How do you make sure that your customers have a great experience? In “Five simple strategies for promoting customer satisfaction” PADT’s manager of ANSYS Technical Support and Training, Ted Harris, outlines the tools he and his team use to keep PADT’s customer satisfaction rates outstanding.
Attending AeroDef this year in Fort Worth? Make sure you register to tour Concept Laser on March 6th before AeroDef! You’ll hear an update on the GE acquisition and presentations on customer applications and machine safety. Registration ends February 24th, 2017, so don’t miss this opportunity!
Register now: http://aerodefevent.com/sessions/concept-laser-tour/
Speed, superior quality monitoring, and an open architecture that enables innovation – that is what makes Concept Laser’s Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM) technology a leader in the metal additive manufacturing industry. Come and hear about how Concept Laser is investing to bring you innovation through new products and processes that will lead to revenue-generating opportunities for your business.
The Tour is March 6th from 8:30am to 11:30pm and includes round trip transportation from the conference and more.
What you will see on the tour:
- Direct Metal Laser Melting
- In-situ Quality Assurance
- Best-in-class safety guidelines when interacting with reactive and non-reactive materials
PADT and CEI have partnered with Avnet and Tiempo Development to offer a free technical advice to local startups at CEI. Anyone needing advice on mechanical design, electrical design, or software can now sign up for an hour with an engineer from one of these fantastic local technology leaders.
CEI has been a great host for these events with just PADT for a while now, and we are pleased to announce that we have added electrical and software to what is offered, and we are officially anouncing it to the whole community. Check out the press release to learn more or visit the the CEI website: info.ceigateway.com/padt-design-days
We spend all day at work. Sometimes we spend more time with our co-workers than our some of our family members. Yet it can be a place where something is missing. “Does your business satisfy our need for community?” Check out this special Valentine’s post for some thoughts on building community at the office.
It was my first time visiting New Orleans. I have heard many stories of how good the food is and how everyone is really nice there so I was excited to visit this city for a business trip. Stratasys Launch 2017! There was some buzz going on about some new FDM printers that Stratasys has been working on and I was really excited to see them and hear what sets them apart from the competition. Rey Chu (Co-Owner of PADT), Mario Vargas (Manager of 3D Printer Sales), Norman Stucker (Account Executive in Colorado), and I (James Barker, Application Engineer) represented PADT at this year’s Launch.
The city did not disappoint! I ate the best gumbo I’ve ever tried. Below is a picture of it with some Alligator Bourbon Balls. The gumbo is Alligator Sausage and Seafood. Sooooo Good!!
My last night in New Orleans, Stratasys rented out Mardi Gras World. That is where they build all the floats for Mardi Gras. They had a few dancers and people dressed up festive. I was able to get a picture of Rey in a Mardi Gras costume.
After dinner at Mardi Gras World, I took Rey and Mario down Bourbon Street one last time and then we went to Café Du Monde for their world famous Beignets. Everyone told me that if I come home without trying the Beignets, then the trip was a waste. They were great! I recommend them as well. Below is picture of Mario and me at the restaurant.
As you can see we had a fun business trip. The best part of it was the unveiling of the new FDM printers! Mario and I sat on the closest table to the stage and shared the table with Scott Crump (President of Stratasys and inventor of FDM technology back in 1988). These new printers are replacing some of Stratasys entry level and mid-level printers. What impressed me most is that they all can print PLA, ABS, and ASA materials with the F370 being able to print PC-ABS. You also can build parts in four different layer heights (.005, .007, .010, and .013”), all while utilizing new software called GrabCad Print.
GrabCad Print is exciting because you can now monitor all of you Stratasys FDM printers from this software and setup queues. What made me and many others clap during the unveiling is that with GrabCad Print you no longer have to export STL files! You can import your native CAD assemblies and either print them as an assembly or explode the assembly and print the parts separately.
Everyone wants a 3D Printer that can print parts faster, more accurately and is dependable. You get that with the family of systems! Speed has increased big time, they are twice as fast as the Dimension line of FDM printers. Stratasys has published the accuracy of these new printers to be ±.008” up to a 4 inch tall part and then every inch past 4 inches, you add another .002”. These machines are very dependable. They are replacing the Uprint (Uprint SE Plus is still current), Dimension, and Fortus 250 machines that have been workhorses. Many of our customers still have a Dimension from 2002 when they were first launched. In addition to the 43 existing patents that Stratasys has rolled into this phenomenal product, they have an additional 15 new patents that speaks volumes as to the innovation in these 3D printers.
Stratasys Launch was a blast for me. Seeing these new printers, parts that were printed from them, and understanding why these are the best FDM printers on the market was well worth my time! I look forward to helping you with learning more about them. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you would like to hear my recorded webinar that has even more information about the new F170, F270, and F370, here is the link. Or you can download the brochure here.
Download the step-by-step slides here:
You might also be interested in a short article on the setup and use of monitoring for ANSYS R18 RSM.
I had a really great time designing the Metal 3D printed shift knob from my previous blog post. I was curious what the other benefits of the knob may be besides being cool to look at and show off. What better way than to use the simulation software that we use here at PADT every day!
One of the clear differences between my solid spherical knob and the Metal 3D printed version is surface area. Being that PADT is based in Tempe, AZ, some may say that we have “warm” summers down here. Couple the 120F days with a black car, and the interior can get very hot, at some points feeling like the sun itself has taken up residence inside the back seat. With modern A/C, this heat can be mitigated fairly quickly, only to attempt to shift into gear to be scalded by the shift knob!
I wanted to see what the rate of cooling for the two knobs would be in a basic situation with some basic assumptions. Using ANSYS transient thermal, I initialized the knobs to 150F, temperatures that can be quickly reached in parked cars here in AZ. I added a convection heat transfer boundary condition on the outer surface of each shift knob, assuming a film coefficient of 50 W/m^2C, and that the ambient temp in the car is at a cool 70F.
I ran the simulations for 5 minutes, and the results were in line with what I expected. As the 3D printed knob has more surface area for cooling, it’s final temperature was ~84F, compared to the solid spherical knob at a final temperature of 115F!
Want to learn more, check out the article in “Additive Manufacturing Media.”
If you are an ANSYS RSM (Remote Solve Manager) user, you’ll find some changes in version 18.0. Most of the changes, which are improvements to the installation and configuration process, are under the hood from a user standpoint. One key change for users, though, is how you monitor a running job. This short entry shows how to do it in version 18.0.
Rather than bring up the RSM monitor window from the Start menu as was done in prior version, in 18.0 we launch the RSM job monitor directly from the Workbench window, by clicking on Jobs > Open Job Monitor… as shown here:
When a solution has been submitted to RSM for solution on a remote cluster or workstation, it will show up in the resulting Job Monitor window, like this:
Hopefully this saves some effort in trying to figure out where to monitor jobs you have submitted to RSM. Happy solving!
We have great customers. The kind of cusomers that call up and ask “Hey, what do you think about having a Tesla test drive event for PADt employees” Duh. Yes. Please provide contact information.
Then we thought this was an event better shared with other techno-speed-nerds. The Tempe Tesla show room people liked the idea so we put together an event for our ANSYS and Stratasys customers. (Just another reason to buy from us)
The basic idea was simple, stop on by the PADT parking lot in Tempe and drive a Tesla Model S or Model X, or both. The Tesla people brought along their technical person and the test drive people were also very knowledgable about all the features in the three vehicles they let us drive. The course left the PADT parking lot, drove up to Elliot, then entred to 101, and then get off at Warner or Rey and head back, while the brave Tesla employee tried to keep cool. Especially when Oren was driving.
For many of us, this was the first time we had driven one. Let me just say that the common factor across employees and cusotmers is that everyone had an ear-to-ear grin on their face when they got back from their test drive. These cars are not just fast (large numbers of electrons pushed through big motors equals lots of torque right away) but they are brilliantly engineered. From the user interface, to the seats to, to the suspension. Everything is done right. As a group of engineers that was almost as exciting as the raw power and impecable styling of the cars.
It was a true nerdfest. We spent 10 minutes discussing regenerative breaking schemes and the idea of using regeneration all the time when you lift off the accerator instead of putting your foot on the break to slow down slightly. This is the type of paradigm shift that disrupts around one hundred years of automotive legacy. Why does the accelrator pedal have to be an accelerator pedal. Why can’t it be an input for acceleration and deceleration based on position? We also spent even more time (I’m embarassed to say how long) talking about charging. And then the topic turned to autonomous driving and the sensors used. Good times. Good times.
PADT’s relationships with Tesla actually goes way back. When they were first starting out and were just a handfull of engineers, we provided some ANSYS training and did a consulting job for them on thermal management for an early battery system. So we proudly count them as a happy PADT customer. And of course PADT worked on the large Blink chargers and has supported many companies that are suppliers to tesla.
Did you know that PADT does scanning of parts? No? You are not alone. We recently ran into several customers who were sending their scanning out of state and didn’t know that they could have it done by PADT, someone who is already a trusted partner. So we thought it would be a good time to do an update on our Scanning services and provide some additional background on what it is.
Part Scanning 101
The idea behind part scanning is that you want to take a part in the real world, and get an accurate model in a computer. To do this you somehow measure the part with a computer, getting a three dimensional representation of the parts surface. Today, there are six basic ways to do this:
Physical Measurement (CMM)
Measure points on the part relative to some reference. This is great for measure simple geometry where you can reconstruct it by knowing key dimensions.
This process shines a laser on an object and measures the distance to the object. It does this thousands of times to build up a point array of the surface
Structured Light Scanning
This process puts down a series of parallel lines, or a grid of lines, and measures how far they distort from a flat pattern. With this information it can create a massive amount of points on the objects surface.
Cross Sectional Scanning
If you need to see inside, light based scanning does not work. In cross sectional scanning you machine away thin slices of an object and take an accurate picture of each layer as you go. This can then be turned in to an accurate representation of both the inside and outside of the object.
Another way around the fact that light can not penetrate an object is to use various types of radiation, like X-Rays, that go inside an object. Although new for industrial applications this method is growing for complex parts with internal geometry.
If accuracy is not critical, then software can take pictures taken from dozens of views and reconstruct a 3D shape. This is used most often for art and entertainment, but is not precise enough for engineering yet.
PADT offers Structured Light and Cross Sectional Scanning
All of these methods create points in space. The more sophisticated the software, the more automatic the process of assembling the points to define the surfaces of the full object. These points are sometimes called a “point cloud.”
The Point cloud can them be turned in to a faceted representation of the object. For many people, this is all they need. This faceted representation can be rendered on a computer screen or 3D Printed. It can also be used with inspection software to determine the accuracy of the part relative to its original specification as well as variations across multiple copies of the same geometry.
If users need more, like a full CAD model, that can be created from the point cloud using specialized software. PADT uses Geomagic DesignX. This tool not only creates usable geometry, but it can export in the customer’s native CAD format.
To do accurate part scanning you need:
- A precision scanning device
- Software to take the measured data and create an accurate point cloud. This includes repair and cleanup tools.
- Software to convert the point cloud into a usable 3D CAD model
- or, Software to conduct accurate inspection on the measured geometry.
All of these tools require some training and practice to use efficiently. It is fairly easy to get ball park computer models using consumer level tools. But to get accurate, engineering quality results the right tools and processes must be applied.
Why does Part Scanning Take so Long and Cost So Much?
When people ask for their first part scanning quote, they can often be surprised by the cost. The scanning process doesn’t look that hard. And to be honest, the amount of time you actually spend scanning most parts is pretty short. The time is spent on the preparation, scanning hard-to-reach areas, the clean up, and then converting the data in to usable formats.
If we are working with a light based scanner, we have to prepare the parts so that they reflect the light properly. Sometimes we have to cover the part with a find powder, sometimes we may even have to paint it. What we need is for the reflection and color of the part to not interfere with the scanning.
If we are using cross sectional scanning, the part needs to be cast inside a rigid material, so the part we are scanning does not distort as we remove layers. In addition, if the part is not a solid light or dark color, it may need to be died to provide contrast for the camera.
Both processes also require some study to determine the orientation of the part relative to the scanner and how the scanning process will take place. Once all this is worked out, the scanning often goes very fast. If there are nasty little parts that are hard to get to or that confuse the device, the engineer may have to modify things, do some special localized scanning, or even make castings that are then scanned. As is usual with technical processes, a very small portion of the surface being scanned may take up the vast majority of the scanning time.
Once the scanning is done, the real hard work begins. Although software is much better than it was in the past, the resulting point cloud needs to be massaged and cleaned. Stray data is removed, and points from different scans need to be positioned and combined. Then everything must be checked. If a CAD solid model is needed, then the engineer must spend considerable time dealing with complex features and transition areas. As with the scanning, the bulk of the time spent creating a CAD model is spent on a relatively small percentage of the geometry.
All of this adds up. Plus, to be honest, things rarely go as planned and unexpected issues arise that need to be dealt with.
Part Scanning Services at PADT
Now we get to the important part of this post: hiring PADT to do your scanning. We added this capability to support our 3D Printing customers that wanted copies of physical parts. But as we looked at it, we found that we also had customers who needed inspection and reverse engineering of legacy parts. We studied the problem for some time and found the right tools and people to make it happen.
Our primary scanner is a Zeiss Comet L3D 5M STructured light scanner. It used to be called a Steinbichler, till Zeiss bought them in 2015. Although it is portable and easy to manipulate, the Comet L3D 5M is highly accurate. It allows us to scan everything from small medical devices to the front end of acar, and to know that the resulting geometry will be accurate and usable. This is the best option for inspection and reverse engineering of high-precision parts.
We also have a Geomagic Capture scanner. Although less accurate it is more portable and simpler to operate. It is ideal or taking to a customer and getting geometry for reverse engineering or part copying.
If parts have internal features, and are made of plastic, we use our Cross Sectional Scanners. These high precision devices do a fantastic job and are really the best way to capture inside surfaces. Our customers love it to see how injection molded parts are coming out on well used molds.
If anything else is needed, our experts can outsource to a niche supplier.
Want to do it Yourself?
If you need to do your own scanning, no worries. PADT also sells all the tools we use inhouse to customers that need the capability internally.
Hopefully this posting has answered most of your questions and you are eager to try 3D Part Scanning. The best place to start is to get a quote from PADT. However, if you still have questions then feel free to contact us and fire away. We are passionate bout this capability and love talking about it.
Download our brochure here.
Now that the hype over Pokemon Go and VR headsets has come and gone, its time to take a good hard look at “What does virtual or augmented reality mean for business?” These closely related technologies may change the way we do business and will certainly impact how we educate and train in the future.
Apps have been around for almost 10 years now (I know!) and when you take a step back and look at them, they often reflect the thinking of those early days. That is “Why it may be time to rethink how we think about apps” if your tech company uses apps in any way. The post talks about what makes a good app and what we should be looking for as what is next in mobile applications.
Although February is a short month, we have lots of activities scheduled to talk about new releases from both ANSYS and Stratasys as well as a STEM and Medtech event. Take a look for details below or visit the bottom of our home page to see the latest.
Arizona Science Bowl
|PADT will be attending this great event for middle and high schools. Dr. Bhate will be speaking to the middle school students|
|— Learn more|
2017 Stratasys New Product Launch Webinar
|Stratasys is introduce some new products and you are invited to attend online to learn how once again they will advance 3D Printing to the next level. PADT’s engineers will not just share information about these new systems, they will also explain what we thing is important about each machine and what its new advantages are.|
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ANSYS 18 – Mechanical APDL & HPC Update Webinar
|ANSYS is rolling out a new version of their entire software platform, and we are offering seminars to help users understand what is new and cool. This first webinar will be focused on ANSYS Mechanical APDL and what is going on way deep under the hood.|
|— Learn more|
AZ Tech Council MedTech
|Medtech has grown a lot in Arizona over the past couple of years, so the Tech Council is putting on an event for everyone involved to get together to network and learn. PADT will have a booth and will be talking about 3D Printing in medical devices. If you are at all involved in medical technology, you should attend.|
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ANSYS 18 – HPC Licensing Update Webinar
|ANSYS is rolling out a new version of their entire software platform, and we are offering seminars to help users understand what is new and cool. This second webinar will be focused on ANSYS HPC licensing and how that has changed.|
|— Learn more|