Simmer3D started as a resource and not-so-daily blog for 3D design and printing.

The blog is about my adventures away from the traditional engineering work I do daily into a world of CGI, animation and 3D printing. I like to tell people, I’m not an artist. I’m a designer. I think I say that because I am in awe of artists.

My Name is Mark Simonelli. I am an engineer at Turbo Research, Inc in Pennsylvania. My journey into the 3D world started many years ago; back when computers were rare and drafting with a tee square and triangles were the thing. I loved drafting. I was good. I was fast. But I decided on electrical engineering for my field of study in college (Class of ’87).

I got my first taste of CAD when I got my first engineering job at Torrington Research Company in 1988. I had already proven myself as a good programmer, so my boss gave me a shot at a CAD/CAM project. Torrington Research made and tested prototype axial flow fans for Ford. We used MasterCAM to machine the fans from Phenolic. The blade geometry was determined by proprietary software created my boss, John O’Connor.  It was a time consuming task, but I was able to use my programming skills to greatly reduce the time from analysis to when the CNC mill was making chips.

At that time MasterCAM and Cadkey were nearly identical. Both were based in Connecticut and were the early adopters in the PC CAD/CAM market. To this day, I still use MasterCAM. Cadkey was sold many times since then. The last time I checked, it is now KeyCreator.

In the mid 90s, I made a move from Torrington to Pennsylvania which has been my home ever since.

In 1997, I switched from Cadkey to Solidworks…and that has been my home ever since too, but things are changing. In 2015, I have dedicated considerable efforts to learn Blender.  The modelling is different. With Blender, you work with meshes instead of parametric solids. That took some time to get used to. Given the choice, I still prefer Solidworks. It is possible to convert from Solidworks to Blender, but the geometry has issues. The meshes tend to be much larger than they need to be and the meshes are imported as triangles. Blender works best with quads and smaller node counts.

The appeal of Blender for me is all the other functions that are possible. It animates. It has physics (or FXs). It has a compositor. It has a video sequence editor. The are so many functions that it difficult for one person to become an expert in all of them.

Learning Blender has been an adventure and it has given me the ability to create videos for current company.

In 2016, I bought my first 3D printer. It was a Prusa i3 MK2. It started out as a hobby for home that has provided me the opportunity to learn the difference between designing for additive versus subtractive manufacturing.

My Prusa was my first 3d printer, but it wasn’t my first experience with 3D printing. My initiation started way back in the early 90s when I was still at Torrington Research. We made some prototype filters that were printed with SLA and tested in our lab.

I wouldn’t use 3D printing again until I was working for Turbo Research. We used 3D printing to expedite our investment casting process. The first job utilizing 3D printing took a brass shrouded oil pump impeller and re-engineered it for stainless steel. 3D printing eliminated the need for a complex mold saving time and money.

I do have a lot of experience in a lot of fields, but I’m no expert. “Jack of all trades; master of none” is the cliché that seems to fit.

I’m available for 3D printing, 3D modeling and photogrammetry. If you have question or would like to hire me for your project, contact me with the online form.

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