
As a CAD manager, putting in the extra effort required to communicate clearly with your users, understand their needs, and become their advocate will pay off for them — and for you. Read more »

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Cheat Sheets
Even in the computer age, lists on paper still have value. In the workplace, they can provide users with a quick reference and reduce frequently asked questions. Read more »

Geospatial Analysis with AutoCAD Map 3D, Part 3
Your CAD drawings contain a wealth of information. Query and analyze them to reveal patterns, generate reports, and find features of interest. Read more »

Vancouver Shares Data Stores
This Olympic host city has garnered golden results with its efforts to make maps, orthophotos, and other GIS information accessible to everyone. Read more »

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