How to Leverage Animation Data from SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD Within SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional

    by Matt Haywood on May 25, 2018

    SOLIDWORKS Visualize ProfessionalSOLIDWORKS Visualize, introduced to the SOLIDWORKS product suite in 2016, currently offers the option to export animation files from SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD to the SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional package. If you are running SOLIDWORKS Visualize Standard, it will NOT be possible for you to render animation files. SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional is a requirement.

    While it is possible to fully define your animation within the SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional interface, you might save some time by exporting your existing animation from SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD. You might also find that you are most familiar with the SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD commands for creating animations. In this blog, we will take a simple assembly from SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, create a simple animation, and export to SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional with just a few easy steps.

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      SOLIDWORKS CAM Tutorial: Customizing Tools and Tool Cribs

      by Amanda Osbun on May 18, 2018

      SOLIDWORKS CAM tutorialSOLIDWORKS CAM is a great tool that helps eliminate repetitive manual tasks, reduce errors, and avoid unwanted and unexpected costs that prolong time to market time. However, I often hear from SOLIDWORKS CAM users challenges they face regarding tools and tool cribs.

      In this blog, we’re going to look at customizing tools, creating and customizing tool cribs, as well as creating new tools using solid geometry. Let’s get started.

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        Are you sure it's a SOLIDWORKS PDM Permission?

        by Jodi Degenaer on April 27, 2018

        PDM PermissionSOLIDWORKS PDM permissions can be tricky at times to the point where you don’t know for sure if the issue you are having is actually a permission issue at all. The best way to test if it’s permissions is to log in as the admin user and see if you can perform the action. If you can it’s a permission issue.

        What permission could it be? In this blog, I’m covering a few tips where you might want to start looking. I also give a couple examples that demonstrate some common troubleshooting processes in looking for a permission.

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          Slow SOLIDWORKS Load Time? Check This Setting

          by Toby Schnaars on April 5, 2018

          Slow SOLIDWORKSTrying to work effectively with a slow SOLIDWORKS large assembly that is slow to open, slow to work with, and slow to save is frustrating and can cause unwanted setbacks. In this blog series, we’ve been covering different steps SOLIDWORKS users can take to avoid delays and make working with large assemblies a much smoother process.

          In previous blogs, we’ve found that checking for errors and saving files on the most current version helped, as well as using the Automatically Load Components Lightweight option and checking your network for bottlenecks also made a significant impact. In this blog, I’m going to be showing you a certain setting that could be hurting load time and how to fix it so you’re no longer taking that lag.

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            Resetting the PDM Admin Password in SOLIDWORKS

            by Lindsay Early on March 30, 2018

            PDM Admin passwordA question I often hear from new SOLIDWORKS administrators is “how do I change the PDM Admin password in SOLIDWORKS?” When I hear this question, it’s usually for one of two reasons. Either, the administrator needs to change it to a more secure password, or the administrator has misplaced the password and needs to reset it.

            In this blog, I demonstrate step-by-step instructions and tips on how to simply change the PDM Admin password. Let’s get started.

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              Beginners Surfacing Breakout session at SOLIDWORKS World 2018

              by Toby Schnaars on March 16, 2018

              Beginners SurfacingIn February of 2018 I was honored to be selected by to present at the annual SOLIDWORKS WORLD 2018 user conference. This year the conference was held in Los Angeles, California. My breakout session was focused on SOLIDWORKS Surfacing and was called “Beginners Surfacing for Beginners” and took place on Tuesday, February 6th at 10:30 AM.  It was attended by 181 SOLIDWORKS users.

              The goal of this presentation was to help users who have little or no experience with the SOLIDWORKS Surfacing tools get a better understanding of how and when surfaces can and should be utilized.  SOLIDWORKS Surfacing tools are a great addition to any SOLIDWORKS user’s toolbox, and I wanted to take this, often avoided area of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software, and make it more accessible to newer users.

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                SOLIDWORKS Multibody Parts Using “Hybrid” Sketching

                by Jay-Shan Jackson on March 14, 2018

                SOLIDWORKS Multibody partOver the years I’ve had many opportunities to use SOLIDWORKS for different projects either for work, home, hobbies, teaching, and more. Working in the industry that I’m in you also tend to observe several habits for better or worse regarding design strategies. One habit that seems to be very consistent, is that people don’t seem to like 3D sketching.

                Of course, saying people don’t “like” 3D sketching is one of the biggest understatements of all time. It’s kind of like saying that the Ford Pinto wasn’t an “ideal” racecar. No, the truth of the matter is that people seem to fear and loathe 3D sketching, to the point that they’d rather find any other way to get their design done. Let’s change that. In order to help spread the word, I presented this at my SOLIDWORKS World 2018 breakout session, so if you weren’t able to make it to the last event then you’re in luck. Let’s take a look at what you missed.

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                  Introduction to SOLIDWORKS Mold Tools

                  by Chaz Stipkovic on March 9, 2018

                  SOLIDWORKS Mold ToolsAnother exciting SOLIDWORKS World event has come to a close, where over 5,000 SOLIDWORKS users attended and brought home new knowledge to incorporate into their everyday workflow. If you weren’t able to attend, or you’re new or unfamiliar with SOLIDWORKS Mold Tools, this blog is for you.

                  SOLIDWORKS Mold Tools are available in SOLIDWORKS Standard, SOLIDWORKS Professional, and SOLIDWORKS Premium and is offered for online and classroom training from our training team. The following blog was presented by our own Fisher Unitech SOLIDWORKS Expert Chaz Stipkovic, adapted from his breakout session at SOLIDWORKS World 2018. Let’s take a look.

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                    Simplify Your SOLIDWORKS Custom Property Input with the Custom Properties Tab

                    by Rachael Buhl on March 8, 2018

                    SOLIDWORKS World 2018 offered many different breakout sessions on an array of interesting subjects. However, if you weren’t able to make it to the Los Angeles, California event this past February doesn’t mean you should miss out on informative presentations. This blog covers what Fisher Unitech SOLIDWORKS Expert, Rachael Buhl, presented to users on how to simplify your custom property input with the custom properties tab.

                    Properties are simply details about a file which can be searched, and even referenced by other files. There are Windows-based properties and SOLIDWORKS based properties. Windows-based properties, such as file size, date created, and date last modified can be seen by right-clicking a file in Windows Explorer and clicking Properties. SOLIDWORKS properties, on the other hand, are very customizable. They may include anything you need. Common examples are Description, Part Number, Weight, or Material, just to name a few.

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                      What You Missed at SOLIDWORKS World: How to use SOLIDWORKS Treehouse and Templates to Create Assemblies Faster

                      by Heather Dawe on February 27, 2018

                      SOLIDWORKS TreehouseOne of the most highly anticipated events at a SOLIDWORKS World conference is being able to attend break-out sessions that are hosted by Certified SOLIDWORKS users on an array of different subjects. If you weren’t able to make it to this year’s conference then you’re in luck. This blog covers what Fisher Unitech SOLIDWORKS Expert Heather Dawe presented to users to show how SOLIDWORKS Treehouse and templates can be used to create assemblies faster.

                      SOLIDWORKS Product Data Management (PDM) templates are one of the most commonly used automation processes in a PDM vault. They can be used for everything from creating new project folder sets, to writing ECO’s/ECR’s, to generating new SOLIDWORKS files. Many companies already use PDM Templates to create new project folder sets. These folders can be used to implement project-wide variables and can be populated with pre-designed template files to create a uniform, organized project folders. What a lot of users don’t know is that by using a little-known tool called SOLIDWORKS Treehouse, you can take your assembly to the next level and use you PDM templates to kick-start your project planning and create your assemblies quicker.

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                        2 SOLIDWORKS Tips For Working with Large Assemblies

                        by Toby Schnaars on February 13, 2018

                        SOLIDWORKS Large assembliesDo you often find that your SOLIDWORKS large assemblies are sluggish? Do you experience slow open time, lag, and a slow save time? If you do, you’re not alone, but there are several variables you may not have considered that could be causing this lackluster performance. In this blog series I’ve been covering each of those variables to help you get your SOLIDWORKS large assemblies opened, working, and saving faster.

                        In my first blog, I showed several examples of a large assembly that was slow to open, slow to save, and slow to work with. We were able to remedy that by opening the assembly locally, we turned off shadows and shapes, real view, and changed the display to shaded. In part 2, I talked about network bottlenecks and the differences in hard drives and how those can affect how your large assembly performs. Part 3 introduced the “Automatically Load Components Lightweight” option in SOLIDWORKS and how to reduce the amount of data being opened. Continuing with that trend, today we’re going to talk about a couple of best practices for working with assemblies in general but especially with large assemblies.

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                          Why You Should use the Automatically Load Components Lightweight Option in SOLIDWORKS

                          by Toby Schnaars on January 26, 2018

                          TAutomatic Load Components Lightweightoday we’re going to talk about what we can do to reduce the amount of data being opened by using the automatically load components lightweight option. In my first blog we talked about SOLIDWORKS large assemblies that are slow to open, slow to work with, and slow to save, and in my previous blog I had a specific focus on how the assembly was slow to open taking approximately seven minutes and thirty seconds to open.

                          What happens when opening an assembly in SOLIDWORKS is that information is moved from your fixed disc into RAM and the things that can affect how long it takes to open an assembly during this process are the data transfer speeds, how quickly the data can move from fixed disc into RAM, and the amount of data being opened. The first step we can take, I think, is pretty straight forward and that is we can examine our directory for unusually large part files. Each part file is going to be opened from fixed disc into RAM when you open an assembly. Therefore, if you have any unusually large part file size that’s 5 MB or more, you really want to open that part file and do what you can to reduce the overall file size, which is going to reduce the amount of data being loaded into RAM and make your assembly open more quickly.

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                            Help! My SOLIDWORKS Large Assembly is Slow to Open

                            by Toby Schnaars on January 19, 2018

                            SOLIDWORKS large assemblies slow to open Welcome to part two of my “Large Assemblies and How to Make Them Faster in SOLIDWORKS” blog series. In this blog, I’ll be discussing different actions you can take to make your assemblies easier and faster to work with.

                            Just a quick disclaimer: There are a lot of variables when it comes to working with large assemblies in SOLIDWORKS and when it comes to slow computer performance in general, so you want to make sure you realize that there may be instances outside the scope of these examples that you can do to also speed up your computer. Try rebooting regularly to make sure your RAM cache is clear or maybe learning about the topic of Windows and GDI. These are a few things that are a little more nuance that can definitely help you with large assemblies in SOLIDWORKS, but during this series I’m going to be giving specific examples I have found that help almost every user when it comes to large assembly performance. Let’s get started.

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                              Large Assemblies and How to Make Them Faster in SOLIDWORKS (Part 1)

                              by Toby Schnaars on January 12, 2018

                              SOLIDWORKS large assemblies The term large assembly is a bit subjective. I often ask my customers a handful of questions, such as does your assembly take a long time to open, save, or rebuild? Does your assembly take a long time to make a drawing or work with drawings, does it hang your computer when you rotate, insert components, edit parts, or when adding mates? If they’ve answered yes to some or all of these questions, then you’re probably working with large assemblies.

                              In this blog series, I’m going to talk about large assemblies and how to make them faster. For more SOLIDWORKS tips and tricks, join my free monthly webinar. Let’s get started.

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                              • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                SOLIDWORKS Frequently Asked Questions: Top 10 Tips and Tricks of 2017

                                by Angelle Erickson on January 4, 2018

                                SOLIDWORKS Tech Tip-1“How do I do..?”, “What’s the difference between..?”, “Where do I find..?” These are all common phrases SOLIDWORKS and 3D Printing users start with when seeking answers to their questions. Often times, there is a question that is asked time and time again. In 2017, here at Fisher Unitech, we answered lots of questions and closed over 22,000 customer support cases. Some of the most popular questions we published on our blog. Here are the top ten SOLIDWORKS tech tips our readers searched for in 2017. Did you?

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                                  Forgotten SOLIDWORKS Tools and Reasons to Use Them

                                  by Jay-Shan Jackson on November 15, 2017

                                  Within SOLIDWORKS, there are some useful tools and features that many users overlook or simply forget about during their daily grind. In this blog, I’ll be discussing one of my favorite additions to the software that is often forgotten about: SOLIDWORKS Up to Reference Patterns.

                                  The SOLIDWORKS Up to Reference Patterns tool allow the user to create patterns that are driven by the geometry of their part. Conditions can be set for the spacing, number of instances, but references for where the instances are measured from as well as where they end. Up to Reference Patterns allow the user to create dynamic patterns that change with the size parameters of their part geometry. Keep reading to learn more about this useful tool and why you should start using it now.

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                                  • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                    Where is the SOLIDWORKS Command That Lets Me Do…

                                    by Paul Kutolowski on October 27, 2017

                                    where-is-the-command-that-lets-me-doA common lament among new SOLIDWORKS users, and especially of those coming to SOLIDWORKS from another 3D CAD platform, is “Where is the command that lets me do..." You know the action you want to perform but you can’t remember where the command icon is located to let that happen.

                                    SOLIDWORKS has a search tool for just such questions and coincidently it’s called “Search Commands”. In this blog, I’m going to give you a quick tip on where you can find this tool, how to use it, and how to keep it handy for further use.

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                                    • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                      Bringing Flat Files into SOLIDWORKS to Create Models (Part 2): Pictures

                                      by David Janicki on October 13, 2017

                                      This is the second part to a blog I wrote on how to bring flat files into SOLIDWORKS. In my first blog, I showed how to bring in drawings and DXF files. In this blog, I am going to show you how to bring in pictures.

                                      If you’re a conceptual designer, just mocking drawings up on a whiteboard or napkin sketch, you may be wondering if it is possible to bring those 2D sketches or pictures into SOLIDWORKS. With the ability to directly import and size a picture, we are able to bring in our sketch-up and move through the process of part creation. Let’s get started.

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                                      • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                        The Power and Value of the SOLIDWORKS Hole Wizard

                                        by James Reeher on September 29, 2017

                                        The-Power-and-Value-of-the-SOLIDWORKS-Hole-Wizard-1I am often surprised to discover how many SOLIDWORKS users are not taking advantage of the SOLIDWORKS Hole Wizard and all the capabilities that it brings to the table. The SOLIDWORKS Hole Wizard provides a myriad of hole options from threaded and clearance holes to pipe threads, dowel holes and slots.

                                        What many people don’t realize is that by using the SOLIDWORKS Hole Wizard you can automatically bring in your hole callouts into drawings, have the toolbox match the appropriate fastener size to the hole, and even have SOLIDWORKS automatically populate your holes with the correct fastener. If you do not use the Hole Wizard then you are manually performing all of these actions, which is a lot of extra design work that could be better spent on other tasks.  It’s time to work smarter, not harder.  Keep reading to learn more about the SOLIDWORKS Hole Wizard.

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                                        • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                          Bringing flat files into SOLIDWORKS to create Models: Drawings and DXF Files

                                          by David Janicki on September 22, 2017

                                          In the current state of CAD affairs, everyone is either using or has heard of 3D CAD. But for users who have been using a 2D system for many years and have an exorbitant amount of data, making the switch isn’t always as easy as deciding to.

                                          Inside of SOLIDWORKS, there are a multitude of tools to help you take and convert your old 2D drawings, and begin to create 3D parametric models with them. In this blog, I’m going to take you through those steps to ensure none of your data gets left behind in this smooth and easy process.

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                                          • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                            Removing Padlocks in the SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal Area

                                            by Toby Schnaars on September 15, 2017

                                            One of the most useful resources available to subscription service customers is the ability to access the SOLIDWORKS customer portal. From this section of SOLIDWORKS, users may access the SOLIDWORKS Knowledge Base, grab a copy of the full download of SOLIDWORKS, examine the API support, and get some great tips and tricks from the SOLIDWORKS community.

                                            However, when first creating a SOLIDWORKS customer portal account, users may find themselves in a situation where many of these terrific resources are “padlocked” and the user is unable to access these sections of the customer portal. In this blog, we will explore how to properly register your software and remove these padlocks.

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                                            • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, SOLIDWORKS PDM, CAD

                                              How to Link Variables in SOLIDWORKS PDM to a Newly Created Drawing

                                              by Jodi Degenaer on September 8, 2017

                                              Often times, linking the variables in SOLIDWORKS PDM (Product Data Management) to newly created drawings can seem like a puzzle with a piece or two missing. Fortunately, this can be mitigated by arming yourself with a step-by-step system that I’ve found to be very useful.

                                              In this blog, I’ll take you through the steps to easily link variables in SOLIDWORKS PDM to newly created files. Let’s get started.

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                                              • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                                SOLIDWORKS Network Licensing: Installing/Upgrading the SOLIDWORKS SolidNetWork License Manager on the Server

                                                by Jon Sauerbrey on September 1, 2017

                                                SOLIDWORKS-Network-Licensing-Installing-Upgrading-the-SOLIDWORKS-SolidNetWork-License-Manager-on the-Server-1Our technical support department often gets questions from customers regarding installing and upgrading processes. Depending on the situation, this can be an extensive support case. This blog is going to take you through the entire process and instructions for installing/upgrading the SOLIDWORKS SolidNetWork license manager on the server.

                                                Before installing, upgrading, or reinstalling the SOLIDWORKS SolidNetWork License Server, you must first check the system requirements and review the “SOLIDWORKS Network License Server section. Now let’s get started.

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                                                • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                                  How to Create a Custom OCR Dictionary in SOLIDWORKS Inspection

                                                  by Nady Osmat on August 25, 2017

                                                  How-to-Create-a-Custom-OCR-Dictionary-in-SOLIDWORKS-Inspection-1Inspection software aids tremendously with the creation of quality control and planning documentation. If you are using the standalone version of SOLIDWORKS Inspection to balloon PDF or Tiff files and create inspection reports, you may run into a situation where the drawing you received has a non-standard font. This may result in inaccurate extraction of dimensions and/or notes.

                                                  Keep reading to learn how to avoid this issue and gain a quick tip on how to fix the problem.

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                                                  • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                                    A Quick Lesson on SOLIDWORKS Treehouse

                                                    by Ken LaVictor on August 2, 2017

                                                    Often when I teach SOLIDWORKS training classes, my students will ask me what the best way is to copy an assembly in order to ‘reuse’ the design. Though there are a few ways to easily copy existing assemblies, I find that the best method is through a tool that was introduced a couple of years ago called SOLIDWORKS Treehouse.

                                                    In this blog, I’ll give a quick lesson on what SOLIDWORKS Treehouse is, and how it can save you time when creating a design.

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                                                    • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                                      Tech Tip: The difference between a sheet format and a drawing template in SOLIDWORKS

                                                      by Matt Haywood on July 7, 2017

                                                      Almost every SOLIDWORKS user has the need to insert a unique company title block into the SOLIDWORKS drawing template. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few handy strategies that will streamline your process. Understanding the terms “Sheet Format” and “Drawing Template” in SOLIDWORKS terminology will be central to your success. Although they might look the same on the screen, they have distinctly different jobs within the SOLIDWORKS file infrastructure.

                                                      In general drawing templates are used to start a new drawing. A sheet format is an overlay or title block that we might see on the initial drawing template, but it can be hidden. Also, sheet formats are useful on multi-page drawings as you might want a different looking title block on subsequent pages in a multi-page drawing. Before we get to saving anything, let’s make sure we cover some background information. Here’s an outline of the topics we will cover.

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                                                      • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, ELECTRICAL, SOLIDWORKS PCB

                                                        How to Insert a Printed Circuit Board in SOLIDWORKS

                                                        by Ken Reinert on June 14, 2017

                                                        As I was walking around town recently, I noticed a woman pushing a baby stroller that had USB ports. Her phone was plugged into one and a travel mug was plugged into another. It occurred to me that so many things today are designed with a printed circuit board, even something like a baby stroller.

                                                        Designers today have to consider not only the aesthetics of products, but how to integrate all the electronics that go with it. Trying to document that integration can be challenging without the proper tools. When you select the “Insert Printed Circuit Board” icon in SOLIDWORKS Electrical, you are given four options. Keep reading to find out what each of those options mean.

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                                                        • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS COMPOSER, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

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

                                                          by Sean O’Neill on May 26, 2017

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

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

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                                                          • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

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

                                                            by Matt Haywood on May 15, 2017

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

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

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

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

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                                                            • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, SOLIDWORKS PDM, CAD

                                                              Using Custom Search Columns to Create Simple Reports from PDM Searches

                                                              by Peer Larson on May 10, 2017

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

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

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                                                              • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                                                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 SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                                                  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 SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                                                    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 SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, ELECTRICAL, CAD

                                                                      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 SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                                                        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 SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                                                                          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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                                                                            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 SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                                                              The Right Tool for the Job Part 3: Getting Your Fix with Fixtures

                                                                              by David Roccaforte on September 20, 2016

                                                                              In the first blog in this series, I introduced SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard, our entry level but high value analysis package. In my second blog, I discussed the single body limitations in Sim Xpress and compared that with the extended capabilities in our more full featured tools. In this post, I will discuss the fixed constraint option in Sim Xpress and compare this to the capabilities of Simulation Standard.  

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                                                                              • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, CAD

                                                                                The Right Tool for the Job Part 2: The Single Body Limitation in Sim Xpress

                                                                                by David Roccaforte on September 8, 2016

                                                                                In my last blog, I introduced SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard and how it is a lot of analysis power for the money. One point that I made is that there are many times when SOLIDWORKS users might be trying to do too much with the free Xpress tools or might not realize what they are missing in a more complete solution like Simulation Standard Professional or Premium. In this blog, I will discuss the single body limitation imposed by Sim Xpress.

                                                                                Sim Xpress allows only a single body and "fixed" constraints that stop motion on the chosen face in the X, Y, Z directions. The main reason for this limitation is that it prevents users from creating an unstable model by accident. Fix any face in X, Y, Z directions on a single body and you are going to have a stable model. In other words it's a slam dunk that the solver will able to solve for equilibrium and we can find a solution. This limitation guarantees a solution but limits the areas we can accurately extract stresses from and limits the types of situations we can accurately reproduce.

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                                                                                • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS, SOLIDWORKS PDM, CAD

                                                                                  EPDM TECH TIP: Making a Dynamic Dropdown for your Datacards

                                                                                  by Lindsay Early on September 15, 2014

                                                                                  In SOLIDWORKS PDM, you can insert a Combobox Dropdown that will allow you to either type in an entry or choose from a list. What if you want your typed entries to show the next time you use that dropdown? This is possible through the use of a list that is based on a SQL query. First, you will want to create a list that will contain the items you would like to start with in your dropdown. In this example, I have created a list called Start Customers.

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                                                                                  • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                                                                                    SOLIDWORKS FLOW SIMULATION: Animating Transient Flow Runs and Solver Iterations

                                                                                    by David Roccaforte on September 24, 2013

                                                                                    In this simulation tech tip, I am going to cover using animations to display the auto mesh refinement splitting cells, since it is useful for watching steady state flow solutions develop, as well as viewing multiple time steps in a transient solution.

                                                                                    1. Make sure we are saving the steps during the Flow solution. Open the "Calculation Control" dialog. This is accessible from the flow feature manager, command manager, and the solver menu window:


                                                                                    1a. Choose the saving tab and enter how often you want to save results.
                                                                                    1b. The individual iteration results will be saved in your Flow folder for each iteration as  "r_XXXX.fld"
                                                                                    These are individual result sets which will be referenced to create your animation. Be careful: this is a good way to fill up your hard drive for larger models with small times steps.CONTINUE READING:

                                                                                    2. Solve the flow model.

                                                                                    3. Load the results (last iteration is default) and create a plot that you want to animate, such as a cut plot or surface plot.

                                                                                    4. To begin creating the animation, either right click "Animation" in the feature manager and choose Insert or right-click the desired result set to animate such as a cut plot and choose Animation.

                                                                                    5. Once the animation pane appears, you will want to drag the study "control point" all the way until the start of the animation (to the left).

                                                                                    6. To bring the individual time frames/iteration in, you will then click the "Movie" icon.
                                                                                    6a. Enter the desired duration of the animation, and click "Next."
                                                                                    6b. Choose rotation or not; you can still rotate the model using control points and views later if you choose "no" here. The rotation will add key frames for a simple rotation about the global axis. Click "Next."
                                                                                    6c. Select "Scenario" to animate multiple timesteps. Click "Next."
                                                                                    6d. Choose "Uniform" or "Proportional" and select the start and finish from the sliders if you don't want to include all the timesteps/iterations results.


                                                                                    6e. Now you will see a "control point" for each iteration brought into the animation.
                                                                                    7.  To determine when the features are displayed in the timeline, you can insert and drag the "control points" for that feature.
                                                                                    7a.  To choreograph different plots, you can adjust "control points" for the individual features to begin and end at different times or overlap etc... (see the video we phase out the mesh cutplot then phase in the flow stream cutplot.)
                                                                                    7b. To change the view during the animation, you can place "control points" in the animation pane to move from one view to another. First, you must right click the project name and unselect "Lock Orientation." Each control point is a specific view orientation, and when they are connected, the model moves from one view to the next dynamically. To adjust the orientation at a "control point," drag the slider bar to the point and adjust the model view. (See the video below).
                                                                                    8. Now you can hit the play button and the view orientation will change based on your view "control points." In addition, your feature plots with "control points" will update based on the solver iterations. You can also save the animation as an .avi file by clicking the record button. This can be useful since the frames can take some time to load.
                                                                                    Watch the video below a couple times and you will see that it's a pretty quick process.

                                                                                    • POSTED IN SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS TIPS & TRICKS

                                                                                      Multiple Configuration Tables

                                                                                      by Angelle Erickson on November 29, 2010

                                                                                      Working with SolidWorks configurations just keeps getting easier thanks to the "Modify Configurations" window. If you use configurations and you aren't familiar with this then you need to pop open the Help menu and get acquainted.

                                                                                      In SolidWorks 2011, Modify Configurations got even better with the addition of the dedicated All Parameters button at the bottom of the dialog window. Simply click this and every configured parameter will open up in the table.
                                                                                      One of my favorite features about the Modify Configurations window is the ability to arrange configuration tables to your liking and then save them for reuse in the future. Add columns by double clicking dimensions and features in the graphics area, delete columns using the right mouse button, click drag columns to reorder and then, when it looks just right, give it a name and hit the Save Table View button. Now whenever a change is needed just open up the table which can be found in the Tables folder on the Configuration Manager tab. What's even better is you can make and save as many tables as you want.

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