SolidWorks 2012 brings inventing to your living room
SolidWorks World 2012 held its Certified SolidWorks Professionals (CSWP) meeting aboard an aircraft carrier in San Diego, California. Participants got to play with flight simulators and look at some very cool military equipment both old and new. There were so many CSWP's that SW has developed a new designation called the Certified SolidWorks expert. The CSWE will become the highest level of certification for users of the popular 3D CAD software.
Event sponsor Hewlett Packard with has been with SolidWorks World from the beginning, Tom Solomon talked about how their new mobile workstations are being designed to lead the market. He spoke about how H-P is drop testing mobile workstations, as well as coming up with new CAD displays with wider viewing angles. H-P was giving away 480 GB solid state drives at the show and used the the event to introduce a brand new CAD workstation.
Black Ops brothers build worlds fastest tank
One of the keynote presentations at SolidWorks World was from the brothers featured in the popular Discovery channel program “Black Ops”. Twin brothers Jeff and Mike Howe from Maine USA designed and built a new mini tank that ended up getting adopted by the US Military. Jeff and Mike talked about where they started with their build it Bigger, badder, best mentality. Even as 8 year olds they cut down their neighbours trees to build a log cabin and even saved their last bit of allowance to pay for concrete for the floor.
This passion for building has led to them building the worlds fastest tracked vehicle. An 80 mile per hour flyer with 16 inch track travel inspired by a chain saw mechanism. The brothers broke the project down to attack each design problem individually. How to get power, how to make a clutch that can handle 14000 ft lbs, Everything had to solved.
The brothers told the SolidWorks World crowd what they went through to get funding. Brother Jeff had to remortgage his house twice. A local engineering firm helped out by giving the brothers $10,000 toward the project but there was never enough money. They entered the Darker Brown challenge a national robot design contest even though the rip saw was not an autonomous vehicle. They just decided to turn it into one first adding remote control then making it totally autonomous.
Jeff and Mike, 2 cash strapped inventors from Maine Qualified 41st against the USA's best and strongest funded university teams but even with qualifying they did not have enough cash to get to the actual race. But the exposure led to a request from a Washington DC convention to showcase their invention. They scraped together $350 to get themselves and their Rip Saw vehicle to the show. By chance the booth next door was us army robotic exhibit. The Brothers confounded their competition with a covert system that shut down the competing US army robots.
After earning the respect of the US military and receiving funding, the brothers now have many vehicles under development. They have also built a 6 axis hydraulic robot arm designed to work underwater using SolidWorks software. It was released to market in only 3 weeks, bringing their products to market with as much speed and efficiency as possible.
The brothers also believe in giving back. Giving to charities, they built the rip chair for a disabled vet, so he could hunt and fish. Now they are building a whole park for vets, and will their vehicles will be featured in the upcoming movie GI-Joe 2 in June 2012.
Quirky Crowdsources Inventing
It makes sense crowdsource invention and product development says Quirky founder Ben Kaufman speaking at SolidWorks World 2012. Chances are very slim that an individual can invent an successful product. But everybody has the power to be an inventor. Inventing is a reflex, we are born with it, we love doing it.On top of this the accesibility of invention is changing. 3D software like SolidWorks and personal rapid prototyping is making manufacturing available to all.
The world makes some of them stop, putting huge barriers in the way in the form of money. How can one person be a an expert at accessing capital, marketing their invention. Very few have the ability to be multi-disciplined in the right combinations to make this happen. 1 person has to know so much Kaufman told the SolidWorks World audience
22 Year old Jake Zien from Milwaukee Wisconsin 22 yrs old is one such Inventor. He won the national NASA product design contest in 2011 and won a T-Shirt for his efforts. His invention was a power bar that can handle any number of bulky adapters. While reading an in-flight magazine Jake saw an article about Quirky.com. Jake signed up and quickly realized he could get plenty of help from other people using the free service.
Quirky gets 200-300 new product ideas similar to Jake's every day. Jake's power bar idea survived the weekly vetting process all the way through to Friday along with with 1 other inventor. , Jake's invention was crowned Quirky product number 44 that week. Quirky crowdsourced product development and came up with the name “Pivot Power” for Jakes product. Quirky has its own staff of professional engineers and professional marketers to complement its crowdsource helpers.
By publicizing Jake's product on gadget blogs and new product websites Quirky was able to pre-sell 1000 power bars even before the official product launch. Quirky combines a great front end process with its thousands of like minded inventors and users. It also has a great back end, with professional staff like engineers and marketers as well as a cool objet rapid protoyping machine and of course SolidWorks.
Quirky handles patenting, and got Jakes product certified, tested and approved for sale. After product launch, Quirky sold 200,000 pivot powers in last 7 months and Jake will make close to $500,000 this year. All the time Quirky does rinse and repeat, every Tuesday 12 new products are launched, In retail stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond as well as Office Max.
What makes Quirky work is the feeling the inventor gets when they say "I made that". People are more inclined to help others if they know they can share in that same feeling. So Quirky keeps track of everyone who touches its product. 30% of the income made is distributed back to all the people who helped make the product a success. Quirky creator Kaufman says "the boardroom is dead, ideas are coming out of the living room".
Last week it was Jake, and this week it might be Andrea the Pasta Strainer bowl creator. It is collaborative design, engineers designers all coming together with the inventor, making the best products in the whole world and doing it all together.
SolidWorks World 2010
SolidWorks World is a conference for SolidWorks users held yearly by SolidWorks Corporation. This years conference is being held February 8th and 9th at the Swan and Dolphin resort in Disneyworld, Florida. Jeff Ray, CEO of SolidWorks likens Solid works world to a cross between a college reunion and a grateful dead concert. A yearly positive reinforcement fest for all things SolidWorks.
SolidWorks tries to keep the conference fresh and not something that follows a set formula from year to year. So there are always surprises at every Solid Works World. Last year it was the Teutels from Orange County Choppers with their SolidWorks designed motorcycle. It's part trade show, part show business.
Every year a special guest is picked to embody the spirit SolidWorks. For 2009 it's Sir Ricard Branson. The rebel CEO of Virgin Airlines, treats customers like freinds and dares to compete with established companies by raising the bar on service. It's those same abilities that SolidWorks want to aspire to. Perhaps it's the rebel like attitude of solidworks users that appealed to Sir Richard, who is known for turning down hundreds of speaking engagements every year.
one of the enhancements to be talked about in Solid works world is the new "Brainstorm". Like a solidworks forum where users participate in driving the improvements to the software over the coming years. Solidworks has always had enhancement requests, but this new solidworks forum is supposed to put the users right in the drivers seat.
SolidWorks user group
Solid works world also allows you to put faces and personalities to the experts met in every solidworks user group. Speaking to the experts allows you to recharge your batteries get solutions to problems that have nagged you year long. Finding solidworks user group experts in person who share your needs is an invaluable part of the conference. The affirmation that your are doing something right and the "wake up call" that makes you change the way you do things is how Jeff Ray, SolidWorks CEO puts it.