Announcing CoresOnDemand.com – Dedicated Compute Power when you Need It

CoresOnDemand-Logo-120hWe are pleased to announce a new service that we feel is remote solving for FEA and CFD done right: CoresOnDemand.com.  We have taken our   proven CUBE Simulation Computers and built a cluster that users can simply rent.  So you get fast hardware, you get it all to your self, and you receive fantastic support from the ANSYS experts at PADT.

It is not a time share system, it is not a true "cloud" solution.  You tell us how many nodes you need and for how long and we rent them to you. You can submit batch or you can configure the machines however you need them.  Submit on the command line, through a batch scheduler, or run interactive. And when you are done, you do not have to send your files back to your desktop. We've loaded NICE DCV so you can do graphics intense pre- and post-processing from work or home, over the internet to our head nodes.  You can even work through your iPad.

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If you visit our Blog page a lot, you may have noticed the gray cloud logo with a big question mark next to it. If you guessed that was a hint that we were working on a cloud solution for ANSYS users, you were correct. We've had it up and running for a while but we kept "testing" it with  benchmarks for people buying CUBE computers. Plus we kept tweaking the setup to get the best user experience possible.  With today's announcement we are going live.

We created this service for a simple reason. Customers kept calling or emailing and asking if they could rent time on our machines.  We got started with the hardware but also started surveying and talking to users. Everyone is talking about the cloud and HPC, but we found few providers understood how to deliver the horsepower people needed in a usable way, and that users were frustrated with the offerings they had available. So we took our time and built a service that we would want to use, a service we would find considerable value in.

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You can learn more by visiting www.CoresOnDemand.com. Or by reading the official press release included below. To get your started, here are some key facts you should know:

  1. We are running PADT CUBE computers, hooked together with infiniband. They are fast, they are loaded with RAM, and they have a ton of disk space. Since we do this type of solving all the time, we know what is needed
  2. This is a Bring Your Own License (BYOL) service. You will need to lease the licenses you need from whoever you get your ANSYS from.  As an ANSYS Channel partner we can help that process go smoothly.
  3. You do not share the hardware.  If you reserve a node, it is your node. No one else but your company can log in.  You can rent by the week, or the day.
  4. When you are done, we save the data you want us to save and then wipe the machines.  If you want us to save your "image" we can do that for a fee so next time you use the service, we can restore it to right where you were last time.
  5. Right now we are focused on ANSYS software products only. We feel strongly about focusing on what we know and maximizing value to the customers.
  6. This service is backed by PADT's technical support and IT staff. You would be hard pressed to find any other HPC provider out there who knows more about how to run ANSYS Mechanical, ANSYS Mechanical APDL, ANSYS FLUENT, ANSYS CFX, ANSYS HFSS, ANSYS MAXWELL, ANSYS LS-DYNA, ANSYS AUTODYN, ICEM CFD, and much more.

To talk to our team about running your next big job on CoresOnDemand.com contact us at 480-813-4884 or email cod@padtinc.com

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See the official Press Release here

Press Release:

CoresOnDemand.com Launches as Dedicated ANSYS Simulation
High Performance Cloud Compute Resource 

PADT launches CoresOnDemand.com, a dedicated resource for users who need to run ANSYS simulation software in the cloud on optimized high performance computers.

Tempe, AZ – April 29, 2015 – Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT), the Southwest’s largest provider of simulation, product development, and 3D Printing services and products, is pleased to announce the launch of a new dedicated high performance compute resource for users of ANSYS simulation software – CoresOnDemand.com.  The team at PADT used their own experience, and the experience of their customers, to develop this unique cloud-based solution that delivers exceptional performance and a superior user experience. Unlike most cloud solutions, CoresOnDemand.com does not use virtual machines, nor do users share compute nodes. With CoresOnDemand.com users reserve one or more nodes for a set amount of time, giving them exclusive access to the hardware, while allowing them to work interactively and to set up the environment the way they want it.

The cluster behind CoresOnDemand.com is built by PADT’s IT experts using their own CUBE Simulation Computers (http://www.padtinc.com/cube), systems that are optimized for solving numerical simulation problems quickly and efficiently. This advantage is coupled with support from PADT’s experienced team, recognized technical experts in all things ANSYS. As a certified ANSYS channel partner, PADT understands the product and licensing needs of users, a significant advantage over most cloud HPC solutions.

“We kept getting calls from people asking if they could rent time on our in-house cluster. So we took a look at what was out there and talked to users about their experiences with trying to do high-end simulation in the cloud,” commented Eric Miller, Co-Owner of PADT. “What we found was that almost everyone was disappointed with the pay-per-cpu-second model, with the lack of product understanding on the part of the providers, and mediocre performance.  They also complained about having to bring large files back to their desktops to post-process. We designed CoresOnDemand.com to solve those problems.”

In addition to exclusive nodes, great hardware, and ANSYS expertise, CoresOnDemand.com adds another advantage by leveraging NICE Desktop Cloud Visualization (https://www.nice-software.com/products/dcv) to allow users to have true interactive connections to the cluster with real-time 3D graphics.  This avoids the need to download huge files or running blind in batch mode to review results. And as you would expect, the network connection and file transfer protocols available are industry standards and encrypted.

The initial cluster is configured with Intel and AMD-based CUBE Simulation nodes, connected through a high-speed Infiniband interconnect.  Each compute node has enough RAM and disk space to handle the most challenging FEA or CFD solves.  All ANSYS solvers and prep/post tools are available for use including: ANSYS Mechanical, ANSYS Mechanical APDL, ANSYS FLUENT, ANSYS CFX, ANSYS HFSS, ANSYS MAXWELL, ANSYS LS-DYNA, ANSYS AUTODYN, ICEM CFD, and much more. Users can serve their own licenses to CoresOnDemand.com or obtain a short-term lease, and PADT’s experts are on hand to help design the most effective licensing solution.

Pre-launch testing by PADT’s customers has shown that this model for remote on-demand solving works well.  Users were able to log in, configure their environment from their desktop at work or home, mesh, solve, and review results as if they had the same horsepower sitting right next to their desk.

To learn more about the CoresOnDemand: visit http://www.coresondemand.com, email cod@padtinc.com, or contact PADT at 480.813.4884. 

About Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies

Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and Rapid Prototyping 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 75 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at http://www.PADTINC.com.

Tech Tips and Videos for ANSYS Mechanical and CFD

ansys_free_techtipsA few weeks ago we added some great free resources to our website for existing and potential users of ANSYS Structural and CFD tools.  It includes some great videos from ANSYS, Inc. on a variety of topics as well as productivity kits. It dawned on us that many of you are faithful readers of The Focus but don’t often check out our ANSYS product web pages. So, we are including the material here for your viewing pleasure.

(7/9/2015: We just added the Electromechanical kit here.)

For structural users, we have a link to “The Structural Simulation Productivity Kit ” here. The kit includes:

  • Analyzing Vibration with Acoustic–Structural Coupling Article
  • Contact Enhancements in ANSYS Mechanical and MAPDL 15.0 Webinar
  • ANSYS Helps KTM Develop a 21st Century Super Sports Car Case Study
  • A Practical Discussion on Fatigue White Paper
  • Designing Solid Composites Article

We also have a collection of videos from ANSYS, Inc that we found useful:

For CFD users, we have a link to “The CFD Simulation Productivity Kit ” here. The kit includes:

  • Simulating Erosion Using ANSYS Computational Fluid Dynamics Presentation,
  • Cutting Design Costs: How Industry leaders benefit from Fast and Reliable CFD  White Paper,
  • Introduction to Multiphase Models in ANSYS CFD Three Part Webinar,
  • Advances in Core CFD Technology: Meeting Your Evolving Product Development Needs White Paper,
  • Turbulence Modeling for Engineering Flows Application Brief.

We also have a collection of videos from ANSYS, Inc that we found useful:

Interested in learning more, contact us or simply request a quote.

Press Release: Structural Optimization from VR&D Added to PADT Portfolio

varand-gtam-w-logosWe are very pleased to announce that we have added another great partner to our product portfolio: Vanderplaats Research  Development.  VR&D is a leading provider of structural optimization tools for simulation, and a strong partner with ANSYS.  We came across their Genesis and GTAM products when we were looking for a good topological optimization tool for one of our ANSYS customers. We quickly found it to be a great compliment, especially for the growing need to support optimization for parts made with 3D Printing.

Please find the official press release below or as a PDF file.  You can also learn more about the products on our website here. We hope to schedule some webinars on this tool, and publish some blog articles, in the coming months. 

As always, feel free to contact us for more information.  

Press Release:

PADT is now a reseller of the GTAM and GENESIS optimization tools from Vanderplaats R&D, offering leading structural geometry and topological optimization tools to enable simulation for components made with 3D Printing

Tempe, AZ – March 24, 2015 – Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT, Inc.), the Southwest’s largest provider of simulation, product development, and 3D Printing services and products, is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with Vanderplaats Research & Development, Inc. (VR&D) for PADT to become a distributor of VR&D’s industry leading structural optimization tools in the Southwestern United States. These powerful tools will be offered alongside ANSYS Mechanical as a way for PADT’s customers to use topological optimization and shape optimization to determine the best geometry for their products.

The GENESIS program is a Finite Element solver written by leaders in the optimization space. It offers sizing, shape, topography, topometry, freeform, and topology optimization algorithms.  No other tool delivers so many methods for users to determine the ideal configuration for their mechanical components. These methods can be used in conjunction with static, modal, random vibration, heat transfer, and buckling simulations.  More information on GENESIS can be found at http://www.vrand.com/Genesis.html

vrand-Design-Studio-for-GENESIS

PADT recommends that ANSYS Mechanical users who require topological optimization access GENESIS through the GENESIS Topology for ANSYS Mechanical tool, or GTAM. This extension runs inside ANSYS Mechanical, allowing users the ability to use their ANSYS models and the ANSYS user interface while still accessing the power of GENESIS.  The extension allows the user to setup the topology optimization problem, optimize, post-processing, export optimized geometry all within ANSYS Mechanical user interface.

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“We had a customer ask us to find a topological optimization solution for optimizing the shape of a part they were manufacturing with 3D Printing. We tried GTAM and immediately found it to be the type of technically superior tool we like to represent” commented Ward Rand, a co-owner of PADT.  “It didn’t take our engineers long to learn it and after receiving great support from VR&D, we knew this was a tool we should add to our portfolio.”

Besides reselling the tool, PADT is adopting both GENESIS and GTAM as their internal tools for shape optimization in support of their growing consulting in the area of design and simulation for Additive Manufacturing, popularly known as 3D Printing. PADT combines these with ANSYS SpaceClaim and Geomagic Studio to design and optimize components that will be created using 3D Printing.

“We are thrilled to partner with PADT because of their deep knowledge in simulation, additive manufacturing, and 3D printing and for their extraordinary ability to help their clients”, stated Juan Pablo Leiva, President and COO of VR&D, “We feel that their unique talents are crucial in supporting clients in today’s demanding and changing market.”

To learn more about the GENESIS and GTAM products, visit http://www.padtinc.com/vrand or contact our technical sales team at 480.813.4884 or sales@padtinc.com.

vrand-GTAM-GUI vrand-race-car-composites vrand-pedal

About Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies
Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering service company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and Rapid Prototyping products and services. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and an 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 75 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, its Littleton, Colorado office, Albuquerque, New Mexico office, and Murray, Utah office, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

About Vanderplaats Research & Development
Since its founding in 1984, Vanderplaats Research & Development, Inc. (VR&D) has advocated for the advancement of numerical optimization in industry. The company is a premier software company, developing and marketing a number of design optimization tools, providing professional services and training, and engaging in ongoing advanced research. VR&D products include GENESIS, GTAM, VisualDOC, Design Studio, SMS, DOT, and BIGDOT. For more information on VR&D, please visit:  www.vrand.com.

Three Jobs Open at PADT

3-Guys-PADTPADT currently has three job openings, two sales and one engineering.  If you are interested, or know of someone that is, please use the links below to learn more.

If you are smart, proactive, love technology, and believe in win-win interactions with customers, then PADT might be the place for you.

Electrical Engineer, High-Frequency Simulation: RF/Antenna
Account Manager: ANSYS Simulation Software
Account Manager, Flownex Sales

Job Opening at PADT: ANSYS Account Manager

PADT_Logo_Color_100x50PADT is looking for proactive and technical sales professionals interested in joining our team to represent ANSYS software products.  There are multiple openings with opportunities in Southern California, the Phoenix Arizona metro area, Denver Colorado, Salt Lake City Utah, and Albuquerque New Mexico.  Selling ANSYS with PADT is hard but rewarding work where you get to interface with smart and capable customers and work with one of the most respected ANSYS resellers in the world.  Learn more on our career page or simply send your resume to jobs@padtinc.com.

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10 Useful New Features in ANSYS Mechanical 16.0

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PADT is excited about the plethora of new features in release 16.0 of ANSYS products.  After sorting through the list of new features in Mechanical, here are 10 enhancements that we found to be particularly useful for general applications.


1: Mesh Display Style

This new option in the details view for the mesh branch makes it easy to visualize mesh quality items such as aspect ratio, skewness, element quality, etc.  The default style is body color, but it can be changed in the details to element quality, for example, as shown here:

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Figure 1. A. – Mesh Display Style Set to Element Quality

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Figure 1. B. – Element Quality Plot After Additional Mesh Settings

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Figure 1. C. – Accessing Display Style in the Mesh Details


2: Image to Clipboard

How many times have you either done a print screen > paste into editing tool > crop or done an image to file to get the plots you need into tools such as Word and PowerPoint?  The new Image to Clipboard menu pick streamlines this process.  Now, just get the image the way you want it in the geometry view, right click, and select Image to Clipboard.  Or just use Ctrl + C.  When you paste, you’ll be pasting the contents of that view window directly.  Here’s what it looks like:

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Figure 2 – Right Click, Image to Clip Board


3: Beam Contact Formulation

This was a beta feature at 15.0, but if you didn’t get a chance to try it out, it’s now fully supported at 16.0.  The idea here is that instead of the ‘traditional’ bonded contact methods (using the augmented Lagrange or pure penalty formulation) or the Multi-Point Constraint (MPC) bonded option, we now have a new choice of beam contact.  This option utilizes internally-created massless linear beam elements to connect the two sides of a contact interface together.  This can be more efficient than the traditional formulations and can avoid the over constraints that can happen if multiple contact regions utilizing the MPC option end up generating constraint equations that tend to conflict with each other.

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Figure 3 – Beam Formulation for Bonded Contact


4: Nonlinear Adaptive Region

If you have ever been frustrated by the error message in the Solution Information window that says, “Element xyz … has become highly distorted…”, version 16.0 adds a new tool to our toolbox with the Nonlinear Adaptive Region capability.  This capability is in its infancy stage at 16.0, but in the right circumstances it allows the solution to recover from highly distorted elements by pausing, remeshing, and then continuing.  We plan on publishing more details on this capability soon, but for now please know that it exists and more can learned in the 16.0 Mechanical Help.  There are a lot of restrictions on when it can work, but a big one is that it only works for elements that become overly deformed due to large and nonuniform deformation, meaning not due to unstable materials, numerical instabilities, or structures that are unstable due to buckling effects.

As shown in figure 4. A., a Nonlinear Adaptive Region can be inserted under the Solution branch.  It is scoped to bodies.  Options and controls are set in the details view.

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Figure 4. A. – Nonlinear Adaptive Region

If the solver encounters a ‘qualifying event’ that triggers a remesh, the solver output will inform us like this:

 

**** REGENERATE MESH AT SUBSTEP     5 OF LOAD STEP      1 BECAUSE OF
      NONLINEAR ADAPTIVE CRITERIA

 

 

 

 

AmsMesher(ANSYS Mechanical Solver Mesher),Graph based ANSYS Meshing EXtension,v0.96.03b
(c)ANSYS,Inc. v160-20141009
  Platform           :  Windows 7 6.1.7601
  Arguments          :  F:\Program Files\ANSYS Inc\v160\ANSYS\bin\winx64\AnsMechSolverMesh.exe
                     :  -m
                     :  G:\Testing\16.0\_ProjectScratch\Scr692\file_inpRzn_0001.cdb
                     :  –slayers=2
                     :  –silent=0
                     :  –aconcave=15.0000
                     :  –aconvex=15.0000
                     :  –gszratio=1.0000
  Seed elements      :  _RZNDISTEL block

– 17:6:17 2015-2-11

  ===================================================================
  == Mesh quality metrics comparison                                
  ===================================================================
  Element Average    :  ——–Source——–+——–Target——–
  ..Skewness(Volume) :    4.0450e-001             4.1063e-001        
  ..Aspect Ratio     :    2.3411e+000             2.4331e+000        
  Domain Volume      :    8.6109e-003             8.6345e-003        

  Worst Element      :  ——–Source——–+——–Target——–
  ..Skewness(Volume) :    0.8564  (e552     )      0.7487  (e2217    )   
  ..Aspect Ratio     :    4.9731  (e434     )      6.8070  (e2236    )   

  ===================================================================
  == Remeshing result statistics                                    
  ===================================================================
  Domain(s)          :   1      
  Region(s)          :   1      
  Patche(s)          :   7      
  nNode[New]         :   39      
  nElem[New/Eff/Src] :   79 / 92 / 2076      

  Peak memory        :   10 MB

– 17:6:17 2015-2-11
– AmsMesher run completed in 0.225 seconds

  ========================= End Run =================================
  ===================================================================

 **** NEW MESH HAS BEEN CREATED SUCCESSFULLY. CONTINUE TO SOLVE. 

Results item tabular listings will show that a remesh has occurred, as shown in figure 4. B.

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Figure 4. B. – Results Table Indicating a Remesh Occurred in the Nonlinear Adaptive Region

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Figure 4. C. – Before and After Remesh Due to Nonlinear Adaptive Region


5: Thermal Fluid Flow via Thermal ‘Pipes’

This has also been a beta option in prior releases, but nicely, at 16.0 it becomes a production feature.  The idea here is that we can use the ANSYS Mechanical APDL FLUID116 elements in Mechanical, without needing a command object.  These fluid elements have temperature as their degree of freedom in this case, and enable the effects of one dimensional fluid flow.  This means we have a reduced order model for capturing heat transfer due to a fluid moving through some kind of cavity without having to explicitly model that cavity.  The pipe ‘path’ is specified using a line body.

The line body gets defined with a cross section in CAD, and is tagged as a named selection in Mechanical.  This thermal pipe can then interact on appropriate surfaces in your model via a convection load.  Once the convection load is applied on appropriate surfaces in your model, the Fluid Flow option can then be set to Yes, and the line body is specified as the appropriate named selection.  Appropriate BC’s need to be applied to the line body, such as temperature constraints and mass flow rate, as shown in figure 5.

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Figure 5 – Thermal “Pipe” Line Body at Top, Showing Applied Boundary Conditions


6: Solver Pivot Checking Control

This new option under Analysis Settings > Solver Controls allows you to potentially continue an analysis that has stopped due to pivoting issues, meaning a model that’s not fully constrained or one that is having trouble due to contact pairs not being fully in contact. 

The options are Program Controlled, Warning, Error, and Off.  The Warning setting is the one to use if you want the solver to continue after any pivoting issues have occurred.  The Error setting means that the solver will stop if pivoting issues occur.  The Off setting results in no pivot checking to occur, while Program Controlled, which is the default, means that the solver will decide.

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Figure 6 – Solver Pivot Checking Controls Under Analysis Settings


7: Contact Result Trackers

This new feature allows you to more closely track contact status data while the solution is running, or after it has completed.  This capability uses the .cnd file that is created during the solution in the solver directory.  It is useful because it gives you more information on the behavior of your contact regions during solution so you can have more confidence that things are progressing well or potentially stop the solution and take corrective action if they are not.  The tracker objects get inserted under the Solution Information branch, as shown in figure 7. A.

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Figure 7. A. – Contact Trackers Inserted Under Solution Information

A large variety of quantities can be selected to track, such as Number Contacting, Number Sticking, Gap, Penetration, etc.

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Figure 7. B. – Contact Results Tracker Settings in the Details View

Contact results tracker quantities can be viewed in real time during the solution, as shown in figure 7. C.

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Figure 7. C. – Contact Results Tracker Showing Gap Decreasing as the Solution Progresses


8: Tree Filtering

For large assemblies or other complex models, there are useful enhancements in how the tree can be filtered, including the ability to create Groups.  Groups can consist of tree entities that are geometry, coordinate systems, connection features, boundary conditions, or even results.  Grouping is accomplished as easily as selecting the desired items in the tree, then right clicking to specify Group, as shown in Figure 8. A.

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Figure 8. A. – Grouping Displacements

A new folder in the tree is then created which can be named something useful.  Figure 8. B. shows the displacement boundary condition group (folder) after it was given a name.

ansys-mechanical-16-f8b

Figure 8. B. – Group of Displacement BC’s, Given a Meaningful Name

It’s easy to right click and Ungroup if needed, and there is also a Group Similar Objects option which allows you to select just one item in the tree and easily group all similar items by right clicking.


9: Results Set Listing Enhancements

In addition to the information on remeshing that we mentioned back in useful new feature number 4, there is a new capability to right click in the tabular listing of results and then right click to create total deformation or equivalent stress results.  This capability can make it faster to create a deformation or stress plot for a particular time point or result set of interest.

The procedure to do this is:

  • Left click on the Solution branch in the tree.
  • Left click on the desired Results set in Tabular Data
  • Right click on that results set and select Create Total Deformation Results or Create Equivalent Stress Results, as shown in figure 9.

The result of these steps will be a new result item in the tree, waiting for you to evaluate so you can see the new results plot.

ansys-mechanical-16-f9

Figure 9 – Right Click in Solution Tabular Data to Create Deformation or Equivalent Stress Result Items


10: Explode View

We’ve saved a fun one for last, the new Explode View capability.  This allows you to incrementally ‘explode’ the view of your assemblies, making it potentially easier to visualize the parts and interaction between parts that make up the assembly.  To use this feature, make sure the Explode View Options toolbar is turned on in your View settings.  There are several options for the ‘explosion center’, such as the assembly center or the global or a user defined coordinate system.

ansys-mechanical-16-f10a 

Figure 10. A. – The Explode View Options Toolbar

As you can see in figure 10. A., there is a slider that allows you to control the ‘level’ of view explosion.  Keep in mind this is just a visual tool and does nothing to the coordinates of the parts in your assemblies.

Figures 10. B. and 10. C. show various slider settings for the exploded view of an assembly.

ansys-mechanical-16-f10b

Figure 10. B. – Explode View Level 3

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Figure 10. C. – Explode View Level 4


This concludes our tour of 10 useful new features in ANSYS Mechanical 16.0.  We hope you find this information helps you get your ANSYS Mechanical simulations completed more efficiently.  There are lots and lots of other new features that we didn’t mention here.  The Release Notes in the Help covers a lot of them.  We’ll be writing more about some of the things we mentioned here as well as some of the other new features soon.  

PADT’s ANSYS Sales Team Celebrates Sales Record for 2014

2014 was both a challenging and rewarding year at PADT. One area of the company that achieved success last year was the ANSYS Sales team.  Lead by Bob Calvin, our account  managers Oren Raz and Patrick Barnett worked with the support of our technical team  throughout the year to help our customers find the right solution for their simulation needs. All that hard work resulted in a record year of sales for ANSYS products by PADT.

A big "Thank You" needs to go out to all of our fantastic customers who make selling and supporting this tool such a pleasure. Our success is a direct result of the success that they are having in the application of ANSYS, Inc. technology to improve their products and their product development process. I know that sounds kind of "salesy" but it is true.  We keep selling more of this stuff for one simple reason, it works. 

And making it work is also the job of our technical support team, our engineers who serve as application engineers, and the business support staff that takes care of the details. 

 This week we were lucky to have Bob Thibeault, the new ANSYS Director North America Channel, and Clark Cox, the ANSYS Channel Account Manager, visit Phoenix and we were able to get a picture with them as we placed our 6th annual sales achievement medal on our "wall o' awards."

PADT-2014-ANSYS-Sales-Achievement-Award
2014 Accomplished – Putting the medal on the wall
(L to R) Clark Cox, Bob Thibeault, Ward Rand, Eric Miller, Bob Calvin

Things are already off to a great start for 2015 and we hope to be working with even more customers as we help them explore new and profitable ways to apply this technology. 

Seminar Info: Designing and Simulating Products for 3D Printing

Note: We have scheduled an encore Lunch & Learn and companion Webinar for March 23, 2015.  Please register here to attend in person at CEI in Phoenix or here to attend via the web.

ds43dp-1People are interested in how to better do design and simulation for products they manufacture using 3D Printing.  When the AZ Tech council let us know they had a cancelation for their monthly manufacturing Lunch and Learn, we figured why not do something on this topic, a few people might show up. We had over 105 people register, so we had to close registration. In the end around 95 total people made it to the seminar, which is more than expected so we had to add chairs. Who would have thought that many people would come for such a nerdy topic?.

For an hour and fifteen minutes they sat and listned to us talk about the ins and outs of using this growing technology to make end use parts.  Here is a copy of the PowerPoint as a PDF.

We did add one bullet item in the design suggestions area based on a question. Someone pointed out that the machine instructions, what the AM machine uses to make the parts, should be a controlled document. They are exactly right and that is a very important process that needs to be put in place to get traceability and repeatability.  

Here are some useful links:

As always, do not hesitate to contact us for more information or with any questions.

If you missed this presentation, don't worry, we are looking to schedule a live/web version of this talk with some enhancements sometime in March.  Watch the usual channels for time, place, and registration information. We will also be publishing detailed blog posts on many of the topics covered today, diving deeper into areas of interest.

Thank you to the AZ Tech Council, ASU SkySong, and everyone that attended for making this our best attended non-web seminar ever.

Design and Simulation for 3D Printing Full House

The Full Power of SpaceClaim Engineer – Now Available from PADT

SpaceClaim-1We have been using SpaceClaim with ANSYS Workbench for about four years now, and we always liked it. Then it came as part of the Geomagic Spark tool and we got more excited.  This was a powerful geometry creation, editing, and reapir tool that was saving us time all across PADT.  The, when ANSYS, Inc. purchased the company SpaceClaim we got realy excited.  So excited that we decided to become a reseller of the full product, and not just the ANSYS or Geomagic tools.  The addition of a module for working with STL files sealed the deal and as of the begining of the year we are offering all flavors of SpaceClaim to our customers.

The official press release can be found here. You can learn a lot about the product by visiting the web page.

To get started learning about why we love this program so much, check out this video showing the new features in the latest version:

Then go visit their YouTube channel and watch videos that may be of special interest to you.

Or, contact us here at PADT and we would be happy to share with your our enthusiasm for this tool.

SpaceClaim-Model1b

 

Deflategate Update: ANSYS Simulation Shows it Really Does not Make a Difference.

There is still more debate going on about the deflated footballs that the New England Patriots used in their playoff game. "Who Deflated Them? When? Were they acting on orders?"  But no one is asking if it makes a real difference.

Enter ANSYS simulation software. Using the newest ANSYS product, ANSYS AIM, the engineers at ANSYS, Inc. were able to simulate the effect of lower pressure on grip. It turns out that the the difference in pressure only made a 5mm difference in grip. No big deal.  

Being a Multiphysics tool they were able to quickly also run a flow analysis and see what impact drag from "wobble" had on a pass.  A 10% off axis wobble resulted in 20% more drag, that is a few yards on a long pass.  Their conclusion, throwing a tight spiral is more important than the pressure of the ball.

Check out the full article on the ANSYS blog: 

http://www.ansys-blog.com/superbowl-deflategate-scandal-debunked-using-engineering-simulation/#more-11576

Here is the video as well:

ANSYS 2015 Hall of Fame Announced – Los Alamos National Labs and SynCardia Models are Finalists

2015-hall-of-fame-header-closed

Every year for a while now ANSYS, Inc. has chosen models made by users of the ANSYS software tools for their Hall of Fame.  This year had some very cool models across CFD, Structural, and Electromagnetic – including some great Multiphysics applications. Visit the ANSYS website to see all the winners here.

The three commercial winers of "Best in Show" were varied but powerful examples of how simulation can be used to improve performance and reliability of products:

 best-in-show-2015-ansys-hall-of-fame

Andritz Hydro used ANSYS Mechanical to model their assemblies to see if replacing welds with bolted joints would reduce weight and cost while keeping reliability.  They used sub-modeling, bolted joints, and contact.  

BRP used ANSSY CFX, ICEM CFD, and Mechanical to capture the forces caused by cavitation on their outboard marine engine. This engine pushes a boat at 75MPH (!!!) through the water, so yes, they get cavitation.  They used ICEM CFD for meshing, CFX to predict the cavitation and capture the cavitation loading, and Mechanical to see how the loading impacted the gear train and shafts. They were able to obitmize the desgin quickly using this process.

Spinologics used ANSYS Mechanical APDL to model the process of using a rod to straighten a deformed spine (scoliosis). They use the scriptability of the APDL to automate the creation of the models.  Very cool stuff.  Check out the video on the link.

We also want to mention two customers that were involved as Finalists.  

syncardia-heartSynCardia is often mentioned in this blog because, well, they make a frick'n artificial heart that saves lives every day.  We modeled an early iteration on the heart as a multiphysic problem probobly 5 or 6 years ago, it could have been longer ago. More recently Stony Brook University and the University of Arizona did a much more detailed model in ANSYS Fluent that looks at not just pressure and velocity, but Platelet dispersion patterns in the artificial heart.  Check out the video here:  https://storage.ansys.com/hof/2015/video/2015-stonybrook.mp4

2015-lanl-bgLos Alamos National Labs is another long time PADT customer and we were fortunate enough to be involved in the study that was recognized as a finalist. They used ANSYS Fluent to model something called vortex-induced motion or VIM in off-shore oil rigs.  Basically waves hit the platform and create these big swirling vortices.  These in turn put loads on the structure that can sometimes be very large.  The purpose of this study was to find a way to accurate predict VIM with simulation so they could then evaluate various solutions. A true Fluid-Solid Interaction (FSI) and because of the size of the structures and all that turbulence, High Performance Computing (HPC) problem. We hope to publish a paper on some related work this year… watch this space for more.

 This competition is a great way to see what others are doing, and if you submit your models, to show off what you have done.  Contact your ANSYS rep to learn more or drop us a note.

 

Configuring Laptop “Switchable” Graphics for ANSYS Applications

IMG_4894

A lot of laptops these days come with “switchable” graphics.  The idea is that you have a lower capability but also lower power consuming ‘basic’ graphics device in addition to a higher performing but higher power demand graphics device.  By only using the higher performance graphics device when it’s needed, you can maximize the use time of a battery charge. 

A lot of the ANSYS graphics-intensive applications may need the higher end graphics device to display and run correctly.  In this article, we’ll focus on the AMD Firepro as the “higher end” graphics, with Intel HD graphics as the “lower end”.  We will show you how to switch to the AMD card to get around problems or errors in displaying ANSYS user interface windows.

The first step is to identify the small red dot graphics icon at the lower right in the task bar:

fix_laptop_graphics_ansys-01

Figure 1 – AMD Catalyst Icon

 

Next, right click on the icon to bring up the AMD Catalyst Control Center, if you don’t see the switchable option as shown two images down.

fix_laptop_graphics_ansys-02

Figure 2 – AMD Catalyst Control Center Right Click Menu Pick

 

Right click on the same icon again, if needed to select “Configure Switchable Graphics,” as shown here:

fix_laptop_graphics_ansys-03

Figure 3 – Select “Configure Switchable Graphics” via Right Click on the Same Icon

 

In the resulting AMD Catalyst Control Center window, click on the Add Application button.

fix_laptop_graphics_ansys-04

Figure 4 – AMD Catalyst Control Center Window

Next browse to the application that needs the higher end graphics capability.  This might take a little trial and error if you don’t know the exact application.  Here we select ANSYS CFD-Post and click Open.

fix_laptop_graphics_ansys-05

Figure 5 – Selecting appropriate executable for switchable graphics

Finally, select the High Performance option from the dropdown for your chosen executable, then click the Apply button.

fix_laptop_graphics_ansys-06

This should get your graphics working properly.  Again, the reason we have the two graphics choices is to allow us to better control power consumption based on the level of graphics that are needed per application.  Hopefully this article helps you to choose the proper graphics settings so that your ANSYS tools behave nicely on your laptop.

You will be Surprised Where Sneeze Germs Travel in an Airplane

sneezing-in-airplane-300x279Ever been on a flight, hear someone sneeze, and then sit in fear as you imagine millions of tiny infectiousness germs laughing historically as they spread through the cabin of the plane?  In my imagination they are green and drip mucus. In reality they are small liquid particles and instead of going everywhere, it appears they fall on just a few unlucky people. 

ANSYS, Inc.  put out a very cool video showing the results of an in-cabin CFD run done by Purdue University that tracks the pathogens as they leave the sick persons mouth, get caught in the climate control system’s air stream, and waft right on the people next to and behind them.  The study was done for the FAA Center for Excellence for Airliner Cabin Environment Research.   

Here is the video, check it out and share with your friends. Especially if you have a friend that doesn’t sneezes out into the open air:

Visit the ANSYS Blog to learn even more.

#betterlivingthroughsimulation

PADT Opens Utah Office

PADT-UtahIt is now official: PADT has an office in the Salt Lake City area, second after the class A office space in Austin, TX.  Last week we signed a lease for a space at 5282 S Commerce Dr in Murray, Utah.  We have been looking for a while and when this location opened up we felt it was located in a great spot and was the size we needed.  It is 17 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City, less than 30 minutes to most of our SLC customers, and not a bad drive to those who are north and south, right up or down I-15.

This office will focus on providing sales and technical support to our Utah Stratasys and ANSYS customers.  It will provide enough space for a few demo 3D Printers and also has a great meeting room for training and mentoring sessions.

You can read more in the official press release here.  

To get a feel for where it is located, here is a screen grab.

        PADT-Utah-Office-Map

Proximity to some of the best skiing in the country was not much of a factor in the decision process… but it helped.

Here is a shot of Anthony, Doug, Patrick, and Mario modeling in the hallway. 

PADT-Utah-Team-Halway

It will take us a month or so to get everything up and running, but once done we will set up a time for an open house. Watch this space for more about our continued growth and success in Utah.

Recommended Free Utilities for the ANSYS User’s Toolbox

free-stuffWhat do you have in your toolbox? The ANSYS suite of tools is pretty comprehensive.  But an efficient user always has a collection of utilities that they use with ANSYS products to automate processes, convert data, and scrub results.  In 2008 we published a list of free and commercial tools that we were using at PADT, and web results show that it is one of our more popular posts. So we thought it was a good time to revisit and update those lists.

We will start with the free tools, well because everyone loves something for free. This is by no means a comprehensive list, these are simply the tools we currently use here at PADT. If you have alternative suggestions, please leave them in a comment.  I tried to put them in some logical grouping, but failed.  So here they are, in no particular order:

untitled python
Scripting Language
www.python.org

Every good simulation user needs scripting.  We spend a lot of time dealing with large amounts of data and setting up all sorts of complicated processes.  Scripting can be used to create, modify, sift through, or translate text versions of our models, loads, and results.  Some users like to stick with APDL and never leave ANSYS, some know Matlab very well.  Others may use newer languages like Lua or older ones like perl.
Here at PADT we have found that python is the best tool for scripting outside of ANSYS MAPDL (we use APDL if we are in the program).  Not only is it easy to learn and use, it has hundreds of free libraries that do almost anything you want. Lots of people know it, and you are not dependent on some other piece of software. Python also works on Linux and Windows. In addition, most CAE tools these days support python scripting.  This is certainly true of the Workbench project page and ANSYS ACT for ANSYS Mechanical. 

Alternatives: perl, Lua, linux shell scripts.

vtk VTK
Visualization Library
www.vtk.org

Did you ever wish there was a toolkit out there that you could use to quickly build a visualization tool?  I know I spent days of my early career writing simple tools from scratch, and spending most of my time on graphics stuff.  Well, VTK is that toolkit.  It consists of C++ class libraries, and includes interpreters for Tcl/Tk, Java, and python.  With python, you can create little applications very quickly without having to know a full object oriented programming language.  The resulting graphics are fast and attractive. If you are going to be writting your own vertical application that works with your FEA or CFD tool, use VTK for the graphics.

paraview ParaView
Visualization Tool
www.paraview.org 

The first time you use ParaView, your response will most likely be OMG. It is a visualization tool written in VTK.  It reads most FEA and CFD formats, along with pretty much any faceted geometry data format.  [Unfortunately it is not reading the current ANSYS ds.dat file that ANSYS mechanical writes (or a cdb file)  I’ll try and submit a bug report. ]  But it does read a CGNS file, which you can export to from Workbench. 

But we don’t use it for working with ANSYS files so much, we have tools for that. We use it to deal with other file formats like STL, NASTRAN, CGNS, ExodusII, etc…  Very handy and intuitive to use. It is also an example of how powerful VTK is.

Alternatives: OpenCascade

notepad  Notepad++
Source Code Editor
notepad-plus-plus.org 

This is a great text editor.  Newer than most, it builds on the dozens of previous text editors out there.  It does syntax highlighting and auto completion for many languages. For ANSYS users, it has a powerful column editing mode, very sophisticated search and replace, and macro recording and playback.  I’m not aware of an APDL syntax highlighter, but you have PeDAL for that. There are a lot of text editors out there, and this one has bubbled to the top as the most popular at PADT.

Alternatives: Notepad, PSPad, TextPad, UltraEdit, and dozens more

vim Vim/GVim
VI Text Editor
www.vim.org 

Some people love VI, the old Unix text editor.  I’m one of those people. I’ve been using VI for over 30 years.  So I have to have a VI editor on my machine and I use it instead of Notepad++ or other text editors. Because I don’t want to touch a mouse, I want to [Esc] jjjj llll .  instead.  Vim is really the only good VI tool out there anymore, and it comes standard on most Linux installs instead of the old Vi.  The windows version works great.

Alternatives: Elvis, Vile, Lemmy

openoffice OpenOffice
Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Slide Shows, Database
www.openoffice.org 

Let’s be honest, MS Office dominates this type of tool. It works, everyone has it, and everyone knows it.  But sometime you don’t want to fork over cash to those guys in Seattle. Or maybe you spend your day on Linux.  OpenOffice is about 90% of what MS Office does, and it is free. It kind of died at Sun when they got bought by Oracle.. Since Apache has taken up the market, it has seen a lot of enhancements.

Many people just think about the word processor, but remember it has a simple drawing tool, an equation editor, a a very good database program.

Alternatives: GoogleDocs, LibreOffice

latex LaTeX
Document Perpetration System
www.latex-project.org 

How do you tell an engineer with an advanced degree from one who just has a BS?  The one with the MS or PhD like LaTeX.

Traditionally the tool of thesis writers, LaTeX has significant utility for the ANSYS user.  It allows you to create nice looking documents by imbedding tags in the document.  A pain when we have WYSIWYG editors, but very useful if you want to use scripting to create a document.  It is also a great way to create very good looking equations and tables.  Think of it as HTML for nice looking documents.

Alternatives: Word Processors

cutepdf CutePDF
PDF Creator/Writer
www.cutepdf.com 

This tool is not as important as it once was, since many programs write to PDF for you. But every once in a while you run across one that does not.  It installs like a printer, so anything program with a print command allows you to save as PDF. 

Alternatives: Adobe Online PDF Creator, PDF reDirect, PDFCreator, and a ton more.

adobe-reader-logo Adobe Reader
PDF Viewer
get.adobe.com/reader 

I almost left this off the list, but to be fair I included this. If you don’t have Acrobat Reader, you must live in a cave.  It is pretty much required to do business in this day and age.

ghostscript

Ghostscript
Ghostview
GSView

PostScript Tools
pages.cs.wissc.edu/~ghost 

Ghostscript is an old Gnu project that contains tools for working with PostScript.  Ghostview is the viewing tool on Linux, although it has been replaced by GV.  GSView is a viewer for Windows.  Look at the website to learn about which tool you should be using.

If you just look at PDF’s, then Adobe Reader is all you need. But if you have an older program that output PostScript directly, or you want to write a tool that create PostScript, then this toolset is for you.

windows-snipping 

Windows Snipping Tool
Screen Capture Tool
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snipping_Tool 

This comes with all modern Window’s operating systems.  And, to be honest, this is the one free utility most of us use more than any other.  Who saves images to files any more, we just snip them!  If you don’t have it in your task bar, put it there and get used to using it. 

Your Linux Desktop Environment will have a similar tool: KSnapshot or GNOME Screenshot

camstudio

CamStudio
Screen Capture Tool
camstudio.org 

CamStudio is an open source tool for capturing video and audio off your screen.  Now one may want this to create screen grabs of “Lost in Space” reruns… but what does an ANSYS user need this for.  We use it to make tutorials for other users.  It is a great way to capture what you are doing on your screen for training or to share with co-workers.

Alternatives:  We mostly use commercial tools for this… see the next article.

gimp-logo

GIMP
Image Editing Tools
www.gimp.org 

I hate the name of this product. The politically-correct-Berkley-grad in me finds it very distasteful. But it stands for Gnu Image Manipulation Program.  It is not Adobe PhotoShop, but every release it gets closer. And in some areas it is better. It runs on Linux and Windows, always a plus.  We use it on our Unix machines to crop and clean up images. It can also be used to combine a series of images into an Animated GIF.  It is not bad at deleting backgrounds to make images with transparency for presentations as well.  It also has a fairly good vector creation layer.

We used to recommend a mixture of free tools to deal with image manipulation and editing, but now we feel that GIMP does it all.

Alternatives; ImageMagick, MS Paint

Movie to GIF MovieToAniGif
Make Animated GIF’s from AVI’s
www.evanolds.com/movtogifsimple.html

Everyone uses Microsoft PowerPoint to do presentations, and for most things it works great. But one thing is really sucks at is animations: you have to keep the movie files you are showing in the same directory because you can not embed them.  The simplest solution to this problem is to convert your animations into animated GIF files. Then insert those in your presentation. It also solves the problem of putting animations on your website without using YouTube or Flash.

The tool we use mostly is Move to Animated GIF Converter.  It is old, the last version came out in 2010, but it still works just fine.  Not much to it, point it at an AVI file and then save it as an animated GIF.

Alternatives: There are a bunch of tools out there, we have not used any so can’t really recommend an alternative.

engauge-digitizer Engauge
Converts Images of Graphs into Data
digitizer.sourceforge.net

Have you ever asked someone for material properties and you get a scan of a phototcopy of a book page back?  It happens less these days than it used to but you still sometimes get an image of a graph rather than a spreadsheet file.  Have no fear, Engauge is here!  It takes your image and allows you to identify the axis and the scale, then the data.  With a few clicks you have a table of useful data. 

Alternatives: A ruler.

Gnuplot Gnuplot
Plotting Tool
www.gnuplot.info

Most FEA tools have their own 2D and 3D Graphing options, and of course Excel does a pretty good job. But sometimes you need more, or you want a plotting tool you can script. Gnuplot is that tool. It has been around forever and has about every type of graph imaginable. As a command line based program with its own scripting language, it can be generated by your programs to get the exact plot that you want.

Alternatives: Python’s matplotlib or PyQtGraph, Scilab

scilab Scilab
Numerical Computation Tool
www.scilab.org

We don’t us a lot of Matlab here at PADT, we try and beat it out of new grads when we hire them… no not really.  It is a tool that our younger engineers are used to using.  The problem is it is kind of expensive when you use it every once in a while. Scilab is a nice open source alternative.  It works well and runs on Linux and Windows. 

Alternatives: Julia, Sage.

Remote_desktop_connection_icon

Windows Remote Desktop
Remote Desktop Tool
Built in to Windows Operating Systems

This is another “free” utility that comes with the windows operating system. Strictly speaking, it is not free because you paid for Windows, but it is so important, I thought it it was worth mentioning. 

Accessing your a windows computer remotely was something we can now do all the time, even from a mobile device. And internet connections are fast enough to where you can do real work from a coffee shop, home, or even from an airplane with WiFi. 

More importantly, in March of 2014, Microsoft released apps for iOS, Android, and Mac that work really, really well. We had been using 3rd party apps that were OK, but the new MS apps are great and I log on to my desktop all the time from my iPad and work fairly productively.

vnc

VNC
Remote Desktop Tool
www.tightvnc.com
www.realvnc.com

Remote Desktop works great for Windows boxes.  But if you want to do a remote desktop thing with Linux, or cross platform, we recommend VNC.  There are a ton of VNC tools out there, we seem to use tightVNC, and realVNC.  You need a server on the remote machine, and a viewer on the machine you are using. The viewers are free, not all servers are free.  There are also apps for iOS and Android for VNC viewers.

We recommend using VNC only if you are connecting to a Linux machine from a Windows machine and you don’t want to mess with an X11 server on your Windows Machine (See below for X11 servers for Windows).  VNC does a pixel copy across the network, which is not as fast as X11 or Remote Desktop that send primitives back and forth.

We have not had time to investigate VNC tools like TurboVNC that use VirtualGL and other tools to speed up the sending of the graphics window back and forth. NX (see below) uses VirtualGL

Alternatives: Tons, just google.

NX

NX
Remote X11 Desktop Client and Server
www.nomachine.com

Above we talk about Remote Desktop and VNC as ways to see remote machines.  If you want to see a Linux machine the best free way we have found is to use NX. This is one of those open source tools that is free and not free, and can get confusing.  It works like VNC in that you need a server on your remote machine, and a client on your machine. The client from www.nomachine.com is free.  The server is something you need to load on the remote machine, and probably comes in your Linux distribution. FreeNX seems to be the most popular.

You should get very nice performance for 3D graphics on your internal internet, and not bad over the internet either.  We recomend NX over Cygwin if you don’t need a full unix clone on your windows machine, if you are just logging in to a LInux box, use NX.

(and yes, we hate that the name is the same as the CAD/PLM tool… causes great confusion)

Alternatives: Cygwin, VNC

cygwin cygwin
Linux on Windows
www.cygwin.com

If you need more than visualization on a remote Linux machine from your Windows box, you actually want to run Linux on top of Windows without rebooting or using a virtual machine, then you need cygwin.  It is a fairly full linux distribution that runs on Windows, including full X11 capability.  We don’t recommend it for people who are not Linux savvy, but if you are and you want to work in that environment, then it works very well.

putty putty
ssh Tool
www.putty.org

The best, and most secure, way to connect to a Linux machine is through SSH. If you have NX or cygwin you just open up a terminal and connect. But what if you just want a text connection. Putty is a simple tool that will store your connections and let you log right in and provide you with that terminal.  Better yet, it has an SCP tool (ssh copy) that is very handy for transferring files between machines.

dropbox dropbox
File sharing Tool
www.dropbox.com

There are a ton of “cloud” tools out there that let you load a file up on a server in the sky, backing it up or sharing it with others.  We use Dropbox at PADT for a couple of reasons.  The first is that it is more than a cloud solution, the files you put on Dropbox get copied to all of the computers you have that are connected to your Dropbox.  I keep all the essential files I need every day, and for whatever project I’m working on in a Dropbox folder and I have access to it at home, on my laptop, even on my iPad. 

I also use it to transfer files to other people who don’t know what FTP is.

Alternatives: Box, Copy, GoogleDrive (with Sync)

filezilla filezilla
FTP Tool
www.filezilla-project.org

Real simulation users FTP from the command line… and waste time doing so.  FileZilla is a great tool that uses a GUI to connect to FTP servers and transfer files by dragging and dropping.  It makes finding files, transferring multiple files, and monitoring those big transfers a breeze.

Alternatives: ftp command line, cURL,lftp

7zip 7-Zip
File Compression Tool
www.7-zip.org

This is the most capable windows based compression tool we have found.  For many people the built in compression in Windows is fine, but if you want other options, and the ability to work with formats besides .ZIP ( including TAR, GZIP, RAR, LZH) this is the preferred tool.

Alternatives: windows compression, we have not used any other free tools for this

Encryption

I was going to recommend two tools for encryption: TrueCrypt and PGP.  But it looks like both tools are in flux right now. 

TrueCrypt makes virtual drives as files. When you decrypt them they show up as a drive on your machine. Very handy for achieving any special security concerns you may have.  But in march it was mysteriously shut down. They recommend that you use BitLocker which comes free with Windows.  We have not tried it so we can’t recommend it. Too bad, it was a great tool.  An alternative is PGPDisk, but that costs money or you have to compile it yourself.

PGP encrypts files and had great email plug-ins. It was a nice tools for sending customer data back and forth in a secure way.  It was purchased by a series of companies and ended up sort of becoming static. You can read about it on Wikipedia. The good news is that there is an open source version called PGP, available on www.pgpi.org.  You want the GnuPG version which is free.  There are links here to PGPDisk source code as well.

Bottom line, if you need to encrypt, you might as well pay for a commercial version that is supported.

So, that is all of the tools we could think of, a very diverse list.  Remember, put any other suggestions you have in the comments below.