I was recently interviewed by Cadalyst as an expert, much to my surprise! Well the article was published today and I’m humbled.
Jeff Mirisola has taught countless visitors to his site, Jeff’s Tool Shed, the ins and outs of the SOLIDWORKS environment. Mirisola started the website to explore the limits of his own knowledge and get more involved in the community – all while sharing his knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm along the way.
For the rest of the riveting interview, just click here!
Go figure, Lynn Allen agreed to do an interview with me without me having to resort to bribery or blackmail. Proof that she is a pretty cool person. Having finished the interview, it’s now up to me to ensure that I do right by her, lest a horde of Autodesk disciples design me out of existence. […Read More…]
On a recent trip to Maine, I took a day to head down to Waltham, Massachusetts and sit down with Asheen Phansey to talk sustainability. He and I had talked about it a few years ago, with regards to SOLIDWORKS, but Asheen’s role is now aligned with Dassault Systèmes corporate and I felt that it warranted another sit down. […Read More…]
I had the pleasure of meeting Scott in person when we shared a ride from the airport to the hotel for the 2013 Solid Edge University. I’d known him previously via Interactions on Twitter over the past few years. I’ve always found him to be intelligent, well spoken and open minded.
Because Scott is a well-respected member of the engineering community, I felt it was my duty to subject him to one of my interviews. Not sure why, but he agreed to it. […Read More…]
What is your title?
Vice President, User Experience Architecture for Dassault Systemes, SOLIDWORKS R&D
What, exactly, does that mean? […Read More…]
Marie, and her husband David, have done much to help SOLIDWORKS users learn SOLIDWORKS over the years with the books they’ve written. These days, Marie works for SOLIDWORKS, having been there for the last nine years as the Director of Education Community, SOLIDWORKS. If it is a SOLIDWORKS product in virtually any educational institute, then Marie is responsible for the curriculum. And certification. And scholarships. In other words, she’s busy. Prior to coming to SOLIDWORKS, Marie was the Engineering Department Chair at Massachusetts Bay College and was responsible for STEM outreach. Prior to that she worked in robotics at Zymark and at Prime Computer/Computervision. […Read More…]
Anyone who has been a part of the SOLIDWORKS community for any length of time probably knows of Mike. Some of us remember when he was just a humble blogger before he was beamed up to the SOLIDWORKS mothership to join the certification team. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was jealous of this, not that I’m holding a grudge. I mean he deserved it, I guess. It’s not like I was in the running for the position. Hell, I didn’t even know about the position. You’d think, though, that I would have at least been asked if I was interested…oh, look, a butterfly. […Read More…]
This interview has been a long time coming. I first reached out to Mark back in September, but I didn’t mark his response and it got buried. I apologized to Mark for my disorganization. He, graciously, accepted my apology. Without further ado, let’s learn about Mr. Mark Lyons.
Mark grew up in Marlboro, Massachusetts as one of 10 kids in a blended family. Home life, as one might imagine, was a bit chaotic. He loved sports, focusing on baseball, had three paper routes and spent whatever free time he had at the Marlboro Boys & Girls club or fishing. One of his most vivid memories was when he was 15 and playing on a travelling basketball team. They went to play against another team out of Cambridge who had a player that stood 6′ 11″ at 15-years old. This player constantly knocked Mark’s shot attempts, sending them into the stands. Mark’s team lost to the Cambridge team and their star player, Patrick Ewing, that day.
Mark attended Assabet Valley Vocational High School with plans on learning printing. His family had a print shop in town and he planned on joining the family business. Part of the curriculum at Assabet required that students look at other trades and one of those happened to be drafting. Turns out, Mark was pretty good at it and opted for drafting as career.
After graduating from high school, he opted to join the workforce forgoing college. He worked began working at Hypertronics in Hudson, MA. His quick promotion to Drafting Department Supervisor, at the tender age of 18, was proof that he’d made the right decision.
From Hypertronics, he moved on to Digital Equipment and Prime Computer. Both of whom offered education reimbursement, which afforded Mark the opportunity to go to night school for Mechanical Engineering. Quite the go-getter, Mr. Lyons. It was also at these companies that he was got his first taste of CAD. Unigraphics and then Prime Medusa.
Mark’s career took off at this point. He went to work as a Senior Mechanical Designer at Bose. He worked designing speaker housings for automobiles, mainly supporting GM. His designs could be found in Cadillac, Camaro, Olds, Mercedes and Mazda. At the time, circa 1988, Bose hadn’t moved to CAD. Mark helped change that, though it was a bit before they were using a 3D package (Unigraphics). Being able to truly design in 3D Mark was moved around to various teams to design. He created designs for the first generation noise cancelling headphones as well as the Wave Radio.
The next natural step for Mark was to give back. Assabet recruited him to teach drafting. Talk about coming full circle, eh? He started teaching manual drafting, the AutoCAD. He spent 10 years teaching, getting the school involved in the FIRST robotics program while he was at it. During his off time, Mark had started playing golf, becoming quite good at it. He left teaching and went to work in the golf industry, as a player and teacher. After trying it for a time, he returned to teaching at Bay Path Tech in Charlton, MA. Again, teaching drafting in both AutoCAD and SolidWorks. Three years later, a position opened up at SolidWorks and Mark took it. In his words, he is “the 2D guy”. He is the DraftSight Training Specialist. He creates training material for Draftsight and loves it.
In his down time, Mark loves to spend time with his wife and kids. He also enjoys golfing, fishing and watching the New England Patriots. That, alone, makes him a-ok in my book.
Picture stolen from 3ds.com.
One of the things I enjoy about SolidWorks World is seeing all the technology out there that one can use with SolidWorks, be it hardware or software. Leading up to the show, I was contacted by Julie Reece, the Director of Marketing for Mcor Technologies. Unlike most marketing people who ask me if I’d be interested in looking at their product, Julie made it quite apparent that I didn’t have a choice in the matter lest I suffer severe bodily harm. (I suppose, too, it might be because I’ve known Julie for a few years now from her days at Z-Corp that I agreed. Plus, I was hoping to score some cool swag.) It was a solid 30 minute interview that I recorded so I would be able to write a comprehensive article. Sadly, my iPhone picked up all the background noise as well, rendering the vast majority of the recording useless. Nonetheless, I’ll shall do my best.
I met with Dr. Conor MacCormack, Co-Founder and CEO of Mcor. Conor and his brother, Fintan, started Mcor in 2005 with the goal of creating an easy-to-use, low cost, full color 3D printer that used stable and readily available materials. They felt, too, that the offerings that were on the market were not environmentally friendly, were expensive and used unstable consumables. They also didn’t want to design such a printer but have it be so expensive that its price point was too high, so they chose a price they wanted to be at and designed to that. From that was born the Matrix and Iris printers.
The media used in these printers is paper. Like the kind you can just go down to Office Depot and get. Regular old letter size paper. The skull you see above? Made from Paper. If that’s not eco-friendly, I don’t know what is. “What about the binding agent?” you ask? Slightly modified white, eco-friendly, glue. Should the need arise you can pour it down the drain, though I don’t know why you’d ever have to. Seriously, why would you need to pour it down the drain? I suppose if you caught your kid dipping fruit in it or…sorry, I digress.
The way that it works is pretty simple. The software cuts your model into paper-thin slices. Each of these slices are then printed on the aforementioned paper. The printer is a standard printer, using Mcor’s proprietary ink. This ink doesn’t just sit on the paper, it permeates it so that your 3D print doesn’t have white lines through it. You then load all the printed sheets into the 3D printer and it takes over from there. Should you drop any of the pages, they’re all numbered so you can realign it all. The printer, too, will recognize if the pages are out of whack and will stop printing. After each page is added, the platen rises up to press it to the existing pages. The blade then cuts the outline of the part and creates cuts outside of the part so you can easily remove the excess material. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. After a few hours, you have your part to play with. Their envelope is 9.4″L x 6.9″W x 5.9″H. You can put multiple prints together to create larger models, using the same glue. With x, y, z resolution of .0004″, .0004″, .004″ and 1,000,000 + colors, those models can be pretty impressive.
Mcor is also in partnership with Staples Office Centre, offering 3D printing to the masses. It would seem to be a strictly European partnership as I couldn’t find anything here on this side of the ocean. Just another case of trying to keep the colonies down, I suppose.
Conor, Fintan, and their team have come up with something pretty cool here. The printers have the ability to produce living hinges, full-color prototypes, and cool models, all in a desktop package. Well, that may be a bit of a stretch. It will fit on a desktop, but you’d want to use the table that comes with the printer. The prints can be sealed and sanded to better improve the resolution and to protect them from water. The examples they had on display were impressive, having been created with paper. The $30,000 price tag on the Iris isn’t too bad, comparatively speaking, but the consumables costs are lower than any others.
Am I sold on Mcor? I certainly like what they can do and I also like that they’re environmentally friendly. Their printing capabilities are on par with other companies out there. Their price point is very good, which should keep ROI on the short side. Taking all that into consideration, yes, I’m sold.
Since I started becoming more involved in the SolidWorks community, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people. Just a couple of weeks ago, I got to meet another.
I’d first heard of Bob Jensen when I sent out an email to our local user group trying to drum up people interested in talking with a SolidWorks employee that was going to be coming through town. Bob responded, and I remember being intrigued by his story. Fast forward a bit, and I was telling my most excellent girlfriend how I was having a bit of trouble coming up with mesmerizing topics for my blog with which to keep my readers coming back. She suggested finding people who were doing unusual things and, voila, Bob came to mind. A few well placed bribes got me his email address and an extremely well-crafted email got Bob to agree to meet with me.
A bit of background on Bob. He owns a local burger chain called Burgermaster. His father started it back in 1952 and they now have five restaurants. They’re like the drive-ins of old: pull up, read the menu, turn on your lights when you’re ready, food served on a tray hanging off your window. All that’s missing is the cute girls on roller skates…
Anyway, Bob had been using DesignCAD for over 20 years when he decided he wanted to be able to do more. He jumped online and found Autodesk Inventor, so he contacted a local Autodesk reseller and headed downtown for a 4 hour seminar. This was his first real exposure to 3D CAD and the parametric world. During the presentation Bob heard the phrase “it’s just like SolidWorks” numerous times, prompting him to write down ‘SolidWorks’. After the presentation, he obtained a demo version of Inventor to try it out at home. He was less than impressed and turned to the internet to find out about SolidWorks. He found a local reseller (CAE NorthWest, now Hawk Ridge) and went to see one of their presentations. Impressed, he asked for a demo and took it home. He was hooked. He bought a seat of SolidWorks Premium.
Bob then turned his sights on a project he had at one of his restaurants. He needed to redesign the kitchen for efficiency as it was one of his busier stores and the kitchen was just too cramped. So, he spent the next year learning SolidWorks, via reseller and private lessons, and designing the new kitchen. He knew a contractor would want to shut the restaurant down, spend exorbitant amounts of money and continually push out the completion date. This would work for Bob.
After designing the kitchen, he designed the plan to renovate it. He rented a storage unit and started prefabbing the components for the kitchen with uni-strut and sheetmetal with his maintenance guy. They’d then go into the kitchen after closing and install the panels. They built out a new wall so that the electricians could come in and begin the re-wiring, all of which Bob had laid out with routing. Then, on a Monday night, Bob and his team rolled into the restaurant and completed the whole renovation in 12 hours. They doubled the kilowatt output, improved the efficiency and and lessened the work needed to complete orders. Bob spent a total of $120,000 on the renovation, including the cost of SolidWorks and a dump trailer. By his estimate, he saved $180,000 by not having a contractor come in and do the work. With that one job, SolidWorks had paid for itself many times over.
Since that time, Bob has continued designing with SolidWorks. Some of the things he’s designed include fixtures and serving stations for his restaurants, a barn and, his house. A bit of a segue here, Bob wanted his house built out of SIPs Panels. After finishing the design, he met with the company that would panelize the house and gave them the plans. They then provided him with three sheets of prints for all the panels. He went home, took their 2D panel drawings and put them into SolidWorks. In doing so, he found numerous errors. When he met with the company again, he pulled out his laptop and showed them the errors, much to their dismay. The owner, upon seeing the power of 3D, went out and bought SolidWorks. Tell me that’s not awesome!
A salad bar & his house:
What struck me most about Bob was his incredible passion; not only for SolidWorks, but for design. Here’s a guy who grew up in the restaurant industry yet is an engineer at heart. He’s extremely detail oriented, conscientious about the environment and always looking for ways to improve things around him. Bob spoke for almost an hour with such passion and, I suspect, had I not had to go he would still be talking.
Thank you, Bob, for sharing your passion.
Do you know anyone like Bob? If so, I’d love to talk to them!