Mcor_IRIS DSC_2928

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.

Chris Scott – From SWW Virgin to Addict

Posted on January 28th, 2013. Posted In SolidWorks Community

Once again this year, SolidWorks held their Internet Correspondent contest and the winner was Chris Scott from Jacksonville, Florida. That, for this post, is neither here nor there. Chris fulfilled a need I had; to interview someone who had never been to SolidWorks World before. While I remember my first time (who doesn’t?), I wanted a fresh perspective on it, so I asked Chris if he’d be up for it. Thankfully, the fool agreed.

Chris Scott

 

This kid is fresh out of college and was an easy mark. Even if he wanted to back out now, I have his picture and answers, so it’s too late. He’s quite the go-getter, this one. He works as an Aerospace Engineer, but also started his own company, Forza Engineering, where he designs and manufactures carbon fiber parts. I only had a few minutes to talk to Chris, but he seemed to be a pretty decent guy and I didn’t hear any rumors about him getting all crazy (which we’ll have to fix in San Diego), so I’m guessing he’s ok. Without further ramblings by me, here’s my interview with Chris Scott, SolidWorks World (ex-)Virgin.

What prompted you to enter the SolidWorks internet correspondent contest?

It popped up in my Facebook feed (I have SolidWorks ‘liked’) about it.  I looked at previous events and researched it a little more to see what the event entails and was really impressed by the mixture of activities going on and it looked like a great time and place to be.  I really saw this as an opportunity to meet new people and learn more about SolidWorks.

How’d you feel when you won?

I was stunned, I really didn’t think that I was going to win it.  Definitely didn’t feel real, like as if I missed some sort of a ‘catch’ or that it was a mistake.

Now, for the main reason I’m doing this. What were your thoughts as you entered the general assembly Monday morning?

 I really didn’t know what to expect.  You really have no idea how many people are there until you see several thousand people trying to fit in the hallways.  The doors opened and you walk into this massive room with lights, projectors, music, etc and people flooding in like a scene from Braveheart.

As the day stretched on, what were your thoughts?

The first day was extremely overwhelming, but in the best way possible.  It was great being a part of the presentation and being able to witness firsthand all the new exciting platforms and features that SolidWorks is adding.  I was blown away with the special guests from the Red Bull Team.  Afterwards I had the delight to meet and talk with them, I’ve been following that project for several years now and was even familiar with the Joseph even before then, so I was pretty stoked.  As the day went on I attended several technical sessions which allowed me to learn new tips and tricks.  Lunches and breaks provided an opportunity to meet plenty of new people and run around the Partner Pavilion and check out the cool gadgets.

What stood out in your mind most?

More like what blew my mind the most, z space.  That holographic reality display was absolutely brilliant, I couldn’t have enough of it.  Also I really enjoyed the ending of Wednesday’s general session and how they closed it out… where can I get my SolidGrill 3000???

What was your favorite part(s)?

The community, definitely.  Everyday, every minute it seemed I was meeting new people and making new friends.  People from all over the world and all different backgrounds of industry.  I checked into the hotel on Sunday knowing nobody there and when it came time to leave on Wednesday, it seemed I was saying goodbye to everyone in the hallways.

How would you sum up your experience?

It was phenomenal.  I really had no idea what was in store for me.  There was something to do every single minute of the day.  Between wide array of guest speakers that have accomplished so much, the endless list of technical sessions to attend, the great new friends I’ve made, and to witness this all first hand was a real treat.  I’m still really impressed they managed to fit almost 5000 of us into buses to head for Universal Studios!

You planning on going to San Diego?

My bags are already packed!  I would love to see what SolidWorks has in store for next year.

There you have it, folks. A first-hand account from a SolidWorks World newbie.

SolidWorks World 2013 Wrapup

Posted on January 24th, 2013. Posted In SolidWorks Community

I’m 35,000 feet above the U.S. in a plane fighting headwinds that are going to cause me to be 35 minutes late, which they didn’t tell us until after we were airborne.  On the one hand I want to curse United for not having WiFi on board, but where I somehow ended up in economy plus (awesome amount of legroom and extra tilt when reclining), I’m going to call it a wash. I just hope my ride waits for me.

SolidWorks World 2013 was as I remember SolidWorks World to be; lots of walking, lots of people, lots of cool tech, lots of info and little sleep. All of that adds up to an excellent time. Mostly.

Let’s start with the downside of this year’s event. As many people pointed out live, during the morning general sessions, the partner talks were tedious. We, the captive audience, understand that these large companies fork out huge sums of money in support of SolidWorks World and, because of that, it keeps attendee fees down and allows for the special events, among other things. They should get their time on the big stage to toot their own horns. Aside from nvidia, the other presentations were so absolutely mind-numbing. Nvidia’s wasn’t much better, but enough so to make it stand out in my mind. I don’t remember what the others even talked about, but I do remember that nvidia helps with the graphics in Tesla automobiles. I think it’s important for these partners to remember that they’re going to be talking to a room full of pumped up people. The energy is always so high when everyone is in there. The partners need to feed that energy. Stay away from your boardroom presentations. Pump up the music, get excited yourself and entertain us! Getting up there and talking to us like we actually want to hear what you have to say only causes us to tune you out.

While I’m driving this bus, let’s talk about what I saw as another major faux pas. The SolidWorks community lost one of its greatest champions last year, Wayne Tiffany. Wayne was an incredible individual and was honored on Tuesday, and rightfully so. His sons were there, Richard Doyle was on stage fighting tears, as we’re many of us in the audience. This heartwarming moment was sandwiched in between two sponsor presentations. I took exception to this, as did others. To follow up something so poignant with a sales pitch was wrong. Sorry, SolidWorks, you dropped the ball on that one.

I’ve already bitched about Bernard’s boardroom financials seminar he put on Monday, so let’s move on to all the good that happened.

Monday’s special guests were Sage Cheshire Aerospace, the team that allowed for Felix Baumgarter to break the speed of sound while free falling from the edge of space. What these guys did will help advance future record breaking attempts. The fact that SolidWorks played a played a part in it is icing on the cake.

Tuesday, we were given a sneak preview of Skynet. Dr. Vijay Kumar, Engineering Professor at the University of Pennsylvania  showed us how his autonomous quadcopters simply do as they’re told. No specific leader, just a common goal to accomplish. You should really check out this video from day 2. My question is this: how long before they become aware?
Thankfully, that was all tempered by the next customer, Festo. Elias Knubben, Head of Corporate Bionic Projects,talked about Festo’s bionic division and how they work to mimic nature as close as possible. In this video, you’ll see a robotic bird flying. Not with propellers, not with jet engines. With wings that move just like a bird’s. God forbid those birds become autonomous like the quadcopters. It gives me shivers just thinking about it. Someone needs to alert John Connor.

Wednesday was all about kids building rockets. Tom Atchison, of Mavericks Civilian Space Foundation, told us the story of how his foundation is helping kids learn about space by building rockets. Kids. Building rockets. Man, where was this guys when I was a kid? You can check out the whole video here.

While I missed the usual special guest speaker, and another year of it not being Jessica Alba, what I did really enjoy was that all of the speakers were SolidWorks users. That was something that has been missing in past sessions. The ways that people are using SolidWorks excites me, makes me want to learn, and do, more.

I hope that at next year’s SWW, SolidWorks thinks a bit more about the attendees’ experience during the general sessions and helps the sponsors keep the energy levels high with exciting presentations and not boring, boardroom presentations.

That being said, man was it good being back at world. Thank you, SolidWorks, for the invite to SolidWorks World. I had a blast!

 

A CSWP at the CSWE Party

Posted on January 24th, 2013. Posted In SolidWorks Community

Sometimes life gives you lemons, other times it gives you Bacardi and coke. Monday, at SolidWorks World 2013, it gave me the latter.
I remember being bummed when I heard that there would no longer be a CSWP event at SolidWorks World. It had become too large, apparently. I’d have to say that it was SolidWorks’ fault for giving away the exam, but I’m just a bitter, old-school, 8-hour-exam-that-I-paid-for guy. Nonetheless, budgetary concerns meant scaling back the event. So, the certification team made the logical decision to have an event just for the CSWEs.
Me being me, I told Mike Puckett that I’d just crash the party, I’m press and we can go anywhere! Of course this was met with a resounding “no you can’t.” So much for that idea. Honestly, I understood but that didn’t stop me from giving Mike a bit of grief here and there. Mike is a good guy and took it in stride, knowing that I was just giving him a hard time. Tonight, Mike caught me off guard. I was planning on going back to my room to rest my weary feet when I saw him in the partner pavilion. He made me an offer: he’d invite me to the CSWE party if I would write about it and agree to earn my CSWE before SolidWorks World 2014. How could I say no? And that’s how a CSWP ended up at the CSWE party.
From what I understand, there were about 800 people at the CSWP event last year. Tonight, there were 250 people that attended, but only 200 were CSWE’s. The rest were VIPS’s of some standing and, of course, me.
As has become the norm for events such as this, there was plenty of food, beer and wine and, also as usual, the food was excellent. Honestly, I’m always amazed at how good the food is at the events where it’s such huge volumes cooked all at once and then served in warming trays over those candle things whose proper name escapes me (I seriously should go get a brain scan or something, my mind is turning to mush).
I’d say the only downside to the evening was the music. Too loud and, frankly, the band wasn’t that good. I wasn’t the only one to express that sentiment either. I can’t help but think that a DJ would be a better way to go. Ooh, karaoke! Now that would make for a fun event!
There was a race theme to this year’s event, so there were video game stations throughout, as well as an RC car track. Contrary to what Daniel Herzberg thought, they were quite easy to drive. He was actually so bad at it that I question his overall ability to drive and am thankful that I don’t live near him.
While the event was fun, I think they should look at something other than video games next year. Sumo wrestling? A dunk tank staffed by DS employees? We’ll be in San Diego, how about a surf machine?

SolidWorks World – Tuesday

Posted on January 22nd, 2013. Posted In SolidWorks Community

I’m quite sure that any number of bloggers and reporters will be talking about today’s general session and how SolidWorks has had a hand in designing Skynet and how our future robot overlords/killers have become aware. Where I feel like some sort of accomplice, I apologize. I also am not going to rehash the coolness that was the autonomous robot quadropters or the fact that a life-like robotic bird flew RIGHT OVER ME. I spent too much time tweeting to take good notes, and missed the press conference to go support Richard Doyle.
What I do want to talk about is all the coolness I’ve seen these past two days in the Partner Pavillion. I’ll have full-blown reviews coming in the next days and weeks, but here are some teasers:
– Mcor and their 3D Printer that uses paper and glue as their media.
– Boxx says they’re going to send me a machine comparable to the Xi I have at work to do a comparison. Hoping to talk them into a laptop to compare to my Dell.
– New info from Draftsight that I’ll be writing up.
– Totally cool tech from zSpace
– Hoping to get some more details from Keyshot
– SolidProfessor is sending me info on their new stuff
In a nutshell, Jeff’s Tool Shed is being brought back from the brink of death. Stay tuned!

SWW2013

 

That’s right, a month from today and SolidWorks World 2013 will be over. Five-thousand attendees will be heading back from whence they came, probably exhausted and, thankfully, I’ll be one of them.

This year I’m going to try to get to more breakout sessions, so that I can then report about them. It seems like it’s been years since I’ve actually sat in on one. There always seems to be a partner to meet, a press event to attend or some other such thing. While I do have requests in to meet with some SolidWorks employees, and I do plan on pestering partners to be able to review their offerings, I want to get back into the sessions and see if they’ve changed at all. To see if  there’s a different vibe to them. To make sure people are still walking away as enthused as they have in years gone by.

With SWW heading into it’s 15th year, I wonder how it still sustains. What is it that keeps bringing people back? I’m going to have to figure out a way to answer that question. I know why I keep going back, I just wonder if my reasons are the same as other people’s reasons. Having not gone last year, I’m especially excited for this one. I love being able to meet up with people with whom I have an online “relationship”. Friends from other blogs, forums, Twitter, Facebook. It’s always nice to be able to sit down and talk with them, especially with those from outside the US.

This post seems a little disjointed. Probably because I feel like I’m coming down with a cold and I’m having a bit of an issue keeping my thoughts on track. It would probably help, too, if I weren’t trying to pay attention to the abysmal performance of the New England Patriots.

It’s getting Closer – SWW 2013

Posted on November 28th, 2012. Posted In Personal,SolidWorks Community

SolidWorks World 2013 is just under 2 months away and I’m so happy to be going this year. It was tough not being able to attend last year, but my reasoning was sound.

I’m not sure what I’m excited about most, seeing old friends, reconnecting with the partner channel, seeing what new products are out there…ah, who am I kidding, I’m looking forward to all of it. I’m going to stop by the Dell booth and thank them for the wonderful job they did on the new Precision M4600 I just bought. I’ll be swinging by to see the guys at 3DConnexion to see if they have anything better than the SpacePilotPro. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for new baubles that may help me in my day-to-day job. I have some interviews lined up, and I plan on attending a few breakout sessions and reporting on them as well.

One thing I’m disappointed about is that there is no longer a CSWP event. While I understand SolidWorks’ reasoning for discontinuing it in favor of a CSWE event, I’m still bummed. However, I’m setting a goal of getting my CSWE certification in time for SolidWorks 2014. I also plan on trying to sneak in to this years event with my press credentials. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Have you ever been to SWW? If not, do you want to go?

This year is the 15th year SolidWorks World is being held and will be back in Orlando, Florida January 20-23, 2013.

Page 1 of 11