Direct CAD News & Views from Kubotek USA

How 3D direct modeling and the way I clean my house are related.

Posted by John Agoglia on Fri, Feb 26, 2010

Yes.  That’s right.  I clean house the way designers and CAD jocks use KeyCreator 3D direct modeling.  How, you say, can these two things be related?  Let me explain…

When I get in the mood to clean, you better look out.  There is a flurry of dusting, sweeping, mopping, wiping, consolidating, throwing out and organizing.  But I’ll be the first to admit.  Don’t expect any of this is a logical, progressive, abc-123 order.  It drives my husband insane.  I think it even drives my pets insane, but at least they can’t vocalize it. 

I’ll be in the middle of sweeping the floor when I see a stack of junk mail on the counter—and two on the table.  Ah!  So, before I forget what I want to do (which is to clean up these masses of paper), I leave a pile of dust bunnies in the middle of the floor.  After all, I know I won’t just keep walking past that pile when I’m done with the junk mail.  It’s sort of like my sticky note to myself—when you’re done with the mail, finish sweeping. 

This process goes on for what probably seems like the entire day to my husband.  He walks into rooms filled with piles of this or that, doors ajar and me mysteriously no where in sight.  Why?  Because I found something else I wanted tackle right away, before I forget…then I can get back to what I was doing which is obviously in mid-process.

I’m pretty sure this isn’t the cleaning process Martha Stewart advises.  I think most tips tell you to start at the top and work you way to the bottom.  Go in order.  Don’t stray or you’ll be less productive.  Or worse, you’ll end up with a house in more disarray than before you started!

Yeah, right.

I’m also sure this is how some CAD software advises you to design.  Go in order.  Start at the top and work you way down.  You have to do A and B to get to C. 

But what if that isn’t how you think?  What if you want to start at the top, work you way down, go back to the middle, lather, rinse, repeat?  Are you expected to know everything you uncover before you even get started?  No one expects to find jelly smeared to the bottom of the chair while you’re mopping.  But sometimes you do, so you stop and clean it up before you get back to the obvious task at hand. 

That’s why 3D direct modeling works so well.  You don’t have to go in order.  You hum along until you find something else you need or want to attend to.  Then get back to where you were and keep going.  With 3D direct modeling, you don’t have to worry about redoing all your work just because you made one small change.  You make the change and keep going.  Or in my case, you mop the floor, clean up the jelly, and keep going without worrying about leaving footprints all over a wet floor. 

Topics: 3D Direct Modeling, Flexible CAD, KeyCreator

Using 3D to power the shop floor – the quiet revolution

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Wed, Feb 24, 2010

This is a guest blog by  Bill Barnes, General Manager, Lattice Technology, Inc.


Using 3D to power the shop floor – the quiet revolution

Why Kubotek USA and Lattice Technology, Inc have become partners

It's safe to say that if you are a product designer or engineer, you probably use 3D CAD daily, or are often sent 3D CAD data that you have to deal with.  3D is ubiquitous in the front end of the product design process, and our manufactured products are all the better for it - higher quality, cheaper, more reliable, faster to market.  It enables companies to be more competitive in the global market.

But even after the amazing technological revolution that 3D CAD has wrought in the last 2 decades, too many downstream departments have remained resolutely paper-based, often detached from the systems that drive the 3D CAD data, and overall manufacturing productivity has suffered as a result. There are all sorts of reasons why (and they vary from company to company) but can include:

  • 3D CAD data in its pure form is meaningless to other departments
  • Lower specification PCs and network bandwidth limitations in other departments make accessing 3D data difficult
  • Some departments are entrenched in older methods and have resistance to change
  • While companies are desperately searching for ways to improve productivity, 3D beyond the product design department has never seemed like a viable option
  • When collaborating with other companies different 3D CAD systems are often in use


Every day our customers prove that, with the right approach, the barriers listed above have been removed and that some pretty amazing productivity improvements occur. For example, Alpine Precision successfully halved lead-time from design to measurement of test parts using 3D with Lattice Technology Solutions, and improved product time-to-market by 92%.  KVAL Inc., has seen productivity gains of 20-25% in manufacturing, technician learning curves reduced to minutes instead of days and spare parts service calls reduced from 15-20 minutes to just seconds using Lattice Technology.

With these kinds of results, you think that every company would already have jumped onto this - and indeed many have. But as is human nature, when a manufacturer takes a huge step forward in productivity, they tend to be secretive as to how it was achieved. Also, based on the third and fourth points written above, we often help companies ease gradually into an enterprise-wide 3D strategy and it is not until using 3D on the shop floor, procurement, support and other departments has become second nature that they are willing to discuss it. Hence, while it is a rapidly developing part of manufacturing processes, it also remains a quiet revolution.

But this is why a partner agreement between Kubotek and Lattice Technology is occurring at an ideal time, and addresses all the points above that can be barriers to really exploiting 3D data enterprise-wide.

Let me explain: Kubotek delivers what I believe are best-in-class tools for creating, editing and validating 3D data, regardless of its origin. So using Kubotek products your designers can create original data and if a customer sends you 3D data from just about any 3D CAD system, you are able to actively see it, accurately and easily edit it, check it, and manage ECOs. But then what do you do with it? This is where Lattice Technology comes in.

Lattice Technology Solutions allow 3D data to be used to digitally mock-up assemblies and check for interferences, clearances and other issues.  Assembly processes can be designed, including dynamic clash detection, interaction with resources such as tools, fixtures and humans can be checked and the designed processes can be easily published in both digital and print ready forms including assembly animations, BOMs and technical illustrations.  Integration with existing PDM and ERP systems can easily be accomplished and downstream data changes can be handled automatically when the upstream design data changes

The affordable but highly sophisticated software products from these two companies deliver a seamless workflow of accurate, usable 3D data through any and every part of your manufacturing operation.

You will, of course, be hearing more about this, and we will be inviting everyone to attend seminars that demonstrate what I have been talking about. But in the meantime, please consider if you would like to be a part of The Quiet Revolution too!

Find out more at:

As always, thank you for reading and commenting.


Topics: 3D CAD, Kubotek, 3D Digital Mock Up, Lattice Technology

Another Bobsled Accident, FEA Simulation of Whistler's Bobsled Track?

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Fri, Feb 19, 2010

AP Photo

So, there is news today that another Bobsledder has been hospitalized from yet another crash on the Whistler Bobsled track at the Vancouver Olympics.

Before the start of the Olympics, the course was touted as the fastestest Bobsled track in the world.  Here is a description out of Sports Illustrated online:

Vancouver bobsled Preview - Sports Illustrated

 "To add to the speed and violence, the course in Whistler is far and away the fastest one in the world, thanks in part to a steep top section that includes a 20-degree drop at curve two. Curve 13 was dubbed the "50/50 curve" after a day of course testing last year when only half the teams made it through right side up. If you're the type who watches NASCAR secretly anxious to see a crash, this might be the year for you to check out bobsled."

It makes me wonder if anyone actually simulated the course using Finite Element Analysis?  Now I know that the simulation is only as good as the person doing the analysis, but wouldn't your think this would have shown a few issues, especially with the steel beams that are exposed on the most dangerous part of the track?

If we have any physics or any FEA guru's reading this I'd love to hear your feedback on this. 

By the way, we will be announcing a new FEA partner soon.  I am sure you will be pleased with this new relationship.

As always, thank you for reading and your comments.


Topics: Olympic Bobsled track, FEA Simulation, CAD FEA

SkillsUSA donation by Kubotek USA

Posted by Mark Parent on Fri, Feb 19, 2010


As most of you are aware, I am passionate about helping the youth of today down the path of a rewarding career in the manufacturing industry.

SkillsUSA (  is an organization that is doing a great job at helping Americans become stronger workers.  This organizations helps more than 300,000 students and instructors and has over 13,000 chapters.  Each year SkillsUSA has regional, state, and national contests.

Kubotek USA has offered the free use of KeyCreator for any contestant in the following contests; Architectural Drafting, Automated Manufacturing Technology, Engineering Technology, Technical Drafting, Precision Machining Technology, CNC Milling, CNC Turning.  Kubotek USA has also offered KeyCreator to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each of these contests at the state and national level.

If you are interested in learning more;

  • Contact your local chapter or your state director.
  • Contact Kubotek USA through our website at and fill out the skillsUSA grant form.
  • Contact SkillsUSA at

Can I make it through my normal business day with free software?

Posted by Mark Parent on Fri, Feb 19, 2010

Everyday after work I come home and see my kids using all these free software applications on the home computer and on their hand held devices.  The only thing they pay for is songs (they don't pay for that either because they get gift cards, but that's not the point).

I have spent my life paying for software, either personally or through my employer.  The concept of free software seems so strange from a business standpoint.  How can people and businesses spend their time creating software that is given away?  How do they feed their families?  How can this new model be sustainable?  Is it all about the community?  How loyal are people?  Is it that easy to create software that anyone can do it quickly?

My quest over the next month is to survive on only free software and to understand how each one of these providers is structured.  The big question I will look to answer is; What is their ability to sustain this new business model?


Topics: Open Source Software, Free Software

50 Reasons KeyCreator is the Best 3D Direct CAD Modeler

Posted by Scott Sweeney on Mon, Feb 08, 2010
  1. Hybrid Modeling - KeyCreator is the King of Direct Modeling
  2. You won't smash your keyboard to bits because your model didn't update and crashed
  3. Level management for organizing your work
  4. Completely customizable toolbars and hotkeys
  5. Pop-up toolbars
  6. Unique history bar of recently used commands
  7. It's fun
  8. Ability to shape geometry like you are using Play-Doh
  9. You can import almost anyone's files and then edit them without history
  10. The Smartest Mathematicians in the world are designing it - right now - (Math is really important for creating geometry)
  11. You can learn it in no time
  12. Once you learn it you won't forget it
  13. You can learn it online
  14. We let Mikey try it......HE LIKES IT!
  15. The numbers show it's a proven product
  16. It works like you think-not forcing you to think how it works.
  17. No animals were harmed during testing
  18. It doesn't lock you in
  19. We have some of the best resellers
  20. It's the most bang for the buck
  21. Can't work without it......They'll have to pry it out my dead hands
  22. Support for all styles of construction plane control
  23. The most powerful selection masking anywhere
  24. Real-time feature inferencing
  25. Joe Mama uses it!
  26. Incredible depth in basic visualization tools
  27. Customer driven enhancements in every release
  28. The original and most powerful direct dimension driven editing
  29. The unique Fillet and Chamfer ‘No Trim' commands
  30. The darkest default background around
  31. Install and go
  32. No barriers for creativity
  33. There's a limerick about it
  34. Never rebuild
  35. No regeneration errors
  36. Import, analyze, heal. 
  37. Always moving forward
  38. Trend setting
  39. How old is parametric modeling?
  40. No government stimulus needed to get KeyCreator.
  41. 4 out of 5 engineers recommend it.
  42. It's not your father's CADKEY.
  43. So many ways to customize the interface, it'll make anybody happy.
  44. Since when did a ribbon become a menu?
  45. Be eco friendly... Use less energy not having to rebuild models all the time.
  46. So simple a caveman can use it.
  47. Let's you think out of the box.
  48. It's a curve, it's a solid, it's a surface... It's KeyCreator.
  49. All the cool kids are doing it!
  50. KC has more level options than there are floors in the Burj Khalifa skyscraper

Topics: 3D Direct Modeling, 3D Direct CAD, KeyCreator