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Job Shops— How About Free Support Before You Buy CAD/CAM Software?

Many will tell you that Fusion 360 is not only the latest CAD/CAM on the market but also very different…For example, different that the initial sale is not important; What is, is that you SUCCEED in using the software and continue to be successful using it.

I still remember the Saturday afternoon when in frustration I throw my arms in the air and with tears in my eyes drove to Barnes&Noble to purchase SolidWorks for Dummies…What a defeat. That was when I realized that CAD & CAM software is complicated, and asking someone to just figure it out on their own is a ridiculous ask.

So if you are a Job Shop, send me an email, lars.christensen@autodesk.com and I will invite you to a webinar on Thursday, May 4th. I want to show you the the software and schedule your personal time with the Autodesk Adoption Team. Real Experts ready to support you from the beginning.

Connect Design to Machining— Once Difficult, Now Easy

Connect Design to Machining
Could you imagine the design and manufacturing team work in a connected, collaborate environment? Be on the same page as the design goes through design changes, and you would not have to worry when CNC toolpaths need updates?
It’s called Connect Design to Machining— Once Difficult, Now Easy…

There is no reason to argue the phrase “Because that is the way we have always done it…” is the stupidest reason for doing anything. However, the reason people are still holding on to this behavior is that of distrust and lack of confidence.

I know that there have been times where I decided to start all over and completely re-program a part when faced with a few design changes. This is happens when there is a disconnect between design and machining.

One question could be: is the CAM system older than the CNC programmer himself? The software is simply not up to today’s standards. Another: are the design changes not communicated clearly enough? CNC Programmers demand clarity! Both scenarios are too risky to gamble when your job could depend on getting the part right.

Connect Design to Machining 2D

Take a look at the new, full-blown CAD/CAM system: Fusion 360 from Autodesk; this is the manufacturing software that will take you to the Future of Making Things.

First and most important, the magic of having your toolpaths connected directly to the same geometry the designer used to create the part. No disconnect and no invading each other’s spaces. It is simple: the design updates, the toolpaths are flagged, and the CNC programmer can update with a click of a button.

No need to send files by email, convert your data into other formats or ask people to download viewers. From within Fusion, you can share your design by using nothing other than their email address. They can view, measure and make markups in their web browser. And, don’t worry about platforms—This runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, even on mobile devices.

We have never been busier in the manufacturing world. Design changes are more frequently, as no one has the time to sit down and double check anything. You need to have a design and manufacturing package that can be flexible and help to keep track of things.

You costumers will demand that you can handle change. Within Fusion 360, everything is version-controlled in the background, so everyone can go back and forward between design changes. Your manufacturing department doesn’t have to stall, since there are no trust and confidence issues, as the design is connected directly to the machining toolpaths.
To put it simply: more money can now be made.

Check out this video:

Link to video

Want to learn more about Fusion 360? Check out this link:
http://autode.sk/2bZypPp

Is CAD in the cloud helpful or painful?

Fusion 360 Simulation
Is new software technology helpful or painful? What does Windows 10 do that Windows XP didn’t? Any notable differences with your email? Back in the day you might have had a custom “Biiing…” for new messages; today I only check email twice daily. — Email overload — that has changed, the tool in itself, not so much.

CAD software is just another tool. Today’s CAD Developers need to look beyond the latest technology and more at how people are using it. It is not about how many new functions you can fit in there. We do not have time for the latest technology if it is not helping. More can be painful.

CAD in the cloud: is it painful or helpful? If CAD is just another tool we are using to get to the final result, there should only be one question; does it really fit?

An example: My father-in-law recently consulted me as he was looking to buy a new computer. He was debating: laptop or desktop? What would be your recommendation? He told me that he had no interest sitting anywhere else than at his desk — get a desktop —because it fits.

Should your design software be in the cloud? Where are you going to use it, where does it fit? There are benefits to the cloud, but nothing is new. We store data on the cloud and share it with others (Dropbox-style). The cloud is also really good for communication; think emails, instant messages and Facebook.

Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is flexible. It will run locally, and connected to the cloud; making it possible for you to get your work done anywhere. You do not want to tell your boss that a project is late because your Wi-Fi connection went down. Another problem I have had is being at a customer’s location; you cannot control their Wi-Fi and firewall nightmares.

Yes, connection to the cloud does have advantages. Fusion connects with A360. This is a cozy cloud corner, where you can store your data and quickly share, collaborate and connect with your customers and team members.

So why do I think Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is a helpful design and manufacturing package? It starts with the basis of being one solution that can do many things. Up until now, design and manufacturing users have had to jump between too many tools to get the job done. Too many tools, too many vendors, too much confusion…Painful.

Fusion is $300 a year, less than most monthly car payments. Running on your Windows or Mac. Letting you store data and collaborate on the cloud. It uses the latest in CAD. It includes Simulation tools to get you instant design feedback. And, full 3D CAM that will let you generate the NC code to make your finished product.

Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is not a result of developers playing with technology. It is a tool created to be helpful getting design and manufacturing to a finished product — It is the future of making things —It fits.

Podcast Episode 11 – Quick CAD Tip, 7 Skills Needed to be a top engineer & CAD News


Listen to the Podcast!
Quick CAD Tip, 7 skills needed to be… & CAD News!
Show notes:
CAD Tip: Start your CAD Design the right way
7 Skills Needed to Be a Top Engineer
CAD Professional’s Guide to Lightning-Fast R&D
Lawsuit Against Stratasys Claims MakerBot Knew Of Faulty Smart Extruders, Misled Investors
MakerBot opened its new, 170,000-square-foot factory
Massive Investment in GM Arlington Assembly Plant
Delcam Appoints Charles Jones as Industry Marketing Manager
BobCAD-CAM Releases v28 CAD-CAM Series
Develop3D Summer magazine
What you need to know about upgrading to Windows 10
How Fast Can A Ferrari Go On Autobahn? This Video Has The Answer

3 Reasons that Autodesk has Become the Manufacturing Leader

One of the more interesting questions is; how has Autodesk developed to become the leader of manufacturing? For those unfamiliar with Autodesk, the company’s rise and current leadership developing design and engineering software has improved the technical tools and helped manufacturing.

Autodesk Manufacturing Leader
Most people who are in the business of manufacturing know Autodesk created the groundbreaking 2D Autocad, the first real mainstream CAD system. This started the growth and development into today’s use of 3D CAD and CAM for design and manufacturing. From here the company started to go in a new direction. Anyone who has looked at the Autodesk portfolio will see that Autodesk is focusing on providing both width and depth in a total solution of software for their customer base. Autodesk is setting the gold standard for selling and supporting the entire manufacturing and fabrication world.

There are plenty of individuals at Autodesk who have been a big part of shaping this new industry leadership. The engineers who are creating Autodesk products have switched attention to making a better solution, and CEO, Carl Bass, is the chief “user” of Autodesk products himself.
I would like to suggest that the reason the company is successful can be boiled down to three key principles that make it hard for competitors to compete with Autodesk.

1. The products that Autodesk creates are in sync with what the market needs.
So many times with other software companies, the goal is almost always based around the technology first, followed by the question, do people want to use it? Geeky engineers are dazzled by technology at their disposal and often create something because they can. However, Autodesk is taking a hard look at this. The company is creating ease of use software that can easily be implemented either as a total product solution or as bits and pieces depending on the customer’s needs. The engineers are not sitting in deep hidden caves, but are often spotted testing and making products with their creations at Autodesk’s state of the art manufacturing and fabrication place on San Francisco’s Pier9.

2. Offer great customer service and Product flexibility.
Even if you create products that are easy to use, the variety of things that people want to make creates complexity. Because of this, users may need some hand holding from time to time. Besides relying on their big partner network for support, Autodesk has created a network of support in places like social media. Listening to customer request and concerns has pushed Autodesk to be the front runner offering such things as Desktop Subscription (Pay-as-you-go). Big companies might not value this at the same level as small manufacturing companies, but that is not a coincidence as the company is just as focused on small business. If you want to be a leader, it is not just about keeping the stock market happy, but also to help and support smaller companies into growth. Autodesk does many things to push the design world in a better direction. Most notable is their decision to provide all educational institutions with all their software at no cost. This is helping to create an entire new generation of makers. But also such things as sponsoring free workshops and making software free, such as 2.5D integrated CAM that runs inside SolidWorks and Inventor with support.

3. Autodesk stays ahead of its competitors.
Every industry has their giants, but no one looks at companies such as GM or Ford for direction and innovation in the automotive industry today. They were once considered leaders and might still be giants. This should be one of the fears of Autodesk’s competitors. Those competitors are the GMs and Fords, who have spent enormous resources protecting their customer base. When you spend more time playing defense than listening to your customers, and innovate, there will be a point where customers will look elsewhere for better solutions. With Autodesk’s approach, they are building an exceptional set of tools for everyone in the manufacturing and fabrication industry.
Some of these are:

  • Trusted, high-end CAM such as Partmaker and Powermill from Delcam. HSM, the fully integrated CAM inside Inventor and SolidWorks.
  • Best in class, nesting, waterjet, laser cutting and the magic power of composite from Majestic.
  • The only released CAD in the cloud, Fusion 360, a full CAD package including CAM and 3D Print layout capabilities inside the software.

These three principles may seem a bit simplistic, but as long as they adhere to them, it is pretty likely that will Autodesk continue to grow and command a large share of the manufacturing market.

How do you handle design feedback?

How do you handle design feedback
Have you ever given constructive feedback that was useful?
It is not easy to do: you have to be clear, convincing and actionable. You cross a social line when speaking up, and you never know what reaction you are going to get. Rejected, reprimanded, you might even feel like you are missing something obvious. And then of course the fact that we might think we help the other person and then realizing that the effort was worth nothing.

But when someone does care enough, true constructive feedback can raise the lid. You’re design might get better, easier passing inspection and lower cost to manufacture.
You can react to feedback by taking it as an attack, deflecting the blame and point fingers around you. Maybe you even point blame upward for not giving you enough time, better tools or direction.
You can also act like you don’t care as much as I do. And if you don’t care, why should I?
Another option: you can even more than than just excepting the feedback, you can embrace it, respect it, chew on it. You can thankfully appreciate that someone cares enough to speak up, and appreciate their insight and contribution. Because if it is true constructive feedback, you’re lucky having that person around, and if you treat the situation right it might happen again.

Good design…

Design Idea
“Good design is a renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human need, and beauty to produce something that the world didn’t know it was missing.” – Paola Antonelli

The Advantage of creating a powerful design, engineering and/or manufacturing team

The Advantage
“You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.”~Jim Rohn

If you are a leader; it’s your responsibility to help get the best out of your team. If you aren’t a leader, but consider yourself a team player; it’s your responsibility to help get the best out of your team. The end goal is the same, so stop looking at someone else to pick up the slack. You are in the driver seat, and you can be the driving force for how your team success.

Imagine two teams.

The first is full of team members who are open with one another, passionately debate important issues, and commit to clear decisions even if they highly disagree. They call each other out when needed, always trying to help each other out, and focus their attention and energy on the good for the organization.

The second is a random group of people who are guarded and less then honest with one another. They hold back during difficult conversations, and hesitate to call one another on unproductive behaviors. Often they pursue their own agendas rather than those of the greater organisation.

The question: What kind of advantage would the first team have over the second, and how much time and energy would it be worth investing to make this advantage a reality?

It doesn’t matter if you are part of a design team surrounded by the latest hip furniture, colors and Macintosh, or if this is a shop floor, blue collar, CNC cutting oil crew.
Building a great team takes the same steps.

Collectively Responsible
When being part of a team it is normal that not everyone is at the same level. Some have more experience because they have done the job longer, some of the team members might even get paid more, but it is important that everyone understand that everyone do carry part of the load. If you do not bring something to the team, even just an opinion, you might not belong there.

Common Objective
It’s not only important to get the team together, it is also important to get everyone looking in the same direction. Your help to the team can be as simple as asking “What is the end goal look like? What should be considered? And what is the steps to get there?”. That question can help the team figuring out how to make the next design project come within budget, or lead the next shipment of parts being delivered on time.

Building trust
Don’t you hate sitting in a room where you feel someone has their own agenda? It’s important to understand that when trust is questioned, vulnerability is many times the factor. The absolute first step is to put yourself in their shoe’s. If you were that person, would you have concerns? For a team to build trust it is essential that the team gets to a point where things like “I screwed up,” “I need help,” “Your idea is better than mine,” “I’m confused,” and even “I’m sorry,” can be said. Consider it might be in your best interest to lead in this category.

Achieving commitment
As a team leader it is pretty clear that one of your objective is to get commitment from your team. But, even just as a team member it’s critical that you not only are open to give your commitment, but also seek commitment from others. Sometimes when tasks are at hand that you do not want to do, remembering your commitment to be committed to the team might be the signal to role up your sleeves and get things done.

Conclusion
There can be no question of the advantage of a strong team, but creating such a team is like a marriage, it takes constant effort from everyone involved. If there is a starting point, I would recommend the 6 critical questions from Patrick Lencioni’s book “The Advantage”.
1. Why do we exist?
2. How do we behave?
3. What do we do?
4. How will we succeed?
5. What is most important, right now?
6. Who must do what?

I challenge you, I challenge myself, let’s take “the advantage” and make better teams!

The design of your world is changing, are you going to change with it?

“To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self…And to venture in the highest sense is precisely to become conscious of one’s self.”
-Søren KierkegaardThe design world cadcamstuff



If you are pretty set on holding on to your flip phone, and you are not going to improve your efforts at work because the tools you used in the past did the job just fine, this blog post is probably not for you.

I love the world we are living in. It is fast-moving and it seems like every day offers a new app or a software function you can’t picture living without. It’s change, and though change is good, many times it also can be overwhelming and a little frightening. Design and manufacturing companies are reinventing themselves every day. They are trying to be faster and more efficient; simply, to do more with less. This means that everything around us is changing faster than it ever has, and it has a cost: lots of information, choices and eventually pressure. Even the guy on the factory line is expected to reinvent and streamline processes in today’s world.
How are we supposed to handle all this stress and responsibility? We know that the company we work for has to use the latest software programs and machines. We understand that it has to adapt and move forward. The company has to follow that mission statement and fight for the vision to stay in business. But it is also time for us to change; the times where the boss told us to push the green button and end our shift at 5pm is gone. But it’s not just because we need to hold onto our jobs that we need to change; the human thought pattern has changed. As the companies we are working for are changing to streamline, working smarter and faster, we also have to reprogram ourselves, if not for anything else, to stay sane. The answer is to give ourselves a promotion. We need to “level up”, be welcome to management and leadership: management and leadership of ourselves.

In the book The E-Myth Manager: Why Management Doesn’t Work, and What to Do About It, Michael Gerber shares many tips and tricks, not just how to manage a business, but also how we can manage ourselves through change. See, the two entities have to follow one another; a business cannot change without the people changing.

The Problem: Why management doesn’t work, and what to do about it
The fact is that regular, good old management methods do not work in our fast moving world. There are some new twists: one is the technological revolution, which is forcing us all to do more, faster; the other is the aftermath of reengineering, which is forcing us to do more with fewer people. Our problem is that we are still focused on the old ways where we believe we work for a boss (or we might even call him an Emperor), instead of realizing we are working for ourselves. Lead yourself, manage yourself. This will make you a better and happier employee, and function better as a person.

Via The E-Myth Manager: Why Management Doesn’t Work, and What to Do About It:
Recognizing the myth of management, and the motivation of most managers, is a healthy step toward applying the entrepreneurial mindset to your job, that is: becoming an e-myth manager. But taking action and beginning to reinvent the work that you do is often the hardest step to take. The following rules will guide you in your quest to give up the drug of Emperor dependence. These are the rules that shape your life as an e-myth manager, and consequently, influence your relationship with everyone around you. I call them the Seven Rules of Management Independence. They are:

  1. Know what you want.
  2. Know you have the power to get it.
  3. There can be no causes other than your own.
  4. If you cannot manage yourself you cannot manage anything.
  5. There are no simple answers, only complex questions.
  6. Before it gets better it is going to get worse.
  7. These rules must become the defining principles of your life.

In the book, Michael Gerber (The Emperor) is having a number of meetings with one of his employees. Jack is hard at work for Michael’s company, doing what is asked of him. As many of us, he has pushed limits of his personal life to accomplish tasks that were beyond the duty of his job responsibilities. He gave up his time, often studying into the night and working long hours every day. But with an ever fast-moving world, full of changes, even the smallest bump in the road can turn to total unhappiness. When productivity is down in our department, profits are low, and the joy in our work is gone, it can hit us like a ton of bricks. Change becomes scary. The problem is that we many times have lost our way; we are living someone else’s vision.
Let us explore a few of Michael Gerber’s “Seven Rules of Independence”.

Rule 1: Know what you want…
Start to dream; the truth is that we all get so easily caught up in our daily routines. We need to start dreaming about what we want, dream about what our job should look like, how our family should be; dream about who we want to be as individuals. Then, write it down on paper. Writing it down makes it a vision; this vision is our honest desire.
Our new vision does not mean that we have to quit our jobs. (It might make us do just that; but if it does, everyone is better off anyway.) Our vision is what is going make us jump out of bed in the morning. And our vision can most certainly go hand in hand with the vision of the company we work for. In my company, Autodesk, vision is to be a leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software. If my vision was to spend as much time as possible outside in nature and I hated interacting with computers, that would not align very well with Autodesk’s vision, would it? But I love design and engineering; I am like a kid in a candy store when I get to play with the latest and greatest design software. My vision and Autodesk’s vision align. I know what I want, and Autodesk is the perfect partner in my vision.

Via The E-Myth Manager: Why Management Doesn’t Work, and What to Do About It:

You may be put off by the idea of having to know what you want, and it may take some a while to figure it out. But until you do, you will be no closer to owning your job, to managing your organization, or to increasing your enjoyment of what you do. To fulfill your potential, to be more than a mere reflection of someone else’s vision, it is absolutely essential for you to learn how to match the boss’ intensity, rather than reflect it. And the only way you can honestly do that is through the pursuit of your own vision.

Rule 2: Know you have the power to get it…
People hunger for purpose. Without our own, we are immediately distracted into the misguided belief that anyone’s purpose will do.
We do not want to wake up one day and say to ourselves, “Who am I? Where am I? What happened?” This does not mean that we should totally disregard our company’s strategies or goals; if we are going to keep working for our company, we should work on aligning our vision with our company’s vision. If we are willing to change, we have an incredible power to also change things around us.

Via The E-Myth Manager: Why Management Doesn’t Work, and What to Do About It:
Not only must you be certain of what you want for yourself, you must also be certain that you understand the importance of this statement: “Once you know what you want, only you can get it. You can’t delegate the responsibility for inventing your own life.”

Rule 3: There can be no causes other than your own.
[You have to read the book for this one]

Rule 4: If you cannot manage yourself, you cannot manage anything.
We have to start with ourselves. We have to create a relationship with ourselves as individuals; look at ourselves from above and change to who we want to be. We cannot control everything, but we can engage, connect and change our behavior.

Via The E-Myth Manager: Why Management Doesn’t Work, and What to Do About It:

So to manage oneself, it is necessary to think in terms of standards, and before you can think of standards you must first have a Vision for yourself. This Vision should encompass who you wish to become–Not who you are. But understand, if the person you see in your Vision is the same as the person you are, only doing something different, it is not a Vision, it is a dream. Bill Gates doesn’t dream about Microsoft, he envisions it. He envisions a Microsoft universe. Understand, I’m not talking about the content of Bill Gates’ Vision here; I’m talking about the scale of it. It’s the scale of one’s Vision that shapes one’s life. And so I bring you the idea that there are no small people, only small visions.

Conclusion…
The task can seem overwhelming. We get another design change thrown at our already overflowing calendar, or our boss asks us to solve a problem with the new piece of equipment. But if we are on the edge, and things are piling up a little too fast in our world, it might be a good time to take a break for a few hours and find a quiet place to dream; to create a vision and make the right things happen in our own world.

You are in charge of your next design

images
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”- Steve Jobs.

Not all of us get to design the next sexy iPhone but that does not have to stop you from making better designs and innovate. If you stop and think about it, you have a great deal of influence on the projects you are working on.
Take for example a simple fixture design for your next CNC project. Could you pick a different material, re-use old parts, or something be 3D printed?.
What about function and handling, could you make it more operator friendly?
You have the power to design and innovate many things around you. What about the design of your department, your shop floor or the structure on the way to handle the next big project.
Designing the next cool consumer product or a drill fixture always has the possibility for change and improvements.

In the book Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. Tim Brown shares his many years of knowledge on how to inspire Innovation and the systems to transform organizations.

The power of Design Thinking.
There is always the old way to do things and it can defiantly be wise to listen to the old folks around as re-invinting the wheel seems silly, but with new materials and machines come new techniques.

Via Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation:
Technology still has not run its course. The communications revolution sparked by the Internet has brought people closer together and given them the opportunity to share perspectives and create new ideas as never before. The sciences of biology, chemistry, and physics have merged in the forms of biotechnology and nanotechnology to create the promise of lifesaving medicines and wondrous new materials. But these spectacular achievements are unlikely to help us reverse our ominous course. Just the opposite.
We need new choices.
A purely technocentric view of innovation is less sustainable now than ever, and a management philosophy based only on selecting from existing strategies is likely to be overwhelmed by new development at home and abroad.

It takes time to create the next big design.
Our culture is in a crazy emergency. With companies pressing their designers to get things created for the overnight 3D printing schedule or sample parts for the following morning meeting with the customer. We need to embrace patience and comeliness.

Via Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation:
One autumn day in 1940 the industrial designer Raymond Loewy was visited in his office by George Washington Hill, the president of the American Tobacco Company and one of the more colorful personalities in American business history. Hill offered Loewy $50,000 if he could improve upon the Lucky Strike package-a wager turned to Loewy and asked when it wuold be ready. “Oh, I don’t know, some nice spring morning I will feel like designing the Lucky package and you’ll have it in a matter of hours. I’ll call you then.”
Today we no longer feel that we must sit patiently and wait for some outrageous insight to strike us. Inspiration always involves an element of chance, but, as Louis Pasteur observed in a famous lecture of 1854, “Chance only favors the prepared mind.” Certain themes and variations-techniques of observation, principles of empathy, and efforts to move beyond the individual-can all be thought of as ways to preparing the mind of the design thinker ti find insight.

Its time to make thing better.
Tim Browns book is a great read. It will leave you in an innovative and inspiring mind.

Via Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation:
The field of innovation.
1. The best ideas emerge when the whole organizational ecosystem-not just its designers and engineers and certainly not just management-has room to experiment.
2. Those most exposed to changing externalities (new technology, shifting consumer base, strategic threats or opportunities) are the ones best placed to respond and most motivated to do so.
3. Ideas should not be favored based on who creates them. (Repeat aloud.)
4. Ideas that create a buzz should be favored. Indeed, ideas should gain a vocal following. however small, before being given organizational support.
5. The “gardening” skills of senior leadership should be used to tend, prune, and harvest ideas. MBAs call this “risk tolerance.” I call it the top-down bit.
6. An overarching purpose should be articulated so that the organization has a sense of direction and innovators don’t feel the need for constant supervision.