Interview with Sean Cresswell, Forum User Extraordinaire

By MLombard

SeanCresswell2.jpgSean Cresswell is a guy anyone who frequents the SE Forum is familiar with as an enthusiastic and knowledgeable Solid Edge user who is generous with his time and knowledge. He’s from New Zealand, so few of us have actually met him in the flesh. I wanted to take this opportunity to let Sean show a bit of his other side(s). I think you’ll see that he throws himself headlong into everything he does, and he covers a lot of ground doing it. Let’s let Sean do the talking:

Most folks in the community already know you’re from New Zealand, can you tell us some of what you love most about NZ?

Being a relatively small country, we don’t have to travel very far, to discover something spectacular to see. My recent trip with my race team, was one discovery upon another. Albeit, a much larger trek than normal….I spent nine days in a small box truck, clocking up just over 4200 kilometers. [2610 miles] I was lucky enough to encounter the places the tourist frequent, and it’s not hard to see why…..the scenery down there is just SeanCresswell1.jpgmagnificent!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and what makes you tick?

I think my twitter bio describes me pretty well…

Married, 4 kids, Design Mngr @ Streetscape, Solid Edge CAD jockey, Tech lover, Drum basher, TARGA crew chief, Jetski psycho.

I guess a little padding to that wouldn’t hurt…. My wife Maree and I have been married for 21 years. Our four children are ages 27, 20, 18, and 11 [plus one grandson, as of six months ago] SeanCresswell3.jpgStreetscape has been my play pen for nearing 10 years. Have used Solid Edge since version 7. I used to build all of my PC’s for both work & home use. Played drums since age 10, but remain just an amateur rocker. I look after the car & service it during events and we have several finished well over SeanCresswell4.jpgthe years. After moving to this coastal city [Tauranga] I just had to have a Jet-ski, and have been wave jumping/piercing in the open ocean, jet spinning in lakes, scared my kids on the ski’s & biscuit, and best of all, some me time speeding along at 112KPH [70MPH], when the water glassy smooth.                       

Again, a lot of the community know you’re associated with race cars. How’d you get involved with that, and what do you do?

SeanCresswell5.jpgAbout 9 years ago I was asked if I could lend a hand to a team that needed support crew….and have been on that very same team ever since, and took over the entire between meeting maintenance of the car. That basically means, I prepare the car and spares for each race meeting. During a meeting, I repair what gets worn out, or destroyed, or if all is going well, just refuel, check wheel nut torque, and clean the windscreen, before sending it on to the next stages. We compete exclusively in Targa [tarmac only, closed road rally], the car is a 1997 Mazda RX7, putting out 420HP, from a 1300cc turbo charged rotary. It has had a few engine evolutions over the years, in the search of manageable power, and longevity, in order to survive the grueling multi-day events. The car lives in my home garage, and the owner/driver [an ex pat Kiwi] lives in Melbourne. Post event, we’ll decide on the course of mods if any, and I do my best to complete it in time. My motor sport [basically anything with an engine] was influenced by my father’s connection to gravel rally, and as I grown up, I’ve owned, and built many vehicles, from repowered cars, speedway cars, classic hot rods and various water craft.

Do you get the chance to use Solid Edge in connection to the racing?

Sure I do…..anything that requires use of our laser cutting, or CNC pressing departments, I’ll knock out a sheet metal model, and the shop will produce the parts, but I handle any welding myself.                


What do you do at your day job?

There are a few businesses in our group [Streetscape, The Stainless Factory, and Crystech] of companies, that all bring their own unique demands upon the design office. Streetscape; being the parent company, manufacture from standard range, through to bespoke designs of


furniture and light pole items, leveraging numerous manufacturing methods and wide variety of raw materials. We seem to always end up with the really difficult jobs, usually a sculpture in SeanCresswell11.jpgthe mix too, but that work also scores a lot of recognition, even international awards in some cases. The Stainless Factory, our core manufacturing arm, has its own range of stainless steel enclosures, amongst other production based products, and provide services the local food and wine industry. Crystech, a new venture that caters directly to honey SeanCresswell12.jpghandling, processing & packaging equipment operators. From leased mixing vessels, to full turnkey skid based processing plant solutions. We now have two seats of Solid Edge, and a few 2D drafting installations for those out handling the basic layouts & broad stroke site planning, before the client commits to more detailed designs. I run the websites, twitter accounts and Facebook pages for them, so look for us, and you’ll find many examples of Solid Edge goodness.


I know you really want to get to Solid Edge University. Tell us a little about why, and what you are doing to try to prepare.

Other than threatening no longer feed [not actually] my children, it all down to personal savings. I have tried my best to disguise this as a SeanCresswell16.jpg“great USA vacation” for both my wife and I, but I fear my focus is quite singular.

  • You’re one of the biggest Solid Edge fans out there. I remember the photo of all the SE swag you bought from the online store a while back. What is it that drives your passion for CAD software in general, and Solid Edge in particular?

Yes, and I love my SWAG stash too…..and I’m not ready to share either. J

SeanCresswell14.jpgMy Solid Edge journey started in my previous job, in large [for NZ anyway] injection molding company in Palmerston North. I acquired my trade cert as a Fitter Welder [sect-A] there, and eventually took over the design role using a drafting table, that position gained momentum quickly, and we leapt into the 2D CAD world, then shortly after my exposure to Solid Edge v7 “Origin”, I was hooked.! All thanks to the team at CAD Image PLM. From memory, I think the advert read something along the lines of, “…come along to our seminar, to receive you free CD containing fully functional 3D CAD software.” A few major clients use Unigraphics [NX] and usually sent large format Mylar prints for our master models to be created by hand. We committed to a seat of Solid Edge Classic, to seamlessly communicate with this existing 3D data, and enable us to develop and bring our current CNC manufacturing SeanCresswell13.jpgin-house, which it did. After 16 years, it was time for a change. On my way to take a Solid Edge Resellers job in Auckland, I passed though Tauranga and heard of a young progressive company that needed a product designer, and the CAD system I was hard wired for, was an easy sell given the propensity for targeting laser cut sheet metal and CNC folding for core structures,…the class leading capabilities in Solid Edge cemented that very aspect easily. The rest of the products/components manufactured using sand castings, CNC machining and across a wide variety of raw materials, means many disciplines need to be respected.

I get a real thrill, even still today, seeing the things I have invented on the screen come to life on the factory floor.

On top of all this other stuff you do, you also find the time to help out a lot of people on the Solid Edge Community Forum. Why are you so driven to help people you may never meet?

For years I sat back and watched in awe of the supreme talents in the closed [BBS] forum, and only dabbled a little, and eventually I realized I too knew some of the answers, and eventually I hooked. An open up to the general public made many people very nervous, but it’s worked out well, I think…and I bought into it early on too.

I really do get a thrill out of helping others. I’ve trained many people to use Solid Edge along the way, in my 15 year union with SE. I don’t always know the answers, but I do like the challenge of looking for them, and actually, many times “they” are driving me to attempt new things, as a result of their learning path….so really my thanks goes right back them. I’ll do my best to keep this up, for as long as I’m able. 

What if we started a rumor that Solid Edge University was going to be moved to New Zealand? What city should we have it in?

Well as far as rumors go…that’d be THE BEST! I’m already anxious to go searching for booking information. Now as to which city, in my own selfish way, I’d love it to be in Tauranga, but after my last Targa rally trip in the South Island…I’d absolutely recommend Queenstown, in a heartbeat. Nestled in a valley surrounded by snowy mountains, with crystal clear water of Lake Wakatipu….even I was in awe of that as a “back yard”.


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