CAD software: A week as a 3D engineer

What does today’s CAD development software need to provide to meet the latest industrial requirements? According to the Predicts 2018 report issued by Gartner, a consulting firm, it definitely has to include good integration of additive manufacturing options. The ease with which 3D CAD engineering can be learned was recently readily apparent in Nuremberg, where 30 teenagers spent a week at the Siemens Engineering Summer Camp and created their own 3D CAD playground models.

When it comes to the digital twin of products, Axel Mundhenk is in a class of his own. He is a presales manager for Siemens Industry software and usually handles the training of distribution partners in the Solid Edge 3D CAD software. This software can be used to design, test, and optimize products along with all their properties and motion patterns long before they are manufactured – an approach that saves time, money, and materials. But he trained young people for a change at the engineering camp. Along with a colleague and three students who knew about Solid Edge from the Formula 1 in competition and elsewhere, he assisted the students in developing playground equipment.

Intuitive use

“I’ve never worked with Solid Edge or any other CAD software before and was surprised to see how quickly I was able to use it during this week,” says Aitana Sekora, one of the teens. “The summer camp is about a whole lot more than just CAD training,” Mundhenk explains. “It has to do with the entire field of engineering.”

 

At the end, the teens presented modular monkey bars and towers that look like an enormous piece of cheese for their CAD designs of pirate-themed playgrounds, as well as ideas on the weather resistance of the materials they chose. They also pointed out the safety clearances needed at the end of the slide and calculated the costs. Some of the groups produced miniature prototypes of their models on the available 3D printers.

Integrated software from start to finish

The teens were able to try this out directly thanks to a partnership with Shining 3D. With a 3D scanner and a 3D printer, they could import individual elements for the playground equipment directly into Solid Edge so they could then be subsequently fitted into the existing unit. The teens used modeling clay, for example, to sculpt handles for their playground equipment. Afterwards, they were able to scan in the handles for further processing on the computer. Some of the groups also simulated functions or performed material load tests in Solid Edge, just some of the typical activities that take place in the real life of engineers. This gave the teenagers a feel for how a digital twin is created, the kinds of benefits it offers, and how it can be used.


In order to actually implement their 3D design as a print job, Boleslaw Telesiński, head of AM Services at 3YOURMIND, explained what the teenagers need to keep in mind while constructing their models. 3YOURMIND offers software solutions for 3D print jobs. The cost of printing a 3D model can be calculated in Solid Edge, taking into account different material options, and the order can then be placed with an external service provider. Telesiński has already helped many companies to adapt their existing design files to the requirements of 3D printing. “It is important to have a general understanding of what 3D data needs to look like so that you end up with a printable file.”

A growing occupational field

“I’m happy to support this initiative,” said Maria Ferraro, CFO of Siemens Digital Factory, as she congratulated the participants at the end of the week. “It is wonderful to be here with the next generation of engineers. I hope to have the pleasure of meeting some of you again at Siemens a few years from now.”

 

“We could easily do this every summer vacation,” said Mundhenk about the summer camp. “We’re going to try to expand the project.” He already has another 30 teenagers on his waiting list.

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