As our inaugural contribution to the Phoenix Business Blog I wrote an article relating a huge lesson we learned when we started PADT. “One piece of advice every new company should know” is… well you have to read the article.
Colorado is a major contributor to the space industry, and they are quickly adopting 3D Printing to keep costs down and get to space faster. In this article, “Colorado Companies Bringing Space Costs Down to Earth” the DBJ explores how automation and 3D Printing can have a big impact on cost and schedule. Many of the companies sighted in the article are PADT customers, and PADT’s very own Norman Stucker was quoted extensively for the article.
The recent explosion of interest in 3D printing has been fascinating to engineers like myself that have been using what we call Additive Manufacturing as a standard tool for over two decades. It is easy to dismiss the interest of the general public and the media as hype and trendiness. But doing so would be a mistake. It is a big deal, but not for the reasons that most people think. “Why is 3D Printing Such a Big Deal” explains what the real power is behind 3D Printing.
This popular LinkedIn Post is a review of the things I learned at SalesConnect 2015 and how to use LinkedIn to sell more efficiently. “Successful Social Selling: What I learned at LinkedIn Sales Connect 2015” covers the overall theme of “Connect + Inspire + Transform, implementation lessons that people have learned, and the idea of the Social Selling Index, or SSI.
As our final contribution to the AZ Tech Council and PBJ’s TechFlash Column for year, we shared how “3-D Printing Hits Major Milestones in 2015.” The article give our picks for what was significant with Additive Manufacturing for the Materials, Medical, Manufacturing, Military, and Mainstream aspects of the business.
The 3-D industry had a typical year in 2015. Of course, when it comes to 3-D printing, “typical” means lots of change, growth and innovation. It’s always hard to tell which of the year’s innovations will have the biggest impact on the future, but that doesn’t take the fun out of forecasting.
PADT’s December contribution to the TechFlash column in the Phoenix Business Journal is a call to action for Arizona to step up their startup game. “Why Now is the Time for Arizona to Take the Next Step with Tech Startups” suggests the following actions:
- Work Together
- Make University IP Licensing Work
- Give Back by Taking More Risk
- Get Involved in Moving Startups Forward
- Stop Whining and Get to Work
After attending the Medica/Compamed 2015 shows in Dusseldorf, Germany, we summarized the experience in this article for the Phoenix Business Journal. As the title says, it covers “How the International Business Climate in the Medical Device Industry is Changing.” and what companies need to do to keep up with the changes.
In this, our first contribution to the AZ Tech Council and PBJ’s TechFlash column, we provide some basic advice on getting products to market faster: “5 Ways to Improve your Next Product.” The five suggestions are:
- Define requirements based on customer value
- Frontload the process with exploration and iterations
- Involve suppliers in the process
- Build in a culture of excellence and relentless pursuit of continuous improvement
- Use standardization when possible, without blocking flexibility
Suggestions and examples are given for each point.
When Desktop Engineering needed a subject matter expert on Topological Optimization and its use to drive product development, they called on PADT’s Manoj Mahendran. The article “Your Optimization Software Respectfully Suggests a Revision” gives a great overview of how designs can be driven by the use of Topological Optimization. They also mention a few of the more common tools, and with Manoj’s help, discuss the importance of 3D Printing to the process. An important take away is how these tools can be used to suggest design changes to the designer.
For our Christmas parties at PADT we generally have over 40 employees so a traditional secret Santa gift exchange takes to long. So a couple of years ago we downloaded a right-left gift exchange story from the internet and it was a big hit. We ran out of stories on the internet, so we started writing our own, usually in some sort of over-the-top style. This year, 2015, we had started the day of the party by attending the new Star Wars movie, so the story had to be Star Wars related.
Everyone gets their gift and forms a big circle in the middle of the room. Someone with a strong voice reads the story and every time the world LEFT is read, everyone passes the package they have to the left. Every time the world RIGHT is read, everyone passes the package they have to their right. You should pause a bit at each LEFT/RIGHT to give people a chance to pass.
You can find our older stories here
A long time ago in a galaxy far far, away…
San To Claas is in trouble. Right next to the Right-torna system on the left side of the Galaxy, the planet Northpoliax, in a left hand orbit around the star Leftonia 37, was the galactic hub for all thing Christmas. Gifts left the system right after the planet’s winter solstice. But nothing left on this orbit. Because right above the largest continent on Northpoliax, a Death Star hovered. Threatening Christmas for everyone, no one was left out.
A new Sith lord, Darth Rightis, hated Christmas. All that cheer and spirit left him cold inside. Two much of the light side of the force. Just the thought of all those gifts left for younglings left him angry. But help was right around the corner. A squadron of Xwing fighters was following right behind the Millennium Falcon.
“Arffhhhhdghgg ” said Chewy.
“What? The moon on the left or the one on the right?” Asked Han Solo. Chewy gestured and Hans went to the left.
“Your other left” yelled Princess Leia. Han dived right behind the moon on the left and slingshoted right toward the Death Star, the Xwings right behind them.
The lead pilot said: “Red leader this is blue leader. You take the left side. We will take the left as well, right after you attack, those bastards won’t expect that.”
“Right” Responded blue leader.
Han added: “We will soften up that left side for you. Then let loose the “big present” after both your attacks on the left. The warhead should go right in and end this madness. “
As they approached the Millennium Falcon put covering fire to the right, then veered to the right, leaving the left open. The Xwings attacked, diving right into the slot and trying not to hit either side, the left or the right. The first attack on the left left the defenses damaged. The second attack on the left was right on target. That left the run of the Millennium Falcon. It released a plasma bomb that was wrapped in a big red package, with a bow right on top. As Han pulled up and to the left, and then the right, the warhead exploded right on inside of the main power coupler. Chewy, sitting in the right seat, bellowed in victory as the Death Star exploded right under them. As the debris clears a hologram image appeared right in the middle of the cabin.
It showed Admiral San To Clause, wearing his red uniform with white fur epilets on the right and left shoulders.
“Thank you all for coming right when we needed you. Right now, Christmas is saved and the dark side is left with one less Sith Lord. May the force, be right with you. And Merrrrrry Christmas to all!
The Chief Science Officer program is a program for 6th-12th grade students to represent their school in STEM. And what better way is there for them to identify themselves then with 3D Printed name badges? The program’s sponsors, the AZ SciTech Festival offer a training retreat for the kids who get elected as their school’s CSO and we all thought introducing design and 3D Printing would be a great activity.
As part of the 2015 Fall CSO Institute, PADT’s Jeff Nichols joined local designer and artist John Drury to spend some time with the kids explaining how to work with logos and shapes to convey an idea, and how to design for 3D Printing. The kids worked out their own design and sent it to PADT for printing.
We converted their sketch into a 3D Model, starting in Adobe Illustrator. The sketch was traced with vector geometry and then a generic name was added. This was then copied 144 times and each name was typed in, with a few extras. This step was the only boring part.
The design worked great because it is a simple extrusion with no need for support material. The outline of their names were exported as DXF from Illustrator and then imported onto the 3D Model and extruded up to make a solid model of a badge. This was then copied to make a badge for each student. Then the names were imported and extruded on the patterned badges.
STL files were then made and sent off to one of our Stratasys FDM 3D Printers. The FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) process extrudes an ABS plastic filament, and you can change material during the build. So, to add a bit of contrast, we changed the filament color after the base of the design was done, making the logo and student names stand out. The final results came out really nice.
This project was a lot of fun because we were able to work with the students. They got what John and Jeff taught them and did a great job. We know they will be placed with pride on back backs and jackets across Arizona.
To learn more about the CSO program, visit their website: http://chiefscienceofficers.org/ Check out the blog. Some of these kids can really write well and their insight into Science, Technology, Math, and Education is insightful.
For an engineer, there are certain TV and Movie experiences that border on the religious – Star Wars is of course one of those. That is why PADT’s main office in Tempe closed down today to head down the freeway to the Chandler to see Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.
Around 370 employees, family members, friends, vendors, former employees, and customers showed up for the 10:00 am showing. We were confident that JJ Abrams would do a great job, because he did so well with an even more important franchise to PADT, Star Trek. We were not disappointed. There were cheers, there was laughter, and several of us confessed in the lobby afterwards that we teared up a bit. A true treat.
I want to thank Josh Heaps here for putting it all together and for dealing with our constantly asking him about when and where it was and how many seats the theater had.
This is also a great venue to thank our customers and vendors for coming and for bringing your families. We don’t get to see many of you often enough, and rarely outside of a meeting or a phone call. Seeing the smiles on everyone’s face after the movie was, as they say, worth the price of admission.
May the Force Be With You
With PADT and the rest of the world getting ready to pile into dark rooms to watch a saga that we’ve been waiting for 10 years to see, I figured I’d take this opportunity to address a common, yet simple, question that we get:
“How do I turn on HPC to use multiple cores when running an analysis?”
For those that don’t know, ANSYS spends a significant amount of resources into making the various solvers it has utilize multiple CPU processors more efficiently than before. By default, depending on the solver, you are able to use between 1-2 cores without needing HPC licenses.
With the utilization of HPC licenses, users can unlock hyperdrive in ANSYS. If you are equipped with HPC licenses it’s just a matter of where to look for each of the ANSYS products to activate it.
Whether or not you are performing a structural, thermal or explicit simulation the process to activate multiple cores is identical.
- Go to Tools > Solve Process Settings
- The Solve Process Settings Window will pop up
- Click on Advanced to open up the Advanced Settings window
- You will see an option for Max number of utilized cores
- Simply change the value to your desired core count
- You will see below an option to allow for GPU acceleration (if your computer is equipped with the appropriate hardware)
- Select the GPU type from the dropdown and choose how many GPUs you want to utilize
- Click Ok and close
Distributed Solve in ANSYS Mechanical
One other thing you’ll notice in the Advanced Settings Window is the option to turn “Distributed” On or Off using the checkbox.
In many cases Distributing a solution can be significantly faster than the opposite (Shared Memory Parallel). It requires that MPI be configured properly (PADT can help guide you through those steps). Please see this article by Eric Miller that references GPU usage and Distributed solve in ANSYS Mechanical
Whether launching Fluent through Workbench or standalone you will first see the Fluent Launcher window. It has several options regarding the project.
- Under the Processing Options you will see 2 options: Serial and Parallel
- Simply select Parallel and you will see 2 new dropdowns
- The first dropdown lets you select the number of processes (equal to the number of cores) to use in not only during Fluent’s calculations but also during pre-processing as well
For CFX simulations through Workbench, the option to activate HPC exists in the Solution Manager
- Open the CFX Solver Manager
- You will see a dropdown for Run Mode
- Rather than the default “Serial” option choose from one of the available “Parallel” options.
- For example, if running on the same machine select Platform MPI Local Parallel
- Once selected in the section below you will see the name of the computer and a column called Partitions
- Simply type the desired number of cores under the Partitions column and then either click “Save Settings” or “Start Run”
ANSYS Electronics Desktop/HFSS/Maxwell
Regardless of which electromagnetic solver you are using: HFSS or Maxwell you can access the ability to change the number of cores by going to the HPC and Analysis Options.
- Go to Tools > Options > HPC and Analysis Options.
- In the window that pops up you will see a summary of the HPC configuration
- Click on Edit and you will see a column for Tasks and a column for Cores.
- Tasks relate to job distribution utilizing Optimetrics and DSO licenses
- To simply increase the number of cores you want to run the simulation on, change the cores column to your desired value
- Click OK on all windows
There you have it. That’s how easy it is to turn on Hyperdrive in the flagship ANSYS products to advance your simulations and get to your endpoint faster than before.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the possibility of upgrading your ship with Hyperdrive (HPC capabilities) please feel free to call us at 1-800-293-PADT or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The developers of Flownex have been hard at work again and have put out a fantastic update to Flownex 2015. These additions go far beyond what most simulation programs include in an update, so we thought it was worth a bit of a blog article to share it with everyone. You can also download the full release notes here: FlownexSE 2015 Update 1 – Enhancements and Fixes
A lot went in to this update, much hidden behind the scenes in the forms of code improvements and fixes. There are also a slew of major new or enhanced features worth mentioning.
Shared Company Database
One of the great things about Flownex is that you can create modeling objects that you drag and drop into your system model. Now you can share those components, fluids, charts, compounds, and default settings across your company, department, or group. There is no limit on the number of databases that are shared and access can be controlled. This will allow users to reuse information across your company.
Static Pressure Boundary Conditions
In the past Flownex always used a total pressure boundary condition. Based on user requests, this update includes a new boundary condition object that allows the user to specify the static pressure as a boundary condition. This is useful because many tests of real hardware only provide static pressure. It is also a common boundary condition in typical rotational flow fields in turbo machinery secondary flow.
Another turbo machinery request was the ability to break cavities up into several radial zones, giving a more accurate pressure distribution in secondary flow applications for Rotor-Rotor and Rotor-Stator cavities. These subdivisions can be automatically created in the radial direction by Flownex.
Excel Input Sheets and Parameter Tables
The connection between Microsoft Excel and Flownex has always been strong and useful, and it just get even better. So many people were connecting cells to their Flownex model parameters that the developers decided to directly connect the two programs so the user no longer has to establish data connection links. Now an properties in Flownex can be hooked to a cell in Excel.
The next thing users wanted was the ability to work with tables of parameters, so that was added as well. The user can hook a table of values in Excel to Flownex parameters and then have Flownex solve for the whole table, even returning resulting parameters. This makes parametric studies driven from Excel simple and powerful.
Users can now create component defaults and save them in a library. This saves time because in the past the user had to specify the parameters for a given component. Now thy just drag and job the existing defaults into their model.
Compound components have also been enhanced by the development team so you no loner have to restart Flownex when you move, export, or import a compound component.
Find Based on Property Values
Users can now search through properties on all the objects in their model based on the value assigned to those properties. As an example, you can type > 27.35 to get a list of all properties with an assigned value that is larger than 27.35. This saves time because the user no longer has to look through properties or remember what properties were assigned.
Network Creation through Programming
Users can now write programs through the API or scripting tool to build their network models. This will allow companies to create vertical applications or automate the creation of complex networks based on user input. Of all the enhancements in this update, this improvement has the potential to deliver the greatest productivity improvements.
Automatic Elevations Importing in GIS
Users who are specifying flow networks over real terrain can now pull elevation data from the internet, rather than requiring that the data be defined when the network is specified. This enhancement will greatly speed up the modeling of large fluid-thermal systems, especially when part of the simulation process is moving components of the system over terrain.
Multiple Fluid Interface Component
A very common requirement in fluid-thermal systems is the ability to model different fluids or fluid types and how they interact. With this update users can now model two separate fluid networks and define a coupling between the two. The mass balance and resulting pressure at the interface is maintained.
Static Condition Calculation Improvements
Many simulation require an accurate calculation of static pressures. To do this, the upstream and downstream areas and equivalent pipe diameters are needed to obtain the proper values. Many components now allow upstream and downstream areas to be defined, including restrictors and nozzles.
The ability to create a scale 2-Dimensional drawing was added to Flownex. The user can easily add components onto an existing scaled drawing that is used as a background image in Flownex. These components will automatically detect and input lengths based on the drawing scale and distance between nodes. This results in much less time and effort spent setting up larger models where actual geometric sizes are important.
How do I Try this Out?
As you can see by the breadth and depth of enhancements, Flownex is a very capable tool that delivers on user needs. Written and maintained by a consulting company that uses the tool every day, it has that rare mix of detailed theory and practical application that most simulation engineers crave. If you model fluid-thermal systems, or feel you should be simulating your systems, contact Brian Duncan at 480.813.4884 or email@example.com. We can do a quick demo over the internet and learn more about what your simulation needs are. Even if you are using a different tool, you should look at Flownex, it is an great tool.
Making injection molding tools using 3D Printing has been a long term goal for the industry. I knew the technology had advanced recently, but was really not aware how far it had come until I attended two seminars in Utah on the subject. In this post I’ll share what I learned, and share some content that goes into greater detail.
The reason for my update on this subject was a visit to PADT’s Utah office. Our two people there, Anthony Wagoner (sales) and James Barker (engineering), told me they were doing a seminar on injection molding and I should go. I figured why not, I’m in town. Maybe I’ll meet a couple of customers. Almost 30 people showed up to the Salt Lake Community College Injection Molding lab for the event. Gil Robinson from Stratasys presented a fantastic overview (included in the download package) on where the technology is, how to apply it, and gave some great real world examples. There were some fantastic questions as well which allowed us to really explore the technology
Then the best part happened when we walked into the shop and saw parts being made right there on the machine. They had recently printed a tool and were shooting polypropylene parts while we were in the classroom next door. During the hour long presentation, Richard Savage from ICU Medical was able to fine-tune the injection molding machine and good parts were popping out. As you can imagine, what followed next was they type of discussion would expect with a room full of injection molding people. “What material? How hot? What pressure? What is the cooling time? Do you use compressed air to cool it? Not a lot of flash, how hard are you clamping it? These features here, what draft did you need?” Good stuff. I got caught up in everything and forgot to grab some pictures.
I learned so much at that event that I decided to head north along the Wasatch Range to Clearfield and the Davis Applied Technology College. About the same number of people were able to make it from medical, aerospace, and consumer products companies in Northern Utah. Gil presented the same material, but this time we got some different questions so I learned a bit more about material options and some other lessons learned.
Then we visited their lab where I did remember to take some pictures:
Here is a shot of different shots that Jonathan George from DATC did to dial in the parameters. It took him about an hour, not bad for the first time using a 3D Printed tool.
The part is actually a clam shell assembly for Christmas lights, in the shape of a snow flake. Here is what they look like on the tree itself.
And here is a video they made showing the process. He was able to get 950 shots out of the tool.
In talking to attendees at both events I learned of several great applications that they were going to try, varying from medical devices for clinical trials to making rubber masking tools for surface treatments. The injection molding community in Utah is very sophisticated and forward thinking.
What I Learned
I’ll spare you the details on what we had for dinner Monday night for the Utah office holiday celebration and jump right in to what I learned.
- For the right applications, you can get some very nice parts from 3D Printed tools
- You do need to take the process in to account and oriented the tools facing upward in the machine, add a bit more draft than usual, and keep your pressures and temperature down when compared to metal tools.
- For some parts, you can get over 1,000 shots from a tool, but most poeple are getting a couple of hundred parts.
- As with any injection molding, the magic is in the tool design and setting up the right parameters on the injection molding press.
- Tricky parts can be made by using metal inserts
- Some machining may be required on your 3D printed tool to get it just right, but that is mostly reaming holes for ejector pins and metal inserts
- Plastic is an insulator (duh) so plastic tools have to be cooled more slowly and with air.
- Conformal cooling is a great idea, but some work still needs to be done to get it to work.
- The mold usually fails during part ejection, so using mold release, good draft, and proper design can reduce the loading during ejection and get more parts from the tool.
- The material of choice for this is DigitalABS on Stratasys Connex Machines.
There was a ton more, and you can find most of it in the download package.
The big take-away from both events was that this technology works and it really does allow you to create an injection molding tool in a couple of hours on a 3D Printer. In the time it normally takes to just get the order figured out for a machined tool (RFQ, Quote, Iterate, PO, etc…) you can have your parts.
Interested in trying this out yourself or learning more? We have put together an injection molding package with the following content:
- Polyjet Injection Molding Application Brief
- 18 Page Polyjet Injection Molding Technical Guide
- 12 Page White Paper: Precision Prototyping – The Role of 3D Printed Molds in the Injection Molding Industry
- 3D Printed Injection Molding Application Guide from PADT and Stratasys
- Presentation from Seminars
- List of Relevant Videos
- Four Real World Case Studies
- Link List for Other Resources on the Web
We have spent some time putting all this information in one place and put it into one convenient ZIP file. Please click here to download this very useful content.