Introduction to APDL Book Turns One

PADT-Intro-APDL-coverWe got our monthly report from Amazon on our book  “Introduction to the ANSYS Parametric Design Language (APDL)” and we noticed that it has been one year since we published it.  This was our first foray into self publishing so we thought it was worth noting that it has been a year.

Being engineers, we are kind of obsessed with numbers.  The first number is a bit discouraging, 194 units sold.  That is not going to make any best seller lists (more on lessons learned below).  51% were sold on Amazon.com, 19% by Amazon Europe, and 16% on Amazon UK, with 13% sold by non-Amazon affiliates.  

Lessons Learned

This is our first time doing self publishing we have learned some lessons worth sharing:

  1. You can’t publish a work document as an e-book.  
    We figured we would format it for a paper book, then just publish the same file as an e-book.  WRONG.  The formatting, didn’t translate at all. If it was a novel, it would have worked fine, but with all the figures and code, it was a mess. So we took it off the site.  We have received feedback that this has kept some people from buying the book.
  2. Reviews matter.
    We got one review, and it was not good because they bought the E-Book (see 1).We have resisted the temptation to publish our own review… everyone does it… It would be great if anyone reading this could put up a review.
  3. We should have done this 5 years ago.
    The reality is that APDL usage is down as ANSYS Mechanical keeps getting better and better.  So the need to do advanced APDL scripting is not what it used to be. Plus, many new users are never exposed to APDL.
  4. Amazon fiddles with your price.
    It may or may not be a bad thing, but Amazon lowers your price if their affiliates start selling a book for less than you originally set the price at.  So the initial $75 price has gone as low as $55 when demand was high (several copies a week!).  In that the whole thing is an experiment, this has caused no grief but it is something to be aware of.
  5. Overall, the whole process was easy and a nice business model
    Let’s be honest, there is not a huge demand for a book like this. The CreateSpace.com (owned by Amazon) model is a great model for niche publishing like this. It was easy to upload, easy to monitor, and those fat royalty checks (what is the emoticon for sarcasm?) come in once a month. The best part is that because it is print-on-demand, there is no need pay for an inventory up front.

If you don’t have a copy (and only 190 some of you do so I’m guessing you don’t) head on over to our page on amazon and check it out.  You can spin it around and see the front and back cover!

If you are one of the select few, maybe write a review and help us out a bit?

3 Replies to “Introduction to APDL Book Turns One”

  1. It would be better to write a book about using apdl within mechanical with tons of tutorials
    One of the drawbacks of ansys workbench is its poor modeling capabilities via commands

  2. Hi PadtInc,

    Actually, I think that there is a desperate need for a good tutorial book on using MAPDL scripting. WorkBench is good but with all those drop down buttons, there is a limit before it becomes so complicated that any advanced user would wish for an advanced GUI such as WorkBench but as the option to use pure apdl scripting (Also, in WB2, the direct solver is in APDL the sparse solver, or are we trying to confuse existing users). No direct warning of command snippets not working correctly in WorkBench but MAPDL, normally instant warning or error.

    In addition many WorkBench users are oblivious to the fact that somewhere in the project chain, somebody somewhere has tweaked inappropriately one of the drop down buttons and that hidden in the background, something is very very wrong in the solver input.

    Hence, I have bought 2 MAPDL tutorial books, one for myself and one for my son in University studying Mechanical Engineering. Not because he has to use ANSYS, many other products out there but actually, MAPDL is very tight and precise and an excellent example of how mechanical FEA should be.

    Also, it was a great mistake that ANSYS and some other FEA/CFD vendors dropped educational versions. I like to test FEA/CFD codes in my own time, as an employee, I cannot buy paid FEA/CFD software as a “test”…Unless, I want to risk getting the sack, better to struggle on sometimes with a weak FEA code.

    Anyway, back to my image attached, a CAD Shark model from an open source CAD sharing website, for a real headache, try converting STL CAD to a suitable format for WorkBench. I have had to use stl into FE modeller, export into a file.inp for ANSYS MAPDL, mesh refinement, export vrml, etc, etc, then convert into surfaces and finally convert into a solid. This could not be more convoluted nor difficult.

    Finally, in reality all the old ‘classic’ FEA mechanical software struggles in my opinion with advanced CAD system input, so, one meshes in WorkBench, loads of named selections and then exports a mesh and named selections to the MAPDL GUI input.

    And before anybody suggests that I am talking rubbish, outside the US I did over 2500 ANSYS related industrial support cases in 3 years, often the client was in trouble with a coming Monday deadline on a Friday, if there was much more better training to use MAPDL and the MAPDL GUI, many engineers out there would sleep better at night, could learn to read WorkBench solver input files, this is the real critical issue in facilitating enthusiastic engineers to use serious FEA/CFD codes. Excellent training material and a good list of tips and tricks to avoid silly CAD issues such as duplicate or small floating parts.

    I am going back to the acoustic patterns of fish and sharks generated by them swimming..now should I use WorkBench and pull my hair out or just create a mesh for MAPDL in WorkBench and solve in MAPDL…and/or CFX?

    More ANSYS MAPDL tutorial books please with many examples….V15 APDL technology demonstration guide is better…but have you looked at other FEA non-linear vendors manuals, some of them are much better than ANSYS.

    So, back to the critical point, MAPDL was widely used but without out initial mentoring, it is difficult for a young engineer to get going quickly with confidence whilst with WorkBench, a new starter can quickly get some sort of result…even if they do have only one mechanical element thro’ the thickness, so, at that point why does WorkBench not start flashing, maybe even heavy audio also warning and error messages…ohh..element checking turned off but great pretty colour pictures.

    Regards
    SJS

  3. Hi Padt Inc, SJS here, got the 2 copies of the Padt ‘introduction to the ANSYS Parametric Design Language (APDL), great book, actually very much better than the rusty ANSYS apdl V10 training, unlucky lead training engineers, they had to create loads of extra examples for ANSYS apdl trainees, plus my experience with the ANSYS V10 training material was that it was not good enough to get young get up and go engineers to use apdl without good mentoring going on for weeks but if they had good mentoring, so they got rock and rolling and became apdl fans, some typo’s in book, for example, page 21 to 22, seems to be missing Figure 2-5 between Figure 2-4 and Figure 2-6, not exactly perfect for apdl training where one typing mistake means that the command maybe ignored, also, textpad, a text editor has very good syntax dictionary, as an independent, worth noting. Fundamentally, seems to me a great book (apart from typo’s), again on page xyz, and must have been a fantastic tool. I am going to amazon to write great things (and not mention the typo’s), well done. Just sell it as a pdf..I have bought 2 paper books and I have tried to physically fit it inside my tablet..but my tablet does not seem to have a USB that eats physical paper books.
    So, my opinion, fantastic good APDL training book, amazed that it has not sold thousands, loads of good training stuff including those things that are not included in ANSYS training especially those simple but tricky things such as data import, tables, etc.

    Really, in a way, ANSYS APDL is like Latin, Latin was used by the upper classes but not taught to us general population and died out as nobody understood it, apdl has not had a very good training book for the general FEA user for decades despite, in my opinion being one of the best FEA script languages ever since computers had maybe 2k byte ram if you were lucky.

    Anyway, back to my trials of CFD and acoustics of fish, now if apdl is difficult..try converting STL CAD to other formats, jpeg attached, only do it as acoustics of fish is fun..now should I try WB2 or apdl, I think that apdl will do nicely thank you, get that second edition apdl ready for pdf printing! Fish jpeh attached, oh SpaceClaim fans, I did get a geometry out of a stl file that I did not create but was given.
    Kind Regards