Software Takes Care of Engineer Grandstanding

Cabe Atwell

February 5, 2014

2 Min Read
Software Takes Care of Engineer Grandstanding

If you could run a simulation of the Golden Mousetrap live awards show, it would be fitting for virtualization to take the prize. This year, solidThinking has submitted Inspire 9.5 for consideration, with head-turning results. Inspire lets everyone in the design chain examine structurally efficient concepts. The software does away with often-incorrect designing by feeling-this-will-work mentality. Overly engineered parts, excess material, and material placement are all analyzed by Inspire, resulting in a version that might not be apparent in a sketch.

On a broader position, reducing materials saves the planet, manufacturing time, and part weight. With a slew of optimization settings, the minimum size of the part is automatically shown in real-time. This is an example of a tool standing on the shoulders of those who engineered with pen and paper. Requiring an engineer to know how to make every strain and stress calculation is unreasonable. Inspire makes minimum material calculations like other programs makes extrusion cuts. It's truly the next-step tool in 3D modeling.

The tool's clean interface is attractive, but it still gives access to everything an engineer could need. It could be argued that even the most complicated HMI can be mastered. But it takes a well thought out UI design to make the complicated simple -- which is in the wheelhouse of Inspire.

The solidThinking product is vying to win the Golden Mousetrap Award in the CAD/PDM/PLM software category. It has some pretty stiff competition: Agilent Technologies has submitted its U5340A FPGA development kit for high-speed digitizers, and MSC Software has submitted its Adams/Machinery. Who will win? You can find out by attending the live event in Anaheim, Calif., during the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show on Tuesday, Feb. 11, or by checking in with on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

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About the Author(s)

Cabe Atwell

Cabe is an electrical engineer, machinist, maker, cartoonist, and author with 25 years’ experience. When not designing/building, he creates a steady stream of projects and content in the media world at element14,, MAKE ─ among others. His most recent book is “Essential 555 IC: Design, Configure, and Create Clever Circuits.

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