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The latest information on CAD/CAM software and technology December 8, 2010

What's hot in CAD
This recent CAD news came as a shock to many: Daimler AG announced it is switching CAD providers and moving to NX CAD, which comes from Siemens PLM. So much for the automotive industry's famed complacency. Starting in the summer of 2012, Daimler will integrate work from over 20 development centers as well as major suppliers on a single product-development platform. Daimler has already been using an in-house program based on Teamcenter PLM, so the NX move is intended to let the automobile manufacturer better-facilitate interoperability and digital collaboration, thereby streamlining new vehicle development and making design and manufacturing more efficient. Also, see PTC's take on the switch

On a different note, mobile apps were one of the hot topics at Autodesk University (AU), recently held in Las Vegas. In addition to keynotes, technology previews, and software classes, AU included an art gallery which showcased creations done by ten different artists using SketchBook Pro for the iPad. Users get pretty creative, as evidenced by the composite sample shown to the right. Also nifty: an electric bike equipped with Wi-Fi which was designed in Autodesk Inventor. The bike has a structurally sound, yet lightweight, unusual arched tubular construction. For more information on goings-on at AU

—Leslie Gordon, Senior Editor,


CFD Helps Steady a Sailboat
Many of the newer cruising sailboats in the 40-ft-and-up sizes are built with double headstays in the bow with one roller furling located behind another. The forward roller-furling stay carries a big Genoa jib. The next stay aft carries a working jib. Some boats also carry a third stay aft of the first two as a small blade staysail for storm conditions. Roller furling makes it easy to change these sails for a wide range of wind speeds. During a recent squall, a new 40 footer had her rolled-up double headstays oscillating violently back and forth perpendicular to the wind direction, and the stays were shaking hard. This action was disconcerting to the boat’s owners, to say the least, so we decided to try to pinpoint the cause. Read the rest of the story


Inventor's Corner: This “Undulating Propeller” Drives Watercraft Using Wave Motion
A recent graduate of Cracow University of Technology in Poland has developed a functional prototype of a vessel that uses a propulsion device inspired by cephalopod swimming techniques. Developer Michal Latacz says his “Kalmar” prototype imitates live organism tissue in moving via a propeller that has undulating “fins” connected by an elastic membrane. The fins have specially designed surfaces (hydrofoils), which are forced to create an oscillating movement along the ship’s longest symmetry axis and, therefore, generate a forced fluid flow along the ship’s hull. The hydrofoils contain beam stiffeners that deliver the energy from the engine to the membrane and shape the required wave characteristics. Kalmar uses ”conventional” mechanics to synchronize the hydrofoil geometry. Read the rest of the story

NEW - Free CD features multiphysics simulations projects by 950 of your peers
At the recent COMSOL Conferences held in Boston, Paris and Bangalore, over 950 users of COMSOL Multiphysics presented state-of-the-art achievements in multiphysics simulation. Included are hundreds of papers, presentations and animations highlighting applications in areas such as acoustics, bioengineering, heat transfer, fluid flow, structural mechanics and more.

The Changing Face of Surface Modeling
Large OEMs typically use complex supply chains that are five or six tiers deep and the data file that defines the part to be supplied is the main communication tool between these tiers. Ideally, all suppliers would have every CAD package so they could seamlessly accept and work with native data, obviously an impractical scenario. In practice, many supplier components are sent to suppliers via files translated into neutral formats such as IGES or STEP. Translation is rarely perfect, resulting in the need for substantial remodeling after the fact. A key need is therefore not simply data transfer, but full interoperability, such that data from one system can be immediately reused in another. Software such as PowerShape 2010 helps support interoperability, in part, because it uses Parasolid, an industry-standard geometric modeling kernel. Parasolid is used by more CAD packages than any other kernel. Also, many other CAD systems can import and export Parasolid’s native XT format. As such, these packages can exchange XT files without translation and the associated rework it usually entails. In addition, PowerShape lets users accept data via translations by manually or automatically fixing translation errors. Read the rest of the story

New Products

HP launches "DesignByMany," and more
HP has announced the launch of DesignByMany, an online community which invites designers to overcome challenges supporting the theme, “Building for the Greater Good.” One challenge: Create a parametric version of Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House for the chance to win an HP Designjet 111 Printer. HP has other interesting new offerings too: Consider the HP ePrint & Share plug-in for the Designjet, which lets users create print-ready files with just one click while using AutoCAD. Read the rest of the story


Excel-Lent gear and gearbox-design software
Excel-Lent gear and gearbox design and analysis software was written in Visual Basic.Net by engineers who also design and manufacture gears for their own use. According to the company, until now, gear-design software has been too expensive or complicated for engineers without specialized knowledge. In contrast, Excel-Lent has a user-friendly interface that provides defaults and options in accordance with the AGMA 2001 standard (American Gear Manufacturers Association). Read the rest of the story


Pointwise CFD meshing software
Pointwise Version 16.04 CFD meshing software comes with a range of new tools. For example, a proprietary surface-meshing algorithm first developed for Pointwise’s Gridgen software is now available in Pointwise. Additionally, a new tool lets uses move individual grid points. The new release also includes annotation entities, printing to PNG, TIFF, and BMP files, and 11 new or updated CAE software interfaces. The company’s Gridgen and Pointwise software generates structured, unstructured, and hybrid meshes and interfaces with CFD solvers such as Ansys Fluent, Star-CD, Ansys CFX and OpenFoam, as well as many neutral formats such as CGNS. Read the rest of the story

News from MD


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Precision Plastic Parts:
Developing Components to Meet Project Requirements

Sponsored by: Accumold
Date: December 14th, 2010
Time: 2:00pm ET

OEMs are pushing for the greatest amount of functionality and quality in the smallest product space possible. These requirements force engineering teams to work through difficult challenges, many of which will require precision or micro molded plastic parts. The right solution doesn’t appear magically. Designers test concepts, investigate materials, prototype component options and validate performance.

To help designers move through this process, Accumold’s engineers are presenting a technical webcast on the key issues and caveats OEMs should understand in working either internally or with outside vendors on a precision molded solution.

register today!

Click Here for a list of archived Machine Design webcasts.

Featured Links

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For years traditional CAD has been holding you back. Learn how you can unlock potential like never before with PTC’s new family of design software – Creo.

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Contact Information
Editorial questions:   Leslie Gordon 216-931-9242
Advertising/sponsorship opportunities:   Virginia Goulding 216-931-9893

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