MCAD Tech News (#336)

10 Jan, 2013 By: Cadalyst Staff

Switch to Direct Modeling Speeds Furniture Maker's CAD Workflow

Kimball International moves to Solid Edge with synchronous technology and gains shorter design times and simplified reuse of legacy data.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

If you're reading this article at work, odds are good that you're seated in an office chair — and possibly one created by Kimball International, an Indiana-based company that designs and manufactures furniture and electronics. The company's furniture segment provides desks, chairs, and the like under the brand names Kimball Office, National Office Furniture, and Kimball Hospitality.

Kimball's history stretches back to 1950, a time when the office and hospitality furniture market was much different than it is today. In recent years, Kimball has been faced with a business environment that's changing on every front; competition, materials, customer expectations, and even the office itself are all evolving quickly.

"A few years ago, we had very little competition; now, the competition is global," said Ricardo Espinosa, R&D Engineering Services manager at Kimball, pointing to challengers in China and Latin America, as well as some closer to home. "The whole market is requiring shorter development times." Globalization also affects the demand for new materials in furniture, he observed, as more exotic options are brought into the United States from around the world, and customers gain a greater awareness of the value of sustainable materials.

Changes in office technology and workflows pose their own challenges, as more workplaces migrate to an open floorplan intended to facilitate collaboration and networking. "The open office is the main driver for what we've been doing [design-wise] in the past three years," said Espinosa. "Cubicle farms are almost gone; there's a lot more interaction between people." And with the prevalence of technologies such as tablet computers and smartphones, far more employees are on the move during the day, he noted. "You need a lot more flexibility, you need mobility, [but you still] need privacy." Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.

Create 3D Sketches from 2D Sketches in Autodesk Inventor

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Combine two 2D sketches to generate the geometry for a 3D sketch, or use one sketch and an existing surface.

By Caleb Funk

While 2D sketches make up the lion's share of the sketches that are created in Autodesk Inventor, more complex parts may call for 3D sketches. These sketches can be used as the centerline of a sweep or loft, as the rail for a loft, or as an edge for creating a boundary patch.

The only problem with 3D sketches is the difficulty in creating them. It is easy enough to create a 3D sketch such as the one above using the 3D line and arc commands, but what about the sketch below?

It may be possible to create it using the standard tools, but it would not be fun. This article covers two ways of creating complex 3D sketches with a minimum of headaches. Read more »

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Caleb Funk is a regional services team manager for IMAGINiT Technologies.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Let's Go Design: Machinery and Industrial Equipment
January 14, 2013
2 p.m. ET
This hour-long webcast from Fisher/Unitech will demonstrate how SolidWorks helps users fulfill the unique needs of the machine design industries. Read more »

Documenting Products with 3DVIA Composer
January 17, 2013
10 a.m. ET
This Fisher/Unitech webcast will show viewers how to create up-to-date documentation from engineering models. Read more »

Product Innovation 2013
February 19–20, 2013
Berlin, Germany
Product Innovation (PI) 2013 is an event at the nexus of R&D, engineering, and IT that provides insight into product information creation, development, and management. 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


Take Stock of Your IT Assets
CAD Manager's Toolbox: Inventory the tools that your users currently work with so that you can reliably forecast future requirements. Read more »

Improve CAD Production Quality by Annoying Your Users, Part 1
If the "carrot" of reward doesn't elicit the response you're looking for, carefully chosen annoyances can serve as the "stick" that improves employee behavior. Read more »

Mouse Wheel Tips for AutoCAD Users
You use the wheel on your mouse all the time for panning and zooming — but do you know everything you can do with the mouse wheel? Join Lynn as she shares a myriad of mouse wheel tips that will put you on the road to instant productivity! Watch the video »

Autodesk Bestows Expert Elite Status on Cadalyst Contributing Editor
R.K. McSwain, who shares his expertise with other Autodesk software users via online forums, receives newly created honor. Read more »

Autodesk and the Cloud, Part 3: Experts Take Aim at Cloud Stereotypes
At Autodesk University 2012, speakers claim that cloud technology can work for large enterprises — and concerns about data security need not be a roadblock. Read more »

Protect Sensitive Data With Easy, Secure Data Image Overwrite for Your Large Format Devices
Data-sensitive environments are no longer limited to defense agencies, power generation firms, and related contractors, but include any enterprise that places a high value on its intellectual property. Read the CADspeed blog post »


About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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