Direct CAD News & Views from Kubotek USA

Direct CAD as Part of the Lean Manufacturing Environment

Posted by John Agoglia on Thu, Mar 16, 2017

three ways Direct CAD can help streamline your design and engineering to match the rest of your lean manufacturing process

Many manufacturers have embraced the principles of lean manufacturing on the shop floor and in the back office. Unfortunately, many small contract manufacturers have not taken the lean and efficient approach to their engineering and design departments.

Derived from the Japanese manufacturing industry, there are two ways to look at lean manufacturing. First, many typically see lean as the toolset that assists in the ID and continuous elimination of waste. Eliminating waste as quality improves while cutting production time and costs improve overall output and profitability. Secondly, and most famously put forward by Toyota, the focus is on improving the flow or smoothness of work, steadily eliminating mura ("unevenness") through the system and not upon waste reduction. While both take different avenues, both lean theories aim to help manufacturers run more efficiently.

Contract manufacturers are often under the gun to produce quickly to keep their shop floor busy and profitable. Too often, though, broken geometry and designs not ready for the manufacturing process can slow down the works — and time is money. That’s where direct CAD, and KeyCreator — in particular — can help manufacturers run their engineering and design process a bit leaner and more efficiently.

three ways Direct CAD can help streamline your design and engineering to match the rest of your lean manufacturing processHere are three ways Direct CAD can help streamline your design and engineering to match the rest of your lean manufacturing process:

  • With direct CAD you can quickly produce 3D design concepts without constraints. So, if you are working with a customer on developing a prototype of a part or assembly, you can just start creating, even if you’re not sure exactly where you are going. Additionally, Direct editing tools allow you to modify nearly any geometry as if sculpting in clay, without the limitations put on the design process by parametric CAD software. This not only speeds up the initial design phase but eliminates rebuild errors as you are creating geometry in real time.


  • Successful contract manufacturers are dealing with multiple customers using various CAD software such as SolidWorks and AutoCAD. KeyCreator allows manufacturers to easily import CAD models from other software packages and make edits directly to the geometry as if they were created natively in KeyCreator. This eliminates the need for owning multiple software seats and allows manufacturers to get the designs ready for production quickly and easily while saving time and money.


  • Integrated CAD comparison ensures data accuracy, product quality and improves the communication of designs. Identify, organize and communicate changes in the design and manufacturing process with the standard KeyCreator Compare feature. Almost nothing can waste more time than communication problems. KeyCreators’ CAD Comparison technology graphically compares two CAD files and identifies all of the changes in the geometry and/or the Product Manufacturing Information contained in the files. Once changes have been identified, automated PDF reporting makes it easy to communicate changes and value-added work. Save time and money lost due to rework, and reduce the risk of manufacturing errors and the potential for scrap.

Sure, lean manufacturing is still growing. But, by helping to take your CAD design to a leaner place with Direct Hybrid CAD software, you may get a step on the competition, win more bids and produce more while spending less.


Want to see how KeyCreator CAD can help you Increase Productivity, Decrease Costs and Deliver More?
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Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, Direct CAD, contract manufacturing, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, Business Success, CKD, Lean Manufacturing

KeyCreator CAD CKD Format Revealed – More Flexible Than You May Think

Posted by Andy Beaupre on Thu, Jan 05, 2017

It’s worth discussing the flexibility of KeyCreator’s file format. It’s a benefit that may not be all that obvious and requires a little bit of “out of the box” thinking. Let’s start by asking a few Questions:

  • How do you want to design your assemblies? Top Down? Bottom up?
  • Do you need to Design Parts in context with each other?
  • During the design process, before releasing a design, do you ever have a problem finding all the files that are referenced in your assembly?
  • Do you have issues ensuring that you’re using the correct version of pre-release referenced file?

Depending on the CAD system that you’re using, all of these tasks can pose challenges.

Flexible File Format

KeyCreator’s (.CKD) file format has some unique features that make all of these scenarios possible and easy to manage. With the CKD file format, you have a choice on how you manage your CAD data plus you don’t need to commit to a single strategy. You can change your file management scheme at any time then finalize the strategy before releasing the design.

Let’s take a look at the Anatomy of a CKD file and a few potential design management strategies.

Single Part or Drawing Strategy

In its most basic form, the CKD file contains a 2D drawing or a 3D part with an associated drawing.

 single part drawing 1.png Pic 5D.png

The first benefits of the CKD become apparent immediately. Different Geometry types (2D, Solids, Surfaces) all reside within the same modeling environment in a CKD file. Sketches do not exist. All geometry maintains its purest form allowing all geometry to be treated as if created natively, even if it was imported from another file format.  Additionally, a 3D part design and its associated 2D drawing can be contained within the same file. This eliminates the process of hunting for an associated drawing not saved where you thought it was or trying to figure out if an associated drawing even exists. Once a design is released, you have options as it can remain in the same file as the model or saved as in a drawing only file.


Single File Assemblies or Projects


Consider another design management strategy. What if you needed to design an assembly and wanted to save all of the parts within the same “project” file? The CKD format was designed to do this very efficiently. The key to this is that multi-body files are the norm for KeyCreator as opposed to being a specialized design technique (used in other CAD systems). The format was design to handle multi-body level managed designs (non-referenced assemblies). Similar to the single part strategy, a CKD can contain a complete assembly with an associated drawing.

Pic 5.png

Using this approach there are no referenced files, so file management is simple. There’s no better way to do in-context top-down assembly design. There’s no dependency between parts designed in context, so it’s easy to save off parts to their own files as needed; there is no commitment to a single design management strategy. An assembly design using this strategy is also easy to share since it consists of a single file. Another not so obvious fact is that with this strategy, detailed associated drawings of each part can also be contained within the same file.

The next management strategy is unique to KeyCreator. The CKD file can Pic 2.pngcontain multiple independent parts, each within their own separate modeling environment and with an associated drawing.



The next management strategy is unique to KeyCreator. The CKD file can contain multiple independent parts, each within their own separate modeling environment and with an associated drawing.Pic 3.png

The application of this strategy may not be as mainstream as the others but offers some compelling benefits of its’ own. Consider a scenario where you’d like to keep a library of commonly used 2D profiles that you could import into a design and use to generate extrusions, pockets or cuts. You could save time by reusing profiles instead of re-creating them for each design. The multi-part CKD strategy would be perfect for this application. All of your profiles would be saved in a single, time-saving, shareable CKD file. 






Referenced Parts

When your design process requires you to have separate files for each part in an assembly (like many mainstream CAD systems work), that’s not a problem for the CKD format. The CKD format is built for bottom-up assembly design as well. CKD files can be referenced in other CKD files which facilitates the creation of designs using file-referenced lightweight assemblies.                        

With this strategy, each file can be released and revisioned independently. Don’t forget that a referenced assembly can easily be converted to a single file assembly. You’re never restricted to a single design management scheme. KeyCreator along with the CKD file format was designed to ensure maximum flexibility regardless of your file management needs.

We’ve discussed a few of the design management strategies that KeyCreator and the CKD format have to offer but the possibilities are endless.


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Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, KeyCreator, parametric modeling, Direct CAD, Direct CAD vs Parametric CAD, History-based CAD, history based modeling, history tree, contract manufacturing, CADKEY, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, IMTS, Business Success, CKD

Break Free of the CAD History Tree

Posted by John Agoglia on Thu, Dec 01, 2016

We’ve heard it time and again from future customers “Rebuild errors are costing us time and money." So have others. Another CAD company recently did a blog about the problem and were even so kind as to show a very broken parametric history tree. In fact, they even demonstrated how the software highlighted the broken geometry. Basically, the history tree is what is broken, and they show it. history tree.jpg

That’s great. But our question is, “Why worry when you don’t have to?”

Direct CAD, such as that used in KeyCreator, eliminates the need to not only worry about rebuild errors. In fact, it removes them altogether. 

When you’re working in a traditional, history-based parametric CAD system, you are held captive by constraints and limitations, so every change — and let’s face it, there are always changes during the design process — needs to be considered and first steps need to be rebuilt to ensure the geometry works.

Typical rebuild errors occur when attempting to edit and continue design on someone else’s model.  You need to fully understand and comprehend the parametric history tree to be able to make modifications without causing rebuild errors. Essentially, if you don’t understand HOW somebody designed the model, you cannot work with it. This can slow down the process and the profits of a company.

When your 3D CAD software is Direct CAD, you are not working on the history tree; you are working on the part directly (see how we did that, you work directly on the model with Direct CAD). That means an 11th-hour change or a quick change during prototyping won’t fail because of a step made weeks earlier not being updated.  Reworking a file to get it ready for production won’t require changing a line in the history tree that is a hundred or thousand steps back because you are changing the model, not the history tree—kind of like working with clay.

And contract manufacturers know the pain of receiving files that are already full of broken geometry that can take even more time to fix.

As with any creative process, everyone has different approaches to design; therefore, wasting a lot of time on restarting models from the ground up due to the inability to work with others’ models. It would be like rebuilding a house because you need to fix the roof. That’s a lot of time and money lost on what is essentially unnecessary rebuilds just because you aren’t sure the development of the foundation was originally done. Thincomputer error.jpgk of it as having to study and perhaps rebuild the electrical system of your house every time you need to change a lightbulb. Sure, you could do it.  But why?

Direct modeling gives you the capability to easily and quickly copy/add/remove/duplicate and edit features without having to design each element individually so your time is spent more usefully designing, manufacturing and obtaining more jobs.

So, while you could still be using a typewriter, carrying a 1,000-page book, and using the Encyclopedia Britannica. You’re not. You use a word processing program, carry 100 books with you in your Kindle, and Google the answers to life’s greatest questions. So, why are you still worrying about rebuild errors?

Maybe you should Google that one.


Learn more about the power of Direct CAD in our Interactive Guide Direct Modeling 101

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Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, KeyCreator, parametric modeling, Direct CAD, Direct CAD vs Parametric CAD, History-based CAD, history based modeling, history tree, contract manufacturing, CADKEY, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, IMTS, Business Success

From CAD Design to Prototype--A Look at 3D Printing File Formats

Posted by Michael Cole on Thu, Nov 10, 2016

3D Printing, or Additive Manufacturing is an up-and-coming technology.  Obviously, CAD is going to be a big part of this process for many prototyping shops, and additive manufacturers.  We’ve been following all of the newest developments, and find it both interesting, and—if we’re being honest— pretty cool.

We’ve found lots of interesting, different uses, from printers that had been modified to print delicious chocolate shapes to massive scale printers that print concrete castles and other large structures. the type of file used for your 3D CAD design for Output matters

One of the big things that we’ve been looking into is compatibility, as we want you, and our software to both be prepared to make the leap to any new technologies that come to the industry.  The most specific issue with compatibility is the array of different file types.  So far, we found that there are four major file types used with 3D Printing, and we’d like to take a minute to explain them all to you.  So take a look at the different pros and cons of the various file types, and hopefully, it will help you to determine how to purchase your 3D printer.

The two most common file types are .obj and .stl.  These files are used exclusively with consumer-level 3D printers handled these files .  These files are fairly simple, and .stl files, for example, cannot handle multiple color printing, and if you get a printer with a better print resolution, your .stl files can become enormous having to break your geometry down into more and more triangles.

An issue, for some, concerning both .obj and .stl files, is that they are surface only file types.  This is fine if you do not need to print something with an intricate skeleton, or inside structure.  Again, this is a case of most consumer level printers being for people who don’t need to do this.  Is it a deal-breaker?  That’s up to your needs and uses for 3D printing.

While a consumer-level 3D printer might work for some aspects of design and prototyping, most commercial shops need something a bit more robust. When dealing withcolor printing, and higher resolution, most industrial and manufacturing users will need to work with .vrml files.  KeyCreator can output to .obj, .stl, and vrml.  This makes your CAD designs compatible with nearly all printers except those with their own proprietary file types.

Of course, there will be times you may want to reverse enigineer a product to be printed out using a 3D scanner. 3D scanning, can be a useful tool in taking in an object, making changes to it with KeyCreator, and then printing it out.  This can help speed up the prototyping process, but it still represents a fairly small portion of the 3D printing industry.

While researching, we did find a fourth file type. that is used when working with 3D scanning.  Many 3D scanners use a file .ply, which unfortunately KeyCreator doesn’t import, however we found that most scanners are able to output to .step, .iges, and .stl, all of which we are supported.

Interoperability and ease of use is what is nearest and dearest to us. We’re going to continue watch the 3D printing and scanning market so we not only keep up with the curve, but get ahead of it. We’ll be sure to update you as we find out what’s new. 

Have you begun to do prototyping with 3D printers at your shop? Let us know in the comment section below. 


 Want more insights on Direct CAD and 3D printing? Check out our On-Demand Webinar: 3D Printing Hacks Using Direct CAD

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Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, 3D CAD, KeyCreator, Direct CAD, contract manufacturing, CADKEY, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, 3d Printer, Business Success, Interoperability, 3D Scanner, Reverse Engineering

Are Manufacturers Safe Connecting to the IoT?

Posted by John Agoglia on Thu, Oct 27, 2016

The October 21, 2016, DNS attack which shut down websites across the country including Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Etsy, and Spotify, was reportedly delivered by hackers through devAs more industries and manufacturers connect to the IoT to increase productivity, they may be opening themselves up to security risks. ices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) leading some manufacturers to question security surrounding the booming technology.

And with worldwide spending on IoT technology expected to increase from $699 billion in 2015 to $1.3 trillion in 2019, according to IDC, you can see why security is such a pressing concern. In fact, in the United States, IoT spending is expected to grow to $357 billion in 2019. That’s a lot of money being spent, and a lot of opportunities for cybercriminals to take advantage of security holes.

Today’s connected factory is primarily a secure environment, where communication is confined within the plant rather than the outside world. But with the growth of the IoT and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) gaining momentum, that limited world may be expanding, increasing the security threats to manufacturers.

The move to the Internet is tempting as it will allow managers, executives and others to check machines, productivity, design and other aspects of the process remotely and with increased precision as it will be the devices themselves with which they will be communicating.

But with that access, comes risks. Cybercrimals are a threat to manufacturers connected to the Internet of Things (IoT)

In fact, in this article, cybersecurity researcher, Craig Young, says that even as devices from sprinklers to machines on the job shop floor are increasingly connecting to the IoT developers are dropping the ball in securing the software.

“These companies sometimes have the intention of fixing a vulnerability like that through a firmware upgrade, but then never get around to it because they don’t want to disrupt the user base,” explained Young in the article.

Additionally, an  article from Sam Solutions points out that manufacturers themselves may be adding to the vulnerability as they strive to gather data from IoT devices with the “potential to create significant revenue streams, impact product development, streamline manufacturing and improve user experiences.”

The potential of the IoT and the IIoT for manufacturing is undeniable. It can help speed up processes, improve communications and in the end add to the bottom line. All stuff we totally believe in, just ask any KeyCreator Direct CAD user. But, if you are going to make a move to the IoT in your job shop –either slowly or all in – just be sure to take the time to make sure your security is lined up as well.


Have you taken the IoT plunge? Are you concerned about security? Let us know in the comments below.

Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, KeyCreator, Direct CAD, contract manufacturing, CADKEY, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, IMTS, Business Success, Hacker, IoT, DNS Attack, Internet of Things, Cybercrime, security

7 Things to Do in Chicago During the IMTS Show

Posted by John Agoglia on Mon, Sep 12, 2016


Let’s face it. Often the most exciting part of tradeshows is what goes on around the tradeshow. That’s not to say we aren’t excited to head to IMTS this week because we are. But, we may be just a tad bit more excited to head to Chicago and experience some of the best things the Second City has to offer to visitors from across the globe.

But, like most travelers, we hadn’t a clue as to what to do this week. So, we did a bit of digging –OK, we asked Siri and she did a Google search. Here are a few of the great activities and attractions we found while visiting Chicago.



 adler_pl.jpgAdler PlanetariumNo science fan’s trip to Chicago would be complete without virtual-reality trips through time and space in the Sky Theater. 





360 Tilt.jpgChicagoIf you haven’t been to the Windy City in a while, the name may not be familiar, but the building will be. Formerly known as the John Hancock Observatory, 360 Chicago offers dining, sights and Tilt, which offers unique, downward facing views from 1,000 feet above the bustling Magnificent Mile. 



LP_Zoo.jpg Lincoln Park ZooSome 1,200 animals from apes to zebras call this free zoo [one of the oldest remaining] home.


Millennium_Park.jpg Millennium ParkIf you want to get your walking outside the show hall, or just get a bit of nature, this park features 24.5 acres of artwork, wildlife and flower gardens.

other-free-navy-pier-and.jpg Navy PierThe 100-year-old tourist hot spot features shops, restaurants, an IMAX cinema and a boatload [yup, that’s a pun] of sightseeing boat tours in addition to the 150-foot-high Ferris wheel it is famous for.

Shedd_aquarium.jpg Shedd AquariumFeaturing species from the Amazon to the Caribbean, this 75-year-old institution [which is younger than the Australian lungfish that calls it home] provides sea life lovers a break from walking the show floor.

Wrigley.jpg Wrigley FieldThese aren’t your dad’s Cubbies. The team is leading the league and expected to compete for the championship. They play the Brewers Thurs. – Sun.


There you have it. Of course, there is plenty to do at the show and, while walking the show floor, feel free to drop by booth E-3027 and visit us and see how KeyCreator Direct CAD can help you Improve Productivity, Reduce Costs, and Deliver More.

If you, can't make it to the show, you can still learn more by checking out our Interactive Guide to Direct Modeling by clicking the button below. 

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Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, KeyCreator, Direct CAD, contract manufacturing, CADKEY, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, IMTS, 3d Printer, Business Success

Keeping Your Eye on the Prize

Posted by John Agoglia on Fri, Aug 12, 2016



Coors Rocky Mountain Sparkling Water. The Newton MessagePad. Crystal Pepsi. The Edsel. New Coke. 

What do these, and hundreds of other examples, have in common? Well, since they were all part of Time’s 10 Worst Product Fails of All Time list, the easy answer is failed products [if that was your answer you get 1 point]. The better answer is that they are all signs of a company that lost focus on its main product at that time [if that was your answer you get two points].

However, take it one step further. These are all case studies of companies that in the light of day and deep introspection, realized they were a bit off course. They are also examples of companies that refocused their energy and resources on flagship products and helped make their current and new customers very happy [if that was your answer, we might have a corner office with your name on it].

We recently released KeyCreator 2016. While, at first blush, not as big or robust of a release as we would like due to having to pull some enhancements back after issues were identified in the final few weeks of testing; it actually may be our biggest release ever.

This release signals a renewed focus on KeyCreator Direct CAD that was missing the last couple of years as we tried to extend our product offerings and took our eye off the engine that makes our company go and our customers more successful.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some useful new features in Version 14.0. The new version includes enhancements/upgrades to the translator sets, new hyperlink functions, compatibility with AMPS 7.0, and free access to the Trace Parts library. You can learn more by checking out What’s New in KeyCreator 2016 Version 14.0 or attending our Online KeyCreator 2016 Version 14.0 Update Training on August 23 –don’t worry, if you can’t make it you can still sign up, it will be available on demand as well starting August 24.

Our development team is reinvigorated and armed with suggestions from current and former users and ready to put their energy, time, passion (and big brains) into KeyCreator; don’t worry, we’ll still be working on new and existing products, just not at the expense of our bread-and-butter. We are planning our next release in January 2017 and are committed to delivering new features and enhancements twice annually moving forward.

Add in our partnerships with companies such as Synergis, TraceParts, XMD, QBuild, and Reverse Engineering (see the full list here), and KeyCreator is poised to bring contract manufacturers and independent CAD designers the most complete Direct CAD design software solution, allowing them to increase productivity, decrease costs and deliver more.

If you’re a current customer, we encourage you to upgrade to the new version and see the changes first-hand [and give us feedback so we can keep making KeyCreator better]. If you’re not a current customer, why not take us for a spin? Click the button below to get a free trial and see for yourself how KeyCreator Direct CAD can make your life a little easier and your business a little better.

Now, about that Coors Sparkling Water….

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Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, KeyCreator, Direct CAD, contract manufacturing, CADKEY, Business Solutions,, Engineering Design, 3d Printer, Business Success

Manufacturers and CAD Designers Can Do More With Less

Posted by John Agoglia on Fri, Jul 15, 2016

I read the U.S. jobs and unemployment numbers every month — it’s the old business journalist in me. There is a lot of ID-10044536.jpginformation buried amid the numbers. In fact, the most recent report, which I read in the Wall Street Journal, showed that Manufacturing grew by 14,000 jobs in June. Pretty good; that’s lots of people getting hired in manufacturing. However, a deeper look shows that there were 16,000 cut a month earlier, and overall manufacturing jobs are down by 42,000 since the beginning of the year. That’s a lot of unfilled jobs.

Conversely, data shows that the ISM Manufacturing Index, which tracks U.S. manufacturing activity, climbed for the second straight month in June, hitting its highest level since February 2015. Great, that’s a positive trend for business.

Then I got to thinking, which I do on occasion. If work is up and jobs are down overall, it sounds like there is much room for growth of staff. It also sounds like there are many people absorbing the work of those unfilled jobs. It also sounds like manufacturing productivity may be less than optimal. Then I got to thinking about the people we talk to the most and it makes sense that part of that slack comes from the engineering design department, especially with contract manufacturers. Often, smaller job shops and CAD designers are asked to do more with less. Less time, less help and less money.

So, the question is, how can you and your designers do more with less? Here are four ways to get your job [and let’s face it, maybe the job of a couple of others] done with the resources you have:


More done in Less Time

Product development is constantly under a time squeeze. Shortened timelines often force engineers to pull the trigger on their first design to ensure they hit a deadline. This can lead to bad designs, or at the very least, lead to lost opportunities. The faster CAD designers can make and tweak designs on the fly, the shorter the design process is and the faster they can deliver top-notch models. This is where using Direct CAD to push, pull and drag geometry directly can help cut time and hit deadlines, rather than wasting it dealing with a history tree in traditional parametric modelers.


Simulation for Success

CAD simulation allows engineers to set up and run analysis independently. The advantage here is the ability to set up and execute simulations that provide direction for common design decisions and alternatives. Virtually testing product performance for supporting design decisions and exploring design alternatives is a time and money saver, allowing you to do more with less.


Printing Prototypes

Sure, you may add virtual simulation, but there is still something about being able to test something more tangible. The ability to test a product virtually doesn’t mean engineers can’t also improve how they build and test physical prototypes and build functional parts. As product designs become more intricate—and expensive to produce—the traditional build-and-break prototype process may prove too risky in today’s manufacturing environment. Additionally, organizations are moving away from traditional subtractive manufacturing and moving toward additive manufacturing to save time and costs [read more in our blog on 3D printing]. The idea is to build smaller scale partial prototypes more frequently to check performance progressively. 3D printing allows engineers to print parts and even assemble them into subsystems, within hours, depending on the complexity and printer. This dramatically cuts the time and costs of taking testing from your desktop computer to your actual desktop.


Cut Time Fixing Broken Geometry

Findings of Lifecycle Insights in our eBook:  Working with 3D Models: The Contract Manufacturer's Key to Profitable Growth showed that in general, 66 percent of engineers say they spend at least 4 hours a week fixing broken geometry. That’s a lot of wasted time for understaffed and overworked designers. This long-standing time drain is still a big issue for many contract manufacturers and independent CAD designers that work with files from different clients, each using different software. By utilizing Direct CAD to push, pull and drag geometry to make the necessary changes, many find that they are spending less time fixing and more time creating.

In contrast, a look at the results of the first ever weekly poll on our website [there’s one on the home page now, give it a try] showed that our poll respondents spent less time working on fixing broken CAD geometry then the industry average [could it be the KeyCreator Direct CAD factor?].


How many hours a week do you spend fixing 3D Models?

  • Less than 4 hours a week—55%
  • Between 4 and 8 hours a week – 41%
  • Between 8 and 24 hours a week – 0%
  • More than 24 hours a week – 3%


There are never enough hours in the day, especially when you are understaffed. However, using the right tools and tactics that can cut time and costs from your manufacturing design and production process can make the hours you have more profitable.


How has the economy impacted staffing at your company?


If you'd like to take KeyCreator Direct CAD for a test drive and see how it can help you do more with less, click the button below. 

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Image by jscreationzs at

Topics: CAD, Manufacturing, Direct CAD, Engineering Design Changes, contract manufacturing, 3d Printer

Defense wins Championships (and more business)

Posted by John Agoglia on Wed, Feb 10, 2016

Congratulations to the Denver Broncos Super Bowl win! And congrats to the Super Bowl 50 MVP, Von Miller.

Are you surprised I would say that, seeing that I live and work in New England? You shouldn't be. I'm not a native New Englander. Therefore, I am not a die-hard Patriots fan. I could never achieve that level of...obsession? I don't even know what to call it, honestly.

Yes, I cheer for the Patriots from time to time (depending on the match-up). I root against them just as much, though.

But the thing you need to know about me is, I was born in Massillon, Ohio. Massillon is right next door to Canton, Ohio and the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I'm pretty sure football is in my DNA. Where I grew up, high schools big and small, districts rich and poor, follow football religiously. It's a Friday Night Lights sort of life.

So, when I watch football games, I'm very keen to not only who is winning or losing, but also to who is making good plays and who is not. I'm not by any means the most knowledgeable about the sport, but I love to watch and I can recognize a heck of a lot on the field.

I love to watch a good defense. Linebackers are probably my favorite players on the field. Why? Because I think they are smart, fast, capable of working with nearly any play formation and prepared to take advantage of any offensive slip. 

Which isn't unlike KeyCreator Direct CAD software.

  1.  KeyCreator Direct CAD is smart. Kubotek’s unique face logic and feature recognition technology allows users to extract all the necessary information about a design model on the fly, regardless of who or what created it.  There is not such thing as dumb or unusable geometry in KeyCreator's world.  It can work with anything 3D model thrown its way...
  2. ...and work with it quickly. There is no time wasted trying to recreate a model from scratch. No history-tree means no wasted hours just trying to fix a file just so you can get to a usable geometry. 
  3. KeyCreator is capabable of working with whatever your business need is, such as verifying a model prior to manufacture, or prepping for NC operations or FEA Analysis. KeyCreator quickly lets you get to the job at hand. Or, if you need to work on some conceptual designs, nothing is easier than Direct CAD technology that lets you "virtually sculpt" your design without having to first worry about the order of construction steps. 

And one of the biggest advantage to KeyCreator as a great defensive weapon? It allows you to be ready to take advantage of your competitor's offensive slips.

Potential clients often give your competitors a chance to run with the ball, but your competitors often fumble the hand-off.

Think about the time your competitors waste just trying to get a job bid submitted because they can't work with the customer-supplied part file. Your competitor will spend hours working on a file (often recreating the entire file from scratch), just so they can review and interrogate a file before they ever submit a bid. (Keep in mind, they haven't even won the bid yet, so these are effectively wasted man-hours.)

So, not only will KeyCreator let you get your bid in faster, you can also use the numerous querying tools to analyze a model, exposing vulnerabilities in the design, things that your competitor might not get to quickly enough.

For instance, if a customer over-built a design, you could easily suggest ways to save on material costs.  Likewise, if would-be customers designed a part that isn't quite manufacturable, you'll be the hero that gives them value-added insight to make their design a quality product. All during the bidding process, which makes you an MVV (Most Valuable Vendor).

And then, once you've won a bid and start on a project, your lead-time will be greatly reduced because you don't have to add in so much "engineering" time needed to fix their supplied geometry. With KeyCreator, you receive their file, any file, and run with it, from kick-off to end-zone.

You'll always have competition. You'll always have the potential to be under-bid. But if you want to win more business, you need solid defense (like KeyCreator). And defense wins championships. Just ask the Denver Broncos.



Topics: CAD, Direct CAD

Questions for the New Kid on the Block

Posted by John Agoglia on Tue, Feb 02, 2016

This morning, I read a promotional email from the new CAD kids on the block, Onshape.

I usually scan through these types of emails quickly and then move on. This time, however, I actually paid attention. And as I'm reading the information, I found myself asking some questions.

But first, I want to congratulate Onshape for releasing their product. It seems like they did it overnight, but that's just because my sense of time is totally off. Jon Hirschtick (of PTC and Solidworks fortune and fame) has assembled a great team of knowledgeable experts. And it's great they are looking at ways to make design and manufacturing more effective and productive. That's why we're all here, right?

But anyway, back to my story. I found that I had a lot of legitimate questions bouncing around in this noggin of mine. So I wrote them down.

Question 1.

I find this one pretty ironic.  And quite honestly, it's my biggest concern.

If Onshape provides full cloud based modeling on a web browser, what happens if you have poor internet connection? 

The irony in my questions lies in this:  as I'm trying to view their informational video, my internet connection was so poor that the video actually cut-out. I had choppy audio and no visual other than fuzzy lines on a black screen.  No joke.

And since I'm assuming CAD files and modeling are on par with 2 minute marketing videos, how do you cope with poor connection speeds? Do you just have to work at excruciatingly slow speeds? 

Or what happens if your internet connection just suddenly drops?  Do you lose your work?  Or do you only lose the work completed after the last auto-save. (Their video explained that they are constantly saving your work as you go.  I assume this is an auto-save feature, so that's what I'm calling it.)

Internet speeds vary widely across the country (and sometimes across the office). My biggest concern with using a cloud-based modeler is speed and connectivity.

Question 2.

The Onshape information I received says you can " without worrying about overwriting someone else’s work." But can you simply break someone else's work? While you're both working on it? At the same time. I'm imagining rebuilding errors the likes that history-based CAD users experience.

Question 3.

Another huge pet-peeve of mine. I spend a lot of time crafting something. Mulling it over. And when I finally figure out what I want to do and then..."Sorry, your session has timed out due to inactivity." And so you go through the log in process again. Argh. And there goes your great idea. Just curious. Will your sessions ever time out due to inactivity?

Question 4.

I've received two emails from Onshape with the following subjects: Are you frustrated with Desktop CAD and Frustrated with CAD file incompatibility? 

Please explain what you mean by frustrated. Frustrated how and with what exactly? 

And how does Onshape address CAD file incompatibility? I assume you mean that will go away once EVERYONE uses Onshape? Because other than having your entire design team, vendors and customers using the same product, I don't see how Onshape addresses the issues of a multi-CAD environment. I see it as just another CAD tool. Maybe even something similar to Adobe Acrobat.

I know your website says everyone can share your files with anyone, who can then freely view/edit the file, or download it to another format. I'm also reading this to mean everyone has to become proficient with your program to make this scenario work, right?

Question 5.

Onshape mentions over and over how it improved processes over "traditional CAD." I dig that. But maybe I'm reading between the lines. Is Onshape really just cloud-based traditional CAD?  Or history-based CAD with some streamlined features and a different naming scheme? 

With all the new technologies and know-how available today, I hope it's more than just the same old stuff re-purposed and put on the cloud. With the fire power the Onshape team seems to have, that's what I would expect.

Question 6.

If your subscription runs out, do you lose access to your old files? Where do they go? If all your files are stored in the cloud, how do you access them off-line? Or do you? I assume you can save them locally, but you won't be able to do anything to them unless you're connected. Or have files saved-off as another format so you can edit them on a different software.  I'm thinking there are still going to be people and places that just don't have access to the cloud for a variety of reasons.

My two cents.

Onshape is a full cloud based system. They should be able update their product on a frequent basis. Being able to deliver product updates periodically can be very helpful. In my experience, it can often be maddening, too.

I use cloud based systems every day (I can name 4 of them, at least), and I'm used to having new features being introduced suddenly that just totally screw up my productivity. Sometimes things get moved, sometimes features go away completely.

Deep down, I know they are trying to fix things and make them better. However, they just totally screwed my process. It can be frustrating and frankly breeds mixed feelings about the products' companies. Some days I hate them. Other days I love them.

I also know that using cloud-based programs comes with the risk of outages, slowness, madness, etc with the reward of being able to access data from anywhere, on any device. Like I said, I use several cloud-based applications and I use them often. So, perhaps some of my questions to the New Kid come out of my experience and wish-list of what cloud software could/shouldn't do.

If anyone else has received emails from Onshape, or read any articles about them, did you think the same things?

PS. Given the time, I'm sure I could really dig deep into Onshape information or sign up to get access to their product. But I need to get a few more things done first...

Topics: CAD, CAD Software