William Radigan

October 14, 2015 NMSUG Meeting Minutes

Blog Post created by William Radigan on Oct 19, 2015

The October 14th meeting was well attended, thanks in part to a large turnout of New Mexico Tech students. Welcome!  Thank You to everyone who participated and made the event so much fun.

October 14th, 2015, Meeting Minutes:


  • The logo contest will be settled at the end of the meeting
  • Eric Atencio of Creative 3 Dimensional will be 3D printing the winning logo. The winning Logo’s creator will get one. If you want one, contact Eric. He can make any size or color.
  • There are job opportunities for people like you:
  • For those who are willing to give up their e-mails, there is a space mouse up for raffle. Drop your name in the hat.   The rest of the SWAG will be distributed via the regular raffle.
  • Food provided by Which Wich thanks to SolidWorks and Mike Mitchell


Wednesday December 9th, Meeting Agenda:

5:30 - 6:00 Arrive, Get Some Food, Meet Someone New

6:00 - 6:15 Announcement and General Business

6:15 - 7:00  Todd Blacksher - SolidWorks Tips & Tricks

7:00 - 7:20 Akamee Baca Malta - As Girls Grow

7:30 - 8:30 - Marie Planchard - SOLIDWORKS in Education

8:30   Wrap Up / Prizes / Giveaways


The New Mexico Tech Baja team

                The SAE Mini Baja vehicle competition involves a variety of contests and papers centering on each team’s Baja vehicle. The SAE rulebook is relatively thick and dictates a number of the decision points. The NMT team is divided into four groups… Frame, Drive train, Suspension, and Controls. They have recently ‘started over’ with their vehicle, so they have had a number of basic problems to address. They shared with us a number of those issues.

                Frame: The goals are rule compliance, light weight, safety, and durability. The team started with a number of simple sketches. They made impressive use of the SolidWorks weldments tools. They also had to create a jig for welding up the frame. They attempted to run their weldment through the Student FEA package, but it would not properly work. The resulting frame was in the hall for all to see.

                Drive Train: Most of the components were by rule, off the shelf standard parts. The team did make their own gearbox. They stepped through their trials and tribulations with SolidWorks and their machining facilities. My favorite was the gasket trick. To seal the halves of the gearbox, they printed a one-to-one profile of the seal section, cut out that paper, dipped it in urethane, and presto, a sealing gasket! Next semester, the team will work on optimizing this box.

                Suspension: This presentation focused on Portal hubs. This is an extra gearbox between the drive train and the wheel. It is used in off-roading vehicles. It provides a reducing gear ratio and an additional physical offset from the drive. Both help the vehicle clear rocks and obstacles. This item went through a couple of iterations. This time FEA was helpful to add ribs and distribute forces. The team was able to make the pretty FEA before and after pictures that all bosses love. Sadly, the parts failed to fully consider the chain drive running through. Next year for sure!

                Controls: This presentation had a variety of small problems encountered. The team described their shifter. It was a simple forward, neutral, reverse shifter. Last year it would wander out of gear. So this year they created a spring loaded detent for shifting. The FEA for the pedal failed and caused a material change. They also showed an electrical box they modeled. It was printed in an SLA and survived well in that form.

The team discussed a number of their trials and failures. Their total budget was about 12K. So between their meager budget and massive redesign, they did not fare too well. (I’ve seen well-funded teams. It is disheartening to compete against them. ) But next year will be better! Good luck guys.


3Dconnexion Mice

This was a sales presentation of a family of hand held computer mice. So you have probably seen the mice that look like hockey pucks. A dial on the top doubles as a joystick-like device.  This is a left handed mouse meant to complement the right handed mouse. It handles most of the manipulations/ rotations of 3D CAD objects. This motion is more natural and fluid than the typical motions of just a right handed mouse. The concept with all of these mice is to balance the left hand/ right hand motions during CAD operations. The less the keyboard is touched, the faster you go.

There were three basic left handed mice. They varied mostly in size from a travel size to a heaver deluxe version.  The company has partnered with SolidWorks to make a number of buttons immediately useful. However, everything is programmable to make your use of SolidWorks as efficient as possible.

There were two more advanced space mice. The dial / joystick was nested in an ergonomic hand rest surrounded by a lot more buttons. The buttons again had pre- programmed functions, but they can all be repurposed for your needs. There is room for dozens of commands to be placed into this mouse. You can add even more functions with gestures.

They also had a cool right handed mouse. This had three main buttons AND a scroll button. They also had some special buttons developed with SolidWorks to rapidly scroll 10x in and out.

All these products looked like sweet must- haves for the CAD jokey dedicated to efficient working. The Demo was open to all who wanted a turn driving.


User Experience Design

Kevin Berni came down from Boston to visit and let us know what he does. He also took every opportunity to explain how they justify the changes they make. He seems to have taken a bit of heat for these over the years.

His team deals primarily with Workflow, Interfaces, and User priorities. Their focus is 1) Focus on the Model 2) Minimize mouse travel, 3) Flexibility

The problems they are trying to solve/ drive their work becomes quite lengthy.

  • Problems with high DPI monitors.
  • Future revisions within SolidWorks
  • Fixing old code
  • Modernizing the look of the UI
  • Helping the 8% of colorblind users. (Yellow and green are the worst choice for colorblindness)

The pixel density of newer screens is a big issue. There are thousands of items that need to be scaled to avoid interfaces shrinking to ridiculously small sizes. Our beloved old SolidWorks icons are not scalable. So this is the opportunity to update the 2016 icons. Many of the icons were taken from other Dassault Systèmes products.

We did get a good preview of a number of these icons.

We then got a look at a number of newer 2016 interface features

  • You can lock the toolbars. So when you accidentally grab it, you no longer spend two hours combing help or forums to just put it back! There are also more intuitive ways to just put it back when you forget the new locking feature.
  • Breadcrumbs. Wow. I think I need to drive this before I give the thumbs up on this. This has a lot of potential.  When you click on your part, instantly lots of icon driven menus pop up near where you clicked. These menus allow you to do just about everything that normally follows such a click. You get icons to help clarify what you selected. (point, line, surface, loop, etc) There are menus for what you might want to do to that thing you just selected. (Mate, sketch, move, or ??) Yes this is also very programmable. The idea is that your mouse moves to the menus less. The pop-up menus are instantly pared down to your selection and brought next to your pointer.
  • Triads are now human sized. If you are exploding or cross sectioning parts, triads used to manipulate these are big and easy to grab. Yeah!
  • Threads can now actually be in the part using the wizards. (Always been possible, but SLAs make this more important. Too bad for the guy with 1000 bolts in an assy and the threads turned on.)
  • Sweep functions have been redone dramatically.

Please help at SolidWorks functions with usability testing.

Interesting fact, the usability guys can typically guess when you started using SW by how you use it.

Ending business

The Space mouse was won by Brandon Getz!

We decided on logo #3. Also design by Brandon Getz.

MCAD is holding 2016 rollout events. Check it out and get free food! (Wednesday - October 21st, 2015)

Meeting minutes are courtesy of Brian Hill of Southwest Prototyping. He promises to do a worse job if there is a next time. (He doesn’t mind speaking in the third person, but notes are difficult and painful to find time for.)