MCAD Tech News #209

9 May, 2007 By: Jeffrey Rowe

What's in a Name?

Whatever it's called in the end, rapid prototyping appears to be the wave of manufacturing's future.

Last week I attended the RAPID 2007 conference and exhibition in Detroit, Michigan. Sponsored by SME (the Society of Manufacturing Engineers), the annual event is the center of the universe for RP&M (rapid prototyping and manufacturing). Attendance was up in both attendees and exhibitors this year, as it has been the past few years, and that's good news for any live event. Beyond RP&M, the event also includes tracks and sessions on reverse engineering and 3D scanning, as well as interoperability and 3D collaboration.

Unlike in years past, however, there was lot of conversation, during both formal presentations and informally in the hallways, concerning what this technology should be called and whether there is a term that could be universally agreed upon and understood.

The Ongoing Process Naming Dilemma
Admittedly, rapid prototyping and manufacturing is a mouthful and means different things to different people, such as hardware and software vendors, end users, academics and professional engineering organizations. There is a definite reason for this dilemma. First of all, several of the RP&M vendors have invested heavily in naming the technology that best suits their respective products, so they are in no hurry to embrace new terminology. End users want a term that describes the technology in practical terms, and academics seem to lean toward something that is more technically descriptive. And, yes, even SME has gotten into the act by coining the term DDM (direct digital manufacturing) as an umbrella term to describe RP&M. As testimony that even SME is grappling with the nomenclature, this year's conference was called simply, RAPID 2007. Read more>>

Tech Trends—New Playgrounds for the Engineers

By Kenneth Wong

What do the brains behind CAD labs look like? A blog entry by Scott Sheppard from Autodesk Labs ("Beyond the Paper," February 20, 2007,| shows his colleagues Josh Natarajan and John Schmier, appropriately attired in white coats and goggles to look like Einstein wannabes. Obviously, that's the outcome of a pair of rambunctious software developers playing the part of the quintessential lab technician. For a more accurate picture, you can turn to the head honchos of two rival labs: Brian Mathews, vice-president of Autodesk Labs, and Brian Harrison, director of SolidWorks Labs. According to both, you'd be surprised at how much the minds behind their respective labs resemble you. Because people like you—everyday CAD users—are the ones that'll help shape the technologies brewing behind the labs. Read more>>

Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Transition to NX4 Training Class
May 14-16, 2007
San Jose, California
This class, presented by Design Visionaries, is intended for all users familiar with previous versions of UGS NX software. Participants will get up to speed with the latest and learn the new functionality in the newest version of NX. Read more

Basic NX4-Modeling, Drafting and Assemblies
May 28-June 1, 2007
San Jose, California
After this class, presented by Design Visionaries, participants reportedly will be able to create machine parts from many industries, create come sculpted parts, do some analyses, draft parts to a basic level and create intermediate-level assemblies. Read more

Advanced NX4 Training Class
June 11-15, 2007
San Jose, California
Design Visionaries presents this class, which will leverage what participants already know and streamline their path to becoming advanced users. After this class, participants should be able to create complex parametric models and complex explicit models, aka “chunky solids”. Read more

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