SOLIDWORKS xDesign Challenge Submission – Greg Green

The fifth person we would like to profile from the SOLIDWORKS World xDesign challenge is Greg Green. He shared the following with us regarding the challenge:

My name is Greg Green and I design things. First it started out innocent enough. In high school I was very interested in drafting. This was back in the mid-80s before there were computers. I worked throughout high school as a drafter and technical illustrator for an outdoor lighting company. My lights were installed at Baylor University, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Indianapolis and the General Motors Technical Center among many other places.

I was accepted to the Center for Creative Studies-College of Art and Design but due to the high cost of tuition, I chose to enlist in the US Air Force (USAF) and let Uncle Sam pay for my college. After six years in the USAF as a Law Enforcement Specialist, I separated honorably and pursued a career in factory maintenance to pay the bills.

I was quickly promoted to Maintenance Manager and also started working in Research and Development. For all of our designs we used AutoCAD. I was tasked with designing all new production equipment, which ranged from spray booths to powered carousels and even a Motoman robot drilling machine.

In 2006, I took a job as a robotics integration designer, which is where I was first exposed to SOLIDWORKS. I was a machine designer along with Andrew Schutte, founder of Smooth Logistics, a SOLIDWORKS Partner. We worked in the automotive industry designing and building machines that made rearview mirrors, headliners, consoles, door handles, etc. I became very proficient at SOLIDWORKS and was offered a job at a small machine shop specializing in rapid turnaround prototypes and small production runs. It was here that I continued as a designer but also learned programming and CNC machining.

When our children entered college, my wife Jennifer and I chose to move to a more tropical location. I currently am the head Instrument Designer and Machinist at Canada France Hawaii Telescope Corporation, a 3.6-meter optical telescope on the summit of MaunaKea – a 14,000’ tall mountain on the Big Island of Hawaii. There is hardly anything on the face of the earth that requires more precision in design and fabrication, coupled with multi-national design reviews and very limited budgets coupled with the remote location, all making this a very challenging career.

Along the way I also operated a side business building custom cars and motorcycles. In the later stages, many of the parts were designed in SOLIDWORKS. In 2011 I competed in the AMD World Championships of Custom Bike Building with a motorcycle completely designed in SOLIDWORKS.

I also design parts freelance for a few automotive racing companies. Products range from intake manifolds (fluid dynamics) to fabricated rear axle housings all designed in SOLIDWORKS. Occasionally I do some fun things as well… (of course all in SOLIDWORKS!)

Design Inspiration

Anywhere you go you see people of all ages walking around, looking down at smart devices like amulets. Our teachers have to confiscate our kids’ phones at school. You can’t attend a movie or a business meeting without being interrupted by a catchy ringtone. Our children go to friends’ houses and they all sit in a room glued to their smart devices seldom, if ever, having a real conversation.

While my design isn’t unique in the world of scrapping things, it is a product that will free you from the shackles of Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, Renren, VKontakte, Badoo, Bebo, LinkedIn, Orkut, etc. It will also eradicate one of society’s greatest problems – being too connected…without being actually connecting. Never before have Timothy Leary’s words “Turn on, tune in, drop out” been more pragmatic.

My product fits two categories. Theme 1: Simplify Your Life, and Theme 2: Design for Social. Please see “Sales Flyer” below.

“Aha” moments

I really dislike how when a part is inserted into an assembly (all designed on or near the point of origin), it seems to disappear into the mass of the assembly. With SOLIDWORKS xDesign you just click on the part in the design tree, and it highlights a glowing blue color and provides an anchor to drag it out into free space to begin your sequence of mates. It also provides a means to rotate the part in three axis.

As a machinist, I also like the export format SLDXML. It definitely works better than the tessalated surfaces found in an STL export. Although with my CAM package I did have to convert to STEP files in SOLIDWORKS before importing. Would be nice to see the option to export to STEP file format. Creating mates in an assembly is quick and simple with the intuitive fly out menu design.

Proof that this package is easy to use

I received the invite to begin with xDesign Monday morning. I learned the software and completed my design by mid-afternoon Monday and machined two gears by 8 pm Monday night. I could not work on the design Tuesday and Wednesday was occupied by my normal work schedule, but I did manage to cut half the blades in the CNC machine. Thursday was another long day on the summit of MaunaKea. My plane left at  am on Saturday, so that should explain why my design was fairly basic. I designed AND machined all parts in, essentially 36 hours! (I am the only designer and machinist at our company).

The entire product was cut from reclaimed (scrap) aluminum that was once millions of dollars in optical instrumentation.


Divi Lohiya

Divi is a Senior Manager, Product Portfolio Management at SOLIDWORKS. He is passionate about how new technologies are coming together to change the way how products are designed, made and sold and engaging/teaching kids in STEM activities. Divi graduated from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay with a dual degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters degree in Engineering from University of Texas at Austin.