Dialog Box May 2006

8 May, 2006 By: Cadalyst Staff

Readers have their say.

To be considered for publication, you must sign your letters and include your company's name, address, and daytime telephone number. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity. Send letters to:
Virtual Studio+ an Add-On
Regarding your article, "Virtual Studio+ Brings Designs to Life", I would like to point out an error in the first sentence: "Virtual Studio+, included with Solid Edge Classic . . . " VS+ is not included with SEv18 but is an add-on, which can be purchased separately. Here is a quote directly from Edge's help window:

"Virtual Studio+ is an extension of Virtual Studio that contains advanced rendering functionality. This functionality can enhance the quality of images used in documents such as customer presentations or marketing and sales literature. At the same time, Virtual Studio+ reduces the cost to develop these images."

Contact your Solid Edge sales representative to order the Solid Edge Virtual Studio+. Specify part numbers SE325 for Node Locked or SE326 for Floating.

—Stuart A. Ray, design-quality engineer, Foam Design

Lacking Dimension
The value of your publications are questionable when you publish articles such as "3D Rapid Protoyping" (April 2006) and make no mention of the 3D printing machines that dominate the market. Dimension has sold more than 1000 machines just in 2005 (probably more than all the machines mentioned in the article combined), yet it doesn't even get a mention?

And to avoid appearing to hide an agenda, I will admit to being a reseller for the Dimension product line. I don't work for Stratasys, and I have had in my office machines from 3D Systems and Z Corp. However, I never sold any RP equipment until the Dimension machine came on the market. Customer sales numbers clearly show that it is the overwhelming choice of those companies willing to actually spend money to bring this capability in house. Mentioning all their competitors and leaving the market leader unmentioned is in my opinion flawed and a disservice to your readership, regardless of what I sell.

—David A. Schaller, P.E., President, Texas Engineering Systems

Editors respond
We apologize for the omission. Limited space in the print issue often prevents us from covering all available options, so we tend to focus on the latest technology. Dimension was left out because we had covered its current offerings previously in this column. Dimension did announce the Dimension 1200 series shortly after that article went to press. The 1200 series includes the BST 1200 ($21,900) and SST 1200 ($29,900) models, which feature larger build envelopes than the existing 768 series. On introducing the 1200 series, Dimension also cut prices on the 768 models—the BST 768 is now $18,900 and the SST 768 is $24,900. You can find more details here.

No Thank You to Upgrades
I think your article ("CAD Giants Make it Big, Part 3") shows that Autodesk is gouging its customers. I hope someday the end users say no to forced upgrades.

—Michel Lapointe, civil engineer

Free Find for Students
I am so glad I followed the Cadalyst link to "Google Launches Free Version of SketchUp." I've been pushing very hard to teach SolidWorks here in the Las Vegas school district. This news gives me something really great to tell my youngsters about. I'm very involved with young children in the middle schools and soon in the high schools. I'm retired now but busier now than I have ever been before. Thank you for telling us about this great opportunity to get our kids going in the world of 3D.

—Richard Williams

Editors respond
We're glad you found the article useful. SketchUp and Google Earth in combination should prove quite engaging to students. SketchUp is certainly quite easy to learn and use. You should also check out the FIRST Robotics Competition, an excellent program that gives students some hands-on experience with product design and manufacturing (and more free 3D software).

Can You Help?
I have a problem, and maybe you can tell me how to solve it. I teach CAD drafting in a high school, and we use IntelliCAD because we cannot afford AutoCAD. I have an old slide library of how to draw a floor plan in AutoCAD format. I want to open the slide library and print the slides so that I can at least give them to the students as a booklet. We used to have AutoCAD, and this was a tutorial built into a drawing. Now, of course, I cannot open it. IntelliCAD will view slides but not the Slidelib function, and I no longer have the original slides. Thank you for any information you can give me.

—Laurence Gill

Editors respond
If you have any ideas, please e-mail us at

Room to Renegotiate
I would like to respond to Kenneth Wong's "Top 10 Challenges of Outsourcing" article, which states the following:

2. Too many outsourcing deals suffer "death by change order."

Service providers may underquote on purpose, just to get the business. Then, when they get further into the contract, they may demand more money, citing change of circumstances. When such change orders occur several times over the course of the relationship, irreparable damage may occur.

In some cases, service providers may underquote on purpose to get business (sounds like a good reason for outsourcing). If there is a legitimate change of circumstances, both sides should be able to discuss those changes and agree on some form of additional compensation. It should not be summarily assumed the outsourced firm should absorb those related costs.

—Gary M. Grigsby, president, Solid Designs

Three Cheers for Cadalyst
You guys are doing a great job and wanted to let you know that your site is so resourceful!

—Robert Weinmeier, Network Engineering

I scour your e-mail newsletters whenever I get them for all the great tips and advice. I have been using AutoCAD since 1989, and I can tell you as both a drafter and CAD supervisor that what can be learned from the Cadalyst site is invaluable to anyone who uses AutoCAD for a living. If I could get our IT guy to restrict Internet access to the Cadalyst and Autodesk Web pages, it would make my job immeasurably easier.

—Wayne Terry, Sternco Engineers

I have been receiving Cadalyst information and magazines via regular mail and electronically for years now, but I must tell you these "Tips & Tools Weekly" are the best! I keep everyone of them in a special folder. They are short and informative, you've hit a home run with this one! Thank you.

—Gary Humrichouser, Southern Company

Editors respond
To read a recent "Tips & Tools Weekly" newsletter, please see click here.

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff