Friday, March 25, 2005

Audio Guide

If you are new to EMS, don't miss the Audio Guide. It the fastest most fun way to learn how to design 3D parts. The guide takes you step-by-step into the EMS world.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Designs with numerous lines

The software can get bogged down or even appears to freeze if you have too many lines in your design. This could happen, for example, with a grid of 20 x 20 (400) holes. One customer had a design with 2599 lines! Solution: specify only a few of the holes and the remainder using CTM (comments to machinist).

Monday, March 21, 2005

New release

It's been 3 months since the last update of the software. We suffered from the just-one-more-change syndrome. Details are at: .

Monday, March 14, 2005

"Direct" mode of ordering

If you can't use the "direct" method of ordering or sending troubleshooting messages, it's probably due to a firewall. Click Edit Preferences Ordering Advanced and add your SMTP server.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Some users confuse CTU (comments to user) with CTM (comments to machinist). Double check that you used the correct type of comment. For example if you put a tolerance for a hole using CTU, the machinist will not see your request.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Turret Punch

TP is economical for many jobs but remember that it uses standard punch sizes for cutting. When one or more holes in your design cannot be cut with standard punches, consider Laser Cut, Water Jet or Wire EDM.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Custom flat washers

If you ever need a flat washer of a specific OD, ID, thickness, and material you can do it easily in ems. Just draw the two concentric circles and select the material and machine. Turret Punch will be lowest cost in most cases but also consider laser or wire EDM for more size flexibility. For longer runs use Blanking.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Resetting the origin

If you did not start your design at a "clean" origin like (0,0), it's easy to correct. Press Ctrl+A to select all lines. Enter 0,0 on the numeric bar and press Enter. This will move the lower left corner to 0,0. A clean origin makes it easier to check your design without needing to use dimension guidelines.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Importing designs

When importing 3D designs from another CAD package: do the import; use edit-select all; choose Line Machine User Comments. This converts all lines to comments lines. Then assign a machine to a few lines and check the 3D view. Converting lines gradually is much easier than trying to do all lines at once.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Newsletter vs RSS feed

If you signed up for our newsletter and did not receive one there is a good reason. We've just been too busy to get a newsletter out. To stay in close touch with us look for the feed links near the bottom of the right margin. Atom and RSS feeds (two hot web tricks) allow you to see additions to this blog automatically - like a newsletter. If you don't have a feed reader click the feed links to find out where to get a reader. You can get PC-based or Web-based readers. Many feed readers are free. Say that six times fast!

Rubber molding

In addition to injection molding we recently began offering rubber molding too. Today we shipped a job of simple rubber washers (with a small recess). Rubber of course is good for sealing, flexibility, grip, shock absorbing, sound suppression, etc.

Comment lines

Some of our customers add various guidelines that provide a double check that everything is in the right spot. For example, for two holes that need to be 10 inches apart, they draw a comment line between the hole centers and leave the line in the drawing. They check that the comment line is 10 inches and that the circle centers align with the line end points. Though not necessary, such comment lines can add a level of comfort since ems drawings are normally not dimensioned.

Making a preliminary design

Before spending time doing a design in detail, do a quick rough design of the approximate desired size and shape of your part and selected material. Then run the Analyze command and make sure it passes the machinability tests. Then, as you refine the design, run the Analyze command periodically for an ongoing "reality check".

Friday, February 04, 2005

Engraving letters

Did you know you can machine letters into parts? First select the "A" button and type the text. This creates a comment. Then press the F5 key to get the machine dialog and select a machine. We now include fonts tailored to some common machines. For example, for laser you don't want the hole in the letter P falling out! So all internal contours are attached to the outside.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Plating & Anodizing contacts

During electroplating and anodizing etc, electrical contacts must be attached to the part. At the connection point there can be small marks where plating does not occur. Today a customer commented on this in a decorative job. To avoid this we recommend to use CTM (Comments To Machinist) to clarify which surfaces are visible and must be free of contact marks. For example, if there is a hole thru a part with a top and bottom surface the normal process is to hang the part on a wire thru the hole. But if you specify that the top must be free of contact marks, we will arrange a different mechanical attachment method.