Overclocking for CAD: let’s get dangerous

You’ve heard the stories: buy a cheap CPU, throw some insane cooling on it and boost it into the stratosphere. Such is the promise of overlocking, pushing CPU processors past their design specs in the name of edging out extra performance for low, low prices. But these aren’t the heady days of the Celeron 300A, where the megahertz flowed freely. With the invention of improved configuration aware microarchitecture, overclocking’s gone a bit corporate these days. There’s still some fun to be had, but more importantly, does it still make sense for your CAD workstation? Read more

Stop laughing at 2D CAD

It’s amazing to see where computational mechanics is heading and how different modeling techniques are constantly evolving. Not even twenty years ago, mechanical systems were drafted as plane sketches with an endless array of symbols and norms to convey as much as possible about an accurate and common three dimensional shape. Now however, we have the full 3D CAD experience ready and easy to manipulate. Read more

PhotoView 360 rendering tips: make them more interesting!

PhotoView 360 is a great photorealistic rendering platform that is built right into SolidWorks. I have been using it for nearly 10 years professionally, and believe it is the best option for rendering any non-organic object. This article is a continuation of an older post here on GrabCAD, and is focused more on how to use some of the more advanced tools to make better scenes, more interesting compositions, and more dramatic lighting. Read more

Why ECC RAM matters, but probably not for most CAD design

When we put together a self-build kick-ass CAD workstation a couple weeks ago, we managed to raise a few eyebrows in our seemingly reckless disregard for random access memory. We didn’t bother to spec a system with ECC RAM, and some of you questioned why populate a CAD workstation with “the cheap stuff?” To get to the bottom of this we’re going to have to talk about billions and billions of bits, uncorrectable errors, hyperactive bananas, and supernovae. Quick, someone tweet at Neil deGrasse Tyson. Read more

How far can metal additive manufacturing take aircraft engines?

Every year, aircraft turbofan technology propels billions of people into the sky. To allow engines to remain safely secured to aircraft wings for several years, the material properties required in turbofan engines are, naturally, exacting. Engine parts must withstand extreme conditions (stress, corrosion and heat) but still guarantee predictable behavior even in extraordinary situations. Read more

Why should engineers write? Do words matter to an engineer?

Writing is typically thought to be a discipline that only academics or lawyers or, I guess, bloggers, need to possess. But good written communication skills are actually essential for engineers. Today, it is imperative that engineers write effectively, as the need for engineers to possess a diverse skill set continues to grow. Read more

Does every engineer have a right to a portfolio?

Some of you may be quite proud to display your engineering portfolio right here on GrabCAD. Portfolios serve as a valuable asset to your engineering career, increasing the reach of your design work, making you stand apart from peers in job interviews, and even helping land new clients. Given the obvious benefit, you would think that every engineer should have the right to do the same with their cumulative design work. While the natural reaction is to shout "Hell, yes!" It's not quite so simple depending on where and for whom you work for; the question reveals some subtle complexities. Read more

How to hand off a project without infuriating the next engineer

Handing off a project to another engineer can be daunting. Aside from the personal attachment (the project is your baby), it can be difficult to articulate where the project has been and where it needs to go. My background is in design engineering for the retail fixture industry, so I have worked for companies that are project based, not product based. Read more