The 10 Most Awesome Things People have 3D Printed

3D printing is awesome and there are some unbelievable things out there that have been achieved, so as a bit of fun, we thought we’d take you through Quadra’s favourite 3D printed projects that we have seen/heard about over the last few years.

1. All made possible ‘beakcause‘ of 3D printing

This is Zazu, a toucan that had its beak broken and by using 3D printing technology a prosthesis was made! Zazu recovered completely, being able to feed itself moments after the end of the surgical procedure.

2. Shelling out for a new look

Keeping on the subject of animals, when Freddy the tortoise was caught in a bush fire in Brazil, his chances of survival were slim. Freddy not only survived his ordeal but is also now the proud owner of the world’s first 3D printed shell and very fetching look it is too!

3. Breaking your foot doesn’t mean you have to smell like one

This cast was created so people who required splints or casts could still continue to go about their daily activities with ease. Since this original project was completed there are now many companies that offer this as a service.

4. A helping 3D hand

3D printing has already revolutionised the creation of prosthetic legs and hands. Previously a prosthetic hand could cost thousands of pounds to make. Whereas now with 3D printed prosthetics they can be made for around £30.

The really exciting part of this though it the difference in the price means that many in developing and war-torn countries can experience a higher quality of life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 40 million people need prosthetic and orthotic devices and the use of prosthetics not only means that they can go on to live useful and fulfilling lives but the prosthetics also reduces the chance of infection to the original limb.

5. The shower that helps you become ex-stinked

Enough of the serious stuff for a bit!

Who would want this for a showerhead? Bit of Jurassic Plastic? Yeah, possibly not. But if nothing else it would give any visiting friends or family a roarsome surprise!

6. I like big boats and I cannot lie

You have probably seen this one ‘floating’ about on Youtube, but this was the world’s first 3D printed boat. The piece is 7.62 meters long and weighs 2.2 tons.

It was manufactured in just 72 hours from a mixture of plastic and wood cellulose. And, just to show off even further, the boat actually floats as well.

7. We can move mountains

Ok, well, we had to use one of our 3D models!

Here is a 3D printed model of Helvellyn in the Lake District. Created initially in Fusion with a morphed spiral toolpath and then printed on our 3D printer at our Training Centre. This has helped plan walking and running routes and is being used by national parks and tourist information centres to help guide visitors.

Interested in 3D printing – Talk one of our team!

8. 3D printing for life

Right, back to it and at number 8

Overcoming infertility is often a long, painful, and expensive process. But one pioneering experiment gives hope that we might see an innovative new treatment approach in the future. At the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, a mouse was implanted with synthetic, printed ovaries. The mouse went on to give birth to healthy babies.

9. Home is where you print it

If you’ve been on the internet in the last year, you may have seen the viral clip of a 3D printed house built in just 24 hours.

But the details of how they did it mean that it could revolutionise how we see any form of building in the future. The mobile printer lays down layers of a concrete mixture to build up the walls, then, once the printer is removed, insulation, windows, and a roof are added. And because the printing devices are mobile, houses can be printed on-site rather than in a factory.

10. There is more with 4? 4D printing

Yes, you heard right 4D printing.

This example shows how it could be used in the future. Researchers at the have printed silicone material that is flexible and can adapt itself when heat is applied. This could, for example, be used to create truly customizable, form-fitting shoes that adapt to the wearer’s feet.


A little More About Us

Quadra Solutions Ltd specialise in design and data management software solutions for the manufacturing, construction, engineering and PCB design industries. Quadra is a Gold Autodesk Partner, an accredited training centre and specialists in electronic and PCB design. We provide Autodesk Design software solutions for the Construction and Manufacturing industries. InventorRevitAutoCAD, Collections and Vault software helps our customers design, visualise, innovate and implement solutions that help customers grow and develop their business.

Our software solutions, consultancy, training and technical support to the manufacturing, architectural, construction and product design industries if some of the best in our industry. With a wealth of experience and knowledge, Quadra specialises in helping businesses adapt and adopt efficient and effective design workflows, innovate and embed data management solutions. We pride ourselves on our consultative approach to working with customers as their technology partner.

Looking to Advance your Inventor Knowledge?

Maximise your business productivity today with an Advanced Autodesk Inventor training course. Gain maximum benefit from all the software enhancements available within Inventor. For more information about our Advanced Training Courses

Autodesk Inventor tips

Boost your Productivity right now with our Top 15 Autodesk Inventor Tips

Download our Inventor Tips eBook | We are always looking for new ways to help our software users adopt, adapt and advance! In the last few years, the manufacturing and engineering sectors have seen revolutionary changes and Quadra Solutions has been at the forefront of many of these technological advances.

Download now

Talk to our team  Click here for LiveChat 

What’s New for eCADSTAR 2020 – PCB Design Software

Zuken announces the availability of eCADSTAR PCB design software release 2020. With the new release, available configurations of Zuken’s new internet-connected PCB design platform, eCADSTAR, have been extended to include new modules for signal integrity, power integrity and IBIS-AMI simulation.

The new modules eCADSTAR Signal Integrity, eCADSTAR Signal Integrity Advanced, eCADSTAR Power Integrity and eCADSTAR IBIS-AMI complement eCADSTAR’s connected PCB design capabilities with powerful analysis tools, such as embedded signal integrity simulation in eCADSTAR Schematic and PCB Editors for pre- and post-layout simulation.

All analysis tools are tightly integrated with eCADSTAR’s comprehensive PCB constraint management and optimization functionality. Results are displayed in a common Analysis Result Viewer within the eCADSTAR design environment. Heatmaps can also be displayed directly within the eCADSTAR PCB editor from the Power Integrity application.

What people are saying about eCADSTAR 2020

“eCADSTAR’s Signal Integrity Simulation allows you to achieve the highest performance from your design. Analysis can be performed from the Schematic through to PCB, giving you confidence throughout the design and reducing costly redesigns.”


“eCADSTAR’s PI Simulations give you confidence in your power delivery design and reduce cost by minimising necessary capacitors. The EMI Analysis module allows you to pre-empt Electro-Magnetic Compatibility issues before compliance testing.”


“Achieve maximum performance using eCADSTAR’s fast, accurate and highly sophisticated IBIS-AMI simulation for your highest speed interfaces.” 


“In this release, eCADSTAR’s highly capable high-speed design methods are further enhanced.”

Want more information? Contact us

“As products become more complex and faster, analysis becomes a key part of the design process to ensure correct operation. High-speed components and interfaces are at the heart of today’s smart and internet-connected products, and they demand advanced pre- and post-layout analysis for correct operability”, says Markus Bücker, Development Manager, Zuken EMC Technology Center, Paderborn. “eCADSTAR delivers those capabilities in an easy to use embedded environment so that both engineers and PCB designers can deliver exceptional high-speed design quality first time right based on Zuken’s proven technology.”

eCADSTAR delivers those capabilities in an easy to use embedded environment so that both engineers and PCB designers can deliver exceptional high-speed design quality first time right based on Zuken’s proven technology.

Markus BückerDevelopment Manager, Zuken EMC Technology Center, Paderborn.


Signal Integrity  

With eCADSTAR Signal Integrity, engineers can plan and check signal integrity throughout the Schematic and PCB layout process. eCADSTAR Signal Integrity Advanced comprises TDR analysis as well as S-Parameter analysis. Simulations can be initiated from eCADSTAR’s Constraint Browser, Electrical Editor, or directly from the eCADSTAR PCB Editor.

The simulation Results Viewer is available throughout the eCADSTAR design flow with a consistent user interface. Signal integrity simulation not only makes sure that high-speed signals arrive in good shape: A board with good signal integrity is more resistant to external noise and less likely to consume excess power.

eCADSTAR PCB design software  – Power Integrity and EMI  

Using the eCADSTAR Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) analysis capabilities, engineers can identify the most significant EMI contributors on the board, including differential-mode EMI, common-mode EMI, and power bus noise. If these parameters are optimized during board layout, the electric interference of a design can be kept as low as possible.

With eCADSTAR’s Power Integrity tools, engineers can check AC behaviour of the Power Delivery Network (PDN) and ensure DC continuity from power sources to component power inputs and then back where it came from. DC analysis results include current- and voltage distributions across the supply system, pin-to-pin resistance analysis, IR-drop analysis for all supply pins, and identifies current stressed Vias within the supply path.

eCADSTAR PCB design software – IBIS-AMI  

AMI analysis goes beyond traditional waveform simulation. AMI simulation is most valuable when transceivers include features that cannot be modelled by analog electrical descriptions alone. A traditional IBIS model is an electrical description of buffer driving and receiving characteristics, not including any DSP behavior like that present in PCI Express Gen3 onwards or DDR5. AMI models include this behavior, so engineers can adjust parameters to optimize I/O channels for maximum performance. As with other kinds of simulation, AMI models become even more valuable when you push density and speed envelopes and ultra-high speed Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) circuits are closely packed with other parts of your designs. The analysis results will be displayed as an eye diagram and a bathtub curve to check BER (Bit Error Rate) compliance.


For more information about eCADSTAR PCB design software – Contact us now

A New Starter and a New Normal: Starting a New Job during Lockdown

Way back in March, Quadra welcomed a new PCB Designer and eCADSTAR Applications Engineer to their ranks, Sarah Santangeli. Sarah is an experienced PCB Designer with experience of both electronic and mechanical design with experience of the Rail and Traffic Management and the Medical industries. However, due to lockdown we were never able to formally welcome her to the team.

Starting a new job can be incredibly overwhelming. There are new colleagues to get to know, a different boss to work with and the role itself to get to grips with. Starting a new job during lockdown means, new starters are not just isolated from their entire team, but they’re also having to navigate a new role with nobody around.

We talk to her about her lockdown experience and how she is looking forward to getting back into the office.

So, Sarah what’s it like starting a new job during lockdown?

“Very strange! Lockdown came into force on my first week with Quadra, so there was no time to meet everyone, get a feel for the place and settle in. In the first few weeks of lockdown we set up a messaging group so that we could all keep in touch which really helped to lift spirits, whilst the majority of the team were working from home.”

How has working from home been?

“I have never previously worked from home so that was a new experience for me and whilst it has been a bit lonely at times, it has given me plenty of opportunity to get to grips with eCADSTAR and all the brilliant features it includes.”

Yes, that must of been interesting, not only a new job and a new company but also a whole new software and way of working to learn. How did you find that?

eCADSTAR is remarkably easy to learn and it hasn’t taken me long at all to familiarise myself with it’s functional and streamlined design process. I have really enjoyed getting to grips with a brand new software that is showing promise to be a really exciting and intuitive essential PCB design tool.

So, Sarah how did get into this line of work?

“I enjoy solving puzzles, problem-solving and I’ve got a stubborn streak whereby I won’t give up until I’ve solved the problem. I studied both mechanical design and electronic design but found the PCB side really interesting, more so than the mechanical side. I do think, however, having a mechanical background gives me a greater understanding of design for manufacture when considering PCB design. eCADSTAR combines both the electronic and 3D aspects with mechanical checking features, which is one of the reasons I think eCADSTAR is a great all-round design tool”

Tell me about your previous employment?

“Working within rail and highways there were plenty of changes which kept me very busy. With signalling upgrading to LED technology there was lots to maintain, upgrade and new projects to involved with such as Vehicle Activated Road Signs. I also developed new products for the rail industry for removing transient voltages from the lines and new variants for level crossings. In the Medical industry, I have been involved in the development of a needle destruction device and an electronic device for nicotine replacement therapy.”

I guess my only disappointment is that I’ve never really been able to specialise in my previous roles. As I studied Mechatronics at University, I have previously been involved with all aspects of engineering within projects. I’ve always wanted to specialise in PCB design and hone my skills specific to that area. So within Quadra I am hoping that this will be the case.”

Moving forward, what are you looking forward to?

“First of all, I am looking forward to getting back into the office. Not only for the shared ideas and to be closer to the team but also so I can work with a very experienced and knowledgeable PCB design team.

But secondly, I can’t wait to get back out to meet eCADSTAR customers, delivering training and demonstrations. eCADSTAR is a great software package and there are some really useful and time-saving tools, as a PCB designer, I know others will love!”

Many of the Quadra team are now back in the office, but only part-time. If you need us, we are here 01254 301 888. For more information about eCADSTAR, please go to

New BIM 360 Features to Track & Streamline Workflows

BIM 360 has new features which are going to streamline how you work

Communication and coordination are fundamental to a successful construction project. Nevertheless, maintaining consistent collaboration throughout a project, especially in the field, remains a challenge for many teams due to the complexity of work. In fact, according to a recent report from Autodesk and Dodge Data & Analytics, 62% of general contractors and 56% of trades cited failures in communication and coordination as a top contributor to low labour productivity.  


Cost Management Enhancements to Track Actual Costs and Streamline Workflow with Suppliers and Owners

Properly managing and tracking project expenses is a critical part of the cost control process. Teams rely on this information for forecasting to ensure the project is staying within budget. But for many, the management of invoices and internal expenses could be enhanced.  

For one, the process is usually disconnected. Invoices arrive at the main office where the accounting team must account for them before bundling and emailing them to the Project Manager to confirm what can be paid. The Project Manager must then link them to a contract or PO. In the case there is no PO, they must create one retrospectively before they can respond to accounting. With information in silos and email used as the primary communication method, both parties have limited visibility into the status of items. Not only does it directly affect payment turnaround times and run the risk of errors, but teams are forced to forecast using outdated actual cost data. 

For more information contact us

With the newest release in BIM 360 Cost Management, teams can streamline the management of actual costs by establishing a bi-directional relationship between their accounting system and Cost Management. With this new feature set, not only can teams add expenses in manually from the jobsite, but expense information can also flow directly in from your accounting system via an integration. The data is then pushed back into the accounting system, removing silos and streamlining the invoice review and approval process. But that’s not the only benefit; by using Cost Management to track actual costs (both expenses and pay applications), the system automatically pulls the actual cost data into the overall budget view. This enables teams to view a breakdown of all actual costs and accurately forecast using the latest and greatest actual cost data. Expense data can be added to Budget (Owner) Payment Applications. When generating the Budget Payment Application document, you can choose to collate all expenses, attachments, and Supplier Payment applications together as a backup for submission to the Owner. View the Release Notes to learn more.

Continuing to help project teams streamline cost workflows and enhance collaboration, Cost Management has released new permission levels for both Owners and Suppliers. So, what does this mean exactly? For specific tabs within Cost Management, you can control the information both Suppliers and Owners can view and interact with using the new ‘Collaborate’ permission level. For example, by bringing Suppliers into the system processes are expedited because teams aren’t relying on email, Suppliers can review their contracts, create their own schedule of values, respond to requests for quotations, review their pay applications, and view their change orders.  

BIM 360 – Checklist Improvements Streamline Field Workflows

In the next few weeks, we are releasing several new improvements for checklists that will save time, enable better information sharing and reduce duplication of effort.   

  • Save time 

Working on existing checklists will become easier for field users thanks to the new “Assigned to me” quick filter which helps them find the checklists they need to complete right away in the mobile app. They will also be able to find checklists quicker by their checklist IDs, and sort checklists by ID to see more relevant checklists at the top of the log. Web users can also save time as creating checklists directly from the checklist log is available for web as well. 

Furthermore, project admins will be able to archive checklists which are no longer in active use, which will significantly speed up syncing time on the mobile app. 

  • Improve information sharing 

Sharing information effectively in between jobsite and back office is essential for success in any construction business, and we’re glad to announce several new checklist features to support this effort.  

Checklists will be included in the daily notification digest email, and users will be able to customize their checklists notification settings. Plus, the email notifications will also include the progress tracking status of the checklist in question, enabling team members to be always up to date. We are also introducing an activity log for checklists which brings full transparency to who did what and when. And, to make linking specific information easier, users will be able to link a document to a checklist or to a single item within a checklist. 

  • Importing checklist templates now supports issue auto-creation 

Finally, project admins can now import checklist templates along with their issue auto-creation settings into BIM 360. This improvement is a major time-saver, as admins no longer need to redo the work of setting up issue auto-creation rules when they import an existing checklist template to a new project. 


Learn more about BIM360 Click here

eCADSTAR – Intelligent PDF

Hello and welcome to this demonstration of eCADSTARs Intelligent PDF. In this video we will output an intelligent PDF from an 8 page schematic using eCADSTAR. This feature is available from eCADSTAR’s 2020 release.

Here in my design tree you will see I have an 8 page schematic open containing lots of information to process into a PDF.

I go to File>Print and eCadstar’s print dialogue appears.

In the output box select PDF to enable eCADSTARs Intelligent PDF dialogue.

There are three tabs full of options enabling you to customize what information from your design you would like to output.

The first tab has basic settings and options. We need to select PDF and specify a library path and name. This is also where you can specify the size, orientation and scale of the output and there’s additionally checkboxes here for options for outputting not fitted components, and not connected pins and net nodes.

In the PDF settings tab in the annotation settings we can select to output hierarchical blocks and this is where you can specify what properties you would like to output. There are lots of options to choose from allowing you to really customize the information displayed on the intelligent PDF. You can specify what attributes you want to display when you click on a component, pin or net, allowing you to choose how much detail you would like to display.

The bookmark section allows you to output a navigation panel in the PDF which when selected will center and zoom the object. You can also choose to compress the file size.

In the target data tab select what pages of your schematic you would like to output. I am going to select them all and let’s see how eCADSTAR handles processing all of this information.

I now navigate to the file path I have specified and open the intelligent PDF I have just created. You will notice eCADSTAR has compiled all the pages into one document. On the left-hand side, you will notice the Bookmark navigation panel with headers to each page, component, component pin and nets. When I click on a reference designator you can see how the PDF has now focused in on that component, we can take this further and focus in on each individual pin. You can also navigate through your net list.

When I click on the component, component pin, or net you can see the attributes I have chosen are displayed.

Thank you for watching and I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into eCADSTAR’s Intelligent PDF.


For more information about eCADSTAR 2020 Release contact us

How Autodesk Navisworks is helping keep people safe

Autodesk Navisworks is helping businesses keep people safe

Factory layout and space planning has never been more important.

Using Autodesk Navisworks and Factory Design a full 2D, 3D or point cloud model of the working environment can easily be created.​

It could be the shop floor, cafeteria, office or any other working environment ​

Using Clash detection we can set our minimum distance to 2 meters and simulate that environment, this could be a static analysis or animated

Changes can then be made based on the results from the analysis in either the 2D or 3D model, in this example, the minimum distance can not be achieved so a solution could be adding a screen.

Watch the video here


Find out more

Navisworks – Project planning and review software for AEC professionals

Project review software products enables architecture, engineering and construction professionals to holistically review integrated models and data with stakeholders to gain better control over project planning and outcomes.

Autodesk Training Courses are BACK at the Training Centre

This month we return to the Training Centre delivering Autodesk Training Courses. We continue to follow Public Health England and UK Government guidelines and advice relating to COVID-19. In order to keep our trainers and trainees safe, we have:

In order to keep you safe when you train with us, we have:

  • Adapted our training courses and how we deliver them
  • Reduced numbers on courses to ensure social distancing is maintained
  • Reinforced our sanitation processes to reduce the risk of transfer
  • If a delegate has any of the symptoms of COVID19 they must not attend training  
  • We will provide a free transfer to a future course*
  • Ensured hand washing facilities and hand sanitisers are available
  • Created signage to enable people to socially distance effectively
  • Suggested use of PPE in the form of a facemask will be advised and made available.

  Click here for Quadra’s COVID Support Information  

Upcoming Training Courses  

AutoCAD Essentials      17th October    BOOK NOW

AutoCAD Essentials     21st September    BOOK NOW

AutoCAD Essentials    12th October    BOOK NOW

Inventor Introduction to Solid Modelling   19th October  BOOK NOW

Revit Fundamentals       26th October     BOOK NOW  


Interested in Autodesk training?

Contact us to talk about bespoke or on-site training    


Please Note: If a delegate or member of staff becomes unwell with a new continuous cough or high temperature, they must go home immediately and follow the stay at home guidelines (the NHS recommended safe temperature is 37.8 degrees, any higher is classed as fever and could potentially be Covid-19 Coronavirus). *Please note this is provided at Quadra’s discretion.

scroll to top