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Syracuse University Senior Design Project

When I am not at CADimensions interning, I am at Syracuse University as a full time student pursuing my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. For my senior design class, students were put into groups of five and given the objective to build a “sphere harvester.” The requirements for the machine are that it needs to be able to pick up tennis, lacrosse, and golf balls and successfully place them into a collection bin. The machine must also be able to sort each ball type, so only a specific ball is deposited into the basket. Lastly, the machine must fit into an 11x7x9 inch box. Each team was provided with a budget of $250.00. On test day, the machine will have two minutes to traverse an area and pick up as many balls of a specified type and deposit them into a basket with one foot high sides.

It was up to each team to design how their machine would collect, sort, and transport the balls, as well as controlling the machine. Our machine relies on a tank tread system that continuously turns and pick up balls as they go between curved fins. An embedded load cell weighs the ball to determine if it is our target ball type. If we have a match, the ball will enter an onboard storage container. The other two ball types fall off the side of the machine. The storage container uses a scissor lift and a door to feed the balls into the final basket. Two main wheels, each controlled by a motor, allow the machine to make zero point turns for easy maneuverability. Each subsystem of the machine is linked to a wireless remote control. 


Installation Tips and Good Housekeeping

The SOLIDWORKS support technicians at CADimensions frequently field questions regarding installing SOLIDWORKS. Here are a few simple tips that will help you get up to speed with running SOLIDWORKS so you won’t have to spend so much time installing the product.

Get a Customer Portal Account

Don’t have one yet? There’s no time like the present. Surf on over to the SOLIDWORKS website and click the login link. You can then navigate to the SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal or MySolidWorks (see figure 1). Either link will let you create a new account, and you can access both locations with the same username and password. You’ll need your SOLIDWORKS serial number to create your account, which you can easily get by opening SOLIDWORKS, clicking the Help menu, and selecting About SOLIDWORKS.


5 Easy Ways to Find a Mate

If you’ve come here hoping for dating advice, I’m afraid I have none. Ladies, I’m sorry, I’m off the market. However, if it’s a SOLIDWORKS mate you are seeking, I can help with that. 

For me, the scenario is usually as follows: Components are inserted into an assembly and are mated together one mate at a time. With the quick mating tools in SOLIDWORKS, components are assembled almost without thinking (I use ctrl+select primarily with an occasional alt+drag). At some point, I mate a component and it doesn’t fit. I realize that one of the mates I added (usually about 37 mates ago) was incorrect. This is no more than a mild nuisance because all I have to do in SOLIDWORKS is edit the mate, and correct my mistake. Now, I just have to find it…

Say I made a coincident mate that was intended to be a distance mate. I’ve got 156 mates in my top level assembly at the moment. 64 of them are coincident. 

Which one of these 64 coincident mates was supposed to be a distance mate? How do I find it without scrolling through 156 mates? 

In this article I’ll show you my 5 favorite ways to find a mate with ease.


How SOLIDWORKS got her colors back

At SOLIDWORKS World this year (read about it here), Bruce Holway, Director of Product Definition at SOLIDWORKS, announced that with Service Pack 3.0 of SOLIDWORKS 2016, we would have the ability to change the icon colors back to “Classic” mode. Well, the time has arrived! Service Pack 3.0 was released in April. With a couple of simple clicks, we can go from this:

Classic Mode   back to this:   Colors

As you know, SOLIDWORKS does a great job listening to its users. Most of you who read this blog are also members of the SOLIDWORKS forums. If you are not, please check them out. There is a ton of wonderful information in there. The thread for User Interface exploded when 2016 came out. Many people were (sometimes violently) opposed to the change. So SOLIDWORKS decided to give us a choice!


Quick Guide to Sealing FDM with Insight

So you’re interested in qualifying that new product design that holds liquid but dreading the required post-processing? Keep calm and Insight.

There seems to be an endless amount of applications as Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology evolves. Nonetheless, those looking to AM for functional prototyping and end-use parts continue to get the job done with a 25 year-old workhorse - Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology. A whopping 85% of the market is FDM based and it’s no surprise. It produces accurate and functional parts in a wide array of engineered production plastics.

Aside from all of its advantages, FDM is also inherently porous. For many applications this doesn’t come into play at all. If you’re thermoforming, you’d embrace this flaw. However, if you’re trying to hold a gas or liquid (in or out), this is a glaring limitation. So when porosity is a concern, starting with Insight processing software is the best way to ensure that your application is successful.

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