Hand an engineer or would-be designer a powerful and low-cost tool and there’s no telling what they can create with it. That’s the message Alibre is trying to sell with its family of 3-D design tools. With the newest edition, Alibre Design Personal Edition launched in May, Alibre officials say any one can become an entrepreneur and market their innovation to the masses.
To drive home this do-it-yourself innovation story, Alibre is showcasing a handful of creations thanks to the work of its aspiring entrepreneurs:
Linn Audio has designed seven-foot tall custom home theater speakers, using Alibre Design and Alibre CAM to design the panels and machine out the parts. Owner David Lynn says he “likes how in Alibre Design you can draw a rough sketch of the part you need to make and then go back and dimension it to exact specifications.” Alibre CAM then sends the cutting toolpath in the form of G-code to the CNC Machine, which cuts the pattern of internal and external components of the speaker cabinet.
University of New Mexico masters student Francisco Rodriguez Alibre-inspired creation is a robot based on the TXT-1 monster truck. Using Alibre Design, Rodriguez added an odometer and extra shock absorber on each of the truck’s front wheels and an aluminum plate to support the sensors and computer. The end result: A robot used to make simulations in a virtual world with the goal of becoming a search and rescue robot that could be used to locate victims in mine fields, collapsed building or for structural inspection.
String Theory Yoyos’ Mark Mankiewicz decided to try his hand with Alibre Design, creating a professional grade yo-yo that’s precision machined for maximum stability and balanced-rim weighted for maximum spin time. His material of choice: Aerospace grade aluminum and premium steel bearings. Mankiewicz’s design called for two butterfly-bell halves to form an exact weight. Alibre Design Expert helped the fledging designer calculate the physical properties after each design change so he could ensure he was within regulation.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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