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    3DxBlog

    3 Strategies to Supercharge Your Onshape Performance

    Posted by Mark Driscoll on Feb 16, 2017 11:30:00 AM

    Onshape is one of the most widely used CAD software programs—and the only one that is entirely cloud-based. Research has found that cloud-computing solutions improve overall workplace efficiency, including improved team collaboration and a faster, more efficient IT infrastructure. Nearly 82 percent[1] of businesses reported faster execution through cloud-based collaboration. Find out how Agile product Design with Onshape allows forward thinking companies to build products faster and with more innovation.

    1. Use Team Collaboration Tools

    The ability for teams to work together and collaborate on their CAD projects is what makes Onshape so unique. Teams can access their projects without having to install CAD software on their devices and can share them across their teams. And the ability to collaborate only gets easier with these Onshape tools:

    • Onshape Comments: A recent update by Onshape gives users the ability to comment on each other’s designs. With this feature, users can tag designers, individual sketches and design elements, and more to help their teams clearly understand what they’re referring to. This minimizes back and forth email, saving time for all team members while boosting their ability to collaborate.
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    Tags: 3D CAD, onshape

    3 Reasons Why a CadMouse Is the Right Tool for the Job

    Posted by John Moseley on Feb 9, 2017 12:51:25 PM


    Would you use an ordinary garden shovel to dig a trench? Would you use a two-door compact car to transport boxes and boxes of tools from one place to another? You likely wouldn’t do either of these things because there’s a right tool to complete all of these tasks in an easier, faster way. So why use a mouse designed for gaming or regular office work as the primary input to your powerful CAD applications? It may sound nonsensical but in reality, the majority of engineers are doing just that. Why? Because until CadMouse was introduced in 2015, there wasn’t a mouse available that was specifically designed for CAD users!

    With CadMouse, you get an intelligent ergonomic design combined with CAD specific, user-friendly software features that make working in CAD easier and more comfortable.

    There are three main reasons why a CadMouse is the right tool to use for your CAD work.

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    Tags: 3D CAD, CadMouse

    6 Soft Skills Engineers Need to Succeed in 2017

    Posted by Mark Driscoll on Feb 8, 2017 11:30:00 AM

    Having a successful career in engineering takes a lot more than just technical skill. You could be a technically brilliant engineer, but lack ability in important areas like communication, time management and more. In some cases, these soft skills may even be more beneficial than what you learned in the classroom.

    Soft skills can open up new opportunities for you in your career and position you as a reliable, thoughtful leader who your coworkers can depend on. Angela Froistad, an assistant director at the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, says soft skills are crucial because they’re difficult to teach:

    “Many employers can train an employee on a computer program or laboratory skill in a relatively short amount of time, but they would likely find it more difficult to train an employee on how to resolve conflicts or be an effective member of a team. Soft skills are not developed overnight.”[1]

    She’s absolutely right. Which is why it’s critical to begin studying these skills now.

    1. Focus

    The ability to focus is now more important than ever. Research shows that our attention span has also gone down from an average of 12 seconds in 2000 to just 8.25 seconds in 2015.[2] Disruptions like office chatter, emails, texts or phone calls are all common; however, they interrupt your focus and ultimately hinder your overall productivity.

    To prevent this, engineers should set aside blocks of time free of interruptions and distractions, and focus on completing one or two projects during that time. Engineers may also set benchmarks to work up to for larger projects. These strategies will make you more productive, and thus more valuable and competitive in your career.

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    Tags: Productivity, Communication, CAD Management

    Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Take Your Engineering Career to the Next Level

    Posted by Mark Driscoll on Feb 2, 2017 11:45:00 AM

    There’s no time like the present to advance your engineering career. According to HR and staffing firm Randstad, as reported by Forbes, engineering is one of the fields with the highest demand[1]. Within engineering, the most in-demand jobs were manufacturing engineers, mechanical engineers and electrical engineers.

    CAD-related fields as a whole are also doing well. Employment in architecture and engineering is expected to grow 3 percent by 2024, which would add more than 67,000 jobs to the workforce in the U.S. alone.[2] 

    The numbers are clear: now is the time to get serious about your career. For new entrants to the field, opportunities abound. For veterans, it could be the perfect time to differentiate and improve your earning potential.

    There are a number of tools and resources to help you do just that. And you don’t have to go far to find them: keep reading.

    Introducing the Online Classroom 

    In today’s CAD market, there are an abundance of technologies and resources that allow engineers to continue their education online: 

    • Cloud-based CAD: Designing in CAD online cuts down on revision time and creates a flexible virtual work environment for design teams. With cloud-based software, engineers can save and share their designs with coworkers without having to take up space on their computer. Top providers include Onshape[3] and AutoCAD5
    • Expert Training: A number of online training resources are available through CAD vendors and established CAD professionals. SOLIDWORKS[4] and Autodesk[5] offer free resources like forums and blogs. They also offer paid tutorials, certifications and more.
    • Learner’s TV: If you don’t have time to commit to a formal course, you can now watch hundreds of CAD and engineering tutorials and webinars at your discretion with Learner’s TV[6]. The site includes video lectures, online tests and more on a variety of engineering fields and other industries, making it the perfect resource for your niche.
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    Tags: Engineering, 3D CAD

    4 Most Common Mistakes Made By First-Year Engineers (and How to Avoid Them)

    Posted by Mark Driscoll on Jan 30, 2017 11:15:00 AM

    It’s every new engineer’s worst nightmare. You’re called into your manager’s office. He or she says those dreaded words: “It’s just not working out.” A normal day has suddenly become the day you are unemployed. Your prized job opportunity is gone before you even built a portfolio or saved money for your future. To say nothing of breaking the news to your parents and friends.

    How could this happen to you, a promising new hire? You might be surprised to learn that this scenario isn’t uncommon. And it happens because new hires, skilled as they may be in their chosen engineering field, make three mistakes in their first year. Made often enough, these mistakes shake management confidence in new hires, even if they’re technical wizards.

    1. Rushing Projects

    One of the most damaging mistakes you can make is rushing work because you pressure yourself to produce at the speed of veteran engineers. This results in sloppy work and costly mistakes.

    In your first year, it’s easy to underestimate how much time CAD projects and learning new software can take. The pace of work at a busy firm may be nothing like the speed of classroom work. Estimated times for projects often look very different from the time they actually take to complete.[1] Unexpected revisions, product requirements, prototyping and more arise throughout the process. 

    The Fix: Set aside time to consult with different departments and people who can help. These might be colleagues or mentors who know the ropes and can help you determine smart work habits and forecasting strategies. As a result, you’ll stop feeling overwhelmed and they will ultimately help you understand your projects better.[2] 

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    Tags: 3D CAD, Productivity

    3 Ways Engineers Can Collaborate Better in the Workplace

    Posted by Mark Driscoll on Jan 25, 2017 11:30:00 AM

    Collaboration and interpersonal skills are highly sought after in most fields, and engineering is no exception. Research has found that 39 percent[1] of employees think their organization does not collaborate enough, and 96 percent[2] of executives say a lack of collaboration is the main source of their workplace failures. It seems that most firms know they have a problem. But how do you solve it? 

    By using one or more of the many strategies used by top firms to better collaborate. Below are three of the best.

    1. Join the Cloud

    Advancements in technology have made it possible for CAD professionals to work securely on files from any location. Many CAD software vendors have developed cloud-based platforms, including Onshape, GrabCAD Workbench and SOLIDWORKS. Each makes it faster and easier to work together with colleagues, and includes the ability to access designs from anywhere and track changes in real-time.

    The cloud can help organize non-CAD files, too. Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Work make it easier to collaborate on communications, documents and proposals. 

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    Tags: Productivity, Communication

    7 Websites That Will Jumpstart Your Creativity

    Posted by Mark Driscoll on Jan 20, 2017 12:00:00 PM

    Much of the success of a design or product relies on a designer’s ability to be creative and innovative. This can put a lot of pressure on professionals. But they’re only human, and even the most inspired designers and engineers can hit roadblocks where their creativity just isn’t at its best.

    One of the best ways to spark your creativity is to leverage the resources you already have. Luckily, there’s a whole world of inspiration at your fingertips on the internet. We’ve highlighted seven websites you should bookmark now if you want to trigger new ideas.

    1. Dribbble

    Dribbble.com[1] is an online community for designers that features different designs and illustrations for inspiration. On Dribbble, visitors can upload any type of artwork or design, including 3D designs, logos, rebranding projects, architecture, typography and more. Users can also create profiles or team pages to promote their own work.

    Uploading projects can also help designers get hired via Dribbble. Companies can identify their criteria for designers seeking work by searching tags like web design, animation, 3D design and more.

    2. Web Urbanist

    For cutting edge art, design and architectural inspiration, CAD pros and engineers should subscribe to WebUrbanist.com.[2] WebUrbanist is a digital magazine that curates stories on architecture, technology, travel, design and more, and includes photos, videos and GIFs to show readers the step-by-step design process[3] for each story’s subject.

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    Tags: Creativity, 3D CAD

    What Makes 3D Mice Special, According to the People That Use Them

    Posted by Mark Driscoll on Jan 16, 2017 11:30:00 AM

    3Dconnexion’s 3D mice are something special in the world of CAD—we already know that. But, do you? If you’re still considering whether or not to make the purchase, take it from the people who use 3D mice every day, including the SpaceMouse Pro,[1] the SpaceNavigator[2] and more. 

    In a recent survey, we asked some of our customers the following question:

    What would you miss most if you could not use a 3Dconnexion device anymore?

    Their responses show just how much a 3D mouse makes CAD work faster, easier, more comfortable and enjoyable.

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    “I would miss being able to freely manipulate the object on the screen the same way regardless of the software that I am using.” – Troy Ashby

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    “I would miss the immersive two-handed experience, and distributing the work between both hands to relieve strain.” – Jordan Chapman

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    “3D modeling—I'd have to give it up! It offloads my mouse hand so much.” – Red Byer

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    Tags: 3D mouse, 3D design efficiency, Productivity

    Why Engineers Should Not Be Using the Mouse They’re Using Now (Unless it’s a CadMouse)

    Posted by Mark Driscoll on Jan 12, 2017 11:30:00 AM


    Millions of engineers, designers and CAD professionals are unnecessarily limiting their potential and don’t even know it.

    We all know the sinking feeling that hits us when we realize there’s not enough time left in the day to accomplish what you set out to do. And who hasn’t felt a little frustrated when struggling to make CAD software do what you want? Worse still, is when you need to complete the task but your hands, arms and shoulders are telling you it’s time for a rest.

    These are facts of life for many CAD professionals. But they don’t have to be. In fact, a lack of general efficiency and discomfort when working are issues caused or greatly exacerbated by a single problem:

    The mouse you’re using.

    We’re not talking about a 3D mouse either.

    We mean the ordinary mouse you use to click and select. You know, the mouse you use to do pretty much everything on your computer. 

    But what could possibly be wrong with your ordinary mouse? After all, you may have even chosen yours specifically.

    Well, that’s precisely it: an ordinary mouse is alright at a lot of things. It may even excel at a few. But it definitely doesn’t excel at prolonged CAD work. Read on to learn why—and the simplest of solutions (which didn’t even exist until just over 12 months ago).

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    Tags: Why I Use a 3D Mouse, 3D CAD, CadMouse

    6 SketchUp Secrets to Design Better and Faster

    Posted by Mark Driscoll on Dec 13, 2016 10:38:00 PM

    SketchUp is one of the most popular 3D modeling software packages on the market. And there are always new tools and tips to learn. By installing helpful plugins or extensions, new apps or tools, SketchUp users can reduce production time and create more accurate, realistic designs.

    To help simplify your workflow in SketchUp, we’ve rounded up six secrets that will help you use the software better.

    1. Go Mobile 

    Download SketchUp’s latest Mobile Viewer, V3.0. V3.0 is a downloadable app for iPhone and Android that displays 3D models and performs a handful of commands right from a smartphone or tablet. Users view designs by clicking on files in 3D Warehouse, Dropbox, Trimble Connect or email attachments. In V3.0, users are then able to:

    • Play scene-based animations.
    • Use Section Planes, Edge Styles and Watermarks.
    • Pull measurements with the Tape Measure tool.

    Having mobile access to all SketchUp designs helps you make minor adjustments on the go and keeps your portfolio of work on-hand, no matter where you are.

    Check it out here: SketchUp Mobile Viewer V3.0

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    Tags: 3D CAD, Productivity, SketchUp