About Zack

Zack is a mechanical engineer by trade, leaving the high tech world of defense contracting to offer 3D design and engineering services to inventors and small businesses. He specializes in helping others bring new products to market by leveraging his technical and business experience. You can find him at Zalaco.com.

What is a STEP File? Let me Explain…


I've Had Many Clients ask me "What is a STEP File"? So I thought I would explain... Let's begin with an analogy. You're probably familiar with Microsoft Word documents and with PDF files. Often times, you create a document using Word, then save (or print) it to PDF before sharing. PDF is more universal and not easily edited. It's basically a snap shot of that Microsoft Word document at the time you saved it. That's effectively what a STEP file is to 3D engineering model data. It's one of several universal formats we use to communicate between CAD systems. I've run into many [...]

What is a STEP File? Let me Explain…2015-12-18T21:25:03-05:00

Zalaco Featured in CAD Collaboration E-Book from Tech-Clarity


Can small engineering and design firms afford CAD collaboration? That was the question Jim Brown addresses a brand new e-book over at Tech-Clarity. I had the pleasure of speaking with Jim on the phone to discuss how modern CAD collaboration tools are dramatically improving the work flow of small service firms like Zalaco, and providing better value to the clients we serve. To read an overview of the e-book, head over to Tech-Clarity. If you'd like to download a copy of the book, you'll need to head over to GrabCAD and fill out a registration form. Can small engineering and [...]

Zalaco Featured in CAD Collaboration E-Book from Tech-Clarity2015-06-03T22:59:13-04:00

Mother’s Day Planter Design Project


A mother's day project: Cedar Planter Planter Design Project Links See Project on GrabCAD (download model files) PlanterPlans Decided to have the 3 year old help me build a planter on the back porch for him and mom. Having a 3 year old "help" is always interesting, but it turned into a great couple of days. Step one was to rough out a concept in 3D because that's just how I do things.  I wanted something roughly 2'x8', and would let stock lumber lengths drive the actual dimensions. I also wanted something that required nothing more than a chop saw and [...]

Mother’s Day Planter Design Project2014-09-08T12:17:36-04:00

Kickstarter Data – StaX Campaign – Day 2


This is a daily status with behind-the-scenes data from the StaX Kickstarter campaign. This is our effort to be completely transparent to our backers, and provide valuable information to other project creators. StaX Kickstarter Summary - Day 2 Day 2 of the StaX campaign is in the books. Over the last 24 hours, we've had about $1,000 in additional pledges. Over the first 30 hours or so, we had about $2,500. Slow downs in campaigns are typical, but we have to figure out ways to drive more traffic to the campaign page.  One telling stat is that we've had so few video views [...]

Kickstarter Data – StaX Campaign – Day 22014-02-28T13:18:49-05:00

Kickstarter Data – StaX Campaign – Day 1


This is a daily status with behind-the-scenes data from the StaX Kickstarter campaign. This is our effort to be completely transparent to our backers, and provide valuable information to other project creators. StaX Kickstarter Summary - Day 1 StaX Kickstarter Staff Picked We launched the Kickstarter project yesterday morning from the comfort of a Panera Bread here in Orlando. After a brief panic (the Kickstarter "Launch" button had been greyed out on the project page - fixed with a log out / log in), the project was live somewhere around 9:15am EST. We had (obnoxiously?) emailed a large batch of [...]

Kickstarter Data – StaX Campaign – Day 12014-02-27T13:21:18-05:00

StaX Goes Live on Kickstarter


I love reading all of the information that other Kickstarter projects share during and after their campaign. I hope to contribute back to this with interesting and useful information about the StaX campaign over the next month (and beyond). What is StaX and why is it on Kickstarter? To start, StaX is a joint effort between myself and Craig Rettew. The premise is simple - a modular container that can be extended (or shrunk) depending on how many sections you add in. It's machined from 6061 aluminum and anodized in some awesome colors. The Kickstarter campaign aims to sell about 800 [...]

StaX Goes Live on Kickstarter2014-02-26T16:45:22-05:00

Five Things I Tell Inventors


I talk to quite a few individual inventors who are trying to understand where they should go with an idea they have. There is a common theme that the conversation turns to, so I thought I'd wrap up a few of the most important things here in this post. I love working with inventors because I love exploring new ideas. I also hate seeing people dump thousands of their hard earned dollars down the drain. I will only work with people once they have at least listened to me discourage them for a bit. 1 - Ideas Are Easy. Execution is [...]

Five Things I Tell Inventors2013-12-12T11:23:17-05:00

Orlando Mini Maker Faire Crowdfunding panel


DeltaMaker made an appearance at the Orlando Mini Maker Faire this past Saturday. The folks at the Orlando Science Center did a great job hosting the event and hopefully it returns to the same location next year. Craig Rettew and I were invited to sit on a panel to discuss crowdfunding as a tool for "Makers Making Money" (the title of the panel). It was a great experience and the audience had some really good questions. We were joined on the panel by Harold Timmis ($9 Arduino) and Gabriel Anzziani (Oscilliscope Watch and two other campaigns). Crowdfunding is evolving quickly and many [...]

Orlando Mini Maker Faire Crowdfunding panel2013-10-10T21:29:30-04:00

Guide to Mechanical Design and Engineering Terminology


If you're background is not one that has you familiar with commonly used terms in mechanical design, mechanical engineering, product development, CAD, or manufacturing, this page might be useful to you. Basically, it's intended to be a laypersons guide to the words and phrases that I'm used to using on a daily basis. This is mean to give you just enough information to be dangerous, or more importantly, have a basic background before you approach someone for help in this area. Feel free to add suggestions in the comments for other words and phrases and I'll do my best to keep [...]

Guide to Mechanical Design and Engineering Terminology2013-09-24T14:38:31-04:00

Elon Musk’s Take on the Future of 3D Design Tools


New 3D Design Paradigm in Action? Elon Musk and SpaceX released a video yesterday showing what might be the beginning of a revolution in how we interact with 3D space: My Quick Thoughts Using a spaceball type of controller is the only alternative modeling interface that I've seen used with any frequency. Even then, most designers I've worked with in industry have stuck with a keyboard and mouse most of the time (myself included). While a spaceball is nice, it's only an incremental change in how you interact with 3D space on screen. Is Elon Musk's vision a disruptive shift in [...]

Elon Musk’s Take on the Future of 3D Design Tools2013-09-06T12:29:16-04:00
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