The failed promise of parametric CAD, final chapter: A viable solution

What is the failed promise of parametric CAD? In short, model reuse. It’s a lot more difficult than it ought to be, for a variety of reasons. Several months back, I wrote a series of articles discussing those reasons, as well as some of the solutions that have come up over the years.  What was missing […]

3D CAD World

Structural Topology Optimization: The opposite of FEA

Most of the big CAE vendors are enthusiastic proponents for the democratization of simulation. In fact, Googling the term leads to a treasure trove of results—and shows that each of the CAE vendors seem to have entirely different ideas about what democratization involves. While everyone seems to agree that democratization involves making simulation more available

Leveraging 3D CAD Data

by Evan Yares, Senior Editor In the 2013 State of 3D Collaboration and Interoperability Report, published last May, Chad Jackson, Principal Analyst at Lifecycle Insights, asked the question, “Have we finally realized the vision of fully leveraging the 3D model?” In the survey on which the report was based, respondents were asked about their use […]

3D CAD World

A note about some 3D CAD changes

Senior Editor, Evan Yares, will be leaving WTWH Media in the near future to help start up the U.S. operation of Nanosoft, a Russian company. Nanosoft’s products include nanoCAD, a so-called “freemium” 2D CAD product that is free for end users, with a subscription option for premium features and technical support. Evan has been a […]

3D CAD World

The Design World dynamic design challenge

Win a free dynamic design analysis of your mechanism. Get to market faster. Be a hero to your customers. When NASA’s JPL landed the Curiosity Rover on Mars, I was impressed. Not just that they’d done it blind (because of the time-delay in communications from Mars), but also that they’d done it by dropping the […]

3D CAD World

Simulating Fiber-Reinforced Composites. It’s a multiscale world.

Composite materials, and particularly fiber-reinforced composites, present an interesting challenge. They have superior properties, compared to homogeneous materials, and have the potential to help engineers and designers meet increasingly challenging product requirements. Yet, they can be maddeningly difficult to engineer properly. To understand why this is so, you need to look closely, at the structure

The failed promise of parametric CAD: From the beginning

The modern era of 3D CAD was born in September 1987, when Deere & Company bought the first two seats of Pro/Engineer, from the still new Parametric Technology Corporation. A couple of years later, Deere’s Jack Wiley was quoted in the Anderson Report, saying: “Pro/ENGINEER is the best example I have seen to date of […]

3D CAD World

Maybe you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on CAD/CAM tools

My friend Rachael Dalton-Taggart, Director of Marketing Communications at Geomagic Solutions (which is now part of 3D Systems), often has interesting perspectives on the engineering software market. Every once in a while, she’ll start an email thread on some intriguing or irritating issue, and include a bunch of industry editors/anaysts/consultants in the distribution list (we all […]

3D CAD World

3D Master

3D MCAD is not “done.”  Not by any means. Well over 40 years after the introduction of commercial 3D MCAD products, and 25 years after the introduction of feature-based solid modeling MCAD, many MCAD programs aren’t totally 3D. They’re 2D/3D. What I mean by this is that their 3D capabilities are inadequate to represent real […]

3D CAD World

No more CAD workstations?

Imagine you worked in IT, in a large company, and had to put up with CAD users acting all special, because they needed big computers with lots of memory, and fancy graphics cards.  Pretty irritating, eh? But what if you could stop buying those machines, and instead give CAD users regular-old PCs? That’s the promise […]

3D CAD World

MSC at 50: A CAE pioneer reinvents itself

MSC Software is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It was literally one of the first software companies, and though its been through some changes over the years, it’s still in the business of creating tools for engineers to simulate and analyze complex systems. Last week, I spent a couple of days with MSC, at their user […]

3D CAD World

Why Jon Hirschtick loves CAD

COFES, the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software, is “meet by the pool” kind of conference. It’s a place where you have the chance to chat with really interesting people, who are otherwise quite busy. A few weeks ago, at COFES 2013, I sat down with Jon Hirschtick, and recorded a six minute video, […]

3D CAD World

Alibre becomes Geomagic Design

Almost 2 years ago—in July, 2011—3D Systems acquired Alibre, a developer of budget 3D parametric MCAD software. It was just one of a large number of acquisitions that 3D Systems made over the last several years, and, for awhile, it appeared that Alibre was getting lost in the shuffle. Alibre has now found a new […]

3D CAD World

Five presentations on Model-Based Development

The term “Model-Based Development” (MBD) has been around for more than a few years. So far as most CAD users can tell, it means getting rid of 2D drawings, and putting 3D-GD&T and PMI into the 3D models. That’s probably a pretty good working definition, but it’s not really quite right. I went back to […]

3D CAD World

Bertrand Sicot: Seriously, we’re not going to mess up SolidWorks.

A few days ago, SolidWorks CEO Bertrand Sicot posted a blog, reiterating yet again that, no, they’re not going to mess with the SolidWorks program that so many people count on. Just as since it was first written, it will continue to use Parasolid as its geometric modeling kernel. While I think it’s healthy for […]

3D CAD World

Jennifer Herron on managing mass properties in CAD assemblies

There are times when you really need to know the mass properties of a design, before you build it. In this Design World editorial Webinar, Jennifer Herron discusses best practices in managing mass properties in CAD assemblies. Jennifer is the owner of Action Engineering, a company that specializes in the promotion, process development and standardization […]

3D CAD World

Thermal simulation for electronic systems

Thermal management of electronic systems is no longer something you can deal with by installing lots of heatsinks and fans, and crossing your fingers. If you’re building high-performance products, and you don’t want them to overheat or burn-up in use, you need to actually engineer their thermal performance. It’s in the nature of electronics to

2D conceptual design, 50 years later

Many years ago, an MIT graduate student named Ivan created a 2D conceptual design program that allowed users to interactively sketch out their ideas, and by applying constraints and dimensions to the sketch, have the computer calculate the ideal solution for their design. He never even tried to commercialize his program, because, at the time, […]

3D CAD World

How real people use CAD: Shane McKenna

In the CAD world, there are all kinds. Some people just use CAD as part of their job—in the same way as they use Word, Excel, or Outlook.  Others become power users, investing themselves in becoming experts at using one or more of the mainstream or high-end CAD systems. Then, there are the CAD hackers. People who […]

3D CAD World

CAD in the pursuit of art: Shane McKenna

As an engineer, I often think about CAD as a tool for the engineering and design of technological products. But, every once in a while, I’m reminded that CAD can can be used in ways its makers never anticipated. Shane McKenna is an engineer, designer, craftsman, and artist. I recently talked to Shane about how […]

3D CAD World

How would you design an electric motorcycle?

I often find myself looking at manufactured products, and wondering “how would you go about designing something like that?” For some things, the sheer scale of the problem is so large that it’s hard to wrap your head around it.  But, there are many things that are more human scale, in complexity and difficulty. A […]

3D CAD World

Rock and Roll industrial design

I’m always interested in how people use CAD software to do interesting projects. Nout Van Heumen is an industrial designer and engineer whose day job, so to speak, is in the packaging and insulation business. But Hout has developed a name for himself by taking on some really interesting freelance jobs. One of his projects […]

3D CAD World

Multiphysics Moves to the Mainstream

by Evan Yares, Senior Editor & Analyst, Software In 1964, NASA undertook a review of its structural dynamics research program. At the time, its research centers were each separately developing structural analysis software to meet their own specific needs. The review recommended that a single generic FEA (finite element analysis) program should be developed, to

NVIDIA Kepler GPUs are finally here

It’s taken awhile, but the new generation of NVIDIA GPU graphics cards are out. Why does it matter? Well, short of performance issues—and these cards are fast indeed—the Kepler GPU represents a product inflection point for NVIDIA. It’s the “new model” – the presumptive choice among NVIDIA graphics cards for CAD workstations. Up until now, […]

3D CAD World

Understanding Multidisciplinary Design Optimization

“Since the late 1950s, we’ve reduced fuel burn of airplanes per passenger-mile by over 80 percent,” says Joaquim Martins, a professor of Aerospace Engineering at University of Michigan. While more efficient engines get credit for a 50% savings, the balance comes from lighter, higher capacity, and more aerodynamic airframe designs. When designing airframes, designers focus