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Power Advice from a SolidWorks Expert with Jen Davis-Wilson

WTFFF 467 | SolidWorks

We had a listener talk with us over Fb lately and depart what was the longest remark we’ve ever needed to a submit. It wasn’t simply the longest, it was probably the most detailed and informational I’ve ever learn on Fb. This was in response to our current episode someday final month about 3D printed floor textures. Her identify is Jen Davis-Wilson, who we truly realized we’ve a lot in widespread with as soon as we talked to her. Our paths have crossed perhaps within the late ‘90s and early 2000s, someplace in there. She used to work for IDEO.

We did this episode on 3D printed floor textures. She is a mechanical engineer who’s a huge SOLIDWORKS consumer. Whereas we’ve definitely reviewed SOLIDWORKS CAD software program amongst many others, we don’t have the in-depth expertise that a actual consumer does who makes use of it day in and day trip and has far more than 10,000 hours on it. She’s been utilizing it since mid 2000s. For the good thing about our viewers, you might not have seen it but as a result of it’s solely on this Fb thread, however we’re truly placing her remark additionally within the backside of the weblog submit for that WTFFF episode on 3D printed floor textures.

To begin with, in case you’re a SOLIDWORKS consumer, if you wish to know how one can make detailed floor textures in SOLIDWORKS, she has this actually what quantities to a nice little written tutorial of the way to do it. Once we noticed that and had this little dialog forwards and backwards over Fb, I noticed, right here’s a lady mechanical engineer, who you don’t get that fairly often nowadays. She works with industrial designers, engineers, product improvement individuals of all kinds. She has a super background and expertise in all forms of broad merchandise. She talked about, as a result of we have now expertise with IDEO from approach again in late 1990s and she or he was interning there at the moment. Principally her intern job was to attach Palm V instances collectively in order that they might research the shape issue and do what they wanted to do. We ended up in a dispute with Palm Computing at the moment over Palm associated accent merchandise that was made by IDEO.

Anyway, not that she had something to do with that, however our paths actually crossed. That’s the type of coaching and the broad shopper base that they’ve at IDEO that’s simply an unimaginable crash expertise in all types of classes and product varieties. We determined to see if Jen was obtainable for us to interview as a result of she has a very fascinating perspective that we haven’t actually broadcasted on WTFFF earlier than; from an engineer’s eye or viewpoint of product design and improvement involving 3D printing and all types of various elements, and CAD in fact.

The interview, you’re actually going to take pleasure in it I as a result of there’s a a part of it the place she talks concerning the early levels of speedy prototyping earlier than desktop got here out. You actually get an insider’s view of it after which she makes use of desktop 3D printing now in her unbiased apply. You actually get a good perspective and movie on this.

Let’s hear from Jen Davis-Wilson of Davis Wilson Consulting.


Take heed to the podcast right here:

Power Advice from a SolidWorks Expert with Jen Davis-Wilson


Jen, thanks a lot for becoming a member of us right now on WTFFF.

Glad to be right here.

I used to be actually excited to obtain your touch upon Fb in all probability a couple of weeks in the past now relating to our episode about 3D printed floor textures. It’s uncommon that we get somebody that basically replies with the depth and apparent perspective of expertise that you simply did.

I feel I began in SOLIDWORKS in 2005. My background is I labored at IDEO for about twelve years, that’s a product design agency. I used to be a mechanical engineer there. Lots of what I needed to do was translate industrial designs to precise issues that may be manufactured. SOLIDWORKS is simply very easy to select up on the time. I’ve been simply working with that since, and so one of many issues that I’ve to do a lot is tried to take the fantastic, lovely, curvature steady swoopy surfaces that the ID individuals make and put that into SOLIDWORKS, which isn’t the perfect device for that. It’s parametric, which suggests it’s a lot simpler to work with than a Rhino file that an industrial designer would make.

That’s true. I’m a type of industrial designers that make Rhino information. I’ve had a lot of engineers complain to me, “This is just a dumb solid. What the heck am I doing with this thing?” The truth is, for me to create the varieties I would like, that’s a neater device for me. The constraints are thoughts numbing for me.

Once I had industrial designers sit with me, they’d be like, “Can you make that two millimeters shorter?” Then they see the entire thing simply updates, they’re all the time simply so jealous.

The advantages of parametric modeling, I utterly respect and perceive as a seasoned CAD consumer. However on the finish of the day, the shape alternatives of different packages appear to only make it simpler for me to do it. Totally different buildings, totally different people. There are a lot of legitimate explanation why individuals use totally different packages. What I feel is so fascinating, Jen, is that there’s each instructions that folks are available from a 3D print perspective. There’s a lot of iteration that occurs within the 3D print course of. You get it and it is advisable to replace it and it’s worthwhile to make modifications. That makes a lot of sense that you’d be utilizing parametric modeling. There’s additionally the artistic forming aspect. You need to construct the creativity and also you need to let your creativity fly, and typically the construction of parametrics may make it harder. How do you strategy it?

Means again when Shapeways was first approaching the scene, we had a assembly with them. I used to be simply so impressed by that entire enterprise mannequin. I got here residence and I’m like, “I’m going to make some little object to put up on Shapeways.” I attempted to make a little twenty-sided die. I noticed in a short time that you simply’re both given one thing and you’ve got constraints, all the things you do you must put in a dimension for it. SOLIDWORKS isn’t an inventive medium. It actually isn’t. It’s very onerous to create in it, particularly in case you’re making an attempt to create good natural types. I made it, put it up after which gave up on that endeavor. I noticed I’m going to go away that to the economic designers.

WTFFF 467 | SolidWorks

More often than not once I’m doing SolidWorks, I begin off with quite simple types.

More often than not once I’m doing SOLIDWORKS, I begin off with quite simple varieties. If I’m making an attempt to make elements that work, then I begin with easy geometry. If I’m given a file from an industrial designer, then I’ll begin with their surfaces and attempt to break it down into one thing that’s so simple as potential. Take some cross sections and see how they constructed it, as a result of a lot of occasions the geometry is identical between packages. It’s simply how the software program interprets that geometry. That’s the best way that I strategy that. Undoubtedly totally different instruments for various issues. I would love to know how one can study Rhino and even a number of the stuff that I see individuals make jewellery with from 3D printing; Blender, issues like that. I watched some tutorials nevertheless it’s so exhausting for me to get out of the mindset of placing a dimension in for every part that you simply do.

That’s very fascinating, as a result of for me, I see what I need to create in three dimensions in my thoughts’s eye. I simply intuitively know how you can go and create it in Rhino as a result of I simply used it for therefore lengthy. I don’t should assume what instructions I’ve to do. If I get stopped at each flip in a program to enter in a dimension, not that I’m not fascinated by dimension and perceive the realities of creating one thing. I do. But when I’ve to enter in a constraint each single time, my head will get taken out of that artistic mode and that circulate of what I need to create. To me, it will be a huge hindrance. Like I stated, I perceive it. Issues need to be decreased right down to numbers and ones and zeros and be capable of produced. We’ve to work collectively on this actuality.

Additionally, once you’re acquainted with this system otherwise you’re acquainted with the software, something that you simply do, should you are likely to sketch with a fats coloured pencil or for those who are likely to sketch with a skinny pen, individuals are used to working with the instruments they’re working with. When I’ve a younger engineer that I’m making an attempt to teach, they usually’re simply struggling they usually’re simply moving into the weeds in SOLIDWORKS when actually they must be doing the design of the half. They must be doing how this works. I’ll inform them, “Don’t CAD anything you can’t draw.” They’ll have to take a seat down and sketch it out. As soon as they know what they’re making an attempt to do, then they will go and CAD it. I’ve been so acquainted with SOLIDWORKS that I don’t get misplaced in that anymore and I can now design in SOLIDWORKS. However that’s, I might say, an advance talent. Begin with what you already know, work out what you’re going to do, then put within the software program in the event you’re not likely skilled.

I might agree with that. It’s incredible recommendation. I discovered to draft on an precise board once they have been nonetheless doing that and AutoCAD simply got here to be. However I adopted it and I jumped into it, I assumed it was nice. Nonetheless, I fairly often begin with sketching earlier than I’m going into the pc. There are occasions, such as you, the place I can see what it’s in my thoughts and I’ve no points going straight to CAD. It does take a degree although of expertise. I feel it’s a must to have hundreds of hours underneath your belt of working within the pc and dealing offline earlier than you’ll be able to actually make that leap, in any other case I might assume individuals would have a lot of false begins or should redo a lot of issues probably.

One of many issues that’s the easiest way to study CAD is you’ve got a challenge that you simply’re making an attempt to do, after which while you’re making an attempt to unravel that drawback you’re going to study a lot of stuff. Then simply learn each merchandise within the dropdown menus. Complicated packages like Photoshop or SOLIDWORKS, there are going to be a whole lot of these, however in case you’ll simply get acquainted with them you then’ll know what you are able to do. There, how are you going to do what you’re making an attempt to do? Then there’s, what might you do should you wanted to make use of it? I feel when you get all of these discovered collectively, then you’ll be able to simply use it as a software, as a pure extension of your course of.

That’s incredible. Let’s speak a little bit about how you bought began 3D printing. Clearly, the Shapeways factor, however have been you utilizing 3D print prototype machines or something like that?

Sure. In reality, I feel the entire desktop 3D printing factor is so thrilling. I really like all of the 3D printing stuff that’s coming. I feel it’s actually going to revolutionize the best way that we design merchandise and make merchandise. Some individuals say desktop printers are by no means going to be in each home, however additionally they stated that about inkjet printers. I’m additionally horrible at forecasting the longer term, so I’m simply going to place that caveat on the market. I stated nobody would ever need to take footage on their telephones again once we had the iModules.

This was one of many earliest machines that Stratasys was promoting. We acquired a type of as a result of IDEO had a huge machine store with a lot of very skilled and costly machinists that may make something that you really want. However in the event you had one thing that you simply needed to only get in your arms, having that be a few hundred dollars and a week of lead time, you wouldn’t make one thing till you have been positive that is the precise factor you needed to point out to the shopper and also you had finances for it. We obtained one in every of these printers early on. On the time, we didn’t name them the 3D printer. We referred to as it the FDM, the fused deposition modeling.

It was so nice as a result of regardless that we had all of the engineers making an attempt to share it, and we needed to run it too as a result of there was no one with expertise, it was nonetheless higher than at the moment’s desktop printers, so far as the simplicity of the way it goes. They value as a lot as a luxurious automotive. All of the filament are in these cartridges, after which the store guys have been educated learn how to load and unload the cartridges. The entire thing had a display on it and the heated chamber. You set on this foam base, shut it up, and it will inform you how a lot materials you’ve got left, what the run time was. It will do all of the slicing for you and every little thing.

WTFFF 467 | SolidWorks

You might want to design one thing, present it to the shopper and it must be as near the factor as attainable.

When desktop stuff began to return up, it was so thrilling to see all of the software program popping out that might do all that slicing and you possibly can do all types of customized stuff. As a result of the Stratasys stuff was, you possibly can print sparse or strong. That was your decisions. None of this 10%, 20%, 50% infill. You had very, only a few decisions. You possibly can orient your elements, however that was about it. We have been utilizing these. That may have been mid 2000s, I’m guessing. I’m unsure when these got here out. It seems like I’ve been utilizing them perpetually. That’s all the time simply been a part of my design course of.

As time went on, my IDEO store upgraded and obtained greater decision, quicker ones. They obtained a Zcorp printer, which is the plaster gypsum one, which was very fashionable with the economic designers as a result of it was very quick and it had fairly good floor end and colour too. Then there’s all the time the exterior surfaces. We might use on printing surfaces to get actually excessive decision stuff, like a PolyJet for small particulars. I discovered about all types of various 3D printing stuff. It’s essential to design one thing, present it to the shopper and it must be as near the factor as attainable. Of all these applied sciences, what’s going to suit greatest? Is it extra essential for it to look good or perform or it will be robust? All that sorts of stuff.

I’m curious, as a result of we now have this concern on a regular basis in managing your shopper expectations or managing your designer’s expectations in your case. To be able to create a prototype on the 3D printer that’s one thing that we’ll make into an injection moldable product later, we truly should create a utterly totally different design every so often. As a result of you possibly can’t all the time obtain the look that you really want or the perform that you really want by the identical technique that you’d do should you have been induction molding it. And/or you possibly can go actually improper and make a tremendous 3D print merchandise that you simply can’t make in a manufacturing technique as we speak. Or you’ll be able to go the other method and find yourself with one thing that appears superb popping out of the 3D printer, however then can’t be bodily made in typical manufacturing methods.

Numerous shoppers nowadays, particularly right here in Silicon Valley, they’re very savvy about 3D printing. Sometimes those I work with are individuals which were doing product design, in order that they’ve been doing this course of. Individuals have seen 3D prints now, in order that they’re acquainted with it. It was, you both present a shopper one thing very tough or very completed. You don’t need to present them one thing in between as a result of they could take that too actually and be like, “I don’t like it because it doesn’t look polished enough,” considering that what you’re presenting as the ultimate factor. That’s all the time the problem when it comes to managing your shopper’s expectations.

For probably the most half, I are likely to work with both startups and individuals who have come from product design backgrounds, or individuals who have been referred to me from product design backgrounds. That is all a part of what individuals simply do. They perceive, right here’s the prototype degree after which they will see how that goes into what it’d appear to be in manufacturing.

You don’t have people who assume it’s magic?

There are a lot of individuals that also assume 3D printing is gee whiz, the longer term type of stuff. Perhaps I’m simply jaded about it. I personal a Printrbot Easy Metallic, which I simply upgraded with an ABS heated mattress as a result of I don’t actually need that. It’s simply one other enjoyable little additional placed on there. What I feel is humorous is once I hear individuals speaking about their 3D printing enterprise, that they’re promoting their prints. I give mine away at no cost, as a result of my hourly value for design is excess of I might cost for the print, so it’s a part of my design course of. I’ll be designing the half, and particularly when you might have a latch or a little button or one thing that should flex or snap, I’ll design these with 3D printing in thoughts as a result of I find out about what sort of thicknesses they need to be. For those who’re designing one thing actually skinny, you then need to make that a a number of of your nozzle measurement. That occurs a lot with all types of tiny little plastic partitions. You don’t need to make one thing that’s 1.eight occasions your nozzle measurement as a result of it’s going to be approach too skinny if you ultimately print it.

Then, I’ll print that whereas engaged on one thing else, after which deliver that off and check it out. Then on the finish of the day, I’ll have some issues that I can present to the shopper, which they didn’t requested for however it’s a part of my course of. It additionally is good for them to only have one thing to carry and be like, “I can see how this works.” Or they may give me suggestions, which not each shopper is CAD-savvy. They’re not going to open up your file and rotate it round and take a look. They only need screenshots or they need a bodily mannequin.

I agree with that 100%. In truth, we’ve got a very comparable course of with our product improvement, product design shoppers. Which means, we’re doing product design for a shopper who wants assist with the product. We’re both making a utterly new product or a modification to an present one. We’ll 3D print elements typically and even ship them to them to allow them to check them. In some instances, we will truly use them as bodily working elements. In some instances, we will’t. We lately simply needed to make a metallic 3D print at Shapeways, truly, in chrome steel of one thing we examined in PLA however then wanted to have one thing in a totally different materials to check.

We truly aren’t charging the shopper once we 3D print issues right here and ship it to them as properly. It’s a a part of a greater undertaking. If we do like what we did in Shapeways, the place it’s contracted out, we do cost them for that. However we don’t up-charge it both. That’s our factor. We didn’t have the potential right here, so simply pay for the charge of it. I feel it’s nice for individuals to see one thing, really feel one thing. If it’s a part of the method, it’s straightforward. You’re going to do it anyway for your self to ensure it’s proper. You may as properly simply ship it on to the shopper or share it with them.

WTFFF 467 | SolidWorks

Issues look totally different in your hand than they do on the display. Particularly in case you have one thing complicated with a lot of shifting elements.

One of many issues that I do fairly ceaselessly is I’ll be working with an industrial designer and they’ll take a look at what I’ve, recommend some modifications. I’ll come residence, make the modifications. Print it over night time after which the subsequent day deliver the mannequin they usually can take a look at it. I’ll simply find yourself with bins and packing containers of every day fashions which are out of date just about as quickly as they’re printed. However it actually helps the dialog as a result of issues look totally different in your hand than they do on the display. Particularly if in case you have one thing complicated with a lot of shifting elements and you may arrange your SOLIDWORKS file in a method which you can replace it after which print it with all of the shifting stuff to only parametrically replace, that’s tremendous useful.

In case you are an unbiased individual, your contracts and bills are simply one other degree of problem. If I can do one thing myself and never should expense it out, everyone’s a lot happier. There have been loads of occasions when my little PLA printer can’t do every part. Some issues are going to have be despatched out. For probably the most half, if we will keep away from it or if the shopper can care for that, everyone is like, “Less paperwork, that’s good.”

I feel that’s so essential. Independents normally, consultants, freelancers, no matter you need to name your self, there are such a lot of of us at the moment in these worlds, we get caught up in getting ourselves into a contractual state of affairs during which it’s truly rather more cumbersome for us to handle than it’s to determine the flat price or to determine a totally different system, or such as you do it, give away the prints totally free. Truly, we do very incessantly, we do flat fee tasks the place we have now principally a normal payment plus royalty on the gross sales of the product in fact, however that’s our upside. We’ve come to the place at which our time concerned in one thing is so exhausting to gauge for numerous tasks. However once they’re in a particular class, we’ve simply come to know, “These tend to take around this many hours. This flat rate is perfect for that.”

Typically it takes a little extra and typically it takes a little much less. However general, making an attempt to re-quote and spend hours making an attempt to determine how a lot time goes to take, it’s not value it to us. So we’ve come to this flat price coverage in how we do it. There are a couple of exceptions to that after which we moved into a retainer mannequin. We now have shoppers the place we’ll say, “We’re going to work with you for six months and it’s X dollars per month retainer plus royalty again.” That’s how we work as a result of it simply is a lot much less cumbersome and far more manageable on our finish from an accounting state of affairs.

The long-term undertaking is the factor to go for. The quantity of labor it takes to land a two-week undertaking versus a six months challenge, you don’t need to land a two-week challenge all yr lengthy. You’re not going to earn money doing that. The long-term relationships are actually the best way to go.

I agree. I feel the truth of what 3D printing has executed for us as product improvement service suppliers is made in order that we will truly ship a venture sooner due to this, such as you have been saying, every day in a single day iteration course of that in any other case you’d both be making educated guesses and solely doing perhaps one prototype hoping it’s proper after which having to go all the best way again taking a lot extra time. There are such a lot of issues that weren’t preferrred about the best way we used to do it. This simply makes, I feel, us look higher and extra productive for them as service suppliers.

There are a lot of startups on the market who want one thing to place into the arms of potential customers. Both they’re doing it for advertising, they’re doing it for fundraising, they want some movies for his or her Kickstarter, they only need to get some info to make their design higher. Ten years in the past, that was a entire different part of labor, designing the check fashions that you simply’d then should ship out to get machined. Whereas now, that’s virtually trivial. It’s a part of, “Of course, we’re going to give you this design and you can print out a bunch of them and put them in the hands of people who are going to use them for whatever you need them for, really fast.” It actually speed up that design course of.

We’re truly taking that one step additional at this with considered one of our shoppers proper now. We’re taking it during to truly placing what’s a 3D printed merchandise on Amazon, however not promoting it prefer it’s on demand or something. We’re simply going to stock them and put them in a check run on Amazon to see which of the types are value injection molding. Which one is value getting in and making the funding on? Which type performs greatest with their shopper base?

I like to see how that works out.

We’re actually enthusiastic about it. Proper now, it’s nonetheless proprietary. However as soon as it’s available on the market, in all probability in the summertime or someday this yr, we have been truly going to showcase that so that you’ll have the ability to see it. I do assume that as 3D printing will get extra succesful and the fee continues to return down, and a lot of it the fee is already low sufficient, it simply is determined by the method and materials. There actually is a lot extra alternative to do 3D printed finish use product, whether or not that’s a short-term state of affairs or it truly is a product that’s going to reside its whole life in that materials, having been made in that course of. I feel there are many alternatives, we’re going to see increasingly of it. What’s it that you simply’re engaged on subsequent? The place are you going with your 3D print and mechanical engineer world?

WTFFF 467 | SolidWorks

You need to perceive the elements you’re making, how are they going to be made, what supplies, and kit your design in the direction of that.

What a mechanical designer does is identical, whether or not there’s 3D printing or not. You need to perceive regardless of the elements you’re making, how are they going to be made, what supplies are they going to be made out of and kit your design in the direction of that. 3D printing is simply including one other wrinkle to that. There are a lot of occasions the place it might be that for the large beta check venture, you’d simply assume that there’s going to be 3D printing stuff. What I like about 3D printing a lot, as in comparison with the normal prototype strategies, is you possibly can cheat a lot. You don’t should design in draft, you possibly can design in overhangs and voids and stuff like that.

One of many huge tasks I’m engaged on proper now’s in medical robotics. That is a entire different fascinating aspect of the interdisciplinary points. ID individuals are likely to assume in a sure means and electrical engineers are likely to assume in a sure means. I found the robotics individuals assume in a completely totally different approach in comparison with product design, mechanical engineers. They need to put a fastener all over the place. One of many issues that I’m doing with 3D printing for them is the robotics individuals are making all the motors and buildings and shifting elements they usually’re all, as you’ll be able to think about, hideous. I’m working with an industrial designer, we’re making 3D printed shrouds for it in order that they will present this to their buyers and be like, “This is what it’s going to eventually look like, the size and scale of it.”

On the similar time, I’m overlaying up all the ugly technical stuff that the robotics individuals designed in. Down the road, we’ll come collectively. I’ve been working as a translator between the ID and the robotics individuals to get one thing that works and appears good, cover a few of these fasteners please.

The robotics individuals are all concerning the perform it appears.

Sure. They’re aerospace and robotics and these are issues that sometimes stay in factories and labs and satellites and issues like that. They aren’t often touched by individuals or seen by individuals. A lot of the expertise that I’ve had is with shopper merchandise; stuff the place design and look is the whole lot. They don’t converse one another’s languages. That’s one thing that I do a lot in my position, which is translating between the ID and the perform. I’ve to talk each side.

The basic factor is between design and engineering bumping heads. When you might truly bridge that hole, perceive and converse the widespread language, you’ll be able to rule the world in product improvement. With robotics, I can think about that simply threw one other entire monkey wrench within the works. That bodes rather well in your success, Jen, as a result of that’s the very first lesson I’ve discovered in my profession from Herman Miller once I labored there. I needed to play a position between the movie star industrial designers, as a result of that’s who that they had on the time. That they had very well-known and hyped in all of the magazines designers working at the moment. They might pop in about as soon as a month or as soon as each six weeks and ship all of the engineers into a tizzy with all their modifications and their feedback. “That looks terrible.” Then egos can be bruised. I discovered very early on that my position in between there was to each translate what’s essential and ease the egos on the similar time.

There was a factor going round just lately, which is describe your profession badly. Mine was, “I frequently disappoint designers with pointing out the laws of physics.”

This has simply been such a pleasure speaking to you. We actually do recognize your remark. What you have been pointing on the market, textures are so essential in some methods disguising a number of the sins of 3D printing or the issues that aren’t good high quality with your 3D printer, particularly the at-home ones. It is also critically essential within the perform of our product. I don’t assume as many individuals are conscious of that. The feel portion is personally my space of experience. Texture can forestall fingerprints and may forestall all types of useful issues and manufacturing points, marks from the molds and different issues. Textures are extraordinarily necessary to grasp. How have you ever gone about mastering these textures and studying about them?

Lots of it’s sometimes dealt with on the mould aspect. Whenever you’re designing for injection molding, which is a lot of what I do, the individuals who make the molds will then ship them out to be textured. There are a lot of various ways in which you are able to do the feel. Sometimes, I discover the economic designers have a tendency to select two textures. They need shiny, as good as attainable. Or they need a very high quality satin end, which I consider is mould sort 1011, one thing like that. I discover it simply hilarious that they’ll supply all these textures you will get sure patterns laser printed on them, however they all the time appear to need these two.

So far as different processes, I feel the feel is often one thing that’s completed on the finish. You’ll have an concept of the way it’s alleged to look. Not often am I anticipated to mannequin in a texture. When that’s requested, that’s not one thing SOLIDWORKS does nicely. For each little entity you create in SOLIDWORKS, you’re placing a little little bit of tax in your processors. If you’re making an attempt to place tiny little faces throughout your product, SOLIDWORKS isn’t going to deal with that very elegantly. I not often should mannequin in textures myself. Often that’s a suggestion, or you’ll get a excellent mannequin maker to place that on for you. We’ve got regionally right here in Palo Alto, there’s a mannequin maker and all they do is that they make good wanting elements. They know learn how to do all these textures and paint. They may give you samples and decide that stuff out. That’s sometimes the place I are available on the feel. It’s simply working with whoever is making the factor to say, “This is what’s expected and this is what we want to look for.”

That’s a little little bit of déjà vu for me. It’s additionally a little little bit of twilight zone combined in there. I agree 100% with what you’re saying. I’ll truly, talking as an industrial designer, say that I feel much less skilled industrial designers will keep away from these problems with texture and shade particularly, save them for the very finish, as a result of they don’t actually perceive it in addition to they need to. I don’t assume it’s taught properly sufficient in design faculties. I don’t assume it’s practiced sufficient early in careers. I feel it takes a very long time of trial and error engaged on a lot of tasks earlier than you understand that texture and colour is one thing that ought to be thought-about upfront within the design course of and never be an afterthought. You’ll see the most effective designs on the market have thought-about it early on.

You see a lot of failure. They need shiny as a result of they assume the look is cool. However on the finish of the day, the manufacturing processing of it’s going to create all types of points and issues. Once you begin with this cool wanting mannequin and also you get all enthusiastic about it, then over time it will get morphed by the producers. Often that’s the place they arrive in after which they are saying, “We can’t do that without a texture. Sorry, you have to add a texture.” As a result of that’s the place the advisers had sometimes are available earlier than as a result of the designers shouldn’t have that experience. Or they’re going to say, “You’re going to have a higher defect rate if you’re going to insist on that quality of finish,” as a result of it’s simply not simply achievable on a constant foundation, or at that worth or no matter.

WTFFF 467 | SolidWorks

It’s very straightforward to make a rendering that appears very nice and actually shiny with out determining how this factor is dealt with and the way it goes collectively.

Particularly whenever you’re working as a advisor and in product design consultancy, sometimes you’re dealing with individuals larger up on the meals chain who don’t know the nitty-gritty of this. All of them need Apple merchandise on Dell price range. It’s a must to inform them, “Do you realize that Apple, they literally buy milling machines to make their products?” They’ll have simply rows and rows and rows, they usually’re machining the backs of their computer systems. You’ll be able to’t do this in the event you’re making an attempt to promote 10,000 or one thing. That’s all the time a problem. I discover that industrial designers need good. They need celebration strains with no hole. They need no fasteners seen. They need nobody to ever contact it until they’re sporting white cotton gloves. That’s typical to do. On the similar time, it’s very straightforward to make a rendering that appears very nice and actually shiny with out having to determine how this factor is dealt with and the way it goes collectively.

I used to be simply in a clinic the place that they had an x-ray machine. I needed to spout the textual content in order that I might take a look at, that they had this huge flat plate that you simply stand on in the event you’re taking x-rays of your ft or one thing. I used to be simply taking a look at all the wear and tear across the corners of it the place it was dealt with, the place somebody had taped it and the tape had rubbed off. I want I might have taken a image of it as a result of it’s such a nice instance of how one thing that any person clearly had a picture of is how this good, clear, exact medical instrument ought to look and the way it’s truly used. That’s the factor in design faculty that they don’t essentially take into consideration, “What’s this thing going to look like after a year of wear?”

Jen, we’ve simply had such a pleasure speaking with you at the moment. What I actually love about our dialog thus far is that you simply’ve had the identical profession path we’ve got in an clearly totally different space, however there are people who get very jaded over time. As an alternative, there are these such as you and like us who really feel that leaves a lot extra risk of all of the issues we might repair and we might do.

I’m doing this as a result of I prefer it. The rationale why I left IDEO was as a result of I had youngsters. I discovered myself doing issues like shopping for 3D printers and experimenting with all types of CAD packages that you can get for a low value. I used to be like, “I clearly need to get back to doing what I was doing before because it was just so much fun.”

I utterly perceive that. I all the time inform individuals it’s compulsive for me. It’s one thing that I can’t shut my mind off to. We’ve got younger youngsters too and I’ve spent weeks at a time not working once they’re very, very younger, collaborating as a lot as I might. However my mind would by no means shut off to these things. I simply can’t assist however proceed to do it. That appears to be comparable for you. I’m joyful to see that you simply’re working towards efficiently independently. I feel it’s a fantastic factor. 

I fell into it and I’m very fortunate that I occur to work in an setting which have a lot of sensible artistic those that wish to go off and do their very own issues in order that they have a very giant alumni community. One among your current podcasts, you interviewed somebody who’s doing one thing unbiased and needed to hustle a lot to achieve success. I really feel very responsible in that I do zero hustle as a result of I get all of my shoppers via contacts. My former office is one in every of my largest shoppers as a result of they’ll convey me in once they want some additional work. I had extra of the lengthy con. Simply work for a very long time at some place that finds you indispensable after which give up and have them rent you again.

That’s so true and so essential. I feel a lot of younger designers, younger engineers who come out on the earth and assume that it’s going to be straightforward to be out by yourself. It’s arduous as a result of you haven’t constructed up that community but. Referral enterprise is a a lot stronger enterprise than these web sites who offer you jobs.

I’ve not had a single job that was a chilly contact. Everybody has been by way of someone that I’ve personally labored with or personally know. That’s how belief is shaped. That’s how relationships are constructed. That’s how the world works. I might say for somebody beginning out, understand that community and expertise, these are in all probability simply as essential as a lot of hustle. If you wish to achieve success, you’ve received to do all these issues.

Jen, thanks a lot. We actually recognize it. We actually recognize your enter into our podcast and giving feedback again and suggestions. We respect that a lot.

I’m actually grateful to your podcast. They actually make my bike rides much less painful.

We’re completely happy to assist. Thanks a lot.

Power Advice from a SolidWorks Expert – Last Ideas


I actually loved that interview. However there’s one thing that was floating in my thoughts as we’re speaking with her, that she has such a distinctive perspective. I hope our viewers actually appreciates it. To me, I wrote down, she is actually on the intersection of CAD 3D printing and of perform and type. She is admittedly on the intersection of this. You heard her speak about her perspective of working with industrial designers and dealing with factories and dealing with excessive degree executives who perhaps don’t perceive the finite particulars of product design improvement. She actually has gotten a good cross part of expertise. I feel it’s a very fascinating perspective as a end result.

Whenever you’re new or younger in an business, and 3D printing for a lot of, many customers, particularly a lot of our viewers on the market, it’s a new expertise for you. Once you’re in that place of this newness to it, what you don’t have is the attitude of all of the issues that you simply want you knew and had time to study in different areas. It occurs so typically that we hear people who find themselves making an attempt to perform one thing on a 3D printer they usually’re simply not capable of do it. Primarily it’s as a result of they perhaps simply don’t have the CAD expertise or they don’t have the engineering expertise. We discover that occurs, even to us and we’ve been doing this a actually very long time, much less typically, nevertheless it occurs every now and then the place it checks your engineering expertise of with the ability to duplicate it. It simply occurred to us lately once we have been making an attempt to make a very small half for a shopper, you couldn’t duplicate it based mostly on simply drawing it in your CAD software program in Rhino. It simply wouldn’t work. You want to set up parametric to it. It’s essential set up a variety of constraints to it.

To me, it wasn’t a lot about parametric. I couldn’t work out find out how to construct the geometry, and I constructed some loopy natural geometry with a few of the stuff that I do. However making an attempt to repeat a very fascinating piece of geometry, it’s not that it’s natural however this definitely was hardly a straight line on the item. I ended up utilizing a scanner. I ended up scanning the item for the surface type as a result of what I wanted to do it was edit the within of the shape, to make a match with one other half. That was straightforward for me to do. However to duplicate the precise half, I wanted to scan it, so I went via that course of. That’s truly a future episode. I do have a evaluation arising of a desktop 3D scanner that I utilized in that. That shall be enjoyable when that occurs.

WTFFF 467 | SolidWorks

The shoppers which are reaching out to Jen are tremendous sensible, as a result of they’re increasing their providers to their shoppers.

It’s simply fascinating that everybody runs up towards one thing at which you don’t fairly have the talent set for, whether or not that’s in an engineering mode, a CAD mode, a design mode, perhaps you don’t have sufficient design expertise for the look that you really want otherwise you simply can’t obtain it. We don’t typically sufficient attain out and broaden our workforce. That’s actually the place the shoppers which are reaching out to Jen are tremendous sensible, as a result of they’re increasing their providers to their shoppers. They’re doing a higher job of creating positive that they don’t make errors, which is so critically essential in mechanical design points. She’s at that intersection, and that’s a actually distinctive place.

I feel that the actual advantage of working with somebody like Jen is the quantity of hours she’s put in and the several types of merchandise that she’s labored on through the years. It provides her such a broad expertise to not make errors and study in your venture. That’s what you’re actually paying for, is that have is super. It’s so value it having that have, until you need to study on the fly hiring any person inexpensive and be prepared to make errors and need to course right. You’d rent her since you actually can’t afford the time.

I actually additionally loved listening to about her perspective about with the ability to use desktop 3D printing in a speedy sense to iterate totally different buildings, practical issues that she’s engaged on for shoppers, and never having to fret concerning the constraints of precise manufacturing. That’s a totally different perspective than I’ve considered myself or heard from others. Not having to fret about draft angles, not having to fret about overhangs or undercuts. Issues that, as a good designer or an engineer, we completely keep away from making these errors as we’re creating merchandise as a result of it simply causes issues afterward. What she’s actually advocating is 3D printing is a actually good course of the place you can also make useful elements, show out extra complicated buildings of many elements working collectively, and never having to take on a regular basis to ensure, “Do I have enough draft angle on this part? Is this going to mold properly? Where is the parting line going to be?” All these various things.

So long as, and that is actually the caveat, somebody like Jen and somebody like Tom who’ve years and years of design for manufacturing expertise, you’ve got the sense of, “I cannot make that in a normal manufacturing process.” Or it’s going to so dramatically change the perform and/or look of this product once we go to repair these draft angles. That’s the expertise that it’s a must to depend on. As a result of we do discover that too typically, that somebody will design one thing in 3D printing and also you’d be like, “You can’t make that.” It’s by no means going to be made in something however a 3D print output, which is ok if that’s what you’re going for. However in case you actually need to injection mould, that’s not going to occur. It’s going to look totally different, perform totally different, be totally different. That’s actually an expertise degree that you simply do have to seek the advice of with in the event you don’t have that have your self.

3D printing will will let you, if you wish to name it this, make errors and with the ability to make one thing now that basically can’t be manufactured in one other course of later, that’s true. Should you’re going to do what Jen steered to us; be capable of make elements in a short time, check them out and never have to fret about a few of these conventional manufacturing constraints at the moment, it’s worthwhile to have the arrogance that you recognize what you’re doing. That it may be made, it simply needs to be adjusted. You simply want extra time. It’s not the perform of the half that must be adjusted. It’s simply the precise geometry of the half, the wall thicknesses. Consider it like a tough draft. However in the event you’re going to go and say that is the output, you’re in hassle.

I feel she was very refreshing in simply speaking about Apple merchandise on a Dell finances. We hear that stuff a lot. Don’t CAD what you’ll be able to’t sketch, I really like that mentality of the way you begin. She has simply obtained a nice perspective there. That is simply one thing actually critical to take a take a look at her strategy to this. As you’re constructing your consultancy or as you’re consulting with different individuals to work on tasks with you, that is simply a refreshing method to take a look at it, and a sort of individual you might want in your staff.

I used to be simply so to interview her as a result of she’s very articulate on what she wrote. She was offering a lot of worth to our viewers, simply commenting on that previous episode. Then as we get to know her higher, it’s very fascinating. She is an unbiased marketing consultant. I do know that’s what perhaps lots of you aspire to be, or perhaps you must work with an unbiased advisor, or you might have a challenge you’re doing and it’s worthwhile to discover somebody like her. I discover it very fascinating that she doesn’t have a web site for her enterprise as a result of she doesn’t want it. She has spent eleven years working within the subject at a huge design agency and simply has all these associations and will get referral enterprise, so she doesn’t want a web site. She simply makes use of her LinkedIn.

I had a lot enjoyable and I used to be happy to listen to how she approaches issues. There are a lot of similarities in the best way we strategy issues. I’m an industrial designer and she or he’s an engineer, however we work with individuals which might be like one another on a regular basis.

We invite you to take a look at the Fb web page and see the feedback there in addition to make your personal @3dStartPoint on Fb. We might love to listen to from you as nicely. When you have obtained an fascinating viewpoint or some nice expertise working in a numerous facet of 3D printing or of CAD, we’d love to listen to from you as properly. We’re all the time on the lookout for new views like Jen’s. I hope this episode, though perhaps a shock to a few of you, is a good instance that we actually do take heed to your feedback. We see them and we’d like to listen to extra from you. Relying on what you must say or your perspective, you might be a visitor on a future episode of WTFFF.

Identical to Jen, I hope you’re getting your train when you’re listening to the podcast. I feel that’s superior. Thanks once more, Jen, for being on our present.  Because of all of you. This has been Tracy and Tom on the WTFFF 3D Printing podcast.

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About Jen Davis-Wilson

WTFFF 467 | SolidWorksSenior Mechanical Design Advisor in Product Design.

Over 15 years expertise in mechanical design for a number of industries, particularly: Shopper merchandise, Workplace furnishings, Medical units, Shopper electronics.

Specialties: Expert in Solidworks: parametric design, superior industrial design surfacing, complicated assemblies and file administration. Proficient in design for injection molding, in addition to casting, extrusion, and a number of manufacturing strategies. Detailed mechanism design and tolerance evaluation expertise. Challenge administration.


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