Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Value of Engineering...

Over the years I have heard engineering referred to as the necessary evil many times. I don't know all of the reasons it is referred to that way but the main one I can think of is the cost of engineering. But think of this. Let's say you are designing a product that will marketed and sold to potentially millions. Let's say it is some electronic device that all the kids will want. :-)

Now that we have the situation set up lets think about this, let's say because we designed this thing as quick as possible to save on engineering costs we have one of two things happen. First we made a bad design decision that didn't get caught until production (Very Costly). Second is we didn't take the time to route electrical wires, or possibly think of the best way to machine the enclosure for whatever this device is, resulting in wasted material. The wasted material might even be more costly than the first scenario of a design flaw that didn't get caught until production.

The reason I use these examples is if we were to take a little more time up front in the engineering stages we could save so much money either in mistakes that get caught during engineering or in material costs. Let's use Autodesk Inventor Professional as an example for the wire routing. Here is a tool that the engineers can use after they have made the mechanical design of their new product that all the kids want. They can then pick the start and end of the wire and group wires together for the harness. Let's say they are only able to save a couple of inches of wire in the design. Assuming there are maybe 12 wires that is 24 inches of wire in total. Lets make an assumption that the wire is only $.03 per foot. They would save 6 cents per unit, if you are talking millions of units it is a $60,000 savings per million units. That is a lot of money and in some cases that might be a persons salary for the entire year however it was only a hour or two of extra work.

What about all the other opportunities to save a few bucks by better engineering. Think about it, Yeah we can get carried away in engineering but if we can quantify the savings on the back end it is totally worth it. We end up with a better product and save money. The product also has lest waste which then makes it potentially better for the environment.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours. email me at stein.rob@gmail.com

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Change is Coming...

I have been thinking a lot lately about my blogging and what technology I want I really want to do with it. I have decided to make some changes. The main change is that I will be transitioning over to a new web address. I will be working diligently to transfer all of my archived posts so that everything is in one central location.



During the transition I plan to try to post the same post to both sites. This will help ease the transition. I apologize for any inconvenience during this time. I chose to do this to make things slightly more easier for me to post more often and there is much more technology with the blogger sites. Some things such as a rating system for posts, I can also do polls when i come across topics that I would like feedback on.

Please feel free to subscribe to my new site and join me in the transition. Also feel free to join my linked in network. (This is a professional networking site that allows you to meet people in your industry and others all across the country.) Here is the link to my public profile. Robert Stein (Linked In)

Thanks for your support over the past 3 years.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone.

I hope everyon'es Christmas was great. I got to spend it with my family so mine was great. I will be back to normal posting tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Buying American

This morning I went to Meijer (like I do almost every Christmas Eve Morning). Today I decided to take my twin boys to look at last minute gifts for my wife. Anyway when we were loading up our groceries and other items to get in the car, I heard a voice calling out "Sir". Of course I lifted my head and said yes sir. The gentlemen in the car parked next to us asked me "Is that a Saturn" I of course said "Yes it is, I really Like it." Assuming he was asking like so many other people have about my Saturn Aura. He simply said "Thanks for buying American". 


I assumed he was one of the many Americans that have already lost their job, or is in fear of losing his job. I just want to wish him a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I also wanted to thank him for brightening my day.

Merry Christmas Eve EVERYONE.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A quote that I like

This morning I decided to look at a site I haven't visited in a LONG time. www.thinkexist.com. This site is a pretty good central location for quotes. Today I was looking through some of the quotes and came across this one.

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I am not really sure what I like so much about it. However I do try to live every day by learning something new, what I have not done so far is live like I am going to die tomorrow. Some days I do, but not every day.

Anyway I like this quote and figured i would share. Be sure to check out the site, there are a ton of great quotes on there, you can even submit new ones and sign up for the quote of the day.

On the 4th day of CAD

On the 4th day of CAD I give to you...       DWG TrueView 2009

DWG TrueView 2009 is a great tool for viewing AutoCAD DWG files. It can also be used to convert DWG files to previous releases of AutoCAD. After downloading the installer and installing it, start TrueView then click on the open icon to view dwg files. Or you can click on the convert icon to "Mass" convert DWG files to previous versions. You can even set it up to move the files to a new folder, or convert them in place. (I think it is a good idea to move the converted files to a new folder). 

This program converts extermly fast, I wrote a script file to convert a few hundred AutoCAD files from 2009 to 2005 and it took about half an hour to run in AutoCAD. I then took the same files and did them through this and it took a couple of minutes.

I hope this helps. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Technology is Amazing...

During my morning routine of a few blog sites and news sites I stumbled across this interesting article about an "Artist Envisions Turning Fake Eye Into Bionic Eye-cam". It is something we have seen in movies for years, a person loses their eye, and a camera gets strapped over the bad eye socket. Well from the looks of it, it isn't too far fetched. The only difference is now that camera's are much smaller than what we have seen in movies where people have them put over the eye socket, they can now fit into the prosthetic eye, becoming virtually invisible.

In addition to the article above, there is a blog site from Tanya Vlach talking about the loss of her eye in a car accident a few years back as well as her venture to make the eye-cam. She is looking for engineers to help make this happen so if there are any cyborg engineers out there, check it out.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Links that were promissed...

During a few of my classes there were some web links discussed for finding more support, or specific things on peoples blog sites. Below is a brief list for your review.

Nate mentioned myfeedback, which is a place where you can become involved (if approved) with the beta versions of certain Autodesk Products. This site is http://myfeedback.autodesk.com

I mentioned that Nate Holt runs a blog site, you can find this at: http://mfgcommunity.autodesk.com/blogs/blog/7/. You will find great information on AutoCAD Electrical here.

I did not mention this but Jared Bunch will be starting a blog at www.gotcontrols.blogspot.com. Actually it is started but I am not sure when he will be making posts.

You can also view some of my old friends blogging at www.askthecadgeek.blogspot.com. There is a new post weekday's monday through friday. Different topic's every day, from many of my old friends at INCAT.

If I have forgotten anything please let me know, you can email me at robert.stein@thyssenkrupp.com.

My Apologies

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone in my lab at AU that stuck through the licensing issues. I really apreciate it and am extremly happy that you were still able to get something out of the course. Remember, I will be updating my blog site over the next week with updates from the AU courses I presented, as well as Video's wherever possible.

Thanks again for attending my courses and can't wait to see you all again next year at AU.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

AU 2008, A learning experience...

Here I am, completed with my first presentation for my AU week. I have 2 more to to go tomorrow morning. I figured I would post a quick topic that as many of you know is near and dear to me. In the last Keynote they mentioned stopping by the AutoCAD booth and they would show us how to run AutoCAD on a MAC. As you know, I love my macbook. As you may also know, I have been running Autodesk products on my macbook pretty much since I purchased it via, Parallels, VMware Fusion, and bootcamp depending on the need and the testing I was doing.

So later tonight when the booth opens back up I will be going to the AutoCAD booth to see if Autodesk has given the option to run it as a core mac app instead of using a virtual software or a dual boot scenario. I would LOVE to see this happen for all of the MSD applications and will keep you posted as I learn more.