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

This 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 artist.

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 Compnay in 1988. I had already proven myself as a good programmer, so my boss gave me a shot at a CAD/CAM project. We made prototype axial flow fans. 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 used my programming skills to greatly reduce the time from analysis to when the tool hit the material.

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. 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 made the move 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 compositer. 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. We have found the YouTube videos.

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 cliche that seems to fit.