Blog Menu

Netfabb Mobile

September 18, 2011

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,CAD/CAM/CAE,review — Terry Wohlers @ 09:26

I’ve downloaded many impressive apps for my HTC Evo 4G Android smartphone after getting it in December 2010. The one that ranks near the top is Netfabb Mobile. It enables you to open STL files, even large ones, for zooming, panning, and rotating of 3D models. Netfabb Mobile spins fully-rendered models in real-time—performance that exceeds the display of similar models on high-end UNIX workstations of the past.

With Netfabb Mobile, you can download STL files from the web or import them locally. Using the phone’s charge cable, it’s simple to copy STL files to the device’s SD card. A couple taps later and you are reviewing the models. The people at Netfabb could not have made it easier. The Evo’s bright 57 x 95 mm (2.25 x 3.7 inch) screen, coupled with Netfabb Mobile, offers striking 3D graphics. When spinning a fully-rendered model, jaws drop.

I opened the well-know “brain gear” file that’s 3.6 MB in size and a Jaguar hood ornament that’s 7.5 MB. Both displayed relatively fast and zooming, panning, and rotating were surprisingly good. The app also calculates the model’s total volume, surface area, and number of triangles.

If you’re looking for a portable STL model viewer, consider this one. It downloads and installs quickly, it’s simple, and the performance is almost unbelievable. With it being free, you can’t go wrong. And, there’s an iPhone version available.

SolidWorks Corp.

September 3, 2011

Filed under: CAD/CAM/CAE,review — Terry Wohlers @ 08:25

I visited Dassault Systemes’ SolidWorks Corp. in Concord, Massachusetts this week. It was part of a special event for industry analysts and members of the press. I have watched the company mature since its founding and it’s been interesting to see it develop into a world-class organization. SolidWorks has gained a high level of respect from organizations of all sizes from around the world.

Many customers, partners, and others affiliated with the company have been pleased to see that principal founder Jon Hirschtick continues to support the company as an employee and visionary. Co-founders, such as Scott Harris and Vic Leventhal, have remained visible at industry events and happily reflect on their early days at SolidWorks. Getting to know them and other former executives has strengthened the connection that people have to the software and company.

This week, Fielder Hiss, vice president of Product Management, reviewed key features and milestones from 20 releases of SolidWorks. It was an excellent summary of where the software began and how far it has come. New features in SolidWorks 2012 were disclosed later in the day, but those in attendance were asked to hold all comments on them until September 6. Stay tuned.

Where is SolidWorks Corp. going in the future? I had the opportunity of spending one-on-one time with most of the company’s top management, including Bertrand Sicot, the relatively new CEO. Over the years, I had formed a good relationship with former CEO Jeff Ray, who is now at Dassault corporate in France, and was sorry to see him leave. However, I was impressed by what I saw and heard from Sicot and believe that he connects well with others, similar to Ray. I believe he has the personality, respect, and credentials to be a successful chief executive.

The time I spent this week with SolidWorks employees gave me a sense that they have what it takes to continue what the founders started more than 15 years ago. SolidWorks Corp. is a well-oiled machine that I believe will thrive and impact product development as well as anyone in the engineering software business. The people, strategies, and software products are positioned for the next several years.