Sunday, February 28, 2010

My K'nex Coaster Models

As a mechanical engineer and a roller coaster enthusiast, I have always wanted to design or build roller coasters. While I may never get the chance to work on a real one, I have built several coasters out of K’nex back in the day. You remember K’nex right? The plastic rods and connectors which you connect together to form all kinds of contraptions. I recently found some pictures I took of my creations and would like to share them with you today.

Intamin Free Fall: Inspired by the former Demon Drop at Cedar Point, this is a fully functional Intamin Free Fall ride. The car has 6 wheels in a triangular configuration. Wind the crank and the elevator hoists the car to the top with chains. The car moves forward on its own but you have to manually disengage the mechanism that lets the car drop down the track and into the brake run.

For more head over to Coaster101!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Future of Assembly Instructions: 3D

You buy a bookcase from your local cabinet store. You want to repair a component in your car engine. For the first task, you may be supplied with paper instructions that are very confusing and inconvenient. There are five copies in five different languages when all you want is English. Or, for task two, there are no instructions but you’re not a mechanic so you have no idea what to do.  In the future, both of these situations will be remedied by 3D Instruction and How-to manuals. Gone are the days of paper instructions. Welcome to the era of looking on your smart phone for a step-by-step simulation of how to repair your vehicle without any prior mechanic’s knowledge. 3D Via, xml, and PDFs will be supplied on a disk or flash drive or, even better, as an internet downloaded included with the cost of the product. This is the future. Check out the video and article link below.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Few ProEngineer Questions and Answers

Q: How do you change the units on an imported STP or IGES file?
A: If a part is created in CATIA in mm and is imported into ProEngineer as a STP or IGES file, ProE units will be in mm. If you want to change it you can go to Edit>Setup...>Units. A list will pop up and you can select your units. from there you will be prompted if you want a 1 to 1 or a scaled conversion factor.

Q:How do you apply material?
A:To assign a material and/or density: Edit > Setup > Mass Props > enter density (Aluminum = 0.095 lb/in^3, Steel = 0.282 lb/in^3). Units are current units for part. An even better way: Edit > Setup > Material > Define. Then Material > Assign.

Q: How do you color individual part surfaces?
A:To color a part: View > Color and Appearance. Follow directions in Appearance Editor. -

Q: What is the best way to create slots?
A: Sketch on the surface where the slot will be located. Go to Pallete>Shapes>hold down left mouse button on Racetrack shape and drag it into the sketch area. You can rotate and scale it as needed. Click the green check mark to confirm. -

Q: How do I create a sweep?
A:Reference Module 11 in the Pro E manual.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What are the advantages of using rendering in CATIA?

Designer and engineers today need to constantly visualize, present and communicate their ideas and design. This can be very hard to do without the right tools. Visualization is an important component of the design process to, from marketing material to the design review, it is essential to have a natural support to easily communicate your concept and product. This is where rendering in CATIA steps in.

CATIA Rendering delivers all the appropriate tools for real-time visualization and photo-realistic rendering. You can create and manipulate your materials, lights and environments producing realistic and believable computed images. Rendering in CATIA replaces the need of a physical prototype, allowing for faster decision making and cost reductions!

Here is a quick example of what I mean. Say you are designing a new type of bike for a major manufacturer. Upper management and marketing want to see what the finished product may look like and what sort of uses the bike will have so they can target their market audience and formalize their marketing strategy. The design isn’t very far along yet, below is all that has been done in CATIA assembly design:

Click on the Render icon, it looks like a camera.


The render tool bar pops up. 

You can change the background to an image supplied by Dassault or you can choose one of your own. Adjust the lightning other rending options as needed.

For the best looking image, be sure to orient and light your product in a way that makes sense. Use the lines on the grid to help orient your object. I used the edge of the road as a reference to match against the grid.

Finally, hit the render button and after a few moments the specification tree and toolbars are hidden and you are left with a high quality image that can be sent out. Your design has been conceptualized with new life!

Below are a couple images I took with CATIA models I have built utilizing the CATIA rendering image creator.



Monday, February 8, 2010

What kinds of analysis and collison detection errors can Vericut perform?

I began learning Vericut a few weeks ago. Vericut is an analysis program, the goal of which is to detect errors in NC programming. The types of errors that Vericut detects are as follows:
Rapid cut into material
Holder collision
Fixture collision
Shank rubs on the part
Tool wrong size
Incorrect tool length or diameter compensation
Cuts exceeding tool capability
Reamer/tap collision
Thread size/shape
Boring bar orientation
Excess material
Machine collision
Machine over travel
Spindle off
Spindle wrong direction
Coolant on/off
Table clamp on/off
Incorrect feed rate value/mode
Probe collision
Wrong syntax

Friday, February 5, 2010

I Made the 3D Via Top Ten Models of the Week List

The best models uploaded to during the week of Saturday, November 1st through Friday, November 7th are highlighted here. Your band now has both a scary guitar, a snare drum and a really cool set of towers to play in, but will the Abstract Propeller and the Flummox Roller Coaster keep the repo men distracted long enough for you to move the Camaro and Sunbeam somewhere safe. You better hope that the Army truck is finished being lined-up on the jig so you've got some back up on the way…otherwise you may end up making friends with the smiley guy in the hearse.

Check it out!

(Mine is the Flummox roller coaster in case you did not know).