For years solidThinking Inspire has been some of the most innovative tech in the CAD industry and the company largely had a segment of the market to itself with its ground-breaking morphogenesis technology. In essence, what sets solidThinking Inspire apart from its nearest competitors is form-finding technology that aims to eliminate unnecessary product mass while finding and creating innovative new product forms that meet structural and product durability performance requirements.
The Bicycle Test Case
A good way to think about what solidThinking Inspire does is to think about the frame of a bicycle. Imagine that you invented the concept of a bicycle, with three key points on the frame of the bike, the steering while part, the part where you sit, and the part where the human body translates force into the pedals that power the bike. Did the bicycle really need all that space in the middle of what resulted in a triangular form for the frame? No, it didn’t.
Everyone knows, however, that bicycle frames are a bit more complex than a simple triangle made of three tubular forms. In turns out, they are quite a bit more complex, even after factoring in the extensions known as the forks for the attachment of wheels.
solidThinking Inspire today is not only used by bicycle manufacturers and designers but by companies like aeronautical engineering firms, industrial designers creating every manner of constructed part or machine and by automobile, aircraft, boat, tractor and even AEC design professionals like architects. At Architosh we have written extensively about solidThinking Inspire in the past (see, Architosh, “Product Review: solidThinking Inspire 2014,” 22 Jan 2015 ).
Investigating Structurally Efficient Concepts
The core purpose of solidThinking Inspire is to investigate structurally efficient concepts and forms that can lead to ground-breaking improvements in both the weight (lightness) and strength of products, assemblies, and discreet parts. Inspire brings simulation into the early stages of the design process helping designers and product manufacturers generate design concepts in minutes.
The company, of course, is not entirely alone in the product design world now with morphological optimization prowess. Architosh recently wrote about Autodesk’s latest generative design technology which used to be known as Project Dreamcatcher.
An interesting note about Inspire though is the product works with solidThinking Evolve, an industrial designer’s creative design app that has unique technologies unmatched in the industry. However, solidThinking Inspire interfaces with other CAD tools as well. Let’s look at what is new in the 2017 release.
All The New Features in solidThinking Inspire 2017
A big new features area in Inspire 2017 is Inspire Motion. As the name suggests, this new feature set enables product design engineers to study a component, assembly or part in motion or a dynamic state. Here’s a run-down on the features regarding Inspire Motion:
- Mechanism Motion Check
- Predicts Loads
- Simulate spring-damper effect
- Study static and transient behaviors
- Estimate motor torque requirements
- Export results and loads
Inspire’s motion setup includes new tools like motors.
Below is an instructional video showing how motion analysis works in the latest solidThinking Inspire 2017.2.
Topography optimization is the next major update in version 2017, where the goals include form or shape optimization, maximizing stiffness without adding mass, maximizing the frequency of a model, and of course accelerating the optimization process itself. Finally, version 2017 includes new features for partitions and bolt pretentions.
Availability and System Requirements
solidThinking Inspire 2017 is available now in its latest iteration but sadly, as of version 2017.2, Inspire no longer supports the Mac. For years this product ran on the Mac we suspect the core reasons why the company has dropped Mac support could simply involve the origin of where some of the new code is coming from. The entire solidThinking product line has grown from two products (Evolve and Inspire) to eight products, with its Click2 series of products offering new features built on core Inspire technologies.
It certainly has not helped the situation either that Apple inadvertently sent such poor signals to the market about its focus on pro users. Now that the company says it is committed to the needs of pro users again and is working on both an iMac-based workstation as well as an extremely power modular workstation, things can possibly change in the future when individual product designers and engineers decide to embrace such new Mac machines in the near future, prompting new demands on software developers.
To learn more about solidThinking Inspire 2017, visit them online here.