Autodesk

Mr. DIY Goes to Washington: TechShop Members at White House Maker Faire

John Lawton used to go to the White House to pick up presidents, vice presidents, and various heads of states for chopper rides. He was also the White House liaison officer for the HMX-1, the marine helicopter squadron that provides presidential transport. But when he returned to the White House in mid-June, he did so as an exhibitor at the first-ever White House Maker Faire. A veteran with a custom-furniture business, he embodies the inventive, do-it-yourself (DIY) spirit the Maker Faire celebrates.

When his service in the presidential squadron ended in 2013, Lawton  relocated to Austin, Texas, a city that he’d longed to live in. “It’s an innovator-, inventor-friendly place,” he remarked. The city suited his tinkering tendencies, shaped equally by his welder father and artist mother. That’s also where he stumbled on TechShop, a membership-based personal manufacturing community with production and training facilities across eight cities (two more locations opening soon). TechShop provides one-year free membership to veterans like Lawton, who served three deployments, two years in Iraq. So he joined the build-and-play TechShop community. Continue reading

Battling Robots Help MathWorks Get Aspiring Engineers in its Corner

An epic battle. Access to one of the country’s largest makerspaces and the latest in design tools and fabrication technologies. A mere two weeks to build and design an autonomous robot that will take down the competition.

No, this is not a Discovery Channel TV competition, but rather a local, in-person event sponsored by MathWorks, Autodesk, Artisan’s Asylum, and SparkFun Electronics. The Autonomous Robot Design Challenge, set to kick off this week in Somerville, MA, is the latest in MathWorks’ on-going efforts to court up-and-coming engineers with a variety of in-school and out-of-school learning initiatives. Continue reading

Autodesk Releases Inventor HSM, a CAD-Integrated CAM Product

For a long time, HSMWorks for SolidWorks was the envy of Autodesk Inventor users. The computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) program was best known for its tight integration with SolidWorks’ CAD program. Even the “-Works” in HSMWorks, I suspect, might have been the creators’ deliberate tie to SolidWorks in branding. The only way the SolidWorks-HSMWorks integration could have been tighter was for Dassault Systemes, SolidWorks’ parent company, to acquire HSMWorks.

HSMWorks eventually did get bought, but not by Dassault. It was by Autodesk, which owns SolidWorks’ CAD rival Autodesk Inventor. The fierce competition between SolidWorks and Inventor notwithstanding, the new owner vows to keep HSMWorks interoperable with SolidWorks. At the same time, the lack of an Inventor-integrated HSMWorks became an imbalance that needs to be corrected. This week, the correction comes in the form of Autodesk Inventor HSM, a CAD-CAM bundle that includes both Autodesk Inventor design software and CAM features. Continue reading

Autodesk Takes ZWCAD to Court for Copyright Infringement

Did China-based ZWSOFT copy some of Autodesk’s AutoCAD code while developing a competing product? Autodesk seems to think so.

On March 26, the company filed a case against ZWCAD Software Co., Ltd., ZWCAD Design Co., Ltd., and Global Force Direct, LLC. (ZWCAD’s sales arm targeting the U.S. market), alleging copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation (case summery here).

In the complaint filed with The U.S. District Court, Northern California, Autodesk writes, “The ‘new’ ZWCAD+ is not merely an AutoCAD ‘work-a-like,’ and it does not just share similar interfaces and commands. In crucial and unmistakable ways, ZWCAD+ performs identically to prior versions of AutoCAD. This duplication, which is at the source code level, could not have been accomplished through coincidence or the application of similar programming logic.” The complaint cites “the existence of ‘bugs,’ programming remnants, and other idiosyncrasies in software code” that suggest a shared origin. Continue reading

Dell Starts the Party at SXSW with Virtualization

After Dell made headlines last year for taking the publicly traded company private to allow it to innovate more freely, the company’s workstation division is having its “coming out party,” as Jeff Clark, who founded Dell’s workstation business 17 years ago called it. It’s a virtualization party, and the guest list includes the company’s software and hardware partners, as well as its customers.

The press event is taking place just a few miles up the road from Austin, where the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference begins tomorrow. At the event today, Dell announced that it is working with independent software vendors (ISVs), channel partners, virtualization software providers and its customers to move their applications from the desktop to the datacenter. The innovation comes in the knowledge of how to optimize virtualization for specific applications, so that software from Siemens, PTC, SolidWorks or Autodesk, for instance, runs as quickly as possible in a virtual environment.

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