On September 11th and 12th Mario Vargas (Hardware Manager for PADT Inc.) and I (James Barker, Application Engineer for PADT Inc.) attended Convergence 2017 in Los Angeles, CA. This event is held by 3D Systems and is the America’s Software Partner Meeting. Many strategic partners were in attendance from all across the USA, Canada, and Latin America. We were able to learn about some new enhancements to Geomagic that will help you with Inspection or Reverse Engineering BIG time! The first day of meetings we heard from Vyomesh Joshi (CEO of 3D Systems referred to as VJ). He mentioned that 3D Systems has committed 17% to R&D and after going to this event it is apparent! VJ briefly talked about each of their software options. The 1st being Control X and how Polyworks currently has the edge for inspection software but after this next software release, he and other 3D Systems employees seemed confident that they could surpass Polyworks. The 2nd software he talked about was Freeform which allows users to freely design parts by using a haptic device. This software would be great for creating custom shapes on a whim. If you haven’t tried a haptic device, you need to! It will blow your mind as a designer with the freedom you get by using the haptic device and this Freeform Software. The 3rd software he talked about was Cimatron which aids in the design of mold and die design. Of the top 10 largest USA mold makers, 7 of them use Cimatron Software. The 4th software is something new that will be released later this month. I would love to tell you more about it but can’t…. sorry!
A little about why Mario and I attended this convention, PADT Inc. offers 3D Scanning as both a service and also as hardware or software you can buy. We use both Geomagic Design X and Geomagic Control X and have experts that are scanning parts for customers for either inspection results or for reverse engineering purposes at our Tempe, AZ office. The scanner that we use is a CMM quality scanner from Zeiss. This scanner is capable of scanning 5 million points per scan! We also offer 3D Systems Capture and Capture Mini scanners which are great tools for reverse engineering. Each time they scan a part they are capturing about 1 million points per scan. I am located in the Salt Lake City, Utah office and have a Capture Mini scanner that anyone wanting to see and demo, can come look at and evaluate at our office. Same holds true for the Capture scanner and Zeiss scanner in our Tempe, AZ Headquarters. Since we offer these services, we love knowing what new tools are available with these product releases.
Jumping back to the conference, on September 12th, there were breakout sessions. We chose to go to the Geomagic Design X session to see what enhancements have been made. This software is the preferred software in all of the industry for reverse engineering parts. There were many different vendors/partners in the room we were at. There was even a rep from Faro who prefers to sell Geomagic Design X software with each Faro Arm that he sells because this software is so powerful. The neat thing about this software is all of the improvements that have been made to it. If you are accustomed to designing parts with Solidworks, Solidedge, NX, Catia, Pro-E or any of the other CAD software, you will be able to use this software with ease. Every command that you execute within Design X is editable just like the major CAD software. You have the ability to create sketches on planes or to make life even easier, there are wizards that automatically create sketches and perform a command like an extrusion or revolve that is editable after completing the wizard. After you have finished reverse engineering your parts within Design X, you can live transfer your new CAD data over to the above-mentioned CAD software. Once you have imported this data into NX or Solidworks, you can again edit any of the sketches that were created within Design X but now in your software of choice! I would love to show you how powerful this software is. There is a reason why it is the preferred reverse engineering software in the industry.
Geomagic Control X session was next. It also happened to be the last session of the day. To be honest, I have only used Design X so I was looking forward to learning more about this software. From all the demo’s that I have seen in the past from this software, it appeared really hard to use. That is all changing with this new software release and is the reason why VJ is confident that it will compete and could exceed Polyworks as the preferred software for inspection. The biggest thing that stuck out to me was the ability to set up a workflow for scanned data for inspection so that you can create your inspection reports. The idea is that if you have a part that needs to be inspected for quality, you 3D scan the part and then import the CAD file. By overlaying the scanned data over the CAD data you can show the deviation within the 2 parts and you are able to have different views in a 3D PDF to share with others the actual quality of the part. As you are assigning your GD&T to this first inspection file, you are creating the first steps of the workflow. There are many options for the workflow that you can create and 3D Systems has made it easy to create the workflow. I feel that the power of this software is when you can open up the results of the first inspection report and do a split screen on your monitor to show the 100th or 1,000thpart side by side and see how that part deviates from the first.
I had a great time in California at this event even though all of our time was spent at the hotel. The streets looked nice from the window on the 11th floor. Maybe next time we will venture out! If anyone from 3D Systems is reading this, let’s go out to eat next time instead of eating at the hotel for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Although the view from the dining room was nice!
If you have any questions about 3D scanning whether it is for Inspection or for Reverse Engineering, let us know at PADT Inc. We look forward to helping you.