Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sorry dad, my CAD software is more powerful

the following post describes how a free CAD for hobbies and kids, can easily perform tasks that are too complicated to a 5K$ Software

This morning, as I was going through the most recent publications in CAD, I came across this headline: "Why SolidWorks surfacing users should learn the API" linked to the site of Javelin, a successful SolidWorks VAR. Now, even if you are veteran CAD user, chances are you do not know what is API or what role it plays at SolidWorks or any other CAD.

Briefly, API is a collection of commands that allow programmers to write applications for a specific program. Javelin interesting approach, offers you to learn a programming language just to ease of handling an imported files that are difficult to handle in SolidWorks.

Over the last three years, the CAD blogosphere talk about  what may cause  SolidWorks  to lag behind with outdated geometric kernel while the competition become  more advanced editing 3d geometry (for reasons that have been discussed previously).
The attached video clip, purpose to guide the poor user how to import and fix a 3D file, presents an interesting example. The author described a real problem uploading file to SolidWorks.  As you can see at the video, the model is cracked and SolidWorks give no warning at all. In this case, the problem is big enough that you can see it visually and then run the testing and start the exhausting work of sewing surfaces. Detailed description of the problem and the relevant file can be found here.
Leaving the file as is without correction, will cause many problems including errors in simulation or maybe later at production and, adding feature to the file before fixing it, does not allow fixing it later.
Inventor vs SolidWorks
I downloaded the file (SLDPRT file) and tried to open it with several programs.
In the attached picture, you can see the differences between Inventor and SolidWorks after opening the file, SolidWorks surfaces are clearly missing.
Until five years ago, problems like this were more common with 3D CAD software. Since then, the CAD industry move forward and we can see great improvement on these issues. And Where's SolidWorks?  
Jeff Row from MCADcafe  is asking the same question (July 9th, 2013 by Jeff Rowe)

The simple 123D is 3D CAD software free to download. The Program is designed for amateurs, hobbyist or children who want to learn the basics of CAD and to produce 3D models with a relative easy to use solid modeler. The file SolidWorks failed to open properly, opened without any problem with 123D and the free software is able modifies it. It amusing to find that amateurs software can perform tasks it is difficult to do with a 5K$ professionals software.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

First clouds for a new era

Cloud simulation
From time to time, a significant technological change is requested. In the CAD world, there is broad consensus that the future lies in the cloud. The Demands for more computer resources, on-line data management plus information sharing, and the need to manage add-ons software and varied applications that are all updated every year, required a better solution than what exists today in the world of personal computing. For the last three years, most CAD suppliers are racing who will be the first to market with a cloud solution. SolidWorks with its early announcement in 2010, taught the other players it is better to develop in the shadows without arousing too much noise in the market. Jeff Ray, former SW CEO, create a negative buzz from the company's loyal customers when he announced its intention to change the platform and technology of the popular software .The customers Reaction caused SolidWorks to retreat (at least outwardly) and left the stage for Autodesk to be the first out offering a cloud base solution.

Autodesk for mobile
Autodesk is moving step by step to the new era. Transformation is performed at several levels.  The company mobile environment already have a long list of exclusive applications for IOS and Android. When Autodesk finally enter to the PLM game a year ago, they chose to do so with the PLM360, cloud only software. Today, everyone who buy a software from Autodesk  getting her number of free cloud services, such as 25GB storage per software license (like DropBox but five times larger) render services in the cloud, optimization, etc..
Now, Autodesk feels confident enough to walk into the center stage, to be the first to offer a number of robust cloud applications and give them for a trial to anyone.
Sim360 is a great example of the proper use of cloud capabilities. You can download the software here for 90 days. Three months of effective strength testing that can be preform to parts and assemblies from various CAD software. thermal testing, crash, effort, vibration, fatigue, and more. After installation, the calculation is performed locally in the cloud. The modern user interface requires some adjustment as well as the file management and sharing integrated system. But, the effort worthwhile, you get a powerful simulation system for free to 90 days and a chance to enjoy the performance of software that is not depends on the strength of your PC. Just notice you download the first software on the list and not the PRO version to enjoy the new cloud base interface.