Monday, December 24, 2007

A Holiday Message from the 3D Team

To all 3DCADNews Readers,

The 3D Editorial Team wishes everyone a great Holiday week, in whatever it is you are celebrating, and we wish the entire CAD/CAM industry the best of fortunes in 2008.

We are by no means signing out until the New Year and will be continually tracking and watching the CAD news at all of our sister sites at:
TeamDWf and more,

Please have a fun time reading our sites and watching our broadcasts, and may your God be with you as we step into the New Year.

3D CAD News editorial team

Posted by The 3D Team in 17:22:27 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, November 30, 2007

AU – It’s a Wrap, for the Vendors at Least

Day 3 of Autodesk University was marked by the amiable groaning of people who were again walking the endless halls and floors that comprise the Venetian Hotel and the Sands Expo center. AU actually continues into Friday but Day 3 is always punctuated by the closing of the show floor and a corresponding high speed exodus by the exhibitors.

CCNtv, our online video broadcast, has issued three broadcasts directly from AU this week, where the lovely Amy Adams, our TV host, has charmed attendees and exhibitors alike. The team covered a lot of ground, finding and reporting on new products that include HP’s Blade Workstations, Adapx’ digital pen and digital paper, 2Bot’s Modelmaker product, NextEngine’s pretty neat little 3d scanner which costs just $2499, and much more.

Autodesk has basked in the glory of doing just about everything right. The show floor was well subscribed by exhibitors, the event attracted more than 9,000 attendees, the keynotes were creative, confident and bright. People were telling me that the software training they get at AU is ‘beyond good.’ Autodesk should be getting a nod from the industry for this one.

Adapting to Adapx
Image – Jeff Drust, a strategy consultant with Adapx, proudly displays the new Capturx digital pen – a product I hope might soon change the way I work.

Adapx is a newcomer to the industry, with a product which looks and acts like a pen, except that your handwritten notes can be immediately loaded into the corresponding documents on your computer. This is cool for many reasons, and the application of the technology makes some sense. For example when you are out in the field surveying a building site, or checking as-built details, instead of having to manually transpose the notes you made into the CAD file, it does it for you, instantly. It currently supports AutoCAD, ArcGIS and Microsoft OneNote. But indications are that it will soon support lots of other stuff. I spent the entire event trying to persuade them to support Microsoft Word, so that whenever I do a manual edit on an article, it can be immediately uploaded into the Word document.

The product technology is based on a dissertation undertaken by David McGee, the founder and CTO of Adapx, who is a man with a vision. It turns out that while the company has a fledgling ‘rocking’ product, he has his eye on the future: he believes that writing as a form of communication is not about to disappear. It will continue because using our hands, fingers and thumbs to write is inherent to our nature. However, he believes that the media we use to write on will absolutely change, has to. That we will probably end up using super-thin panels that will probably have a zero carbon footprint and immediate recyclability. They will fold into the size of a postage stamp and fold out to the size of a dining room table. And we will write on them, as well as view images, TV shows, play video games (there’s a dated term eh?) and so on. He is planning on Adapx’ technology being a part of that vision of the future.

You can view a more detailed article on Adapx at our sister publication, CADCAMNet, at this link (free trial or paid subscription required),963664&P=article

CCNtv Gets Out in Public at AU
Some nutter allowed our entire CCNtv crew to spend the week at AU. Our host for the week was Amy Adams, and we did three broadcasts directly from the event, providing coverage of the keynotes, hot new products and attendees.

Image: the more diminutive of our two cameramen, JT, gets demo footage from Spheron for the CCNtv broadcasts.

Spheron was demonstrating an absolutely eye-popping 360 degree, high def scanner/camera, that can provide some incredibly detailed images of a space, and also delivers photogrammetry tools for 3D measurement of said space. It is way cool, but does not yet carry a published price, which therefore means it costs a lot. But that’s not a problem really – if the need for this technology is there, people will inevitably pay the price.

Spheron is based in Waldfischbach, Germany which is somewhere on the western border, not far from France.

2Bot also got noticed by a lot of attendees for its very interesting CNC machine for architects. By focusing on taking away the problems inherent with CNC machines – mostly the need to do G-code programming, 2BOt turns out to be incredibly easy to use. Paul Nye, founder and CEO of 2Bot, claims that the receptionist could learn to use it in an hour. Having seen the product, I believe him! 2Bot has a few aspects to it that are not quite ready like the size of the material, but, rather than dwelling on the small details that will resolve themselves in time and in a similar attitude to Adapx, 2Bot rather is focused on its strong vision for the future. This involves a future where any and every kind of model, part, or product, can be made using this machine, and that eventually every home will have a 2Bot. Interesting idea.

Don’t Press
In an effort to consolidate many of its press efforts, Autodesk has decided that press will be given the VIP treatment only at its separate press events, such as the recent Paris Summit, rather than host the press at AU as it has typically done before. It did invite a small amount of editors, but not to the extent that we have become used to. On the first day of AU, the MCAD press were given a lavish lunch (see photo) but no lectures. It was a really fun little interlude between lengthy walks.

Image: Brad Holtz (left) and Roopinder Tara compete for best-dressed CAD editor, although there’s not much competition when you put them up against the ‘down-and-out’ look preferred by editors such as Martyn Day and Al Dean (pictured below).

I am now headed for home, and about to board my flight for denver. Will be checking in with you soon.


Posted by The 3D Team in 04:28:25 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

AU Day 1 – The kick-off

At a crowded kick-off keynote session today at Autodesk University, Lynn Allen and then Carl Bass wowed a crowd of almost 10,000 attendees.

Using a new stage set that was in the middle of the room, with the audience surrounding the stage, the company presented itself, and its products, across an hour and a half general session. A number of key points were made.

8 million users
A long-debated number, the amount of users of AutoCAD, which has been prominently described as 6 million in the company’s press releases this year, was amended to 8 million registered users during Lynn Allen’s ice breaker presentation this morning.

Carl Bass Takes Control
In a relaxed, confident style, Carl Bass gave the keynote address, presenting his views about what the future holds – globalization, competition, energy issues and climate change – and how engineers of every kind can address the problem. Interestingly, his keynote did not simply talk about Autodesk software. It talked to issues and problems that we are all somewhat aware of, but maybe don’t really want to admit. Things like the explosion in global population, the corresponding increase in energy use, and the need for yet more infrastructure as developing countries develop into advanced countries.

An interesting statistic, according to Bass, is that apparently half of the buildings we will work in within 25 years have yet to be built. This means continued huge growth in construction and infrastructure.

Bass also noted that we can design more cleverly, using ingenuity to protect infrastructure, for example with sensors to detect structural issues in bridges, and so on.

Bass’ biggest issue is with sustainability of the world in which we live. He made the point that there are intelligent ways that energy can be conserved, that designs can be environmentally friendly, and that the 10,000 people sat in that auditorium are the ones who will make the difference. It was a point well-taken.

Carl Bass comes across as confident and intelligent – sometimes a surprise with a CEO of any company. He didn’t obsess about AutoCAD software. Instead he obsessed about how we can all make a difference… and that Autodesk will be there to help. It makes sense for many of the attendees who simply want to use software better, and in the process not adversely affect the world in which we live.
(Image courtesy: David Cohn)

Highlights from Carl Bass’ keynote are available at CADCAMNETtv tonight.

Posted by The 3D Team in 05:54:26 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nerd Versus the Casino – Autodesk University Kicks Off

For once I have arrived early to Autodesk University, and have spent some of the afternoon hiding behind fake Italian Renaissance columns, spending time watching out for AU attendees at the beautiful Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.

They start off not that easy to spot, looking like any other business traveller arriving at a destination. But soon it becomes obvious: between the flocks of Asian tourists all dressed in black, the feathers of cocktail waitresses, and the baseball hats of 23 year-olds who flew here to get married but prefer hanging out at the Craps table, you can see them start to appear. The button-down shirts are the first giveaway. The odd bowtie appears and flits off (an architect more easily scared by the crowd), the sensible shoes also start to make an appearance, a determined walk towards the poker room, and the glimpse of thousands of red name badges… yes. We have not just infiltrated a busy and attractive public place. The AutoCAD users are starting to take it over.

An anticipated crowd of more than 8,000 is gathering, and becoming evident. Rumor has it they have filled the host hotel and also taken over four more along the Vegas strip. Boasting the biggest user base, and user event, in the CAD industry, Autodesk is poised and ready to wow the crowd with a strong message about environmental sustainability and how its software can help.

Tuesday kicks off with the keynote by Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, followed by classes and the much anticipatd AUGI beer bust. By Tuesday evening, you will be able to view video highlights at CADCAMNETtv, sponsored by G10, as well as follow up posts on this blog.

Don’t miss out!


Posted by The 3D Team in 06:51:35 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Autodesk Digital Prototyping Video Now Available on CCNtv

Want to see what this Digital Prototyping thing that Autodesk has been pushing is all about? CCNtv has a 13 minute (or so) video of the company’s demonstration during their recent press event in Paris.

It is at

This week’s main CADCAMNETtv broadcast is up and running at

Kevin Schneider – Manufacturing Solutions Evangelist takes the stage at Autodesk’s Manufacturing Media Summit.

Posted by The 3D Team in 22:23:36 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dr. CADCAMNETtv Says You’ll Just Feel a Little Prick

Just like going to the doctor for an injection, a quick watch of CCNtv seems to create a binary response—either enjoyment or acute cringing tinged with anger. Either way, the sensation doesn’t last long and you never know, you might be all the better for the experience! Some viewers don’t think so though…

One vendor sent an email today that had the response that implied that the quick shot in the arm was a bruising experience. (Identities deleted to protect the guilty)

“[Our Company] was mentioned 3 times – each time in a negative light. Less-than-flattering press over the years about [Our Company] means that I am pretty thick-skinned so negative stories do not bother me so much, but the selective, unbalanced reporting of these negative stories, interspersed with sarcastic comments, is lame tabloid fodder and lacks balance and credibility.”

By contrast, another vendor/viewer sent a more positive email earlier today saying that his “entire development team watches CCNtv religiously on every report.” In fact, a lot of people have been incredibly complimentary and encouraging, so we, also, are encouraged. CCNtv is ramping up nicely. But it doesn’t stop there!

We do pay attention to what people think, and have for some weeks been working on software reviews for the broadcast. To do these properly on video takes more than just an enthusiast, a laptop and a camera. But we are optimistic that the time spent getting this right is worth the effort!

And another thing to note is that in its purest form, CAD, 3D and engineering can be incredibly dry (dare I say boring without getting howls of complaint?) and we are working hard at CCNtv to not just present the current news, and highlights in the industry but to do it in a way that is interesting! It seems that a few viewers don’t appreciate the more humorous and human sides that we present, and believe that CCNtv should be, well, boring. We disagree. What do you think?

Along those lines, we would like to announce our upcoming ideas for CCNtv subjects, and hope that a few viewers would like to make suggestions. Please do add comments on what you would like to see in the future on CCNtv!

• Software Reviews (new)
• Tips’n tricks (new)
• More news
• More user site-visits

Do viewers want to see executive interviews? Do we need more corporate reporting? Or we keep focusing on the items our editors believe are newsworthy?

Comment now, so we can find out what you think!

Posted by The 3D Team in 00:58:00 | Permalink | Comments (3)