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Instantaneous Simulation Results – Introducing ANSYS Discovery Live

Posted on September 7, 2017, by: Trevor Rubinoff

Simulation software enables product development engineers to gain insights that were previously possible only through making and breaking expensive prototypes. However, such software isn’t for every engineer. It can be difficult to learn and master, and often simulation results take time to set up and calculate. But what if simulation could be faster and easier? With its Discovery Live technology, ANSYS revolutionizes product design. This simulation software provides instantaneous simulation results while you design and edit and enables you to experiment with design ideas for on-the-spot feedback. These immediate insights make simulation useful and relevant to every engineer for upfront CAE. Discovery Live’s speed and simplicity represents a quantum leap forward in simulation technology, and it enables you to spend more time with answers instead of questions. With Discovery Live, you can:
  • Experiment with design ideas, easily make changes and receive instantaneous engineering insights
  • Perform 10 to 1,000 simulations in the same timeframe that was once needed to perform just one simple simulation
  • Simulate on newly created models or any imported CAD file
  • Investigate more options earlier in the design process and develop new products that get to market faster
  • Explore all your “what if” design ideas at little to no cost in time and effort
  • Facilitate breakthroughs and innovations and take your engineering efforts to the next level

Press Release: PADT and Stratasys Announce Lockheed Martin Additive Manufacturing Laboratory at Metropolitan State University in Denver

Posted on August 29, 2017, by: Eric Miller

PADT-Press-Release-IconPADT and Stratasys have worked with Lockheed Martin to establish a new Additive Manufacturing Laboratory at Metropolitan State University in downtown Denver.  The Lockheed Martin Additive Manufacturing Laboratory is the first-of-its-kind facility in Colorado. It is focused on giving students and industry access to the equipment and faculty needed to develop the next generation of manufacturing tooling, based on the use of 3D printing to make the tooling. This is PADT's third successful contribution to the creation of Academia + Industry + Equipment Manufacturer lab, the others being at ASU Polytechnic focused on characterization of 3D Printed parts and at Mesa Community College, focused on training the needed technicians and engineers for running and maintaining additive manufacturing systems. These types of efforts show the commitment from Stratasys, industrial partners, and PADT to making sure that the academic side of new manufacturing technology is being addressed and is working with industry. We reported on the grand opening of the facility here,and are very pleased to be able to announce the official partnership for the Laboratory.  Great partners make all the difference. Official copies of the press release can be found in HTML and PDF.

Press Release:

PADT and Stratasys Announce First-of-its-Kind Additive Manufacturing Lab in Colorado, Located at Metropolitan State University of Denver

Lockheed Martin Additive Manufacturing Laboratory helps students and engineers spur design and creation of composite tooling applications to reduce manufacturing lead times and streamline costs

TEMPE, Ariz. and Minneapolis, MN - August 28, 2017 ─ Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies (PADT) today announced the company is teaming with Stratasys Ltd. (Nasdaq: SSYS), a global leader in applied additive technology solutions, to unveil a first-of-its-kind additive manufacturing lab in Colorado - located at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. Expected to open later this fall, the Lockheed Martin Additive Manufacturing Laboratory is unique to the state, dedicated to advance use of 3D printing for creation of composite tooling applications addressing complex design and manufacturing requirements. Empowering next-generation manufacturing, 3D printing allows designers and engineers to improve efficiency and lead times while minimizing costs. At the centerpiece of this lab are additive technology solutions from Stratasys, enabling students and engineers to speed production and streamline efficiencies with 3D printed, custom tooling solutions addressing even the most complex designs and shapes.  Backed by the Stratasys Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer, the environment is funded through a grant from Lockheed Martin Space Systems – and now becomes one of the few located in Colorado and the only one at a higher-education institution in the Rocky Mountain region. Building the Lockheed Martin Additive Manufacturing Laboratory at MSU Denver is a major development in the progression of additive manufacturing tooling applications,” said Rey Chu, Principal and Co-Founder, Manufacturing Technologies at PADT, Inc.The expertise and dedication of Stratasys and PADT - combined with the generosity of Lockheed Martin and vision for advanced workforce development from MSU Denver - will help propel our industry far beyond where it is today. “We’re excited to work with Lockheed Martin to propel creation of highly innovative, additive manufacturing curriculum at MSU Denver. Both students and local businesses now have access to leading 3D printing solutions for development of composite structures – enabling manufacturers to save time, money, and solve even their most unique design challenges,” said Tim Schniepp, Director of Composite Solutions at Stratasys. “We have no doubt the lab will quickly become a cornerstone of additive manufacturing innovation across the State of Colorado.”  Initially deployed at MSU Denver, the additive manufacturing curriculum will later become available for use by other academic institutions across the country. Additionally, PADT will work with MSU Denver, Lockheed Martin and other users to build a Fortus 900mc Users Group within the Rocky Mountain region. Supporting Quotes Brian Kaplun, Manager, Additive Manufacturing at Lockheed Martin Space Systems: “Lockheed Martin believes this first-of-its-kind laboratory at MSU Denver can shape the future of space. We’ve built 3D-printed parts that traveled 1.7 billion miles to Jupiter, and we look forward to developing a workforce that understands how to use this technology for future flight hardware, tooling and other advanced manufacturing applications.” Robert Park, Director, Advanced Manufacturing Sciences Institute at Metro State University of Denver: “MSU Denver is fortunate to have such great partners who support our passion for nurturing young minds to shape the future of the additive manufacturing industry. We’re also excited to work with Stratasys and PADT on progressing the industry beyond its current scope.” About Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 80 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at About Lockheed Martin Space Systems Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. About Metropolitan State University of Denver MSU Denver is a leader in educating Coloradans through university programs particularly relevant to the state's economy and the demands of today's employers. With the highest number of ethnically diverse students among the state's four-year colleges, MSU Denver offers 67 bachelor and five master degrees in accounting, business, health administration, teaching and social work. Nearly 20,000 students are currently enrolled at MSU Denver, and 75 percent of the University's 88,000 graduates have remained in Colorado as valuable members of the state's workforce. More information can be found at About Stratasys Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) is a global leader in applied additive technology solutions for industries including Aerospace, Automotive, Healthcare, Consumer Products and Education. For nearly 30 years, a deep and ongoing focus on customers’ business requirements has fueled purposeful innovations—1,200 granted and pending additive technology patents to date—that create new value across product lifecycle processes, from design prototypes to manufacturing tools and final production parts. The Stratasys 3D printing ecosystem of solutions and expertise—advanced materials; software with voxel level control; precise, repeatable and reliable FDM and PolyJet 3D printers; application-based expert services; on-demand parts and industry-defining partnerships—works to ensure seamless integration into each customer’s evolving workflow. Fulfilling the real-world potential of additive, Stratasys delivers breakthrough industry-specific applications that accelerate business processes, optimize value chains and drive business performance improvements for thousands of future-ready leaders around the world. Corporate Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota and Rehovot, Israel. Online at: and LinkedIn. Stratasys, Fortus, and FDM are registered trademarks, and the Stratasys signet is a trademark of Stratasys Ltd. and or its subsidiaries or affiliates. All other trademarks belong to their respective owners.

# # #

PADT Media Contact Alec RobertsonTechTHiNQ on behalf of PADT 585.281.6399 PADT Contact Eric Miller PADT, Inc. Principal & Co-Owner 480.813.4884 Stratasys Media Contact Craig Librett Stratasys Principal & Co-Owner 518.424.2497

How ANSYS Helped Us View the Solar Eclipse

Posted on August 22, 2017, by: Ted Harris

Here in the Phoenix area, we weren’t treated to the full total eclipse that others in the USA got to see.  Our maximum coverage of the sun was a bit over 60%.  Still, there was an eclipse buzz in the PADT headquarters and although we had some rare clouds for a few minutes, the skies did part and we did get to view the partial eclipse from the parking lot. So, how did ANSYS help us view the eclipse?  It was in an indirect way – via a pinhole camera I made from an old ANSYS installation software box.  The software box, a hobby knife to cut out a viewing port, a couple of post-it notes to allow for a small hole and a clear projection area, and a thumb tack were all that was needed, along with a couple of minutes to modify the box.   Here we can see the viewing port cut into the software box.  On the opposite side is a pin hole to allow the sun’s light to enter the box. After heading out to the eclipsing grounds (the parking lot), we quickly lined up the pin hole and the projection screen and got our views of the partially obscured sun: Here is a close up of the sun’s image projected inside the box: Others viewing the eclipse here at PADT HQ had a range of filters, eclipse glasses, etc.  With the projection method as shown above, though, we don’t have to worry about eye damage.  So, in a way, ANSYS did help us view the eclipse safely, by providing a box that was easy to convert to a pinhole camera. While we enjoyed the partial eclipse here in Arizona, we did have a couple of PADT colleagues in the path of totality.  Here is a picture from one of my coworkers who viewed the eclipse in South Carolina: We hope you enjoyed the eclipse as well, either in person or via images on the web.  We’re looking forward to the next one! Finally, In case you missed an earlier astronomical rarity back in 2012, here is a photo of the planet Venus transiting in front of the sun’s disk (black dot on the left side).  The next one of these won’t be until December, 2117.  

Announcement: Affordable Metal 3D Printing from Desktop Metal Added to PADT Portfolio

Posted on July 24, 2017, by: Eric Miller

PADT is pleased to announce that it has partnered with Desktop Metal to resell its office-friendly and affordable metal 3D Printing solution. The partnership will also allow PADT to integrate this exciting new technology into its 3D Printer maintenance and part printing services. Desktop Metal’s new system is unique to the industry because it is a complete solution with a patented anti-sintering material that enables easily removed supports and the creation of complete assemblies. With the proprietary sintering furnace the DM Studio System delivers accurate parts quickly.  PADT will be representing this new solution in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. “We are very excited to fill this gap in our product offering,” said Rey Chu, co-owner and director of manufacturing technology at PADT. “It enables us to serve customers who need stronger properties than plastic additive manufacturing systems can offer, but who don’t need a direct laser melting solution. We researched our options and watched the development of many different products. We knew Desktop Metal had the right solution when we learned that it had developed a complete package that is easy to use.” The DM Studio System™ is based on the Metal Injection Molding (MIM) process and will start shipping this September. It is the first office-friendly platform for metal 3D printing and is considerably less expensive than existing technology. The Studio System will be sold as a package for $120,000. This includes the metal 3D printer, debinder, and microwave-enhanced sintering furnace. As a leader in additive manufacturing for more than 20 years, PADT is a resource for customers who need 3D Printing as a service, or who need their own systems in-house. The DM Studio System™ will compliment the complete line of Stratasys FDM and Polyjet systems that the PADT resells as well as direct laser melting systems from our partner Concept Laser. Our company’s expertise with fused deposition modeling, sintering, and MIM also make us uniquely qualified to represent this solution. “Our team is looking forward to getting this technology in front of customers,” said PADT’s Manager of Hardware Sales, Mario Vargas. “Metal 3D Printing is something our customers have wanted to add, but they could not find a turn-key solution for prototyping with various metal materials. Desktop Metal leveraged its expertise in metallurgy and software to deliver a complete system that can be run in an office environment. This is very compelling for many of our customers across industries.” In the coming months, PADT will be setting up seminars and contacting customers across the Southwest to help educate the user community on the unique value proposition of the DM Studio System™. Anyone interested in learning more can reach out to or call 480.813.4884, technical experts are available to explain and answer any questions.

Save the date!

To show off this exciting technology we will be having putting on a DesktopMetal Studio System Road Show in August. Register now!
To learn more right now you can:

PADT makes 100th Microloan through Kiva over 10 years

Posted on June 28, 2017, by: Eric Miller

Today PADT hit a bit of a milestone, we gave out our 100th microloan over the past 10 years, to a guy named Roger Yester who makes adobe bricks in Peru.  Microloans are small loans, created by pooling bite-sized amounts of money from many people, given to individuals or small groups to help them with their business. It may be to buy raw materials to fulfil an order, as is the case with our 100th loan, or to buy inventory for a small store they operate out of stall in the local village.  The movement started as an alternative to high interest rate loans from predatory lenders and has grown as a way to fund people all over the world from every economic level. We put $1000 into Kiva back in June of 2007, ten years ago.  (I like round numbers).  We added another $500 a few years later and have been reinvesting that same capital over and over again since.  This re-use of funds has lead to $7,900 lent across 100 loans. We have only had two defaults and have donated $935 to Kiva to cover overhead during that time. The loans have gone to 50 different types of enterprises, mostly agricultural. We have helped buy breeding pigs and chickens in several countries, funded a new motorcycle for a taxi service in Cambodia, and backed a furniture maker in Mongolia.  Over the years PADT's investments have supported 5 different beauty salons in Vietnam, Tanzania, Nigeria, Peru, and Jordan.  Our most common investment is in clothing sales with 8 different entrepreneurs backed for that industry. We have even given loans to help families send their daughters to secondary school. You can see some of our key loans and more statistics If you think this sounds like something you, your family, or your company might like to do, sign up through this link and they add $25 to our loan pool when you make your first loan:     

Aerospace Summit, Additive Manufacturing Peer Group, and Industry-Education Partnership – A Three Event, Three State Hat Trick

Posted on June 23, 2017, by: Eric Miller

Sometimes everything happens at once.  This June 22nd was one of those days.  Three key events were scheduled for the same time in three different states and we needed to be at all of them. So everyone stepped up and pulled it off, and hopefully some of you reading this were at one of these fantastic events.  Combined they are a great example of PADT's commitment to the local technology ecosystem, showing how we create true win-win partnerships across organizations and geographies.   Since the beginning we wanted to be more than just a re-seller or just consultants, and this Thursday was a chance to show our commitment to doing just that.

Albuquerque: New Mexico Technology Council 3D Printing Peer Group Kickoff

Everyone talks about how they thing we should all work together, but there never seems to be someone who is willing to pull it all together. That is how the additive manufacturing committee in New Mexico was until the New Mexico Technology Council (NMTC) stepped up to host a peer group around 3D Printing.  Even though it was a record 103f in Albuquerque, 35 brave 3D Printing enthusiasts ventured out into the heat and joined us at Rio Bravo Brewing to get the ball rolling on creating a cooperative community.  We started with an introduction from NMTC, followed by an overview of what we want to achieve with the group. Our goals are:
  1. Create stronger cooperation between companies, schools, and individuals involved in 3D Printing in New Mexico
  2. Foster cooperation between organizations to increase the benefits of 3D Printing to New Mexico
  3. Make a contribution to New Mexico STEM education in the area of 3D Printing
To make this happen we will meet once a quarter, be guided by a steering committee, and grow our broad membership.  Anyone with any involvement in Additive Manufacturing in the state is welcome to join in person or just be part of the on-line discussion. Then came the best part, where we went around the room and shared our names, orginization, and what we did in the world of 3D Printing.  What a fantastic group.  From a K-12 educator to key researchers at the labs, we had every industry and interest representing. What a great start. Here are the slides from that part of the presentation: NMTC-PADT-3D-Printing-Peer-Group-2017_06_22
Once that was done PADT's Rey Chu gave a presentation where it went over the most important developments in Additive Manufacturing over the last year or so.  He talked about the three new technologies that are making an impact, new materials, and what is happening business wise.  Check out his slides to learn more: NMTC-PADT-New-3D-Printing-2017_06_22
After a question and answer period we had some great conversations in small groups, which was the most valuable part. If you want to learn more, please reach out to and we will add you to the email list where we will plan and execute future activities.  We are also looking for people to be on the steering committee and locations for our next couple of meetings. Share this with as many people as you can in New Mexico so that next event can be even better!

Denver: MSU Advance Manufacturing & Engineering Sciences Building Opening

Meanwhile, in Denver it was raining.  In spite of that,  supporters of educating the next generation of manufacturers and engineers gathered for the opening of the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Sciences Building at Metropolitan State University.  This 142,000 sqft multi-disciplinary facility is located in the heart of downtown Denver and will house classes, labs, and local companies.  PADT was there to not only celebrate the whole facility, but we were especially excited about the new 3D Printing lab that is being funded by a $1 million gift from Lockheed Martin.  A nice new Stratasys Fortus 900 is the centerpiece of the facility.  It will be a while before the lab itself is done, so watch for an invite to the grand opening.  While we wait we are working with MSU, Lockheed Martin, Stratasys, and others to put a plan together to develop the curriculum for future classes and making sure that the engineers needed for this technology are available for the expected explosion of use of this technology. Stratasys and PADT are proud to be partners of this fantastic effort along with many key companies in Colorado.  If you want to learn more about how we can help you build partnerships between industry and academia, please reach out to or give us a call. Phoenix:  2017 Aerospace, Aviation, Defense + Manufacturing Conference The 113f high in Phoenix really didn't stop anyone from coming to the AADM conference. This annual event was at ASU SkySong in Phoenix and is sponsored by the AZ Tech Council, AZ Commerce Authority, and RevAZ.  PADT was proud to not only be a sponsor, but also have a booth, participate in the advanced manufacturing panel discussion, and do a short partner presentation about what we do for our Aerospace and Defense Customers. Here is Rob's presentation on PADT: PADT-AeroConf-AZTC-2017
We had great conversations at our booth with existing customers, partners, and a few people that were new to us.  This is always one of the best events of the summer, and we look forward to next year. If you want to know more about how PADT can help you in your Aerospace, Defense, and Manufacturing efforts, reach out and contact us.

Celebrating the Impact and Innovation of CEI, PADT’s Startup Home

Posted on June 22, 2017, by: Eric Miller

In Phoenix, just North of the airport on a record hot day of 119f, about 30 people gathered into a conference room to celebrate a place that has become a bright success in the region's startup community. The Center For Entrepreneurial Innovations, or CEI, held their first ever Innovation and Impact Celebration.  This gathering of sponsors, clients, mentors, and staff of CEI highlighted the success that this outstanding incubator has enjoyed since its grand opening in 2013. Some of the key numbers shared were:
  • 247 high paying jobs created by CEI clients
  • $28,000,000 raised by CEI clients in investments, grants, and awards
  • $69,000,000 in revenue generating by CEI clients
  • 3,240 hours given in mentoring and consulting to CEI clients
To celebrate this success, four awards were given out.  PADT was honored to design and 3D Print these awards (read more in a separate post here) and be there to hear the great stories from the winners about how CEI has been such a great resource.
  • Paraffin International won for Graduate of the Year
  • Beacon Biomedical was awarded Client of the Year
  • Tom Lagerhausen & Tommy Andrews were recognized as Mentors of the Year
  • The City of Phoenix received Sponsor of the Year
As a tenant at CEI, PADT gets to see the inner workings that produce such fantastic numbers.  In fact, we decided to put our focus on startups at CEI because of the quality of people, programs, and support that they offer.  Back in April of 2015, we opened PADT StartUpLabs as a place to host our outreach to the community and as a way to offer affordable 3D Printing to startups. We also host seminars and meetings there because it is just a great facility. The primary reason that we partnered with them was a little more blunt. We saw that the companies they incubated succeeded.  When many others talk the talk of startup support, CEI has been busy walking the walk.  We see it almost every day, and it is pretty unique how well they do.  Huge fans, and great to see the key success stories and contributors being recognized! Check out this recent video to learn a bit more about how they do it: Check it out, and get involved.  If you are a startup, look at becoming a client.  Or maybe you can volunteer to help in some way.  But what they need the most if strong partners and sponsors.   PADT has never regretted our partnership and it has  been a great win-win experience.  Stop talking about making the Phoenix area startup ecosystem better, and step up and join CEI in making it happen.      

Assembly Modeling with ANSYS

Posted on May 30, 2017, by: Doug Oatis

In my previous article, I wrote about how you get what you pay for with your analysis package.  Well, buckle up for some more…but this time we’ll just focus on handling assemblies in your structural/thermal simulations.  If all you’re working on are single components, count yourself lucky.  Almost every simulation deals with one part interacting with another.  You can simplify your boundary conditions a bit to make it equivalent, but if you have significant bearing stresses, misalignments, etc…you need to include the supporting parts.  Better hope your analysis package can handle contact… Image result for get what you pay for First off, contact isn’t just for structural simulations.  Contact allows you to pass loads across difference meshes, meaning you don’t need to create a conformal mesh between two parts in order to simulate something.  Here’s a quick listing on the degrees of freedom supported in ANSYS (don’t worry…you don’t need to know how to set these options as ANSYS does it for you when you’re in Workbench): image You can use contact for structural, thermal, electrical, porous domain, diffusion, or any combination of those.  The rest of this article is going to focus on the structural side of things, but realize that the same concepts apply to essentially any analysis you can do within ANSYS Mechanical.. First, it’s incredibly easy to create contact in your assembly.  Mechanical automatically looks for surfaces within a certain distance from one another and builds contact.  You can further customize the automated process by defining your own connection groups, as I previous wrote about.  These connection groups can create contact between faces, edges, solids bodies, shell bodies, and line bodies. image Second, not only can you create contact to transfer loads across different parts, but you can also automatically create joints to simulate linkages or ‘linearize’ complicated contacts (e.g. cylindrical-to-cylindrical contact for pin joints).  With these joints you can also specify stops and locks to simulate other components not explicitly modeled.  If you want to really model a threaded connection you can specify the pitch diameter and actually ‘turn’ your screw to properly develop the shear stress under the bolt head for a bolted joint simulation without actually needing to model the physical threads (this can also be done using contact geometry corrections)

image Look ma, no threads (modeled)!


If you’re *just* defining contact between two surfaces, there’s a lot you simulate.  The default behavior is to bond the surfaces together, essentially weld them closed to transmit tensile and compressive loads.  You also have the ability to let the surfaces move relative to each other by defining frictionless, frictional, rough (infinite coefficient of friction), or no-separation (surfaces don’t transmit shear load but will not separate). image Some other ‘fancy’ things you can do with contact is simulate delamination by specifying adhesive properties (type I, II, or III modes of failure).  You can add a wear model to capture surface degradation due to normal stress and tangential velocity of your moving surfaces.  You can simulate a critical bonding temperature by specifying at what temperature your contacts ‘stick’ together instead of slide.  You can specify a ‘wetted’ contact region and see if the applied fluid pressure (not actually solving a CFD simulation, just applying a pressure to open areas of the contact interface) causes your seal to open up. image Now, it’s one thing to be able to simulate all of these behaviors.  The reason you’re running a finite element simulation is you need to make some kind of engineering judgement.  You need to know how the force/heat/etc transfers through your assembly.  Within Mechanical you can easily look at the force for each contact pair by dragging/dropping the connection object (contact or joint) into the solution.  This will automatically create a reaction probe to tell you the forces/moments going through that interface.  You can create detailed contour plots of the contact status, pressure, sliding distance, gap, or penetration (depending on formulation used).



Again, you can generate all of that information for contact between surface-to-surface, surface-to-edge, or edge-to-edge.  This allows you to use solids, shells, beams, or any combination you want, for any physics you want, to simulate essentially any real-world application.  No need to buy additional modules, pay for special solvers, fight through meshing issues by trying to ‘fake’ an assembly through a conformal mesh.  Just import the geometry, simplify as necessary (SpaceClaim is pretty awesome if you haven’t heard), and simulate it.) For a more detailed, step-by-step look at the process, check out the following video!

Additive Manufacturing: 3D Printing a Metal Shift Knob for Faster Cooling

Posted on May 25, 2017, by: Eric Miller

When Nathan Huber moved to Arizona from Colorado to join PADT he learned a lot, and one of the things he learned fast was that the inside of cars get very hot in the summer here.  In fact, the shift knob on his car was untouchable in July.  This coincided with his learning more about metal 3D Printing and an idea occurred, what about 3D Printing a metal shift knob designed to cool off faster, and that looked cool.  Oh, and use ANSYS to drive the design. He blogged about it before (here and here), and Additive Manufacturing online picked up the story and added to it on their blog post "3D Printing a Metal Shift Knob for Faster Cooling"  Check it out, they did a nice job of explaining what we did and how Nathan used several of our tools like ANSYS Mechanical and our Concept Laser metal system to realize the design.  

3D Printing Peer Group of New Mexico Tech Council Launching on June 22

Posted on May 24, 2017, by: Eric Miller

We are very pleased to announce the launch meeting of the newest New Mexico Technology Council peer group: 3D Printing.  After the success of other peer groups, and a similar committee in the Arizona Technology Council, PADT is partnering with the NMTC to start a group focused on all things Additive Manufacturing, which is the more technical name for 3D Printing. Schools, businesses, and individuals who have any involvement or interest in this exciting and transformative technology will be able to network and organize to get greater value from 3D Printing. This includes understanding the technology, working together on research projects, and getting to know what services are available locally.  It will also serve as a platform to coordinate the use of 3D printing in STEM education.      For this launch event, PADT's Rey Chu will share his thoughts on the latest and most interesting advancements in 3D Printing.
What: NMTC 3D Printing Peer Group Launch Networking Beer
Where: Rio Bravo Brewing Company, 1912 2nd St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
When: June 22, 2017 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Who: Anyone (21 years of age or older) involved in Academia, Industry, or Research that is involved or interested in Additive Manufacturing
Why: To build cooperation between the growing 3D Printing community in the state
How: Being social, creating connections, and joining the group to take action in the future
We will kick off the meeting with introductions around the room, then listen to Rey share his views on what is new and interesting in this industry, then talk about the peer group, answer questions, and start planning our next activities.  At around 6:45 or so we will commence with the networking. Please contact PADT at if you have any questions before the event.   We hope to see you there. Don't forget to register, and please let anyone else you think might be interested know about the event.  

Advanced ANSYS Functionality

Posted on May 18, 2017, by: Doug Oatis

Just like any other marketplace, there are a lot of options in simulation software.  There are custom niche-codes for casting simulations to completely general purpose linear algebra solvers that allow you to write your own shape functions.  Just like with most things in life, you truly get what you pay for. Image result for get what you pay for   For basic structural and thermal simulations pretty much any FE-package should suffice.  The difference there will be in how easy it is to pre/post process the work and the support you receive from the vendor.  How complicated is the geometry to mesh, how long does it take to solve, if you can utilize multiple cores how well does it scale, how easy is it to get reactions at interfaces/constraints…and so on.  I could make this an article about all the productivity enhancements available within ANSYS, but instead I’ll talk about some of the more advanced functionalities that differentiate ANSYS from other software out there.
  • Radiation
You can typically ignore radiation if there isn’t a big temperature gradient between surfaces (or ambient) and just model your system as conduction/convection cooled.  Once that delta is large enough to require radiation to be modeled there are several degrees of numerical difficulty that need to be handled by the solver. First, radiating to ambient is fairly basic but the heat transfer is now a function of T^4.  The solver can also be sensitive to initial conditions since large DT results in a large heat transfer, which can then result in a large change in temperature from iteration to iteration.  It’s helpful to be able to run the model transiently or as a quasi-static to allow the solver to allow some flexibility. Next, once you introduce surface to surface radiation you now have to calculate view factors prior to starting the thermal solution. If you have multiple enclosures (surfaces that can’t see each other, or enclosed regions) hopefully there are some processes to simplify the view factor calculations (not wasting time calculating a ‘0’ for elements that can’t radiate to each other).  The view factors can sometimes be sensitive to the mesh density, so being able to scale/modify those view factors can be extremely beneficial. Lastly you run into the emissivity side of things.  Is the emissivity factor a function of temperature?  A function of wavelength?  Do you need to account for absorption in the radiation domain? Luckily ANSYS does all of this.  ANSYS Mechanical allows you to easily define radiation to ambient or surface-to-surface.  If you’re using symmetry in your model the full radiating surface will be captured automatically.  You can define as many enclosures as possible, each with different emissivity factors (or emissivity vs Temperature).  There are more advanced features that can help with calculating view factors (simplify the radiating surface representation, use more ray traces, etc) and there is functionality to save the calculated view factors for later simulations.  ANSYS fluid products (CFX and Fluent) can also account for radiation and have the ability to capture frequency-based emissivity and participating media.


Automatic expansion of radiating surfaces across symmetry planes


Different enclosures to simplify view factor calculations

Long story short…you don’t have to know what the Stefan-Boltzman constant is if you want to include radiation in your model (bonus points if you do).  You don’t have to mess with a lot of settings to get your model to run.  Just insert radiation, select the surface, and run.  Additional options and technical support is there if necessary.

  • Multiple/Multi-physics
I’d expect that any structural/thermal/fluids/magnetics code should be able to solve the basic fundamental equations for the environment it simulates.  However, what happens when you need to combine physics, like a MEMs device.  Or maybe you want to take some guess-work/assumptions out of how one physics loads another, like what the actual pressure load is from a CFD simulation on a structural model.  Or maybe you want to capture the acoustic behavior of an electric motor, accounting for structural prestress/loads such as Joule heating and magnetic forces. image ANSYS allows you to couple multiple physics together, either using a single model or through data mapping between different meshes.  Many of the data mapping routines allow for bi-directional data passing so the results can converge.  So you can run an magnetic simulation on the holding force between a magnet and a plate, then capture the deflected shape due to an external load, and pass that deformed shape back to the magnetic simulation to capture the updated force (and repeat until converged).


If you have vendor-supplied data, or are using another tool to calculate some other results you can read in point cloud data and apply it to your model with minimal effort. image To make another long story short…you can remove assumptions and uncertainty by using ANSYS functionality.
  • Advanced Material Models
  Any simulation tool should be able to handle simple linear material models.  But there are many different flavors of ‘nonlinear’ simulation.  Does the stiffness change due to deflection/motion (like a fishing rod)?  Are you working with ductile metals that experience plastic deformation?  Does the stiffness change due to parts coming into/out-of contact?  Are surfaces connected through some adhesive property that debonds under high loads?  Are you working with elastomers that utilize some polynomial form hyper-elasic formulation?  Are you working with shape memory alloys?  Are you trying to simulate porous media through some geomechanical model?  Are you trying to simulate a stochastic material variation failure in an impact/explosive simulation? image Large deflection stiffness calculations, plasticity, and contact status changes are easy in ANSYS.  Debonding has been available since ANSYS 11 (reminder, we’re at release 18.0 now).  ANSYS recently integrated some more advanced geomechanical models for dam/reservoir/etc simulations.  The explicit solver allows you to introduce stochastic variation in material strengths for impact/explosive simulations.


ANSYS also has all the major flavors of hyper-elastic material models.  You can choose from basic Neo-Hookean, Arruda-Boyce, Gent, all the way through multiple variations of Mooney-Rivlin, Yeoh, Ogden, and more.  In addition to having these material models available (and the curve fitting routines to properly extract the constants from test data) ANSYS also has the ability to dynamically remesh a model.  Most of the time when you’re analyzing the behavior of a hyperelastic part there is a lot of deformation, and what starts out as a well-shaped mesh can quickly turn into a bad mesh.  Using adaptive meshing, you can have the solve automatically pause the solution, remesh the deformed shape, map the previous stress state onto the new nodes/elements, and continue with the solution.  I should note that this nonlinear adaptive remesh is NOT just limited to hyperelastic simulations…it is just extremely helpful in these instances. The ending of this story is pretty much the same as others.  If you have a complicated material response that you’re trying to capture you can model it in ANSYS.  If you already know how to characterize your material, just find the material model and enter the constants.  We’ve worked with several customers in getting their material tested and properly characterized.  So while most structural codes can do basic linear-elastic, and maybe some plastic…very few can capture all the material responses that ANSYS can.
  • MEMs/Piezo/Etc
I know I’ve already discussed multiple physics and advanced materials, but once you start making parts smaller you start to get coupling between physics that may not work well for vector-based coupling (passing load vectors/deformations from one mesh to another).  Luckily ANSYS has a range of multi-physics elements that can solve use either weak or strong coupling to solve a host of piezo or MEM-related problems (static, transient, modal, harmonic).  Some codes allow for this kind of coupling but either require you to write your own governing equations or pay for a bunch of modules to access. If you have the ANSYS Enterprise-level license you can download a free extension that exposes all of these properties in the Mechanical GUI.  No scripting, no compiling, just straight-up menu clicks.


Using this extension you can define the full complex piezoelectric matrix, couple it with an anisotropic elasticity matrix, and use frequency dependent losses to capture the actual response of your structure.  Or if you want you can use simplified material definitions to get the best approximation possible (especially if you’re lacking a full material definition from your supplier).   Long story short…there are a lot of simulation products out there.  Pretty much any of them should be able to handle the basics (single part, structural/thermal, etc).  What differentiates the tools is in how easy it helps you implement more real-world conditions/physics into your analysis.  Software can be expensive, and it’s important that you don’t paint yourself into a corner by using a single point-solution or low-end tool.

Thoughts from my day in a smart home – the importance of connecting right

Posted on April 19, 2017, by: Eric Miller

When I was asked to take part in a demonstration put on by one of our local communication companies, Cox Communications, showing off what a "smart home" looks like, I of course said yes.  I love gadgets, and smart gadgets more.  On top of that it was another chance to evangelise on the power of 3D Printing.  And I got to hang out in a brand new luxury condo in Downtown Phoenix, a post kid lifestyle change that is very appealing.  Plus we deal with customers designing and improving Internet of Things (IoT) devices all the time, and this is the perfect chance to see such products in action. So I packed up one of our Makerbots, none of our Fortus machines fits in the back of my Prius, and headed downtown.  The first thing that shocked me was that I had the printer, my iPhone, iPad, and laptop connected to their network in about one minute.  The printer showed up on the Makerbot Print app on my iPad and I was printing a part in about three minutes.
My station, showing off 3D Printing in the home.
The whole point of the demonstration was to show how the new high-speed Internet offering from Cox, Gigablast, can enable a true smart home.  So I was focused on the speed of the connection to the Internet, which was fast.  What I didn't get till I connected was that the speed and bandwidth of the WiFi in the house was even more important. When everything was connected, we had 55 devices on the local network talking to each other and the Internet. At one point I was downloading a large STL file to the printer while on a teleconference on my iPhone and my "roommate" was giving a violin lesson to one of his students in Canada. Oh, and the roomba started to vacuum the floor. On the balcony someone was giving a golf lesson and a doctor was diagnosing a patient in the master bedroom.  That was on top of the smart kitchen gadgets.  And it all worked.  Yes, it all worked. I'm trying to convey shock and surprise because the reality is that nine times out of ten when I show up for some event, at a customer, or at a friends house and we try and connect things to the internet... it doesn't work.  If you are a technical guy you know that feeling when your vacation or visit for dinner turns into an IT house call.  All I could think of was how awesome it was that everything worked and it was fast. So I went to work printing little plastic Arizona style houses with COX on the roof. And then a reporter showed up. "3D Printing, interesting.  Hmmmm...  they are cool and all but really, what does that have to do with a smart house?"  Damn reporters and their questions.  I was still reveling in the fact that everything worked so well, I hadn't taken to time to think about the "so what." Then I thought about it.  3D Printing in the home is just now starting to take off, and the reason why is actually high-speed internet connections. If you wanted a 3D Printer in your home in the past you needed the printer, a high end computer, and some good 3D modeling software on that computer.  Basically you had to create whatever you wanted to make.  Unless you are a trained engineer, that may not be so easy.
My "house" that I was printing at the invent sits on the cloud in my Thingiverse account.
But with a well connected home you have access to places like Thingiverse and Grabcad to download stuff you want to print.  And if you do want to create your own, you can go to Tinkercad or Onshape and use a free online 3D modeler to create your geometry.  All over the web, even on a pad, phone (I don't recommend trying to do modeling on a phone, but it does work), or on a basic computer.  The files are stored in the cloud and downloaded directly to your printer.  No muss, no fuss.  All you need is a reliable and fast connection to the internet and in your home.

High speed internet and a smart 3D printer makes anyone a maker.

And when we had a three hour break, I went downstairs to a coffee shop on the ground floor of the condo and worked, while monitoring my builds using the camera in the smart 3D Printer. Pretty cool when you step back and think about how far we have come from that first Stereolithography machine that PADT bought in 1994.  We had to use floppy disks to get the data from our high-end Unix workstation to the machine.  Now it sits on the web and can be monitored. This may be what we have been waiting for when it comes to 3D Printers in the home moving beyond that technologists and makers. I've been focused on my experience with the 3D printing in the smart home, but there was a lot more to look at.  Check out these stories to learn more: Phoenix Business Journal: Cox shows off a smart home with 55 connected devices and fast gigabyte internet The Arizona Republic: Cox 'smart home' in Phoenix displays future at the push of a button I also did a piece for the Phoenix Business Journal while I was at the event on "3 keys to success for smart home devices" based on what I learned while playing with the other devices in the smart home. All and all a good day.  Oh, and being a 10 minute walk from my favorite pub made the idea of living downtown not such a bad idea, which doesn't have much to do with high speed internet, connected devices, or 3D Printing.  But one of my goals was to check out post-child urban living...    

Introducing our new Newsletter: The PADT Pulse

Posted on April 10, 2017, by: Eric Miller

We are very pleased to announce our new newsletter, the PADT Pulse.  For a while now customers have been asking for a monthly update on what is going on without having to go through our blog. So we are taking the best of what we did in a given month and sharing it in this newsletter. Not only does it have a recap of important activities, it summarizes our most popular blog posts, shares some outside news of interest, and keeps you up to date on our upcoming events. We hope you enjoy it. Here is a link to the online version. And you can subscribe here.

PADT Welcomes John Williams to Business Development Role

Posted on April 5, 2017, by: Eric Miller

Please join Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies in welcoming our new engineering services business development manager, John Williams. John will be an integral part of our growth in helping customers turn their innovations into real products through our advanced engineering capabilities, flexible project management skills and careful vendor selection process. “With John joining our team, we’ll be able to take our engineering services business to the next level and expand on our offerings,” said Eric Miller, co-founder and principal at PADT. “His sales and business development experience at the national and international level makes him ideal to handle our diverse client portfolio and position us as a major player in this category.” To help PADT improve its market position in engineering services and product development, Williams will help define long-term organizational goals, build customer relationships, identify new business opportunities, and maintain extensive knowledge of market conditions. “PADT is a diverse and innovative company that presents a number of exciting opportunities,” said Williams. “I look forward to using my experience and reach to raise awareness of the great engineering expertise the company can provide. Once companies realize how PADT can help them solve tough problems and implement their designs, the word will spread that PADT really does make innovation work.” Williams brings more than 16 years of sales experience to the position. He joins PADT from Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. in South Asia where he was the director of business development. Prior to working at Bell Helicopter, John was Regional Sales Director for Textron Aviation for South Asia.  Prior to this, he was President of Williams Consulting Group (WCG) in Phoenix, AZ. Before starting WCG, Williams spent 12 years with The Boeing Company where he was last responsible for implementing Boeing's offset programs in India. He also played a key role in successfully winning several large orders for Boeing. Prior to this assignment, Williams was in International Contracts at Boeing Defense Systems where he successfully negotiated and closed several major Commercial and US FMS contracts with foreign governments. Williams holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Northwestern College. He has numerous professional certifications including a Master’s Certificate in Global Leadership from Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management; as well as certifications in various U.S. Federal Acquisition Programs.

Making Solids Water Tight in ANSYS Spaceclaim for ANSYS Workbench Meshing

Posted on March 30, 2017, by: Tom Chadwick

Occasionally when solid geometry is imported from CAD into ANSYS SpaceClaim the geometry will come in as solids, but when a mesh is generated on the solids the mesh will appear to “leak” into the surrounding space. Below is an assembly that was imported from CAD into SpaceClaim. In the SpaceClaim Structure Window all of the parts can be seen to be solid components. When the mesh is generated in ANSYS Mechanical it appears like the assembly has been successfully meshed. However, when you look at the mesh a little closer, the mesh can be missing from some of the surfaces and not displayed correctly on others. Additionally, if you create a cross-section through the mesh, the mesh on some of the parts will “leak” outside of the part boundaries and will look like the image below. Based on the mesh color, the mesh of the part in the center of the assembly has grown outside of the surfaces of the part. To repair the part you need to go back to SpaceClaim and rebuild it. First you need to hide the rest of the parts. Next, create a sketch plane that passes through the problem part. In the sketch mode create a rectangle that surrounds the part. When you return to 3D mode in SpaceClaim, that rectangle will become a surface that passes through the part. Now use the Pull tool in SpaceClaim to turn that surface into a part that completely surrounds the part to be repaired, making sure to turn on the “No Merge” option for the pull before you begin. After you have pulled the surface into a solid, it should like the image below where the original part is completely buried inside the new part. Now you will use the Combine tool to divide the box with the original part. Select Combine from the Tool Bar, then select the box that you created in the previous step. The cutter will be activated and you will move the cursor around until the original part is highlighted inside the box. Select it with the left mouse button. The Combine tool will then give you the option to select the part of the box that you want to remove. Select the part that surrounds the original part. After it is finished, close the combine tool and the Structure Tree and 3D window will now look like the following: Now move the new solid that was created with the Combine tool into the location of the original part and turn off the original one and re-activate the other parts of the assembly. The assembly and Structure Tree should now look like the pictures below. Now save the project, re-open the meshing tool, and re-generate the mesh. The mesh should now be correct and not “leaking” beyond the part boundaries.