The Greater Phoenix inBusiness magazine just did a profile on PADT and co-founder Eric Miller. “Eric Miller: Riding the Wave of 3-D Printing” gives some history and insite into what makes PADT unique. It even includes some fun facts about the company.
There is something about a kid running down a hallway screaming “mom, you HAVE to see this!” #openhousegoals.
Last night was our annual event where we open up the doors of PADT with a family oriented event sharing what we engineers do. We also invited some students from high school and University to share their engineering activities. With over 250 attendees and more than one excited kid running down the hall, we can safely call it a success.
Attendies were able to see our 3D Printing demo room including dozens of real 3D printed parts, learn about engineering, explore how 3D Printing works, and check out our new metal 3D Printer. They were also able to learn about school projects like the ASU Formula SAE race car as well as a prosthetic hand project and research into cellular structures in nature from BASIS Chandler.
Oh, and there was Pizza.
Pictures speak louder than words, so here is a galary of images from the event.
You kids don’t know how good you have it with automatic contact creation in Mechanical. Back in my day, I’d have to use the contact wizard in MAPDL or show off my mastery of the ESURF command to define contacts between parts. Sure, there were some macros somewhere on the interwebs that would go through and loop for surfaces within a particular offset, but for the sake of this stereotypical “old-tyme” rant, I didn’t use them (I actually didn’t, I was just TOO good at using ESURF to need anyone else’s help).
Hey, it gets me from point A to B
In Mechanical contact is automatically generated based on a set of rules contained in the ‘Connection Group’ object:
It might look a little over-whelming, but really the only thing you’ll need to play around with is the ‘Tolerance Type’. This can either ‘Slider’ or ‘Value’ (or use sheet thickness if you’re working with shells). What this controls is the face offset value for which Mechanical will automatically build contact. So in the picture shown above faces that are 5.9939E-3in apart will automatically have contact created. You can play around with the slider value to change what the tolerance
As you can see, the smaller the tolerance slider the larger the ‘acceptable’ gap becomes. If you change the Tolerance Type to be ‘Value’ then you can just directly type in a number.
Typically the default values do a pretty good job automatically defining contact. However, what happens if you have a large assembly with a lot of thin parts? Then what you run into is non-sensical contact between parts that don’t actually touch (full disclosure, I actually had to modify the contact settings to have the auto-generated contact do something like this…but I have seen this in other assemblies with very thin/slender parts stacked on top of each other):
In the image above, we see that contact has been defined between the bolt head and a plate when there is clearly a washer present. So we can fix this by going in and specifying a value of 0, meaning that only surfaces that are touching will have contact defined. But now let’s say that some parts of your assembly aren’t touching (maybe it’s bad CAD, maybe it’s a welded assembly, maybe you suppressed parts that weren’t important).
The brute force way to handle this would be to set the auto-detection value to be 0 and then go back and manually define the missing contacts using the options shown in the image above. Or, what we could do is modify the auto-contact to be broken up into groups and apply appropriate rules as necessary. The other benefit to this is if you’re working in large assemblies, you can retain your sanity by having contact generated region by region. In the words of the original FE-guru, Honest Abe, it’s easier to manage things when they’re logically broken up into chunks.
Said No One Ever
Sorry…that was bad. I figured in the new alt-fact world with falsely-attributed quotes to historical leaders, I might as well make something up for the oft-overlooked FE-crowd.
So, how do you go about implementing this? Easy, first just delete the default connection group (right-mouse-click on it and select delete). Next, just select a group of bodies and click the ‘Connection Group’ button:
In the image series above, I selected all the bolts and washers, clicked the connection group, and now I have created a connection group that will only automatically generate contact between the bolts and washers. I don’t have to worry about contact being generated between the bolt and plate. Rinse, lather, and repeat the process until you’ve created all the groups you want:
ALL the Connection Groups!
Now that you have all these connection groups, you can fine-tune the auto-detection rules to meet the ‘needs’ of those individual body groups. Just zooming in on one of the groups:
By default, when I generate contact for this group I’ll get two contact pairs:
While this may work, let’s say I don’t want a single contact pair for the two dome-like structures, but 2. That way I can just change the behavior on the outer ‘ring’ to be frictionless and force the top to be bonded:
I modified the auto-detection tolerance to be a user-defined distance (note that when you type in a number and move your mouse over into the graphics window you will see a bulls-eye that indicates the search radius you just defined). Next, I told the auto-detection not to group any auto-detected contacts together. The result is I now get 3 contact pairs defined:
Now I can just modify the auto-generated contacts to have the middle-picture shown in the series above to be frictionless. I could certainly just manually define the contact regions, but if you have an assembly of dozens/hundreds of parts it’s significantly easier to have Mechanical build up all the contact regions and then you just have to modify individual contact pairs to have the type/behavior/etc you want (bonded, frictionless, symmetric, asymmetric, custom pinball radius, etc). This is also useful if you have bodies that need to be connected via face-to-edge or edge-to-edge contact (then you can set the appropriate priority as to which, if any of those types should be preserved over others).
So the plus side to doing all of this is that after any kind of geometry update you shouldn’t have much, if any, contact ‘repair’ to do. All the bodies/rules have already been fine tuned to automatically build what you want/need. You also know where to look to modify contacts (although using the ‘go to’ functionality makes that pretty easy as well). That way you can define all these connection groups, leave everything as bonded and do a preliminary solve to ensure things look ‘okay’. Then go back and start introducing some more reality into the simulation by allowing certain regions to move relative to each other.
The downside to doing your contacts this way is you risk missing an interface because you’re now defining the load path. To deal with that you can just insert a dummy-modal environment into your project, solve, and check that you don’t have any 0-Hz modes.
I recently had the opportunity to present an interesting experimental research paper at DesignCon 2017, titled Replacing High-Speed Bottlenecks with PCB Superhighways. The motivation behind the research was to develop a new high-speed signaling system using rectangular waveguides, but the most exciting aspect for me personally was salvaging a (perhaps contentious) 70 year old first-principles electromagnetic model. While it took some time to really understand how to apply the mathematics to design, their application led to an exciting convergence of theory, simulation, and measurement.
One of the most critical aspects of the design was exciting the waveguide with a monopole probe antenna. Many different techniques have been developed to match the antenna impedance to the waveguide impedance at the desired frequency, as well as increase the bandwidth. Yet, all of them rely on assumptions and empirical measurement studies. Optimizing a design to nanometer precision empirically would be difficult at best and even if the answer was found it wouldn’t inherently reveal the physics. To solve this problem, we needed a first-principles model, a simulation tool that could quickly iterate designs accurately, and some measurements to validate the simulation methodology.
A rigorous first-principles model was developed by Robert Collin in 1960, but this solution has since been forgotten and replaced by simplified rules. Unfortunately, these simplified rules are unable to deliver an optimal design or offer any useful insight to the critical parameters. In fairness, Collin’s equations are difficult to implement in design and validating them with measurement would be tedious and expensive. Because of this, empirical measurements have been considered a faster and cheaper alternative. However, we wanted the best of both worlds… we wanted the best design, for the lowest cost, and we wanted the results quickly.
For this study, we used ANSYS HFSS to simulate our designs. Before exploring new designs, we first wanted to validate our simulation methodology by correlating results with available measurements. We were able to demonstrate a strong agreement between Collin’s theory, ANSYS HFSS simulation, and VNA measurement.
To perform a series of parametric studies, we swept thousands of antenna design iterations across a wide frequency range of 50 GHz for structures ranging from 50-100 guide wavelengths long. High-performance computing gave us the ability to solve return loss and insertion loss S-parameters within just a few minutes for each design iteration by distributing across 48 cores.
Finally, we used the lessons we learned from Collin’s equations and the parametric study to develop a new signaling system with probe antenna performance never before demonstrated. You can read the full DesignCon paper here. The outcome also pertains to RF applications in addition to potentially addressing Signal Integrity concerns for future high-speed communication channels.
Rules-of-thumb are important to fast and practical design, but their application can many times be limited. Competitive innovation demands we explore beyond these limitations but the only way to match the speed and accuracy of design rules is to use simulations capable of offering fast design exploration with the same reliability as measurement. ANSYS HFSS gave us the ability to, not only optimize our design, but also teach us about the physics that explain our design and allow us to accurately predict the behavior of new innovative designs.
PADT’s webinar covering Mechanical APDL & HPC available in ANSYS 18 will be going live tomorrow at 12:00 PM MST.
Don’t miss this opportunity, sign up today!
With the release of ANSYS 18 comes a plethora of new HPC product packages, each uniquely positioned at a competitive price to ensure that you receive the option that is right for you.
For more information, join us as PADT covers the specifics of the available licensing options, followed by a live Q & A session with simulation support manager Ted Harris.
By watching this webinar you will learn:
About the four main product packages available with ANSYS 18
What licensing options are available under each package
How price scaling works with ANSYS 18
The solving capabilities for each package and licensing option
It should be no surprise to anyone that I love Star Trek. So when we had a lunch discussion (as we often do) about Star Trek technology it was the perfect topic for a blog post. In “What’s the next tech from ‘Star Trek’ to become reality?” I present my case for two technologies that should be next: Tricorder and Shuttlecraft. Some may argue that universal translator is even closer.
March starts out with a bang, with a ton of events in that very first week. So we are updating everyone on the month’s events a week early. They cover a wide range of customers and states, so we hope to see many of you there.
The most important is our Open House for families, part of the AZ ScitTech festival. Make sure you RSVP so we order enough pizza!
12th annual Wasatch Front Materials Expo
|This is a fantastic event that brings manufacturing companies in Utah together to share and network. PADT will have a table. Stop on by! Safety provided by the local event security guards firm.|
|— Learn more|
Scientifically fun for the whole family: PADT 2017 SciTech Festival Open House
|Once again, PADT Inc. is proud to partner with AZ SCITECH to promote and celebrate Arizona’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) programs!As part of this event, we will be hosting an open house that will give you an inside look at what our engineers do all day, as well as a first hand display of the capabilities of innovative technology such as 3D Printing and Simulation. Come see how we make innovation work!|
|— Learn more|
Mayo Clinic Course: Collaborative 3D Printing in Medical Practice
|Collaborative 3D Printing in Medical Practice is a post-graduate course designed to update and introduce radiologists, surgeons, dentists, biomedical engineers, and other health professionals and administrators on uses of 3D printing of anatomic models. PADT will be there as an exhibitor to answer questions about how 3D Printing and Simulation can be leveraged by in the medical space.|
|— Learn more|
Webinar: Co-Simulation with ANSYS Workbench and Flownex SE
|In this webinar Flownex will discuss some examples which are ideal for a hybrid 1D-3D simulation and showcase how Flownex can be used with ANSYS products to maximise the efficiency of your simulations. This is a great oportunity for those who do system fluid-thermal simulation or those who do component CFD, and they want to know how to use the two together.|
|— Learn more|
America Makes TRX
|The event gathers all of the members of America Makes in one place to review the advancements in the US Additive Manufacturing industry. PADT’s Dhruv Bhate will be sharing the results of our America Makes project and looking forward to catching up with all of you who are members.|
|— Learn more|
Seminar: Impacting the Medical Device Value Chain: What is the Right Supply Chain for Your Product?
|PADT’s Eric Miller will be on a panel discussion supply chain and how it impacts medical device development. We will consider ways innovative companies approach product development as well as principal upstream and downstream strategies and risks associated with innovative medical products. The extent to which products and processes are truly disruptive will be considered. Product diversity will be addressed including impacts of evolving business-to-business and business-to-customer strategies, biosensors, 3-D printing, and the shift of care outside of the acute care setting.|
|— Learn more|
Hardwarecon: The Convention for Hardware Startups
|PADT’s Eric Miller will be attending this unique event focused on hardware startups along with ANSYS, Inc. He will be talking about using Simulation to drive product design in a startup. This is a great event where the focus is on hardware and how to produce outstanding physical products.|
|— Learn more|
Flownex at the International SMR and Advanced Reactor Summit 2017
|Our team will be joining staff from Flownex for this key event in the small modular reactor space to talk about how Flownex is becoming an important design and performance tuning tool for the industry.|
|— Learn more|
There were some changes in ANSYS SpaceClaim to the very useful tool that lets you create a surface patch on scan or STL data at 18.0. In this video we show how to create corner points for a surface patch boundary and how to get an accurate measurement of how far the surface you create deviates from the STL or scan data underneath.
How do you make sure that your customers have a great experience? In “Five simple strategies for promoting customer satisfaction” PADT’s manager of ANSYS Technical Support and Training, Ted Harris, outlines the tools he and his team use to keep PADT’s customer satisfaction rates outstanding.
Attending AeroDef this year in Fort Worth? Make sure you register to tour Concept Laser on March 6th before AeroDef! You’ll hear an update on the GE acquisition and presentations on customer applications and machine safety. Registration ends February 24th, 2017, so don’t miss this opportunity!
Register now: http://aerodefevent.com/sessions/concept-laser-tour/
Speed, superior quality monitoring, and an open architecture that enables innovation – that is what makes Concept Laser’s Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM) technology a leader in the metal additive manufacturing industry. Come and hear about how Concept Laser is investing to bring you innovation through new products and processes that will lead to revenue-generating opportunities for your business.
The Tour is March 6th from 8:30am to 11:30pm and includes round trip transportation from the conference and more.
What you will see on the tour:
- Direct Metal Laser Melting
- In-situ Quality Assurance
- Best-in-class safety guidelines when interacting with reactive and non-reactive materials
PADT and CEI have partnered with Avnet and Tiempo Development to offer a free technical advice to local startups at CEI. Anyone needing advice on mechanical design, electrical design, or software can now sign up for an hour with an engineer from one of these fantastic local technology leaders.
CEI has been a great host for these events with just PADT for a while now, and we are pleased to announce that we have added electrical and software to what is offered, and we are officially anouncing it to the whole community. Check out the press release to learn more or visit the the CEI website: info.ceigateway.com/padt-design-days
We spend all day at work. Sometimes we spend more time with our co-workers than our some of our family members. Yet it can be a place where something is missing. “Does your business satisfy our need for community?” Check out this special Valentine’s post for some thoughts on building community at the office.
It was my first time visiting New Orleans. I have heard many stories of how good the food is and how everyone is really nice there so I was excited to visit this city for a business trip. Stratasys Launch 2017! There was some buzz going on about some new FDM printers that Stratasys has been working on and I was really excited to see them and hear what sets them apart from the competition. Rey Chu (Co-Owner of PADT), Mario Vargas (Manager of 3D Printer Sales), Norman Stucker (Account Executive in Colorado), and I (James Barker, Application Engineer) represented PADT at this year’s Launch.
The city did not disappoint! I ate the best gumbo I’ve ever tried. Below is a picture of it with some Alligator Bourbon Balls. The gumbo is Alligator Sausage and Seafood. Sooooo Good!!
My last night in New Orleans, Stratasys rented out Mardi Gras World. That is where they build all the floats for Mardi Gras. They had a few dancers and people dressed up festive. I was able to get a picture of Rey in a Mardi Gras costume.
After dinner at Mardi Gras World, I took Rey and Mario down Bourbon Street one last time and then we went to Café Du Monde for their world famous Beignets. Everyone told me that if I come home without trying the Beignets, then the trip was a waste. They were great! I recommend them as well. Below is picture of Mario and me at the restaurant.
As you can see we had a fun business trip. The best part of it was the unveiling of the new FDM printers! Mario and I sat on the closest table to the stage and shared the table with Scott Crump (President of Stratasys and inventor of FDM technology back in 1988). These new printers are replacing some of Stratasys entry level and mid-level printers. What impressed me most is that they all can print PLA, ABS, and ASA materials with the F370 being able to print PC-ABS. You also can build parts in four different layer heights (.005, .007, .010, and .013”), all while utilizing new software called GrabCad Print.
GrabCad Print is exciting because you can now monitor all of you Stratasys FDM printers from this software and setup queues. What made me and many others clap during the unveiling is that with GrabCad Print you no longer have to export STL files! You can import your native CAD assemblies and either print them as an assembly or explode the assembly and print the parts separately.
Everyone wants a 3D Printer that can print parts faster, more accurately and is dependable. You get that with the family of systems! Speed has increased big time, they are twice as fast as the Dimension line of FDM printers. Stratasys has published the accuracy of these new printers to be ±.008” up to a 4 inch tall part and then every inch past 4 inches, you add another .002”. These machines are very dependable. They are replacing the Uprint (Uprint SE Plus is still current), Dimension, and Fortus 250 machines that have been workhorses. Many of our customers still have a Dimension from 2002 when they were first launched. In addition to the 43 existing patents that Stratasys has rolled into this phenomenal product, they have an additional 15 new patents that speaks volumes as to the innovation in these 3D printers.
Stratasys Launch was a blast for me. Seeing these new printers, parts that were printed from them, and understanding why these are the best FDM printers on the market was well worth my time! I look forward to helping you with learning more about them. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you would like to hear my recorded webinar that has even more information about the new F170, F270, and F370, here is the link. Or you can download the brochure here.
Download the step-by-step slides here:
You might also be interested in a short article on the setup and use of monitoring for ANSYS R18 RSM.