A PADT Engineer in King Attiball’s Court – Chapter 5

There just is not enough engineer-focused fiction out there. Romance, Horror, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Historical, Mystery, etc. They all do well, but they are rarely written for the engineers of the world.

Here at PADT, we are all about undoing such injustices. We decided to brainstorm a story about an engineer who does simulation and 3D Printing and ends up on an adventure. We hope they will find some mystery, some science fiction, and some horror. Maybe even a little romance. To develop the characters and the plot we all got on an MS Teams meeting and blocked it out. It was a lot of fun. That turned into an outline, that will turn into a chapter every month.

We hope you enjoy the result as much as we enjoyed dreaming the journey up.

It should be noted that every character in this story is completely made up. Sometimes we steal some names from real people as a shoutout to them, but that is about it. PADT does not have a basement or a fancy cluster in one. Everything is made up. Well, almost everything. We do have a stack of furniture in the back of shipping and receiving.


Chapter 1: Batch Submission | Chapter 2: New Friends | Chapter 3: Like an Owl | Chapter 4: Off to Sea

Chapter 5
City on the Nile

Sailing in a Phoenician trading ship was nothing like a Disney Cruise. Ash quickly found a spot in the rear where she could wrap her arms around a piece of railing to keep herself from being launched over the side while she emptied what little was left in her stomach into the blue Mediterranean.  At first, the oarsmen had laughed when they heard her retching. Then, after several hours of obvious misery, they shouted out suggested remedies and appeals to various gods, many Ash had never heard of. 

Eventually, the sun began to dip closer to the horizon, and Duzi gave the order to head back towards shore.  Verihbitt had been sitting in silence with Ash for some time, occasionally offering honeyed water or a wet rag to put on her forehead. 

She said, “Tomorrow, you will feel better. And in a day or two, you will be walking about the deck like an old trader.” She gently stroked Ash’s hair and asked, “do you usually get sick when you sail? When you came to Sur from your land, that must have been a very long journey and on rougher seas than this?”

Ash was startled by the question. The answer she wanted to give was, “the quantum temporal thinga-ma-jigger that tossed me across the time-space continuum does not seem to cause motion sickness.”  Then she realized coming up with a Phoenician word for quantum was the least troubling aspect of that statement.

Instead, she said, “I am better at traveling by land. But will get used to it.”

Verihbitt looked at Ash for some time and said, “I can tell there is much you chose not to tell me.  I understand that.  However, when you agreed to come on this mission, you agreed to share our danger. And if we are all going to survive, let alone succeed, we have to be honest with each other.”

The coastline was getting nearer, and Ash searched it for the correct response. Her heart told her that Verihbitt was right.  Hiding so much about who she was could be dangerous for everyone. The growing trust between the two women was also something that Ash was beginning to cherish. Alone in the past, the connection was becoming critical to her sanity.

Weighing her options, she decided to try and shade the truth with what she understood of the world she found herself in.

Ash asked, “What are your thoughts on the gods?”

“Oh, them. We have a difficult relationship.” She laughed. “I do my part. I leave the building of temples and most of the sacrifices to my father and uncle. Most of the gods seem to stay out of my business, and I try to stay out of theirs. Now and then, I think a few play with me.”

She stopped, turned to look at the setting sun, and added, “especially when it comes to men. Maybe I should make some of my own sacrifices.” 

This hint at Verihbit’s personal life was fascinating, and Ash wondered if it involved Takaa. She avoided the temptation to go down that road and instead contemplated how to describe her journey in a way that Verihbit would understand.

“The truth is, this is my first voyage by ship.  I did not sail or travel on land to get here. I am still unsure what exactly happened. In my land, I made a request to what I thought was one of our minor gods, who we call FLUENT. It seems that two other far more powerful gods saw my request and decided to send me here.”

“I do not know the gods of your land, but they sound like ours.  They like to meddle and mix things up. Sometimes I think they are simply bored and do such things for entertainment. Which gods were they? Maybe we have a name for them.”

Ash was relieved.  So she continued, embracing the mental translation of physics to mythology.   “Yes, I think you are right. One of these gods is Quanta. She controls how very, very small things behave.  She is the queen of randomness, and you can never get a yes or no answer from her. And you never know what she has decided till you look closely at what she has done. Before that, she often appears to be doing two different things at the same time”

“This sounds like Hadad, our god of storms and chaos?”

“I think that is different. We call Hadad Entropy. But you will recognize the other god that sent me here, Aion. We call him Temporal. The god of time.”

She stopped and looked at Verhibitt.  This complicated woman had taken her, a stranger, into her life.  Ash was not sure what she was afraid of. Maybe it was being called a witch and having a crowd call for her to be burned. Perhaps everything was happening too fast.

Veribitt smiled at Ash, and it was not that different from the beauty of the sun setting over her shoulder.

This mythical version of events was starting to make sense to Ash as well. Attempting to understand how a computer system coupled to a virtual reality room sent her through time and space hurt her head. Blaming it on a cable of temperamental gods had its appeal.  Ash decided to keep going.

 “You see, these gods did not just move me across the world. They moved me across time.” She paused to let it settle. “Verhibitt, I come from the future. And not just tomorrow or next harvest season. I journeyed here from thousands of years in the future.”

Ash waited to hear her friend’s response, watching the white beach move closer as the oarsmen continued their steady rowing, their rhythmic splashes meshing with the sound of waves to form a soothing song that helped settle Ash’s anxiety.

Eventually, Verihbitt stood and shrugged her shoulders.  “That makes no sense to me, but who am I to question the gods. I am just thankful they brought you to us. And I chose to believe they did it in answer to the sacrifices and prayers from all those priests the King pays for.  Yes, that does make sense. You were sent here to help us.”

She leaned down and gently kissed the top of Ash’s head.  “When we arrive in Egypt, we will find a temple for each of your two gods and make a sacrifice of thanksgiving. No harm in bribing them. But that is days away. Now it is time to prepare to beach the ship and make camp.”

Behind Ash, the crew and passengers rushed around the deck. The wind was now behind them, and several of the oarsmen opened the sail. Others stowed the oars. The ship surged forward, riding the wind and waves. 

In a rush that threatened to turn Ash’s stomach inside out once again, a gust pushed the ship forward and onto the beach. Ash felt the ship slide across the sand and settle with a pronounced tilt toward the side she still clung to. Without hesitation, she climbed over the railing and jumped down into the sand.  She wasn’t sure if the overwhelming relief she felt was because the constant rocking had stopped or because she was no longer hiding her secret from Verihbitt. 

Drained from a day of sea sicknesses, Ash found a place to sit in the sand as the crew set up around an existing fire pit.  Some of the oarsmen went into the scrubby forest that started just past the beach, while others set up tents and camp tables in the setting sun.

The night was Ash’s most enjoyable since arriving.  She didn’t know what she was eating or where it had come from on the small ship. She only knew it tasted good. Alim insisted she drink two bowls of wine that were not watered down. As the others talked and laughed, Ash felt herself drift off to sleep.

The following morning Ash stalled as long as possible before boarding the ship, finally walking up the thin plank onto the deck as the tide was starting to lift the keel off the sand. Fearful of another day of seasickness, she took up her position at the railing.  Thankfully, nausea never came, and she soon joined the other passengers on the forward deck under a striped tent that kept both the sun and the wind away.

Duzi, Verihbitt, and Mnihh’dm were huddled together, whispering and planning.  So Ash found a pillow next to Alim.

He looked up from the papyrus scroll he was reading and said, “Good morning, my lady. I see you have your sea legs today. That is good.  We were worried that this would be a long voyage for you.”

“Thank you, Alim. Yesterday was difficult, but today I feel almost normal. As long as there are no storms and the swells stay small.”

“Duzi had the men capture some birds when we landed, and he sacrificed them to this morning, asking for smooth sailing.  There is not much else we can do.”  He went back to reading his scroll.

Before too long, Ash became incredibly bored.  Since middle school, she had had a phone in her hand. A tool that connected her to everyone she knew and an endless stream of videos, social media posts, and articles. Until now, Ash had been dealing with one crisis after another. Now, under this tent as the ship slowly made its way south, she began to panic. She saw her backpack on a pile of supplies in the corner of the tent. She walked over, removed her phone from the front pocket, and held it to her chest.

In English, she said, “This is just stupid. Maybe gramma was right. Maybe I am too attached to this thing.” 

Under her backpack were the supplies she had hastily gathered from the market before they departed. 

She felt a zing in her brain as she called across the tent, “Alim! Want to help me build a –“ there was really no good word in ancient Phoenician for battery –  “a lightning jar?”

The idea of building anything intrigued Alim.  Something as magical as a jar full of lightning had the older man behaving like an eager schoolchild.  He was full of questions while they gathered the raw materials on the deck before them. 

Ash said, “Maybe I should draw a picture. Do you have something I can draw on?” 

Alim dashed up and ran to his supplies, returning with a wooden plank and sharpened pieces of charcoal.  “I have not clay or papyrus.” He said. “I use this board to make my notes, and then I have a scribe put it down on something that lasts longer.”

“This will do just fine,” Ash said.

She placed the flat board on her lap and picked up a piece of charcoal, saying, “This is the clay pot.”

She drew a cross-section of the clay jar, with a neck and an opening on the top.

“And this is the iron rod in the center.”

She sketched a thick line in sticking out the top and down to almost touching the bottom. 

“Next is the copper cylinder,” she said. She rummaged through the charcoal pieces till she found a gray one. 

“And this is this is the linen we will use to keep the copper from touching the iron and hold it up at the bottom.”

She then picked up the black charcoal again and drew a wavy line across the top. Two lines for the wires attached to the copper and iron, and a + and – on each wire.

“Then we will fill it with the fruit juice.”

She showed it to Alim, and he studied it closely.  He then asked, “You want to keep the fruit juice away from the space between the copper and the iron?”

Ash looked at the sketch. The linen at the bottom would keep the liquid from moving freely between the two electrodes.

“You are right, “ she said, and used her thumb to smudge away the linen at the bottom. Then in English, “this is why we do design reviews.”

For the rest of that day, they huddled around the small stone anvil at the bow of the ship, trying to make the copper blocks they had into a sheet they could turn into a cylinder.  It did not go well.  As soon as they pounded it thin enough, it would tear.  Or when they thought they had a good enough sheet, it ripped when they tried to roll it around a broken piece of oar they were using as a pattern.

The elderly scholar and the young engineer were so engrossed by their task that they were shocked when the ship slid onto a beach.  Duzi and Verihbitt were standing next to the pair, laughter in their eyes.

Duzi said, “We are putting in early today. The coast between here and the Nile delta is not safe. You two can continue your attempt to be artisans once we set up camp.”

As he talked, he picked up another piece of rounded wood from the broken oar and jabbed it into a pot of sand sitting next to the anvil.

Ash rushed towards him, put her arms around his neck, and kissed him on the cheek

Ash said, “You are brilliant, Duzi. I was trying to form the copper cylinder. I should have been casting it.”

She pecked him on the cheek again before realizing that Duzi’s face was bright red and everyone around them was utterly silent. She also became aware of how warm his body was and how firm his shoulder and neck muscles were.  Reluctantly, she let go and took a few steps back from him.

“I am sorry.  When I figure something out, I get very excited.”  In English, she added, “I’m glad there is no HR here.”

Once camp was set up, Ash and Alim built a small fire and placed copper in a stone crucible which they set above the growing flames. They also dug a deep, round hole and placed the wooden rod in the middle.  While the copper melted, Verihbitt, Mnihh’dm, Takaa, and Duzi formed a circle around the improvised casting facility. One of the oarsmen also joined them.

When the copper looked fully melted, Alim used long iron tongs to lift the cup from the fire and pull the molten copper into the hole around the wood. Flames leaped up from the wood. Everyone gasped and took a step back. Once the cup was empty, the oarsman stepped forward and tossed sand on the burning wood.

He took the tongs from Alim and said, “You know, old man, I am the ship’s maker. All you had to do was ask, and I can build anything from wood or metal. Go have your meal.  I’ll pull it out when it cools.”

Ash felt embarrassed.  Of course, the ship would have someone on the crew who could make new tools and repair broken ones on their journey. At the same time, she was glad she had not known.  Making this part had been so much fun.

The group walked to the tents and the smell of dinner.  Ash realized Alim was shuffling his feet in the sand, his head bowed.  She stopped and waited for him to catch up.

“It is just fine,” she said. “I always wanted to make something that way. I really enjoyed our day.” She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek before dashing ahead to join the group.

Ash slept well that night.  The next morning, as soon as the oars touched the water, she and Alim were at their shipboard workbench assembling her battery. The rest of the passengers joined in when it was time to squeeze the citrus.  Working as a team, the steady rowing marking their time, the morning past swiftly.

After a brief break for lunch, she returned to their invention to try it out. Taking her spare charging cable from her backpack, she cut off the large USB connector and pulled the wires out of the insulation.  Trying to remember which ones were the power lines, she wrapped one around the rod and one in a hole she punched in the cast copper.  She then carefully poured the juice in, then lowered the copper cylinder and iron rod assembly down, pushing till the linen wrapped around the top of the copper part wedged into place.

Not knowing how else to test it, she placed the lightning connector in her mount. 

“Ouch!” she yelled.  And then began to laugh. “My friends, with your help, we have lightning in a jar.”

Everyone wanted to try the device, delighted in the shock it delivered to their mouth.

Once everyone had given it a try, she said, “Thank you all for your help. Now I need to see if it works with my –,“ she had to come up with a name for her phone.  “My special tablet.” That sounded good to her. She went on. “Given to me by one of our minor gods, Stevejobs.”

Pleased with her inside joke, Ash headed to her backpack to get her phone. Halfway there, she heard the lookout yell, and what he said stopped her dead in her tracks.

“Pirates!”

She looked aft and saw the lookout pointing into the wind.  Turning to see what he was pointing at, Ash could see two ships upwind from them, large sales open to catch the wind. 

Duzi yelled, “Turn to put the wind behind us, drop the sail.” The crew leaped into action.  Ash had to sit when the tiller was thrown to the side, and the deck leaned so far that the railing touched the water.  She heard the sail drop and felt the ship leap forward as the wind pushed to ship ahead.

The two ships behind them were thinner and had more oars and larger sails. The oarsman rowed in two teams.  One keeping a steady pace while the other group rested and drank water.  Even with their strenuous effort, the two perusing ships continued to grow in size as they came closer.

With worry on his face, Duzi told the passengers, who had all moved to the bow of the ship, “We won’t be able to outrun them.  We will have to turn and fight.”

He gave a single command, “four!” to the oarsmen.  As one, they lifted their oars from the water and started to count with the same rhythm they had used to row. 

One, two, three, four.” On four, they all stowed their oars.

With the next four, they stood and faced their benches. At the end of every count, as one, they made what was obviously a well-rehearsed move.  First, they lifted the top of the benches, Then they removed shining armor.  In three counts, they had all put the armor on and lifted bright helms onto their heads.  Next, they remove spears and bows from the storage area beneath the benches.

They counted to four one last time, then turned to face the left side of the boat, bows raised. 

Ash heard Takaa say, “I actually feel sorry for those pirates. They have no idea who they are attacking.”

Duzi shouted, “One!”

The helmsman pushed the tiller arm slightly to the right, veering the ship at an angle slightly away from the pirate vessels that were now close enough for Ash to see faces.

“Two!”

Ash lost her balance as the ship turned sharply to the left. The wind was no longer behind them, and their forward momentum was spent. They sat dead in the water, their left side facing the attackers.

“Three!”

A loud twang of bows preceded a rain of arrows that fell on each ship. Ash could tell that some had landed because many of the oars had stopped moving.

“Four!”

The two black ships were now close, and those aboard who had not been hit by arrows fell to well-aimed spears. 

The next five minutes were complete chaos.  When the ships were close enough, the remaining pirates boarded. But none of them made it very far. They were dropped by arrow, spear, or short sword if they did get close enough.  Ash was no expert, but she could tell that the muscular men who had rowed their ship for three days were no galley slaves. They were well-trained and seasoned soldiers who dealt death with casual professionalism.

Through the entire battle, Takaa guarded the passengers with his sword drawn. But they were never in any real danger.  Duzi had joined the fray, directing the soldiers as they pushed forward. Eventually, they jumped over to the pirate ships. 

When the sound of battle stopped, Ash heard Duzi yell, “One!”

In answer, the soldiers responded with vigor and abandon that can only come from realizing that they had survived another battle. “two, three, FOUR!”

Ash felt Alim’s thin hand rest on her shoulder and squeeze.  He said, “It can be overwhelming, no matter how many times you see it.”

The world was spinning for Ash. She had certainly seen war in movies, even played at it with her friends. But CGI effects, video game gore, and foam-covered wooden swords did not prepare her for the amount of blood, the sounds of flesh being sliced, or the pitiful crying of the dying.  The encounter in Verihbitt’s garden, her first experience with the brutality of hand-to-hand contact, did not soften the mental blow of seeing the compliment of two ships methodically slaughtered in front of her.

Alim said, “Come, let us retire to the tent.”

Ash was asleep, collapsed into the fetal position on a large pillow before the soldiers had returned to their benches to row them on to Egypt.

They spent the next night on the ship, anchored in one of the many small rivers in the Nile delta.  Ash stayed in the tent the next day as they rowed through the maze of the delta.  She could only see green reeds and muddy water through the opening of the tent. 

When her friends gathered for the mid-day meal, she joined them around dried fish and olive platters.  Their simple chatter about things that were not important brought her out of her shock. By the end of the meal, she was laughing and talking with them. However, inside she was still dazed.

When the meal was done, Duzi asked, “Would you like to see something amazing?”

“Yes, I could use that.”

“Good, come with me. You will only see this for the first time, once in your life.”

He led her out of the tent and to the very front of the ship.  The channel there were in was wider and full of small boats and a few merchant ships.  Low hills blocked the view in front of them.  To the sides, green fields lined both sides of what, Ash realized, must be the Nile river itself.

Ash said, “It is beautiful.”

“Wait, this is nothing.” Said Verihbitt

The rest of the group had joined them. A strong breeze pushed up the river, and she could hear the oarsmen strain against the current and the wind. The ship dodged a group of fishermen who were casting large nets into the water and hauling them back onto their small boats, bursting with wriggling fish.

They rounded a gentle bend in the river, and Ash gasped in amazement.

In front of the ship, amongst a vast complex of colorful buildings, a gleaming white pyramid rose up towards the sky.  It was the Great Pyramid of Giza. Not the brown, crumbling structure surrounded by sand and tourists that Ash had seen her whole life on TV.  The structure was covered in white limestone sheeting and gleamed in the sun.  The top was painted and inlaid with gold and silver. Temples, obelisks, and statues crowded around the base.

Alim said, “It is hard to find words, is it not?”

All Ash could say was, “Yes.”

The ship made its way up the Nile, and the two smaller pyramids came into view, initially blocked by the great pyramid. Ash said in English, “I can not believe I am on a Phoenician trader, rowing into the harbor at Giza, and the pyramids are there, right in front of me.”

Being a person from the 21st century, her impulse was to pull out her phone, take a picture, and post it on social media. With a physical jump, she remembered the project she had been working on before the pirate attack.

Ash turned to Alim, grabbed him by the shoulders, and shouted in his face, “Alim, the lightning jar! Was it damaged in the attack?”

– To Be Continued –

Please subscribe to our newsletter, so you will know when the next installment, “Temple of Spies,” is released, wherein Ash and friends seak information and allies in Giza, but find danger as well.

Ancient Egypt: 2,500-year-old shipwreck PROVES Herodotus' Nile cargo boat  DID exist | World | News | Express.co.uk

A PADT Engineer in King Attiball’s Court – Chapter 4

There just is not enough engineer-focused fiction out there. Romance, Horror, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Historical, Mystery, etc. They all do well, but they are rarely written for the engineers of the world.

Here at PADT, we are all about undoing such injustices. We decided to brainstorm a story about an engineer who does simulation and 3D Printing and ends up on an adventure. We hope they will find some mystery, some science fiction, and some horror. Maybe even a little romance. To develop the characters and the plot we all got on an MS Teams meeting and blocked it out. It was a lot of fun. That turned into an outline, that will turn into a chapter every month.

We hope you enjoy the result as much as we enjoyed dreaming the journey up.

It should be noted that every character in this story is completely made up. Sometimes we steal some names from real people as a shoutout to them, but that is about it. PADT does not have a basement or a fancy cluster in one. Everything is made up. Well, almost everything. We do have a stack of furniture in the back of shipping and receiving.


Chapter 1: Batch Submission | Chapter 2: New Friends | Chapter 3: Like an Owl


Chapter 4
Off to Sea

Ash could not believe what she was seeing. Somehow her phone was getting a signal, and she was able to text with Alex.  After starting to text him, she realized talking would be much faster. So she clicked on his name at the top of the screen and then the telephone icon.  A message popped up informing her that there was no voice service.

She said, “then I guess we will text,” to herself and began to type with her thumbs.

ASH: “I know this will sound strange. “

ASH: “But I woke up in ancient Phonecia.”

ALEX A: “You mean at that camp you were going to? The cops said you never showed up.”

ASH: “No.  I mean ancient Phonecia.  Somehow your augmented reality contraption shifted me back in time!!!”

ALEX A: “That makes no sense.  I know that room had some wacky fancy sensors and emitters that projected directly into your visual and audio nerves. But time travel ?!?!!?!?!”

ASH: “Well, they projected me right back into the past.”

ALEX A: “I need to check something. Hold please”

ASH: “I have millennia or three.  No hurry.”

ALEX A: “Well… hmmm… I looked at the log file.  You told the system to start your job at 2022 BC and gave phoenicia as the server name.  The feedback from the job controller said:”

ALEX A: “Batch Job Submitted.  Engaging Quantum Temporal Solver.”

ASH: “What is a quantum temporal solver?”

ALEX A: “Well, there is a quantum computing project in the back of the basement. Some government project.  They paid for the AR interface you were using. It’s connected to the compute cluster too.”

ASH: “What does that have to do with time travel.”

Alex A: “Hmm… It’s all classified. But I wonder…”

Ash started to type “I wonder what” when her screen went dark, replaced by an empty battery icon. She looked at the moon outside her window. So bright and clear in the sky, and she yelled a four-letter word that would not exist for four-thousand years.

Moments later, Takaa burst into her room and asked, “My lady, are you safe?” while he scanned the room, spear in hand.

Verihbitt and then Mnihh’dm soon followed. The room was suddenly crowded.

Ash took a deep breath, looked at her now blank phone, and said, “I’m fine. I had a bad dream. I must have yelled in my sleep.”

Verihbitt looked at Ash. “I can hear the fear and frustration in your voice.” She then walked to Ash and enveloped her in her arms. The unexpected empathy broke Ash, and she began to sob in her new friend’s arms. 

That night, Ash slept well.  When a servant came into her small room and woke her, the sun was already high in the sky.

“My lady, I have been asked by the Princess to bathe and dress you.”

Ash sat up in the bed while a half dozen girls and women streamed in with pots of steaming water, containers of oil, and piles of clothes.  Before she could say no, they pulled her to her feet and removed the robe she had been wearing.

Ash said, “be careful. I made that myself…”

One of the older serving women looked at the robe then at Ash, and said, “My lady should leave the sewing to her slaves.” She then casually tossed the robes onto the brazier burning in the corner of the room.

Ash’s protests were stifled as more women lead her to a couch and began to smear scented olive oil over her body.  She was not used to be naked in front of a group of women. She had always avoided PE classes for that very reason.  However, she hat to admit it felt excellent.

When they started to scrape the oil from her skin with long bronze scrapers, she relaxed and said, in English, “When in Phoenicia.”

Over an hour later, she exited into the courtyard dressed in flowing red and brown robes, her hair stacked upon her head with bone pins and a heavy, blue lapis lazuli necklace around her neck. She had to admit to herself, she felt pretty good.

A servant guided her across the courtyard into a larger room where her friends, the King, and other court members sat or lounged on couches arranged in a circle.  Verihbitt’s father was there lying next to Verihbitt. His exposed legs were bruised and scraped. When he saw Ash, he smiled and moved to get up.  

“Father, no. You stay where you are.  She can come to you,” Verhibitt said as she stood and greeted Ash with a hug.  She then looked Ash up and down at arm’s length and said, “You look much more presentable.”

Another servant appeared out of nowhere and lead Ash to an empty couch and put a table covered in food in front of her.  When the smell of the fresh fruit hit her, Ash suddenly felt very hungry.

Ash was able to devour a pile of grapes before King Attiball sat up upon his couch and addressed the group. “Now that we are all here, I must ask more of all of you.”

Everyone stopped eating and chatting and gave the King their attention.

“A trader just returned from the western end of the sea with bad news.  Two of our colonies west of Carthage have been sacked and burned to the ground. I will not and can not stand for this.”

A large man dressed in armor stood up and said, “I will prepare an army. We can sail on the full moon.”

“General, as much as I would like to strike out with our might, right now we don’t know where to strike. This was not the act of another prince. Nor was it the local slaves revolting.  The cities are gone.  There is no sign of an army or a rabble hiding nearby. You will get your time, and you should prepare the men and provisions and position them in Carthage. But, before we can strike, we must know who to strike.”

The King walked to Verihbitt’s couch and said, “Princess Verihbitt, I need you to go on a voyage. I am asking you to take whoever you need and join the trader on his return to the west. This will be a dangerous journey. But I fear staying here may be just as dangerous.”

Pacing back to the center of the room, the King continued. “We tortured the men who cut the ropes yesterday.  They would not say much before they died, but we discovered that they came from the far west, where our sea opens up to the endless sea. When they cried out in pain, they called to someone name Gula, and they called him the Master of Atlas. I don’t know if it is a western god or a Prince.”

Verhibitt kneeled before her uncle. “My King,” she said, “we will go west, and we will send word back on what we find. “

Soon after the King left, Verhibitt, Mnihh’dm, and Takaa huddled with Verhibitt’s father.  Ash tried to stay out of the discussion, but she soon found herself drawn in.  After they had planned their route to Egypt, Carthage, and then further west to what Ash assumed was the coast of Spain, she could no longer contain herself.

She asked Verhibitt, “I know you just met me, and I am a stranger here, but I would be honored if I could travel with you. I have never been to Egypt or Carthage, and I do think I might be helpful, even though I don’t know how to fight or spy.”

Verhibitt smiled and made a sound that Ash assumed was the ancient Phoenician equivalent of “Duh.”

An hour later, Ash and her companions were back on a chariot headed to the city. They were also accompanied by four war chariots with a driver and archer in each. The trip was uneventful and they went directly from the city gate to the port, stopping in front of a ship. It had a single mast in the center and a huge wooden rudder at the rear.  Ash could see rows of benches for oarsman. A carved figure of a woman with elaborately styled hair decorated the bow.

There was not much for Ash to do in the chaos of loading a ship for a long voyage. After noticing her standing on the pier, Mnihh’dm took her to a pile of cedar timbers piled next to the ship. She climbed up and sat on top of the pile to get a better view. The process was fascinating. A steady stream of people arrived with clay pots and woven baskets.  They moved in a coordinated way with no direction, doubtlessly having each done it hundreds of times before.

Over time her thoughts also turned to her phone. She started by pondering the physics of being able to communicate with the future. Then her mind turned to problem-solving.  She needed a way to recharge the device. Every idea she had seemed to be a non-starter.  She even thought about the potato battery she had made in elementary school. Then she remembered that potatoes came from South America.

Her reverie was interrupted by a loud crashing sound behind her.  She stood and turned around.  There she saw that a cart full of clay pots had run into a cart full of some sort of citrus fruit.  That reminded her of a project she had started during a LARP’ing week a few years ago. She and another engineer in the the group had made a Babylon Battery from a clay pot with an iron rod, a copper tube, and some orange juice.

She pivoted towards the ship, spotted Mnihh’dm, and yelled as loud as she could, “Friend!  I need your help!”

Sword drawn, Mnihh’dm rushed towards Ash. 

“No, I’m not in danger. I just need your help. I need to make something for our journey.  I can’t explain what it is, but it is very important to me. Can you lend me someone that knows the markets here?  I need supplies. And coin?”

Mnihh’dm relaxed. “Yes, my Lady.  And some soldiers to watch over you.” By the time Ash lowered herself off the stack of cedar logs, Mnihh’dm had returned with two soldiers and an older woman.

“These three will help you.” He then handed Ash a heavy leather bag, “And you will need this to pay for your supplies. But, please be careful. Do not do anything that might attract the attention of our brilliant magistrate.”

An hour later, Ash and her three helpers returned with baskets full of her supplies. Finding the copper sheeting and wire had been the hardest part. When they were about to give up their quest, they had found a jeweler who had both.

She led her group onto the ship and had them deposit their findings in a pile against the mast. 

Phoenician ships did not have cabins or a hold.  Cargo and supplies were piled between the rowers, and passengers could travel in tents erected on small decks at the front and back of the ship. Ash knew that they would row or, if the wind was favorable, sail during the day. They would have to pull onto shore at night to camp. Looking at the cramped area around her, she realized that the next few weeks would be long and difficult.  Working on her battery would help pass the time.

Her supplies safely secured, she thanked her helpers, then moved to the front of the ship where Verihbitt stood with some men she did not know.

Verihbitt said, “Ash, I am glad you are back. We are loaded and about to leave. And I would like you to meet our captain, guide, and owner of this fine vessel, Duzi.”

He was a tall man with a mane of long, flowing brown hair tied with a simple leather thong behind his head.  Ash could not help but notice that he wore a short, sleeveless tunic that showed off his muscular build.

Bowing slightly towards Ash, he said, “Princess, you mentioned that you would be bringing a foreign girl with you, but you did not mention that she was so beautiful.” And then he smiled at her.

Ash felt her face flush. She managed to say, “Thank you, um, we are pleased you could help us, on, um, our journey.” All she could do was look at her own feet.

Verihbitt laughed and gently grasped Ash’s arm, then whispered in her ear, “Careful, this one could sell eggs to a chicken farmer.”

The awkward moment was broken by an older man standing next to Duzi. “Since no one will introduce me, I shall do it myself. I am called Alim by this shark, although I have better names that are too long for his silly brain to remember.”

Duzi laughed and said, “My apologies, teacher. Indeed, this is Alim, and he is responsible for my silly brain. My father purchased him in Egypt to be my tutor when I was still a boy. Ignore his complaints. He wanted me to be a scribe, bent over clay tablets all day to count the corn as it goes in and out of a warehouse. He finds my current profession beneath him. And therefore beneath me. One of those long Egyptian names translates to angry old man.”

“Ignore most of what he says,” said Alim, “He was dropped on his head before he was given to my care, and I have not been able to do much with him. More importantly, the Princess tells us that you are a scholar yourself and a builder of tools?”

Ash felt an immediate connection with this older man that reminded her of so many of her favorite professors. “It is a pleasure to meet you,” she said. “I am not so much of a scholar, but I do enjoy making things.”

Duzi, playfully pushed the old man behind him. “We have a long journey before us, and you two will have plenty of time to discuss the stars or casting metal or whatever it is that interests this crazy old man.  However, that will have to wait.”  

He bowed to Verhibitt and Ash and said, “Everyone and everything seems to be on board. The tide has just started to head out.  If you will excuse me, it is time for us begin.” He reached down and untied a rope holding the front of the ship to the dock, signaling someone to do the same at the rear.

Then, In a loud, clear voice, Duzi gave the order to the oarsmen, “Off to sea.”

Ash felt the ship rock gently under her as the oarsmen bent to the task, and the ship left the port.

– To Be Continued –

Please subscribe to our newsletter, so you will know when the next installment, “City on the Nile,” is released, wherein Ash has time to work on her battery and visits the ancient land of the Pharos. Oh, and there are pirates.

Press Release: Innovative GOM and ZEISS 3D Scanning Solutions Added to PADT Portfolio as it Joins the #HandsOnMetrology Digital Platform Global Network

The new combined offerings are being called #HandsOnMetrology. Someone must of let an engineer into the branding meeting because the new name is a perfect description of what the product line offers. Right now we are reselling three scanners and the outstanding software package that enables the unique advantages of each system:

When ZEISS and GOM joined forces, it was hard on our sales team here at PADT. We wanted to let our customers know about the significant advantages of the merger. After selling ZEISS Optical systems for many years, we knew that more and more customers wanted the flexibility of more handheld solutions along with laser scanning for larger objects. With the addition of the GOM line, we can now meet those needs.

GOM Scan 1: Compact, mobile, vesatile
T-SCAN hawk: Portable, versatile and handheld
T-SCAN: Fast, intuitive and highly precise
GOM Inspect Software: All-inclusive and user-centered

You can learn more about these tools on our new #HandsOnMetrology page or by contacting PADT today. Remember, we are more than a reseller, we use these same tools in our consulting business, so we have real-world experience on how to apply and leverage this technology. You might say that PADT even has “hands on” experience with these tools.

Access the offical press release here or as a PDF here, or you can read it below.


Press Release:

Innovative GOM and ZEISS 3D Scanning Solutions Added to PADT Portfolio as it Joins the #HandsOnMetrology Digital Platform Global Network

PADT is Now Selling the Three Leading GOM and ZEISS Optical and Laser Scanning Systems Throughout the Mountain and Southwest States

TEMPE, Ariz., May 11, 2021 PADT, a globally recognized provider of numerical simulation, product development, and 3D printing products and services, today announced it has joined #HandsOnMetrology, a digital platform dedicated to 3D metrology. Created after the merger of GOM and ZEISS, HandsOnMetrology consists of a unique, global network of companies selling leading 3D scanning products. As a part of this exclusive network, PADT now offers three high-end optical and laser 3D scanning systems, the T-SCAN, T-SCAN hawk, and GOM Scan 1.

“The HandsOnMetrology systems are the most precise and flexible scanners on the market,” said Ward Rand, co-founder and principal, PADT. “We are pleased to be expanding our product offerings, as well as providing scanning services to our customers. Specifically, the systems enhance our simulation services by allowing us to scan existing parts that can be simulated, or scan parts after testing for verification of simulation. It also supports our additive manufacturing activities by providing a simple-to-use and cost-effective way to reverse engineer older parts and inspect 3D Printed parts.”

The portfolio of HandsOnMetrology systems focuses on new to market hand-held measuring systems. The scanners are characterized by their precise measuring results and allow for mobile and flexible use around the shop floor. The industry-standard software GOM Inspect Suite is pre-installed on all three systems and supports users during inspections and analyses. It also walks users through the entire workflow from 3D scanning to the evaluation, including the inspection report.

PADT is selling the scanners and accompanying software across Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. The systems allow PADT and its customers to address a variety of 3D scanning processes including reverse engineering, art, architecture, inspection, quality, and control. The company is also providing support and training to help customers get real work done quickly and accurately.

“In addition to our ability to sell this innovative lineup of scanners, PADT and our customers will gain access to a network of resources through HandsOnMetrology,” said Jim Sanford, vice president, Sales and Support, PADT. “By teaming with these industry leaders, PADT can support our community of designers, technicians, engineers, scientists, and specialists with valuable knowledge to increase product quality, optimize processes and expand possibilities. It is the perfect complement to our long-term position as Ansys Elite, Stratasys Platinum  and EOS Channel Partners.”

To learn more about PADT and its new lineup of #HandsOnMetrology 3D scanning systems and software, please visit www.padtinc.com.

About PADT

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 90 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, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

About #HandsOnMetrology

#HandsOnMetrology is a new global 3D scanning network and provides a digital go-to for everything you always wanted to know about 3D scanning on the platform HandsOnMetrology.com. The platform is operated by GOM, a ZEISS company, that sets new standards in optical 3D metrology. From step-by-step setup instructions to more advanced tutorials and expert hacks: the platform is made for learning and for getting inspired. It gives users all the information they need to deliver 3D scanning excellence. HandsOnMetrology.com supports the community of designers, technicians, engineers, scientists and specialists with valuable knowledge to increase product quality, optimize processes and expand possibilities.

About GOM GmbH

GOM, a company of the ZEISS Group, specializes in industrial 3D coordinate measuring technology, 3D computed tomography and 3D testing. From product development to production and worldwide distribution, GOM offers machines and systems for manual and automated 3D digitizing, evaluation software, training and professional support from a single source. In industries such as automotive, aerospace, energy and consumer goods, more than 17,000 GOM system installations are in use internationally. At more than 60 locations and with more than 1,200 metrology specialists, GOM guarantees profound advice and first-class service. Since mid-2019, GOM has been a part of the ZEISS Group and has formed the Center of Excellence for optical metrology. With more than 31,000 employees in 50 countries and annual revenue totaling more than 6.4 billion euros, ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. (Status: September 30, 2019)

# # #

Project Management for Non-Linear Dynamics Simulation with ANSYS LS-DYNA

We spend a lot of time writing articles about how to use the very capable tools that are available from Ansys, Inc., but tend to skip over the project management side of simulation. But, project management can be as important, especially for challenging simulations, as the technical aspects.  We recently completed a series of Non-Linear Dynamics simulations with ANSYS LS-DYNA and ended up learning a lesson or two about how to get such projects done on time and on budget. Follow korucaredoula to get access to the series.

What is Non-Linear Dynamics Simulation, and what makes it different?

When materials are deformed so fast that the rate of strain changes material properties, we refer to that as non-linear dynamics. In non-linear structural simulation, the material may be distorting in a non-linear way (usually plasticity), but the non-linear properties are dynamic. Because of this, time gets involved in the equation, as do non-linear material properties.  Think car crash, metal forming, drop, bird impact on windshields and jet engine blades, and bullets going through stuff. 

There are various software tools in the Ansys family that can do the non-linear dynamics, but our preferred program is Ansys LS-Dyna.  It is an explicit dynamics solver that solves structural, fluid, thermal, and other physics.  It is an amazing program that does many things. Still, for the class of problem we are talking about here, we only care about time-dependent material non-linearity for structural deformation.

Setting expectations

Before beginning a project of any type, it is important to establish goals.  Non-linear dynamics is no different. What is different is that you have to be realistic about what goals you can achieve.  The events you are modeling are, by their very nature are very, well, non-linear. The answers you calculate can change drastically with mesh, loads, material properties, and solver parameters.

If you need high accuracy, then you need to set the expectation that it will take longer to solve, and you have to be more careful with your model. If you don’t need accuracy and you may be looking for relative improvements, like seeing if one geometry option makes things better or worse in your design, then you can back off and be less detailed.  This difference can have a large impact on your schedule and overall cost.

So before you plan, before you start gathering information, decide what you expect to get out of your model.

Planning for the Job

Once you have set your expectations and goals, it’s time to map out the project. It is not that different from most structural or vibration jobs. You still have to get geometry, create a mesh, define loads and constraints, apply material models, run, and post processes.

However, each of those steps can be different for non-linear dynamics.  Here are some critical issues to be aware of when producing a schedule:

  • Geometry
    If you are working with thin, especially sheet metal, parts, you probably want to use shells. They are more efficient and can be more accurate in many situations. You need to not just have a CAD model, but also a model that has the mid-plane surface defined as well as thicknesses.

    You also want to look at removing tiny features that don’t impact the solution.  The run time in an explicit dynamic solver is driven by the smallest element size. If you have tiny features relative to your overall geometry, capturing them can drive up your run times.  So set aside time to remove or simplify them.
  • Meshing
    As mentioned above, small elements can drive up run time. Also, distorted elements or elements that become distorted can cause your solutions to diverge and fail. You may (probably) need to create a hexahedral (brick) mesh.  All of these things require more time to create the mesh, and from a project standpoint, you need to plan for that.
  • Contact
    Ansys LS-Dyan rocks at contact.  It is pretty much automatic in most cases. So here, you don’t have to set aside time to define and tweak your contacts to get convergence. But there are many options, including erosion and other fancy options. Understand your contact needs and track and manage them.
  • Loads
    Everything in LS-DYNA is time-dependent, and loads are no exception.  If you are lucky, your load or loads are constant over time. But if not, you need to set aside time to characterize those loads and get them specified in the right format.  In addition, loads can be calculated, say the results of an explosion or an airbag deployment. These use Equation of State models to calculate forces on the fly and are a major advantage of the tool.
  • Solving
    From a project management standpoint, it is very important to plan for relatively long solves, restarts, and if possible, solving several jobs at the same time.  Non-linear dynamics is computationally intense. Do some trade studies on computer resources vs. schedule time.  Is it worth investing in more cores to solve faster or just let it chug away on a smaller computer? Also, don’t assume a single run to get the answer you want. Often you need to run the model multiple times before you understand what is really going on.

  • Post-processing
    We are solving highly non-linear events, and understanding what the model is telling us is the whole point of the exercise.  Budget time for processing massive amounts of data over time and reducing it into something useful. Also, time is needed to create animations.  The analyst may also find themselves buried in the weeds at the post-processing stage, and project management should take on the role of reviewing the results from a big picture perspective and drive what tables, graphs, plots, and animations are created.

Keeping the project on the rails when things are literally blowing up and crashing

The dynamic nature of both the events being modeled and the process of creating and running the models make for a less predictable progression for the project.  A project manager needs to pay close attention to what is going on at all times and pull the engineers doing the work back up for air to find out where things are going. 

Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Building a model that is more complex than needed
  • Making sure that the situation being simulated in the model is what the customer needs simulated
  • Too much time being spent to fit the model on a limited computer. Get a bigger computer.
  • The simulation engineer is fixated on details that don’t impact the solution much
  • Oversimplification of components, connections, and loads.
  • Science project mode – spending time trying to learn basic information or trying to get something new to work, and not solving a specific problem.

One of, if not the most important roles for the project manager is communication.  Constantly interacting with the engineers (without nagging) and with the customer (the person who will consume the results) is critical.  This is not a throw-it-over-the-wall type of project.  And the more you accomplish, often the more you have new questions.  It may take two weeks or nine months. But either way, the PM needs to be constantly talking to everyone involved.

And yes, here at PADT, we have actually modeled a train car going off the rails. The project, though, stayed on track because we kept a close watch and stayed focus on the specifications. Things did surprise us, and we had to change some of the model when we got the first results, but we planned for that, communicated with the customer, and kept our changes to what was needed to answer the customer’s questions.

Our cars have incredible crash safety, very few planes fail because of bird ingestion, and we create amazing components out of formed sheet metal because of this type of non-linear dynamic simulation, and in most cases, Ansys LS-Dyna. Proper project management that recognizes the challenges and differences for this type of project can make a massive variety of products even better.

A PADT Engineer in King Attiball’s Court – Chapter 3

There just is not enough engineer-focused fiction out there. Romance, Horror, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Historical, Mystery, etc. They all do well, but they are rarely written for the engineers of the world.

Here at PADT, we are all about undoing such injustices. We decided to brainstorm a story about an engineer who does simulation and 3D Printing and ends up on an adventure. We hope they will find some mystery, some science fiction, and some horror. Maybe even a little romance. To develop the characters and the plot we all got on an MS Teams meeting and blocked it out. It was a lot of fun. That turned into an outline, that will turn into a chapter every month.

We hope you enjoy the result as much as we enjoyed dreaming the journey up.

It should be noted that every character in this story is completely made up. Sometimes we steal some names from real people as a shoutout to them, but that is about it. PADT does not have a basement or a fancy cluster in one. Everything is made up. Well, almost everything. We do have a stack of furniture in the back of shipping and receiving.


Chapter 1: Batch Submission

Chapter 2: New Friends


Chapter 3
Like an Owl

It was comforting for Ash to learn that food tastes had not changed so much over the millennia. Sitting in that courtyard under those trees, the marinated vegetables and stewed meats in the bowls Mnihh’dm had brought out tasted wonderful.  And the bowls of watered wine quenched her thirst and had just enough flavor to taste good and alcohol to kill the microbes living in the local water supply.

Verihbitt explained each dish and sampled them with Ash.

She then drained her bowl of wine and reached over to touch Ash’s leg. “You have eaten and drunk. Are you ready for questions?”

Ash was ready. “Sure, I guess now is as good a time as any.”

“Are you a witch?”

She was a little stunned by the question but had to remember that everything about Ash’s world was magic to this woman. It was best to address that head-on. How do you explain to an ancient Babylonian what an engineer is? She gave it a try.

 “No, I am not a witch. But I am a scholar and an artisan. I study the world around us, and I use what I learn to make things that make life better. Tools that people use.”

Verihbitt thought for a while. “Like the King’s architect?”

“In a way.” Ash pushed down some of the jokes about civil engineers that she had learned in college. “I get paid to solve problems but not to build structures.” She could not resist. “Nor do I design ditches.”

“It is normal for a woman to do such things where you are from?”

Ash laughed, remembering all the meetings where she was the only woman in the room. “Not as normal as it should be. But it is getting better.”

“Well, here it is good for a smart woman like yourself to speak through a man. Some will listen to a wo-“

The sound of shattering wood interrupted Verihbitt as the gate to the courtyard exploded and rained splinters down on the two women. It was quickly followed by the angry shouts of three men who rushed through the opening, spears in their hands. They stopped momentarily to scan the courtyard, then rushed towards Verihbitt.

Without thinking, Ash stood and kicked the low table, bowls and all, towards the approaching men. It slowed them down enough to give Verihbitt time to dart behind the nearest tree.  She reappeared with her own spear, and in one fluid motion,  launched it at the closest attacker.

Another spear flew by Ash’s head before it thudded into the chest of another attacker. She looked back as Takaa, who must have been sitting in the far corner of the courtyard behind a thick pillar, grabbed another spear. He sent it past her ear, and she heard another thunk as it landed.  She ran towards Takaa and dived behind the column.

“Fight or flight,” she said between gasping breaths. “I guess flight wins out today.”

The sounds of a struggle grew louder. There were grunts and cries of pain, but no screaming. After only a few seconds, the sound stopped, and she heard heavy boots approaching her.

“Are you harmed, my lady?” It was the voice of Takaa. Ash relaxed.

Ash stood and came out from behind the column. “I am just a little shaken. I didn’t help much.”

Verihbitt appeared behind Takaa and said, “Well, we know you are not a witch. You cast no spells. But kicking the table at them did slow them down.  Thank you.”

Minihh’dm came flying through the door into the house, short sword at the ready.

“My princess, Verihbitt, you are covered in blood. Are you injured?”

Stunned, Ash looked at Verihbitt and could only say, “Well, I may not be a witch, but you appear to be a princess?”

The next half hour was another blur of activity. Takaa ran outside and returned a few minutes later with a chariot let by a beautiful gray horse. All four of them clambered on, and Takaa steered them down a maze of narrow passages, knocking over stalls and more than a few people who could not get out of the way fast enough. At some point, Ash had to close her eyes and hold on as hard as she could to the two-wheeled cart’s railing.

She opened her eyes when Verihbitt told her that they had exited through the eastern gate. Farmland stretched out along the rolling hills. There was still some dodging around donkey carts, and it was too loud to talk. Which was good. Ash needed the journey to process all that had happened. She had never seen someone killed before.  And certainly never with a spear.

Takaa guided the cart off the main road up a dirt track that led up a small mountain. A large stone building stood on top. Mnihh’dm yelled over the din into her ear, “The King’s summer palace. We will be safe here. And no, to answer your next question, your hostess is not the King’s daughter, but she is his niece.”

Ash did not know what to expect as the chariot passed through the gate to the building. The outside was simple stone, and she had only seen artist’s guesses at what a Babylonian summer palace would look like.

The bright colors were stunning. There were statues and frescos everywhere. What Ash had seen in books and online was not even close to what she saw in front of her. The large courtyard was surrounded by two stories of buildings. And every surface she could see was covered with paintings or sculptures.

Ash got off the chariot when it stopped, and she was thankful for Verihbitt’s steadying hand.

She said, “that was some ride. I was not sure I would be able to hold on much longer.”

Verhibitt laughed. “In my line of work, you often have to make a quick escape on a chariot.”

“As a princess? I always thought that involved sitting on pillows and being fed by servants.”

“No.” Verhibitt looked at Ash sideways, smiled, said, “I am also a spy,” and ran across the courtyard towards a man in bright robes.

Ash looked more closely at the far side of the courtyard as she walked towards it. The man stood with Verhibitt at the bottom of a large dirt ramp, and hundreds of shirtless men were pulling a stone slab up the ramp on large wooden rollers using two ropes. She could tell there was a carving of some kind of the top surface of the slab. The wall was covered with scaffolding, and it looked like they were going to hoist a giant stone carving up onto the top of the second story.

Verhibitt was waiting for her at the foot of the ramp, her right arm entwined with that of the older man in bright robes.

“This is my father, Prince Batnoam. One of the King’s brothers and, more importantly, the King’s Architect. He is one of those people who build walls and ditches.”

Feeling a little embarrassed, Ash bowed to Batnoam.

The prince nodded his head in acknowledgment and said, “welcome, my child. My darling Verhi has been breathlessly telling me about your adventures today. I have to admit I could not follow half of it, so I want to know more at dinner.”

He snapped his fingers, and two women in simple robes appeared as if from nowhere. “Please prepare rooms for my daughter and her friend.”

“While we wait for that, let me show you our latest project. This is a piece that shares the story of my glorious brother’s latest conquest in the East. It took almost a full year to carve and most of the summer season to bring up the hill on rollers. Today, we will pull it up to the top of the wall and secure it. We will then spend another week digging out the ramp under it to lower it down against the wall.”

“And you will spend even more of my money doing so.”

Ash turned to see a tall man dressed in shining brass armor taking purposeful steps up the ramp. A dozen soldiers and a cluster of men in robes struggled to climb behind him.

Everyone bowed to him, so Ash followed their motion.

Boatnoam said, “My brother, when you came back from the East you told me you wanted something grand to celebrate your victory. Nobles will flock to the summer palace just to see this story immortalized in stone.”

“Yes, yes. That is what you always say. Then you ask for more money, and it is always too late for me to back out.”

While listening to the Prince and King jest with one another, Ash looked up at the slab and how they were lifting it. Iron rings were attached to the top of the wall and, ropes went from the slab, through rings, and back down to the teams of men who were pulling. Up next to the rope, she could see two boys were slathering grease onto the rope to reduce friction.

The teams pulled, the King and prince argued, and the boys kept applying grease as the slab slowly moved on the wooden rollers. Ash soaked in the pure joy of seeing ancient engineering at work.

And then, for the third time that day, someone tried to kill Ash.  

Two men who had been walking next to the ropes on either side of the ramp pulled out large axes and, in unison, swung down on the taught rope. With a loud twang, the ropes split, and the slab began to roll down the hill. It headed right towards Ash, her new friends, and the King.

She screamed, “The slab is loose, run!”

She raced to the side as others ran down the ramp in front of the slab. The air was filled with dust, but she could see the stone crash onto the flat courtyard and stop. There were shouts and screams from a large crowd gathered around the slab. Ash ran down the ramp to find Prince Batnoam trapped. A split roller kept the slab from crushing the prince completely, but it was apparent that both of his legs were trapped.

The King screamed for everyone to come out and to fetch new ropes. But Batnoam saw the same thing Ash did. If they pulled the slab in any direction, it would come off the roller and crush him.

“Brother, I think we need to lift it.” In between gasps of pain, the architect described his latest scheme. “Put stakes in the dirt mound to keep the slab from moving. Then attach ropes to the far end up through the iron loops. Then pull to tilt it up and off of me.”

Ash looked at the geometry. The angle was too low. There was no way they could lift the slab. She decided to speak.

“Your highness, although this idea is close, I do not think it will be enough to lift the stone. In my land, we use a different method to lift large items. Might I try that?”

“No.” Said the King. “We will do as my brother’s asked, not the musings of a foreign girl.”

The next half hour was busy. The workers were able to wedge some more wood under the stone to relieve a little pressure. But no matter how many men or oxen they put on the ropes, they could not lift the stone.

As the sun started to set, Batnoam gestured for the King to come closer. “Brother, it is getting late, and we are losing light. And I do not want to miss dinner.” The King laughed at his brother’s bravado. “Bring torches and, maybe we should let the foreign girl try.”

The King reluctantly nodded towards her, and Ash sprang into action.

“Someone bring that scaffolding over here, the tall one there, and put it over the end of the slab.”

She walked to a group of men who had been pulling on the ropes and said, “You need to gather me two of thickest rollers you have. And more rope, lots of rope.” She shouted after their retreating backs, “And lots of grease.”

It had been years since Ash had studied how a simple tackle worked. But, while others had been attempting to lift the stone, she had been sketching her idea in the dirt. The top roller would be attached to the scaffolding. A rope would be attached to either end of the lower roller, looped up over the top roller, back down around the bottom roller, then over the top roller again. This configuration would provide four times the lifting force, minus all the drag from the ropes rubbing on the rollers.

It took close to an hour to build the rig. No one had spoken to Ash while it was being created and they followed her orders with obvious irritation. But, the King had sanctioned this approach, so they worked at it.

When the rig was ready, she had two teams of twelve men at the ends of each rope.

“You need to pull together so that it lifts the same on both sides.” She shouted to them. “At first, it will not move much. But it will move. Try now.”

Ash put her hands behind her back and crossed her fingers. In English, she whispered, “Freshman statics, don’t fail me now,”under her breath.

They pulled, and the scaffolding creaked. And then the ropes began to stretch. The slab didn’t move.

“Keep pulling!”

The men just stood and looked at her.

The King shouted, “Pull, you dogs, or I’ll toss all of you off the top of that wall.”

With the King’s orders, they pulled again, and the lower roller began to rise, pulling the slab with it.

“One more pace back!” shouted Ash.

They heaved one more time as one, and the slab lifted again. Other builders quickly placed wood blocks under the slab while a soldier pulled the King’s brother from under the stone.

Once clear of the stone they moved him to stretcher.  Batnoam took his daughter’s hand and says, “I do like this new friend. She is wise, like an owl.”

Everyone was focused on the prince and getting him to his rooms, and they stopped paying attention to Ash. So no one noticed when she lost consciousness and crumpled to the stone paving of the courtyard.

“bzzzzzz.” “bzzzzzzzzzz.” “bzzzzzz”

Ash wasn’t sure if she was dreaming or not. She opened her eyes to a dark room. The full moon was shining through open windows and a light sea breeze filled the room with humid, salty air.

“bzzzzzz.” “bzzzzzzzzzz.” “bzzzzzz”

Sitting up, Ash looked around the room. She was a little light-headed but felt better than she expected. The moonlight illuminated her backpack in the corner of the small room. She walked towards it, and the buzzing got louder. It was her phone.

Fumbling a bit, she found it in the outside pocket.

“bzzzzzz.” “bzzzzzzzzzz.” “bzzzzzz”

She turned it over in her hand and pressed the action button. The screen lit the room, showing her a single text message.

ALEX A: “Where did you go? One second you were here. Then you were gone. The system has locked me out. I thought you had gone on your vacation, but the police came looking for you just now. Are you OK?”

At first, Ash thought this must be a message that he had sent right after she had been tossed back into time. She checked the time. It said 5 min ago. The signal strength in the upper right corner showed one bar.

She quickly typed a message.

ASH: “I’m here. OK, all things considered. Let me know if you get this.”

She waited for a second, bathed in the moonlight that shined through an open window of a Babylonian King’s summer palace.

ALEX A: “Whew! 😊”

– To Be Continued –

Please subscribe to our newsletter, so you will know when the next installment, “Off to Sea,” is released, wherein our engineering hero finds out if she has sea legs and tries to communicate with the present.

Press Release: PADT Named EOS Metal 3D Printing Distribution Partner Across the Southwest, Expanding its Established Additive Manufacturing Products Offering

PADT’s model for over 27 years has been to become experts on the leading tool that engineers use, then become a reseller. We continue that model with our new partnership with EOS, the leader in Metal 3D Printing. We have been a user of several metal Additive Manufacturing solutions for some time, settling on EOS’ DMLS technology last year. We are now pleased to announce that that technical relationship has grown to include PADT as an EOS Distribution Partner for the Southwestern United States.

More details can be found in the press release below. You can see the official press release in PDF and HTML as well.

What does it mean for our customers? The same technology-driven win-win relationship you have come to count on for Ansys, Stratasys, and Flownex are now available if you need to add metal 3D Printing. And after your purchase, when you call for assistance you will talk to people that run the same machines you are.

Have questions? Why EOS or what machine would be best for you? More details on the metal systems can be found on our website. But the best way to learn more is to contact us at info@padtinc.com or 480.813.4884

If metal 3D Printing is part of how you make innovation work, PADT is ready to help.


PADT Named EOS Metal 3D Printing Distribution Partner Across the Southwest, Expanding its Established Additive Manufacturing Products Offering

Building on its Expertise in Metal 3D Printing Services and R&D, PADT Adds Metal Laser Powder Bed Fusion Systems to its Sales Portfolio

TEMPE, Ariz., April 13, 2021 PADT, a globally recognized provider of numerical simulation, product development, and 3D printing products and services, today announced it has been named Distribution Partner for EOS’s full lineup of industrial metal 3D printing systems. Founded in 1989, EOS is a leading technology provider for industrial additive manufacturing of metals and plastics. PADT will represent the company’s Direct Metal Laser Fusion (DMLS®) powder bed fusion systems across Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, and Utah.

“PADT is experiencing explosive growth,” said Jim Sanford, Vice President, Sales & Support, PADT. “Our new partnership with EOS helps us serve our customers and expand their 3D printing options with this impressive lineup of systems. Metal materials are the next major frontier in 3D printing innovation and PADT is an early adopter. We continue to explore new ways to apply the technology to meet our customer’s evolving needs.”

EOS’ metal 3D printing platforms use proprietary DMLS technology that meters and deposits ultra-fine layers of metal powders and then melts each layer – as defined by a 3D CAD model – using high-powered lasers. The applications produced with DMLS are highly accurate, highly dense, and allow for incredible functionality at a cost that can be less than traditional manufacturing. DMLS printers are considered the industry standard for oil and gas components, consolidated and lighter-weight aerospace applications, and custom medical solutions such as guides and implants that improve patient outcomes.

PADT will sell EOS’  metal 3D printing systems, including the company’s small and medium systems, EOS M 100 and EOS M 290; and its large production platforms, EOS M 300 Series, EOS M 400, and EOS M 400-4. PADT has installed an EOS M 290 machine onsite to develop high-quality end-use metal products for customers and expand its ongoing research and development of metal 3D printing.

“As 3D printing technology has advanced, PADT has seen an increase primarily in the aerospace and defense industry’s use of 3D printing for end-use parts,” said Rey Chu, co-founder and principal, PADT. “Metal 3D printing provides many benefits over traditional manufacturing, including lighter, cost-effective parts made much faster and with greater design freedom. The EOS machines provide PADT’s entire range of customers with a wide variety of options to produce metal parts quickly and effectively. Those same advantages will benefit any industry that has a need for low volume production of complex metal parts.”

“PADT is a long-time leader in 3D printing systems and services since the early 1990s with a proven track record of identifying advanced manufacturing trends and helping customers integrate 3D printing innovation into their manufacturing operations,” said Andrew Snow, senior vice president at EOS North America. “We look forward to deepening our reach across the Southwest, a leading hub for aerospace and defense customers, through our partnership with PADT.”

To learn more about PADT and its new lineup of EOS metal 3D printing products and accessories, please visit www.padtinc.com.

About PADT

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 90 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, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

About EOS

EOS is the world’s leading technology supplier in the field of industrial 3D printing of metals and polymers. Formed in 1989, the independent company is pioneer and innovator for comprehensive solutions in additive manufacturing. Its product portfolio of EOS systems, materials, and process parameters gives customers crucial competitive advantages in terms of product quality and the long-term economic sustainability of their manufacturing processes. Furthermore, customers benefit from deep technical expertise in global service, applications engineering and consultancy.

A PADT Engineer in King Attiball’s Court – Chapter 2

There just is not enough engineer-focused fiction out there. Romance, Horror, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Historical, Mystery, etc. They all do well, but they are rarely written for the engineers of the world.

Here at PADT, we are all about undoing such injustices. We decided to brainstorm a story about an engineer who does simulation and 3D Printing and ends up on an adventure. We hope they will find some mystery, some science fiction, and some horror. Maybe even a little romance. To develop the characters and the plot we all got on an MS Teams meeting and blocked it out. It was a lot of fun. That turned into an outline, that will turn into a chapter every month.

We hope you enjoy the result as much as we enjoyed dreaming the journey up.

It should be noted that every character in this story is completely made up. Sometimes we steal some names from real people as a shoutout to them, but that is about it. PADT does not have a basement or a fancy cluster in one. Everything is made up. Well, almost everything. We do have a stack of furniture in the back of shipping and receiving.


Read Chapter 1: Batch Submission


Chapter 2
New Friends

“Tastes like sand.” That was the first thought Ash had as she began to wake up. The crunch she felt on her teeth and the nasty flavor reminded her of the time her brother buried her on the beach.

It was definitely sand.

As she became more aware, she realized it was in her nose as well. When she moved her hands, she felt more hot, dry sand. Laying there, trying to figure out what happened, she noticed the sound of waves and then seagulls.

The last thing she remembered was trying to keep her balance after submitting her CFD batch run on PADT’s new supercomputer. Passing out and waking up on what appeared to be a beach was not the usual result of pressing return on a batch command. Even if it was the wrong command. For a few seconds, she wondered if she was in a virtual reality simulation. But the gritty sand in her mouth was real. Her slowly reviving brain latched on to the idea that a good next step was to open her eyes.

She said, “OK, seagulls, let’s see what you look like.”

Ash was met with a view of a blurry beach with waves slowly working their way up and down a stretch of sand about thirty feet away. She tried to lift her head to look around, but her body did not cooperate.

“Let’s try toes.”

She was able to move those, but didn’t feel sand. Good, it seemed her hiking boots were still on. She was able to move her arms slightly across the warm sand.

“Progress,” was her comments to the gulls she could see skimming the shoreline, occasionally diving into the water.

Before she found the strength to lift her head again, she heard voices. It sounded like two children. As the sound became louder, she could tell they were not speaking English. With a start, she realized they were talking to each other in a heavily accented version of Phoenician.

Ash heard what sounded like a little girl shout, “On the beach, see, it’s a goddess!”

This was followed by a boy’s voice responding, “No, it’s just a foreigner. Probably a slave.”

Ash said in English, “I am neither a goddess nor someone’s slave, thank you very much.”

Using as much strength as she could muster, she raised herself up and faced the two kids.

Ash spat out some sand and croaked, “Where am I?” in her best Phoenician.

Both the kids were thin with dark olive skin and long, kinky black hair. They were both wearing torn and dirty tunics, and they stared at Ash with a mix of fear and curiosity. The boy held a long stick, which he raised and used to poke Ash in the shoulder.

“Ouch!”

The girl said, “She talks as funny as she dresses.”

Ash took a deep breath and tried again, speaking slowly. “What. Place. Are. We. Near?”

Poking her again, the boy answered, “Sur. The center of the world.”

Ash recognized the Phoenician name for the ancient city of Tyre on the coast of what is now Lebanon. She remembered studying it in college and how it was built on a rocky peninsula that jutted out into the Mediterranean. Looking up the beach, she could now see beige stone walls rising from cliffs that protruded into the water. Smoke rose from behind the walls and a few tall masts poked up above the city.

This made no sense. Ash’s head began to spin as the craziness of the situation hit her. She was sitting on a beach, speaking with two children in ancient Phoenician, and what appeared to be an actual ancient walled city was within walking distance.

In English, she said, “This is crazy. It must be a dream.”

She tried to stand and became very dizzy. Her vision blurred and then began to fade to black.

When Ash woke up, she found herself on a pile of straw in a small room. It smelled of smoke and animals. Light was streaming in from an opening about two-thirds up one of the mud walls.

Her head did feel clearer. When she tried to stand up, she realized that her backpack was still on her back. She unclipped it and swung it to the floor as she walked to the opening. Looking out, she saw a collection of buildings clustered around a small harbor that was full of boats of different sizes. The paths that weaved between the buildings were full of people wearing tunics and robes. It was loud. I was also very smelly.

Ash struggled to get her head around what she saw. After a few minutes, she stopped trying. Realizing that the best way to deal with this was to just go along with it, she bent to open her backpack and took out her Phoenician clothes.

“When in ancient Phoenicia, do as the ancient Phoenicians do.”

Minutes later, Ash found herself moving with the flow of people down a narrow street. The sights and sounds began to excite her. This was an excellent simulation of what Tyre must have been like. She passed stalls full of food, cloth, pottery, and bronze implements.

Stopping in front of a pottery stall full of beautiful pieces of different sizes and shapes, she said to herself in English, “I need to share this with everyone.”

Without thinking, she reached into her pocket, took out her mobile phone, and raised it to take a picture. The stall was in the shade, so the flash went off.

That was when the merchant, followed by what seemed like everyone in the street around her, turned on Ash.

They were all shouting. She heard, “Magic!” “Foreign Sorcery” “She’s a Demon!” “Witch!”

It was the term “witch!” that took over. Soon they were all shouting it while grabbing her and pulling her down the street. Several women started to grab bright pieces of cloth from stalls along the road and put them over her head. At one point, someone stole some sort of root vegetable and tied it to her nose.

Over the chaos of the growing crowd, she was able to see they were approaching a large open space raised platform in the center.. Pushing her forward, she found herself at the base of a small stage. The merchant that had started this whole thing jumped onto the platform and shouted, “we have found a witch!”

The crowd continued to shout, “A Witch!.” “Burn Her!” “A Witch!”

A well-dressed man joined the merchant on the platform and asked, “how do you know she is a witch?”

Someone in the audience answered, “She looks like one!”

Ash shook her head to try and bring some sanity to the insane scene around her. She called, “I m not a witch!”

The well-dressed man walked towards her, looked her over from sandals to scarves, and said, “ehh… but you are dressed like one.”

“They dressed me up like this!”

Someone behind her said, “Naah. No, we didn’t. No.”

Ash said, “And this isn’t’ my nose, it’s a false one.”

The man who seemed to be in charge reached down and lifted the nose off.

“Well, we did do the nose,” admitted one of the men holding her.

“Just the nose?”

“… and the scarves. But she is a witch!”

The crowd joined in. “Burn her. Burn her!”

The man motioned for Ash to be moved onto the platform and then spoke to the crowd. “I am Azmelqart. The King’s magistrate. Who here can tell me why you think she is a witch?”

Ash could now see the throng filling the square. A filthy man was working his way to the front. Once there, he said, “she turned me into a newt!”

“A newt?” asked Azmelqart.

The dirty man looked at his feet, then the crowd, and replied, “I got better,” in a small voice.

The crowd didn’t care. They started shouting “She’s a witch!” and “burn her!” again.

Azmelqart motioned for silence. “There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.”

“Are there? Well then, tell us!” demanded the merchant.

“Tell me… what do you do with witches?” asked Azmelqart.

“Burn them!”

Azmelqart nodded his head and then asked, “What do you burn apart from witches?”

Someone in the crowd answered, “More Witches!”

Azmelqart shook his head. A small boy walked forward and tentatively asked, “Wood?”

“Correct! So, why do witches burn?”

The boy looked at his feet and kicked at some stones. He then offered, “Cuz they’re made of… wood?”

Azmelqart smiled and said, “Goooood! Now, how do we tell if she is made of wood?”

Someone answered, “Build a bridge out of her.”

“Ahh, clever, but bridges can also be made out of stone. Does wood sink in water?”

“No,” said the merchant.

The boy added, “No. It floats!”

Someone in the crowd added, “Let’s throw her in the harbor!”

“What also floats in water?” asked Azmelqart.

Someone said, “bread.” Another guessed, “apples.” A third offered, “very small rocks.”

This last answer annoyed Azmelqart. People continued to make even more ridiculous suggestions until a clear, deep voice added, “A Duck!”

Bannal turned to face a man wearing bronze and leather armor on a horse. “Exactly! So logically…”

The merchant thought about it. Then he said, “if she weighs the same as a duck… she’s… MADE OF WOOD!”

“And therefore,” said Bannal.

The merchant thought some more and suggested, “a witch?”

The crowd took it up. Chanting “Witch,” “Witch,” “Witch” as they jumped up and down in the square.

With a look of triumph on his face, Azmelqart leaped from the stage and said, “We shall use my largest scale!” and the crowd followed him towards the harbor, leaving Ash alone on the platform.

“This is insane,” said Ash to the backs of the disappearing crowd. “I feel like I’m in a bad Monty Python skit.”

The only people left in the square were a young woman and an older, heavyset man. She was wearing a beautiful, ochre-colored dress that draped perfectly over her tall, thin frame. He was wearing a simple, very white tunic with a wide leather belt around his paunch.

“You certainly know how to get noticed when you come to a city for the first time,” said the woman. “I am Verihbitt, daughter of Batnoam. And this is my slave and faithful assistant in all things, Mnihh’dm.”

Ash walked towards them. “I’m Ash, daughter of…” She hesitated but could only think of her father’s real name. “Daughter of Alan.”

“Welcome to Sur, the center of the Phoenician Kingdom. You are obviously not from here or any other land I’ve been to. Where is it you come from?” asked the tall woman in a pleasant voice. Then she added, “but before you answer, let us leave the square and go to my father’s house. Before that idiot, Azmelqart, realizes he forgot to drag you to his scales.”

Mnihh’dm darted down the closest alleyway, and the two women followed.

Before long, Ash found herself in a small courtyard filled with olive and fig trees. Verihbitt motioned for her to sit on a stone bench as Mnihh’dm disappeared into a dark doorway.

“My guard,” said the young woman as she sat on another bench, “Takaa was the one that offered up the idea of a duck. I think it worked well, do you not?”

Ash caught her breath. “Yes, thank you so much. It was so strange, I did not know what to do or say. I cannot thank you enough. How can I repay you?”

Verihbitt’s face changed from stern and concerned to a beautiful smile. “Well, my father always tells me I am far too curious for my own good. And I am curious about you. Your payment must be telling me where you are from and why you are here.”

Ash contemplated what to say next. She could not tell this woman the truth. But she could stretch the truth to fit the situation.

“I was traveling in my land, a place far west from here, near where the sun goes to sleep each night.  I was… working on calculating some numbers and made a mistake that must have angered a god. Before I could fix my error, the room I was in began to shake, and all went dark. When I woke up, I was on the beach just south of the city walls.”

Verihbitt stared directly into Ash’s eyes as if trying to see if the tale was true.  She began to twist her hair in her fingers. Then she said, “that is an amazing story, one that a song should be written about. Even if it is not, I sense, the complete truth.”

The two women looked at one another, not really knowing what to say. Ash was starting to panic when Mnihh’dm returned with a platter filled with bowls. He set it down on a tripod between the two women, turned to Verihbitt, and said, “I like her. I think she needs a friend.”

Ash looked at Verihbitt more closely. She had to be about the same age as Ash. Her hair was black and curly. Her skin was the same dark olive as everyone in the city. She could tell that this was a smart, confident, and caring woman. And that was precisely what Ash needed.

Ash ventured, “I truly could use a friend.”

Verihbitt leaned forward and lifted her cup. “To friendship then, and to the adventures that it brings!”

– To Be Continued –

Continue reading with “Like and Owl,” wherein the new friends fend off not one, but two attacks, a secret is uncovered about one of them, and Ash realizes she has a connection to the present day.

Please subscribe to our newsletter, so you will know when the next installment is released

Press Release: PADT Named a Stratasys Diamond Partner

PADT’s long-standing relationship with Stratasys, the world leader in 3D Printing systems, continues to grow. The latest facet is our recent naming as a Stratasys Diamond Partner. We started this mutual journey as one of the first 3D Printing service providers to add Stratasys’ Fused Deposition Modeling. With that start as a customer we grew to become a reseller, then a supplier for support removal equipment, We also recently expanded our sales territory to include the state of Texas.

And now we are proud to be identified as a Diamond Partner, the top level for Stratasys channel partners. Please read the press release below to learn more about the details. You can also read the official HTML and PDF versions.

We could not have achieved this honor without two groups of people – our customers and our staff. PADT has the most amazing relationship with our 3D Printing users, who let us into their business to help them realize their additive manufacturing goals. And what those customers tell us is that our staff is amazing. From salespeople who have become trusted advisors, to our expert application engineers, to our service engineers who keep their machines running.

We can’t wait to see where the Stratasys + PADT journey takes us next.


The Southwest’s Leading Provider of 3D Printing Systems, Materials and Services, PADT, Named a Stratasys Diamond Partner

PADT has Served More Than 500 Customers With More Than 800 3D Printers Throughout Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Utah

TEMPE, Ariz., March 9, 2021 PADT, a globally recognized provider of numerical simulation, product development, and 3D printing products and services, today announced it has been named a Stratasys Diamond partner for its continued success selling the 3D printing manufacturer’s complete line of products and providing stellar support service. PADT becomes one of the few elite Stratasys resellers in the country to have achieved Diamond partner status.

“For more than 25 years, PADT has provided the highest level of 3D printing products, services and support to our customers across the Southwest,” said Jim Sanford, vice president, Sales & Support, PADT. “Earning the Stratasys Diamond partner designation is a result of the hard work of our team, and the continued respect of our customers.”

PADT became one of the first service providers in the country to offer fused deposition modeling (FDM) printing on Stratasys equipment in the late 1990s and has continued to expand its 3D printing capabilities as a service provider and reseller. The company built its customer base by providing outstanding 3D printing services and technical support across a wide variety of industries and organizations, from schools to startups, including some of the world’s largest aerospace organizations. To date, PADT has sold 883 printers to 506 customers across the Southwest.

PADT currently offers Stratasys’ complete portfolio of top-rated systems, accessories and materials, including full-color printing with PolyJet multi-material systems, robust and proven FDM manufacturing systems from desktop to those supporting advanced materials, and stereolithography for precision and finish.

“3D printing is a fast-growing industry that continues to expand its capabilities and quality year-over-year,” said Ward Rand, co-founder and principal, PADT. “We’re thankful for the strong partnership we’ve enjoyed with Stratasys, and with new technologies coming, we look forward to offering our customers even more choices to make 3D printing part of their everyday process to drive efficiency and cost-savings. This is especially true as we help our customers move from prototyping to creating tooling and production parts with Stratasys additive manufacturing solutions. 3D printing solutions from Stratasys are helping the world’s leading companies gain business agility and competitive advantage and PADT is proud to be a Diamond Partner.”

PADT now represents Stratasys in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah as an Elite Channel Partner at the Diamond level. To learn more about PADT and its 3D printing products and services, please visit www.padtinc.com.

About PADT

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 90 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, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

# # #

A PADT Engineer in King Attiball’s Court – Chapter 1

Editors Note:

There just is not enough engineer-focused fiction out there. Romance, Horror, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Historical, Mystery, etc. They all do well, but they are rarely written for the engineers of the world.

Here at PADT, we are all about undoing such injustices. We decided to brainstorm a story about an engineer who does simulation and 3D Printing and ends up on an adventure. We hope they will find some mystery, some science fiction, and some horror. Maybe even a little romance. To develop the characters and the plot we all got on an MS Teams meeting and blocked it out. It was a lot of fun. That turned into an outline, that will turn into a chapter every month.

We hope you enjoy the result as much as we enjoyed dreaming the journey up.

It should be noted that every character in this story is completely made up. Sometimes we steal some names from real people as a shoutout to them, but that is about it. PADT does not have a basement or a fancy cluster in one. Everything is made up. Well, almost everything. We do have a stack of furniture in the back of shipping and receiving.


Read Chapter 2: New Friends


Chapter 1
Batch Submission

Everyone’s work cubical is different. Some develop a zone of chaos. Some use it as a place to display the things they care about. Some, like Ash, keep theirs stark and clean.  She found it difficult to focus if one item was out of place or if her monitor was not at the perfect height and angle. She started and finished each day with the same ritual. A ritual that guaranteed that at least this little corner of her world was controlled, clean, and understood.

Most days, it worked. But no matter how hard Ash tried, she was going to end up in a place that she could not control, keep clean, or even understand. If she knew that facilities would soon start using her cubicle to store large, blue water bottles, she would have thrown a fit. At this point, she had no idea how unusual things would soon become. But, we are getting ahead of our story.

On this particular day, she walked into her cubicle with an extra bounce in her step. She straightened the diploma on the wall that said, “Asghleith Jones, PhD, Computation Fluid Mechanics.”  She even made sure her tape, stapler, pen holder, stack of sticky pads, and metal straight-edge were in their proper position. She realized that the only picture in her office, a group photo of the Phoenix Phoenicians LARP’ers, had been moved by the cleaning crew again. With a gentle nudge, she put it back into its proper position.

Ash was on the taller side with a fit figure that she usually kept hidden under baggy khakis and a polo shirt.  She had bright, intelligent green eyes, dark olive skin, and a mass of black, curly hair.  Hair she almost always kept tied back behind her head and down her back. After turning 27 the previous month, she had recommitted to her regimen of running and yoga that kept her feeling healthy and energetic.

The large backpack she placed on the floor next to her desk, and the bounce in her step were related. After work, she was heading to a campground outside of Tucson, Arizona, to meet up with the group in the picture. They were going to spend a whole week pretending to be a group of Ancient Phoenician traders. Live-action role-playing, LARPing, was her passion.  A passion she could not wait to indulge. She just needed to get this huge fluid flow simulation set-up and solving on the server before leaving. Then she could relax and slide into her alter-ego.

“Hey, Ash, ready to go a’LARPing?”  She looked up from her monitor to see Harriet Rumanicci, PADT’s HR manager and her best friend at work, standing in the door.

“Don’t make fun of me,” she answered.  “It is relaxing and good therapy. No computers, no meetings, no nosy co-workers, and best of all, no deadlines.” 

Harriet came in and sat on the guest chair in the cubicle. Petit, blond, and full of energy, she was the only person keeping the various employees at PADT socially connected. She also truly enjoyed teasing Asghleith.  

She continued that teasing with, “How can someone who is a neat freak like you spend a week living in the desert? Do you sweep your tent every hour?”

Ash stopped typing and looked directly at Harriet with the most severe look she could muster. “As the manager of HR, you should know that my OCD is a disability, and making fun of me is discriminatory.”

“I don’t know. In your line of work, it may be an asset.”

They both laughed. 

Harriet slightly adjusted the position of Ash’s stapler and then asked, “Are you going to be able to submit the big job before you take off?”

“Yes,” said Ash, adding a sigh. “If I am not interrupted and if they get the server back up and running today.”

“Oh, you need the help of IT?”

“I do, and they are being very nice and responsive. Because they like engineers. But, the new hard drives may not be here in time. I’ve got an email into someone named -” Ash stopped speaking to click on her computer screen. “ – Alex Adalopopolopolus in the government projects team, to see if I can run on their cluster.  I heard it was massive with lots of new, super-duper-magic-fast hardware.”

“I know Alex. But then that is my job.” Harriet smiled at her little joke. “He seems a good guy, doesn’t talk much. In fact, he never leaves the basement.”

“Well, he will be this project’s lifesaver if he can get me a login and peel off some nodes with dual GPU’s, 128 gigabytes of memory, and four terabyte RAM drives for me to solve on.”

“I heard, lifesaver, blah, blah, dual goats, blah, blah, solve on,” joked Harriet.

“Exactly.”

Harriet sat comfortably in Ash’s cubical, checking and responding to emails as Ash continued to type and click at her computer.  They often worked like this, not saying much, just sharing the same space and tossing the occasional comment back and forth. The silence, and their productivity, was broken when Oren Barnett’s well-coifed head popped up over Ash’s cubical wall.

“Hey, Ash. How is that big run coming? Is it done yet? I got a big order that should drop as soon as you give them results.” 

Harriet said, “Oren. Bringer of anxiety. Can’t you see the lady is busy?”

Oren raised himself a bit higher so he could see where the unexpected voice was coming from. “Oh, I see HR is here. Isn’t making fun of me against some sort of corporate policy?”

“Let me check.” Harriet pretended to scroll through her phone. After a few seconds, she said, “No.”

Ash chuckled as she continued to work. She then said, “I should have it submitted this afternoon. A few more hours to get the boundary layer on these critical surfaces, then I’ll re-mesh one last time to get everything in its place.  The new drives won’t make it in today, so Alex in IT just gave me a week on the government cluster in the basement.”

Oren climbed up on the chair that he kept on his side of the cubical wall, resting his arms on top of the divider.  “Perfect, thank you, Ash.  It’s an important project that could lead to a seven-figures worth of HPC if we, well you, can show them how they can fix their problem.”  He paused to look at Harriet and considered if he should continue or not. 

He decided to continue.

“Ash, once you get that job submitted, can I take you to dinner as a reward?”

Harriet’s face darted up from her phone to glare at Oren.  Asghleith tried to ignore the proposition by typing faster and harder on her keyboard.

“Come on. You have worked hard all week.  All month, really.  Let me pay you back the best way I know how.” He smiled at her. “Time with me.”

Ash felt a bit trapped.  The truth was, as annoying as he could be, Oren made her laugh, and even though he put pressure on her all the time, he was always supportive and did everything he could to help her get her job done. And she could not deny, his smile was charming.  On the other hand, Harriet didn’t like him at all. She was also continually sharing stories of past office romances that had ended disastrously, often with HR involved. 

As much as she felt tempted to give in to Oren’s constant attempts to get her to go out with him, she had a valid excuse this time. 

“Sorry, guy. I’m leaving town for the week right after work.”

Oren’s smile faded. “Oh. Darn.  Going someplace fun?”

Ash continued typing and said, almost to herself, “I certainly hope so.”

At around four-thirty, the model was ready.  While Ash copied it to her thumb drive, she straightened her office up.  Everything was moved into the proper drawer or put in its perfect place. She smiled a bit when she realized that Harriett had moved her stapler and then put it where it belonged. 

Moments later, she was headed down the stairs to the basement.  Most people didn’t know that PADT even had a basement. The entrance was back behind a pile of old furniture stacked in the rear of shipping and receiving. 

At the bottom of the stairs, she pushed a simple red button with a small sign under it that said: “Push Me, All who Wish to Enter.”

A voice said, “You must be Asg-ha-leeth Jones?”

“Yes, No. Ash-Lee or Ash. Parents thought it was a sophisticated way to spell my name.” A flood of memories came back of her explaining to people since kindergarten that her name was Ashley.   

“Anyway,” she continued, “that is me. Do you need some ID or something?”

“No, you are good. Please enter.”

The door buzzed and slid open.  Ash stepped through into a small room with glass walls.  All around, on the other side of the glass walls, were rows and rows of computers.

“So cool,” she said to herself.

The same voice from the door said, “It is, isn’t it. Literally and figuratively. We keep the room at sixty-two degrees.  And it is a lot of very fast computers. Some with some pretty cool new technology. Which, I cannot tell you about.”

Startled, Ash asked, “Umm, who is this?”

The voice calmly answered, “I am the AI that lives on this computer. Although, we could debate if I actually live or exist.”

This was a shock to Ash. She thought the computer was used to run really large simulations for the government, she had no idea it could host an AI algorithm that sounded so human.

“Just kidding.” Said the voice in the ceiling. “This is Alex Adalopopolopopulus. You can just call me Alex A.” He paused. “Alex-ah. I am just kidding, again. Alex is fine. It is a pleasure to talk to you in person instead of through email.”

“Likewise.  Thank you so much for getting me time on this machine. I feel like a kid in a candy store. And I do like the idea of calling you Alex-ah.  Might as well, since you are a disembodied voice.”  She looked around for a terminal to sit at and realized there was no desk, no keyboard.  A large monitor was hanging from the back wall, next to the door where she had entered. 

“Welcome to the Phoenix Cluster, our state of the art hybrid quantum-digital compute cluster.  It integrates eight-thousand-one-hundred and ninety-two cores with six quantum compute nodes.  It also has a state of the art passive augmented reality interface.”

All Ash could say was, “so cool.”

“Indeed, my young padawan. Let’s get you loaded and started. There is a USB port under the monitor. Go ahead and put your thumb drive in.  Then stand on the yellow pad in the corner.”

Ash shifted her large backpack on her shoulders and walked to the monitor, more than a little nervous. She slid the thumb drive in. She then took a few steps to stand on a yellow circle in the corner by the monitor. 

As soon as she had both feet on the pad, her skin felt tingly. The room around her and the computers on the other side of the windows all faded, and she saw a cartoon version of the room.  A mouse, keyboard, and monitor floated in front of her.  She reached out and touched the keyboard. As her fingers made virtual contact, she felt something pushing back against them.

Before she could say it herself, she heard Alex’s voice in her ear, “I know, so cool!”

“I am kind of speechless. This is so awesome. As much as I want to play with this interface, I gotta get on the road, so here goes.”

Ash started to type on the keyboard and saw her command form on the monitor.

Ash–> cfdsolve1 -s fluent -t 2022-03-12-23:00 bc -loads-c1.txt -c Phoenicia -jn t75-c1-a

The command Asghleith typed in was supposed to start a batch script that ran Ansys FLUENT starting at eleven that night on the Phoenix cluster. As she pressed the virtual enter key, she realized that she put the dash on the boundary condition flag, bc, in the wrong place and had typed Phoenicia instead of Phoenix.

She thought it would be no big deal. The script would error out, and she would type it in correctly. Instead, she felt a jolt as if she was in an old elevator that had started to move up. On the screen, she saw the words, “Batch Job Submitted.  Engaging Quantum Temporal Solver.”

She struggled to stand as the whole room began to jump and shake. Her head began to spin.  The keyboard and monitor faded in front of her, replaced by blindingly bright light. She closed her eyes, but that did not help. The spinning got worse.

As she began to lose consciousness, she said, “Alex-A, I think I entered the wrong command.”  

-To Be Continued –

Please enjoy the next chapter, “New Friends.”

When we next join Ash she will encounter a mob, a wise man of science, ducks, and of course, a princess.

And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter, so you know when the next installment is released.

To be continued

Press Release: Ansys Elite Channel Partner and Stratasys Diamond Channel Partner, PADT Announces Jim Sanford as Vice President of Sales & Support

The Sales and Support team at PADT is the group that most of PADT’s customers interface with. They sell world-leading products from Ansys, Stratasys, and Flownex and then provide award-winning support long after the initial purpose. The team has grown over the years and has plans for even more growth. To help make that happen, we are honored to have Jim Sanford join the PADT family as the Vice President of our Sales & Support team.

Many of our customers and partners know Jim from his time with industry leaders Siemens, MSC, Dassault Systems, and NextLabs, Inc. He brings that experience and his background as a mechanical engineer before he entered sales, to focus PADT on our next phase of growth. He also fit well in PADT’s culture of customer focused, technical driven sales and support.

Our customers have a choice of who they purchase their Ansys multiphysics simulation, Stratasys 3D Printers, and Flownex system simulation software from, and who delivers their frontline support. We know with Jim leading the team, even more companies will make the choice to be part of the PADT family.

The official press release has more details, and can be found at these links or in the test below.

Press Release: PDF | HTML

Want to have a conversation about your Simulation or 3D Printing situation? Contact PADT now and one of our profesionals will be happy to help.


Ansys Elite Channel Partner and Stratasys Diamond Channel Partner, PADT Announces Jim Sanford as Vice President of Sales & Support

Sanford Brings a Wide Range of High-Profile Leadership Experience Across Technology and Aerospace and Defense Sectors to his New Position

TEMPE, Ariz., February 11, 2021 PADT, a globally recognized provider of numerical simulation, product development, and 3D printing products and services, today announced the addition of Jim Sanford as vice president of the company’s Sales & Support department. In his new position, Sanford is responsible for leading the increase of sales and customer support for a range of best-in-class simulation and additive manufacturing solutions. Sanford reports to Ward Rand, co-founder and principal, PADT.

“In the last few years, PADT has expanded across the Southwest, adding new expertise and technologies to our product and service offerings,” said Rand. “Jim is a valuable addition to the team and will be instrumental in sustaining PADT’s growth across the region. His leadership, experience, and knowledge of the industry will allow us to increase the pace of expansion and bring our solutions to serve new and existing customers in deeper and more impactful ways to their businesses.”

After a comprehensive search, Sanford proved to be the most experienced and capable leader to take on the vice president role. He will focus on providing visionary guidance, strategy, and tactical direction to the department. His responsibilities include refining the company’s sales team structure, recruiting, hiring, training, managing for profitable growth, and leading the support team to ensure an optimal customer experience for their use of Ansys, Stratasys, and Flownex products.

Prior to joining PADT, Sanford held business development and engineering positions in a diverse range of aerospace and defense, modeling and simulation, and software companies. His 30-year career span includes executive leadership roles at Siemens, MSC, and Dassault. Most recently he served as the VP for NextLabs Inc., a leading provider of policy-driven information risk management software for large enterprises, and the VP of Business Development for Long Range Services, where he was engaged in the development and testing of various classified items for the U.S. Department of Defense. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arizona, with emphasis in materials science and physics.

“PADT is a well-respected brand well-known for its product knowledge, customer-centric approach, and expertise,” said Sanford. “My career has been defined by my ability to take technology-focused companies to the next level of success, and I’m thrilled to join PADT and help continue its expansion by supporting highly innovative customers.”

PADT currently sells and supports the entire Ansys product line in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah as an Ansys Elite Channel Partner. They also represent all Stratasys products in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah as a Diamond Channel Partner and are the North American distributor for Flownex.

To learn more about Sanford and PADT’s products and services, please visit https://www.padtinc.com/products/

About PADT

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 90 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, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

# # #

Understanding Honeycomb Structures in Additive Manufacturing – Three Papers from ASU and PADT

PADT is currently partnering with Arizona State University’s 3DXResearch group on exploring bio-inspired geometries for 3D Printing. As part of that effort, one of our engineers involved in the project, Alex Grishin, PhD, was a co-author on several papers that have been published during this project.

Below is a brief summary from Alex of each article, along with links.


An Examination of the Low Strain Rate Sensitivity of Additively Manufactured Polymer, Composite and Metallic Honeycomb Structures

PADT participated in the research with the above title recently published in the open-access online journal MDPI ( https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/12/20/3455/htm ). This work was funded by the America Makes Program under a project titled “A Non-Empirical Predictive Model for Additively Manufactured Lattice Structures” and is based on research sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory under agreement number FA8650-12-2-7230.

Current ASU professor and former PADT employee Dhruv Bhate was the Lead Investigator and wrote the original proposal. Dhruv’s research interests involve bio-inspired design (the study of structures found in nature to help inform human design efforts) and additive manufacturing. Dhruv is particularly interested in the bulk properties of various lattice arrangements. While investigating the highly nonlinear force-deflection response of various additively manufactured honeycomb specimens under compression, Dhruv discovered that polymer and composite honeycombs showed extreme sensitivity to strain rates –showing peak responses substantially higher than theory predicts at various (low) strain rates. This paper explores and quantifies this behavior.

The paper investigates hexagonal honeycomb structures manufactured with four different additive manufacturing processes: one polymer (fused deposition modeling, or material extrusion with ABS), one composite (nylon and continuous carbon fiber extrusion) and two metallic (laser powder bed fusion of Inconel 718 and electron beam melting of Ti6Al4V). The strain rate sensitivities of the effective elastic moduli, and the peak loads for all four processes were compared. Results show significant sensitivity to strain rate in the polymer and composite process for both these metrics, and mild sensitivity for the metallic honeycombs for the peak load.

PADT contributed to this research by providing ANSYS simulations of these structures assuming viscoplastic material properties derived from solid dog-bone test specimens. PADT’s simulations helped provide Dhruv with a proposed mechanism to explain why INSTRON compression tests of the honeycomb structures showed higher peak responses (corresponding to classical ultimate stress) for these specimens than the solid specimens.


Bioinspired Honeycomb Core Design: An Experimental Study of the Role of Corner Radius, Coping and Interface

PADT participated in the NASA-funded research with the above title recently published in the open-access online journal MDPI (https://www.mdpi.com/2313-7673/5/4/59/htm ). This work was guided by former PADT engineer and current ASU Associate Professor Dhruv Bhate.  Professor Bhate’s primary research interests are Bio-Inspired Design and Additive Manufacturing. It was only natural that he would secure a grant for this research from NASA’s  Periodic Table of Life ( PeTaL) project. To quote from the website, “the primary objective…is to expand the domain of inquiry for human processes that seek to model those that are, were or could be found in nature…”

This paper focuses on the morphology of bee honeycombs found in nature –the goal being to identify key characteristics of their structure, which might inform structural performance in man-made designs incorporating similar lattice structures. To this end, the paper identifies three such characteristics: The honeycomb cell corner radius, the cell wall “coping” (a localized thickening of the cell wall at the mouth of each cell seen in a lateral cross-section), and the cell array “interface” (a zigzag pattern seen at the interface of two opposing, or “stacked” arrays).

Most of this work involved material testing and measuring dozens of natural honeycombs (most coming from various museums of natural history found in the United States) at ASU’s state-of-the-art facilities. PADT  contributed substantially by verifying and guiding tests with simulation using the ANSYS suite of software.


A Comparison of Modeling Methods for Predicting the Elastic-Plastic Response of Additively Manufactured Honeycomb Structures

PADT participated in this research found in the reviewed article published in Proceedings of the 29th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium – An Additive Manufacturing Conference.

Figure 14. (left) 2D plane strain model with platens connected to honeycomb with frictional contacts and (right) close-up of an individual cell showing the mesh size as well as corner radius modeled after experimental measurements

The lead investigator was current ASU professor and former PADT employee Dhruv Bhate, whose research interests involve Bio-Inspired Design (the study of natural structures to help inform human design processes) and Additive Manufacturing. In this research, Dhruv investigates discrepancies between published (bulk) material properties for the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) of ABS honeycomb structures. The discrepancies arise as substantial differences between published material properties, such as Young’s Modulus and yield stress, and those determined experimentally from FDM dog-bone specimens of the same material (which he refers to as “member” properties).

Figure 4. (left) Homogenization enables the replacement of a cellular material with a solid of effective properties, (right) which can greatly reduce computational expense when simulating engineering structures

PADT’s role in this research was crucial for demonstrating that the differences in base material characterization are greatly exacerbated in nonlinear compression simulations of the ABS honeycomb structures. PADT used both the manufacturer’s published properties, and the dog-bone data to show substantial differences in peak stress under the two assumptions.

https://www.scopus.com/record/display.uri?eid=2-s2.0-85084948560&origin=inward&txGid=a19776da6deb7846e12bc8f7573181ab

6 – An update on outputting results in Ansys Mechanical: 3D Printing Results

To support some new marketing efforts I had to make some different types of results output from models in Ansys Mechanical:

  • A 3D plot on a webpage
    Post 5
  • A physical printout on our 3D Printer
    Post 6

All of the posts are here.

This post is the final, of six, and we finally get to the topic that we get the most questions on: “How do I convert my Ansys Results to a 3D Printed Model.” This article will cover taking Ansys Mechanical FEA results, stress, vibration, and heat transfer, and make a cool 3D plot on Stratasys full-color printers. The process should work on other color printers, but we have only tested it with Stratasys.

3D Printing and Color

Since the beginning of 3D Printing, we have been using a file format called STL. The format only contains the external surface of an object represented as triangles, and it does not support color. But there is good news, a new format, 3MF, or 3D Manufacturing Format was recently introduced to replace STL. It is one of several 3D formats that contain not only triangles on the surface of an object, but they support color information for each triangle. 3MF is for 3D Printing. PLY, OBJ, X3D, and others are for rendering and viewing.

But there is bad news. At this time (2020 R2), no Ansys products support 3MF. So we need to get our results into a format that Stratasys can read color data from, which is the latest version of OBJ. Because of this, we will use our favorite Ansys post-processor, EnSight, to create a PLY file, then an open-source 3rd Party tool, Meshlab, to make an OBJ.

Note 1: As soon as Ansys supports 3MF or OBJ or someone adds a 3MF/OBJ ACT Extension, we will update this article.

Note 2: The steps below are actually covered in the post in Post 2 on how to use EnSight and Post 5 on how to make usable 3D result files. But I’ll repeat them here since you may have only come to learn how to make a 3D result file.

Step 1: Get what you want to print as PLY in Ansys EnSight

Ansys Ensight is a powerful tool that does so much more than make 3D result files. But we will focus on this particular capability because we can use it to get our 3D Printed results.

In Post 2 of this series, I go over how to get a high-quality 2D image from EnSight. Review it if you want more details or if you run into problems following these steps.

Before we get going, one key thing you should know is that Ansys EnSight reads a ton of formats, and one of them is the result files from Ansys Mechanical APDL. So we will start with getting that file.

The program reads Ansys Mechanical APDL result files. These are created when you run Ansys Mechanical and are stored in your project directory under dp0/SYS/MECH and is called file.rst or file.rth. I like to copy the result file from that directory to a folder where I’m going to store my plots and also rename it so I know what it is. For our impeller model, I called it impeller-thin-modal-1.rst.

Once you have your rst file, go ahead and launch EnSight.

That brings up a blank sessions. To get started click File > Open

This will bring up a dialog box for specifying a results file. If you click on the “File type:” dropdown, you will see the long list of supported files it can work with. Take a look while you are there and see if any other tools you use are listed. Of course, Ansys FLUENT and CFX are in there.

But the one we want is Ansys Results (*.rst *.rth *.rfl *.rmg). Chose that, then go to the directory where you put your Ansys result file.

EnSight will read the file and put it in a Case. It will list the results as Part 0 under Case 1.

The left part of the screen shows what you have to work with, and the right shows your model. The “Time” control, circled in green, is where you specify what time, substep, or mode you want. The “Parts” control lets you deal with parts, which we really won’t use. And the “Variables” control, circled in orange, is how you specify what result you want to view.

We want to plot deflection, which is a vector. Click on the + sign next to Vectors, and you get a list of what values you can show. The only supported result for model analysis is Displacment__Vibration_mode. Click on that. Then hold down the right mouse button and select “Color Part” > All.

This tells the program to use that result to shade the part. You should now see your contour.

Our example is a modal result. If you use a structural result file, you will be able to plot the displacement vector, as well as many stress results, under “Scalars”

By default, EnSight shows an undeformed object. If you want to see the deflected shape, click on the part then on the “Displacement” icon above the graphics window. Select the vector result you want to use, displacement in this case. Note, the default displacement factor may not be a good guess, change that till you get the amount of deflection you want.

Note, the default displacement factor may not be a good guess, change that till you get the amount of deflection you want.

The other thing you may want to change is the contours. It has a full library of colors you can change to, but I like the default. What I don’t like is that the min and max may not be where I want them, especially for modal deflection results. The min and max values are the min and max in the result file, and unless you normalize your results, you should tweak the values for your 3D print.

Here is the default color scheme for my 40th mode:

To change the range, click on the contour key and Right-Mouse-Button on the legend, and select Edit… This brings up the Create/edit annotation (legends) dialog. Then click “Edit Pallet…” at the top of that dialog to get to the Pallete editor.

You can make lots of changes here, but what I recommend you do is only change the min and max values. If I set the max to 50, I get this contour on my result:

Next, we wan to save as PLY.

Go to File > Export > Geomtric Entities.

In the dialog, chose PLY Polygonal File Format. This will be the generic format we can convert into something GrabCad likes. Make sure you specify which times or modes you want. By default, it will make a PLY for each one. Also, make sure you have selected the part.

Now you have a color-coded, faceted representation of your results, in a 3D file format. Just not one that GrabCADPrint currently supports.

Step 2: Convert to OBJ in MeshLab

Now we need MeshLab. There are many other tools the read PLY files and output to other formats, but MeshLab has not let me down yet. It is opensource, does everything, and is a pain to use. You will laugh at the user interface. But as ugly as it is, it works. You can download MeshLab from www.meshlab.net. Once you have it installed, follow these steps:

  • Open MeshLab
  • Chose File > Import Mesh
  • Spin it around, look at it. You could scale and transform. But we just want to convert it.
  • Chose File > Export Mesh As
  • Scroll down in the File of Type dropdown and pick Alias Wavefront Object (*.obj)
  • Save
  • Make sure you have only Color checked for Vert. Then click OK

Here is an OBJ file from the example above.

That is it. Import that file into Stratasys GrabCAD Print and have at it.

I printed a different mode shape, but I think it looks fantastic. Click to get the full-resolution version.

Closing thoughts

And this ends our series on getting output from Ansys Mechanical, circa early 2021. It was just going to be one article on getting higher resolution images, but it grew a bit. We hope you find it useful.

Remember, PADT is here to help. We are proud to be an Ansys Elite Channel Partner offering Ansys products across the southwestern US.

PADT has been doing this for a while, and we can offer help in terms of one-on-one support, training, customization, and consulting services. Although this article focused on Ansys Mechanical, we cover the physics across the Ansys product line with experienced engineers in every area. And don’t forget we do 3D Printing as a service as well as product design.

Please contact us to learn more.

5 – An update on outputting results in Ansys Mechanical: 3D Result Objects

To support some new marketing efforts I had to make some different types of results output from models in Ansys Mechanical:

  • A 3D plot on a webpage
    Post 5
  • A physical printout on our 3D Printer
    Post 6

All of the posts are here.

This post is the fifth of six and it is about creating results objects that can be viewed in 3D by people who don’t own Ansys Mechanical. You can use the Ansys Viewer, 3D PDF, make rendering files, and display on a web page. Using the Ansys viewer is simple and 3D PDF requires a plugin. For rendering or web viewing, it is not a direct shot, but with the help of EnSight and a few open-source tools, you can share complex 3D results with a lot of people.

Using the Ansys Viewer format and Ansys Viewer

Ansys solves the problem of sharing 3D results across their product line with people who don’t have Ansys through the Ansys Viewer. It is free, simple to use, and should be used in most situations. Right now you can export results from Ansys CFX, CFD-Post (for CFX or Fluent results), TurboGrid, and Ansys Mechanical to this format.

You can download the viewer here.

Making the file is very simple. Just Right-Mouse-Button on the object you want to share. Then select Export > Ansys Result Viewer

Then open this file in Ansys viewer and view away. We have not had any problems with customers of all skill levels use this tool.

For most real engineering situations, you should stop here. This is a robust way to share 3D result objects with anyone, and they don’t need a license of Ansys. But if you need more, including higher-quality 3D objects, keep going.

What about 3D PDF?

If you want to use 3D PDF, there is a plugin for this on the Ansys app store. One of the European channel partners, 7tech, has created More-PDF. Note, it is not free. Free to download and try, but there is a cost. It works in Ansys Mechanical as a plugin and has a stand-alone version that works with CFD Pre/Post, Electronics Desktop, or MAPDL. I won’t get into how to install or use it because the help files that come with are outstanding.

Here is a sample Ansys result that they have provided. You can view it in Acrobat Reader.

If you want to share results in PDF, this seems to be a good tool for that. I’m not sure what the pricing is for it. More information is here, including more example files.

Making a Generic 3D File: PLY

If you read the article on making high-quality images, you saw that Ansys Ensight is a very powerful tool. One thing it does is support a bunch of different 3D file formats. One of those formats is a PLY file, which is a great intermediate format for so much more.

Get started by following the instructions in the previous article about high-quality images using EnSight. But instead of exporting to an image, we are going to save as PLY.

When you have the result you want, go to File > Export > Geomtric Entities.

In the dialog, chose PLY Polygonal File Format. This will be our generic format we can convert into many different things (including 3D printer files, discussed in the next article.) Make sure you specify which times or modes you want. By default, it will make a PLY for each one.

You can now take that PLY file into any fancy rendering program. If you want to show your results in the middle of a rendered scene of something else, the PLY file is the file to use.

I downloaded the opensource tool Blender and gave it a try. The user interface in these tools is nothing like CAD or CAE tools, so it took me a while to get something useful. I think Keyshot Pro would be a better tool for those who don’t know “artist” tools like Blender.

If you do want to give it a try, you can get your color contours by clicking on the object after you import it, then click on the material icon and choose Surface, then set Surface to Specular, Base Color to Vertex Color | Color, and make sure the specular color is dark or black.

One could spend hours (days) learning a rendering tool and playing with surface reflection and transparency. But if you need something high quality for the marketing team, pass them a PLY file and let their graphic artists do their thing.

Here is the file to help if you do want to dig in yourself.

3D Web Results with X3D (and what happened to VRML?)

Early in the days of the web, there were a lot of people that saw the platform as a way to share and interact with three-dimensional virtual space. They create the Virtual Reality Modeling Language, VRML, as a way to represent 3D objects using triangles with detailed information on each triangle about color, texture, transparency, and shininess. It is fundamentally a file format that represents what your graphics card needs to do 3D graphics but in a common format. The fact that simulation results are basically the same thing made it a nice fit for sharing results, geometry, and meshes with other people.

It was pretty cool and you can still save Ansys information in VRML from various programs. But the viewers were clunky and were focused on the virtual reality experience and not showing 3D objects. It also never really took off because you needed a VRML viewer to see the object. That was always a pain.

As it drifted out of favor, an organization replaced it with a new, better format and a JavaScript viewer that would get loaded automatically: the result, X3D graphics.

Here is the result. Click on the impeller and spin away. Here are some basic commands:

Spin: Left Mouse Button
Pan: Middle Mouse Button
Zoom: Scroll Wheel

Reset: r
Show all: a

Are you sure you want to do this?

Now that I’ve gotten you excited about doing this, let me scare you. This is not for the faint of heart. You need to use an Ansys Mechanical APDL result file in Ansys Ensight to make the file. Then you need to do some HTML/CSS. If you are comfortable with going down that path, read on.

The obvious question is, “when will Ansys add these file formates to the Export capability?” Right now you can only export 3D results to a deformed STL (not color info) and the Ansys in-house Ansys Viewer Format, *.avz.

Getting an X3D from PLY

Now we need MeshLab. There are many other tools the read PLY files and output to other formats, but MeshLab has not let me down yet. It is opensource, does everything, and is a pain to use. You will laugh at the user interface. But if you want 3D objects on your website (or to 3D Print results) this is the best path. You can download MeshLab from www.meshlab.net. Once you have it installed, follow these steps:

  • Open MeshLab
  • Chose File > Import Mesh
  • Spin it around, look at it. You could scale and transform. But we just want to convert it.
  • Chose File > Export Mesh As
  • Scroll down in the File of Type dropdown and pick X3D File Format (*.x3d)
  • Save
  • Make sure you have onlly Color checked for Vert. Then click OK

Now we are really close… but not really. We have a X3D file.

Here are both the PLY and X3D files:

I hosted the x3d file on our web server as well.

Here is where the HTML/CSS happens. And explaining that is way beyond this post. Here is the code to show the solution of mode 35 of our impeller, as shown above:

<script src="https://x3dom.org/release/x3dom.js"></script>

<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://x3dom.org/release/x3dom.css" />
<style>
#imp1 {
    background: #000;
    border: 1px solid orange;
    margin-left: auto;
    margin-right: auto;
    width: 80%;
}
</style>
<x3d id="imp1" x="10px" y="10px" width="400px" height="400px" >
  <scene render="true">
    <environment id="myEnv" ssao="true" ssaoamount="0.5" 
	ssaoblurdepthtreshold="1.0" ssaoradius="0.4" 
	ssaorandomtexturesize="8" sorttrans="true" 
	gammacorrectiondefault="linear" tonemapping="none" 
	frustumculling="true" smallfeaturethreshold="1" 
	lowprioritythreshold="1" minframerate="1" 
	maxframerate="62.5" userdatafactor="-1" 
	smallfeaturefactor="-1" 
	occlusionvisibilityfactor="-1" 
	lowpriorityfactor="-1" 
	tessellationerrorfactor="-1">
    </environment>
    <SpotLight id='spot' on ="TRUE" beamWidth='0.9' 
	color='0 0 1' cutOffAngle='0.78' 
	location='0 0 12' radius='22' > 
    </SpotLight>
    <NavigationInfo id="head" headlight='true' type='"EXAMINE"'>      
    </NavigationInfo>
    <Transform translation = '0 0 -2'>
      <inline 
	url="https://www.padtinc.com/downloads/i1-m35-3d-a.x3d"> 
      </inline>
    </transform>
  </scene>
</x3d>

The above code works for our example and has a smattering of options available to make your image show the way you want it. There are hundreds more. If the code makes sense to you, use the documentation at x3dom.org to do more. If it looks like gobly-gook, find someone who can help you or buckle down and learn. It’s not hard, just different for us simulation types.

Some Tough Talk about 3D Results

The truth of the matter is that Ansys Mechanical is great for looking at 3D Results in Mechanical or in the Ansys Viewer. It is not set up to support other 3D file formats. And there is a reason for that. Do you really need to have a 3D PDF? Is having a 3D result on your website just cool, or do you really need it?

The fact is, for most projects, you need a 2D image of your key results in your report. Most of the fancy 3D viewable is to help people who don’t have Ansys understand results better. Or you need it for marketing. For the first case, just use the Ansys viewer. For the second, it can be a bit of work but you can create some eye-catching geometry.

However, one advantage of having a 3D result object is that you can convert it into something you can 3D print. And that is the subject of our next, and final post on this topic: “6 – An update on outputting results in Ansys Mechanical: 3D Printing Results.

4 – An update on outputting results in Ansys Mechanical: Animated GIFs

To support some new marketing efforts I had to make some different types of results output from models in Ansys Mechanical:

  • A 3D plot on a webpage
    Post 5
  • A physical printout on our 3D Printer
    Post 6

All of the posts are here.

This post is the fourth of six, and it is about making animation files that are not videos, called Animated GIFs (pronounced with a J like Jeff, not G like Garry).
For a couple of reasons, making an animated gif is not as easy as we would like, but with a few tips below, it is not so difficult.

Animated GIFs explained

The GIF image file, Graphics Interchange Format, was invented in 1987 when color computing was new and the internet was not around yet. It is compact and allows only 256 colors (remember that part) and supported animation. The animated format was very popular on dial-up services and the early internet. They then fell out of favor until their use in messaging apps and social media to send animations to people that did not require a player. Everyone could see your cat falling off the table, instantly.

Or their dog being woken up in the middle of an afternoon nap. I just took my iPhone, turned around in my chair, and took this video. Then I converted it to a GIF. It took me less than 30 seconds to make and share this gem:

For those of us in the world of simulation, they have been a popular format for the same reason—almost all applications, from email to web browsers to Microsoft Powerpoint, support animated GIFs. The file contains as many images as you want and a tag for each layer documenting how long to display each frame. The difference is we are not capturing our overweight mutt struggling to roll over. We have specific information we are trying to convey.

Ansys Mechanical Default

If you read the post about making videos, you will remember that one of the output options was GIF. Well, here is what you get when you use that option. Note, it only plays once, to play it again.

And by default, the file does not repeat. Also, to make things worse, the way Ansys stores the GIF is an order of magnitude larger than a video.

As a contrast, here is the same result as video played through YouTube

Video to GIF is much better

So, unless you need something in 30 seconds, don’t use the default save video as GIF in Ansys Mechanical. A much better option is to convert a good video to a GIF.

So, go back to the article on making videos and get what you want for your animation using that info and save it to *.mp4 format. Then use one of the methods below to convert that to GIF.

Ezgif.com

If I take the video above that I posted on YouTube and run it through the free conversion tool, ezgif.com, I get this:

It is not as nice as the video, but it does not need a player. It just plays. Ezgif.com is free (lots of advertising) but has a lot of options. Not only does it covert quickly, but it also lets you crop, resize, add effects, change the speed, add text, and overlay.

The downside, if you have proprietary information you are letting someone else see it. My guess is uploading to a free server in the cloud will violate any NDA or security you have in place. But if not, ezgif.com is the simplest way to get a GIF from a video.

Adobe PhotoShop

The first option, if you can’t use a free cloud-based tool like ezgif.com, is the Photoshop suite. Photoshop is the defacto tool for image editing and processing, and it has a lot of tools for making sophisticated animated GIFs, including importing a video, editing the frames from the video, and outputting a GIF.

Here is the process:

  1. Open Adobe Photoshop
  2. Chose File > Import > Vidio to Layers
  3. Chose your MP4 file
  4. In the “Import Video to Layers” dialog, make sure “From Beginning to End” is chosen and “Make Frame Animation” is checked on.
  5. Click OK
    1. At this point, you can do a huge amount of modifying and editing. But that is way beyond the scope of this post. We just want a GIF made. But if you know Adobe Photoshop, have at it. I often crop and change the size here. Maybe even run some filters on it. Or, if I’m getting really fancy, delete the background from each frame to have a transparent animation.
  6. Go to File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy)
  7. Chose GIF as the file format.
    1. Set colors to 256
    2. I like to set Dither to 100%
    3. Make sure Animation > Looping Options at the bottom is set to Forever.
    4. Click Save… and give it a file name.

Here is what the result looks like:

Adobe Premier

Adobe Premiere is, well, the premier tool for video editing and creation. Many professional videos are made with this tool. It is massive, powerful, and made for people who speak video. If you want to add to your animation, do fancy things with it, use Premiere. Otherwise, stick with Photoshop or an open-source or cloud tool.

But, if you want to use Premier, here is that basic process without any bells or whistles (literally and figuratively) added in:

  1. Open a new Project
  2. Specify a good directory for the project
  3. Drop your MP4into the Project Window
  4. The drag it to the Timeline
    1. Here is where you do your editing magic on the video.
  5. When you are ready to make your file, click File > Export > Media
  6. Chose Animated GIF for the format
    1. Do not pick GIF. That will make an image of every frame.
  7. Click on the name next to “Output Name” to set the name and directory.
  8. Make any other changes you feel are correct if you know Premier.
  9. Click Export

This is what you get.

GifTuna

if you don’t have access to any Adobe tools, I recommend GifTuna. Yes, the name is stupid. But it works and it is free.

Go to giftuna.io and download the app. it comes as a ZIP file. Just extract the zip file and run the executable, GifTuna.exe. It will then ask you to install FFMPEG. This is the same library that ezgif.com uses.

Once everything is installed:

  1. Click “Select File”
  2. Select the video you saved in Ansys Mechanical.
  3. Change the size if you want to
  4. Keep all the other defaults for your first pass.
  5. Click Export

You get a pretty nice video. Play with the dither options if it looks kind of fuzzy.

Making an Animated GIF out of Images

In all the examples above, we created animations by converting a good video into the animated GIF format. What if we just have a bunch of images and want to make a slide show out of them. Or maybe we want to show a series of geometry changes. Maybe the various steps in an animation.

In that case, save an image to a PNG or JPEG file for each frame you want, then use ezgif.com or PhotoShop to make your animation.

A word about APNG

The only real problem with Animated GIFS is that the GIF format only supports 256 colors. In many ways, PNG took over for GIF as the preferred file format. It is compact, handles transparency, and has the advantage of not being restricted on colors. The problem, only browsers support APNG. PowerPoint and most mail programs do not. And many tools like the Adobe Suite do not output in that format. But, ezgif.com does.

In fact, WordPress does not support the format. To view the APNG file, download this file and then open it in a browser:

Maybe someday this will be supported better. Hopefully in Microsoft products soon.

Moving from Motion to 3D

This should help you get a nice animation that you can put on a website and not have to worry about hosting so people can see it. The same goes for Email and PowerPoint. If you can live with fewer colors, it really is the best format for animations of results when you need to show them anywhere.

Now its time to move from 2D results to 3D. We will cover how to create 3D objects of your results in “5 – An update on outputting results in Ansys Mechanical: 3D Result Objects.

3 – An update on outputting results in Ansys Mechanical: Making Videos

To support some new marketing efforts I had to make some different types of results output from models in Ansys Mechanical:

  • A 3D plot on a webpage
    Post 5
  • A physical printout on our 3D Printer
    Post 6

All of the posts are here.

This post is the third of six and it is an update on making videos of results animations with Ansys Mechanical. A lot of improvements have been made in recent releases and you can get good quality videos that are very useful for sharing results with others.

Getting a video of what you see on the screen

In most cases, you can get the video you need by using the animation tools built into Ansys Mechanical. By default, the animation tool shows up at the top of the animation window. If it is not there, go to Home > Layout > Reset Layout. Or add it with Home > Layout > Manage > Graph.

The key thing to know about making videos of results in Ansys Mechanical is that the “save to file” commands do a screengrab of what you see on the screen. So the size, orientation, and resolution are what is in front of you. There are lot of things can be done easily with the help of ecdel.

The Export Video File button is how you save the animation to a file.

As the tip in the image shows, the command supports AVI, MP4, WMV, and GIF formats. We will discuss the formats below and improving quality in the next section. Most of the time, you should pick MP4 and save the file.

But first, you should know that there are four things you can animate and save to a video file: modal results, static results, results over time, and motion of the camera (keyframe).

Plotting Mode Shapes

Modal results are the simplest. In our example impeller, you need to pick the mode you want to view, get the orientation you want, and then click the play button. When you are ready to make your video file, click the”Export Video File” button and save it.

Now is a good time to explore the different formats. For the sample model I’m using, the file size for the three video formats is pretty much the same:

MP41,139 KB
WMV1,320 KB
AVI1,120 KB
GIF29,072 KB

The Animated GIF is much larger, and it turns out, a much lower quality format. We will cover that in the next article, let’s just ignore GIF for now.

Taking a look at the 3 videos, I’m not sure I can tell a difference. Note, you need to download them and play them on your desktop to see any differences. If we upload to a streaming service then the format gets changed by the service.

And here it is embedded as a YouTube Video, which we will do for all the other examples. I used the MP4 format because I think it might look a little better.

Static Results

This one is very simple and is identical to mode shapes. It plots one result from initial conditions to the final result. Although in our example, it’s not so useful, for complex bending with lots of different loads, it can be handy.

Results Over Time/Steps

The most common use for animation is looking at results over time or over multiple load steps. I was too lazy to build a transient example, so I just put some strange acceleration loads on our impeller and varied them over 5 timesteps.

This gave some movement of the rotor (we will cover changing deflection exaggeration in the next section) so you can see what is going on.

To get your animation, select the result you want from the tree and orient things in a way that shows what you need to show. Push play to view. Tweak as needed then save as we did with modal results. This is what you get:

With the default settings, it creates the specified number of frames across the whole result set. This uses the “Distributed” setting, the green icon. If you watch the vertical line as it animates, you can see it linearly interpolating results between result steps.

If you don’t want this, then click the blue icon to get one frame per solution on the result file. This is a good idea, and even critical, for many transient runs or nonlinear runs where linear interpolation is not correct. Notice how the field for specifying frames is grayed out and set to 5. That is because we have 5 result sets.

To show the difference, including the graph at the bottom, I actually did a screen recording, which we will cover in the last section.

It really is simple. Get what you want going on your screen, then save it to a file.

Making it better

The default settings are great for most situations, but you can get better results with a few small changes.

Distortion

For any type of mechanical simulation, you are solving for deflection, and you usually want the distorted shape to show up in your animation. Most of the time the program calculated exaggeration is just fine. But if you need to change it, use Result > Display and the drop-down for the Deformation Scale Factor. Change it and see what happens.

Background

The first thing I always do is get rid of the blue gradient background. One reason for this is that the compression algorithms that various video formats use can cause the background gradient to shift slightly over the video. Or it might reduce the colors. Having a solid background gets rid of that. And, if you ask me, it just looks better.

You can set your preferences for images to always have a white background, but you can’t do that in Animation. So you need to change the Workbench background.

Go to Workbench > Tools> Options…

Then select Appearance. Set Background Style to Uniform and the first color to the color you want. I use White.

But a rich purple is kind of cool and makes the other colors stand out:

Remember to change this back when you are done making your animations. If you are working debugging a really tricky model, that purple will burn a hole in your head.

Size

Remember, Mechanical is just doing a screen capture in the background, so the size of your plot on your computer screen determines the output. Sometimes you may want a small video, sometimes a big one. Let’s look at getting the highest resolution possible.

The graphics window size is determined by everything around it. By default, the graphics window is embedded, but with a little trick, you can set it free.

Here is the default on my monitor, my rotor is 584 pixels tall. (my screen is 1080 pixels high.

  1. Go into full-screen mode by pressing F11 or clicking Home > Layout > Full Screen
  2. Then click the X Tabular data windows to remove it.
  3. Grab the blue strip on the Graph window and drag it to pull it out of the window. You need to keep that window to save your animation.
  4. Press CTRL-O to get rid of the outline
  5. Press CTRL-D to remove the details window.

That gives you a nice big window of your results. Now my impeller is 911 pixels tall. And I can zoom in a little to get it a bit bigger.

But you will notice the screen is wide. If I animate now, for my geometry, I’m wasting a lot of bits storing the background. Click on the “Restore Down” button in the upper right of your window to get it out of windows full screen. Then drag the edges to get the size and shape that are just big enough to show your results.

If you want another 20 pixels (now we are getting greedy) you can get rid of the toolbar at the top. Click on the tiny down arrow on the far right of the toolbar. Then click Add or Remove Buttons > Customize. Then uncheck “Graphics.”

Now run your animation. Then, when you are happy, save it. You can bring the outline back with CTRL+O if you need it. If you need more pixels, get a higher resolution monitor or stretch the graphics window over multiple monitors.

I’m working on a Microsoft Surface, and I’ve been doing my animations on my portable monitor, which is only 1080 pixels high. To get the best image, I moved over to the main screen, which is 1824 high.

So with all the tricks and on my highest resolution monitor, I get a video that is 1785 pixels high, and it looks pretty good, even after YouTube compresses it:

Here is the file to view on your own machine:

Important! To get back hit F11 then Home > Layout > Reset Layout. You may have to also do Home > Layout > Manage > Tabular Data to get that window back and Home > Layout > Manage > Graphics Toolbar to add that back to the top of the graphics window

Frames & Time

The last thing to play with is the number of frames and the length. A good rule of thumb is to not have less than 10 frames per second. And greater than 20 is good. Set it to 5 Frames and 5 Seconds to see blocky. Then 100 Frames and 5 Seconds (20 frames/sec) to see everything smooth.

Moving the object with Keyframe animation

If you want the object to move during an animation, you can use what is called Keyframe animation. To be honest, I am not sure I’m using it right in the program, but I got it to work somewhat, so I’ll share what I did. I’m also only going to cover the basics, see the documentation for more.

First, open the Keyframe Animation tool with Home > Tools > Keyframe Animation.

Orient your parts the way you want them, and click the add Keyframe button. The one with the green plus.

Now pick your second orientation, and add it to the list. Keep going till you have all your orientations in there. Set the time to somehting like 4 or 5 seconds, and hit play.

Now, getting a little fancy, you can add pauses at any Keyframe if you want. Do this by double-clickingon the Keyframe step to orient the part, then click the Insert Keyframe icon (top row, 4th from the left) to make a copy. You now how two keyframes at the same orientation so your part won’t move.

This window has a save animation button as well, so save it. When I used it, this is what I got:

This spins the final distorted shape, not the animated shape.

If you look at results that are not from a modal run, you will see that you can animate the results over time by clicking on the Keyframe icon in the animation bar:

The first icon, red circle, tells the program to change the orientation as defined in the Keyframe Animation Window while it animates your results. Click on the second icon, green circle, to use the frame counts you have specified in your Keyframe Animation Window.

This is what the multi-step results look like over the motion:

What about modal? Well in theory you can’t plot a mode shape with keyframe animation. But… if you set up a keyframe for a non-modal result, run it. Then move to a modal result, it works, sort of. The results animate if you have two keyframes that are the same next to each other. This is not a documented feature and may even be a bug. But here is how it looks:

When all else fails, make your own recording

Sometimes you can’t get what you need saved to a file, but you can see it on the screen. Including the Graph window is a good example. Rotating a modal result, since Keyframe really doesn’t work with modal, is another good example. Now that we all have learned to use online meeting software through COVID-19, we know how to do a screen capture of the animation. I use MS Teams and it works just fine.

But, the quality is OK and you get artifacts from the meeting, like my icon on the bottom for attendees. Those can be edited out, but not ideal. Here is a sample:

If you need better quality, a dedicated screen capture program may be better.

And it turns out that Windows 10 had a built-in screen recorder. It’s called XBOX Game Bar, and it works pretty well. Here is a link on how to use it.

And I get a nice full screen video:

Play, but not too much, and RTM.

The last bit of advice we can give on animating in Ansys Mechanical is that if you want something beyond the defaults, set aside some time to play. There are a lot of options, many we have not even looked at. But at the same time, in your quest for an Oscar, you may be spending time on something that is not going to make a difference. So use your time wisely.

And as always, Read the Manual. There is a wealth of detailed information there.

Getting the right Animated GIF

Now that we have covered creating various video formats, what about making an animation that doesn’t need some sort of player? The next post, “4 – An update on outputting results in Ansys Mechanical: Animated GIFs” explains how to do that.