Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Autodesk University 2010 – Part II

Last week, I blogged about AU 2010 and wrote about the Product Clinic virtual class and the Autodesk technology presentations. This week, let’s talk about the Exhibit Hall.

On the Z Corp. stand, we showed our ZPrinter 450, ZScanner 700, and ZBuilder Ultra solutions with several part models from the printer and rapid prototyping systems. As usual, visitors to the booth were impressed with the detail and color quality of the ZPrints. This year, several Autodesk users from the manufacturing and product design space were equally intrigued by the resolution and smoothness of the ZBuilder Ultra plastic prototype parts.

In the Autodesk exhibit space, the Tesla Motors full-size electric car took center stage, but there were a couple of interesting 3D printed scale models on display as well. Let’s start with the Austrian pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo. This futuristic building was designed by SPAN Architects and scale models (approximately 24 inches x 20 inches) were completed with traditional subtractive metal manufacturing, plastic, and plaster-based (Z Corp.) systems. It was interesting to see the differences and the pros/cons for each model. The metal model was painted in a shiny gloss white and quite smooth, but likely cost a bundle to manufacture.

The plastic model (by another manufacturer) was printed as one piece in orange plastic and contour stair-stepping is quite visible, leading me to question, "Why didn't somebody sand this model?"

The Z Corp. model was printed in four separate pieces on a ZPrinter 650 to get the desired scale with the added benefit of being able to see inside the structure.

The Autodesk Exhibit Manager, Matt Tierney, was quite pleased with the overall quality and smooth look and feel of the model.

A few feet away from the World Expo display, there was an exhibigt featuring the work of Autodesk CEO, Carl Bass, a noted furniture-making enthusiast.

Using the ZPrinter 450 in the Autodesk San Francisco Customer Briefing Center, Bass had several 3D prints created with different surface finishes and textures.  One was speckled granite adnd others were wood grain.  Ultimately, Bass chose black granite for his home garden piece.