Layout Sketches in Solidworks

I haven’t messed with layout sketches before. I have used standard sketches in an assembly to drive parts, “top-down” modeling, but I have never used blocks in layout sketches to accomplish this. As an industrial designer my modeling approach is typically bottom-up, modeling a full product within a single part file, and breaking it up in to multiple bodies. That approach gets my head turned around if I need to deal with mechanical systems and moving parts, though, so I’d like to try to work some top-down layout sketch techniques in to my brain.

Here are a couple illustrative videos I found this morning while looking things up.

Beautiful Modeler: Multitouch Editor

While it’s not completely practical in its current form, Beautiful Modeler is an interesting study of manipulating 3D data. Personally, I use a Space Navigator, mouse, and keyboard while crunching CAD. Throwing accelerometers and multiple points of input into the mix is enticing. I’m always excited at any chance to move further away from the mouse for analog input.

I saw it on SolidSmack.com

“Curvy Stuff” Solidworks Tutorials

DiMonte Group LogoI just started up a new job as an industrial designer at a consumer good company. I’ve been using Rhino3D for surface modeling as my primary tool for the last few years, so jumping back to the solids world after a break has felt a bit like turning my brain around in my skull. I’ve been scouring the internet for good solids modeling resources the past few days to try to get back in the game.

Today I found a set of great presentations from Ed Eaton at DiMonte Group. Ed has been giving a series of “Curvy Stuff” instructional talks at Solidworks World over the past few years, and lucky for us, the presentations and example files are all archived on DiMonte Group’s website!

So if you spend time in Solidworks and you haven’t seen these presentations, grab the RAW files and brew a new pot of coffee.

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AutoCAD for OS X Survey

imac-autocad-mockupA couple days ago, Mac:Design (a new site by Develop3D) posted an article speculating about AutoDesk’s potential development of AutoCAD for the Mac OS X platform. Yesterday, Yanko Design followed up with a quick link to the AutoDesk survey about moving the software to the platform. You can also take the survey to contribute your opinion.

It seems like it’s certainly in the cards, especially following AutoDesk’s development of AliasStudio to the Mac platform. The AliasStudio move is huge for many product designers. Having AutoCAD for OS X would open up the platform for a number of other creative and technical professionals. With tools like SolidEdge, iRhino3D (in development) and AliasStudio, the platform is becoming more viable as a product development environment than it has been in the recent past.

[disclaimer: the image on this post is nothing official, I just threw it together for illustrative purposes.]

Via: Mac:Design and Yanko Design

World Builder: Future of CAD?

Bruce Branit put together this great short film, World Builder, in which he visualizes the future of hands-on 3D modeling. World Builder is a futuristic mix between the Holodeck from Star Trek, Maya (or Sketchup, 3DsMax, Rhino, Modo, etc), and SecondLife. The film was produced with one day of live footage shooting and 2 years of post production.


World Builder from Bruce Branit on Vimeo.

We surely won’t be using our own World Builder, as pictured, any day soon… But I do wonder how long it will be before we have visualization systems this powerful and interactive. Just look at the progress in computer based modeling software that we’ve made in the last 25 years. Compare Pixar’s first (pre-rendered) animated short from 1984 to what can be visualized in real time with Luxology’s upcoming Modo 401. If experimental visualization tools like ILoveSketch (you must watch the demo videos) are any indication, we won’t have to wait too long for our own World Builder.

Of course progress will be exciting and difficult at the same time. It will be exciting as knowledge of a tool becomes less of a barrier to communicating ideas, but that is exactly what will make the people and industries that have invested so much time and money into learning current tools so defensive. We’ve seen the rise of the user-generated-web shift the production of entertainment from professionals to the masses, and I’d argue that the result has been the discovery of more great ideas and talent that used to be lost due to a lack of resources. Perhaps we’ll see the same shift happen in the design of artifacts.

(Via @alanh42 and Gizmodo)