Posts in category: ‘Tips of the Trade’

How optimal is your CAD model?

I don’t know a designer or a CAD modeler who hasn’t been through a phase where he/she was speaking about his/her work in artistic terms rather than technical ones. I also don’t know anyone who hasn’t had to face someone criticising a design through an artsy tirade leaving them clueless as to what is exactly wrong with their model or how to improve it. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just keep two things in mind: 1) you have had this attitude at some point and 2) therefore should be understanding and patient. And in order to assess your CAD model, you should quantify or ask for it!

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CAD workstation performance tip: chuck those hard drives in the trash

The age of hard drives has come and gone; the time of solid-state drives (SSD) is upon us. We made this point with our kick-ass workstation recommendations a few months back, but a few of you were understandably skeptical. As engineers we have a special affinity for reliable technology, but such respect is not so easily earned. So are SSDs reliable? Let’s end that debate and understand that it’s well past time to chuck those hard drives. Yep. In the trash. See you in hell, magnetic platter.

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Want an entry-level engineering Job? Learn the right software

When I was 18 years old, I got my first job as an entry-level engineer. I started working for a point-of-purchase manufacturing company that specialized in sheet metal. While working there, I obtained a lot of valuable information about how sheet metal is manufactured, how to design around sheet metal, and how the point-of-purchase industry works. Additionally, the company funded much of my college education, as well as a respectable steady paycheck. I didn’t know a thing about injection molding, vacuum forming, cutting wood, or even sheet metal when I started at that job. I had no idea what an ERP system was, and I sure as hell didn’t know how powder coating worked. I was just some geeky kid who went to a vocational school to learn how to render a dragon and discovered my love for solid modeling and drafting in SolidWorks.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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How to disagree with a more experienced engineer

In engineering workplaces across the country, a burgeoning workforce of new engineers is looking to assert itself. Along the way, they are learning how to work alongside, occasionally disagreeing, with an increasingly entrenched generation of more experienced and extremely knowledgeable engineers with decades of technical experience.

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