I spend a ton of time talking to customers about Digital Prototyping, both in person and of course on my YouTube Channel (not sure if I've ever mentioned that I have a YT channel before...) talking at length about analysis, visualization, motion analysis, ect... All really great stuff meant to get people interested in our Digital Prototyping portfolio and I have a pretty good time doing it of course. But I rarely get to back it up and get back to the basics - sketching, modeling, drawings. Which is why volunteering for FIRST events is such a great time.
Crazy analogy here - bear with me. Ever find it funny that we complain about a plane being late? Or having to move from one terminal to another due to a last minute change? Losing sight of the fact that in the history of the world, were the lucky few that get to experience flight? It's amazing if you think about it. Sometimes those of us that write about or "do" CAD for a living lose sight of how amazing the technology is and those that don't have an opportunity to see or use it... well its like experiencing your first flight if design is what you do for a living.
So on Wednesday night I had a chance to present kind of a "What is Autodesk Inventor" to a group of FIRST Robotics team mentors. In talking with them before we got started, a few were using Pro/E, AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and of course Inventor.
I did get a kick out of the guy using Pro/E. When I introduced myself to him and asked what he used his response was a (I'm sure unintended) dismissive "Well I use Pro/E." Cool, good product and I'm sure you're happy with it - have you ever seen Inventor before. Paraphrasing now - well no, why would I need to I have Pro/E... [grin]
Yesterday I received an email from him stating how impressed he was with Inventor and which version to download.... Just sayin'. Maybe he's experiencing the same issues with large assemblies that was discussed in this thread on MCAD Forums - Large Assembly Performance.
So like I was saying, had users from all applications Pro, Works, Catia, AutoCAD, Inventor. I'll let you in on a little secret - most of these types of presentations I go into it with little or no plan and adjust what I'm going to present based upon the first five ten minutes of interaction with the group. So my initial take on the group was, OK these guys know about 3D modeling so I need to amp it up a bit...
I started off modeling my favorite part, you all know the one:
Yep, that one. Anyway, I get to a point where somebody starts to ask about the reflections on the part. I started to go on about imaged based lighting, and fired up one of the environments and I start to see a little dis-belief, surprise, and excitement. That's the best part about presenting technology - my drug if you will. I love that point in a presentation where you awe them with something simple, because that's when you can really turn it up.
I know these guys need to make drawings of their robots and robot components. And if you have never been around during FIRST build season, its 6 weeks of craziness so any time wasted means less of a chance to go to regionals for these teams. I place the four views on the screen, shade the isometric, pull in dimensions, add a section view, do an isometric of the section and the guys are practically high five-ing each other. (this is the point in the blog where we flash back to my airplane analogy...)
I moved on to the frame generator, assembly drawings, part lists, auto-balloon, and large assembly performance and management continually upstaging the previous example (purposely of course it is my job after all) . Having a blast getting these guys fired up about using Inventor as part of their build. Why you ask? Money. Not for me or Autodesk, heck we give the software away for free to students, teachers and FIRST mentors at firstbase.autodesk.com. The earlier these kids get into engineering, the more likely they are to demand a higher salary post graduation according to a recent article in Mechanical Engineering, the magazine of the ASME.
It goes on to suggest "engineering accounts for 8 of the 10 most highly paid degrees". And getting kids excited about engineering, machining, design, controls, and the benefits of working as a team to solve design challenges benefits all of us. I know, it sounds lofty and aspirational in our typically cynical society but I have to tell you guys - these kids are amazing and FIRST students are:
- More than 3 times as likely to major specifically in engineering.
- Roughly 10 times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year.
- Significantly more likely to expect to achieve a post graduate degree.
- More than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology.
- Nearly 4 times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering.
- More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities.
And I'm telling you, I'd put some of these models up against anyone.
These kids are using bolted connection generator, gear generator, frame gen, FEA, Dynamic Simulation, and the drawings are equally as impressive. So I'm pretty stoked about the upcoming student training sessions we'll be hosting here in Lake Oswego. If you are in the area you can sign up to attend at http://www.oregonfirst.org/
Special thanks goes out to Deb Mumm-Hill who brings as much passion to FIRST as I've ever seen and it's been a huge pleasure working with her. Thanks for all you do Deb!
Have a great weekend everyone!