PADT Part of “Made in Tempe” Exhibit at Tempe History Museum

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When you are a small company, there are a lot of things you expect to happen. Being in a history museum is not one of them.  This past November 8th  PADT was featured in the latest exhibition at the Tempe History Museum: Made in Tempe.

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It is a strange thing to stroll through a museum, chatting with a docent, and turn the corner and see something you worked on sitting inside a display case. Then, looking up seeing a display describing who PADT is and what we do was a bit emotional.  But the best part was when a visitor comes up and start reading next to you, and then asks out loud “what is that white thing in the middle, are those gears, was that made on a 3D Printer?” And with a bit of a lump in your throat, replying “Why yes, yes it was.” That very moment was capture by someone from the museum in this image:

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As the museum points out on their website:

“Most people think of Tempe as the home of Arizona State University, Tempe Town Lake and Mill Avenue, but Tempe is also the location for hundreds of manufacturing companies, ranging from hot sauce to heart defibrillators and the Tempe History Museum wants to honor their role in the progress of this city.”

And don’t forget Four Peaks Brewing… definitely some great company to keep.

The attendance was very strong, with many people involved in the Museum, the City of Tempe, and technology spending their Friday night mingling and learning about all of the companies.

Here we see Josh mingling with the other guests:

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The highlight of the evening was to cut the ribbon and officially open the “Made in Tempe” Exhibition, standing with fellow Tempe business owners and executives:

Museum1We are very pleased to be based here in Tempe, Arizona.  It is a great home for companies of all types, but especially technology companies who want a city government that actually gets high-tech, gets the need to have good infrastructure and strong schools, supports a world class university, and makes the type of investments that result in a great environment for long term growth.

PADT is proud to now be part of the city’s official history and especially proud to be “Made in Tempe.”

 

PADT Shows Golf “Participation” at Annual Phoenix Society of Manufacturing Engineers Tournament

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PADT has a great reputation for a lot of things: ANSYS expertise, the people solve those tough engineering problems in product development, outstanding knowledge and quality in rapid prototyping, the knowledge and enthusiasm of our employees. Notice that golf is not listed in there. It is still not listed.

This last Saturday was the annual Phoenix Chapter 067 Society of Manufacturing Engineers Golf Tournament. This well attended event is held to raise money towards scholarships for Manufacturing Engineering students at Arizona State University.  A great cause and the turnout was awesome with eighteen foursomes hitting the fairways at the Arizona Grand Resort. The picture above shows John, Brad, and Eric posing at the hole that PADT sponsored.  Our fourth player prefers to remain anonymous.

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John-GolfPADT hired the bulk of our manufacturing team from the ASU program and we support their efforts to educate future leaders in manufacturing technology. In fact, the picture to the right is of John taking a swing – he is a graduate of this program. Some of the things we do  include internships, onsite tours of our rapid manufacturing facility, lecturing, and donating items to and sponsoring their fundraising auctions.  We also sponsor breakfast and a hole at this event each year.  What we do not do is strike fear and trepidation in the hearts of the other golfers.

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Sigh… 18th out of 18.  Note how they used a different color of ink to make sure everyone noticed we were last. We did get a consolation prize of a large box of golf balls, a not so subtle hint to get out there and practice more.

However, it was a very nice day and we had a great time out there.

 

Annual Halloween Pumpkin Fest Time at PADT

PADT-2013-Halloween-feastWe kicked off the first official event of the holiday season today with our Halloween Pumpkin Fest.  BBQ and “Pumpkin Inspired Dessert” were on the menu as we celebrate the return of awesome weather to Arizona when we can all leave our air-conditioned cubicles and venture outside and sit in the sun without melting.  Very nice.

For those that follow us, we are sad to report that there was no pumpkin launch this year. We have been swamped with work recently and our team of pumpkin projecting professionals just did not have the time to prepare the equipment this year.

We wish all of you a Happy Halloween and we look forward to Thanksgivukkah, Christmas, and the New Year and enjoying a strong end to a great 2013!

 

 

Final PADT Open House Held at Littleton Colorado Office

SONY DSCThis past Wednesday customers, vendors, and friends of PADT gathered at our new Littleton, Colorado office for the third and final open house for 2013.  It was definitely a little cold outside, but that did not keep people away from some good discussions, beverages, and a chance to meet other people in the area who are interested in the sort of things that PADT does: simulation, product development, and rapid prototyping.

We were fortunate to have Debbie Brinkman, the mayor of Littleton, and several council members in attendance along with representatives from the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Space Business Roundtable.

Besides the chance to socialize, the highlights of the evening were the ribbon cutting ceremony and the tour of PADT’s new office.  As always the 3D Printers were a big hit.

Here are some pictures of the event:

SONY DSC  When the sun was still out, it was a good time to share a beer and talk about engineering and technology in Colorado.

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The old county courthouse served as a great backdrop for the event.

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Since this is a new office for s, the city held a ribbon cutting ceremony.  From left to right were:  John Brackney (South Metro Denver Chamber), Ward Rand (PADT Co-Owner), Eric Miller (PADT Co-Owner), Mayor Debbie Brinkman (Littleton), Edgar Johansson (Colorado Space Business Roundtable), and Norman Stucker (PADT Colorado GM)SONY DSC

Clinton Smith, Patrick Barnett, and Stephen Theron from PADT were there to meet with customers and catch up.

SONY DSCMario Vargas, PADT’s Hardware Sales manager, spent much of the evening showing off PADT’s collection of 3D printers that are in the Littleton office.

When Colorado’s attendance of 125 is added to around 50 people at the Albuquerque, New Mexico open house, 300 in Tempe, Arizona we estimate that over 475 people came to one of our events this year.  We hope to see even more for our 20th anniversary celebrations in 2014.

 

PADT’s Hosts 300 Guests for Open House

Sometimes you get lucky.  It was 95F or so, humid as heck, and we had hundreds of people coming for an Arizona Technology Council and PADT Open House combined event.  The good news is one of our long time tenants had just move out to a smaller space across the lake so we had there former bullpen area open and, most importantly, air conditioned. Cancel the tents, break out the vacuums

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Everything came together and we had a great event. Around 300 guests checked in, and suspect a few more sneak in and out before we could grab their contact information.

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The evening started with drinks and food and a lot of networking.  Eight participants in the AZTC partner program were there to talk about the programs and discounts they offer council members.  The Falcon robotics team from Carl Hayden High School was also able to come and show off two of their robots.

After some brief talking by Steven Zylstra, the AZTC President, and Eric Miller, one of PADT’s owners (me), everyone got back to some serious networking and Mexican food eating before the tours of PADT’s facility began at 6:00.

The best part of the networking was watching PADT’s customers, vendors, and friends mingle and get to know each other. Connections were being made all over the room.  Even PADT’s telepresence robot made an appearance and wondered around the room.

During the tours, PADT employees shows off their work (well, the stuff we can show) in Simulation, Product Development, and Rapid Prototyping. As expected, the 3D Printers were the big hit but we heard back from many attendees that they found the talk on Simulation very interesting.  Us old FEA guys like to get some attention.

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In the end we found that we had a problem. With 30 some PADT employees in attendance, all with smart phones in their pockets, we only took one pictures.  the bottom line was that we were all having such a good time interacting with people that we forgot to snap some shots.  Fortunately, Russ Olinsky, one of the guests, was kind enough to send us a picture from the tour.  (If you have any pictures you can share, please email me (eric.miller@padtinc.com)).

Things wrapped up around 9:00, with most people gone at 8:00.  We hope that all of you who came enjoyed it as much as we did.

We hope to see all of you, and those who could not make it, at our 20th anniversary bash in the spring!

Construction Started on PADT’s new High Speed Fiber Connection

 

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We were very excited to find a construction crew outside of PADT’s Tempe building the morning. After months of negotiations and permitting, construction has begun on laying fiber optic cable to the PADT Innovation Center.

That is one big Interweb Pipe!  Can’t wait for the bandwidth.

ANSYS Updates in New Mexico

Los-Alamos-Balcony-1Clinton, Bob, Patrick, and Eric on on a trip to New Mexico to do ANSYS updates in Albuquerque and Los Alamos. The groups have been great, lots of deep questions and further insight into how everyone can get greater value out of their ANSYS Mechanical, FLUENT, CFX, and Maxwell usage.

The Los Alamos session is being held at the Holiday Inn Express as you drive in to town.  The view out the meeting from window is fantastic.  Kind of hard to pay attention to the PowerPoint slide on “New compound observables for the Adjoint Solver.”  The pictures do not do the sky justice.

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Settling in at our New Colorado Office

One of the cooler features (or is it kewler?) of our new digs in Littleton is the fact that the balcony on the front of the office has flag poles.  So we went out and got a US and Colorado flag, and had a PADT flag made.  The sun came out and the wind picked up and I have to say, it looked pretty good. Then a rainbow came out.  #goodstuff.

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It’s Open House Season at PADT!

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With the opening of our new office in Albuquerque, our move to a larger office in Colorado, and a whole boat load of new stuff going on at the main office in the Phoenix area, there are a lot of reasons to come visit PADT during one of our upcoming Open Houses.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
August 13, 2013, 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Tempe, Arizona
Sept. 10, 2013, 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Littleton, Colorado
October 16, 2013, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
All of our Open House events are a great opportunity for you to meet PADT’s staff, get to know what we do a bit better, and network with other PADT customers and vendors.  We provide food and drink as well as enough technical information to make it an enjoyable, but justifiable use of your time.
We will be giving tours of each facility including some in-depth information about 3D Printing, with demos on our Stratasys prototyping systems.
Don’t miss out on “the” technology social events of the year!
These events are crowded, so we would really appreciate it if you would help us get a head count by registering for the open house you plan on attending:

PADT Talks about 3D Printing on Channel 8’s Arizona Horizon

PADT-Horizon-PBS-PicOur latest journey into mass media was a real pleasure.  We were invited to come on to the local Phoenix PBS station to talk about 3D Printing.  The team of students from the Walter Cronkite School of Mass Communications at ASU that do most of the behind the scenes work were great. The host and producer were true professionals who asked some of the best questions we have ever been asked on this topic.

You can the full program here:

http://www.azpbs.org/arizonahorizon/play.php?vidId=6037

Eric’s interview is the second half.

Those of you who know 3D Printing know that they showed a CNC mill instead of one of our 3D printers.  We gave them a bunch of background video to use (from another interview) and they kind of picked the wrong one. But hey, Bob and Luis got on TV!  And all that really matters is that they spelled our name right.

A great opportunity and we look forward to evangelizing the promise of additive manufacturing in the future. You can learn more about the whole world of 3D Printing on our website by starting on our prototyping support page.

Watch PADT on Chanel 8’s Horizon Arizona this Wednesday at 5:30

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PADT will be on the local Phoenix PBS station this Wednesday, July 10th at 5:30 PM talking about 3D Printing and PADT.  Here is the teaser from their website:

3D printing has been around for a while, but it is just starting to make a big impact on mainstream society. Tempe-based Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies is a 3D printing company that was started in 1994 and offers a variety of services, including product simulation, design prototyping and medical devices. The company is also the largest distributor of 3D printing and manufacturing systems in the Southwest. Eric Miller of PADT will talk about his company and 3D printing.

Set your DVR or check watch our news feed to a link for the interview when it hits the web.

Arizona Horizon is the local news show where they talk about local events and activities, and also focus on community news. One recurring segment is their discussion of AZ Technology & Innovation, and PADT has been asked to contribute.  It is in HD… better comb my hair and iron my shirt.

PADT Celebrates with Private Star Trek Showing

Uhuru-PADTCustomers, friends, and families joined PADT’s employees for a private screening of “Star Trek: Into Darkness” last Friday afternoon. We had such a great turnout that the only seats open were in the front row.

Watching a movie like this with a group of technical people is a lot more fun than a general crowd.  Many of us are long time fans so we truly enjoyed sharing some of the inside jokes and tie-ins to Star Trek: TOS as well as the older movies.

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We want to thank everyone who was able to make it and we are already looking at upcoming films to find the right one to do this again with.  And yes, we will get a bigger theater next time.

A Visit to the Solar Impulse Aircraft and Thoughts on Doing Big Things

2013-05-13 11.43.19Our recent visit to see the Solar Impulse aircraft while it visited Phoenix was a great opportunity for us to see some great engineering, share some thoughts on cleantech technology, and be reminded of the power of doing something big.

The Solar Impulse is a “movement challenging conventional thinking to inspire innovation, hope and action among citizens and policymakers.”

Innovation, hope and action about what?

How existing and future technologies can change the way we use energy around the world.

They are doing it by using existing technologies to build an airplane that operates entirely on power gathered from sunlight and that is capable of flying night and day over long distances.  They are currently flying across the US, and are building a second generation aircraft that should be able to fly around the world.

We got some great pictures of the event that you can view on our Facebook or Tumblr

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You can learn the technical specifics about the plane here, and about the trip across the US here.  It truly is an engineering marvel in how every inch of the aircraft is optimized to increase the glide ratio and decrease weight.  The entire power train, from sunlight hitting the wings to the turning of the propellers has a total efficiency of 12%, which is pretty impressive if you consider the fact that the solar cells are only 22% efficient.  The motors and the gearbox are, well, like a finely made Swiss machine.

Once we got over the technical aspects of the aircraft we started to listen to the pilot, Bertrand Piccard.  You may recognize his name (no he is not Capt. Picard’s great-great-great grandfather… as far as we no). He was one of the Aeoronauts who made the first non-stop around the world balloon flight.  He honestly and directly pointed out that there is no real practical application for this aircraft. It has the wingspan of a 747 and can only carry one person.  What he did do is talk about using this project as a demonstration, and a catalyst, to get people around the world to understand that today we can all make small changes that will have a major impact on how much energy we consume, and where it comes from.  From the solar cells to the motors to the high-efficiency LED landing lights, every inch of this plane underscores that message.

It also got me to thinking.  We are often too focused on only doing projects that produce a tangible benefit, that generate direct income or fix a problem directly. If you look at history and when we made giant leaps forward, those leaps were usually started by someone doing something that may not have had a direct and practical application. But it inspired, it pushed the technology forward, and in the end it almost always improved the lives of everyone in some way.

Everywhere this plane goes it attracts big crowds. It’s image on TV and the Internet is shared by millions.  It is changing the way people think about cleantech and showing that we have technology here now that can make a difference.  Will we ever travel in a solar powered commercial airplane? No, probably not. But will this effort inspire someone to develop a more efficient motor and better composite material for wing spars?  I am sure of it.

As we left the improvised hanger at Sky Harbor airport I felt that excitement I used to feel as a child, that challenge that pushed me to become an engineer in the first place. Solving difficult problems, using technology to make the world around us a better place, that is what it is all about. That is what makes what we do here at PADT so damn cool.

So here is to doing something big that inspires.  Thank you SolarImpulse. We all need to follow your lead and dream about making big changes, and make sure that inspiration is a part of what we do.

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PADT Interviewed on Local TV on 3D Printing

cbs5-vanThose of us that have been doing rapid prototyping for over 20 years are a bit taken aback by the sudden interest by the mainstream public in 3D printing, but in  good way. We have been amazed by this technology for decades and have been evangelizing about its uses even before we bought our first Stereolithography machine in 1994.

Two recent news stories have really brought the technology out into open where producers in news rooms are starting to take notice.  The first is the video of some guy who built a single shot gun on FDM machine. The second is the fact that Staples will start selling “hobby” 3D Printers in their stores.  So those same producers googled Phoenix and 3D Printing and they got PADT.  We were more than happy to help set the record straight on additive manufacturing, where it is, and where it is going. Here are stills of all of our soon to be discovered stars:

Eric-TheList-3DPrinting John-ABC-15-gunMario-CBS5-Head

The first interview was a nice one on Channel 12, but it never got put on the internet so you will just have to take our word for it, we were fabulous.

The next video was on the local ABC affiliate, channel 15 and we talked about 3D Printing and also made a copy of the reporters head:

The List: The Futurist: 3D Printing a beak, a break and something in vain

Next came another story on the same channel, really focused on the whole printed gun thing.  John here at PADT did a great job staying focusing on the technology and what it could do.  They even got a shot of our building sign, which made us very happy:

Channel 15 News: 3D Printed Gun Story

Up to that point everything was recorded and edited. Then the local CBS station, Channel 5 asked us to do a live segment where we scanned the news anchors head then talked about the technology while we built it.  It was a lot of fun and Mario was great. Here is the final segment from that show:

Part 1:

CBS 5 – KPHO

 

Part 2:

CBS 5 – KPHO

We look forward to doing more in the future. And maybe one day soon, the general public will get just as excited about numerical simulation, now there is some compelling TV.

 

Spring 2013 PADT Company Meeting

2013-04-30 11.26.57 Twice a year, PADT employees gather from around the country in our main office in Tempe for a company meeting.  We get together in one room for about two hours to review the past 6 months, talk about what we have accomplished, what we are working on now, and where we want to be.

The spring meeting always starts with our annual company picture.  We all get a new shirt with a PADT logo proudly embroidered on the left breast, and we stand in the heat glaring into the sun, each of us wondering if it really has already been 12 months since we last did this.  The result came out pretty good:

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With just over 70 employees on the payroll, we were lucky to get 60 who could make it to the picture and the meeting. That may be a record.