Fantastic Night at the 2014 GCOI – Winners, Awards, and Fancy Attire

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PADT was on hand in force at the 2014 GCOI ceremony: (L to R) FORTUS 250mc, Andrew Miller, Ward Rand, Eric Miller, Mario Vargas, Renee Palacios, and Brad Palumbo

Every year in November the Arizona technology community gathers to celebrate innovation in the state.  The 2014 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) was a great event for the state and for PADT.  This years winners ranged from high school students to legislators to internationally recognized leaders in the software industry.  And, unlike most tech events in the state, everyone was dressed up all fancy.  The gala is put on by our friends at the Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority.

This is a special event for PADT for a variety of reasons.  We have been a sponsor of the GCOI for several years, hauling out our equipment and samples for a booth to show off Mechanical Engineering in the state.  This year we were also honored to provided a judge to help choose the winners and we also made the trophies for those who won.  In addition, PADT was the winner of the 2011 Pioneering Award.  Every year we add more good memories to this event which puts an exclamation point on the year.

Congratulations to the Winners

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Pat Sullivan of ACTI! and Contatta Receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award

This years nominees was a great indication of the strength of technology companies and educators in the state.  As always, the students who received recognition were the most inspiring.  It is truly amazing what they have achieved while still in High School.

It was especially nice to see PADT customers Syncardia and Securaplane receive awards. Both companies are based in Tucson and are leading the way in their industries.  Syncardia produces the only FDA approved total artificial heart,  truly saving lives on a daily basis. Securaplane provides the aviation industry with a variety of security and power sub-systems.  

We were also pleased to see Pat Sullivan take home a “Lifetime Achievement Award.”  Pat started ACT! in the early days of personal computing, and many of us at PADT have been users of his software, and we still use it today at PADT. In addition, we are an investor in Pat’s new company, Contatta, through the Arizona Tech Investors.

This year the judges decided to add a special award, the Judges Award, for outstanding contributions to the technology community.  The first ever winner was the Society of Women Engineers.  This group is a big favorite of PADT because of their hard work to diversify the field and support many in school and in their careers.  

Check out the article in the Phoenix Business Journal to see a full list of winners.

3D Printed Awards

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Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Holding her very own “Governor’s Celebration of Innovation” Award.

Once again, PADT provided the awards  for the winners.  It is one thing to see people you know and admire win an award, it is even more meaningful when you see them holding an award that you designed and made.  Seeing Governor Brewer pose with her special award was kind of cool.  

In the past, we have used a combination of 3D Printing and traditional methods to make the awards, but this year we were able to produce everything using additive manufacturing technologies.

gcoi-2014-finished-1bThe top portion of the awards was created on our Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 polyjet machine. This device uses inkjet heads to deposit layers of photo-curable polymers.  It has four heads, allowing us to lay down support material, a base material, and two colors.  We used a transparent material for the base, and mixed yellow and magenta to get the different colors that “float” inside the transparent oval. 

The base was created on our FORTUS 400 fused gcoi-2014-finished-2deposition modeling machine using ABS plastic.  Both of the parts were generated in CAD and printed directly.  This application shows the power of 3D Printing. We were able to create 11 unique trophies without the need for tooling, special equipment, or expertise in any given process.  We simply visualized what we wanted on the computer, then sent the resulting custom designs to the printers. Specifically, the unique text for each award was extruded as a solid inside the main body, floating above the state of Arizona.

You will be Surprised Where Sneeze Germs Travel in an Airplane

sneezing-in-airplane-300x279Ever been on a flight, hear someone sneeze, and then sit in fear as you imagine millions of tiny infectiousness germs laughing historically as they spread through the cabin of the plane?  In my imagination they are green and drip mucus. In reality they are small liquid particles and instead of going everywhere, it appears they fall on just a few unlucky people. 

ANSYS, Inc.  put out a very cool video showing the results of an in-cabin CFD run done by Purdue University that tracks the pathogens as they leave the sick persons mouth, get caught in the climate control system’s air stream, and waft right on the people next to and behind them.  The study was done for the FAA Center for Excellence for Airliner Cabin Environment Research.   

Here is the video, check it out and share with your friends. Especially if you have a friend that doesn’t sneezes out into the open air:

Visit the ANSYS Blog to learn even more.

#betterlivingthroughsimulation

AZ Manufacturing Month Closing Party – People Mixing with Lasers, 3D Printers, Robots, and Beer

logo_revazLast Thursday (10/30/2014) PADT was honored to host the closing event for this years “Arizona Manufacturing Month”  The event was well attended with almost 300 people stopping for networking, food, beer, and some examples of the future of Manufacturing in the state.

The event was sponsored by:

A big draw for the evening was the “Future of Manufacturing” Exhibit where local firms showed off what they were doing. Exhibitors included:

Food was provided by Teakwoods Tavern and Grill (the barbecue beef went fast!) and samples of beer were provided by Arizona Manufacturer, Four Peaks Brewing. 

In addition to all of the companies and customers who attended, we were pleased to have a great group of High School Robotics teams that showed up to share their robots with us and take part in a brief awards ceremony for PADT’s “2014 FIRST Robotics Grant” competition. Read more about that here.

All and all a great event and our staff wants to thank everyone for making it an enjoyable and value added gathering.  We hope to see more of you here next year as momentum grows and more and more people learn about the Revolution in Manufacturing that is taking place in Arizona. 

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Here are some snapshots from the event:

Home Grown HPC on CUBE Systems

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A Little Project Background

Recently I’ve been working on developing a computer vision system for a long standing customer. We are developing software that enables them to use computers to “see” where a particular object is space, and accurately determine its precise location with respect to the camera. From that information, they can do all kinds of useful things.

In order to figure out where something is in 3D space from a 2D image you have to perform what is commonly referred to as pose estimation. It’s a highly interesting problem by itself, but it’s not something I want to focus on in detail here. If you are interested in obtaining more information, you can Google pose estimation or PnP problems. There are, however, a couple of aspects of that problem that do pertain to this blog article. First, pose estimation is typically a nonlinear, iterative process. (Not all algorithms are iterative, but the ones I’m using are.) Second, like any algorithm, its output is dependent upon its input; namely, the accuracy of its pose estimate is dependent upon the accuracy of the upstream image processing techniques. Whatever error happens upstream of this algorithm typically gets magnified as the algorithm processes the input.

The Problem I Wish to Solve

You might be wondering where we are going with HPC given all this talk about computer vision. It’s true that computer vision, especially image processing, is computationally intensive, but I’m not going to focus on that aspect. The problem I wanted to solve was this: Is there a particular kind of pattern that I can use as a target for the vision system such that the pose estimation is less sensitive to the input noise? In order to quantify “less sensitive” I needed to do some statistics. Statistics is almost-math, but just a hair shy. You can translate that statement as: My brain neither likes nor speaks statistics… (The probability of me not understanding statistical jargon is statistically significant. I took a p-test in a cup to figure that out…) At any rate, one thing that ALL statistics requires is a data set. A big data set. Making big data sets sounds like an HPC problem, and hence it was time to roll my own HPC.

The Toolbox and the Solution

My problem reduced down to a classic Monte Carlo type simulation. This particular type of problem maps very nicely onto a parallel processing paradigm known as Map-Reduce. The concept is shown below:
matt-hpc-1

The idea is pretty simple. You break the problem into chunks and you “Map” those chunks onto available processors. The processors do some work and then you “Reduce” the solution from each chunk into a single answer. This algorithm is recursive. That is, any single “Chunk” can itself become a new blue “Problem” that can be subdivided. As you can see, you can get explosive parallelism.

Now, there are tools that exist for this kind of thing. Hadoop is one such tool. I’m sure it is vastly superior to what I ended up using and implementing. However, I didn’t want to invest at this time in learning a specialized tool for this particular problem. I wanted to investigate a lower level tool on which this type of solution can be built. The tool I chose was node.js (www.nodejs.org).

I’m finding Node to be an awesome tool for hooking computers together in new and novel ways. It acts kind of like the post office in that you can send letters and messages and get letters and messages all while going about your normal day. It handles all of the coordinating and transporting. It basically sends out a helpful postman who taps you on the shoulder and says, “Hey, here’s a letter”. You are expected to do something (quickly) and maybe send back a letter to the original sender or someone else. More specifically, node turns everything that a computer can do into a “tap on the shoulder”, or an event. Things like: “Hey, go read this file for me.”, turns into, “OK. I’m happy to do that. I tell you what, I’ll tap you on the shoulder when I’m done. No need to wait for me.” So, now, instead of twiddling your thumbs while the computer spins up the harddrive, finds the file and reads it, you get to go do something else you need to do. As you can imagine, this is a really awesome way of doing things when stuff like network latency, hard drives spinning and little child processes that are doing useful work are all chewing up valuable time. Time that you could be using getting someone else started on some useful work. Also, like all children, these little helpful child processes that are doing real work never seem to take the same time to do the same task twice. However, simply being notified when they are done allows the coordinator to move on to other children. Think of a teacher in a class room. Everyone is doing work, but not at the same pace. Imagine if the teacher could only focus on one child at a time until that child fully finished. Nothing would ever get done!

Here is a little graph of our internal cluster at PADT cranking away on my Monte Carlo simulation.
matt-hpc-2

It’s probably impossible to read the axes, but that’s 1200+ cores cranking away. Now, here is the real kicker. All of the machines have an instance of node running on them, but one machine is coordinating the whole thing. The CPU on the master node barely nudges above idle. That is, this computer can manage and distribute all this work by barely lifting a finger.

Conclusion

There are a couple of things I want to draw your attention to as I wrap this up.

  1. CUBE systems aren’t only useful for CAE simulation HPC! They can be used for a wide range of HPC needs.
  2. PADT has a great deal of experience in software development both within the CAE ecosystem and outside of this ecosystem. This is one of the more enjoyable aspects of my job in particular.
  3. Learning new things is a blast and can have benefit in other aspects of life. Thinking about how to structure a problem as a series of events rather than a sequential series of steps has been very enlightening. In more ways than one, it is also why this blog article exists. My Monte Carlo simulator is running right now. I’m waiting on it to finish. My natural tendency is to busy wait. That is, spin brain cycles watching the CPU graph or the status counter tick down. However, in the time I’ve taken to write this article, my simulator has proceeded in parallel to my effort by eight steps. Each step represents generating and reducing a sample of 500,000,000 pose estimates! That is over 4 billion pose estimates in a little under an hour. I’ve managed to write 1,167 words…

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Celebrate Arizona Manufacturing

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WE ARE CELEBRATING MANUFACTURING IN ARIZONA

The state of Arizona has a vibrant and robust manufacturing community, something that most people do not know. To highlight this strong part of the state’s economy, the month of October has been designated as Manufacturing Month. Learn more at the ACA website.

PADT has been busy participating in a variety of events throughout the month of October.  We are excited to celebrate the culmination of this amazing month.

Everyone is welcome!

What:  Celebrating Arizona Manufacturing – The Special Closing Event of the 2014 Arizona Manufacturer’s Month

When: October 30th, 4-7pm

Where: PADT – 7755 S. Research Drive, Tempe, AZ 85284

Please register at: bit.ly/MMclosing

Food and drinks will be provided. 

In addition to networking and celebrating, several companies involved in Manufacturing will be in attendance for an exhibit focused on the future of manufacturing.  

Exhibitors attending include:

…..and more

If you have questions about the event or are interested in exhibiting, please contact Kathryn Pesta at kathryn.pesta@padtinc.com

Join us in Colorado for a 3D printing Demo

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PADT Colorado is excited to be partnering again with Alignex for a 3D printer demo/happy hour at their upcoming networking event.  

The event is from 10 am to 6pm and will feature guest speakers discussing the latest in engineering and design productivity.  PADT will be on site to discuss 3D printing during their happy hour from 5 to 6pm. 

For more details and to register for the event please click here.

Four Events to Help Celebrate Manufacturing in Arizona

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The month of October in Arizona is Manufacturer’s Month. Part of the Arizona Commerce Authoritie’s RevAZ program, this month of celebrations is an opportunity for those of us who make stuff, or support people to make stuff, to spread the word that the manufacturing community is robust, diverse, and has a major impact on the local economy.

Learn more on the RevAZ site: www.manufacturingrevolution.com 

PADT is attending three events, and hosting the closing event for the month. We hope to run in to you at the first three, and consider this the first of many invitations to join us for an open house and celebration on October 30th.

The three events open to the public are:

October 3rd, 2014 – 10:00 to 2:00
National Manufacturing Day Open House at AzAMI

The Arizona Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AzAMI) at Mesa Community College (MCC) is celebrating National Manufacturing Day by opening its doors to the community. Guided Tours of its enhanced machining, processing and additive manufacturing labs will be offered between 10am and 2pm.

1833 W. Southern Ave
Mesa, AZ 85202

Check out the event details here.

October 15th, 2014 – 12:30 to 6:30

AZTC Southern Arizona Tech + Business Expo: Where Technology and Manufacturing Connect

The Southern Arizona Tech + Business Expo is the regions premier showcase event for Manufacturing Month. Working in collaboration with the Southern Arizona Manufacturing Partners (SAMP), The Arizona Manufacturing Council (AMC), the RevAZ Program of the Arizona Commerce Authority, and the University of Arizona’s Tech Launch Arizona; the Expo will host informative panel discussions on strategies to grow your business faster.

The Westin La Paloma Resort
3800 E. Sunrise Drive
Tucson, AZ 85718

Check out the event details and register here.

October 30th, 2014 – 4:00 to 7:00pm

Celebrating Arizona Manufacturing

PADT is proud to host the closing celebration for Arizona Manufacturer’s Month. A variety of companies and organizations will be exhibiting their activities in the future of manufacturing. Visitors will get a chance to see some of the more advanced applications of manufacturing in the state as well as tours of the PADT facility.

Food and drinks will be provided along with great opportunities to network and get to know the community a little better.

PADT
7755 S. Research Drive
Suite 110
Tempe, AZ 85284

Register for the event here.

PADT Presents 3DPAZ Contest and FIRST Robotics Grant

3DPAZ
PADT has always been a proud supporter of STEM education in our community.  This summer we have been busy planning some new activities to help support local schools.  Today we are busy attending the Innovation Arizona Summit which is a joint collaborative of the Arizona SciTech Festival, the MIT Enterprise Forum Phoenix and the Arizona Commerce Authority.

 As part of our attendance, we will be promoting our first ever 3D printing contest, 3DPAZ  which will challenge high school students in Arizona with the task of creating or improving an existing engineering product.  We are very excited to be launching this contest and cannot wait to see what students come up with. Please visit our website for more information on how to take part in this contest by clicking here.

We are also very excited to be extending our support to the FIRST Robotics Competition by way of a new grant program for Arizona schools or organizations that are competing in the in the 2014/2015 FRC season.  If you are interested in either the 3DPAZ contest or the FRC Grant program, please email Kathryn Pesta at kathryn.pesta@padtinc.com.

3D Printed Quill Pen for GISHWHES 2014 Scavenger Hunt

quill-pen-2Sometimes you get strange messages on Facebook.  This weekend I heard a beep and checked my phone “Can you 3D Print a Quill Pen?”  Most messages involve asking me why I posted something stupid or annoying, so this one caught my attention.  Turns out my friend Chelsea is taking part in the 2014 “GREATEST INTERNATIONAL SCAVENGER HUNT THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN” or GISHWHES.  One of the items in the scavenger hunt is to print out an ink quill pen on a 3D Printer and write “We need to buy more Toner” on a sheet of paper with the pen.  

I can’t resist a challenge like that, so I told her no problem.  And it worked like a charm. 

The process we used was very straightforward:

First I went into a CAD program, SolidEdge in this case, and build a solid model of a quill pen.  Not being quill pen designer I found some web sites on how to cut a pen tip from a real feather, and tried to mimic the resulting geometry:

Quill-Cad-Model Pen-Tip-Quill-Pen
We then wrote an STL file out and sent that to our RP team.  They read that into our preparation software and separated the feathers from the stem, designating a rubber like material for the feather area for artistic purposes, and a hard white plastic for the stem and the tip.

That file was then sent to our Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 and printed in about 30 minutes.  

This video shows the printing process:

Once it was done, we just needed to wash out the support material and it was ready to go.

The moment of truth was then here.  Our intreped Scavenger Hunter took out her handy-dandy pot of India Ink and dipped the quill in, the she wrote out the requested message:
quill-pen-2

I worked like a charm, our handwriting was the biggest issue.

Wanting to see if it enhanced my artistic skills, I used it to sketch the following masterpiece:
quill-pen-face

This is why I use CAD systems.

Here is an image of the final part. The tip is stained black from the ink.
quill-pen-4

All and all a fun project, and I guess the team gets 80 points for doing this task, so we were glad to help.

You can learn more about 3D Printing by visiting here. Our contact us for more information on 3D Printing, Simulation, or Rapid Prototyping.

Throwback Thursday: 3D Printing on “Good Morning America” in 1989

3dprinting-1989

Note: This post is not displaying correctly, here is a link to the video:
http://youtu.be/NpRDuJ5YgoQ

Take a look at this science segment that Jeff Strain found on Stereolithography from 1989.  If you ignore the hair styles (Joan Lunden rocked that helmet hair) the report isn’t that much different from news coverage that 3D Printing is getting today. But the technology has sure progressed.

To add some additional perspective, according to the 2014 Wohlers Report, 104 systems were sold in 1989. 94 SLA machines from 3D Systems and 10 systems from now defunct Japanese SLA providers. 

The same report estimates that for 2013 9,823 commercial systems were sold by over 33 different suppliers.  This does not include the personal printer (low cost desktop) systems, which was estimated at over 72,000 units!.  That is 9,345% growth over 24 years for commercial systems.. 66,702 systems have been tracked as old.  

Take a look at the video. It is truly fascinating how the message still resonates and how predictions for replacing traditional manufacturing were maybe a bit optimistic.  But even in the early days, this report captured the promise of the technology. 

It has been an incredible ride, and it is not over yet.

3D Thursday – 4th of July Style

I was in search of something Independence Day/3D printing related to celebrate the 4th of July.  It seems like a lot of people had the same idea.  Thomas Jefferson……yup, he was 3D printed at RedEye on Demand.  President Obama was 3D printed at the first ever White House Maker Faire last month.   So, after sifting through replicas of the Statue of Liberty or American Flags, I came across something really cool.  

3D-printed-Ellis-Island-3D-Model-Don-Foley-via-3D-Printing-IndustryDesigner Don Foley  has created a very detailed model of the Ellis Island Customs House which you can download for free for the next 2 weeks.   

instructions-for-3D-printed-Ellis-Island-Customs-House-by-Don-Foley-via-3D-Printing-Industry
His design is in 4 separate sections that can be taken apart to see the beautiful and intricate detail on each of the floors.  It’s a beautiful design of a very important part of American history.

And just for fun, here is an interesting article about the creation of an exact replica of the Liberty Bell using 3D scanning.

Happy 4th of July!

A look inside the Objet500 Connex3 Multi-material 3D printer

This week our we printed some beautiful multi-colored sponsor awards for the 2014 Arizona SciTech Festival which officially launches in August.  Intern extraordinaire, Diserae Saunders, placed a GoPro inside our Objet500 Connex3 to record the magic.  Enjoy the video and check out the Arizona SciTech Festival for information on this great program that promotes science, technology and innovation in Arizona!

An inside look at our Connex500

We wanted to see what 3d printing looked like from the inside of the machine so our new intern, Diserae Sanders, placed a GoPro inside our Connex500 during a print job.  The item being printed is a demo bicycle pedal printed in multiple materials.  

This video is the first in a series we plan to do on 3D printing. If there is something you would like to see us do a video on, please post it in the comments below.

3D Scanning & Printing for Makers

Attention Makers, Tinkerers & 3D Enthusiasts

 When :   Monday, June 23, 2014 
                   6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Where: TechShop Chandler
                 249 E. Chicago Street
                 Chandler, AZ 85225

Attend Live – Register Now
Attend Virtually – Register Now


Join us for an evening of 3D Scanning and Printing!!!

We will be discussing some practical ways to utilize 3D scanning and printing specifically for Makers.

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Whether you are new to 3D printing or you need a refresher on how 3D scanning can help with your designs, this workshop is for you. Anyone, novice to seasoned expert, is invited and encouraged to attend and share their knowledge and questions.

 
Two ways to participate:

In Person

If you are in the area, please join us at Tech Shop Chandler by registering HERE.

 Virtually

If you can’t be here in person, you can join us virtually by registering HERE.Robot_Montage_MG_4605_preview_featured
Light refreshments will be served (only to in-person attendees, sorry virtual participants)

Registration is required as space is limited.

If you have any questions, please contact Kathryn Pesta at kathryn.pesta@padtinc.com or 480.813.4884.

Stratasys adds flexible color to their digital material palettes

connex3_shorevaluepress_hand_horiz
Earlier this week, Stratasys announced the addition of 10 new color pallets expanding the digital materials offering to represent hundreds of new options of both flexible color materials and rigid gray materials available for the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer

connex3_flexpalette_cyt_hands_portrait  connex3_flexpalette_myt_hands_portrait  connex3_flexpalette_mct_hands_portrait

The first three pallets are built using TangoPlus combined with combinations of VeroCyan, VeroMagenta and VeroYellow. These new pallets allow for the printing of a range of colors and translucent tints in nine Shore A values (Shore A 27-95).

connex3_flexpalette_cyk_hands_portrait  connex3_flexpalette_mck_hands_portrait  connex3_flexpalette_myk_hands_portrait

Three additional pallets using TangoBlack Plus and combinations of VeroCyan, VeroMagenta and VeroYellow allow for users to blend a wide range of subtle vibrant-to-dark shades into the same part with TangoBlack Plus in seven Shore A values.

connex3_mkw_palette_portrait  connex3_ykw_palette_portrait  connex3_kwt_palette_portrait

The final four palettes that were introduced offer additional combinations of VeroWhite and VeroBlack with either VeroCyan, VeroMagenta or VeroYellow allowing for users to build sophisticated prototypes in a range of subtle grays alongside muted or vibrant color. 

connex3_blue_palette_landscape
The addition of these ten palettes combined with their existing palettes allow for virtually limitless combinations of flexible, rigid and translucent colors in one print job.

“The Objet500 Connex3 is the only 3D printer that combines colors with multi-material 3D printing. The ability to mix rigid, flexible, transparent and opaque colors offers users unprecedented versatility to design and perfect products faster,” says Stratasys Director of Materials & Applications Fred Fischer. “By extending the range of material options available, users can improve workflow speeds and enhance efficiency.”

These new options are available immediately to Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer owners through a free software update. 

Check out this great video on the new materials.