Rendering the Apple iPod nano 6th generation in SolidWorks 2011

Well, we’ve finally got SolidWorks 2011.  They’ve made some tremendous improvements with rendering through the new PhotoView 360 (in contrast to PhotoWorks from 2007).  Lately, we look for every excuse to render something.

Here’s the new Apple iPod nano modeled to exact dimensions (as provided by Apple) and rendered in PhotoView 360.  It took under 60 minutes to model, choose material and decals, adjust the scene and render the final.

iPod nano 6th generation rendered in SolidWorks PhotoView 360

The quality and time savings in comparison to several years ago is incredible.

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Beautifully CNC Machined Titanium Lanyard Rings

After many weeks, months, or years in development, every Engineer loves to finally hold in hand his/her work.  There is no better a reward than admiring something you’ve created (at least for the Engineering / Entrepreneurial minds) even more so if it works!  I am not sure why but I also thoroughly enjoy machining parts and watching parts being machined.

These are 6AL4V (Titanium) lanyard rings we had machined for a consumer product.  If I remember correctly, each one took about 30 minutes to complete on a 3-axis Vertical Machining Center.  These were beautifully machined by a very talented machinist and it showed.

Video Notes: This part is made from 6061-T6 aluminum and turned on a slant bed CNC gang lathe.  This was done by one of our partner factories located in Shenzhen, China.  We work with them quite often and have had great success thus far.  Check out the video annotations for details …

Need something like this designed?   Even if you are in the beginning stage of your project give us a shout and we can help answer some of those questions with no obligation. Visit our contact us page and lets talk!

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How we manage our clients using web 2.0 CRM …


As any business owner will tell you, the back-end of the business is always the least enjoyed.  This includes administration tasks such as book keeping, managing client’s and lead’s contact information, invoicing, and project management.  To make all of these things less painful, we have evaluated numerous software packages and web 2.0 applications.  Here is what we’ve decide on for managing contacts, proposals, leads, and all things related to winning and keeping you as a client.  This is also known as a CRM package.

How do we keep track of your requests and information?

As a shameless plug for the service we use, I have included their banner at the top of this post.  Highrise CRM is one of the best web-based CRM packages available today.  In a nutshell, it allows us to keep client information, proposed, new, and ongoing business, and email chains.  We BCC highrise on all emails related to you or your projects so we can easily access key decisions and see conversation history.  When they receive a BCC’d email, their software will determine which client we sent it to based on the “to” address and attach it to their portfolio.  We can even break it down into projects in the event we have multiple parallel projects.

Why web based?

We evaluated other complete packages such as openERP to find that they were very complicated and had a steep learning curve.  Additionally, they would need to be installed and maintained on our server.  Not only does this add additional cost to our hosting expenses, but it means that we have to spend time on something that is not our core competency.  Highrise has very affordable month-to-month packages that are less than one billable hour of our time.  I spent well over 8 hours just installing and trying to learn openERP only to give up and look for something easier.  If you just consider the expense of switching from a standard web-hosting package to a virtual private server (VPS) required to host openERP is nearly the cost of Highrise CRM, then it becomes a no-brainer.

How does this benefit our clients?

This first and foremost reason is keeping our overhead down.  By keeping our overhead costs down, we can also keep your development costs down.  In the long run, these savings will allow us to maximize your funding to include additional features or even an entire additional project.

What’s next?

We have three other web applications that we’ve decided to start using for similar reasons.  These help us with project management, book keeping, and invoicing.  I will cover these in three separate posts very soon!

Let us add you to our Highrise CRM software and make you a customer today by visiting our Contact Us page!

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Stay Tuned…

We are working on updating this section. We plan to add details on our projects and what we learned on each.

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