James Cameron in da house in the Tuesday General Session of SolidWorks World 2010

James Cameron was the keynote speaker of SolidWorks World 2010.  The format of his presentation was in a sit down interview with John Hirschtick, founder of SolidWorks.  Cameron is a fascinating presenter who covered a surprizing number of 3D CAD relevent topics.  Though not mentioned in the movie Avatar, Cameron stated that the idea behind the human equipment on the alien world was that it was made on the planet itself and not sent there from Earth.  In a cleaver statement, he declared that the huge bulldozers of the movie where 3D printed (fictionally, of course).  Though not an engineer or scientist himself, he stated “I geek out on the hard science side”.  Hirschtick asked Cameron if SolidWorks was used in the process of making Avatar.  Though Cameron did not give a direct answer, he did state that artists should use the tools with which they are comfortable early in the process of the project.

Cameron’s first step on every project is to go on a brainstorming retreat.  He then applies three statements.

  • Hope is not a strategy
  • Luck is not a factor
  • Fear is not an option (Don’t be afraid to be bold)

Cameron is working on projects that will be putting equipment on Mars, and also an exploration to the bottom of the Marianas Trench (7 miles down).  He talked about using FEA to verify the design of his deep ocean vehicle.  He will personally be going down to the bottom of the ocean in the vehicle, so it had better be done right the first time.

A later article will cover the press conference that followed.

My 1st (very brief) SWW

After 10 years of using SolidWorks, I attended SWW10 in Anaheim for the first time. But, I can only get as far as the Partner Pavilion. For the tenth year, my employer could not pay for me to attend. http://www.solidworks.com/swworld/2580_ENU_HTML.htm

Luckily I live here in Orange County and could attend for a few hours.

A lot of the companies I have seen or used before, but a few were new to me. None really caught my attention except for Solido. http://www.solido3d.com/

My hope for the past several years was to someday see the price of 3D printing drop. It seems Solido has broken the mold. They are also eco friendly by using a rolled mylar –looking material into the machine and creating parts based on the sheet thickness. The parts were comparable to other 3D printers, at a lower cost! I past their info to my boss…

Another company that caught my, not because of the new touch screen fad, but because of the hardware that was used. SolidWorks, Microsoft (Surface), and Identity Mine teamed up to create a UI ‘sketcher’ to work with SolidWorks models by the touch of the hand on a flat table.

Some of the technology was interesting, although it has been around for a couple years, but the templates that were used to create ‘buttons’ were cheesy and the touch screen not very clear to me. http://www.identitymine.com/Products/SurfaceSkins.aspx

The biggest downfall for me was the large screen sitting horizontal, or flat. I would be sitting on my local chiropractor’s table getting my neck straightened every week after sitting on a uncomfortable stool all day looking down onto a flat table. IMO, poor design. It should rise similar to the old drafting tables (some of us remember those, right?) so that the screen was more eye level.

Thanks to Matt for a fun time and helping me meet up with some other online friends. It was great finally putting a face to a screen name.

SolidWorks World General Session – Monday (part2)

Another theme of today’s General Session where potential improvements to 3D CAD, much of which is cloud computing based.  These include collaboration to allow more than one person to edit the same model at the same time.  Searches to use data from the database instead of making models from scratch.  Bring a “lifelike experience” (soon to be trademarked term, I’m guessing) to SolidWorks and other applications.  Predictive Engineering that can do things like calculate interferences or handle material properties before the user even requests such data.  With all these improvements associated with cloud computing, I am willing to predict that there will eventually be no distinction between SolidWorks and Catia.

Up in the clouds at SolidWorks World 2010

A new game has taken SolidWorks World 2010 by storm.  Count how many times the word “cloud” (as in cloud computing) is spoken.  At one point, it might seem that entire speeches consist entirely of the word “cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud.”  There’s a message somewhere.  Oh, that’s right.  Cloud computing is the future of SolidWorks and the rest of the Dassault Systemes applications (maybe even for high security customers). 

Cloud computing has many advantages over traditional installed software, according to Jeff Ray, CEO of SolidWorks.  No matter how good SolidWorks is, it is still limited by the computer upon which it is installed.  A significant investment is required to purchase computers that are powerful enough to get the most out of 3D CAD software.  Also, installed software tends to be limited by computer operating systems.  SolidWorks, in its current form, will not likely to be ported over to run natively on a MAC OS.  Instead, SolidWorks will bypass these limitations with cloud computing.  With cloud computing, “SolidWorks” (in whatever form it takes) may run on any platform.  In fact, the user’s computer power will play very little roll.  CAD files (even hugh assemblies) can be accessed instantly and edited on practically any platform, such as Microsoft, MAC OS, Google OS, Firefox, and iPhone.  This is all accomplished without installing any software.   They even discussed SolidWorks running seamlessly with ENOVIA V6, maybe even sometime this year.

According to Ray, the new cloud technologies will be rolled out as they are ready.  The customer will choose when (if ever) to implement.  These improvements represent a “completely new design environment”.  Ray also stated that these new techologies where developed in secret and “run like a start up”.  Technically, all this cloud talk represents nothing more than vaporware right now.  However, if Dassault Systemes delivers, they may have a massive game changer on their hands.

SolidWorks World General Session – Monday (part1)

Jeff Ray, CEO of DS SolidWorks Corp kicked off SolidWorks World 2010 with news that Dassault Systemes is becoming more important in SolidWorks. He then introduced Bernard Charles, CEO of Dassault Systemes, who talked about the menu of products they offer. He declared, “Catia is virtual products”. This plays into the goal of bringing lifelike experience to everyone. He also stated that “3D is going to be a part of our lives”, including the areas of research, consumers, engineering and education.

After showing off a cool electric hot rod designed in-house at SolidWorks in collaboration with Factory Five Racing, they announced the launch of a new website where such future projects can be suggested and worked upon: http://letsgodesign.tv, which may be worked into a new TV show soon.

We saw an update of Terrafugia and the first successful flight of their new flying transition car. It was also announced that Microwind attracted the attention of Branson’s company and that Microwind expanded their use of Dassault Systemes products to include Catia.

Walt Disney Imagineering uses SolidWorks for every ride, including the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Hollywood Tower Hotel, Monters, Inc ride in Tokyo, and the new Mark 7 Monorail here in Anaheim.

Jeff Ray talked about SolidWorks Corp’s stand to not layoff any employees during last year’s downturn. In fact, they actually increased their investment into R&D, reinforcing comments that he made back in August 2009.

Arrived at Anaheim and ready!

Fifty-one weeks ago, SolidWorks World 2009 concluded with the announcement that SolidWorks World 2010 would be in Anaheim, CA (aka Disneyland Land). Since then, time has flown by so quickly, it seems like the 2009 convention in Florida was only a couple months ago. But, there are lessons learned since last year.

As a SolidWorks Blogger who is invited to SolidWorks World as press, I should not expect the luxury of attending very many breakout sessions. I will still try to attend as many as I can, though I am double and triple booked for many time slots. On the other hand, I do get see behind the scenes. The press room is an interesting place. Also, I get to freely interact with other users, vendors, VARs and SolidWorks employees.

People recognize me. I would like to apologize in advance to those that I do not recognize at first. I am not good at remembering faces; and notoriously bad at remembering names.

The only winkle so far is that I forgot my business cards! (I am also notoriously bad at remembering to bring my business cards.) Thankfully, my wife will be sending them to me tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll receive them before the end of the conference.

I’m looking forward to a lot of things this year at SolidWorks World 2010. Seeing James Cameron; presenting as part of the Stump the Chumps II panel (and giving out tons of swag at that breakout session…thanks to both SolidWorks Corp and Hawk Ridge Systems); seeing new game-changing inventions (at the Partner Pavilion and highlighted in the General Sessions); meeting (and reconnecting) with friends; and learning something new. I try to cover has much of this as I can in the coming days.