At a press and analyst briefing in January, Michael Campbell, VP of product management at PTC, described some of the new capabilities of WildFire 3.0, expected to ship in March 2006. With a focus on improving user productivity, engineers have added some significant new features they call "smart model" enhancements. The list includes improved annotations for 3D drawings, including the ability to set datums on surfaces and define "up" for annotations. Also, users will now have the ability to automatically create 2D drawings off of 3D drawings — because, hey, who doesn't need 2D drawings even in a 3D environment? And to help knock that proverbial wall down between engineering and manufacturing, users will now have the ability to embed process information about a particular feature (a countersunk hole, for example) into the 3D drawing. Check out the PTC Wildfire 3.0 resource center at http://rbi.ims.ca/4915-535.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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