SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 347 - Surfacing Roundtable Flashback

Surfacing Roundtable Flashback:

This podcast is a flashback to episode 100 recorded back in August 2007 on surfacing in SolidWorks. Surfacing is modeling method that is very popular but tends to be intimidating to some user due to the complexity that this method can bring. Topics covered:

- Why use surfacing? 
- Surfacing applications 
- Products that tend to lend themselves to surface modeling 
- Surfacing tips and tricks 
- Other surfacing resources

This week I am on vacation and due to my implementation schedule for EPDM over the past week I was unable to get in front of the mic.  Since I have a large archive of shows, I decided to pull out my phone, record a little intro and pull up a show that was still relevant.

Back in August 2007 the show hit the 100 episode milestone and I brought on Ben Eadie, who has launched sites like SolidMentor, SolidJott, and UsingSolidWorks and we dissect the surfacing approach and break it down to the simple approaches and unique application where this method excels over it solid modeling sibling.

SolidWorks 2012 should be launch shortly here, at least the NDA should be lifted soon, and we will be getting into the What's New series but next week the normal show will resume with the monthly tech news once I return from my yearly break from it all! ~Lou

Remember to check out the SolidWorks: Heard! Blog and to follow me on TwitterFacebook and THE HEaRD! 

SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 322 - CadFaster


This podcast is an interview with Tuomas Holma, VP of Marketing for CadFaster, the company behind realtime collaboration tools for AEC and the MCAD market and soon on iOS.  Topics covered:

- CadFaster backgroud and market experience

- Current product line

- Workflow for CadFaster Collaborate as a SolidWorks User

- Technical aspects of the Collaborate tools

- How CadFaster Collaboration is different from other remote meeting services.

- Roadmap for iOS client (to launch on the App Store in April 2011, approval pending).

- Plans for other platforms (mobile, desktop, AEC/MCAD tools)

- Trial and payment model

- Other tech talk about the industry

What a fun show!  Tuomas and I discuss CadFaster the company, products and overall solutions they provide. You might remember some buzz about CadFaster right before SolidWorks World 2011 when many of the blogs were talking about their up and coming iPad application for sharing SolidWorks models over the web.

CadFaster's philosophy is high performance with simplicity for the user without the requirement for high-end hardware.  CadFaster has been in the market for 10 years with their viewer tool (CadFaster QuickSTEP) but has been developing collaboration tools since 2009.  Their approach is different than traditional screen sharing since they host the annotation layer (comments, markups, etc.) while the client drives the visuals created by the self-executable output.

The iOS version of the client will be free in Apple's App Store in April pending approval but will deliver this same viewing and collaboration capability in a mobile device.  I want to thank Tuomas and CadFaster for coming on the show and sharing their vision of how product reviews can be in the future.  ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 290 - SolidWorks 2011 First Impressions

SolidWorks 2011 First Impressions: This podcast is a discussion between Josh Mings of SolidSmack and myself discussing the overall first impressions of SolidWorks 2011 publicly since SolidWorks lifted the beta NDA. Topics covered:

- General overview on the type of release 2011 seems to be

- Defeature tool and common uses

- Assembly features and weld prep

- Global variables in a text file

- Performance and display enhancements

- System requirement changes and XP's soon to be exit

- Installation improvements and background downloading

The buzz around a new SolidWorks release has changed so much from 10 years ago now that the Internet is in play. The VAR rollout events used to be the place people went to see what was being launched but now you can go to and get the rundown, not to mention the 50 or so blogs that will also post updates and screenshots.

Now that DS SolidWorks has lifted the embargo on SolidWorks 2011 Beta, the flurry of posts and reviews has begun. Josh and I talk mainly on how SolidWorks 2011 seems to be staying the course of performance and tuning existing features. SolidWorks 2011's What's New PDF seems to be about 40 pages shy of last year's so it appears to be scaled back. I think as long as bugs get fixed and performance increases, adoption will be high.

Personally, I have a list of files and features that I try to perform that have had issues in previous betas from year's past and 2011 was the first in a long time that some basic functions didn't give me issue at first glance. I have also, unofficially, noticed that a list of long lasting bugs that I have reported were closed so maybe this is an indication that 2011 is digging into the SPR list and addressing as many as it can. ~Lou

Remember to check out the SolidWorks: Heard! Blog and to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and THE HEaRD!

SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 289 - SolidWorks Enterprise PDM Landscape

SolidWorks Enterprise PDM Landscape:

This podcast covers the general landscape of how SolidWorks Enterprise PDM addresses problems within the engineering process.  I am joined by Jeff Sweeney, Data Specialist at 3D Vision Technologies and we discuss the common problems we see while performing Enterprise PDM implementations.  Topics covered:

- Common reasons for EPDM

- How PDM is typically viewed by new users

- How to use PDM as an "in-process" tool

- Integration in SolidWorks

- Workflow and common automation actions

- Common integration with other enterprise systems (ERP/PLM/MRP, etc..)

- How replication works and is used

- Other EPDM ramblings from both of us! ;-)

Jeff and I have been talking about doing this roundtable for quite some time now and we finally got time where we were both available and not on-site doing installs.  Jeff is a Data Specialist and is a wizard in implementations and API so I thought there was no better person to "talk shop" about EPDM and the process of solving issues that are common in the change process around engineering.

This show outlines the landscape of what Enterprise PDM offers and how companies are using this tool to solve real problems and automating processes that govern their departments.  I wanted to avoid doing a feature/function focused show since that is not important to the overall product.  Jeff and I share scenarios that we come across while talking to customers and performing these installs.

I hope to have a followup show gettting into the best practices of setup so those of you out there either considering a PDM solution or have EPDM installed have an idea of what pitfalls Jeff and I have witnessed.  Let's face it, no company has perfect processes and there is no one product that will solve all problems (well within normal budgets!).  I look forward to the next time Jeff comes on the show.  You rock man, thanks! ~Lou

Remember to check out the SolidWorks: Heard! Blog and to follow me on TwitterFacebook and THE HEaRD!

SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 285 - CAD on the Cloud

CAD on the Cloud:

This podcast is a round table discussion with Matt Lombard (Dezignstuff), Oleg Shilovitsky (Beyond PLM), and Josh Mings (SolidSmack) about the pros/cons of a cloud-basd CAD platform. Topics covered:

- What is your description of CAD on the Cloud?

- Pros/Cons of the technology

- What are the real barriors for the common user/company?

- Hosted "Cloud" vs. local server farm

- How players like SolidWorks, Dassault, PTC, AutoDesk, Siemens will address migrating users from local to hosted applications?

- Payment speculation pros/cons for vendor and customer.

- SolidWorks PDS (light collaboration) and the model for hosted add ons to a local application.

Since SolidWorks World 2010 (SWW10) there have been a influx of articles focusing on the idea of hosted 3D parametric CAD applications and how they would all succeed/fail based on today's technology. Many of the major players in the CAD industry are working on various degrees of hosted offerings but most seem to be technology verification projects.

Although many of us have written about this technology, the response from the users who need these tools, in the end, to model geometry, are weary of the transition to a hosted solution delivered via the Internet. It is apparent that there are far more questions that have been unanswered than answered at this point which is why we have not seen anything launched yet.

I want to thank Matt, Oleg and Josh for taking the time and discussing their views on the topic of hosted CAD. We are in a fascinating time in the technology and the promise of more powerful applications with effortless collaboration and maintenance seems almost unattainable in today's market. There is no doubt that applications are moving to the Cloud but is CAD the right product for the move? ~Lou

Remember to check out the SolidWorks: Heard! Blog and to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and THE HEaRD!

SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 280 - DraftSight


This podcast is an interview with Josh Mings of SolidSmack discussing the new product announcement from Dassault Systèmes, DraftSight. Topics covered:

- Quick product overview

- Josh's first impressions

- Pros and Cons of this "Professional-grade, open 2D CAD product"

- What "Free" really means 

- What it means for SolidWorks 2D Editor

- 3D Swym DraftSight Community

This was an interesting move for DS, especially since Bernard Charlès took the stage at SolidWorks World this year and shared their mission of "3D Life-like Experiences".  This is a company that eats, sleeps and breaths 3D, so when they announced a 2D product that was FREE, I was a little confused.

Josh explains that DraftSight is much better than AutoCAD for 2D (currently DraftSight has no 3D capabilities like AutoCAD) and is a "hands down" replacement for SolidWorks 2D Editor in his opinion.  SolidWorks has released a statement that they are still committed to the 2D Editor (formally known as DWG Editor) on their blog.

The product currently is available for Windows XP, Vista and 7 (runs on 64 bit and installs as a 32 bit app from what I can tell) and support for both Mac and Linux is coming "later this year".  I am looking forward to installing it but I am not going as far to say I'm Excited about it...being 2D and all! ~Lou

Remember to check out the SolidWorks: Heard! Blog and to follow me on TwitterFacebook and THE HEaRD!

SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 263 - SolidWorks V6?

SolidWorks V6?:

This podcast is a round-table with Ricky Jordan about the SolidWorks Cloud-fed CAD technology preview shown in the general session at day 1 at SolidWorks World 2010. Topics covered:

- Technology overview

- Highlights

- Features

- Pros/Cons of a cloud-fed CAD Platform

- Co-Existance of the desktop and cloud platforms of SolidWorks

- SolidWorks' response on SolidWorks Blog

- Thoughts about SolidWorks/Dassault Systemes

- Possible pricing/configuration options

The technology preview at SolidWorks World 2010 has spurred quite a bi-polar response from many users in conversation, on the blogs, and in the forums. The thought of our CAD tool and the data we generate being hosted is something many of us have not had to face so that proposition's uncertainty is a bit scary.

At this point there are definitely more unknowns about the future product from SolidWorks than there are knowns so anything else is simply speculation. I believe the next 18 months is going to be a wild ride and hope to see more aspects of this offering as the details get nailed down by SolidWorks. As Al Dean has said over at the Develop 3D blog, I don't believe the day of a CATIAWorks is going to happen tomorrow but the line is going to become more blurred for sure! ~Lou

Remember to check out the SolidWorks: Heard! Blog and to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and THE HEaRD!

SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 259 - Stump the Chumps Take 2

Stump the Chumps Take 2:

This podcast is a roundtable discussion with a few of the "Chumps" from this years breakout session called "Stump the Chumps".  Today we talk with Jeff Mirisola, Phil Sluder and Charles Culp.  Topics covered:

- What the "Stump the Chumps" session is all about

- Members of the panel

- Method behind getting questions

- Layout of the session and live question handling

- Other miscellaneous SWW10 discussions

After a one year hiatius, the Stump the Chumps session is back at SolidWorks World 2010 and this year it is a much bigger panel.  The panel is filled with users, bloggers and even some of SolidWorks' own to take on the tough questions that the masses have asked.

This will be a fun, and I am sure amusing, session but more importantly there will be answers given and problems solved.  Hope to see you all there!

Remember to check out the SolidWorks: Heard! Blog and to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and THE HEaRD!

SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 256 - Google Wave Roundtable

Google Wave Roundtable:

This podcast is a round table discussion about Google Wave and how it can be used for product development and where the technology stands today.  Topics covered:

- First impressions

- Promises for Product Development

- What are the main Pros/Cons

- Google Wave wish list?

- Browser extensions

- FireFox - Google Wave Add-on

- Chrome - Google Wave Notifier

- Desktop applications

- Windows/Linux (via WINE) - Google Wave Notifier

- Mac - Unofficial Google Wave Notifier

Since Google Wave has been available, many flocked to it and the overall user base is somewhat underwhelmed since it is yet another place you have to check.  Since Google Wave doesn't automatically come "out of the box" with a notification mechanism or the ability to use it with everyone like email, the adoption and use of this tool is limited for those who are in the Wave ecosystem.

Personally, I am noticing that many of my own Wave contacts are not active anymore since responses will sometimes take days or weeks to get, thus making the communication ineffective.  This hinders my ability to push further into what use cases Google Wave is good for.  Gina Trapani said it best on This Week in Google that applications are typically created to solve a problem and Google Wave is a solution searching for a problem to solve!

It is a preview and passing judgement of Google Wave's success or failure would be a mistake.  Google seems to be committed to making Wave the next big communication vector so I am continuing to test and try out ways to simplify my own communication with it.  How do you use it?  What is missing or needed for it to be a useful tool for product development or any other task? Please share your experience in the comments.

I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get a Google Wave round table discussion together since it's launch, till today.  Due to some issues with iPhone batteries and Skype, (don't ask), Josh Mings from SolidSmack was only on the call for the first 5 minutes but Ben Eadie from SolidJott and Mechanical Mashup TV was able to fill in for the remainder of the cast.  We will make sure Josh is in the followup podcast once Google Wave gets more developed.

Remember to check out the SolidWorks: Heard! Blog and to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and THE HEaRD!