MCAD Tech News (#232)

6 Feb, 2008

Cadalyst MCAD Tech News for CAD Professionals in ManufacturingSolid Messages from SolidWorks World

Inspiring presentations by MCAD industry leaders focused on creativity in design.

By Jeffrey Rowe

Jeffrey Rowe photo

I just returned from the SolidWorks World 2008 user conference in San Diego. With almost 4,700 other attendees, the event celebrated its tenth anniversary and provided a great opportunity to rub elbows with SolidWorks users, executives, employees, partners, and resellers. There's something for everyone who attends this event.

A Word from R&D
On Sunday, before the conference had officially started, SolidWorks put together several sessions for the benefit of the press. One of the sessions I attended was a panel discussion with members of the SolidWorks R&D team. The panel members stressed that the company would be spending more time and resources on QC/QA instead of just piling on more features and functionality in future SolidWorks releases. They responded to the inevitable question about the overhauled (and for some, problematic) user interface for SolidWorks 2008 by saying that they could have spread out the changes over several releases, but rather, chose to make them all at once. The panel did say, however, that SolidWorks 2009 would have a more "flexible" user interface, but did not divulge any details.

Scott Harris, a SolidWorks employee from the beginning and an instrumental person in new product development and R&D, touched on several interesting trends including these:

  • the possibility of large-scale, open-source CAD software
  • gaming being used increasingly as the benchmark for CAD products
  • design intent becoming more important than geometry
  • surfacing mathematics emerging that will ultimately replace NURBS
He also said he expected to see more specialized and niche subsets of CAD packages to come on the market for, say, sheet metal or plastic mold design. Finally, he expects MCAD functionality and the market itself to change much more in the next ten years than it has in the previous ten . Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Jeffrey Rowe is the principal of Cairowest Group, an independent industrial design, mechanical engineering, and technical communication consulting firm with offices in Colorado and Michigan. You can reach him by e-mail at or by phone at 719.539.8549.


Alibre Options Tutorial:
Machining Parts

By Ryan Montgomery

Alibre Design makes it easy to machine your parts with Alibre CAM. Based on MecSoft technology, Alibre CAM is included in Alibre's flagship product, Alibre Design Expert v10. Besides residing within the Alibre Design interface and parametrically updating toolpaths as you change your part, Alibre CAM has a host of preset and customizable tools and output options. Supporting 2.5-axis, 3-axis, and drilling operations, Alibre CAM is a great tool for taking designs from concept to finished product.

In this month's "Alibre Options" tutorial, we'll start with a part we've already made and apply operations to it. We'll view the toolpath, and we'll output machine code.
Read more


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Avatech University: Digital Prototyping
Various Dates in February
Various U.S. Cities
Avatech Solutions invites product management professionals and manufacturing design engineers to attend free classes on digital prototyping. Attendees can choose from eight 45-minute sessions. Read more

Webinar Series: Eliminating Model Rework through Automated CAD Repair
Various dates in February and March
2:00 p.m. EST
ITI TranscenData will host a series of one-hour technical Webinars on the tools and techniques used to combat the labor waste associated with CAD model rework.
Read more

Webinars: ALDEC Verification Methodology
Various Dates in February and March
11:00 a.m. PST
Aldec is offering these no-cost Webinars to help engineers understand emerging verification trends and technologies. Topics include Discovering the Benefits of Advanced Design Linting, Transform Your High-Speed ASIC Prototyping Solution into a Dynamic Emulation Environment, and more. Read more

CPDA Design/Simulation Workshops
May 13-14, 2008
Atlanta, Georgia
Collaborative Product Development Associates (CPDA) will sponsor the workshop "Developing a Design Simulation Framework," and Georgia Tech's Product and Systems Lifecycle Management Center will host its workshop "Frontiers in Design and Simulation." Read more

2008 International CAD Conference and Exhibition
June 23-27, 2008
Orlando, Florida
CAD '08 is aimed at CAD researchers, educators, developers, vendors, and the business community dealing with CAD technology and its financial issues. The conference includes tutorial presentations, parallel paper sessions, product demonstrations, and several forms of exhibits. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on