Leveling up your CAD presentation skills: large projects and design reviews

So perhaps you've mastered the often challenging and sometimes humbling task of presenting your engineering design to others, whether they be your peers, your metric-obsessed, but overall supportive manager, or even an inquisitive buyer. But now replace your design with something much larger, involving dozens or even hundreds of other engineers. And replace your firm, but well-meaning manager with a hard-nosed VIP customer with a contract for millions, an unhealthy penchant for detail, and a severe case of jet lag from hopping over the pond for the third time this month. You're going to need a whole different kind of plan. Read more

The evolution of design intent (drawings are dead, drafting is not)

It's been about a year since we boldly declared drawings dead, and despite citing some major caveats about the accessibility of enabling tools, the conversation nonetheless sparked a wee bit of controversy. A strong theme in that conversation focused on how classically drafted information critical to the design (tolerances, material specifications, surface treatments, finishes, etc.) can possibly remain readily accessible in an all-digital future. Especially difficult to imagine was how someone on the shop floor trying to run an inspection could possibly be hassled with all this new-fangled PMI garbage by fumbling a tablet from “those $%@# engineers.” Read more

Easing the pain of Standard Tessellation Language (with Megatron)

So perhaps you've recently completed your engineering masterpiece, slaved over its elegant design for weeks or months, transformed an idea into a robust 3D model using the best of what your CAD software has to offer. You've massaged every surface, blended every corner, tweaked every draft to perfection. You've got the touch, you've got the power. And now, at the end of all things, you're ready to 3D print the crap out of it. In your moment of triumph, as the rock anthem crescendos, you search in futility for that shiny print button. But instead, you find out you have to cram your masterpiece through a one-way pipe into a predominantly binary file format that's been awesomely radical since 1987. Read more

What to consider when presenting your CAD model

I remember the first time I was asked to make a presentation to explain the CAD model of a mechanical system and give a concise yet technical account of its features. I couldn’t help but reply instantly: “But the 3D model is self-explanatory.” My manager at that time thought I was trying to get away from a boring task and I thought that the guy was trying to imprint every last bit of his general project management training on my specific (and maybe unorthodox) design processes. Read more

Why working for the man makes all the difference in an engineering career

With all the attention on the gig economy these days, you might think the whole world has gone freelance in a collective uprising against evil corporate overlords who ruined everything. Perhaps Starbucks will eventually create an orbital ring of linked coffee shops encircling the planet, and we'll all work from up there, occasionally taking a space elevator to check on our freelancing pets. As a degreed engineer, however, there's huge benefit to working for the man. At least for awhile. Read more

Stop whining about MBD and accurately model your products

Why is it so important for 3D data to be exact? After all, drawings on a drafting board weren't a mathematically accurate representation of designs and they got the job done just fine. Right? Well sort of. We’ve all heard the stories of someone faking in a dimension to show the right value, causing the 2D drawing to become a less accurate representation of the final product and out of sync with the 3D model (if there was one). The results of these out of sync documents usually amount to an unhappy boss. Read more