CAD File Formats and How to Export Them for 3D Printing

There are a lot of CAD (computer-aided design) file types out there, each with its own names, formats, and parameters. From STEP files to STL files, to IGES and more, it can be difficult to differentiate between them. This article will help you understand the difference between these file types, and which are best for uploading […]


Nothing Gets In: Waterproof Enclosure Design 101 (and IP68)

Design guidelines for waterproof enclosure design, as well as IP68 waterproof rating design.


Creating Involute Gears in CAD

Say you’re 3D printing a robot, and you’re designing a sweet gearing system to make your robot move smoothly. You can choose to 3D print or CNC machine involute gears for simple and reliable incorporation in your robot design. What to do about the fact that most CAD programs don’t have a “create involute gears” button? Welp, you’ll […]


Best Practices for Fixing Solidworks Import Errors

Like most SOLIDWORKS software users, you likely collaborate with other people on part designs or assembly projects. Collaboration is typically a good thing. After all, two heads are better than one, right? However, not everyone uses SOLIDWORKS, so the people you collaborate with likely end up sending you files with extensions like IGES, QIF, JT, […]


Introduction to CNC Milling Cuts and Toolpaths

This article is a companion to Getting Started with CNC, an introduction to the different types of CNC milling machines and the software used to design the parts they produce. Here, we’re going to discuss CNC milling terminology, toolpaths, and common operations. Chip Formation You may have seen images like Figure 1, which show how […]


Getting Started with CNC Milling

Computer numerical control, or CNC, is one of the most common and well-known automated processes in manufacturing. CNC machines help companies and individuals make manufacturing processes easier to inspect and control while reducing human errors. They’re used for milling, turning, plasma cutting, electrical discharge machining, water jet cutting, punching, drilling, laser cutting, and more. This […]


5 Reasons You Need to Use 2D Drawings

As an engineer, you’ve made many 2D drawings, because drawings are still essential to the manufacturing process. Given advances in design tool technology, you may also have wondered: “Why am I creating this drawing? Why aren’t we using CAD?”  Good questions! Computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) are amazing tools but they […]


3D Modeling: From Fundamentals to Advanced Techniques

The computer modeling world is a vast array of techniques and programs that can serve as tools in aiding professionals to create, simulate, and visualize their designs. This article will introduce some different types of 3D modeling software and then walk through a sample workflow in Solidworks to show you what you can do with […]



Tolerance Stack Ups 501: Going Beyond Mechanical Fit and Into Predictive Design

Tolerance Stack-Ups are a vital component of any engineer’s workflow, to ensure successful mechanical design fit. But successful engineers in demanding industries such as medical, aerospace, and automotive, need to rely on data to do more than this. They need data to improve real design outcomes beyond “guess and check” — to improve design understanding […]


Mass Customization: The Future of Made-to-Fit Manufacturing

Once upon a time there were cobblers, who would craft shoes to individual feet. Then came the industrial revolution, and the cobblers were replaced by dozens of factory workers, each performing a single step to build standard shoes—and feet were expected to adapt. This wasn’t all bad; the new shoes were cheaper, and more people […]