The CADGroup Booth at Manufacturing Week, Sydney

Cadgroup Booth at National Manufacturing Week 2014

I was lucky to be invited to National Manufacturing Week in Sydney this week to join the CADGroup guys in their booth at the show. They have recently been appointed as a reseller for the Autodesk HSM CAM products in Australia. Talking to them about the local manufacturing industry revealed some surprising details. The general opinion was that there tends to be a lot of fabrication, but not a lot of machining and component manufacture. I was initially skeptical, until I started to walk around the trade halls and have a look at the various companies displaying their products and services. After doing a full lap of both exhibition halls, I figured that there must be a 3rd somewhere. Where were all the CNC machines!? Not a single CNC mill or lathe in sight. The closest I could find was the Multicam stand who sell various routers designed and built in Australia. Multicam Router

Multicam booth at National Manufacturing week 2014

All the other NC gear was for profiling, waterjets and plasmas at every turn. I was very disappointed. Could this really be the case? If I find a 3rd hall somewhere, I’ll give an update, but I had hoped to write this article about all the wonderful VMCs and mill-turns on display, and now I’m just going to have to talk about 3D printers instead…

Those “other” machines….

Having followed 3D printing for many years, I can’t say I get excited about watching hobby machines turn plastic filament into little trinkets anymore. There must be a large group of people who do however, as there are at least 10 small scale 3D printer distributors flogging their wares within a stones throw of our booth here. After a cursory glance at each, I stumbled across an additive manufacturing machine that did get me excited, a laser based, metal powder fusion machine. Renishaw have a really good name for CNC touch probes and coordinate measuring machines. Now they build metal printers! They had some beautiful samples on display printed in Titanium and tell me that the strength properties of the material are similar to that of the cast equivalent.

Renishaw Booth

Renishaw booth at National Manufacturing Week 2014

Parts printed in Titanium

 3D Printed Titanium Parts

Freeform bodies and Direct Edit.

If you’re a follower of Design and Motion, you would have noticed that we’ve been getting pretty excited about the new Freeform and Direct Edit tools in Inventor 2015. If you happen to be in Sydney, CADGroup’s Technical Head, Deepak Maini will be giving a live presentation at the NMW show on these new tools, as well as some really good stuff on large assembly management and Configurator 360.

By the way…

The first day at the show was a little quiet, so I thought I’d try and break Inventor HSM, just for fun. I created an adaptive clearing toolpath for an entire tractor tyre with a very detailed tread pattern. After a lot of chugging away, I ended up with a toolpath that would run for 42 hours according to the simulation statistics. Now of course you’d never actually run this code, but it was fun to see if I could push the limits of the engine. It completed the task with no issues which was great to see,.

Complex Inventor HSM Toolpath

Ridiculously complex and pointless toolpath – Just for fun

And lastly…. the convention center has a cool roof.

Convention Center Roof Sydney