Point Richmond firm uses Autodesk's Inventor to design underwater subs [The Marin Independent Journal, Novato, Calif.]
(Marin Independent Journal (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 06--For more than a decade, Point Richmond-based Hawkes Ocean Technologies has relied on Autodesk Inventor software to design its deep-ocean submersible vehicles.
Inventor, released in 1999, is a three-dimensional mechanical engineering design program that competes with Dassault Systèmes' SolidWorks and other programs.
"If we didn't have very powerful software available, we wouldn't be able to work as such a small team," said Adam Wright, Hawkes' mechanical engineer.
The five-person company specializes in manned and unmanned vehicles for deep-ocean exploration and has built subs for the late businessman and adventurer Steve Fossett and British billionaire Richard Branson. Graham Hawkes, the company's founder and a San Anselmo resident, designed the "Deep Rover" research subs appeared in James Cameron's 2005 film "Aliens of the Deep."
Wright, a 2001 Sir Francis Drake High School graduate, said Inventor software allows him to design the entire sub in three dimensions down to "every last screw, nut and bolt."
"It enables you to sort of quickly model your geometry and then simulate the forces for an ocean environment," Wright said. "That's one primary purpose of the software. The other would be getting an accurate representation of size and volume. It's important for a sub to float obviously, but you don't want it to be too light."
Wright has also used Inventor software to design personal projects, such as a "Splash Craft"
bicycle-powered raft for watching San Francisco Giants games in McCovey Cove and a custom-made electric car he made by converting a standard Mazda Miata.
"Inventor is so powerful that even though I've been using it for 10 years, there's still functionality that I have yet to unlock," Wright said. "It's very humbling in a way."
Contact Jessica Bernstein-Wax at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at http://twitter.com/jbwax.
(c)2012 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.)
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