Search for patents
Want to find out if there is a patent for an apparatus to generate noise for an electric car? Then head to the new IBM U.S. Patent Search Web Site (http://patent.womplex.ibm.com). Do a search by typing in "electric car," and you'll get seven hits including Patent 5517173 issued in 1996. The abstract includes in-ventors, assignees, a brief abstract, any references, and claims. Order a copy of the patent right online. The site also offers more than 2 million patents from 1971 through 1996 and full images of nearly 1 million U.S. patents issued since 1987. IBM will be adding images from 1974 to 1986 during 1997. To keep you coming back for more,the site features a Gallery of Obscure Patents that changes on a regular basis.
Autodesk site introduces PartSpec and DesignBlocks
While visiting the Autodesk site(http://data.autodesk.com) you can browse PartSpec online. There you can review 400,000 predrawn parts and 35,000 materials. You have to download Autodesk's WHIP!TM Plug-In, which enables you to view the PartSpec Online parts drawings stored in Auto-desk's new DWF (drawing web file) format. The plug-in works with Net-scape Navigator 3.0. While on the site, check out the new Design-BlocksTM. The CD-ROM subscription gives you product drawings, details, images, specifications, and technical and performance data.
Job listings for CAD/CAM
Here are several sites where you can shop around your computer-aided-engineering skills. For Pro/Engineer-related job listings, check out http://www.pejn.com. And Unigraphics users can visit http://www.ugjn.com.
Plug into AutoPilot
AutoPilot, sponsored by Reynolds Metals Company (http://data.autodesk.com), lets you view a generic 3-D car and select aluminum parts for detailed information. You need Netscape Nav-igator 2.0 and Mac-romedia's Shockwave (downloadable).
Balluff now online
Search the latest product information, distributors, and catalog at Balluff's web site ( http://www.balluff.com) Balluff offers sensors for automation. Future plans for the site include enabling users to download technical data sheets in CAD format.
Stay up-to-date with Rapid Prototyping home page
Updated on a weekly basis, the Rapid Prototyping Home Page (http://stress.mech.utah.edu:80/home/novac/rapid.asp) offers listingsof commercial systems, consultants and commercial service providers, research, literature, conferences, and unusual applications and technologies. A couple of must-see sites are the Rapid Prototyping System Selector 3.0 to match the RP system with your needs and a 3-D print-ing process being developed at MIT.
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†These are some of the topics available in the Design News discussion forums. Just click on the forums button on the home page and scan through the topics. You may even want to add one of your own. If nothing else, you'll know you're not alone in the design engineering field.
Hot link: Virtual reality gets real
Want to see the latest in the world of virtual reality? Then check out http://vrml.sgi.com/ and the top 40 sites of VRML on the Internet. The 10 science and engineering sites include a lunar landing, the physics of sound, and an autogenerated tetrahedron. The sites look best using at least Netscape 3, and you'll have to download VRML 2.0 Browser to view. A little patience is also necessary because it takes a couple of minutes to load the images. Anyone thinking about VRML modeling should look at these sites first to view the technology.
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