Customer Story

Skinny Guy Campers

Building a Foundation for Innovation

There are those who think of camping as more than just a hobby, but a way of life. They outfit their vehicles to traverse off the grid, so that they can immerse themselves in nature and experience the great outdoors like most people never will.

Skinny Guy Campers is for them. Their truck-bed campers are self-contained units providing comfortable shelter and the ability to do daily activities like cook and shower. Many adventurers who are working on their own setup may see Skinny Guy Campers as the missing puzzle piece to a more fulfilling, less stressful journey.

Service and support are the reasons we choose CATI - they're people that I've already formed good working relationships with who understand where I'm trying to be.
Rob Miles Engineering Design Lead, Skinny Guy Campers

A Trusted Partner for Success

To make their campers so robust and versatile, Skinny Guy Campers needed a product development environment with those same attributes. It’s possible to figure it out alone, but for something as essential and as complex as product development, it’s much easier to rely on trusted experts like CATI.

“Since the beginning, our primary day-to-day needs have been to create product designs, build assemblies, and house all of our data,” says Rob Miles, head of engineering. “CATI showed us all our options and everything available to ensure the solutions we were getting would solve our problems. CATI’s superb service – having someone there to take care of and support us – is a big part of why we chose them. I’ve used other CAD tools in the past, but those didn’t feel like a full business solution, whereas getting SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE through CATI encompassed everything we needed.”

The Freedom and Simplicity of the Cloud

“SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE offered a lot of advantages by being cloud-based and not requiring a local server,” explains Miles. “Cloud-based storage is my favorite part of what we use, simply because of how convenient it makes everything. We started in our boss’s garage, did a bit of traveling, and now, being spread out and working at home, the cloud has made file access seamless. It may seem minor, but in terms of convenience factor, it beats anything else I’ve worked with. I primarily use it for storage, version & revision control, and I can open the platform from my browser daily. Eventually, I’m hoping to get my vendors access so that they can pull whatever they need.”

What Makes SOLIDWORKS Special

With CATI’s support and training assistance, Skinny Guy Campers has been able to really unleash the capabilities of SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE. “I’ve definitely learned some cool tips,” proclaims Miles. “We do quite a bit with sheet metal features. One that I’ve really enjoyed is Convert to Sheet Metal for easily creating a body, filling the space you want, and converting it from a solid part to a sheet metal part. When you’re getting into parts with complex bends, angles, and multiple flanges, it helps substantially. Another piece that’s helped is the Hole Series feature. We’re doing a lot of riveting and from an assembly standpoint. With Hole Series, I can go through and say, ‘Here’s where I want a fastener to be, I want it to connect these two, three, or even more parts,’ and SOLIDWORKS will put all of the holes in all of the mating parts in the exact same spot.”

Miles continues, “Interference Detection is something I rely heavily on as well. A lot of what I’m looking for is double-checking for mistakes. I want to ensure that parts aren’t trying to occupy the same space, that overlaps are put in the correct spots, that pieces are coming together correctly. Once I’ve gone through at assembly level, I’ll add in some fasteners. I’m not necessarily trying to put fasteners in areas that look good, but we’re using a lot of blind fasteners. Therefore, we want to ensure they aren’t interfering with anything.”

SOLIDWORKS Interference Detection

Measuring Success

Overall, improving their own utilization of SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE has proven to be a benchmark of Skinny Guy Campers’s success. “We measure results by how well the physical products come together as we assemble them. This is somewhat of a ‘rolling-down-the-hill’ evaluation, but we try to ensure we are noticing both whether the assembler set it up well and whether the software enabled them the ability for a nice setup. Overall, we’ve seen a lot of good results for how parts have come together. We’ve had some thoughts around tolerancing and how we want things to come together, and we look at how that relationship stands with the manufacturing process. We want to see successful products, successful processes, and successful stories from our customers using our products.”

Data Management: Just as Critical

While the ability to design and assemble CAD is essential, Rob adds that data management is arguably equal in importance. “One of our biggest priorities has been overall engineering data utilization. How do we create it? How does it feed the different parts of the company? And how do we examine the entire product and our product lifecycle management? While investigating SOLIDWORKS as potentially a complete solution, we dove deep into the wide range of its functionality, from creation all the way through the end of lifecycle,” states Miles. “We wanted to research how much of a total business data management tool was available while simultaneously looking at CAD. We were initially anticipating separate solutions for our CAD and our data management needs until, with the help of CATI, we learned we could have it all integrated. I wanted to use SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE because I was shown those benefits.”

SGC stores and manages their SOLIDWORKS data in the cloud

Looking Ahead

Not only have SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE been convenient for data management at Skinny Guy Campers, but they’ve also revealed opportunity. “There are multiple ways we plan to grow. One of the biggest is technical documentation. There is going to be the need for documents such as assembly instructions, owner’s manuals, et cetera. We plan to use SOLIDWORKS Composer in the creation of those documents. We also plan to use SOLIDWORKS Visualize to create photorealistic renders of our products for marketing campaigns.”

The view from inside a Skinny Guy Camper

The Value of a Trusted Partner

When trekking out into the great wilderness, you need your essential tools, knowledge on how to use them, and someone by your side to help you navigate. “Like I said before, service and support are the reasons we choose CATI – they’re people that I’ve already formed good working relationships with who understand where I’m trying to be. They do a good job keeping me up to date with different software capabilities and help me do what’s needed to take the next step as Skinny Guy Campers continues to grow. They can look at the entire project without tunnel vision. They’ve shown us SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE, and not just how they work, but how they fit into our entire business model.”