• POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, COMPOSER, SOLIDWORKS

    What's New in SP3.0: Import SOLIDWORKS BOMs Into SOLIDWORKS Composer

    by Sean O’Neill on May 26, 2017

    A few weeks ago, I was teaching a rather large SOLIDWORKS Composer class. It was comprised of ten students, all hailing from one of our larger customers. With each passing lesson on how to make their product assembly instructions more decipherable and their product exploded views much quicker/lighter, I couldn't help but notice them giving those "where have you been all my life" eyes.

    While discussing bill of materials (BOM) tables, one of our more actively-involved students asked a very intuitive question: "Can we import our bill of materials from our SOLIDWORKS files into SOLIDWORKS Composer?" My answer then was different than my answer today because of a great timesaving enhancement to SOLIDWORKS Composer 2017 SP3.0.

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    • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

      What’s the Difference Between SOLIDWORKS Standard, Professional and Premium?

      by Christa Prokos on May 25, 2017

      Whats-the-difference-between-solidworks-standard-professional-and-premium-1We often get the question, “What is the difference between the three SOLIDWORKS packages (Standard, Professional, Premium)?” Another common question is, “When does it make sense to upgrade from Standard to Professional or Premium?”

      The answer depends on many factors and while there is a SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD matrix that outlines every feature in each package, it can be a bit complicated. This blog provides a quick overview of each package, as well as two easy ways to figure out which package is best for you.

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      • POSTED IN RAPID PROTOTYPING, STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

        Disrupting the Supply Chain with 3D Printing: An Introduction to FDM Composite Tooling

        by Lisa Hannon on May 23, 2017

        Disrupting-the-Supply-Chain-with-3D-Printing-An-Introduction-to-FDM-Composite-Tooling-1The blog below was originally written and created by Ross Jones, Application Engineer at Stratasys. Fisher Unitech is sharing it with our readers due to the compelling story of how the manufacturing industry is solving problems with time and cost to produce tooling prototypes.

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        • POSTED IN CAD, COMPOSER, SOLIDWORKS

          Technical Communications Come to Life with SOLIDWORKS Composer

          by Angelle Erickson on May 19, 2017

          Today, visual images are more important than ever. Just because a physical prototype of a product design isn’t available, doesn’t mean your training materials, assembly instructions, marketing and sales collateral should be put on hold. With SOLIDWORKS Composer you can start producing a range of technical communication graphical assets earlier in the product design process, helping to lower costs and speed time-to-market.

          Even nontechnical roles can use SOLIDWORKS Composer. The easy-to-use tools let you work directly from 3D CAD data to create associative 2D and 3D deliverables that automatically stay up-to-date with the latest design changes.

          Keep reading to learn more about SOLIDWORKS Composer and make sure to join our May 30th webcast for a live demonstration.

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          • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING MATERIALS, STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

            Nylon 12CF | Innovative 3D Printing Material for FDM Printers

            by Lisa Hannon on May 18, 2017

            nylon-12cf-innovative-3D-printing-material-for-FDM-Printers-1Stratasys recently launched a material in its new family of nylon, Nylon 12CF. This innovative new 3D printing nylon has a very high stiffness-to-weight ratio, and its potential applications are generating plenty of buzz in the 3D printing community. Here’s everything you need to know about Nylon 12CF.

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            • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

              Steampunks, STEAMworks, and SOLIDWORKS in the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition

              by Amanda Osbun on May 17, 2017

              Steampunks-STEAMworks-and-SOLIDWORKS-in-the-2017-FIRST-Robotics-CompetitionI was a very shy, introverted kid who, although open to trying new things, would never imagine growing up to be the outgoing person I am today. I owe much of who I am to the FIRST Robotics team at Jefferson Township High School in New Jersey.

              The FIRST Robotics team started when I was a junior. One of my woodshop teachers suggested I get involved and here I am nine years later. I was on the team for my junior year and co-captain of the team during my senior year. I have been a mentor for the team ever since I graduated high school. Our team is Team 2600 or Team Falcon.

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              • POSTED IN DATA MANAGEMENT, CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                How to Use the ‘Pack and Go’ File Management Feature in SOLIDWORKS

                by Matt Haywood on May 15, 2017

                In my opinion, one of the better file management features in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD is Pack and Go, which was introduced around 2007. Included in every release of SOLIDWORKS since then, this feature is still very useful today.  I’ve been providing SOLIDWORKS tech support for nearly 14 years and it’s fun to show unsuspecting users Pack and Go.

                In this blog, I’ll take you through two scenarios:

                1. Duplication of a data set for sharing or repurposing
                2. Organizing a data set by renaming multiple files simultaneously

                It’s true that these tasks can be done outside of Pack and Go, but I think you’ll find that through the use of Pack and Go, these processes will be completed faster and you will have fewer problems with mixed up file references.

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                • POSTED IN CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                  Using Custom Search Columns to Create Simple Reports from PDM Searches

                  by Peer Larson on May 10, 2017

                  It can often be very useful to collect information about your files from a high level, such as if you were interested to learn the internal PDM Document ID or who in your department approved what when.

                  You can use custom search columns to change how a search card displays information and then export your search results to Microsoft Excel. This can also be useful when tracking project management documents, as you can have all of your relevant fields show in the PDM search card and then export those results to Microsoft Excel for easy portability and communication.

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                  • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                    These 9 SOLIDWORKS Blogs & CAD Sites Will Boost Your Productivity

                    by Stacey Clement on May 8, 2017

                    Starting your Monday by catching up on industry news can be a great way to encourage inspiration and innovation all week long. By starting two-way conversations with fellow designers and SOLIDWORKS professionals worldwide, you can begin to expand your network, share experiences, and learn helpful tips and tricks you’d never find within the confines of your office.

                    While we’ve worked hard to stock the Fisher Unitech blog with up-to-date SOLIDWORKS news, regularly synthesizing diverse viewpoints from across the web can help make you a more global designer. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of informative, entertaining, or just downright underrated CAD forums, SOLIDWORKS blogs, and design Twitter accounts—for the betterment of workweek productivity everywhere. So which online community is right for you?

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                    • POSTED IN DESIGN AUTOMATION, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                      Time to Test Drive DriveWorks Design Automation and Sales Configurator Software

                      by Christa Prokos on May 5, 2017

                      Time-to-Test-Drive-DriveWorks-Design-Automation-and-Sales-Configurator-Software-1Do you have repetitive design tasks that could be automated? Could the products you design be defined by rules? If you answered yes to these questions, it is time to add design automation and sales configurator software to your toolbox—specifically DriveWorks because you can use it in tandem with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD design software.

                      There are two DriveWorks software packages to choose from, DriveWorks Solo and DriveWorks Pro, which can also be used beyond the engineering department by marketing and sales teams. DriveWorks Solo and Pro provide the ability to automatically generate 2D and 3D drawings of your SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD models as well as manufacturing and sales data. Imagine the time and cost this can save your company and the productivity it can add to your day.

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                      • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                        How to Deal with Fixture Warnings in SOLIDWORKS Simulation

                        by Drew Buchanan on May 3, 2017

                        How-to-Deal-with-Fixture-Warnings-in-SOLIDWORKS-Simulation-00You sit down at your desk to finalize the design for a new product you are working on. You want to verify that the product does not fail under loading, and expect the finite element model to be fairly easy to set up and run.  However, much to your chagrin you run the model and a warning pops up.

                        If you have been working with SOLIDWORKS Simulation for a long time, you most likely have seen this warning box before. In today’s blog I will show a handy tool which can remedy this issue very quickly. It should be noted that all tips in today’s blog pertain to a traditional Linear Static Analysis, which is available in SOLIDWORKS Premium,  SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional, and SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium.

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                        • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                          Jenison Robotics Team “Game Over” Uses SOLIDWORKS to Design Award Winning Robot

                          by Nathan Appel on May 1, 2017

                          Jenison-Robotics-Team-Game-Over-Uses-SOLIDWORKS-to-Design-Award-Winning-Robot-1I belong to Jenison Robotics’ team 457B named “Game Over” in Jenison, Michigan, near Grand Rapids. In Jenison Robotics, we use VEX Robotics technology to further our learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and grow skills in teamwork, leadership and problem solving. We also have a lot of fun.

                          I started using SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD fifteen months ago when I got a student edition for Christmas. I taught myself how to use the software using tutorials, along with guidance from my dad, who uses SOLIDWORKS at work. Last season, my dad showed my team and I how we could use SOLIDWORKS to design our robot. So, my goal for this year was to learn how to use SOLIDWORKS before the season even started so that when we did start practicing, I could fully design our robot.

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                          • POSTED IN TRAINING, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                            Ramp Up Your Work Performance with SOLIDWORKS Training

                            by Michelle Orleski on April 28, 2017

                            Ramp-Up-Your-Work-Performance-with-SOLIDWORKS-Training-1Are you being efficient or proficient in your workplace? It’s not simply a matter that one is better than the other, but it is important to assess which quality you possess and whether or not you and your employer are happy with your style of performance.

                            In this blog, you’ll learn how to understand your qualities and work ethic from a slightly different perspective, one that your employer may see. You’ll also learn how to determine how to tell the difference between being proficient and being efficient and the ways to enhance your workplace performance.

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                            • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS, UNCATEGORIZED

                              How to Utilize the SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal

                              by Toby Schnaars on April 26, 2017

                              Did you know that SOLIDWORKS has a customer portal? Whether you’re a new user, an existing user, or just need a little help, the SOLIDWORKS customer portal is an excellent resource available to all SOLIDWORKS subscription customers.

                              This blog will take you through how to use the portal, along with a step-by-step guide on how to get your questions answered before calling technical support.

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                              • POSTED IN PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                Looking for the SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM Migration "Easy Button"?

                                by Joe Frank on April 24, 2017

                                Looking for the SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM Migration Easy Button 1With the retirement of SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM approaching, I’m getting a lot of questions about what to expect when migrating to SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard or Professional. I wish I could say there is an easy button, but there just isn’t.

                                Migrating your intellectual property out of your SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM vault is not an easy process. Many things need to be considered when setting up a SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard or Professional vault to accept your data. You want a vault that works for you, not the other way around.  Although there is not a simple program or “Pack and Go” process, I do know how to make the process easier.

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                                • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING MATERIALS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                  What’s the Difference Between Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing?

                                  by Jerry Fireman on April 21, 2017

                                  Any industry that is growing rapidly is going to attract more than its share of controversy. With a forecast growth rate of 28.5% between 2016 and 2022, according to MarketsandMarkets, the business of producing parts is no exception. One of the hottest issues at the moment is simply what do we call it – 3D printing or additive manufacturing? Or are both terms valid for different segments of the market? Or do they mean the same thing?

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                                  • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                    Dundee FIRST Robotics Team Goes from Concept to Competition with SOLIDWORKS

                                    by Ethan Harper on April 19, 2017

                                    Dundee-FIRST-Robotics-Team-Goes-from-Concept-to-Competition-with-SOLIDWORKS-1If you’ve heard of the organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), you probably know that it is directly tied to STEM and STEAM, other common acronyms used in today’s classrooms that stand for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.

                                    You may not realize that FIRST was founded way back in 1989 “to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology." For me, the FIRST program has accomplished just that, as I have directly benefited from the features of STEAM that come into play every day during robotics. I am currently a sophomore at Dundee High School, in Dundee, Michigan and our team is the Dundee Vi-Borgs.

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                                    • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                      The Real Difference Between Standard and Professional SOLIDWORKS CAD

                                      by Sean O'Neill on April 18, 2017

                                      For many years now, SOLIDWORKS has provided three package tiers of its 3D CAD software: Standard, Professional, Premium. While changes and additions are made to these packages every year, each package has provided the ability for anyone to create parts, assemblies, and/or drawings.

                                      The difference between the three packages has really been found in what else it adds to your business. At the Professional level (and Premium, in additional ways), SOLIDWORKS provides tools that realistically accommodate the challenges faced by all multi-employee companies. This article explains how it does exactly this.  You can also learn more by watching the recorded webcast, 7 Key Benefits of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD Professional 2017

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                                      • POSTED IN SIMULATION, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                        Why You Should Use Simulation and 3D Printing Technologies Together

                                        by David Roccaforte on April 14, 2017

                                        We often joke at Fisher Unitech that simulation technology, also known as Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), and 3D printing technology are competitors. In reality, for product development, they are engineering partners. Each has its respective strengths and weaknesses.

                                        It’s kind of like a buddy cop show. One has street smarts and the other is the brainy young whippersnapper. When they work together they solve tough crimes. Simulation and 3D printing technologies work together to help prevent engineering crimes: such as missing project timing dates and quality and performance issues.

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                                        • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                          How the STEM Program Can Help Shape our Future Engineers

                                          by Amelia Pillarelli on April 12, 2017

                                          How-the-STEM-Program-Can-Help-Shape-our-Future-Engineers-1In the US, about 20% of engineers are female.  Ladywood High School, in Livonia, Michigan is working hard to raise those numbers with the help of the STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Recently, I had the privilege of speaking to the all-female Engineering Graphics class about my journey as a Mechanical Engineer and experiences with SOLIDWORKS. The girls have been using SOLIDWORKS in the classroom this year to introduce the concepts of Computer Aided Design.

                                          My main focus of the presentation was: Don’t quit.  An engineering career isn’t limited to the limited topics studied in high school or college, but the groundwork for a degree is challenging.  Blending together subjects such as calculus, physics, and mechanical design, an engineering degree is not obtained without some hard work, critical thinking, and challenging senior projects. Once the work is complete, this training will be your ticket to a great career in a broad field.

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                                          • POSTED IN 3D PRINTING MATERIALS, STRATASYS, 3D PRINTING

                                            The Future of Manufacturing: 3D Printing Innovations

                                            by Lisa Hannon on April 11, 2017

                                            3D printed prototypes have allowed designers and engineers to turn their ideas into reality with parts they can physically hold and manipulate. This technology The-Future-Of-Manufacturing-3D-Printing-Innovations-1has spurred innovation across multiple industries and changed the way people approach challenges. From a 3D printed splint that clears a baby’s airway to an aerospace part created in half the time, the benefits of rapid prototyping are numerous.

                                            3D printing companies have known the benefits of their products for years and are now getting others up to speed on this innovative way of creating solutions. Stratasys, for example, has been in the industry for more than 25 years and fostered relationships with manufacturers, engineers, and designers around the globe. The company recently released a video highlighting how their products’ capabilities have tapped into people’s imaginations and accelerated progress across industries.

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                                            • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                                              Setting Parts Colored and Opaque when Editing in SOLIDWORKS

                                              by Toby Schnaars on April 7, 2017
                                              Setting-Parts-to-be-colored-and-opaque-when-editing-in-SOLIDWORKS-1

                                              When editing a component in the context of an assembly, SOLIDWORKS automatically makes all of the other components transparent. This makes it easy to see through everything else, to get at what you need, but can bring on its own challenges.

                                              This blog will demonstrate step-by-step instructions on how to override this default behavior to get assemblies looking just the way you need.

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                                              • POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                Which 3D Printing Solution Fits Your Business?

                                                by Lisa Hannon on April 6, 2017

                                                Do you have an interest in learning more about additive manufacturing with 3D printing solutions? Are you part of a team that wants to bring products to market Which-3D-Printing-Solution-Fits-Your-Business-1faster? 3D printing technologies might be the answer for you but how do you know? At Fisher Unitech, we want to provide you with a guide that can help — whether you are a beginner with 3D printing or someone who already uses the technology but wants to explore more solutions.

                                                No matter what level of knowledge you have with rapid prototyping, the guide “3D Printing Solutions” will help you determine if one of our solutions can help you design faster and smarter, bring products to market faster, or simply educate you further on how the technology works.

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                                                • POSTED IN TRAINING, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                  Starting off with SOLIDWORKS Surfacing

                                                  by Rachael Buhl on April 3, 2017

                                                  Surface modeling in SOLIDWORKS can often be intimidating to new users, so I’m here to put your worries aside. Once there is a decent foundation in solid modeling, many aspects of surface modeling will be easy to migrate to because the same tools are used in both processes. For example, in solid modeling, users may do an Extrude, whereas in surfacing users would do an Extrude Surface. The Property Managers for these two like tools are also very similar.

                                                  In this blog, I’m going to start from the beginning and start with the basics.

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                                                  • POSTED IN CAD, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                                                    How to Handle Multi-Part Components in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

                                                    by David Hofer on March 31, 2017

                                                    I was recently working with a SOLIDWORKS Electrical project that a customer had developed, and I ran across a situation that I see quite often. Users that develop components that are made up of multiple parts, often run into issues when associating symbols to them in SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic.

                                                    Often the problem goes unnoticed until the project is moved to SOLIDWORKS CAD using the Electrical 3D add-in and the wires and cables are routed. Generally, the routing analysis will display an error having to do with the connection points.

                                                    In this blog I’m going to show an example where this can easily happen and a way to spot the issue and fix it before entering the CAD environment.

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                                                    • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                                                      Best Practices when Installing SOLIDWORKS 2017

                                                      by Toby Schnaars on March 29, 2017

                                                      When the time comes to install or update your SOLIDWORKS software to a newer version, the process can feel a bit overwhelming.  Below is a guide to help you through this process.  Following these steps should ensure a clean and successful installation.  

                                                      I have broken down the sections into “RECOMMENDED” and “OPTIONAL”.  Each step in “RECOMMENDED” should be followed and thought of as required.  The sections marked “OPTIONAL” can be skipped, but might give you some good tricks for ensuring that everything goes smoothly on the user end.

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                                                      • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                        Peak Performance with SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional

                                                        by Laurie Luther on March 27, 2017

                                                        With SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional, users can transform digital peak-performance-with-SOLIDWORKS-Visualize-Professionalrenderings into realistic 3D animations. Get product photos before the manufacturing stage to work out the kinks, impress investors, and truly visualize the final creation. See a complete 360-degree view of a design, and make real-time adjustments that immediately transition from the program to the screen. The possibilities are endless, and the platform can be used in almost every industry.

                                                        In the following, we explore some of the many benefits of SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional and how it could enhance your engineering abilities moving forward.

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                                                        • POSTED IN PCB, CAD, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                                                          How SOLIDWORKS Electrical and PCB Get Rid of the Guesswork

                                                          by Angelle Erickson on March 22, 2017

                                                          How do companies use SOLIDWORKS Electrical and SOLIDWORKS PCB to solve all of their designing needs? From the very beginning of the idea process, SOLIDWORKS can help electrical and mechanical engineers design every detail leading to the finished product.

                                                          One of the most important aspects of working in SOLIDWORKS Electrical and SOLIDWORKS PCB is being able to work together in completing a project. Electrical and Mechanical engineers must be able to communicate thoroughly and smoothly every step of the way. Luckily, SOLIDWORKS makes that process easy by getting rid of the guesswork between electrical and mechanical design teams.

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                                                          • POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                            Fail Your Way to Success in New Product Development with 3D Printing

                                                            by Jerry Fireman on March 21, 2017

                                                            If you are involved in new product development, you are probably facing a difficult paradox. You realize that thinking outside the box and taking risks is required to develop a product that will stand apart from the competition and achieve extraordinary success in the marketplace.

                                                            On the other hand, you also recognize that this kind of risk-taking behavior more often than not leads to failure. And neither you nor members of your team want to be associated with failure, especially the repeated failures that are often required in the early stages of developing an innovative product.

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                                                            • POSTED IN TRAINING, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                              9 Reasons to Get SOLIDWORKS Training

                                                              by Rodney Harper on March 17, 2017

                                                              If you or your company recently made an investment in SOLIDWORKS, then you’re probably already reaping the many benefits and capabilities that SOLIDWORKS has to offer. But there’s more to just owning SOLIDWORKS. Learn how you can get the best out of your software and expand your business by getting the proper SOLIDWORKS training and certifications.

                                                              9-reasons-to-get-SOLIDWORKS-Training-1We offer over ten SOLIDWORKS certification programs that allow you to get the best out of your software. Use our Education Roadmap to guarantee you’re going down the right path for your educational needs.

                                                              Training allows users to explore the areas of the software to prepare a team to work intelligently with speed and to be flexible in design for decision changes. We’ve got nine reasons why training at Fisher Unitech can change your SOLIDWORKS experience.

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                                                              • POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                First Impressions: Stratasys F370 Review

                                                                by Angelle Erickson on March 14, 2017

                                                                First-impressions-Stratasys-F370-reviewStratasys officially announced the new F123 series at SOLIDWORKS World 2017 in Los Angeles on February 6th to thousands of attendees. The new lineup had big shoes to fill since Stratasys has discontinued production of the Fortus 250 and Dimension printers.  

                                                                So is the new F123 series from Stratasys living up to all the hype? I spoke to two of our 3D printing experts here at Fisher Unitech who work with the full range of Stratasys 3D printers on a daily basis. After having the new F370 for well over a month now, I was interested in what kind of an impact it has been having on its daily users.

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                                                                • POSTED IN FISHER UNITECH NEWS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                  Additive Manufacturing Experts Weigh In at Stratasys F123 Innovation Event

                                                                  by Christa Prokos on March 10, 2017
                                                                  Additive-Manufacturing-Experts-Weigh-In-at-Stratasys-F123-Innovation-Event-11

                                                                  When you gather a group of manufacturing experts, professionals, technology and service providers at an event to discuss additive manufacturing it’s going to get interesting—and full of heartfelt stories that shaped careers. 

                                                                  The half day event took place on March 7th at the Michigan State University Management Education Center in Troy, Michigan near Fisher Unitech’s headquarters. This was the first in a series of ten Driving Manufacturing Innovation events taking place in multiple cities.

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                                                                  • POSTED IN TRAINING, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                    Your Training Starts Here: Saying Goodbye to SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM

                                                                    by Tom Starks on March 8, 2017

                                                                    There was a time when people were comfortable with Microsoft Windows for workgroups, then Windows NT came along and they had to relearn how to use the new Windows platform. The same thing happened with Windows 7 when Windows 10 came along.

                                                                    With the retirement of SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM drawing near, now is the time to start the migration over to either SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard or SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional. Learning a new platform doesn’t have to be a challenge, but the earlier you start with proper training, the further ahead you’ll be.

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                                                                    • POSTED IN STRATASYS, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                      GrabCAD Print: Here’s what you Need to Know

                                                                      by Dan Erickson on March 6, 2017

                                                                      If you’ve been in the 3D printing world a while, GrabCAD is probably not unfamiliar to you. Along with Thingiverse and MyMinifactory, GrabCAD has been a stalwart repository of 3D-printable files; notable, in native CAD formats. Over the past 8 years, GrabCAD has been (and remains) an invaluable resource to some two million members.

                                                                      grabCAD-Print-Heres-what-you-need-to-knowSo what’s this GrabCAD Print thing, you ask? Well, it’s a slicer. Like Catalyst, Insight, and others, it slices a CAD model into thin layers, and then writes the instructions for a 3D printer to lay down material for each layer. GrabCAD Print supports polygon-based STL files, but unlike most, also directly reads native geometric modeling file formats like SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, UG/NX (among others) and the usual neutral formats (e.g., step, parasolid, iges); even assembly files.

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                                                                      • POSTED IN SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                        Simulation Tip: Animating Transient Results in SOLIDWORKS Flow 2017

                                                                        by David Roccaforte on March 3, 2017

                                                                        Today, I was running a SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation (CFD/Computational Fluid Dynamics) model of a blow mold tool. The goal of the analysis is to compare cooling line effects on tool surface temperatures.

                                                                        Simulation-Tip-Animating-Transient-Results-in-SOLIDWORKS-Flow-2017-1Molding is a transient process and XY plots are important but it’s very useful to see heat migration through the parts via animation. This is one of the big values of design validation. We can visualize phenomena that are difficult to see or measure physically.

                                                                        In the process, I was using a new SOLIDWORKS tool for animating surface plots and cut plots. It made my life so much easier that I had to stop working and started writing this blog.

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                                                                        • POSTED IN FISHER UNITECH NEWS, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                          Revisiting FETCH and the SOLIDWORKS 2017 Design Contest

                                                                          by Angelle Erickson on March 2, 2017

                                                                          On September 7, 2016, we proposed on our blog a design challenge for our SOLIDWORKS community. We introduced FETCH, a claw robot that our technicalRevisiting-FETCH-and-the-SOLIDWORKS-2017-Design-Challenge-1 team modeled in SOLIDWORKS 2017 using the software’s top new features and enhancements. Unfortunately, there was one small hiccup. We wanted FETCH to be able to lift and carry a beverage can to one of our thirsty engineers. He couldn’t do it. The weight of the can caused motor drift.

                                                                          That’s where our SOLIDWORKS community came in. We asked you to submit your mechanical fix ideas in our SOLIDWORKS 2017 design challenge contest. The person to submit the best design would win FETCH.

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                                                                          • POSTED IN FISHER UNITECH NEWS, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                            Fisher Unitech Awarded SOLIDWORKS Elite Club for Outstanding Sales and Support

                                                                            by Christa Prokos on February 28, 2017

                                                                            Earlier this month, Fisher Unitech and Prism Engineering (now Fisher Unitech) each received recognition from Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS Corp. for outstanding sales and support services. This is another example of how well aligned the companies were when Fisher Unitech acquired Prism Engineering in June of 2016.Fisher-Unitech-Awarded-SOLIDWORKS-Elite-Club-for-Outstanding-Sales-and-Support

                                                                            The two SOLIDWORKS Elite Club awards were presented to Fisher Unitech at the SOLIDWORKS World 2017 conference held February 5-8 in Los Angeles, California. Fisher Unitech’s Subscription Manager, Chad Vannatta, and Director of Software Sales, Chris Tarka, accepted the awards on behalf of the company.

                                                                            The awards recognize Fisher Unitech as one of the top SOLIDWORKS technology and services providers in North America. Membership in the SOLIDWORKS Elite Club signifies that Fisher Unitech exceeds the highest standards for customer retention, subscription support renewals, and software technical support.

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                                                                            • POSTED IN CAD, SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                              How to Design a Filtration Unit with SOLIDWORKS and solidThinking

                                                                              by Drew Buchanan on February 22, 2017

                                                                              Recently, as I was drinking a cup of tea, I appreciated having hot and clean water to drink. I thought about the process of obtaining that water. Specifically, about the filtration process. I wondered, what if I could simulate the filtration process within SOLIDWORKS? I quickly realized that I could do more than simulate the filtration process. I could simulate the casting of individual parts as well as the injection molding of specific parts of the apparatus.

                                                                              With that understanding, I set forth to utilize SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, SOLIDWORKS Plastics, and solidThinking’s Click2Cast software to optimize the design. In this blog, I will lay out the steps to analyze a filtration unit with three different simulation and analysis solutions. There is also a recorded webcast you can view that includes demonstrations of what I cover in this blog.

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                                                                              • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                SOLIDWORKS 2018 Sneak Peek at SOLIDWORKS World 2017

                                                                                by Ken Lavictor on February 16, 2017

                                                                                As SOLIDWORKS World 2017 came to a close last week, I was thrilled once again to get a glimpse of one of the most anticipated product announcements. Every year, SolidWorks gives us a sneak peek of new features and enhancements to come in the next release of SOLIDWORKS software. In this case SOLIDWORKS 2018!

                                                                                Below, you will see this small sampling of new functionality slated for SOLIDWORKS 2018.  Please keep in mind, this is just a preview of what ‘might’ make it to the SOLIDWORKS 2018 release. Many more features will be added by fall of 2017, some may change, and some may take a little longer than anticipated to get out there—so here is a list of the potential new enhancements to SOLIDWORKS 2018:

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                                                                                • POSTED IN DESIGN AUTOMATION, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                  4 Key Ways SOLIDWORKS Stands Out

                                                                                  by Sean O'Neill on February 15, 2017

                                                                                  When SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD was first released back in 1995, it was already leveraging some of the core functionality and modeling principles we know today. At that time, it quickly came to prominence as a parametric solid modeler. You could sketch, add rules-based constraints to these sketches, and then extrude them into 3D features. Here’s proof.

                                                                                  4-crucial-elements-that-make-SOLIDWORKS-different1But what has SOLIDWORKS become, and what has SOLIDWORKS been, in the days that have come to pass? For years – many years, in fact – SOLIDWORKS has given users the ability to make manufacturing drawings and assembled part systems in ways that sync seamlessly with their included parts and one another. Furthermore, as the design and manufacturing world has advanced, SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD has advanced with it. In many cases, it’s proven to be a catalyst of this spheric advancement.

                                                                                  For those new to (or relatively inexperienced with) SOLIDWORKS, here are four key ways SOLIDWORKS stands out as a CAD platform.

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                                                                                  • POSTED IN SIMULATION

                                                                                    solidThinking: Empowering Engineers with the Right Design Validation Toolsets

                                                                                    by David Roccaforte on February 13, 2017

                                                                                    If you read a few of my SOLIDWORKS Simulation tutorials and finite element analysis blogs you will notice the recurring “tool” theme. As an engineer and gearhead, I love anything that will help me do my job better, whether it’s extracting a broken bolt from a cylinder solidThinking-Empowering-Engineers-with-the-Right-Design-Validation-Toolsets-1head or determining the optimal amount of material to meet performance specifications. Show me a tool that can help me do it better and I’m listening.

                                                                                    One of my fondest memories as an engineering intern was the day my manager approached me with a tool catalog. This was before online ordering when PO’s were still done by hand.

                                                                                    He said, “Pick out what you think we need for the mechanical lab, and order two of everything.”  As a student with an internship being able to fill up the gas tank felt like a luxury. Now I get to order any tool we might need? I was in heaven.

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                                                                                    • POSTED IN CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                      Quick Lesson on the Value of Product Data Management

                                                                                      by Brian VanderPloeg on February 10, 2017

                                                                                      Product Data Management or PDM, is the often overshadowed acronym on the engineering whiteboard of design process workflow. Acronyms CAD, CAE and CAM stand boldly circled for the next software investment while PDM can get crossed off or postponed for consideration next year. Yet a PDM system has as much to offer in the way of business value and user benefits as the other acronyms, which, if you are new to the world of product development, are short for: Computer-Aided Design, Computer-Aided Engineering, and Computer-Aided Manufacturing.

                                                                                      So what exactly is PDM and why should it stand worthy of a bold circle for your organization? After fifteen years of helping a variety of product design and manufacturing companies solve business challenges with software, I have an “in the trenches” understanding of PDM.

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                                                                                      • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                        SOLIDWORKS World 2017 Recap: SOLIDWORKS 2018, sustainability, and the future of design

                                                                                        by Stacey Clement on February 8, 2017

                                                                                        Kishore Boyalakuntla, the Senior Director of Product Portfolio Management and Brand User Experience Leader at SOLIDWORKS, kicked off today’s General Assembly with a discussion of the new SOLIDWORKS Ecosystems and the exciting products we’ll see in SOLIDWORKS 2018.

                                                                                        Boyalakuntla began with the Design to Manufacturing Ecosystem product, SOLIDWORKS CAM, which will be released in SOLIDWORKS 2018 next fall. According to the presenter’s slide, the Design to Manufacturing Ecosystem has an intelligent knowledge base and tolerance based machining.

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                                                                                        • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                          SOLIDWORKS and its Impact on our Future Generation

                                                                                          by Angelle Erickson on February 7, 2017

                                                                                          SOLIDWORKS World 2017 kicked off day two with an exciting morning. This morning’s focus was raising awareness for the vast community of SOLIDWORKS User Groups (SWUGs) located all around the country. SWUGs enable users to get together to share tips, tricks, and educational presentations to strengthen and enhance their user experience.

                                                                                          Not only is it important to support and promote the education of SOLIDWORKS technology to current power users, but there is a determination to get high school students and young adults involved to craft their minds and brighten their future.

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                                                                                          • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                            SOLIDWORKS World 2017 - Creating the New, the Next, and the Never Before

                                                                                            by Christa Prokos on February 6, 2017

                                                                                            Over 5,000 people are gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center until February 8th for SOLIDWORKS World 2017, which started yesterday amid the buzz and excitement of the Super Bowl.

                                                                                            As if SOLIDWORKS World alone isn’t enough buzz for SOLIDWORKS software enthusiasts. Every year, this passionate and global community of engineers, innovators and partners gather together to share ideas and learn about the latest in 3D design.

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                                                                                            • POSTED IN STRATASYS, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                              Introducing the F123 Series 3D Printers

                                                                                              by Stacey Clement on February 6, 2017

                                                                                              3D printing fans, rejoice - the next generation of FDM 3D printers from Stratasys is here! Stratasys announced its new line of 3D printers, the F123 series, at the SOLIDWORKS World conference on Monday, Feb. 6. The line includes three powerful printers: the F170, F270, and F370.  We have all the details of the big announcement, plus a webcast on the new line that is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 8.

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                                                                                              • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                                SOLIDWORKS World Preview 2017

                                                                                                by Stacey Clement on February 2, 2017

                                                                                                SOLIDWORKS World 2017 will be here on February 5th, giving designers the opportunity to network, learn about new products, and choose from 200+ breakout sessions for a fresh perspective on the 3D design industry. Sessions will cover technical training, reseller training, and general topics.

                                                                                                This year SOLIDWORKS has also introduced the Learning Path, where attendees can choose from one of four Learning Paths: Internet of Things, Model Based Definition, Additive Manufacture, and Subtractive Manufacturing. According to SOLIDWORKS, the learning paths will “give attendees a jump start in these important and emerging aspects of manufacturing.”

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                                                                                                • POSTED IN PCB, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                  PCB Design Revolution with Altium and SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                  by Joel Desilets on January 31, 2017

                                                                                                  Multidisciplinary engineering teams are working together more today than ever before to develop products. This is because products now neePCB Design Revolution with Altium and SOLIDWORKSd to wirelessly connect and communicate with other devices, spurred by the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) within consumer electronics, manufacturing, healthcare, and automotive industries.

                                                                                                  If you use Altium Designer, you can now maintain your preferred workflow and realize the value of the SOLIDWORKS PCB Connector, engineered specifically to bridge the gap between your electrical design in Altium and your mechanical design in SOLIDWORKS.  

                                                                                                  There are several advantages that both Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and SOLIDWORKS designers will notice given the ease of moving models back and forth between Altium Designer and SOLIDWORKS.  

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                                                                                                  • POSTED IN CAM, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                    Mastercam is the Only CAM for Me

                                                                                                    by Mike Steelman on January 27, 2017

                                                                                                    Controlling and automating machine tooling and other equipment on the manufacturing floor with software isn’t a new concept. For those familiar with the process, it’s simply called “CAM”. For anyone new to the process, CAM means computer-aided manufacturing.

                                                                                                    Here’s how it works

                                                                                                    First, you design a part you want to machine using a CAD software tool such as SOLIDWORKS. Then you open your SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD design file in your CAM software tool. Now keep in mind that not all CAM software tools are the same. So I will use Mastercam for my example. Mastercam is the world’s most widely-used CAM software and for good reasons.

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                                                                                                    • POSTED IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                                      The Future of the Automotive Industry - 3D Printing Takes the Wheel

                                                                                                      by Rob Stipek on January 25, 2017

                                                                                                      Since the beginning, the automotive sector has been taking advantage of 3D printing for manufacturing and design applications. With a quick turn around rate, companies are able to produce concept models, functional prototypes, and manufacturing aids in a short amount of time. With this technology at hand, today’s technologies have drastically improved from the idea of a prototype to the full production of 3D printed vehicles like the Local Motors Strati concept car.

                                                                                                      Automotive industries are seeing the positive effects of using additive The-Future-of-the -Automotive-Industry-3D-printing-takes-the-wheel1manufacturing. Paul Susalla, the section supervisor of Rapid Manufacturing at Ford stated, “You can come up with a really optimized part at the end of the day...That’s all because of the speed with which we can produce the prototype parts without tooling.” Not only are 3D printed prototypes great for a fast turnaround, but statistics are being proven with numbers.

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