MCAD Tech News (#223)

10 Oct, 2007 By: Jeffrey Rowe

Digital Prototyping: Concept to Reality

A precision machinery manufacturer applies Autodesk Inventor’s “test before build” tools.

Despite the tremendous progress made in 3D modeling over the past 20 years, most companies continue to create physical prototypes as a major part of their product development process. For some time, most manufacturers have realized that something else was needed to move beyond 3D geometry and physical prototypes. These same manufacturers, in addition to several MCAD vendors, acknowledged that further progress in the digital design process could take place only when the 3D CAD model is extended beyond just 3D geometry to provide a comprehensive digital representation of the product -- including its physical properties, underlying engineering principles, and functional characteristics.

Although other vendors have attempted to do away with physical prototypes, Autodesk has taken a step forward in Autodesk Inventor with its Digital Prototyping tool that promotes a “test before build” approach. This process focuses on creating a digital prototype before committing to a physical design and prototypes that begin with functional requirements and specifications. Parts and assemblies are then created with Inventor to meet those specifications. Theoretically, this approach changes the balance of the design process, ideally letting engineers spend more time engineering and less time constructing 3D geometry.

Like many of you, I was skeptical of the notion and practice of digital prototyping being much more than a nebulous term and marketing hype. That is, until I heard about Richlin Machinery and talked with its president, Jeff Richlin, about digital prototyping using Inventor, translating a concept into a reality. Read more>>

Customer Service Horror Stories (MCAD Modeling Column)

By Mike Hudspeth, IDSA

It was a dark and stormy night -- no, wait -- the night was dark and stormy. Lightning flashes and thunder echoes through the company's empty halls. You are working late after everyone else has gone home. Anxiety hangs in the air. (When was the last time you saved?)

Then it happens. Your modeling software gives you an error. (Cue the lightning!) What are you going to do? You have to get this model done for the meeting tomorrow. The fate of the free world depends on it! Well, your bonus does anyway. Read more>>

Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

November 1, 2007
Portland, Oregon
This Autodesk User Group International (AUGI) regional learning and networking event will be packed with interesting courses and opportunities to network with fellow “campers” and browse the exhibit area. The foremost goal of AUGI CAD Camp is to enlighten and inform through educational sessions, which serve to broaden users' experience with the Autodesk products they use every day. Read more

EuroMold 2007 Conference
December 5-8, 2007
Frankfurt, Germany
EuroMold, the World Fair for Moldmaking and Tooling, Design and Application Development, merges all important industrial sectors. The basis of this unique fair concept "From Design to Prototyping to Series Production" bridges the gap between industrial designers, suppliers, and users. Read more

International Wohlers Conference
December 7, 2007
Frankfurt, Germany
This special international conference, presented in English, will investigate the growing number of opportunities in custom and short-run production and the role of China, Europe, the United States, and other parts of the world. The conference will clarify why custom manufacturing is becoming increasingly important, especially in the West. Read more

RAPID 2008 Conference & Exposition
Lake Buena Vista, Florida
May 20-22, 2008
North America's largest annual rapid manufacturing conference and exposition brings buyers, sellers, and end users of design, prototyping, tooling, and direct manufacturing technologies together in an environment that facilitates networking and business interaction. Attendees can evaluate the latest materials and machinery, compare processes, talk to industry experts, and make valuable contacts. Read more

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