Direct CAD News & Views from Kubotek USA

To the moon! (With KeyCreator Direct CAD)

Posted by John Agoglia on Mon, Sep 21, 2015

Space travel and fitness.  They go together, right?

Sure, it's just like that recurring dream you have where you're trying to run to catch the school bus, only you're moving like you're running in space.  (Or is that just me?)

Fitness and space travel, however, do have something else in common. That something is KeyCreator Direct CAD.

The Honeymooners
KeyCreator, Baby. You're the greatest.

I told you we recently signed on some new and interesting customers. Any guesses about who these cool customers might be? If you guessed SpaceX and Fitbit, you're absolutely right (and you should be playing the horses).

SpaceX is using KeyCreator for work during early stages of design.  The main user from SpaceX actually learned about KeyCreator through work at a previous company. You may of heard of them. General Atomics?  Small company. I'm told they used CADKEY (KeyCreator's forerunner) to design the Predator drone.

(According to Wikipedia, The Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that has seen use since the 1990's.  Primary users include the US Air Force and CIA for reconnaissance-type missions. It has also been used for a wide range of civilian related work, too.)

Anyway, back to my story. I poked around in the Account Manager's notes. The Mechanical Design Engineer likes the benefits of using 2D computer drafting versus using hand drawings and 3D models for preliminary work.  And what's great about KeyCreator is that no matter if you want to design using 2D, 3D, wireframes, solids, surfaces or even test the waters with assembly modeling, you can do it all within the basic version of the software. You can use the design environment that's right for your project. You know, like building a space rocket.

Also, this Mechanical Design Engineer knows he can use KeyCreator to easily build out his 3D models from his 2D designs once the concept is ready to launch. (Sorry. Lame pun, but I had to use it.) And he obviously gets that being able to reuse design data is a huge time saver. Why spend all that time trying to get to the final design, only to have to start over from scratch to build it into a 3D model?  Oh, and having fully associated layouts and 3D models in KeyCreator is pretty helpful, too. Once you have a drawing and model that are related to each other, any updates you make in one file will automatically carry over to the other.

Fitbit came to us via another long-time user who has been using KeyCreator for many years. According to our Account Manager's notes (see, I'm totally nosy), the engineer uses KeyCreator for quick design changes and for conceptual proposals.  In addition, she uses KeyCreator to help communicate with tooling vendors.

It's obvious she knows the ease-of-use Direct CAD offers. She doesn't waste time trying to fight with CAD software and a model's parametric constraints when she wants to do something simple, like make a quick edit.

And as for communicating with others, KeyCreator gives you many options to communicate your design, including extensive file import/export capabilities. Someone sends you a native file format, simply pop it into KeyCreator to review, regardless of who or what software created it. Plus, being able to export screen shots, 2D/3D PDFs, as well as prints/layouts are extremely helpful with communication. You can even use integrated CAD Comparison to communicate design revisions. And by the way, all these tools are built in to KeyCreator that require no additional add-on purchases.

The point is, if you want to communicate quickly and accurately, KeyCreator Direct CAD gives you plenty of tools to do just that.

For things that require a little more heavy lifting, like conceptual design, Direct CAD makes it easier because you can let you mind wander to all the possibilities your design could be. You aren't weighed down with building the part to account for any - at this point, likely unforeseen - changes as the design progresses.  And as we all know, conceptual designs can quickly develop into something completely different from where it started. When you want to show several concepts, you'll never find yourself having to start over from scratch to make a variation.  Using Direct CAD to propose design changes and alternate designs makes total sense.

Both of these new customers came to us with some KeyCreator knowledge under their belts.  It just goes to show that the power of Direct CAD has long term and lasting value. 

Topics: Direct CAD, KeyCreator Direct CAD, design communication

What Your Boss Doesn't Know About Meeting Deadlines

Posted by John Agoglia on Thu, Sep 03, 2015

Every business manager knows that you need to meet your deadlines if you want to make money.

Every CAD user knows that in order to meet your deadlines, you need to get to an error-free model as quickly as possible so real work can begin.  That might be easier said than done in some cases.

And I'm sad to say that time spent making CAD usable isn't helping your business. And it sure isn't helping you meet deadlines.fixing files lci ebook

According to the 2013 3D Collaboration and Interoperability Study, 52% of engineers spend between 4 and 24 hours a week fixing geometry. That's fixing the file.  It's not time spent designing tooling, estimating costs, preparing job bids or doing other value-add work.  There's no other way to put it: that's just time wasted. Thrown away. Lost forever. Gone for good. Good and gone.

I'm sure some of you are saying, "Well, duh. Of course CAD plays a major role in meeting deadlines."  You build design time into your proposal anyway.  Fair point. 

But what happens if you don't build in enough time? What happens when you get a file that needs, for lack of a better word, work?  How often does this happen?  And how does that affect the manufacturing workflow and meeting deadlines?

This lost time also starts to creep into other aspects of your work, making it harder to get work done correctly, on time, the first time.  Many shops report they order incorrect parts (27%), need to perform extra rounds of prototyping (23%) and miss project milestones (25%).  All of this because a CAD file needs "work?"  What is wrong with this world?

If you're perplexed like me, you should check out a new eBook from Chad Jackson over at LifeCycle Insights. The eBook details not only how too few companies actually work well with 3D models, but how 3D models can negatively impact other areas of your business.  The eBook isn't all doom and gloom. The good news in all of this is that 3D models really are the key to meeting your deadlines, and in turn, achieving profitable growth - something all businesses want. You'll find out more... (you guessed it!) in the eBook.  

Read more now!