Online Metals

Shopping for Metals–Orders of Every Size and Shape

The Web’s superstore for small quantity metal orders welcomes you to explore exceptional metals sales and service from metal buyer’s guides, to metal project ideas. At, no order is too small for our high standards.


Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Industry Automation Division, is a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software. PLM is the platform for turning ideas into successful products because only PLM can provide the application depth and breadth needed to digitally author, validate and manage detailed products and process data to support continuous innovation.

CAD Thomas.Net

A great site for finding CAD models of basic purchase parts.

Trace Parts Online

Another great resource for finding CAD models of brand name parts.


This website is loaded with many parts from name brand manufacturers and more.. offering a wide variety of parts to choose from in their catalog we recommend this site for any engineer looking to assemble a project using purchase parts or addons to products currently on the market.



Primarily targeted at solidworks users this website contains a large selection of CAD models and even common parts for mechanical engineering, PCB design and more.  We highly recommend this site for engineers who are assembling products that contain many purchase parts.
Free 2D and 3D CAD Models of User-Contributed and Supplier-Certified Parts & Assemblies, 2D Blocks, Library Features, Macros, and more
3D ContentCentral® is a free service for locating, configuring, downloading, and requesting 2D and 3D parts and assemblies, 2D blocks, library features, and macros. Join an active community of 1,231,455 CAD users who share and download user contributed and supplier-certified 2D and 3D parts & assemblies, 2D blocks, library features and macros.


This is another amazing website full of highly detailed CAD models. If you are looking for a car to use with a project, look no further, this site has it all when it comes to vehicles.

3D CAD Browser is the online 3D Models exchange resource for CGI graphic designers and CAD/CAM/CAE engineers. On this website you can download high-quality polygonal mesh 3D Models as well as 3D CAD Solid Objects and upload yours for the exchange.

17700+ 3D Models available right now including 500+ Free 3D Models. We are accepting into 3D CAD Browser catalog high-quality 3D Models only and manually reviewing every uploaded one to maintain quality of our 3D Models Library.


I have to personally say this site has been a tremendous help with various projects we have needed comparative models or other models to use with design. Wonderful community, wonderful model selection, this will probably be your one stop site for most of your CAD needs.
Free CAD models from more than 1 million engineers
No need to reinvent the wheel! Someone else has solved that CAD problem or designed that bolt. The GrabCAD Library has the models and knowledge you need in the world’s largest collection of free CAD files.

Collaborative Modeling using Part Modules

Wouldn’t it be awesome if multiple designers could work on a single part in NX at the same time? Thanks to NX9 Part Modules this awesomeness just became a reality. Part Modules like it sounds allows you to build a part in a modular fashion. Different Portions of the same part can be worked on independently and those features can be merged together.
Below is a quick representation of how this process is achieved.

After a New Part has been created you have the option to start building within a part module right away or wait until you have the base model to a point in which you can assign it to a part module where it can be edited further.

For this example I’ll start with a simple Shelled block. Before I created any of the geometry I chose in the NX menu Format -> Part Modules -> New Module.


I’ll name it Base and hit OK, Notice it appears in the Part Navigator.


The green dot shows that this module is active and any design features I add will fall under this module.
Next a shelled block is created.


This is going to be the Base model in which other designers can work on. Before anyone can independently work on this part a module output must be defined. To do this select from the Menu Format -> Part Modules -> Define Module Output.
The output will be the entire body.


Now that an output body has been specified any further editing to the body in this module will get published to this output.

A new part module must be created that can be made external so that other designers can work on it. You may want to make more than one depending on how many different designers need to work on this part at the same time. For this example 2 will be created.
Click the Green dot to deactivate the part module and create a new Part Module from the menu.
I will name this module Change1.
The new module should have appeared and is active. You’ll notice the geometry from the other module has been dulled out like it would be if you were in a different work part of an assembly. From here a Module Input needs to be defined, basically you are assigning how much of the geometry in a different module you will expose into this for another person to work on.
To do this go to Format -> Part Modules -> Define Module Input, Choose the new module as the Part module the geometry will be published to.


Next select the geometry that will be published.


Press OK and now this module contains a linked body of the previous module.


In order for this module to be worked on independently it needs to be linked as an external file. To do this go to Format -> Part Modules -> Create Linked Part.
Choose the module that will be made external.


Click Ok and you will have the option to save the new Part
Once the Part has been created it is almost ready to be worked on by another person you must make sure that the linked part is closed to prevent file conflicts. Go to File -> Close -> Close Selected Parts
Make sure the part is closed by selecting it and closing it.


Change.prt was the linked part I used. Once closed another designer can open the part and work on it.
In a different session of NX the file is opened by another designer, they will see the Part module that was created as well as the input body.


Make sure the Module is activated by clicking the dot so it turns green. In this example some blends will be added to the shelled block.
Since this will be the only change that will be made in this module a module output should be defined with the body containing the changes.


Before this module can be updated back in the original part file the module MUST be deactivated, clicking the green dot so it becomes clear will deactivate the module and unlock it. Now that the module is unlocked it can be saved and closed.
To pull in the new changes made to the external module, back in the original part file select Format -> Part Module -> Update Output References.
This will ask you to open the file up and update the linked module bodies. If a part was saved with the module still active NX will give a warning and will not update the part until the module has been deactivated.


More modules can be created this way and linked externally, if a module is created using the previous module’s geometry the end result will be much easier to combine. For example Create a new Module using the new body from Change1 as shown above. Make it a linked external part.
Make sure both parts have been closed as shown before and make a change to the Change1 Module and a change to the New module that was created.


In Change1 a Chamfer will be created on the top and bottom.


The red square dots are a real-time indicator that these changes are new and that the module is not up to date. By deactivating this module the changes are automatically applied to the output body.

In Change2 Module a hole will be added in the center of the part.


Deactivate and Save.
You’ll notice that when both module outputs have been updated , the chamfers still do not appear on the Change2 Module. To correct this you can merge the part module back into the main part file which will update all the inputs used. To do this go to Format -> Part Module -> Merge Module. Once both modules have been merged in the Changes will be applied to the final module in the List.


And that’s it, you can make them external again after this and resave the parts or keep them in one file to send out. The new Part module feature really opens a new door for collaborative work that was much more difficult to do in the past.

Around the house NX

Being an engineer, I tend to critique every consumer product, and expect all products to meet my specific needs. Also, being an engineer, when some product does not comply with my needs, I take it upon myself to re-design or modify the product to meet my wishes.
Take this car cellphone mount for example:


Though this is a wonderful product, I own a Samsung Galaxy, which is much larger than most smartphones, and I find it slightly tedious having to always wedge my phone into it. Because of this, I decided to make an attachment that will allow me to simply slide my phone in rather than forcefully wedge it into the mount. This attachment, shown at the right, will stay permanently held by the store-bought mount, allowing me to slide my phone in and out with ease. Using precise measurements and careful designing, I ensured that all of the buttons and the charging port would still remain exposed.


After completing the design, I cut up some plexiglass and used solvent bonding to bond each piece to one another. Now as I’m driving down the freeway I can just slide my phone into its mount rather than having to wrestle with it in order to secure it.


So, next time you find yourself complaining about a product, pull out your laptop, start up NX, take some measurements, and create whatever it is that you may find yourself needing.



Download the NX files here: