Time for a change

Posted on July 28th, 2007. Posted In SolidWorks Community

As much as I know how much you all loved my highly insightful product reviews, I won’t be able to do them any more. I’ll pause to allow you to dry your tears…
To answer the obvious question, I’ve accepted a position as an AE with Shounco Design Studios and, where they are a SolidWorks VAR, I’d run into some potential conflicts of issue. Fear not my loyal readers, this doesn’t spell the end of my blog. I enjoy it too much to give it up. Instead, I’ll be blogging more about SolidWorks itself. So stay tuned. Once I’ve gotten settled in to my new position, I’ll be muddying up the internet with my ramblings about the incredible awesomeness of SolidWorks and how it, like the Wyld Stallions (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), will change the world as we know it.

SWW ’08 – Start Planning Now!

Posted on July 27th, 2007. Posted In SolidWorks Community

Can you believe it’s that time again? I love SolidWorks World and I’m looking forward to seeing San Diego in January. Registration has already begun, simply click here to go to the SWW ’08 page and register. What? You don’t think your boss will let you? There’s a link right on the main page to help you help the boss see the light. I’ve been to the past two and I can’t imagine not going. As a matter of fact, I make sure it’s in my employment contract that the company sends me. The educational benefits alone make the trip worthwhile. Then there’s the networking aspects, give aways, vendor interaction…you can’t not go! Go to the SWW ’08 website and look around.

Hope to see you in San Diego!!


Posted on July 18th, 2007. Posted In SolidWorks Community

For those of you who are interested in networking with other SolidWorks users, I have another resource for you. Most of you already know about your local user group (if you don’t, you should!) and the various forums (i.e. SolidWorks Forum, eng-tips, SolidMentor). Another resource is LinkedIn. Unlike MySpace or FaceBook, which are more for social networking, LinkedIn is for professionals out in the work world. A friend of mine told me about it and now I’m passing the info on to you. It’s free and easy, and there’s quite a few SolidWorks users and/or employees on there. If you decide to join, add me to your network! Who knows, you may end up having the incredible pleasure of working with me some day!

Scanner – You Misunderstood

Posted on July 17th, 2007. Posted In Hardware Review

I’ve received a couple of emails from people asking me if I like NextEngine’s scanner. It became apparent to me that, one, they didn’t read the whole post and, two, that I didn’t do a very good job of saying what I meant. So, before there is anymore confusion…Yes, I like the scanner. Very much so. The "problems" I’d been having were, for the most part, user created. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have a bad habit of *not* reading the instructions and just jumping in with both feet. It’s amazing what you can learn once you do start reading the instructions…
Anyway, I’m beginning to realize some of the mistakes I made in my initial scans and things are moving along much better now. Stay tuned…

Scanning – Is it me or the scanner?

Posted on July 16th, 2007. Posted In Hardware Review

I’ve been messing around with the scanner that NextEngine sent me and, I have to admit, I’m getting frustrated. The demos I saw at SWW ’06 & ’07 made it all look so simple and yet I, a veritable genius, just can’t seem to get the hang of it. Ok, ok, so the genius thing might not be accurate, but I’m not dumb either. It seems to me that it should be a little more simple.
I’m trying to scan circuit boards. Reverse engineering them is a real PITA and using the scanner for this task was a no brainer. I’d be able to kill two birds with one stone. When Nick Borchers, an AE from NextEngine, was here he showed me a scan they’d done of a circuit board and it looked pretty damn good. I’ve probably tried at least a dozen different scans and they all come out looking lousy. Take this one, for example:


You can see that, although it says it’s aligned, it’s far from it. The funny thing is, when the alignment begins, the scan looks great. Once it’s done doing whatever magic it’s doing, it doesn’t look so good. What does this tell me? It tells me that I need to read the help files. It also tells me that I should contact Nick and get some more info. Why? Because I’ve seen what the NextEngine scanner can do and I’m willing to bet it’s operator error here. Nick explained to me that shiny surfaces need to be prepped before scanning. To do this, you can use the supplied powder brush. However, the recommended, albeit undocumented, method is to use Athlete’s foot spray (the powder kind). I’ve done that, but I’ve missed something else, of that I’m sure. The scanner is, from what I’ve seen and read, a good product. I need to do things right so that I can give it a fair shake. Circuit boards, with all their various geometries, aren’t the easiest things to scan.
As I was writing this, I rescanned the circuit board that I show. It now looks much better. Bear in mind that it has foot spray on it, which is why it looks cloudy:


As many of my loyal readers know, I’m not big on reading instructions.  I like to just get in there and do it. Well, I’m going to turn over a new leaf. That’s right, I’m going to read the instructions. I’ve been messing around with SolidCAM as well but, again, I need to read. Where vendors are starting to send me higher end, more advanced products, I feel it’s only right that I do things properly. So, stayed tuned folks. This blog is going to grow up…well, a little anyway.

Portland – Too Hot!!

Posted on July 11th, 2007. Posted In SolidWorks Community

Ah, Portland. I’m so thankful for air conditioning. Who’d have thought it’d be 102 in Portland, Oregon yesterday? Not only was it hot outside, but it was hot inside as well. The Portland SWUGN Summit took place yesterday and, IMO, was a great success. Adam Scheible and Richard Doyle did an excellent job of puitting it together. Matt Lombard was his usual, impressive, self. I saw two of his presentations and he’s a great speaker. Plenty of useful content, interjected with humor. It helps to keep the audience involved. His presentation on surfacing opened up my eyes, and I know realize that I, too, can use surfacing. (You can check out his write-up about Portland here.)

Devon Sowell did a presentation on Animator. He showed how he’s created his part and assembly templates with animations built right in. It was one of those things that’s right in front of your face but you never see it ideas. I liked his POV animation technique as well. Mounting the camera to a "man" in SolidWorks. Devon is one smart guy, or at least I thought he was. Then he asked if he could interview me for his blog. Now I’m wondering if he isn’t more of an idiot savant…just kidding, Devon. I’ve never done an interview before. Thanks for thinking that I’m interesting enough to warrant one.

Now onto the fun stuff. Perhaps it’s time for Richard Doyle (SWUGN’s fearless leader) to be checked out for Alzheimer’s…or to go in for a UA. As you may know, Richard likes to quiz the summit’s attendees during lunch. Yesterday, he asked Devon and I to pass out the quizzes which we did. Matt then comes up and shows me that the quizzes already have the answers on them. Devon and I raced around the room gathering up the erroneous quizzes while wondering where Richard had gone off to. Naturally, Richard attempted to place the blame on Kinko’s but I’m not buying it. We all got a good laugh out of that one. The one good thing about said faux pas was that the answers didn’t correlate to the quiz.

I wasn’t overly pleased with my presentation, but I did receive a number of positive comments so maybe I’m being too hard on myself. My biggest mistake was thinking it was only 45 minutes long, not the 90 minutes that it was. If it weren’t for some great questions from the audience, I would have run out of material. I don’t possess the gift of gab like Richard and Matt.

Thanks to Richard and Adam for having me. I look forward to being able to present again in the future. Next time I promise to have plenty of material!

NextEngine – Devon, Ricky, Matt & Me

Posted on July 3rd, 2007. Posted In Hardware Review

Ok, so now there’s a run on the 3D scanner from NextEngine. I mean, seriously, my blog is supposed to be about hardware and software for SolidWorks! You other three goombahs actually are engineers and are supposed to write intelligent pieces about the wonders of SolidWorks itself! But, nooooo, you three have to jump on my coat tails! First it was Devon who’s post wasn’t too favorable. Then, after I posted about getting my scanner (finally), Ricky emails me to say that he, too, has just got one and plans on writing a post (more on that in a second). Then, today, what does Matt go and do after reading my post?? You got it, he posted a review. Jeez, guys, I’m the hack of the group who needs this easy stuff to write about. Stop stepping on my toes!!

Ok, kidding aside, check out Matt and Devon’s posts then keep an eye out for mine and Ricky’s. Ricky and I are actually going to tag-team on our reviews. Granted, we don’t have a clue how we’re going to do it yet given the fact that I’m in Seattle and he’s in some southern state. Then there’s the language barrier. I speak English and he speaks some southern dialect that, occasionally, sounds like English. Eh, no matter, we’ll figure it out.

A couple of things that I have over the three of them are 1) I didn’t have to pay for my scanner. I just get to use it for 30 days or so. Plenty of time to take care of what needs to be taken care of. And 2) one of NextEngine’s AE’s happened to be in my area today and spent a few hours going over things with me (thanks Nick!). Now I know all of the little tips and tricks to get the job done, especially where it doesn’t come with a manual and the software guys at NextEngine are putting out updates every two weeks! Now, if I can just think of a way to get women to let me scan up their "feet" like Matt…

Stay tuned and have a great 4th!!

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