There's always a little room to throw a bit more gasoline into the fiery part number debate, the ongoing saga between usable human interfaces and computational perfection (coming to a theater near you this summer). After all, delightful never-ending arguments over part number intelligence don't have to be limited to just part numbers. Turns out we can argue and/or rage about part descriptions too. Are part descriptions a critical delineation amongst a sea of look-alike parts? Or are descriptions otherwise considered to be interesting, but irrelevant, acting only as a hopelessly outdated substitute for classification metadata? Let's explore.
GrabCADr Extraordinaire Tommy Mueller has been working closely with our team to promote and experiment with GrabCAD's collaborative tools. The latest experiment has been to challenge everyone to develop a Pod-racer (remember Star Wars Episode I?). 34 collaborators have put in hours and hours of work over the last month to produce their own creation. Now the voting begins! Tommy has created an off-site voting tool so that all 470,000 of you can check out the submissions and vote. Click here and get your vote in before February 22!
In other news, we will be publicly announcing the results of the BLOODHOUND SSC Design Challenge at the Product Innovation Congress on Feb 19th. This has been a truly exciting challenge and we can't wait to see the final design in the hands of driver Andy Green. In addition, we have our new VP of Sales and Marketing Rob Stevens making a presentation on 'Crowd Design' on Day 2 (February 20th). If you're so inclined you should drop in and say hello - presentation begins in Room 4 at 14:35.
If the recent dust-up between Tesla Motors and the New York Times is any indication, battery technology is the achilles heel of the electric car. However, a number of scientific discoveries in the field of nanotechnology could provide viable solutions to the big issues for automotive engineers - Today's batteries are slow charging, provide a small range and weigh too much. But tomorrow, things might be very different.
Richard Van As lost two fingers in a horrific carpentry accident. Like many disabled people, he had to find a prothetic hand to allow him to continue living a normal life. Finding existing prothetics too expensive, he began to look for a DIY solution. Last year, he came across Ivan Owen and his own work on prosthetics. Working together, they developed an inexpensive solution, called the Robohand, all for $150, in spite of the 20,000 kilometer gap between South Africa and the USA.
Last September I had the opportunity to attend the launch of Solidworks 2013 and see a few things coming down the pipe. One thing that throughly impressed me was their augmented reality app for mobile devices or tablets. Presented by one of the original developers of eDrawings, Rick Chin, the AR app generated some audible gasps in the room. Still in the preliminary stages, the quality of the app was pretty clear. And now it's available for download.
We have a soft spot for Steampunk. Who doesn't want to combine the wonders of the steam-age with the present day World? Today all the interesting mechanisms of anything mechanical or useful machines are hidden behind injection moulded plastic. Back then, everything was bared for everyone to see (and fix). For the mechanically minded, it's a pleasure to see the gears, escarpments and lug nuts openly displayed. And for Bruce Rosenbaum of ModVic, it's his job.
GrabCAD is a great repository for electrical work. There are thousands of Electrical and Electromechanical Engineers who regularly upload completed professional work as well as individual components. Big or small, there's always a way for GrabCAD to make it easier to show off your work or find those components to complete your CAD design - here's some of our favourite models that empower every Electrical Engineer!
The model that sparked this choice of theme was this Siemens Vacuum Circuit by AJD. Capable of handling upwards of 36kV (this one is designed for 20kV), these medium-duty breakers can be used a wide-range of applications (official documentation here).
Conveyor systems are one of those important aspects yet often ignored aspects of factory layout and mechanical design. And one of the more common and heavily downloaded items on GrabCAD. Simple reason? For the millions of different products or parts created, there are a million different variations of conveyor systems. As a little tribute, we thought we'd collect the best ones out there for this week's MWL.
This Roller Bed by MECA was an important part of another Engineer's work. Kevin Dobson commented, "I'm working with a client that needs some material handling solutions. I was going to model something like this as preliminary concept. Not any more. Excellent work.". MECA was really happy to find his work being used again - made us damn proud as well!