SOLIDWORKS


  • 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 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 find out more about this subject during my May 4th webcast

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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
            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 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 Gets 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 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 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 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 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 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
                                                        Getting-Vector-Graphics-with-Depth-from-SOLIDWORKS11

                                                        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 SOLIDWORKS

                                                            Building BattleBots Champions with SOLIDWORKS

                                                            by Christa Prokos on January 6, 2017

                                                            Back in the year 2000, a new American television series aired on Comedy Central called BattleBots. The name alone conjures up images of fighting robots, but exactly what kind of robots? Simply put, remote controlled machines designed for combat that would fight to the death in an arena. Funny yes, but also ingenious.

                                                            BattleBots ran for a couple of years, then took a hiatus only to return to ABC TV in 2015. Imagine the evolution of technologies and materials that took place over those 15 years. Fast forward to 2017 and today’s fighting robots are more sophisticated and fiercer than ever. The ingenuity continues from spinning blades to clamping jaws and 250 pounds of heavy armor. BattleBots now has a global following with more than 150 countries soon broadcasting the show.

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                                                            • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS TECH TIPS, SOLIDWORKS

                                                              Two Great Tools Every SOLIDWORKS User Should Know (But Many Don’t)

                                                              by Toby Schnaars on January 3, 2017

                                                              As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’ve been a user of SOLIDWORKS for 18 two-great-tools-every-solidworks-user-should-know-but-many-dont-1years and began teaching new and experienced users since 2001. Today we are going to examine two great tools in SOLIDWORKS that every user should know how to use, but many don’t:

                                                              1. CTRL+Q = Force Regen
                                                              2.  V.O.R. = Verification on Rebuild

                                                              These two tools share the same theme: They both generate a rebuild, which is more thorough and elaborate, but takes a longer time to complete.

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                                                              • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS

                                                                Lessons Learned in a FIRST Robotics Classroom

                                                                by Dan Erickson on December 27, 2016

                                                                lessons-learned-in-a-first-robotics-classroom1Kids these days are sharp! I was reminded of this fact during an opportunity to teach SOLIDWORKS to Macomb County FIRST Robotics teams “Thunder Chickens” and “I AM Robot”. Having spent my first five years at Fisher Unitech teaching and supporting SOLIDWORKS, the front of a classroom is familiar territory. Plus, a roomful of kids was a welcome change of pace (and an opportunity to be the oldest guy in the room for a change). I am glad I accepted their invitation.

                                                                I typically begin my classes by explaining my objective: to present the material as clearly and coherently as I am able; and my expectations of the class: to be attentive and engaged. But in this case, such a preamble seemed superfluous. These students were, after all, here by choice.

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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 SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                    SOLIDWORKS Simulation Tech Tip: Flow Solver Scalability

                                                                    by David Roccaforte on December 16, 2016

                                                                    Back in 2015, I tried an experiment comparing model size (number of cells) to memory needs and solve time. When I used SOLIDWORKS 2016, it was better at taking advantage of multiple cores as shown below. 

                                                                    flowsolverscalability

                                                                    The old solver started to lose advantages around 6 cores per job. You can see that the green curve is still upward sloping after 6 cores, that is the new solver.

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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 SOLIDWORKS, 3D PRINTING

                                                                          Every Single SOLIDWORKS 3D Printing Feature

                                                                          by Sean O'neill on December 9, 2016

                                                                          Did you know that since 2010, SOLIDWORKS has introduced new 3D printing features in each software release? Finding every single one of them can be a challenge. This year, for example, SOLIDWORKS implemented over 215 pages of new functionality into SOLIDWORKS 2017. It is a lot to digest.

                                                                          For this reason, we created an infographic that includes each and every SOLIDWORKS 3D printing feature. As a preview, this article covers three of its biggest highlights in depth.

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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 SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                              Save a Life – Optimize that Design with SOLIDWORKS Simulation

                                                                              by Drew Buchanan on November 30, 2016

                                                                              The beads of sweat drip off my forehead as I drill my climbing anchor into the rock. I maneuver the rope through the anchor’s 9mm slot for the rope to fit through. After the rope is tucked through the anchor, I place the strap through my carabiner and secure it, then begin my climb upwards. As I move upwards my left foot slips on a piece of shale, and my hands lose their grip. I fall backward hoping my carabiner and anchor system holds. Thankfully, the carabiner’s suggested 9 KN engineering rating holds fine, and I fall only five feet instead of the 100 feet to the mountain floor.

                                                                              I realize many of you may not spend your free time hanging out on the side of a mountain 100 feet in the air on a small rock ledge—trusting that engineers adequately designed a four inch curved piece of metal to hold your weight. Regardless, we all rely on products we use daily that have been designed and optimized by engineers for our safety.

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                                                                              • POSTED IN DATA MANAGEMENT, PDM, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM Retirement - Are You Prepared?

                                                                                by Christa Prokos on November 21, 2016

                                                                                If you use SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM to manage your product design files, the time to start planning your migration to either SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard is now. You are probably already aware that this juncture would come.

                                                                                Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation gave ample time for customers to prepare for change when in the summer of 2015 it announced that it would phase out the aged product data management tool. SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM had reached the limit of what it could do with its architecture, the company said, along with advice that customers will be better served by migrating to either PDM Professional or PDM Standard.

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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 SOLIDWORKS, 3D PRINTING

                                                                                      The 3 Newest SOLIDWORKS 3D Printing Features

                                                                                      by Sean O'Neill on November 14, 2016

                                                                                      3D Printing is allowing the manufacturing world to innovate and iterate quicker than ever. It's important that our CAD design tools innovate in parallel. Accordingly, one good question buyers should ask is, "What SOLIDWORKS 3D printing features are available to SOLIDWORKS users?"the-3-newest-solidworks-3d-printing-investments11

                                                                                      In a survey done by technology research firm, Tech-Clarity, about 54% of companies claimed that the ability to support internal workflows was a key influence in selecting a CAD system. That was good enough to make it a top 5 consideration for your peers. A glance at the broader manufacturing landscape also shows that the 3D printing market, increasingly expanding its scope of capabilities and materials offered, projects to be a >$30 billion market by the year 2022.

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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, 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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                                                                                                    • POSTED IN CAD, SOLIDWORKS

                                                                                                      Tips for New SOLIDWORKS Users Part 1: Sketch Mode

                                                                                                      by Toby Schnaars on October 3, 2016

                                                                                                      Hello and welcome to the wonderful world of SOLIDWORKS. I’m excited to be your guide. I have been using SOLIDWORKS CAD software for 18 years, since my first training class back in 1998. I began teaching the software to both new and experienced students back in 2001. Throughout the years I have found that there are three great tips to help new SOLIDWORKS CAD software users get 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

                                                                                                      This blog is the first in a series of three that will provide details on each tip. So let’s get started!

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