Monday, June 26, 2017

Autodesk University 2017

I am very excited to announce that I have been accepted to speak at Autodesk University 2017!

This will be my fifth consecutive year speaking at Autodesk University, and I am very honored. I realize there are a lot of brilliant people who submit proposals.

I have done this dynamic blocks class before, and it always proves to be popular. One of the most fun things is learning from attendees how they are using dynamic blocks.

Are you going to AU2017? I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Selection Cycling

Have you ever had two objects drawn over each other, and you wanted to select one of the items but AutoCAD only allows you to select the other? If you have used AutoCAD for very long, I am sure the answer is yes. I frequently get this question from my students.

Here are the steps that I have given students to cycle through object selection:

Turn on Selection Cycling on the status bar. If the button is not visible, click the three lines at the far right of the status bar, and turn it on.

Now, when you click in an area with more than one object, you will get a dialog that let's you hover over each object to preview. When the object you want is highlighted, click on the item in the list and you have selected it.

The downside to this method is that I find Selection Cycling to be intrusive. It pops up all the time. Therefore I leave it off and turn it on only when needed.

I just learned recently, however, that there is a faster way! 

Hover over the overlapping objects.
Hold the shift key and tap the spacebar. Each time you tap the spacebar it will cycle through the different objects. Simply click when the desired object is highlighted!

I cannot wait to share this tip with my students!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

AutoCAD Civil 3D Training

I am currently attending AutoCAD Civil 3D Fundamentals training at Mid-West CAD, located in Lee's Summit, Missouri. Several years ago I took Revit Architecture training there and was very pleased, so I was excited to go back. I teach AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Revit, and CREO Parametric, but have yet to journey into the civil space. I recently had to find a new part-time instructor to teach the Civil Drafting course that we offer at Hutchinson Community College. I am excited about the new instructor, and I am sure he is going to do a great job. However, I want to make sure that I can step in if he ever needs a substitute.

 AutoCAD Civil 3D is such a different creature than the other applications I have used. After 20 years of using CAD software, I can pick up most drawing applications and figure out how to get started. We are already halfway through the first day of training, and I have yet to draw a single line! There are so many settings to keep track of, and we are working with imported GIS data so far. I find this fascinating, but I am used to starting with drawing tools so I am learning to adapt.

 Are there any new Civil 3D users out there? Any advice for me?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

SkillsUSA Throwback Thursday

Several of our drafting students participate in SkillsUSA, which is an organization for students in technical programs. SkillsUSA began as VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America).

HutchCC first got involved with SkillsUSA/VICA back in 1998. Tracy Chadwick was the first student president. Tracy won first place in the Kansas state SkillsUSA Technical Drafting contest, and went on to win a Bronze medal at the national contest.

This was just the beginning of a winning tradition. Our students regularly finish first at state and go on to represent HutchCC at the national contest.

After completing a bachelor degree at Kansas State University, Tracy joined the faculty of Hutchcc, and has been the coordinator and lead instructor of the Computer Drafting Technology program since 2010.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Today in Parametric Modeling I, students are creating parts with multiple features. Here is an example of one of the parts.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Evan Wondra

Evan Wondra is a 2015 graduate of the Computer Drafting Technology program at HutchCC. Evan is now completing a bachelor's degree at Fort Hays State University. He recently shared his feelings about our program:

After graduating from Hutchinson Community College with an AAS Computer Drafting Technology - Machine Drafting degree, I transferred to Fort Hays State University to get a Bachelors degree in Communication Technology. Going through the HCC computer drafting program was the best decision I made! It taught me how to use several programs such as AutoCAD, Inventor, and 3dsMax. Once I started my classes at FHSU, I quickly learned that I had more knowledge about these programs than many of the other students. In one of my classes, my instructor asked us who all had experience with Inventor. I raised my hand and he said "I would expect you to know plenty about Inventor since you had Tracy at Hutchinson." Our goal for the Inventor module was to see what group could make a claw that could pick up items and deposit them into a toy truck the fastest. My group was the winner of that competition and one of the other students in the class said that we only won because I knew how to use Inventor.

Another one of my instructors was trying a new module this year and that module was 3ds Max. He hadn't used the program in three years so he had forgotten how to do most of it. He found out that I had taken a whole semester of 3ds Max at HCC, so he had me go through the tutorials first so that I could find any mistakes in them. Then whenever any of the other students had questions, he would have them come ask me. The instructors in the HCC computer drafting program know how to use these programs, and they do an excellent job of teaching it to their students. I would say that the HCC computer drafting program has put me a step ahead of my fellow students at FHSU.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

3D Printing

I recently read a blog post by Shaun Hurley titled "3D Printing is Not a Fad". This post came at a perfect time because I had just attended a 3D Printing Road Show in Wichita, KS hosted by Stratasys and Depco. While I have always known several of the ways 3D printed parts were being used, I had no idea the scope. From prototype parts, to castings, to actual production parts it is amazing the way this technology is being adapted and utilized.

Here at Hutchinson Community College we were fortunate to be early adopters of 3D printing, specifically the Stratasys Dimension SST 768. We have had this printer for approximately ten years. While it is still a great printer, I decided it was time to upgrade to newer technology. Fortunately, we were able to secure a grant to purchase an Objet30 Prime printer. We will be making the purchase some time this fall. I am very excited for this new technology for a few reasons:

  • Rubbery material. Printing in ABS plastic is great, but I can't wait to create more flexible models (literally!)
How cool is this rubber tire?!
  • Clear material. The SST 768 was somewhat limited on material choices. I cannot wait to print some working assemblies with a clear outside so that students can see the inner workings!
  • Resolution. The SST 768 had a minimum layer thickness of .013 in.; the Objet30 Prime has a minimum layer thickness of .0006 in. (!) 
    • Take a look at the difference in these two parts:

Yep, that's why I am excited.

Incidentally, the part on the left was my first attempt to "glue" two parts together. I used acetone to essentially melt the parts into one. It worked like a charm, that thing is solid! Next I applied some body filler (Bondo) and sanded. Since this was a test part I didn't spend a lot of time to get it perfectly smooth, but it was a good indicator on how finishing a part would turn out. Here is the result:

Here is what I ultimately printed and finished. A Sabine helmet from Star Wars Rebels:

Yeah, I am a Star Wars geek.

Perhaps someday I will post the pictures of the process from beginning to end.

May the Force be with you in all your 3D printing endeavors!