|SolidWorks World 2010? That?s a wrap?dammit!|
It's like it's the day after Christmas; all the toys have been played with, food and drink consumed and the relatives have left. Now, I just have this weird empty feeling. Not as bad as losing your best friend, though. Close, but?
As I've come to expect, SolidWorks put on a great show. I really liked the layout of the Anaheim Convention Center. I didn't feel like I had to walk miles to get to wherever my destination was. Which isn't to say I didn't do a lot of walking, 'cause I did. I'm quite confident that I lost a couple of pounds. Well, extremely hopeful anyway. As has become the norm these past few years, I spent more time observing than attending with most of my observing taking place in the Vendor Fair. It's here that I thank those companies that have given me the opportunity to try out their products, while meeting with new companies. The amount of partner products out there is pretty impressive. There are times when I want to say "there's an app for that", then look over my shoulder to be sure the Apple police aren't coming after me for copyright infringement. This year's Vendor Fair was well attended by vendors from all segments of the industry: rapid prototyping, CMM, CAM, PLM, PDM, etc. Need a model of a human body for yourWeird Scienceexperiment?Zygotehas your back (and front?left foot). Design automation?DriveWorksorTactonWorkswill duke it out for your business. How about a new computer?Boxx,HPandDellwill regale you with stories of why there PC kicks the other guys' butt! What about a cool 3D model of your completedWeird Scienceexperiment?Zcorp,ObjetorSolidowould be more than happy to impart their wondrous knowledge of all that is 3D printing upon you.
One of the greatest things about SolidWorks 2010 was the arena where the general assemblies were held. Rather than a large conference room where the people in back had to stand to see, the Anaheim convention center had an arena with 2ndand 3rdlevel seating. I think this helped to get everyone "close" to the stage. It also seemed to lessen the running of people to get to the front of the venue. A lot of people seemed quite happy to sit in one of the upper levels. James Cameron was a great choice as the keynote, too. Much better than Wozniak a few years ago.
I'd say my biggest complaint was the Tuesday night event, a complaint that is being voiced by many. It was held in the same huge room that we ate breakfast and lunch in and was really a step down from previous years. An Aerosmith cover band was the entertainment and BBQ was the food. For a 3D software conference event, it was rather one dimensional. Too loud, too dark, too few seats, too few food choices. I'm trying to find out why there was such a deviation from years past. If I get anything, I'll let you know.
Would any of the above stop me from going to San Antonio next year? Hell no! I think the plusses way outweigh the negatives and wouldn't miss it for anything. I hope to see you there.
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|Kerri Dunne - The brains behind SWW|
I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with Kerri Dunne during SWW '09 and spend some time interviewing her. Kerri is, by many accounts, the brains behind SolidWorks World. As the manager of the events team, she oversees all that goes into making each year's SolidWorks World a success. However, believe it or not, SolidWorks World is only one of over 50 events that Kerri and her team, Liz Hamlin and Audrey McDowel, put together each year. Those events include nation-wide trade shows, incentive trips (I want in on one of those!), annual sales meeting and leadership events for resellers.
|Let's talk about Vuuch|
Vuuch(pronounced vooch), is a great new tool out there to make collaboration easier. I first heard of Vuuch throughChris Williamsvia Twitter (you do know whatTwitteris, right?). I finally got to meet Chris, and the rest of the Vuuch team, at SolidWorks World 2009 and was immediately impressed with the passion he has for Vuuch. While Vuuch is still in beta, one can easily see the impact it would have on your design process. Rather than having to send emails back and forth, all the while trying to keep track of said emails, wouldn't it be easier to tag a part (or feature, assembly, etc) with your comment, question or concern and be able to share it with your team? With Vuuch, you can do just that. I'm the only user in my company, so fully testing out Vuuch's capabilities aren't easy, but I can see the possibilities. As soon as Vuuch gets Excel set up (which is coming), I'll be better able to check it out. I'll keep you informed.
|Off-topic Soapbox Rant|
A warning: This post will have absolutely nothing to do with SolidWorks, or CAD for that matter.
Why do people feel that part numbers need to represent anything? Too often I've seen "smart" part numbers end up being so convoluted that you need a PhD in cryptography to understand anything. What's bringing this on? I'm ashamed to admit it, but there is such a part numbering system here. It's not as ugly as some I've seen, but it's frustrating nonetheless. Naturally, I tried to get the powers-that-be to see the error of their ways but, in the end, I had to concede. (Today is only my third day, I don't want it to be my last.)
What so many people fail to realize is that a part number is just a placeholder in the MRP system (or whatever inventory control system you're using). The partdescriptionis the important part. Yes, I know there are those who are screaming "blasphemer" at me, I don't care. The minute you implement a "smart" part numbering system, you're setting up for future failure. At some point you're going to have a new part that is really similar to an existing part so you'll add some sort of suffix or prefix to its number so you can differentiate between the two. Next thing you know, you've got a third one that's similar to the other two. Another suffix, perhaps? Oops, look, here's a fourth one. Ok, we'll just create another classification, slide the first three over and now we're good. Right? Crap, what to do with the old numbers? Hey look, this part is sort of like the first four, but it's also sort of like these ones over here...
Everyone, for the most part, has heard of the KISS principle, right? Keep it simple stupid. A part number should be just that, a stupid number. Whether it's 4-, 5- or 6-digits really depends on your company's needs. How many parts are you dealing with? Let the description take care of telling you what it is: Screw, HHC, 1/4-20 x 1, GR5; Cable, Red, 4 GA; Number, Part, Stupid.
Think about it, no more having to train newbies on how your part numbering system is deciphered. No more having to come up with new codes. Need a new part number, just take the next available one. The world is already confusing enough. Let's not make it worse with "smart" part numbers, ok?
|Jeremy Luchini? Mr. Certification|
I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Jeremy Luchini on Tuesday, Day two of SolidWorks World. Jeremy is in charge of certification for SolidWorks. Whether you're going for your CSWP, CSWA, CSWI or any other CSW*, Jeremy has had a hand in it. A quick note here: I'm not the world's best interviewer. Couple that with the fact that I've known Jeremy for a while, and how down to earth he is, and it was more like a couple of friends talking over a beer. I do hope, though, that some questions you may have about certification get answered here.
Jeff: Would that be an apt description?
Jeremy: That's right.
Jeff: What, exactly, is your title?
Jeremy: Certification Program Manager for SolidWorks.
Jeff: How long have you been with SolidWorks?
Jeremy: I'm just finishing up my eighth year.
Jeff: Have you always been involved with certification?
Jeremy: No, actually I started in the training group. They hired me to write the API training manual for engineers, so that's where I started; teaching guys how to automate SolidWorks and we developed an API instructor exam based on that, so I got to learn about certification and become a CSWP myself, then took over the program six years ago. So six out of my eight years has been as certification manager.
Jeff: Do you like it?
Jeremy: I love it; I think it's the best job in the company.
Jeff: That's funny. I was talking to Bill Doll yesterday and he said he had to best job in the company running SolidWorks Labs.
Jeremy: Ok, yup, he probably hasthecoolest job in the company. I deal with the coolestpeoplein the community.
Jeff: That, I would agree with.
Jeremy: Ok, there we go. I do see the stressful side when we're testing people. You have to be able to handle that in a professional way and realize we're trying to do good for everybody here and design exams that just identify proficiencies. Testing is a stressful thing but the celebration of the skills that it takes to become certified, that's where the real paycheck is for me.
Jeff: Alright, let's get into this. A lot of guys like me, who passed the eight hour exam, have seen or taken the new exam say you've dumbed it down, that you've cheapened it. What do you think about that?
Jeremy: I think, ah, you're speaking on behalf of all the guys that took the eight hour exam and the four hour exam?
Jeff: Yeah, the people I've talked to.
Jeremy: Are we comparing the two?
Jeff: Comparing the two, they think it's been cheapened; it's lessened the credibility of becoming a CSWP.
Jeremy: Ok, I think what these guys should realize is we're not trying to create an elite club for a small group of people. Certification is about identifying who's proficient in SolidWorks. When the original exam, the eight hour exam, was created, the first one, y'know you gotta realize how difficult it was for us to even manage that. Somebody's spending eight hours, on a Saturday, at a reseller taking an exam and we were actually noticing, Jeff, that it was taking people around five hours actually. People that that knew what they were doing could pass the CSWP in around four or five hours and we started looking at, obviously, updating the exam for the online environment that we have today. When I looked at it, I thought that we could break out some of the advanced parts of the old exam into specialty exams. That's the reason we went from eight to four, was simply to say "hey, core SolidWorks knowledge is about part modeling, it's about assembly modeling." The hook on the new exam was, well, we wouldn't do bottom up assembly, which the old exam did. We would do a top-down engine block assembly where we would really prove that this guy knew what he was doing with SolidWorks. Back when you took it, it was an option. If you weren't good with assemblies, you could still become a CSWP, which concerned me and a lot of people. So, we decided to make that mandatory and pull out some of the other things, like sheet metal or surfacing which not everybody's doing, and let those be an option for CSWPs in the future. So the guys that thing we're watering down or making it easier, I can tell you that the pass rates involved these days, it's dropping. Basically all the really high skilled guys took the old exam, now we have a lot more people taking the exam just trying it. The pass rates are low, it's very hard to pass. That's why we invented the CSWA product, to get people started in the certification program and eventually take the CSWP exam. Eventually, as that program grows and more people can claim they're proficient in core SolidWorks, start specializing. One day we're going to have so many professional exams, this crew that you're talking about, who's upset about the old exam, they're actually?what I want to see these guys do is take the advanced exams, really advanced exams like surfacing and sheet metal, and we're going to have a brand new market for these guys called 'Elite Professional'. Ok? That's where we're at and that's why we did the things we're doing.
Jeff: Fair enough. People have been wondering. How many people took the exam this weekend?
Jeremy: I think we had close to one-hundred and fifty to two-hundred on Sunday.
Jeff: How many passed?
Jeremy: Well, it was a mixture of CSWP and CSWA and I think it was around forty or fifty total passed.
Jeff: Now, last year it seems to me you had a much higher pass rate.
Jeremy: No, it was only a few dozen passed out of the few hundred that took it. That's why I, when you say that a lot of people think that the new exam is easier than the old one, I would say there's different pressures on someone today than when you took it. They have a time limit, which they complain about, and we have to adjust. We're dealing with people that are going to be measured by how quickly and accurately they can model in SolidWorks.
Jeff: Don't you think you have more people taking it now that it's offered for free?
Jeremy: Well that's definitely part of it for sure.
Jeff: I mean, when I took it it was $500.
Jeremy: Yup, which prevented a lot of people from taking it. When we designed this system to not have to have people sitting in a training room all day at a reseller, but be able to sit online and take it when they could, obviously the participation went up just from going online, and then reducing the price. We didn't have the overhead charge.
Jeff: That's true. So, it's free.
Jeremy: It's not free. It's free if you're on subscription service. We're trying to build this into the value of continuing to stay on maintenance. You get the free support, you get?
Jeff: Yeah, don't get me started on maintenance.
Jeremy: Ok, I won't start you on maintenance.
Jeff: That's a whole other ball of wax.
Jeremy: (laughing) Alright, you gonna take that up with my boss?
Jeff: I'm going to. If you fail it, do you get to take it again for free?
Jeremy: Well, the program we have now, if you're on subscription service you get one free try pass or fail at the exam. At that point, the system recognizes that you took it and will refer you to the web store where you can buy it for $99.
Jeff: Oh, it's only one-hundred bucks now?
Jeff: Oh, that's not bad. Alright, so I went through your AE testing last year, 'cause you test AE's.
Jeremy: That's right, instructor exam. I remember it. I remember you teaching.
Jeff: My Patriots jersey.
Jeremy: That's right.
Jeff: And me telling you to be quiet in my class.
Jeff: I know you said, then, what you were looking for, but what are you looking for?
Jeremy: In my words, I tell every instructor that has to teach in front of me, "Look, clearly the curriculum we have for customers is top-notch. The training manuals are printed in color, they're step-by-step. I could sit down and learn SolidWorks just by reading those books. What I'm looking for from our instructors is what are they bringing to the table beyond what the books are telling us?" People pay a lot of money for training and they deserve value; they deserve someone who can present well, is fired up and excited about using SolidWorks. That's the person I want to be learning anything from. CAM, CAD, whatever. So I look for passion in the instructors. I look for them to understand a difficult situation when it comes up in the training room. If they can't answer a question, how are they skilled at finding the right answer? Do they know people? Do they get into SolidWorks trying to answer the question for themselves? I love guys that try things. You don't have to be an expert to be a Certified SolidWorks Instructor. What I mean by that is, I don't expect someone to understand 100% of the code. What I expect them to do is be highly proficient, much more proficient that just a casual user, so that they can approach new customers and handle the questions that come up in the classroom. There's some strange questions that get asked and I'm looking at how you respond to them. Remember when I asked you some crazy things? Things you would never think about because you're just following the lesson. Trying to get the information clear and I'm looking to throw some curve balls at you and seeing if you're really ready to handle that. That's what we're looking for. I'm a paying customer. Am I going to leave on Friday ready to go when I'm back at my job versus reading a book.
Jeff: Fair enough. That answers the next question I was going to ask, too. So you said in the future, with the CSWP stuff, that you guys are going to break it out further. You already have the sheet metal going, right?
Jeremy: Yeah, and we launched surfacing this week.
Jeff: Oh, and surfacing, too? What else, are you going to do COSMOS?
Jeremy: We have simulation, too, but the participation rate is down a little so we're going to see what we can do about that. It's a pretty advanced exam.
Jeff: Well, I heard from a source?
Jeremy: Oh, you and your sources.
Jeff: Oh yeah. I heard you guys were going to be doing DriveWorks certification, too.
Jeremy: Well, you know that DriveWorks is installed in SolidWorks now; you get a free copy of it?
Jeremy:?DriveWorksXpress. What we have to deal with is different installs of SolidWorks around the world, so on a global program we have to be careful how we include add-in applications on an exam. It's not really fair for us to include add-ins that not everybody may have access to.
Jeff: You gotta answer this, the bloggers are really gonna want to know that answer. Why'd you hire Mike?
Jeremy: Honestly, I wasn't planning on hiring Mike. He and I have been friends for a while and he told me he was looking for work because things weren't working out where he was. I tried to introduce him to the company I highlighted at the CSWP event, Megabrands, because they were looking for somebody of his caliber. Mike said that he saw I had an opening in my group and I said we did. We try not to draw from the customers or our resellers unless we're asked about our jobs, and Mike did ask. He knows some of the fun things we do and he, clearly, has a voice in the community. I really enjoy Mike's passion and what he brings to the table for my team. We're almost like self-marketing guys. We have to build the exams and then communicate what we've done. I think Mike's real asset to the team is going to be sharing what we're doing and why we're doing it; kind of like this interview. Getting some things cleared up with people so they're not frustrated with us. So they're nodding their heads 'yes' and understanding. That's a long answer to why I hired Mike, but why wouldn't I hire him? He's got SolidWorks running through his veins, like the rest of us, so it was an easy decision. He came in, interviewed and hit a homerun. When are you coming in?
Jeff: (laughing) I'd love to. Can I work from Seattle?
Jeremy: Anything is possible.
There you have it, my loyal reader.
|SolidWorks World 2009? The Finale|
I had planned on telling you about all the new functionality in SolidWorks 2010, but the "new" technology I was using failed me. I had downloaded a voice recorder for my iPhone so I could just record what was said instead of writing notes and the recording is inaudible. No worries though, I know that many of my fellow bloggers, if not all of them, have posted about what's new.
This was my busiest SWW yet, and I didn't even make it to one break out session. Between meeting with partner product reps, interviews and meetings, I just could seem to make it to the sessions I wanted to go to. Nonetheless, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. The folks at SolidWorks pulled off another fantastic event. Well organized, high spirited and just plain fun. It never ceases to amaze me how approachable all the SW employees are from Jeff Ray down. Believe it or not, as exhausted as I am, I can't wait for next year's conference in Anaheim!
Another bonus of coming here is to be able to truly meet, and spend time with, all those I've met on the forums, in the blogosphere and on Twitter. Of course, there's seeing those that I've met before as well as meeting new people. It's really hard to decide what the best part of any SolidWorks World is. It's all just such an awesome experience.
For next year's conference, I'm going to have to be better prepared. I had worked my schedule around breakout sessions I wanted to attend; ones that pertained to my previous job. With the change in jobs, my preferences changed but that led to conflicts with other scheduled meetings and interviews. Live and learn.
I started writing this yesterday, sitting in the lobby of the Dolphin Hotel, but finished it at my parent's rental in Ormond Beach today. There were just too many people walking by that I wanted to say goodbye to, to be able to finish. I fly home tomorrow afternoon. I can't wait to get home and see my boys this weekend and then start my new job on Monday!
Spring training is just around the corner?Go Sox!
|SolidWorks World? The Final Day|
Wow, I can't believe it's day 3. It's amazing how slowly SolidWorks World comes, compared with how quickly it ends. Now we have to wait almost one more year until SolidWorks World 2010 in Anaheim, California. That's right, we're heading back to California. There were a lot of us betting on Las Vegas, especially where we were in San Diego last year. Goes to show you what we know.
As usual, today's general session was awesome. The guys from Discovery Channel'sPrototype Thiswere here to talk about their show, their designs and how they utilize SolidWorks in their design process. Their jobs are right up there in cool factor withThe Myth BustersandDirty Jobs.
Next up was the Top Ten List, presented by SWUG Presidents, and here they are:
10? Excel behavior in tables
While we may see, hopefully, some of these enhancements in SolidWorks 2010, we'll have to wait and see. SolidWorks has a pretty good track record of getting the top enhancements into future releases, so we'll have to keep our fingers crossed.
Richard Doyle then introduced the SWUGN committee. It was time for the SWUGN awards.
That was the first half of today's session. More to come soon, including my interviews with Jeremy Luchini and Kerri Dunne.
|SolidWorks World? The real Day 1|
I don't know that I've ever said this, but I truly love being a blogger for SolidWorks. It's provided me with some wonderful opportunities, both professionally and personally. Take today, for instance. As a blogger, I wasn't subjected to the cattle-callish nature of trying to get a good seat that so many others are. It's reminiscent of the days when rock concerts had general admission and people would push and shove to get the best seats. None of that for the members of the press, we have reserved seating up front. Truly a wonderful thing.
Today's general session started as one would expect with Jeff Ray coming out and talking about this year's SolidWorks World, the attendance compared with last year's, and the fun we could expect. He then talked about how he'd promised changes last year and told us how he felt that SolidWorks had done over the course of the year. When all was said and done, he gave their progress a B-, admitting that there were still areas that needed work. I agree with that statement, though I wonder if a B- wasn't a bit generous.
Next up was Jeff's interview with Sir Richard Branson. Not the normal keynote speaker time, but a one-on-one interview ala "The Tonight Show". I gotta say, Sir Richard is a pretty affable guy. Funny, engaging and he came off as being pretty down to Earth. It was most apparent in his nervousness. Apparently, he doesn't like to talk in public like that. Kudos to him for doing it. You're probably thinking he got paid a ton of money for it. Well, you're wrong. His speaker fee was donated to his charity. Everyone I've spoken to truly enjoyed listening to Sir Richard (do you have to keep calling him 'Sir Richard', I don't want to break protocol here?). He had a couple of funny stories. In one, he talked about when he was just starting up Virgin Air and called Boeing to buy a used 747. In the end he was asked, given the name of the airline, were they going to go all the way. Naturally, that cracked me, and everyone else, up. He also spoke ofa time when British Airways was having a publicity event. (At this point, I missed a bit because of the people in front of me who were talking). Whatever it was that BA was trying to raise wouldn't go up. Sir Richard, upon hearing this, "scrambled" one of his airships and had it fly over the site with "BA can't get it up" in lights.
I spent a fair amount of time in the vendor pavilion today and lined up some new products to review for all of you. Among them will be the new offerings from SolidProfessor, Vuuch, Zygote Ergonomics and solidThinking. TactonWorks will be coming in the near future as well. The product that I'm going to test out first is Xpresso. Imagine having an add-in that will greatly lessen the number of times you need to use your mouse while aggravating your coworkers at the same time (my spin on it, not theirs). In a nutshell, Xpresso is voice command software for SolidWorks. If it works as well as the demo I was shown, it could very well do away with my beloved 'S' key. Stay tuned for that one coming out soon.
|SolidWorks World 2009|
It's Sunday and SolidWorks World has has almost started. There are a ton of people here, with more arriving by the minute. I've been here since Thursday night and I'm glad things are starting to kick into high gear.
I've done a bit of wandering around and the layout doesn't seem too bad, maybe just a little spred out. I'm really looking forward to the Welcome Reception that starts at 5:30. It'll be our first chance to see what partners are here, what they've brought and their new offerings. For me, it's when things really start. It's when I start lining up products to review.
Last night I went to my first ever "Tweetup". There were a good number of fellow "Tweeterers" there and fun was had by all. I would like to offer a public apology to the girl in the Mickey Mouse hat. I meant no offense. I suspect, though, that she doesn't read this but I just wanted to put it out there. Should I run into her before I leave, I'll be sure to personally apologize.
As I'm writing this, Alex Ruiz is to my left and Ricky Jordan to my right. Both are posting to their blogs as well.
Thought I'd post a picture of my badge, too, just because.
|Flying to Orlando|
I started writing this yesterday while flying to Dallas. Unfortunately, the TypePad application on my iPhone crapped out on me, so I'm just now posting it. The upside of it is I added to the original text, making it an even better post. Well, it had nowhere to go but up anyway?
I'm sitting on a plane flying towards Dallas, the first leg of my trip to Orlando and SolidWorks World 2009. I have no idea what state I'm flying over. All I can see is a patchwork of flat land through the hazy clouds. It's good that there's something to look at outside or I'd probably be trying to make small-talk with the gorgeous blonde sitting next to me. Given my luck with women lately, I'd probably end up being escorted off the plane by members of the DFW Airport police. Yeah, the flatness outside is much better than the curves next to me?right.
Tomorrow is when the fun really starts. Lunch with an old friend, a roundtable discussion with SolidWorks and some of my fellow bloggers followed by my first ever "tweetup". Good God, when did I become such a geek? Sunday, I'll be?um,she'stalking to me! More later.
Ok, I'm back. After landing early at DFW, followed by a long wait on the tarmac which resulted in us getting to the gate late (ah, the irony), Tina and I parted ways. She had to catch a flight to Houston, I needed to find food. I'm sitting in a TGIFridays, waiting for my fish and chips to arrive. How bad could fish and chips be in Texas?
On Sunday I thought I had more to do, but I only see one thing on my calendar. I can't talk about it because it's a surprise, or at least I think it is. I'd hate to be the one to let the cat out of the bag, so I'll just keep my mouth shut. I am contemplating taking the CSWP exam, again, just to see how different it is from the last two times I've taken it. Well that, and I'm interviewing Jeremy Luchini on Tuesday and would like to be able to speak intelligently about the exam and how its changed over the years. I suppose it'll depend on what sort of hijinx Alex gets us into Saturday night. So long as that uber-geek doesn't get me arrested, it'll all be good.
It's now Saturday morning and I'm sitting in my hotel room, finishing this post. Last night, after checking in, I spent some quality time with some people from SolidWorks. It was nice to interact with them outside of "business".
I've been checking twitter, and many more twitterers and bloggers are converging on Orlando. Tonight's tweetup should be a blast, if last night's precursor was any indication.
Stay tuned, my loyal reader, there's more to come.
|What a week!|
It's only Tuesday, and I'm already having a great week. I received a job offer yesterday that is going to simply rock. I'll be working athttp://www.ultimatesurvival.com/, doing a multitude of things: designing, redesigning, 2D to 3D conversion, line improvement, lean manufacturing, trouble making. The best part of all of it is I'll be working for a former boss, one whom I greatly respect and consider to be the best manager I've ever had. Actually, the best part of it is I'll only be 15 minutes from home versus the 230 miles away that I am now. Couple all that with the fact that I fly to Orlando on Friday for SolidWorks World, and you've got the ingredients for a great week!
I'll be posting as much as possible from SWW. I have a couple of interviews lined up, plus I hope to line up some more product reviews. With all the vendors that'll be there, that shouldn't be too hard to do. It's good to have such great things to look forward to during these tough times.
Remember, too, only 11 more days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training!
Last night I had the honor of presenting at the first meeting of the Yakima SolidWorks User Group. Jeff, John and George did a great job putting it together and they had a great turnout for their first meeting. 22 people showed up to be awed by my 'Tips& Tricks' presentation, followed by a Q& A session. Ok, so "awed" may be a tad strong, but I did get at least one "ooh!" and an "ahh!". The group was very engaged, an excellent thing. Good questions, enthusiasm and camaraderie. I can see YSWUG being a very successful group. Hopefully, the local VARs will step up in their support.
Their next meeting will be in April. If you live in the area, keep an eye onwww.yakima1.com/yswug. They're going to be loading up the page with info, including an impressive list of online resources the Jeff has gathered over the years.
On a separate note, I can't wait to get on a plane next Friday and head down to Orlando. SWW, here I come!
|Design for the Future|
My good friend and Geek-in-Charge atThe SolidWorks Geek, Alex Ruiz, is throwing his weight (notice I'm leaving out the obvious cheap-shot) behindDesign For The Future, a charity drive for under-privledged kids at the Orangewood Children's Home in Orange, California. Why is he doing this? Because Alex lived there as a teen and now he wants to give back. Please head over to Alex'ssiteand read more and give what you can.
|SolidWorks Certification exams for free...ugh.|
So SolidWorks has extended their"get certified for free" deal until, effectively, the end of 2009. Ugh. I don't know why this bugs me, but it does. Maybe it's because when I originally took the CSWP exam, it was ~$500 and an 8 hour exam. Granted, my VAR at the time gave me a discount on the price, but not on the exam length. Somehow, this whole"free" thing, along with the shortened time, seems to lessen the certification process. When I retook the exam, as an AE, I noticed that the exam was easier. Yes, I'm sure the intervening years helped with my knowledge of SolidWorks, but there seemed to be less pressure, less angst, even though I had to get at least 90%.
I considered passing the CSWP (both times) a major milestone for me. It meant a lot to me to be able to say I was a CSWP. Not only did it show that I was quite proficient with SolidWorks, but it showed a dedication to it both in money and time. Now it's free, easier and 1/3 the time.
I don't know, maybe I'm just grumpy. Maybe it's the TES (twitchy eyelid syndrome) I've been dealing with for a week. Maybe I'm just sleep deprived. Maybe I've been so swamped at work that I haven't been able to come up with a better blog post. Ugh.
|SW 2009 - First Impressions|
As I mentioned in apostlast week, I finally have SolidWorks 2009 on my desktop. Unfortunately, the project I've been working on all these months just got shelved, so I was only able to mess around with the files a little before we archived. However, they're firing up another project and, it would appear, they're going to keep me around. This will provide me the opportunity to create a similar project, mostly from scratch, in 2009.
My first impression of 2009? Not too bad, but it's a first impression with limited use. The install went smoothly, I haven't had any template issues and nothing seems too amiss. I am developing a love/hate relationship with the dynamic sketch dimensioning. First, it didn't appear to work. Then I realized you had to tick the 'Keep Dimensions' box. Ok, no worries there, though not overly intuitive. However, between the dimensions and auto-relations, I keep getting sketches that are over-defined. I'm hoping it's just because I'm being an idiot and not one of those new features that are only half done. Time will tell.
Creating a sheet metal part from a solid is pretty slick. I created a semi-complex part and SolidWorks gave me a sheet metal part in no time. I've always been a proponent creating sheet metal parts as sheet metal from the get-go. With this new functionality, I could definitely see myself changing my stance. Again, time will tell.
While I opened up the "old" project's drawings in '09, and they did open faster, I really haven't gotten into any of the new functionality available. That will come in a few weeks when we start producing the drawings for the new project.
Currently, I'd give SolidWorks 2009 a 'B-'. I haven't experienced any of the issues I've seen reported elsewhere but, aside from the sheet metal improvement, I haven't seen anything Earth shaking either. The sad thing is I'll be at SolidWorks World in just a few weeks and on the last day we'll see a preview of SolidWorks 2010 which will only wet my appetite for all the new functionality.
Time will tell.
|Going Green with SolidWorks|
Using SolidWorks, companies are helping out the environment. There's theBigBelly® trash bin, a solar powered trash compactor.Trojan Technologieshas come up with water disinfection system using UV-light.Greentec Systemshas theReee chair, made from recycled video games. Now enter,Island Sky® Corp.They've come up a way to transform water vapor from the atmosphere into potable water. They have a home/office model as well as a larger model. Designed completely in SolidWorks, they can deliver up to 1100 liters of water a day!
You can check out the press releasehere.
|Finally, 2009 is loaded!|
I've been waiting since it was released to get my hands on SolidWorks 2009. Yesterday, the waiting was over. I'd gone back to my apartment for the day when I got a call from the boss-man informing me that IT wanted to load it and could I come back in. 6 minutes later, I was at the office with the 2009 DVD in my hands. Because I'm testing it, before full release, I created a separate install folder and the install went flawlessly.
I waited until this morning to start playing with it. So far, it's only locked up once which is a HUGE improvement, compared with all the problems I've had with '08. I'm slowly going through and seeing how the various sub-assemblies, main assembly and drawings react. I'm truly hoping that the performance improvements that have been reported hold true. With all the performance/stability issues I've had in '08, even a 25% improvement would be welcomed.
Stay tuned. As I go through things, I'll keep you all posted.
FYI - The assembly stats are:
total number of components: 5060
The main assembly file is sitting around 50+MB. The various drawing files range in size from 3.5MB to 40+MB. I'm especially interested to see how '09 handles the larger drawings, once I've converted everything.
|Interested in Selling your Designs?|
Shapeways now has an online store for you to make money on all those designs you've been saving. You have heard ofShapeways, right? The online store to bring your designs to life? Well, not only can you get 3D prints of your designs, you can now sell them! Do you have some cool stuff that you've designed in SolidWorks (or, gulp, another 3D package) and you're interested in selling it? It doesn't matter if you're a designer or an artist or just screwing around, Shapeways is there to help you make some extra cash.
You can read the press release below, or go towww.shapeways.com/shopsfor more information.
SHAPEWAYS SHOPS HAVE ARRIVED: NEW GLOBAL MARKETPLACE FOR 3D PRINTED PRODUCTS LAUNCHES
From Model Trains to Gadgets, Shapeways Shops launches for 3D designers to Sell their Products in the Worlds First 3D to Reality Marketplace
CES - January, 2008 - Shapeways, the 3D printing and production service, announced today the
More details can be found atwww.shapeways.com/shops
Shapeways does everything for you: payment service, customer support, production and
Shapeways provides an easy, online interface for 3D artists and contemporary design consumers
- Shapeways offers an online platform for 3D creative's to show and sell their designs to a
|Enhancement Requests - Submit yours or Vote on your favorite!|
SolidWorks has created a newsitefor enhancement requests. Login (you have to be on subscription) and submit your enhancement request or vote on others. You can also join in on discussions about the various requests. The Top 10 requests will be announced at SolidWorks World 2009. Just clickhereand make your voice heard.
|Backwards Compatibility - A user's perspective|
*I apologize for the formatting, or lack thereof. Copy/paste doesn't play well with TypePad.*
I posted a teaser about backwards compatibility in SolidWorks about 6 weeks ago (see ithere). In response to that post, Ken Fields of purCAB/Seralyn, Inc. sent me a white paper he wrote about that very subject, albeit CAD generic. I found his paper to be well written and thought out. Rather than blatantly plagiarize, I got permission from Ken to publish it. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what Ken has written. I'm sure he would too. Here's his paper, verbatim:
CAD SYSTEMS? IN PURSUIT OF PART FILE COMPATIBILITY AN END-USER PERSPECTIVE
One of the most striking policy issues that continues to be promulgated by virtually every CAD System vendor is the issue of part file compatibility from one major release of their software to the next -- or more correctly the lack thereof. The rationale for this lack of compatibility as stated by these companies tends to revolve around pseudo?technical arguments about the difficulty involved in having to maintain this degree of compatibility; the delay that such compatibility would cause in the deployment of new and improved features; the lack of end-user support; etc. While most of these arguments are essentially a smoke screen to disguise a business strategy that believes that the CAD vendor needs to ?encourage? its users to be under maintenance (by making any older version essentially implode on itself), in reality, this policy does much more harm to the vendor than the policy brings in. First, it fosters an ?us versusthem? mentality, because it is as if a gun is being held to one?s head ? upgrade or perish. Second, instead of acting as a catalyst to encourage users to upgrade, it elongates the process. Users eschew upgrading until they feel completely safe. And finally, it completely ignores the enduser?s perspective in the zero/oneness of this policy. To be clear, this is not a backwards compatibility issue as all vendors support the ?reading? of their prior version files and in that sense they can be called ?backwards compatible?. Nor is this a forward compatibility issue where the priorversion of the software tries to read files from the current version (although this would be one way to address the issue raised here).
First, let?s examine the implications of this policy on the end-user. Since part files (actually any non-generic CAD file ? part, assembly, drawing, even a material file) saved under the newest major release of the software automatically andirrevocablybecome completely incompatible with any previous versions of the software, it is not possible to switch over to the new release piecemeal. There is no testing of the waters so to speak (yes one can effectively conduct an internal beta test, but there is no way to?test? production unless one has the resources to have duplicate production streams) nor is there any way to switch back if something becomes unworkable (short of reconstructing the previous parts in some manner ? either by hand or from a previous backup). In a single user/single seat environment, this may be tolerable as there is a one individual that has complete control; but consider what happens in a larger environment of multiple users and multiple projects. In a multi-user/multi-project environment, one could convert the files on a project-by-project basis (this strategy could alsobe implemented by a single user). That is, Project-A continues with the current release, while Project-B is developed under the new release. Fine, good idea?unless of course a user is working on both Project-A and Project-B; or what if some files are used in both Project-A and Project-B. This iswhy, counter to the argument made by the CAD vendors about enduser needs and desires for new features, that many large companies wait until the final release (effectively a year after initial availability) to make the conversion or they simply don?t migrate, but skip an entire release due to the ?risks? involved.
To be fair, complete cross-version compatibility would be difficult, if not impossible to guarantee especially over multiple versions dating back 10 years or more. But is that what the end-user is asking for? Is the end-user really asking to have cross-compatibility between V1999 and V2009? No, clearly not. But what would be of benefit is to be able to try the latest version without the fear that once started, there is, generally speaking, no turning back. So what could be done that would offer an improved transition for the end-user, keeping the development effort reasonable for the CAD vendor, and at the same time acknowledging the underling business policy at play here.
One solution to these conflicting issues would be to offer aSave As V(N-1)command. That is, V(2009) would support a Save As V(2008); V(2008) would have had a Save As V(2007), etc. This approach has the following advantages:
1) It would probably address 90% of the compatibility issues that arise.
a. Accidental conversion.?Oops, I didn?t mean to click on save?.
b. Allows the user to drop back to the prior version if required?i.e. it reduces risk, especially for companies with multiple users spread over multiple projects.
2) This approach would allow for a very manageable and well-defined development effort. That is, development does not have to worry about supporting every single version, just the most recent.
3) It would encourage yearly update as opposed to year skipping (because of the N-1 policy).
4) It would encourage earlier testing and conversion?because now it is not zero/one.
5) It would be a marketing coup by the first CAD vendor to recognize the virtues of this approach.
6) Finally and perhaps most importantly, it would allow for the easy isolation of bugs by being able to test the problem file under the prior release. That is, is this a problem that was introduced in this latest release or is it one that also existed under the prior release. Currently this is not at all easy to check, as there is no way to take a current-release file and turn it back to a prior-release (short of recreating it by hand).
Questions (roadblocks?) will be raised such as?it will be impossible to save a new version part as a previous version part, because there are new features and enhancements that the user might have used that are not available under the previous version? and therefore the vendor should do?nothing? First, many of the enhancements made each year affect the UI and not underlying features. Second, a significant percentage would be ?accidental conversions?. Third, it does not have to be a perfect solution ? just make it so the end-user community has a way to unwind things if it doesn?t work. Having to recode (and re-input) featuresthat were based on new enhancements by hand is not unreasonable and looks like a panacea compared to the prospect of recreating the entire file by hand. The real question is which CAD vendor will recognize that it needs to spend less time on developing new ?features? and more time listening toit user base.
Me again. Personally, I don?t know enough about coding to know how feasible it is to be able to ?Save-as? to an older version. I?ve heard the arguments about new features not being available in older version, etc. It seems to me that it could be set up such that those unavailable features would just be recognized as ?dumb?. Again, I simply don?t know enough about coding to speak intelligently about it. I don?t know that I?ve heard a single end user say that backwards compatibility isn?t needed, or that they?d never use it. Where I?ve heard rumors of it being worked on, one can jump to the conclusion that it is doable, right?
Could you, would you use it? Remember, this is across the board and not just related to SolidWorks.
|More on SWW '09|
Yes, I know I just posted about SolidWorks World '09 but there's some other posts out there that I wanted to bring to your attention 'cause they're important.
First, Richard Doyle is looking for your 1st time story. If it's good enough, you could end up on stage with Jeff Ray. Check out Richard'sblogand leave your story in the comments. There is also athreadin the SolidWorks forums too.
Next we have Matt West. If you're quick, you still might be able to suggest a couple of questions for him to ask Jeff Ray and Jon Hirschtick. Matt is interviewing them for a SWW podcast. Jump over to the Solidworksblogand leave your suggestions in the comments.
|SolidWorks World 2009 - It's getting close!|
By my math, which can be iffy at times, there's only 53 more days until SolidWorks World 2009 begins in Orlando. That means there's only 51 more days until I fly down there. I was honored to receive an invitation to attend as a member of the press, and plan on making full use of my "Press" credentials. With the number of SolidWorks partners that are going to be there, I should be able to line up reviews of their products so as to entice you all into purchasing. Ok, at least, maybe, checking out their offerings.
Have you registered yet? If not, you have until January 9, 2009 to save $100 on registration. With guest speaker Sir Richard Branson on the bill, plus Jeff Ray and Jon Hirschtick, how can you go wrong? SolidWorks will even throw in breakfast and lunch every day! If that's not enough to convince you...
Seriously, SolidWorks World is so worth the trip for any user who wants to get to know SolidWorks better. Between the training, networking and the partner products you can see and/or try, you just can't go wrong. Yes, I know I sound like a shill for SolidWorks, but that's not the case. I've been to three of them and left knowing more than I did when I got there. Hell, my former boss was impressed enough tthat he wasinterviewedby SolidWorks on why he sent employees. At the very least, go to theSolidWorks World web siteand check out the agenda to see what you'll miss out on if you don't go.
Where I just imported the latest iteration of the building, I thought I give you all a quick project update. Currently, the upper level assembly has 4550 parts in it and 10,500 bodies (I need to dig into the assembly to find out why). There's 383 Sub-assemblies, so there are only 14 mates being resolved in the upper level assembly. Mass properties, though a bit skewed weight-wise, are:
Lately, we've been running into some huge problems with PDMWorks. Last week, I was crashing to desktop quite consistantly when using PDMWorks. I've been working with SolidWorks tech support to figure out what's happening. Currently, there appears to be an issue with a dll file in Windows (x64) that's partly to blame. The current work around is to have PDM turned off whenever possible. Actually, the only addin I have turned on isSolidJott(if you don't know about SolidJott, you really should check it out). I'm still missing my SpacePilot, but system stability is more important than anything, or so I keep telling myself.
The project is progressing along nicely, however, and the powers-that-be are happy with what we've produced so far.
If you're working on large assemblies, I'd love to hear about your issues and how you solved them.
|Dealing with imported data|
This will be a short post but, hopefully, a useful one.
Have you ever imported a non-native SolidWorks file only to see errors? If you right click on one of those errors, you'll see an option called 'Import Diagnostics'. Choosing that will bring up a new dialogue box that gives you a list of the errors. At this point you have the choice of fixing all faces, fixing all gaps or, by right clicking on one of the offenders, fixing them individually. Through trial and error, I've found that fixing all faces will fix the gaps. Naturally, though, there are instances where this doesn't work. I've had times when the "fix" actually causes the offending surface to be incorrectly fixed. After you've fixed the errors, you'll end up with a bunch of bodies (unless you have FeatureWorks, but that's a different post). At this point, go to Tools->Features->Combine. With any luck, you'll be able to combine all the bodies.
Where, often times, these erroneous imports are surfaces, you can utilize the surfacing tools in SolidWorks to repair them as well. I'm no expert on surfacing, so I don't want to go too deep into the "how" portion. I would recommend getting familiar with the 'Delete Face' option, as well as the 'Filled Surface'. Perhaps a surfacing expert (Matt, you reading?) might be able to shed a bit more light on this subject.
This is how I deal with imported data. How do you do it?
|New Tools for you!|
First, let's talk aboutSolidJott. The brainchild of our Canadian friend, Ben Eadie (ofSolidMentor.comfame), SolidJott has quickly transformed from a helpful website to a full-blown SolidWorks add-in. Think about it, you're stuck on some problem and all you have to do is click on a tab in your task pane to post your question.Such a much easier way to go about finding answers to your problems. Essentially, a world-wide SolidWorks braintrust at your fingertips!
Next comes news from the peeps atSolidWorks Labs.They've released FOUR new experimental applications. Treehouse, Tagger, Presentation Studio and a Collada export add-in. You can view either view thepress release, or just head on over toSolidWorks Labsand check out their offerings!
|Working with large assemblies|
First, an apology. I've been absolutely slammed at work lately and just haven't been able to put the time aside to write. I'm sorry.
On to the subject of this post, though the title may be a bit misleading. I know that there are people out there who are creating 20-, 30-, even 100,000 part assemblies. Mine isn't that big; It's hovering around 3900 parts +/-. However, it also encompasses 300,000 square feet. It also includes large amounts of imported data. One drawing, with only six sheets in it, is already at 30MB and isn't close to being done. I think I'm rambling a bit now...
How does one go about managing all this data in SolidWorks? Carefully. When the project started, we sat down and looked at the overall scope. I was tasked with setting up templates, work flow and management of the overall assembly. Here's where the meat of this post starts. When you're going to be dealing with large assemblies, you can't just start throwing parts in willy-nilly. You'll end up regretting it. Take some time and think about how you can break it into more easily digestible chunks. Even these chunks can often be broken down. Create your sub-assemblies independently. (There are those who will argue that in-context relationships are no big deal. Personally, I avoid them whenever possible. I've been bitten in the ass one too many times.) Combine your sub-assemblies into assemblies. Combine these assemblies into another assembly. This isn't an exact science, though. How small you break things down and how you decide to combine them depend on the overall size of the design, as well as the design itself. When all is said and done, you want as few mates in your upper-level assembly as possible. (Right now mine has 17.)
By utilizing sub-assemblies, and sub-sub-assemblies, it'll make it easier to have multiple people working on the project together. It was because of this that we were able to assemble the building as quickly as we did, much to the delight of the customer. Sub-assemblies work well when it comes to creating configurations and drawings, too. A subject for another post perhaps?
Large assemblies can be quite manageable, so long as you spend some time thinking about it.
|Who should I interview? What to ask?|
|SolidWorks + Microsoft = Robots|
SolidWorks and Microsoft joined forces to create a new software to enable engineers to simulate robots working before they're actually put to work.
Rather than regurgitating what I've read, here's the press release from SolidWorks:
Microsoft and DS SolidWorks Enhance Robot Simulation
Robotics programmers can now use SolidWorks 3D CAD models for more powerful simulations
CONCORD, Mass., USA, Nov. 18, 2008?Engineers now have a more accurate way to simulate robots in action before they?re put to work thanks to new software developed by Microsoft and Dassault SystèmesSolidWorksCorp. (DS SolidWorks). The new simulation capability helps companies program robots more quickly and effectively, a key advantage for robot manufacturers seeking improved efficiency.
Users ofMicrosoft® Robotics Developer Studio 2008(Microsoft RDS) will be able directly incorporate 3D CAD models designed in SolidWorks® software into Microsoft?s Visual Simulation Environment (Microsoft VSE) and simulate their operation more accurately. As a result, robotics developers can correct any robotic application issues early and maximize the robots? performance. The solution takes advantage of the fact that both applications support a common XML format,COLLADA, for rendering 3D objects and motion. A demo of the solution is available now atSolidWorks Labs, and the solution itself will be available for download from SolidWorks Labs the first week of December.
?We are excited about the results of our collaboration with DS Solidworks in support of the COLLADA format,? said Tandy Trower, general manager at Microsoft. ?This software integration means faster development of detailed physics-based simulation scenarios, a significant benefit for robot andautomation developers, researchers, and even hobbyists.?
A robot designer, for example, can download the free SolidWorks/Microsoft RDS integration software, export a SolidWorks robot design into Microsoft VSE, develop the robotic application, then simulate the robots? operation prior to deployment. The integration preserves dimensions, constraints, mass properties, motors, springs, colors, textures, and more from the SolidWorks model.
?The worlds of machine design, mechatronics, and robotics are converging, and this first-of-its-kind partnership is just one way we?re supporting the convergence,? said Fielder Hiss, director of product management at DS SolidWorks, a world leader in 3D solutions. ?SolidWorks software has long enabled modeling, motion, and simulation, and customers are excited that we?re extending these capabilities to robotics.?
|Wanna win free software?|
Read the press release below from Novedge...
Novedge and QuadriSpace Sponsor A New Contest for the SpaceClaiming Online Community
San Francisco, CA? November 19, 2008 ? Novedge LLC, the leading online graphics and design store, today announces a new contest for the members of SpaceClaiming, the popular online community for CAD and design professionals. Sponsored by Novedge and QuadriSpace, the online competition will reward the most original photograph submitted by December 15, 2008 based on the theme ?Me, My CAD, and My Computer.? Judged by Brian Roberts, President of QuadriSpace, the challenge is reserved for members of the SpaceClaiming community. According to Franco Folini, SpaceClaiming member and President of Novedge, ?Supporting SpaceClaiming is a way to thank the CAD and design professionals for the significant trust they put in Novedge in allowing us to be their supplier of the most qualified software tools.? The grand prize winner will receive a regular commercial license of QuadriSpace Document3D Suite Standard, an advanced 3D publishing tool with a commercial value of $1495. ?Document3D customers are reusing 3D models to create all kinds of exciting deliverables such as 3D PDF documents, printed manuals, interactive 3D web pages, Flash animations, and technical illustrations,? said Brian Roberts, SpaceClaiming member and President of QuadriSpace. ?QuadriSpace enables better deliverables, and customers using QuadriSpace report a tremendous time and money savings when compared to outdated 2D-only methods that require multiple translations, multiple applications, and manual updates to documentation."
SpaceClaiming (www.spaceclaiming.com) is an open, and free online user community. SpaceClaiming hosts discussions, blog posts, videos, images, and tutorials providing an ideal environment to improve CAD users? knowledge and skills while building a valuable network of personal relationships with qualified professionals.
Founded in 2003, Novedge LLC (www.novedge.com), a privately held company based in San Francisco, CA, is the leading online store of design, graphics, and manufacturing software and accessories. Thanks to its extensive catalog and unique proprietary interactive technology, Novedge offers a comprehensive and unparalleled approach to researching and purchasing CAD and graphics software online.
QuadriSpace Corporation (www.quadrispace.com) delivers premier Product Communication and Documentation solutions using its patented technology (U.S. Patent # 7,068,269). Our software solutions enhance productivity by enabling 3D CAD and associated data reuse throughout the business process. The easy-to-use suite of products minimizes the time to market and the documentation costs throughout the enterprise. QuadriSpace products serve a broad user base of engineers, manufacturing, marketing, and technical publication professionals.
|SolidWorks Success Stories|
A couple of years ago, I visited SolidWorks headquarters in Concord, MA. I'd just started writing this blog and went to meet with some of the people who worked with Partner companies. One of the things that stands out from that visit was a hallway filled with stuff that had been designed in SolidWorks. At the time, I'd only seen SolidWorks used in equipment design. Boy, I had no idea.
If you meander on overhere, to the SolidWorks Success Stories page, you'll see that the sky is the limit. From Binney& Smith, the makers of
to hand held GPS
to the Mars Rover
to giant mining shovels
There's virtually nothing that can't be designed in SolidWorks. I know of people that have designed their deck with it. A company in Washington designs these gorgeous yachts. "Bone Crusher",
*Update: The picture above is of 'Cougar', not 'Bonecrusher'. Thomas Jackson from Force Protection, manufacturer of both, emailed me and informed me of my error. Yes, 'Cougar' is designed in SolidWorks, too.*
|SolidWorks and Architecture|
I've talk, briefly, about the project I'm working on in past posts. I don't know how much detail I actually got into (and I'm too lazy to go and look), but I wanted to talk about the architectural aspect of it. Yes, I'm using SolidWorks for architectural"stuff". It's been interesting to say the least. It'd been 13+ years since I've looked at an architectural drawing (I used to build houses), and I'd forgotten what the typical architecture symbols looked like. Symbols that aren't in SolidWorks. Symbols that I get to create as blocks and then insert into the drawings. But, SolidWorks is a mechanical CAD software, not architecture software, so it's to be expected.
One has to wonder, though. SolidWorks has been around for, what, 13 years, and no one else has brought up the fact that creating architectural drawings is a PITA? I know I'm not the first one to do this, right? Inserting the symbols isn't too much of a pain, save for one small detail: the number of drawings that are going to end up being produced. Last estimation was ~500. Thankfully, that's a lot less than the 1200 I was originally told. Anyway you cut it, that's a lot of time consuming work. Take sectioning for example. I create the section, then have to overlay the architectural section symbol, then manually input the section letter and sheet number that contains the section view. Easy enough, I suppose, until you start moving the section lines. Then you have to move the symbol block. Then the text. I hope I'm missing something here and that there is a way to lock it all together so it moves together (anyone, Beuller?).
SolidWorks, however, is doing the job. The project managers are able to see, quickly and easily, where there might be interference issues, poor utilization of space or any other"opportunities". Over the course of the project, the naysayers have become proponents and that's always a good thing for a SolidWorks addict like me.
Thankfully, I'm meeting with some of the awesome peeps at SolidWorks next Monday (God, I can't wait to go home again!). A couple of the tech support guys in the AM to go over some of the crashing issues I've had, then some of the API/Drawing gurus in the afternoon to look into getting some automation going.
Bear in mind (Matt, this is directed at you) that I'm NOT whining. I love the fact that I'm getting to use SolidWorks for something that it wasn't intended for. The customer, thusfar, is duly impressed with everything we've generated and loves being able to see his place in 3D, right down to the broom in the corner. It's an awesome experience. One that I hope to be able to do again.
|This just in: Trojan Technologies purifies water|
A Greener Recipe for Clean Drinking Water
Trojan Technologies uses SolidWorks 3D CAD and Simulation Software to Develop Disinfection Systems Based on UV Light
CONCORD, Mass., USA, Nov. 10, 2008?Which would you prefer in your drinking water: bleach or light? That?s the easy choice made every day by residential, commercial, and municipal customers ofTrojan Technologies, a Canadian company whose systems disinfect drinking water with ultraviolet light. More than 60 designers and engineers at Trojan use SolidWorks® 3D CAD software and SolidWorks Flow Simulation software from Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. (DS SolidWorks) to custom-design and configure systems for each client. ?We?re not adding anything to the water, we?re just shining light through it to alter the DNA structure of harmful microorganisms like E.coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium, effectively destroying the reproductive systems in the cells,? said Jason Cerny, one of the company?s senior mechanical designers. ?SolidWorks and SolidWorks Flow Simulation software are important tools in this endeavor, letting us create better systems faster in more competitively sized packages. We no longer have to leave extensive room for error and build projects a little larger than they need to be. We?vealso dramatically reduced the number of prototypes we need to build ? prototypes that can exceed $50,000 for municipal systems ? as well as the errors that can crop up in projects designed in 2D.? Based in London, Ontario, Trojan Technologies used SolidWorks to design and build the largest UV disinfection system in the world, made up of 56 water disinfection units, for theNew York City Department of Environmental Protection. The facility is capable of treating up to 2.2 billion gallons of water each day. Trojan claims the largest installed base of UV systems in operation on the planet. UV rays penetrate bacteria and viruses, destroying their ability to function and reproduce. The process is simple but effective, destroying harmful microorganisms without adding chemicals or changing the water's taste or odor. Trojan has used SolidWorks for a decade and, according to Cerny, now needs to build only one-third of the costly prototypes it once did. He credits the effectiveness of SolidWorks Flow Simulation software and the accuracy of 3D CAD for the improvement. Trojan has recently begun using SolidWorks Enterprise PDM software to accelerate design by working efficiently around the clock, with the implementation of an offshore engineering team in Bangalore, India. ?Safe, clean drinking water is one of the most important things in the world,? said Efrat Ravid, director of marketing and alliances for Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. ?It?s reassuring to know that Trojan is driving the technology forward and using SolidWorks software to do that.? Trojan relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller Javelin Technologies for ongoing software training, implementation, and support. Trojan designs, manufactures, and sells UV systems for municipal wastewater and drinking water facilities, the residential market, and also designs and installs treatment technology for the environmental contaminant and micropollutant destruction market. With over 5,300 municipal facilities in more than 78 countries using its technology, Trojan has the largest installed base of UV systems in the world. Headquartered in London, Ontario, Canada, the company also has offices in the U.K., China, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and the US. For more information, visithttp://www.trojanuv.com/. Javelin Technologies is Canada's premier 3D design, analysis, design automation, and data management value-added reseller (VAR). Javelin is a fully authorized and certified SolidWorks training and support organization. In addition toSolidWorks 3D designproducts, Javelin is a licensed reseller of theSolidWorks Simulationvalidation suite of software,SolidWorks PDMdata management products, and a number of other tools to help your business become more efficient and profitable. For more information, visithttp://www.javelin-tech.com/.
CONCORD, Mass., USA, Nov. 10, 2008?Which would you prefer in your drinking water: bleach or light?
That?s the easy choice made every day by residential, commercial, and municipal customers ofTrojan Technologies, a Canadian company whose systems disinfect drinking water with ultraviolet light. More than 60 designers and engineers at Trojan use SolidWorks® 3D CAD software and SolidWorks Flow Simulation software from Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. (DS SolidWorks) to custom-design and configure systems for each client.
?We?re not adding anything to the water, we?re just shining light through it to alter the DNA structure of harmful microorganisms like E.coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium, effectively destroying the reproductive systems in the cells,? said Jason Cerny, one of the company?s senior mechanical designers. ?SolidWorks and SolidWorks Flow Simulation software are important tools in this endeavor, letting us create better systems faster in more competitively sized packages. We no longer have to leave extensive room for error and build projects a little larger than they need to be. We?vealso dramatically reduced the number of prototypes we need to build ? prototypes that can exceed $50,000 for municipal systems ? as well as the errors that can crop up in projects designed in 2D.?
Based in London, Ontario, Trojan Technologies used SolidWorks to design and build the largest UV disinfection system in the world, made up of 56 water disinfection units, for theNew York City Department of Environmental Protection. The facility is capable of treating up to 2.2 billion gallons of water each day.
Trojan claims the largest installed base of UV systems in operation on the planet. UV rays penetrate bacteria and viruses, destroying their ability to function and reproduce. The process is simple but effective, destroying harmful microorganisms without adding chemicals or changing the water's taste or odor.
Trojan has used SolidWorks for a decade and, according to Cerny, now needs to build only one-third of the costly prototypes it once did. He credits the effectiveness of SolidWorks Flow Simulation software and the accuracy of 3D CAD for the improvement. Trojan has recently begun using SolidWorks Enterprise PDM software to accelerate design by working efficiently around the clock, with the implementation of an offshore engineering team in Bangalore, India.
?Safe, clean drinking water is one of the most important things in the world,? said Efrat Ravid, director of marketing and alliances for Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. ?It?s reassuring to know that Trojan is driving the technology forward and using SolidWorks software to do that.?
Trojan relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller Javelin Technologies for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.
Trojan designs, manufactures, and sells UV systems for municipal wastewater and drinking water facilities, the residential market, and also designs and installs treatment technology for the environmental contaminant and micropollutant destruction market. With over 5,300 municipal facilities in more than 78 countries using its technology, Trojan has the largest installed base of UV systems in the world. Headquartered in London, Ontario, Canada, the company also has offices in the U.K., China, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and the US. For more information, visithttp://www.trojanuv.com/.
Javelin Technologies is Canada's premier 3D design, analysis, design automation, and data management value-added reseller (VAR). Javelin is a fully authorized and certified SolidWorks training and support organization. In addition toSolidWorks 3D designproducts, Javelin is a licensed reseller of theSolidWorks Simulationvalidation suite of software,SolidWorks PDMdata management products, and a number of other tools to help your business become more efficient and profitable. For more information, visithttp://www.javelin-tech.com/.
About Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.
About Dassault Systèmes
As a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, Dassault Systèmes brings value to more than 100,000 customers in 80 countries. A pioneer in the 3D software market since 1981, Dassault Systèmes develops and markets PLM application software and services that support industrial processes and provide a 3D vision of the entire lifecycle of products from conception to maintenance to recycling. The Dassault Systèmes portfolio consists of CATIA for designing the virtual product - SolidWorks for 3D mechanical design - DELMIA for virtual production - SIMULIA for virtual testing - ENOVIA for global collaborative lifecycle management, and 3DVIA for online 3D lifelike experiences. Dassault Systèmes is listed on the Nasdaq (DASTY) and Euronext Paris (#13065, DSY.PA) stock exchanges. For more information, visithttp://www.3ds.com.
|Just Getting Started with SolidWorks?|
You're new to SolidWorks, you've gone through the tutorials and, maybe, some training at your VAR. Yet you still feel that you need more practice. Look around your office (cubicle?) and find something there to reverse engineer. That mouse that you're using, that'd be a good one to model. How about your phone? Got a powerstrip nearby?
My point is this, becoming proficient with SolidWorks is all about practice and learning from your mistakes or the mistakes of others. You can read all the how-to books you want, watch all the videos on YouTube or read user blogs, but until you start pushing yourself, you're not going to become proficient. Be careful, too, about getting stuck in a rut. If the company you're with only produces "blocky" stuff, play around with surfacing on the side and vice versa. You don't create any sheetmetal parts there? You might need to at your next position. When all is said and done, it's about having a well-rounded skill set so that you can be more attractive to more potential employers. It's especially true in today's economy.
Remember, SolidWorks license agreement allows for 20% home useage. If your boss, or IT department, allows it, install SolidWorks at home and start looking around for things to model up.
|SolidProfessor - My Final Thoughts|
I can say without a doubt that I wish I'd had SolidProfessor when I first started using SolidWorks way back when. They've done an excellent job of breaking down lessons into easy to understand parts, without making it seem like you're being talked down to. I like, too, that the dialogue isn't monotone. When you're staring at a monitor, watching a lesson, the last thing you need is the teacher from"Ferris Bueller's Day Off"talking to you. You'll find your face lying in a puddle of your own drool all too quickly.
I'd say that SolidProfessor is worth every penny you, or your company, may spend on it. Depending on your ability to absorb information, I suspect you'd have a very short ROI timeline.
Honestly, just once I wish I'd get to review a partner product that wasn't all it was cracked up to be. It goes against my nature to always be so happy with things. Ugh, maybe 18 years in the politically correct area that is Seattle is starting to rub off on me. Thank God I'll be heading back east in a couple of weeks for Thanksgiving...
I heard a rumor, from a reliable source, that SolidWorks is investigating backwards compatibility. Would that help you in your job? If so, how?
Also heard that SolidWorks R&D is hard at work on some super-secret stuff. One can hope that it's less "flashy" stuff and more stability kind of stuff.
|3Dconnexion announces support for SolidWorks '09|
Hot off the presses...well, warm at least:
Fremont, Calif.? Nov. 6, 2008 ?3Dconnexion, a Logitech company, today announced its line of 3D mice are supported by SolidWorks®2009, the newest version of the widely used 3D CAD software. 3Dconnexion 3D mice complement the dramatic speed and efficiency gains provided in SolidWorks 2009, offering CAD professionals more intuitive navigation and control for enhanced design performance.
?The new software enhancements inherent in SolidWorks 2009 directly parallel the benefits of working with 3Dconnexion?s 3D mice,? said Dieter Neujahr, president of 3Dconnexion. ?SolidWorks 2009 offers new levels of productivity and design quality with faster speeds and enhancements that allow users to focus less on the application and more on their designs. These enhancements, coupled with the proven productivity and design performance benefits of our 3D mice, are poised to have a tremendous impact on theproduct-development process,allowing today?s CAD-intensive organizations to develop higher-quality products faster and more efficiently.?
?3Dconnexion did a great job of looking within SolidWorks 2009 to see where a 3D mouse will help the software work more effectively for the user,? said Nick Iwaskow, Manager of Alliances at Dassault SystèmesSolidWorks Corp.?More than ever, our customers are looking for the productivity gain that 3Dconnexion 3D mice provide.?
3Dconnexion?s 3D mice provide an intuitive and comfortable design experience with increased productivity, which is essential to design engineers who spend hours on end navigating sophisticated and complex applications. Unlike traditional mice confined to motion on one flat plane, 3Dconnexion 3D mice enable design engineers to move in all three dimensions simultaneously, using six degrees of freedom. By gently lifting, pressing and turning the controller cap, SolidWorks users can easily pan, zoom and rotate without stopping to select commands.
3Dconnexion 3D mice integrate seamlessly into the SolidWorks design workflow, offering advanced navigation and design benefits that support new features in SolidWorks 2009, including:
· Large Assemblies? In very large, complex assemblies, SolidWorks users can manipulate a sub-assembly independently using 3Dconnexion 3D mice to pan, zoom and rotate 3D objects. Six degrees of freedom allow design engineers to better view and manipulate large designs, makingit easier todetect design flaws.
· SpeedPak Technology? 3Dconnexion 3D mice enable users to intuitively navigate the simplified version of a complex assembly by seamlessly zooming in to view or manipulate a specific area of the design, then zooming out to view the assembly as a whole for significant design performance enhancement.
· Simulation Sensors? If a design flaw is detected with the simulation sensors, 3Dconnexion 3D mice can be used to navigate quickly and easily to the specific design location and allow design engineers to view the design from multiple angles, helping to correctly identify the error and make the modification.
In addition to enhancing the design experience, 3Dconnexion?s 3D mice help improve the quality of designs by aiding in the detection of design flaws. 3Dconnexion?s SpaceNavigator?, SpaceNavigator? for Notebooks, SpaceExplorer? and SpacePilot?arevirtual extensions of design engineers working in SolidWorks 2009, making otherwise complex movements simple. For expanded control benefits, the SpaceExplorer and SpacePilot 3D mice also feature programmable buttons that allowusers to execute frequently used commands withone-click accessfor key functions and keyboard modifiers. In the latest version of the software, the result is more time spent on the design and less time navigating the application.
3Dconnexion?s advanced and affordable 3D mice are supported by more than 130 of today?s leading and powerful 3D applications.For a complete list of applications supported by 3Dconnexion, visit:www.3dconnexion.com/solutions/cad/all_sup_app.php. In addition, please visitwww.3dconnexion.com/solidworks_demofor a video demonstration of 3Dconnexion 3D mice in SolidWorks software.
Pricing and Availability
SolidWorks 2009supports 3Dconnexion?s 3D mice onWindows®2000, XP and Vista®.SpaceNavigator? Personal Edition (MSRP $59), SpaceNavigator Standard Edition (MSRP $99),SpaceNavigator for Notebooks (MSRP $129),SpaceExplorer? (MSRP $299), and SpacePilot? (MSRP $399) are available from professional CAD resellers and major online resellers including Amazon, Buy.com, CDW, Dell, and PC Mall. For a complete list of resellers or to buy directly, visitwww.3Dconnexion.com.
About 3Dconnexion, a Logitech Company
|Thoughts on SWW|
As I sit here at the Tri-Cities airport in Pasco, Washington, waiting to fly back to Seattle for the most expensive breakfast in my life, I find my mind wandering to SolidWorks Worlds gone by while looking forward to SWW '09.
**Update: Unfortunately, "Stump the Chumps II" didn't make the cut. We'll have to get our proposal in earlier next year.**
|Who is the SWW '09 Guest Speaker?|
Hell, I wish I knew but I don't. However, Matt West does but he's not coughing up the info...yet. He is running a little contest, though. Jump on over to hisblogand guess who the speaker is. If you're right, Matt will send you a really, really expensive prize. One that you'd have to claim on your taxes. Ok, that's a lie. He'll probably send you a SolidWorks hat, or whatever else he can steal from the marketing closet. Nonetheless, free swag is always nice.
|As Promised: SolidProfessor Pricing|
As promised, here is the pricing structure for SolidProfessor's various offerings:
SolidProfessor Course List
SolidProfessor Bundled Courses:
Core Concepts Bundle $299.99
Withthis course you will learn skills essential to creating SolidWorks Parts, Assemblies and Drawings. The goal of this series is to make you productive with SolidWorks quickly, whether you are a new user or wish to refresh your skills. This course is designed to help you build a solid conceptual foundation in the fundamentals of SolidWorks. Concepts are presented in easy to understand language and reinforced through step by step visual examples and comprehensive review tests.
This bundle includes these courses:
-3D Skills -Core Concepts -Drawings
Advanced Concepts Bundle $399.99
Advanced Concepts was designed to build on the Core Concepts foundation. In this course you will learn topics such as complex geometry creation, surfacing, sheet metal design and more. Advanced Concepts is really 3 courses rolled into one comprising Advanced Parts, Advanced Assembly and Sheet Metal Design. This course is ideal for experienced users as well as new users having completed Core Concepts. It also serves as an excellent reference tool for users of all skill levels.
This bundle includes these courses:
-Advanced Parts -Advanced Assemblies -Sheet Metal
Professional Bundle $599.99
The Professional Bundle provides a complete library of the very best in SolidWorks self-paced instruction and is the most popular package. The suite includes Core Concepts, Drawings, 3D Skills, Advanced Parts, Advanced Assemblies, Sheet Metal Design and Update Training. Purchase the bundle and have all the tools you need to get the most out of your SolidWorks investment!
SolidProfessor?s most popular package providing instruction on all core SolidWorks functionality. This bundle includes these courses:
-3D Skills -Core Concepts -Drawings
-Advanced Parts -Advanced Assemblies -Sheet Metal
SolidWorks Certification Prep Bundle $849.99
The SolidWorks Certification Prep Bundle includes the Professional Bundle (Core Concepts, Drawings, 3D Skills, Advanced Parts, Advanced Assemblies, Sheet Metal Design, and Update Training) as well as SolidWorks Certification (CSWA/CSWP) Prep. The Professional Bundle provides a complete library of the very best in SolidWorks self-paced instruction and is our most popular package. The SolidWorks Certification Study Course is a comprehensive review of topics covered in themost recentversion of the Certified SolidWorks Associate and Certified SolidWorks Professional exams. The course begins by introducing you to the certification exam itself, and continues with detailed sample problems in all major areas of the exam, including basic and advanced part and assembly design, with special attention on the topic of in-context design. Also covered is COSMOSXpress stress simulation, as well as an overview of Drawing Views.
Purchase the bundle and have all the tools you need to get the most out of your SolidWorks investment!
Provides instruction on all SolidWorks core functionality and specific preparation to successfully complete the CSWP/CSWA exams. It includes all of the courses listed in the SolidWorks Professional Bundle, as well as the SolidWorks Certification Prep course.
Individual SolidProfessor courses:
AutoCAD to SolidWorks $69.99
This course was designed and written by certified SolidWorks Instructors to make the transition for AutoCAD users to get up to speed using SolidWorks quickly and easily. The course shows users how to bring their existing 2D, DXF and DWG files into SolidWorks 3D Parts and 2D Drawings. The course also shows new users how to create brand new Parts, Assemblies, and Drawings from scratch in SolidWorks.
Learn how to import 2D, DXF and DWG files and modify them using SolidWorks. AutoCAD to SolidWorks includes the topics from 3D Skills.
3D Skills $39.99
3D Skills introduces the basic concepts for modeling Parts, building Assemblies, and creating Drawings. This course is ideal for users looking for a basic introduction to the features available in SolidWorks. It is ideal for brand new SolidWorks users, or those considering purchasing SolidWorks, along with live Hands on Test drives for prospective users. The Core Concepts Bundle is recommended for anyoneserious about learning SolidWorks. 3D Skills is included in the Core Concepts Bundle.
Update Training (available for 2005 to 2009) $99.99
Update Training addresses the user-driven enhancements available in SolidWorks most recent release. First, new functionality is explored in detail and then presented in an easy to understand language with clear visual examples to enhance the learning experience. In addition, the convenience of having full control over the pace of the course allows users the ability to review lessons on demand without the need for a high speed internet connection.
Included with the Advanced Concepts Bundle, this course shows users all of the tools necessary for bending and deforming flat sheets of metal in complex sheet metal parts in SolidWorks. The course will guide you through the process of creating sheet metal parts from scratch using all of the Sheet Metal features in SolidWorks, as well as how to convert regular solid parts into sheet metal.
Advanced Surfacing $399.99
Written by Matt Lombard, author of the SolidWorks Bible, Advanced Surfacing teaches users how to apply surfacing tools as well as solid modeling and sketching techniques to achieve complex, free-form shapes. The course steps the user through the creation of four distinct complex models in great detail. Each exercise introduces the user to different techniques aimed at producing complex faces, smooth blends, and aesthetically pleasing geometry. Features covered include Splines, Boundary Surfaces, Ruled Surfaces, Fill Surfaces, Intersection Curves, Sweeps and Lofts, and The Freeform Feature. This course will equip the user with the SolidWorks skills necessary to create the visually appealing, ergonomic products in demand today.
SolidWorks Advanced Surfacing focuses on teaching modeling techniques that include the use of a variety of SolidWorks features. Knowledge of the sketcher environment as well as the basic features including Extrude, Revolve, Sweep and Loft are assumed. For more on these topics, the following SolidProfessor courses are recommended: SolidWorks Core Concepts, SolidWorks Advanced Concepts.
SolidWorks Simulation (previously COSMOSWorks Designer)$499.99
This course has been designed to teach you the fundamental skills necessary for performing structural analysis on SolidWorks Parts and Assemblies usingSolidWorks Simulationdesign validation software. This course will allow you to test your SolidWorks models and predict how they will behave in real life situations. Armed with this information you will be able to design better parts and ultimately better products.
SolidWorks Routing $299.99
This course teaches users how to easily create routed systems in SolidWorks, such as electrical, cable, conduit, tube, and pipe routes. The course walks users through all of the functions and options for each type of route, as well as how to create 2D drawings for manufacturing with all of the information necessary to accurately document their routes such as Bills of Materials, Wiring Summaries, and Harness reports. This course also shows users how to create their own routing components to be used in any of their routes in the future. SolidWorks routing makes what used to be a painstaking part of a design very quick and easy.
SolidWorks Routing requires a solid understanding of some advanced SolidWorks functionality such as Top Down Assembly Design, 3D Sketching, Configurations and the Design Library. If you are new to SolidWorks or if any of those topics are unfamiliar to you, it is recommended to review SolidProfessor Core Concepts and Advanced Concepts prior to this course.
SolidWorks Certification Prep (CSWP-CSWA) $499.99
The SolidWorks Certification Prep course was designed to help users prepare and successfully pass the CSWP/CSWA exams. The course introduces users to the exam itself, and continues with detailed sample problems in all major areas of the exam, including basic and advanced part and assembly design, with special attention paid to the topic of in-context design. The course includes lessonscovering SimulationXpress stresssimulation, sample test examples, and a practice test.
PhotoWorks Essentials $149.99
This course teaches the essential skills necessary for creating photorealistic renderings in PhotoWorks. The course will guide you through the process of applying textures and materials to your models, as well as manipulating lighting, decals, scenes, studios, backgrounds and much more. You will learn how to make your SolidWorks designs look like finished products in no time! Many PhotoWorks users benefit from the ability to use realistic renderings for presentations, focus groups, and marketing before they even begin production! Get started using it today!
SolidWorks WorkgroupPDM (previously PDMWorks) $149.99
This course will help managers ensure their team maintains an accurate and consistent level of knowledge and competency using all of the Client functions in Workgroup PDM. After viewing the course, users will know how to manage SolidWorks Parts, Assemblies, and Drawingsas well as any non-SolidWorks documents.Included are tips on dealing with many common scenarios a client user may encounter as well as tips on how to leverage PDM most effectively in a collaborative environment.
Ask SolidProfessor Archive $24.99
The Ask SolidProfessor Archive is a compilation of answers to user-submitted SolidWorks How-to questions. Content in the archive is constantly being added. This subscription will grant you access to the archive for the period of one year.
This course will walk you through the first 4 part examples in the SolidCAM Getting Started manual. Each exercise will familiarize you with how to perform milling operations, and teach you concepts used throughout the SolidCAM application. The course begins by familiarizing you with the SolidCAM user interface and then demonstrates the most commonly used strategies of SolidCAM machining. The following 4 exercises are demonstrated to be milled in SolidCAM:
CAMWorks Mill Fundamentals 2006 $199.99
Mill Fundamentals is designed to get you up to speed in CAMWorks so that you can begin creating G-Code quickly. This course will teach you how to Define Stock, Define 2.5 Axis Features, Create Toolpaths, Adjust roughing and finishing operations, Run Simulations, and Output your G-Code. You will also learn how to customize the Technology Database for your particular environment so that you can automate many of your machining tasks.
CAMWorks Wire EDM 2007 $199.99
The CAMWorks Wire EDM course is designed to get you up to speed in CAMWorks so that you can begin creating G-Code quickly. This course will teach you how to Define Stock, Define EDM Features, Create Toolpaths, Adjust roughing and finishing operations, Run Simulations, and output your G-Code.
CAMWorks Turning $199.99
The CAMWorks Turning course is designed to get you up to speed in CAMWorks so that you can begin creating G-Code quickly. This course will teach you how to Define Stock, Define Turn Features, Create Toolpaths, Adjust roughing and finishing operations, Run Simulations, and output your G-Code.
|SolidProfessor - CSWP/CSWA Certification Lesson|
What a great lesson this one is. SolidProfessor not only goes over the "how", but the "why". The lesson begins by listing reasons to get certified, whether as a CSWA or CSWP. It then goes on to outline the difference between the two certifications. After talking about the differences there are sections on other certifications offered, the various SolidWorks versions, test locations and costs as well as info on retaking the exam. For those of you wondering, the exams are only $99.00 which is a hell of a lot less than when I originally took it (I wonder if I can get a refund?).
SolidProfessor then goes into showing you an example part like you'd see on the CSWA and goes through a method of creating it. It talks about the reasoning that goes into the creation of the part (where to start, etc). Pay attention to the "Where To Start" sub-lessons in each lesson as the information there will prove invaluable when you take one of the exams.
The CSWA Basic Part Sample is followed by the CSWA/CSWP Advanced Part lesson, Assembly Models for both exams, Drawing Prep and COSMOSXpress Preparations. All the lessons are well thought out and broken down in easy to digest chunks.
I'm going to get pricing info for this lesson, as well as all of SolidProfessor's other offerings, and will let you know what they are in my next post.
|SimulationXpress Demo - For free!|
SimulationXpress, the new name for COSMOSXpress, comes in every seat of SolidWorks. As many of you know, I did a presentation on COSMOSXpress last month at NESWUC. Well, SolidWorks has posted a video tutorial that far surpasses my meager attempt. No registration required, just go tohttp://www.solidworksmedia.com/SimulationXpress/index.htmland watch the tutorial.
|SolidProfessor - Part 1|
As usual, I'm a bit late with this first part of my SolidProfessor review. For all of you who have been chomping at the bit, I apologize. I do have a great excuse, though. Can you say Red Sox? Ok, moving on...
SolidProfessor is a SolidWorks Certified Solution Partner providing training in:
They also release 2009 update training last month.
First things first, I like how you can download all the lessons you've chosen. No waiting while the video is buffering, just load and watch. Another nice thing is that as each lesson is loaded, you can immediately watch it while the next lesson is loading.
Clicking on one of the chapters immediately begins the training video. Again, no lag. The video runs on an embedded Windows Media Player, so the controls should be familiar to most.
Because everything is downloaded, you can easily fast forward through lessons or slide back if you missed a step. The narrator does a good job as well. Not Mr. Monotone and speaks and a very easy pace.
So ends part I. In part II, I'll get into more of what's covered and how well I think it's covered.
|NESWUC - The video|
While Ed Gebo is no Scorcese, he did take the time to create a video of last month's North East SolidWorks User Conference. If you're interested, you can view ithere. For those of you in New England who missed the conference, you really need to make a point of going next year. Ed, and the rest of the team, did a great job. Hell, they had the great idea of having me do a presentation! Ok, so maybe it wasn't the best presentation, but it did give me an excuse to go home for a week. I promise that if they have me back next year, I'll do a much better job.
|Going to SolidWorks World? Who would you like to see?|
Matt West, and the SolidWorks events team, is looking for your input on who you'd like to see at World this year. From Leonard Nimoy to Orange County Choppers, SolidWorks has had some great guest speakers over the years. Who would you like to see? Go toMatt's Blogand let him know!
|Coming Soon: SolidProfessor Review|
A few weeks ago I was approached by SolidProfessor. They're looking at getting more involved in the SolidWorks community and wanted to get some feedback from users. When I brought up the fact that I'd never used SolidProfessor, they graciously offered me the opportunity to take it for a test drive. Last night I downloaded the lessons (including what's new for '09) and I'm going to start going through them tonight. There's a ton of lessons in there, so I'll be doing a multi-part review of SolidProfessor.
In the mean time, for those of you who have used SolidProfessor, let me know your thoughts on it. Specifically, what do you think it's missing?
I've been struggling lately trying to come up with some juicy tidbit to write about. Then I had an epiphany of sorts:"There are plenty of new SolidWorks users out there who may read my blog, why not write something for them?" Without further ado, I present"Dynamic Mirror".
We all know about mirroring sketchs, right? Create one half, select the mirror icon and something to mirror about (usually a construction line) and you have your whole sketch. Dynamic mirror is the same, but the mirroring happens real time. For whatever reason, though, the icon doesn't show up in your default sketch choices. You'll need to go to 'customize->commands->sketch' and grab the mirror icon with the lightning bolt through it. I like to put it in my shortcut toolbar.
Once you've done that, simply start a sketch. Create a construction line to mirror about then select the Dynamic Mirror icon. You'll notice a couple of what appear to be equal signs at either end of the construction line. You're ready to begin sketching. Deselecting the Dynamic Mirror icon will turn off the feature, but the sketch will retain it's mirror capabilities (i.e. move one line, the mirrored line will follow).
That's today's quick lesson. As always, feel free to email me your comments or questions.
|SolidWorks 2009 - My Take|
I went to a 2009 rollout last Thursday and saw all that I'd heard about, excluding PhotoView 360.
|Let's Talk Sheetmetal|
I really like the Sheetmetal functionality in SolidWorks. I like that it's fairly intuitive and does a nice job of creating your part. There is one aspect of it, however, that many people seem to miss. That would be the unfold/fold commands. When you have a part that's been bent, and you need to cut some holes in it, this is the way you want to go, especially if you're putting a hole in that straddles one of the bends. How do you use it? Simple. From your sheetmetal toolbar, select the 'Unfold' button. At this point, you'll need to select a fixed face. You'll then be prompted to select your bends. Generally, I simply 'select all'. Hit the check mark and your part will unfold. One thing to note is that your 'Flatten' feature is still surpressed. You can now insert your cuts. Once done, select the 'Fold' button, the fixed face from before and the bend(s) you used. Voila! Your holes are done. Why not just use the 'Flatten' feature? Because the cuts you put in would be surpressed in the "unflattened" state. I know, from experience, that this can be rather frustrating.
|North East SolidWorks User Conference|
What an excellent job the NESWUG committee did organizing this event. The conference center they chose was excellent, the vendor turnout was great and, most impressively, was the attendance. 180+ users showed up to learn about SolidWorks.
The conference started with a nice continental breakfast during which Ed Gebo spoke about the day?s breakout sessions. He then introduced the guest speaker, none other than Jon Hirschtick. Jon spoke about where SolidWorks came from, where it is and where it?s going. His time was limited, but his speech was energizing. Once all the attendees had left for the morning?s first session, I gota chance to introduce myself to Jon. How flattered was I that he knew who I was? Jon and I spoke for a while about SolidWorks, I then commented on his absence from Twitter. He pulled out his phone right then and posted, promising to become more active. We spoke, too, about the project I?m workingon. He seemed very interested and gave me the name of someone at SolidWorks to talk to with the hope that, together, we?d be able to overcome the hurdles I?m facing.
I was lame and didn?t attend any of the breakout sessions. Many I?d already attended in the past, so I took the time to visit with the people from DriveWorks and TactonWorks. I also spent time talking to fellow blogger and presenter, Rob Rodriguez. In talking with some of the attendees, it was apparent that everyone was impressed with the conference and learning.
The time arrived for my presentation and I was a bit nervous. It had been a while since I?d presented. As I walked back to the podium, after getting myself some water, I managed to trip over the power cord to the projector. The mood was set. I went through my presentation and SolidWorks locked up only once. It wasn?t a big deal, though. I got the impression that most everyone in attendance had experienced a SolidWorks crash before?
I hope that people left with a bit more knowledge of DriveWorksXpress and COSMOSXpress. Though, admittedly, there?s the outside chance that I may have actually caused their IQ?s to drop a bit. I guess we?ll find out how well I did if NESWUG asks me back next year?