COFES 2009

Wohlers Talk

I attended the 10th annual COFES event about a week ago in Scottsdale, Arizona. COFES stands for the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software.) I enjoy attending because of the extraordinary mix of people who are there. Roughly half are managers and executives from the major CAD/PLM companies, including the “big four.” ” The other half are prominent consultants, analysts, and individuals from user companies, such as Boeing, Nike, and Parker Hannifin.

RepRap at Hacking at Random 2009

RepRap Blog

I just got back from HAR2009 in Holland - an amazing event, and many thanks to the organizers for inviting me to give a talk. As I walked through the main gate, the first sight that greeted me (bottom left) was a RepRap that someone had left on a picnic bench while they went to pitch their tent.

Trending Sources

Software Freedom Day 2009

RepRap Blog

RepRap relies heavily on free software to drive the RepRap itself, create the models of the components, design the circuitry, build the software, and run the websites. Software Freedom Day is about supporting and raising awareness of Free and Open software around the world, so find out your nearest local event and get down there to support all this wonderful stuff.

Top 10 things that were 3D printed in 2009

Sculpteo

The post Top 10 things that were 3D printed in 2009 appeared first on 3D Printing Blog: Tutorials, News, Trends and Resources | Sculpteo. A Wednesday is always a good day for a throw-back-Thurs […].

Favorite Products/Services of 2009

Wohlers Talk

Asiana Airlines. I now know why this company was recognized as Airline of the Year by Air Transport World. The airline provides extraordinary service. The flight attendants are cheerful and vibrant, and never stop working to make the passenger comfortable and happy. Twice, I was about to enter the lavatory when a flight attendant was exiting. She had big smile and said, Sorry, sir, for the delay but I was cleaning it for you. Never before had I experienced this.

Utah 100

Decline in Solid Modeling

Wohlers Talk

Seat sales are not yet available for 2009, but revenues from major CAD companies are poor. The CAD industry has been experiencing a rough period. Installations of CAD solid modeling seats declined by 7.9% in 2008, according to our research. Sales were an estimated 190,000 commercial CAD solid modeling seats in 2007 compared to 175,000 last year. This comes after years of solid growth since 2003 when Wohlers Associates began to track CAD sales worldwide.

Teamwork

Wohlers Talk

In his July 30, 2009 column, Teschler said, Development teams are often an obstacle to creativity rather than a vehicle for truly elegant solutions. My experience has been similar. Is it overrated? Leland Teschler, editor of Machine Design , believes it is. Teams are needed for many product development projects, but its the individual that often comes up with the really innovative solutions.

Study 100

Additive Manufacturing Roadmap

Wohlers Talk

Another is an event titled Roadmap for Additive Manufacturing (RAM) Workshop, held in March 2009 in Washington, DC. The complete 2009roadmap document is available here. The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences led the development of a roadmap for the additive manufacturing (AM) industry in 1998. The effort was supported by many industrial, government, and academic organizations in the U.S. and it led to a report titled The Road to Manufacturing.

Shapeways

Wohlers Talk

Shapeways Shops, a service that became available in January 2009, allows artists, designers, or anyone to set up their own storefront to sell AM-produced products to the public. A new type of additive manufacturing (AM) service provider is targeting consumers. One of the best examples is Netherlands-based Shapeways, a company that is a part of the Philips Electronics incubator program.

Tourist Travel to Space

Wohlers Talk

Billionaire Charles Simonyi shelled out $35 million for a second trip to space in March 2009, again on a Russian spacecraft. His first trip, priced at $25 million, was in April 2007. Thats when he spent 14 days on the International Space Station (ISS). His more recent trip was a 13-day adventure on the ISS. I had the pleasure of meeting a good friend of Simonyis who attended the first launch in Kazakhstan, Russia. He said the explosion from the launch was absolutely horrifying.

3D PDF

Wohlers Talk

You may be familiar with Adobes 3D PDF. I was not until a couple years ago. What Ive learned is that it has come a long way in a short time. Some major organizations are beginning to useit as their standard method of communication with suppliers and others. A 3D PDF lets you view a CAD model in 3D. You can zoom, pan, and rotate a solid model, even an entire assembly, and its fast. It supports transparency and other modes of shading and rendering.

14th Annual Report

Wohlers Talk

Four days ago, we began to ship Wohlers Report 2009 , a global study on additive manufacturing (AM). Im in a celebratory mood. The week of publication, and the weeks leading to it, are more than full. The number of details that must come together can, at times, be a little overwhelming. However, the outstanding people that contribute make it all possible. This year, 54 co-authors from 18 countries provided a wealth of information on the subject.

Report 100

Online Social Networks

Wohlers Talk

The March 10, 2009 issue of USA Today reported that social networks and blogs have become the most popular online activity, ahead of email. More than two-thirds of those who spend time online visit social networking and blogging sites. Considering how much time people spend processing email, its a little hard for me to believe, but its probably true. Im sure the tens of millions of Facebook and MySpace users have a lot to do with it.

Report 100

South African Bright Minds

Wohlers Talk

High school students160 of themcame together last week at Walter Sisulu University in East London, South Africa. The purpose: to introduce them to additive manufacturing (AM) technology and plant a seed in the minds of these young people. The hope is for them to consider formal education or work in engineering, manufacturing, or a related area of rapid product development. All of the kids are currently in grade 10, so most have not yet decided what they will do after high school.

Sydney Icon

Wohlers Talk

The Opera House in Sydney, Australia is one of the most recognized man-made structures in the world. My wife and I got an up-close look at the outside of the Opera House 12 years ago, but tours of the inside were not being conducted the day we were there. Ive always wanted to see the interior and was given the opportunity last week. The 60-minute guided tour included some history that I found fascinating. The Sydney Opera House was designed and largely built by Danish architect Jrn Utzon.

Patience in Portugal

Wohlers Talk

This week while in Portugal, I was reminded of how kind and gracious the Portuguese can be. They will go to great lengths to ensure that their guests are looked after and happy. Most Americans, Europeans, or Asians will not invite business acquaintances to stay in their homes when they are traveling on business, but some Portuguese will jump at the opportunity.

3D Printing at SolidWorks World

Wohlers Talk

I attended this weeks SolidWorks World 2009 in Orlando, Florida. If the event had a theme, it would have been 3D printing. You didnt have to look far or listen long to see or hear about it. In his keynote presentation, Jeff Ray, CEO of SolidWorks, discussed a start-up company that had designed a wind turbine for homes. The model that Ray showed was produced on a PolyJet 3D printer from Objet Geometries.

US-Turkey Workshop

Wohlers Talk

An event entitled U.S.Turkey Turkey Workshop on Rapid Technologies was held last week (September 24-25) in Istanbul, a city of about 12 million people. The U.S. National Science Foundation provided financial support to conduct the workshop, which was held at Istanbul Technical University. ITU is the worlds third oldest technical university dedicated entirely to engineering sciences.

Turkey 100

Autumn

Wohlers Talk

This is a favorite time of year for many. I like the crisp mornings and evenings and the changing colors. Brilliant patches of yellow become scattered across the Colorado Rocky Mountains as clusters of Aspen trees transition to a new season. The color helps make up for the countless evergreen trees that have been devastated by pine beetles. . American football also makes this time of year special, at least for some.

Jay Leno’s Garage

Wohlers Talk

I visited Jay Lenos Big Dog Garage last week. Jay has a collection of 128 cars and 100 motorcycles. Most are rare, fully restored, and expensive. Whats most interesting is that all of them run and Jay drives them all. The garage is not a museum, yet it spans 100 years of automobile history. Jay buys the pieces because he likes to drive cars and motorcycles. The person giving the tour of the garage was Rosalie, a sweet woman and wife of Bernard, Jays head mechanic.

Open-source 3D Printers

Wohlers Talk

A relatively recent development that is quietly unfolding could have an interesting impact on the additive manufacturing (AM) industry. Open-source 3D printers are being developed by a number of people and organizations worldwide. The open-source concept originated in the world of software development many years ago. One of the best examples is Linux, a version of the Unix operating system.

Outliers: The Story of Success

Wohlers Talk

What makes someone extraordinarily successful? Being very bright and getting a good education help, but Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers , explains that theres many other factors at work. For example, Bill Gates, at age 13, was given unlimited access to a computer terminal at a time when top computer science professors didnt have similar access. According to Gladwell, the Beatles, before it became a success, performed in Hamburg, Germany eight hours a day, seven days a week for a year.

Manufacturing a Spore Creature

Wohlers Talk

Ive enjoyed talking about Spore and Spore Creature Creator over the past couple years. The game rolled out in September 2008. Ive never played the game, but I have spent time with Spore Creature Creatorthe software that allows you to produce creatures for the game. Spore Creature Creator was developed to ensure that the creatures would be closed, 3D volumesa requirement of additive manufacturing.

Makers 100

3D Design Derby

Wohlers Talk

I was a Cub Scout many years ago, along with millions of other elementary-age boys. The Cub Scouts is a part of Boy Scouts of America, one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. My fondest memory of the Cub Scouts was the pinewood derby, a race of hand-crafted cars, usually from a kit. The cars measure up to 178 mm (7 inches) in length and are raced on a wood or aluminum track.

Utah 100

Engineering Theory Versus Practice

Wohlers Talk

The National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Engineering have stated for more than 20 years that American engineering education is too theoretical and not practical enough, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. These warnings have been reinforced by a new report from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It suggests that too much theory and not enough hands-on experience results in graduates that are unable to tackle real-world problems.

Favorite Products of 2008

Wohlers Talk

As I havedone in the past, I’ve identified a few products from the past year that have been as good or better than expected. Here goes … 1) Seagate portable drive. The 250 GB FreeAgent Go portable disk drive from Seagate is slick, especially compared to my older portable drives. It measures 11 x 80 x 130 mm (0.45 x 3.15 inches), weighs 170 grams (6 ounces), andfits in a small pocket. A USB connection is all that is needed for both power and data transfer.

Data 100

Terminology Debate

Wohlers Talk

. New terminology, especially in a fast-developing industry, can be a sticky issue. In the area of additive fabrication (AF), many catch-all terms have been and continue to be used to describe the technology. For many years, rapid prototyping (RP) was a popular term, and rightly so because prototyping has been the most popular application of AF technology. However, it is now only one of many applications.

Industry Standards

Wohlers Talk

This week will go down as an important milestone. On Tuesday, January 13 in West Conshohocken (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, a group of more than 70 individuals from the U.S., Europe, Japan, and South Africa approved the formation of an official ASTM Committee to create industry standards around additive manufacturing technologies. The need for standards has been argued for at least a decade. Finally, it is happening, and in a spirit of cooperation and sense of urgency.

Beijing

Wohlers Talk

. The following are some random observations from a November 2008 visit to Beijing, China. I hope you find them of interest. On average, drivers in Beijing have had a driver’s license for three years. Twenty percent of the cars in Beijing cannot be driven during the week. If your cars license plate number ends in 1 or 6, for example, you cannot drive on Mondays. This rule does not apply to the weekends.

First reprapped circuit

RepRap Blog

Ed and I have a final-year student - Rhys Jones - who''s working on RepRap for his MEng research project.

Darwin vs Wedge, the numbers

RepRap Blog

I''ve just finished a parts list analysis on the two models: Darwin 1.0.6 left) and the Wedge prototype (right). Here''s some graphs: So to very briefly summarise, with the use of bearings the wedge attracts a higher proportion of fasteners.

Motor Maths

HydraRaptor

In a previous post I showed the pitfalls of constant off time choppers like the A3977. Basically you have to set the off time long enough to be able to deliver the lowest current step of the microstepping, otherwise the steps are not equally spaced.

New Step By Step Guides Now Available.

Axis CAD Solutions

Each guide is fully illustrated with screen shots and images and includes a DVD with completed and uncompleted examples (in 2009 format)for you to follow along. What’s new for the 2009 PhotoWorks Step By Step Guide? What’s new for the 2009 MotionManager Step By Step Guide?

Cooking with HydraRaptor

HydraRaptor

I needed to assemble some PCBs recently, so I set about making a temperature controller for my SMT oven. First I had to replace the solid state relay on HydraRaptor. Solid state relays are triacs with an optically coupled input, zero crossing switching and built in snubbers.

GM17 stepper hack

HydraRaptor

I have thought for some time that the best thing to drive an extruder with would be a small stepper with a gearbox. The reason being is that a stepper motor has close to zero efficiency when moving slowly.

DC 67

Pear shaped

HydraRaptor

My wife has a tiny orchard in our front garden, four fruit trees on dwarf stock. This year the espaliered pear tree has got a bit out of hand and has produced pears that are too high for us to reach and too far away to reach from a step ladder. In fact some are actually outside of our garden!

Worm drive

HydraRaptor

I have spent a long time trying to make an extruder that is reliable, performs well and is cheap and easy to make. My last design fits most of those criteria but I have doubts about how long it will last because I am putting a lot of torque through the plastic gears of the GM17 gearbox.

Printing in space?

RepRap Blog

Will RepRap work in space? We did an airmile whipround but didn''t have quite enough for one of those fancy parabolic flights. So we took the Russian approach and just flipped Mendel instead. Here''s a photo of prints of the same object file in positive and negative g.

Time for a new extruder controller

HydraRaptor

Having decided to switch to stepper drive for my extruder I needed to make a new extruder controller for HydraRaptor, the previous one has served me well for two years. The spec for the new one is: - I 2 C or RS485 comms link to the main controller. Micro stepping bipolar stepper drive.

Lessons from the A3977

HydraRaptor

Having established that I want to move to a stepper driven extruder I set about designing a new extruder controller for HydraRaptor. I fancied using one of the Allegro micro-stepping chopper drivers.

Copper Plating Wire Glue

RepRap Blog

I suggested previously that it might be possible to create PCB''s by copper plating wire glue to create a low resistance section of track. Also, parts of the glue may be buried beneath plastic to maintain a high resistance, by preventing the plating process in order to make resistors.

Metal bits from a RepRap

RepRap Blog

OK, so as always I cheat a bit. I used the ancient art of lost-wax casting, substituting PLA for wax. It burns/vapourises away cleanly at low temperature and is relatively benign stuff. So, how do you go about turning your PLA RepRap output into metal?

Sourceforge awards

RepRap Blog