SolidWorks "Let's Go Design" relies on Macron Dynamics Automated Gantry System for “The Ultimate CAD Chair”

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Macron Dynamics recently partnered with SolidWorks to build an automated gantry system as part of the promotional Interactive Web series, "Let's Go Design". For the first ever project of the series, SolidWorks users voted to build an automated CAD chair with many features including an Apple iPod Touch control system. Macron manufactures and designs linear actuators and multi-axis automation gantry systems from the company's Croydon, PA facility outside of Philadelphia. SolidWorks, based in Concord, MA, is a provider of 3D modeling software.

Macron Dynamics Gantry System and Solidworks Let's Go Design

Macron's Larry Miller with host of SolidWorks' "Let's Go Design", Jeremy Luchini

At Macron we’re used to moving things, not people.

Macron Dynamics, a manufacturer of belt driven linear actuators and multi-axis automation systems, recently collaborated with SolidWorks, the 3D design software provider, to create an automated gantry system for a futuristic floating CAD office chair. The CAD office chair of the future was selected as the first-ever SolidWorks “Let’s Go Design” interactive web series project, winning almost half of the votes from web-viewers over two other proposed projects--an all-in-one breakfast maker and a trailer hitch workbench.

Named “The Ultimate CAD Chair,” the innovative office chair suspends from a three-axis Macron gantry system and allows the occupant to move the chair with an Apple iPod Touch control panel. All of the chair’s features and functions were suggested by the web-viewers, and designed with SolidWorks software.

“When SolidWorks approached us about partnering on this project, we were immediately intrigued by the challenge,” said Larry Miller, sales engineer at Macron Dynamics. “At Macron we’re used to moving things, not people. Building a novelty item like this was an entirely new challenge for us, but we were beyond confident in our products and capabilities.”

The host of SolidWorks “Let’s Go Design”, Jeremy Luchini, worked with Miller, who managed the project for Macron and assisted in the integration of the gantry system, controls and motorization. Miller also assisted in the setup of the gantry and related components during two on-set filming sessions at SolidWorks’ headquarters in Concord, Massachusetts.

The Macron supplied gantry system needed to support 500lbs of chair, added electronics, and the body weight of the person operating the chair. Macron’s capabilities were tested as they built the specialized gantry system to meet the eccentric features suggested by the “Let’s Go Design” web-viewers.

The Macron gantry consisted of MacSTANDARD 14H belt driven actuators oriented in X, Y and Z configurations to fit within the predesigned octagonal office space. The machine frame was constructed with MacFRAME aluminum extrusions and components. Capable of speeds as fast as one meter per second, the gantry operates at a comfortable twelve inches per second for the chair occupant.

Frequent on-the-fly changes in specifications and design called for modifications such as the addition of a Z axis with theta rotation, which allowed the chair to swivel. Overall, Macron provided the innovative gantry system, the gear boxes, and assistance in selecting the motors to design “The Ultimate CAD Chair”. In addition, once the design was finalized, Macron’s eight day turn-around of the gantry system met the quick delivery requirements and aggressive production and filming schedules.

Miller commented, “A level of excitement could be felt in the air as Jeremy Luchini and our teams worked with contagious enthusiasm. The SolidWorks “Let’s Go Design” crew along with the crew from Macron worked late in to the night to get the motorization completed before filming. Despite the excitement of being in front of the cameras, the effort was business as usual,” said Miller.

“The Ultimate CAD Chair” will be unveiled at the Solid Works World 2011 conference in San Antonio TX, January 23 through 26. Representatives from Macron will be on hand during the show. For additional information, visit or call Macron Dynamics, Inc. at 1-800-MACRON-1 (1-800-622-7661). All of the Let’s Go Design episodes featuring the Macron gantry system can be viewed at

About Macron Dynamics, Inc.
Macron Dynamics designs and manufactures linear motion products, actuators and belt drives, and multi-axis automation systems creatively engineered to improve productivity and reduce costs in commercial and industrial automation applications. Macron's products include belt driven linear actuators, belt drives, rail actuators, robotic positioners, gantries, dumbwaiters, screw driven actuators, roller conveyors, and extruded aluminum machinery framing. In addition, Macron specializes in the engineering of custom multi-axis linear motion and automation systems from basic assemblies to complete robotic automation units.


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Steve Evers
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