Review - User Group Meetings 2015


ImageWe held two meetings this year for our User Group, a one-day meeting in the UK attended by 30 people and then a two-day meeting in the US with over 120 delegates. Based on the feedback received at each meeting, they were both a resounding success and everyone went away having learned something new to help improve the use of the software and inspired to get back to their work-shops.


The UK meeting was held in rural Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire on Wednesday, 30th Sept. We presented a one-day selection of the topics covered in the US but ensured that all attendees had the full set of video tutorials from the two-day meeting along with the files for these. This year for the first time the tutorial content came packaged on a very nice wooden “Vectric” USB stick rather than a DVD disk.


Being a single day made for a full schedule which culminated in a visit to our head-office for those who still had some energy left! This additional time provided a good opportunity to ask further questions and to see the selection of machinery and tools we have in the “Vectric Lab” along with the many samples of customer work we have on display. Overall the Vectric staff really enjoyed talking with everyone and having a chance to discuss in more detail what they do with the software. In terms of the meeting itself, the technical contents of the day were very well received according to the feedback from the surveys completed by those in attendance.


Our US meeting was held just over a week later in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th, October. This is a venue we’ve used successfully before on a couple of other occasions and again it proved to be a good location to accommodate 120 Vectric users and OEM partners.

On the first day we tackled four in-depth topics and ensured we had longer breaks in between to give veteran meeting attendees a chance to re-connect with old friends or for the first-timers to get to know some like-minded CNC enthusiasts. The chance to talk to fellow users and the Vectric staff is always a key part of attending the meeting.

 


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By the end of the first day we’d covered the new features in Version 8, how to assemble decorative flourishes from existing models, creating wavy pattern panels and woodgrain backgrounds with the new vector texture tool and finally an example which showed the complete process of CNC project creation using a lion door knocker as a working example. At the end of all this we allowed some additional time for everyone to look at the excellent examples of CNC work that had been brought for display and to ask further questions of Vectric staff.


Day two started early to make sure we could fit in as much in as possible. We scheduled a variety of shorter topics but also had shorter breaks to maximize what we could cover. The first session was a large selection of time-saving and productivity enhancing tips and tricks shown through four different projects. These were designed to enhance day-to-day use of the software and also to look at a unique technique to create v-carvable vectors directly from a 3D model. The second session of the day looked at the most efficient ways to machine 3D parts including how to identify areas which don’t need a 3D toolpath and also the Rest-Machining process. To finish the morning there was an introduction to the Design & Make clip art (www.designandmake.com) coupled with some time-saving ideas for 3D model layout and customization.

After lunch there were two sessions to finish off the meeting, firstly some ideas and practical examples for cutting multi-sided parts in particular two different 4-sided machining examples, one of a clock tower cut with 2.5D toolpaths and another done using an imported STL model. The final sessions looked at three examples to push the way that Aspire’s 2-Rail Sweep and Extrude and Weave modeling tools can be used. These included a technique to create a constant-height letter, a 2-sided wooden dish designed to make it look like it’s made of flowing cloth and finally an Art-Nouveau picture/mirror frame.

Given the technical nature and amount we packed into the two days, everyone’s maintained level of interest throughout was very impressive and there were lots of insightful questions. As a bonus the videos and files on the USB stick meant that it would be easy after the meeting to follow up on any topics that required some additional revision or further examination. Many of the topics presented, for time reasons, had to be covered quicker and in less depth than the recorded examples.  


One interesting thing that came out of the meeting this year, was that a number of attendees had not yet upgraded to Version 8 and were surprised to see just how powerful a set of new tools they were missing out on. For them and anyone else who has not yet explored “What’s New in V8” we’d recommend visiting the following page to learn about the most recent release and how it can improve what you’re doing with your CNC:
/products/V8.html


You can also download the latest Trial version and give-it-a-spin yourself:
/downloads/trial-software.html

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Thanks to all those who attended and participated in the meetings this year, thanks to those who brought their inspiring work for us to look at, in particular thanks to Dale Hellew for making some bonus gifts for everyone at the US meeting. Thanks also to Beki, Sean, Adam and Todd for all their hard work in preparing and delivering the presentations and recording the tutorial material which we are pleased to make available to watch and download from this webpage: http://support.vectric.com/tutorials/V8/UserGroup2015Index.html


Once again thanks to those who came to either meeting, as soon as we know where we’re going to be next year we’ll make the announcement on the website and in the newsletter.

 

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