MCAD Tech News #200

7 Feb, 2007 By: Jeffrey Rowe

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GM Plugs In With Hybrid Concept, Part 2

The automaker's new powertrain is on the right track for putting electric vehicles into common use

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a story about a concept car I saw in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. That car was the Chevrolet Volt, an electric/gasoline hybrid that I found very interesting. I felt, and feel, that it is too early to write off electric vehicles that can be plugged into an electrical outlet for recharging their batteries in the garage overnight.

Well, a reader took issue with me, saying that the Volt was nothing but a parlor trick and that GM wasn't doing anything for consumers interested in purchasing and driving hybrid vehicles. This week, I want to clarify some issues surrounding the Volt and GM's stance on hybrid vehicles. For the record, although I am from the Detroit area and spend a considerable amount of time there, I am not and never have been an employee of or consultant to General Motors. I'm just an interested observer of the technology.

Admittedly, GM is not alone in its seemingly resurging interest in plug-in hybrids, as Ford, Toyota, Honda and Nissan are also devoting considerable R&D money to them as well, although none of them has yet committed to production. This new generation of plug-in hybrids is decidedly better than those of the past, especially in regards to driving range before a recharge is required. The extended range comes largely from what is called a series hybrid powertrain -- a system with an electric motor that drives the wheels without assistance from an internal combustion engine. Today, the most common powertrain is known as a parallel hybrid system that uses both an electric motor and a gasoline engine to drive the wheels -- the Toyota Prius is an example of this model.Read more>>

3Dconnexion SpaceExplorer, SpaceNavigator -- Next-Generation Motion-Control Devices

By Mike Hudspeth, IDSA

If you model in 3D, you need to rotate, pan and zoom -- a lot. Most programs provide methods for this: middle-mouse-drag, on-screen controls or even your computer's arrow keys. But none are very intuitive or easy to control. A company called 3Dconnexion has a better way. It offers a line of 3D motion controllers that are just about the coolest things going. 
Read more>>

Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Data Management Seminars
February 20, 2007 - March 22, 2007
Various US locations
Avatech Solutions will hold half-day seminars on How to Streamline Design to Manufacturing for Competitive Advantage. The seminars will provide engineering management with real-world insight into how product development bottlenecks, which affect time to market, can be eliminated by implementing data management with a best practices approach. Time: 8:30 a.m. - 12 noon. Read more

February 22, 2007
Seattle, Washington
This one-day learning and networking event is designed to recharge your career. Modeled after Autodesk University, course subjects range from AutoCAD to CAD Management to industry-specific tracks such as Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Inventor. More than 15 different classes offered. Read more

For Cadalyst's full calendar of events, click here.

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Online Archives:Click here to view an online version of this newsletter and past issues of MCAD Tech News

CAD Manager: What to Expect--and Do--in 2007: CAD manager's forecast for 2007.

On the Edge: Import JT files into Solid Edge.

Harry Names Another Winner!
Hot Tip Harry has selected frequent tipster Leonid Nemirovsky to receive the second grand prize in his Hot Tip Harry Challenge 2006. Selected randomly from all contributors of published tips throughout 2006, Len wins a copy of AutoCAD 2007, courtesy of Autodesk. His win follows the announcement of Charles Allred as the recipient of a trip to Autodesk University 2006 in Las Vegas. All published Hot Tip Harry tipsters in 2006 received a Cadalyst t-shirt, and Harry awarded $100 each month to the author of his favorite tip. The Hot Tip Harry Challenge 2007 is under way now -- e-mail your tips to Harry today!

Where's Your CAD Power? The latest Cadalyst Quick Poll is live online. This month, we want to know if your CAD hardware/software setup is better at work or at home. Does your company provide enough CAD power to keep you happy and productive -- or have you invested better in your own resources? Take the poll (go to any page of and scroll down to find the Quick Poll in the margin), then read how you compare with your CAD peers in "Cadfidential" in the March edition of Cadalyst magazine.

Get a T-Shirt, Win $100
How do you save time? Send us your tip, code or shortcut for your favorite CAD software. If we publish it in Cadalyst's Tips and Tools Weekly newsletter, we'll send you a "Cadalyst: CAD the Way You Want It" T-shirt, and each month Cadalyst editors randomly select one published tip and send $100 to its author. Submit your tip to

Cadalyst Daily Update
For all the latest news and new products and updates about the newest features on, subscribe to the Cadalyst Daily e-newsletter. Plus, every Monday we bring you a full-length feature article you won't find anywhere else -- hardware and CAD software reviews, success stories, interviews, event reports, AutoCAD tips and more! Here's what you missed recently:

  • Putting a Face on Autodesk: Cadalyst's Ed Goldberg discovers how Carl Bass, a self-proclaimed bad student, became CEO of one of the world's leading software companies.
  • Rapid Prototyping Gets Real: RP becomes RM -- rapid manufacturing, that is -- as companies use functional prototypes to get products to market faster.