I’ve been looking at computer graphics and engineering CAD systems for most of my life. I’ve been a more or less continuous user of CAD systems for over thirty years now and I thought I knew most of how it came about. There have been things I never really understood about how the way things worked in CAD as opposed to how a designer or drafter thinks, but I didn’t think to look into that very deeply.
This looks like it would be pretty easy to do for somebody who’s fairly experienced in Solidworks.
Solidworks is a powerful tool for designing parts. When I think that I have mastered the program, I see stuff that makes me want to learn how to do it. This sort of thing, for instance. I don’t have a 3D printer right here, but I do have a makerspace with printers nearby and some ideas for projects. Now all I need to do is crank up Solidworks and draw them up.
Reading this, I get the feeling that decisions that sound good for earning calls tend to go wrong very quickly.
Especially when you tell the customers that they are going to have to pay more. I’ve used Solidworks at several companies and interviewed with perhaps at least fifty more in my area. Lots of them are smaller outfits that can’t get the budget to upgrade every year. Especially in the current economy. Unless there’s a drop in subscription costs they’re going have to justify a cost that those companies can’t really afford. I don’t think that they are going to like being left out in the cold with an arbitrary decision like this. And the new players in the CAD business are already swimming around like sharks. And some Solidworks have already switched.
I was looking forward to looking at the new Solidworks startup program when the details became available for my “Lets Build” series, but if they are going to be this arbitrary and change the rules with this little notice I don’t see how I can. If Solidworks is going to want to keep it’s user base I would recommend that they be more upfront and stop making decisions that sound good for earnings calls, but not for their customers. After all we pay for those earnings, we expect that they remember that.
If you are starting a design, one high power tools is the availability of free parts. You can get parts from many sources to work on your projects. I have a basic philosophy against creating a model or designing a part that I can buy. Most vendors will provide models. In addition I’m going to include resources that I’ve use over the years. This is a great time for timesavers like this.
In the past, things were put together by teams of specialists for the most part. This was especially true when big companies ruled the roost. you enter your career doing something and that’s what you would do until you retired unless you were promoted. That’s what my grandpa Clyde did at Eastman Kodak from the 1930’s to 1964 when he retired. He always worked in the emulsions department, ending up actually heading the department, until he retired. There were other engineers or scientists who handled other tasks and there was only a limited degree of crossover.
Scott Hards of Hobby Link Japan visits Fine Molds, a scale model company.
The funny thing is that this is what my “Let’s Build” posts are all about.
I’m glad to see that Kickstarter also recognizes the problem.
There is an industrial revolution going on. Like these things tend to go it starts small, in garages. Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s the idea of making things for yourself or repairing things sort of became passe’ for just about everybody. Products became disposable. The electronic kits of my youth from RadioShack and Heathkit went out of business. Most of the hobbies like modelbuilding or trains were replaced by videogames, at least for the kids with an accompanying closure of a good portion of the hobbystores, at least in my area. It looked like DIY was dead.
As I sit here all by myself, I have to wonder how to make this happen. I’m just a designer and mechanical engineer. Do I have the skills I need to make this successful? The better question is do I need the skills to make this happen all by myself? The answer is no. Nobody is an island. Look at it this way. I’m by nature an introvert with not a huge bunch of friends. Yet in my network I have:
I started this blog to share my experience in the design and development of products. So far I haven’t done as much as I would have liked. I’ve been getting distracted by stuff I encounter and writing rants about them. While that’s fun, it’s not what I really wanted to do with this blog. So I’m going to bite the bullet and actually start talking about the product development process. I’m dong this mostly because of Makerbot. I watched the early days and I had to cringe at the way they did things. If you knew what to look for you could tell that they had little experience in how to take their idea and turn it into a manufacturable product. Here’s a picture.