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.



      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.



        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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          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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            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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              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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                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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                  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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                    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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                          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 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 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 CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                                  Setting Parts Colored and Opaque when Editing in SOLIDWORKS

                                  by Toby Schnaars on April 7, 2017

                                  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 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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                                      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 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 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 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 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 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 3D SCANNING, CAD, 3D PRINTING

                                                                  Digitizing Real-World Objects with 3D Scanners

                                                                  by Danny Jackson Levy on January 20, 2017

                                                                  Digitizing-Real-World-Objects-with-3D-Scanners1Engineers today have a wide array of software in their virtual toolbox which they can use to create precise 3D representations of designed models. However, the typical old school manufacturing facility contains an abundance of legacy components, worn out tools and other parts which may not have accurate CAD data associated with it.

                                                                  Enter 3D scanning, a technology integral to the progression of manufacturing through what is described as ‘the fourth industrial revolution’.

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                                                                  • POSTED IN CAD, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                    A New Way to Design Printed Circuit Boards

                                                                    by Angelle Erickson on January 17, 2017

                                                                    A-new-way-to-design-printed-circuit-boards1Understanding the lay of the land is extremely important when mechanical and electrical engineers are working on a design. Even when using the same CAD system, a back and forth disconnected process can leave room for error and create major setbacks.

                                                                    Many engineers experience the headache of having significant changes made in a design and feeling like they have to start from scratch. Even simple changes in a design can completely alter the routing of circuits and connectors in a PCB.

                                                                    If you’ve ever found yourself in this scenario, help is a click away. You can now use SOLIDWORKS PCB, powered by Altium. This intuitive software will help eliminate your frustrations associated with changes in circuit board design.

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                                                                    • POSTED IN CAD, COMPOSER, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                      Getting Vector Graphics with Depth from SOLIDWORKS

                                                                      by Sean O’Neill on January 13, 2017

                                                                      When I first came across the “Cartoon” feature in SOLIDWORKS, I admit: I was a bit stumped on how to best utilize the tool.

                                                                      While there are several ways to use this appearance mode, I stumbled upon a pretty neat way to use it for a recent graphic project I was working on. My goal was to extract a clean piece of vector art for use in an Adobe Illustrator design of a t-shirt. I wanted the t-shirt to feature a 3D printer churning out a worm gear part.

                                                                      If you’ve ever seen a worm gear setup, you’d know that the worm in the gear setup is helical in nature. I didn’t feel like attempting to draw the curves in Illustrator; I felt it’d be much more suitable if I could somehow extract exacting geometry from SOLIDWORKS.

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                                                                      • POSTED IN CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                        Exploring SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional

                                                                        by Joe Frank on January 11, 2017

                                                                        exploring-solidworks-pdm-professional1With the retirement of SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM fast approaching, it’s time for users to move to a new product data management solution: SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard.

                                                                        To help you understand more about the solutions, I recently delivered a webcast demonstrating the user interface for Standard and Professional. You can watch the recorded webcast to see how intuitive the interface is for managing data files and moving them through a workflow. Yet, while the interface may be the same for both PDM solutions, the capabilities are not. It’s important to understand the differences.

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                                                                        • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                          The Secrets of SOLIDWORKS Service Packs

                                                                          by Sean O’Neil on December 19, 2016

                                                                          Most times, when we talk about the version of SOLIDWORKS we use, we describe it in yearly terms such as 2015, 2016, or 2017. There are also times when we’ll specify a bit further, including the SOLIDWORKS service pack we’re using such as SP0.0 vs. SP5.0.

                                                                          Every year, the newest version of SOLIDWORKS is showcased in launch events to show people top highlights of the new enhancements and features they can expect. However, with service packs, most people don’t get a great deal of visibility into what changes have been made between, for example, SP0.0 of a given year’s version and SP1.0 of that same release.

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                                                                          • POSTED IN TRAINING, CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                            New Year’s Resolution: Learn New SOLIDWORKS Skills

                                                                            by Rachael Buhl on December 14, 2016

                                                                            Before the new year begins, take a moment to consider what you want to accomplish professionally in 2017. Whether it’s a promotion, or just having more interesting and self-rewarding projects in your current role, learning new SOLIDWORKS skills could help get you there.  

                                                                            Yet often the thought of taking training is followed with the worry of taking time out of the office. You’re not alone, like anyone with a new year’s resolution can tell you, it’s easy to make excuses that hold you back.

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                                                                            • POSTED IN CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                              Nine Reasons Why You Need a PDM Solution - An Engineer’s Point of View

                                                                              by Jodi Degenaer on December 12, 2016

                                                                              It’s a bright, early Monday morning and I’m excited to get to work on a hot project. I start my SOLIDWORKS design software, click ‘File>Open’ and navigate to my assembly. A dialogue pops up. The file is in use by someone else.

                                                                              Who has my assembly open, and why? It’s still only in the initial design phase. Hmm…I know Jeff is working on similar components. I give Jeff a call. He says he doesn’t have it open, but Mary had some of his files open the other day and I should try her. I call Mary and get no answer.

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                                                                              • POSTED IN CAD, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                SOLIDWORKS 2017 Packs in New Electrical Functionality

                                                                                by David Hofer on December 7, 2016

                                                                                “SOLIDWORKS Electrical – what’s all this 2017 stuff anyway?” is how Bob Pease, the famous integrated circuit design expert and technical author, may describe the capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2017. He had a great way of explaining complex technical concepts and making them relatable to the general engineering population (us mere mortals).

                                                                                I’m no Bob Pease by any stretch of the imagination, but in putting together descriptions of the electrical features and presentation content for Fisher Unitech’s recent SOLIDWORKS 2017 product launch events, I took system design concepts and related them to a simple robot that our technical team used as a platform to demonstrate the top new enhancements and features in SOLIDWORKS 2017. I think Bob would have appreciated this straightforward, albeit entertaining, approach.

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                                                                                • POSTED IN CAD

                                                                                  What Improvements Should You Expect After Switching CAD Software?

                                                                                  by Jerry Fireman on December 5, 2016

                                                                                  Switching to a new CAD software system requires an investment in time and money. Which raises the question of what kind of a return can you expect on that investment? Tech-Clarity, an independent research firm that specializes in CAD and related technology, recently surveyed 192 companies that have switched CAD software systems to find out what benefits they had achieved and was it worth the effort?


                                                                                  The survey showed that companies have reported significant improvements, starting with a substantial reduction in the amount of time required to bring new products to market. Top performing companies reduced product development time by 19% and time to implement engineering change orders (ECOs) by 15% while average performers reduced product development time by 14% and ECO time by 8%.

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                                                                                  • POSTED IN DATA MANAGEMENT, CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                    Upgrading to SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017 Part 3: PDM Professional Post-Upgrade Tips

                                                                                    by Tom Starks on November 18, 2016

                                                                                    Upgrading software should be something to look forward to, but it can also be time-consuming and challenging if you are not properly prepared. This is the final installment of a three-part blog series to help you with an easier and successful upgrade to SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017 Professional or Standard.

                                                                                    In Part 1 I covered tips to help you prepare for your upgrade. In Part 2 I took you through the post-upgrade process, covering commonly missed items. For this blog, I will provide additional post-upgrade tips that apply to SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional. These tips will allow you to take advantage of the new 2017 tasks, since tasks are not available in SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard:

                                                                                    • - Add the SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional 2017 SWPDFTaskAddIn
                                                                                    • - Using the new SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional PDM 2017 Tasks

                                                                                    Let’s get started.

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                                                                                    • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                      Do More with SOLIDWORKS 2017 Sheet Metal Enhancements

                                                                                      by Rodney Harper on November 16, 2016

                                                                                      Sheet metal parts are common across a wide range of industries from special machines, housings, and other critical product components. When your work involves creating sheet metal parts, you need the most flexible design approach possible. This includes flattening functionality. SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software gives you the ability to do all of this and now the new SOLIDWORKS 2017 release gives you even more critical new functions.

                                                                                      Four main features in SOLIDWORKS 2017 that have been enhanced:

                                                                                      1. Three bend corner relief
                                                                                      2. Normal Cut has improved flattened results
                                                                                      3. Punch Table support for mirrored and derived parts
                                                                                      4. Define individual options per sheet metal body in a multibody part

                                                                                      I’m excited to show you the new 2017 functionality. Improved manufacturability, less confusion from the manufacturing floor, and improvements in the interface will result in a better return on investment with SOLIDWORKS. Now let’s take a look at some examples I’ve put together for you.

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                                                                                      • POSTED IN DATA MANAGEMENT, CAD, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                        Upgrading to SOLIDWORKS PDM 2017 Part 2: Post-Upgrade Tips

                                                                                        by Tom Starks on November 11, 2016

                                                                                        Often times, the thought of a software upgrade can be daunting and cause concerns over how time-consuming or challenging the process could be. With help from the experts, you don’t have to worry. This blog series provides tips and tricks to help make it easier for you to upgrade to SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or Standard. In Part 1 I covered tips to help you prepare for your upgrade. However there is always something that needs to be done after an upgrade and in this blog, I will cover the following post-upgrade tips:

                                                                                        • - Run the PDM Database Upgrade Tool
                                                                                        • - Manually upgrade any PDM Add-Ins like Dispatch or SWTaskAddIn

                                                                                        So let’s get started!

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                                                                                        • POSTED IN CAD, SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                          Save Time with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Feature: Blended Curvature-Based Mesh

                                                                                          by Drew Buchanan on November 7, 2016

                                                                                          Finite element modeling (FEM) continues to evolve and makes solving multiphysics problems easier and easier for users. No longer, are the days of dedicated engineers or programmers sitting in cubicles writing code to solve finite element problems. SOLIDWORKS Simulation has set the bar for making FEM easier for users while still being computationally powerful. In this blog, I will cover one of the newer capabilities in SOLIDWORKS Simulation that can save you a lot of time: the “Blended curvature-based mesh” feature.

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                                                                                          • POSTED IN CAD, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                            SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2017 - Collaboration Made Simpler

                                                                                            by Angelle Erickson on November 2, 2016

                                                                                            Teamwork is tried and true regardless of the industry you work in. In product development, the relationship between electrical engineers and mechanical engineers is highly dependent on how well they can collaborate on a project. Having the right tools to work effectively and efficiently not only controls the quality of product designs but the production time frame as well.

                                                                                            SOLIDWORKS Electrical is one such powerful tool for engineers. It not only displays a design to the very last detail but also makes communication extremely easier on both the mechanical and electrical ends of the project.

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                                                                                            • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                              Tips for New SOLIDWORKS Users Part 3: Fully Define, Every Time

                                                                                              by Toby Schnaars on October 27, 2016

                                                                                              Welcome back to our series of tips for new SOLIDWORKS users. As I mentioned fully-define-every-time1in my last blog, I started teaching SOLIDWORKS CAD software to both new and experienced students in 2001.  This blog series covers three great tips I’ve learned over the years to help new SOLIDWORKS users get started off on the right foot:

                                                                                              1. Always start your sketches the same way – and know when you are in sketch mode
                                                                                              2. Keep your sketches simple
                                                                                              3. Fully define, every time

                                                                                              Today, we will finish up by covering the final tip:  Fully define, every time.

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                                                                                              • POSTED IN CAD

                                                                                                How to Select a New CAD System

                                                                                                by Jerry Fireman on October 26, 2016

                                                                                                With so many different computer aided design software options out there, how do you pick the one that will have the greatest positive impact on your business? Tech-Clarity, an independent research firm that specializes in CAD and related technology, recently surveyed companies that have switched CAD systems in order to find out what drove the decision process of companies that achieved the most favorable results.

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                                                                                                • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                  Get a better connection with SOLIDWORKS Interconnect

                                                                                                  by Angelle Erickson on October 19, 2016

                                                                                                  Collaborating with a customer or a supplier shouldn’t be a challenge, but with the many versions of CAD software being used in the industry these days, these challenges can exist. SOLIDWORKS 2017 has made helping customers and viewing different formats easier with Interconnect, a tool that will be part of their 2017 release.

                                                                                                  SOLIDWORKS 2017 is not only smoother and faster than ever before, but they have made enhancements to almost every feature and product in their software line. Interconnect is the icing on the cake for those who need to not only open and view data from other CAD software but who need to make changes that can be saved and reopened by the original user.

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                                                                                                  • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                    Large Assembly Mode Made Easier with SOLIDWORKS 2017

                                                                                                    by Angelle Erickson on October 14, 2016

                                                                                                    As many users know, not every design produced in SOLIDWORKS is small. Some designs require over 100,000 parts and being able to view, manage, document, and assemble a large product should not be a daunting task. Luckily, SOLIDWORKS’ Large Assembly Mode has made that process easier. Available in SOLIDWORKS Standard, Professional, and Premium packages, Large Assembly Mode has key features such as configuration tools, large design review, and magnetic mating allowing users to view the whole picture or work in specific areas without the risk of losing data.

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                                                                                                    • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                      Tips for New SOLIDWORKS Users Part 2: Keep Your Sketches Simple

                                                                                                      by Toby Schnaars on October 12, 2016

                                                                                                      Welcome back to our series of tips for new SOLIDWORKS users. As I mentioned in my last blog, I started teaching SOLIDWORKS CAD software to both new and experienced students in 2001.  This blog series covers three great tips I’ve learned over the years to help new SOLIDWORKS users get started off on the right foot:

                                                                                                      1. Always start your sketches the same way – and know when you are in sketch mode
                                                                                                      2. Keep your sketches simple
                                                                                                      3. Fully define, every time

                                                                                                      My last blog covered the first tip. Today, we will move into the second: Keep your sketches simple.

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