5 SolidWorks Tips You Should Use Everyday – Using the File Explorer

Hello Prism Engineering Community,
The file explorer is a great time saving tool in the SolidWorks software. It exists over on the right, in the task pane, and is shown in the following image:


The file explorer allows you to browse your Windows drives and devices to facilitate the dragging and dropping of files into the SolidWorks environment. This is extremely useful, especially when dragging and dropping multiple parts into an assembly.
I have created a short video tech tip on some different ways to use the File Explorer to save time. Please take a look at the following location:

There are a lot of great ways to use the file explorer to save time in the SolidWorks software.

Please enjoy and feel free to comment or post any questions below.

Hope this helps,
Toby Schnaars
SolidWorks Elite Applications Engineer




5 SolidWorks Tips You Should Use Everday – Using Templates

Hello Prism Engineering Community,
One great way to save time in the SolidWorks Software is to create TEMPLATES for your parts, Assemblies, and Drawings.


As you can see above, I often will create a new template when I take on a new client, for example: JDH AUDIO, STEELWAY, or PRISM ENGINEERING INC.
When configuring your templates, you can create pre-defined custom properties (such as WEIGHT and MATERIAL) that will be linked to notes in your SolidWorks Drawing Title Block, so that these notes auto-update.


For more info on this terrific time saver, be sure to check out our recent youtube video tech tip at:

Please enjoy and feel free to comment or post any questions below. You can also watch the “Using Templates” episode of the “5 SolidWorks Tips You Should Use Everyday” below:



Hope this helps,
Toby Schnaars

Toby delivers Surfacing lecture at Happy Valley Users Group

Hello Prism Engineering Community,
Last night I had the distinct honor to present at the happy valley users group meet.


This was terrific meeting held in the beautiful Stuckeman Family Bldg at The Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA. There were about 80 people in attendance at this users group, and many of them were future engineers (Students!).


The lecture was titled “Beginners Surfacing for Beginners“. We posted a very similar version of this lecture as a webinar on the Prism Engineering youtube page, so for a review of the material covered check out the following link:

Of course the organizers of the event wouldn’t let me get away without first singing my song about FULLY DEFINING YOUR SKETCHES, EVERY TIME.

Toby-Surfacing-01   Toby-Surfacing-01-B

This song is also available on our youtube page at the following link:

Following the meeting I got a TON of questions from students who came up to my computer and wanted some additional tips and tricks. It was a great night with a lot of crowd participation and a lot of laughs. And, of course, some great surfacing tips and tricks!
Thanks very much to Randall Bock and all the organizers of the Happy Valley Users Group!

What Manufacturing Really Looks Like

Prism Engineering is a proud supporter of hundreds of US manufacturing facilities, and we wanted to share this snapshot of “What Manufacturing Really Looks Like” created by NIST. As a proud participant of Manufacturing Day 2013, and a slated participant of Manufacturing Day 2014, we realize the benefits of supporting engineers, manufacturers, and machinists with strong tools, like SolidWorks, Mastercam, and Strasys 3D printers. We’re proud to help a fraction of the whopping 17.4 million Americans working in the Manufacturing sector, such as the featured Rodon Group!

“What Manufacturing Really Looks Like” infographic from NIST:

What Manufacturing Really Looks Like

Learn more facts & figures on NIST’s Manufacturing Innovation blog post. Questions? Comments? Let us know in a comment below!

Prism Engineering to Host 3D Printing Event During Philly Tech Week 2014

philly tech week 2014

March 26, 2014 -Philadelphia, PA Today, Prism Engineering, Inc. announced plans to host an event during the 4th annual Philly Tech Week, entitled, “Building Philly’s Future with 3D Printing”. The event will be held at Prism’s Horsham office on April 11 from 1-3 PM and will feature FDM and PolyJet 3D printers offered through Stratasys Ltd., with particular emphasis on the practical and exciting ways 3D printers are enabling innovation in Philadelphia businesses.

Prism Engineering is a leading provider of Stratasys 3D printing products & services in the Mid-Atlantic region; through interactive presentations and on-site 3D printing demonstrations using Stratasys 3D printers, Prism will demonstrate the innovative results produced by the integration of additive manufacturing in a host of industries.

Philly Tech Week is a weeklong celebration of technology and innovation, organized by Philly, where the community is invited to participate on an open calendar. In 2013, 20,000 people attended 110 events organized by 200 partners. Prism Engineering’s participation in the open calendar positions them as an official partner of Philly Tech Week. Hundreds of news publications covered last year’s Philly Tech Week 2013, including the Wall Street Journal, Marketplace, Fast Company, Polygon, All Things Considered, TODAY Show, Christian Science Monitor, Daily News, Inquirer, Washington Post, Time, Business Week, and many others.

“Building Philly’s Future with 3D Printing” will be held on April 11 at Prism’s Horsham, PA Office & Training Center from 1 – 3 PM. Tickets are free. Those interested in attending can RSVP on Prism Engineering’s website.

About Prism Engineering, Inc.:
Prism Engineering is the Mid-Atlantic’s leading provider of SolidWorks 3D CAD software, Mastercam CAM software, and Stratasys 3D Printers. In addition to these products, Prism offers a host of complementary Training and Support Services at its regional facilities and Certified Training Centers located in Horsham, PA, Allentown, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Harrisburg, PA, Elkridge, MD, and Lynchburg, VA. For more information, demonstrations, and news about products and services, please contact Prism at 888-441-9696 or visit

About Stratasys:
Stratasys Ltd. (Nasdaq: SSYS), headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn. and Rehovot, Israel, manufactures 3D printers and materials for prototyping and production. The company’s patented FDM® and PolyJet® processes produce prototypes and manufactured goods directly from 3D CAD files or other 3D content. Systems include 3D printers for idea development, prototyping and direct digital manufacturing. Stratasys subsidiaries include MakerBot and Solidscape and the company operates the RedEye On Demand digital-manufacturing service. Online at: or


SolidWorks Electrical: Creating a motorized conveyor system

What is the difference between an E-CAD system and a “Dumb CAD system”?

“Dumb” CAD systems: Typically .DWG-based systems for general electronic drafting purposes or drag and drop systems that are designed for flow chart development. There is very little intelligence in these systems, and the processes for schematic and BOM creation are mostly manual.

SolidWorks Electrical: An E-CAD system that connects multiple aspects of electrical design and documentation. For example, models of parts in 3D are connected to symbols represented in single line diagrams and electrical schematics. All of the connectivity is maintained through an SQL database. The connected information updates automatically throughout the project from document to document and even user to user when working collaboratively.


SolidWorks Electrical is component-centric. These components connect important information used throughout electrical design documentation.

To demonstrate how this may help in an engineering environment, let’s consider a scenario in which a Mechanical & Electrical Engineer must work together on a mechanically-driven project to create a conveyor system that requires a motor to move materials:

From left: Mechanical Engineer and Electrical Engineer

From left: Mechanical Engineer, Bill, and Electrical Engineer, Jane

The project is mechanically driven in nature because the mechanical engineer, Bill, needs to size the motor to move the material. The electrical engineer, Jane, needs to size the electrical controls to support the system.


Motor power schematic details in SolidWorks Electrical

SolidWorks Electrical Professional allows mechanical and electrical engineers to work together throughout the design development process. The mechanical or electrical engineer adds a motor to the list of components needed in SolidWorks Electrical. At this very early stage in the project, the component could merely be a placeholder with undefined power and torque requirements.

electrical 4

From here, Jane, the electrical engineer, adds placeholders for other electrical components (e.g.: motor, contactor, breaker, terminal strips, switches, cable, etc.) Again, none of the details need to be captured at this point. However, a concept is already in development early in the project and it can be visible to anyone at this point. This is one way SolidWorks Electrical Professional enhances collaboration.

Next, Bill, the mechanical engineer, will select a motor based on load requirements. With SolidWorks Electrical Professional, Bill then assigns manufacturing details (vendor, power, current rating, etc) to the component, and he then attaches that component to the 3D model. This is done without leaving the SolidWorks CAD environment that Bill, being a mechanical engineer, is familiar with. From here, the single line diagram is updated, and Bill communicates using the SolidWorks Electrical chat tool to notify Jane that it is time to capture the remaining electrical schematic details.

Assigning manufacturing part information to a SolidWorks Electrical Component

Assigning manufacturing part information to a SolidWorks Electrical Component

From here,  Jane completes the details of the necessary electrical components, wiring, cables, and harnesses.

electrical 2

After ensuring all the supporting electrical components are defined within the detailed electrical schematics, Jane notifies Bill with the SolidWorks Electrical chat tool that it’s time to add the 3D models and route the wiring.

Bill stops to savor this moment, as he recognizes this is a critical stage, because it allows him to define fabrication of harnesses/cables and installation intent. By doing this, electrical fabrication is performed in parallel with mechanical assembly and project durations are reduced. The installation documentation also provides clarity to the installer so that less hand-holding is necessary from engineers. It’s a win-win solution for Bill and Jane.

Through the example of Bill & Jane, we’ve learned that SolidWorks Electrical is component-centric.  The components can be associated with symbols, models, metadata, and more. Wires, cables, and harnesses can be used to connect all of these components together. There is intelligence in all the SolidWorks Electrical information. Bill can even perform design validation on the circuits he created.

Bottom line, SolidWorks Electrical is an electrical design environment for manufacturers with electrical needs. Dumb 2D systems are general purpose electronic drafting boards. When you need to be fast, accurate, and professional in a competitive environment you want to have the right tools, like Bill & Jane.

Next week, we’re going to review how to create wiring using SolidWorks Electrical. Feel free to post comments, questions, or suggestions below.

How-to: Setting up a job in Mastercam Mill-Turn

Mastercam’s Mill-Turn product for X7 is a tool to simplify the task of programming for complex machines with multiple turrets and spindles. Below you’ll see a video addressing specifically how to set up a job in Mastercam Mill-Turn, but there are three areas in the programming process that are now much easier to accomplish with Mastercam Mill-Turn: job setup, syncing operation, and machine simulation.

1) Job Setup:

All you need to do to set up a job is to complete the list of settings in the job setup dialog box that opens when you select a Mill-Turn machine:


Each topic takes you through the setup process for part transfer. What you select: transfer, bar pull, cutoff, or just transfer, is remembered and incorporated into the setup. You select the part, the stock, where the left spindle holds the part, the origin for each spindle and where the right spindle holds the part.

The programming is pretty straight forward with some nice touches. Axis combination & creating planes for milling is now much easier with Mill-Turn as well.

2) Sync Manager

What really shines in Mill-Turn is the new Sync Manager that pops up when you click the G1 icon. You can sync operations with a simple drag and drop. Below, the Lathe Face Retract from the upper turret was dragged and dropped on top of the Lathe Rough Approach in the lower turret.


So now the rough operation waits for face operation to finish before starting. Nice!

3) Machine Simulation

And last, but certainly not least, you get to see the whole thing run in your machine:


When you purchase Mastercam’s Mill-Turn, you get a machine. Actually it’s a .machine; this file combines all the information needed to process your operation, sync, create G-code, and simulate your machine. The file actually contains settings specific to your exact machine, not a generic representation of your machine. This means no more tweaking LMD and control files. No more worrying about where the .pst file is. It’s just one .machine file!

Questions about Mill-Turn? Comments? Contact Prism Engineering’s Mastercam Tech Team, or comment below!

5 SolidWorks Tools to use Every Day: Tip 2 – The “R” key



Today we continue our 5 week series entitled, “5 SolidWorks Tools You Should Use Everyday” with a short video on using the “R” key in SolidWorks. The “R” key gives you quick access to your most recently accessed documents in SolidWorks. Not only can you view and open these recently accessed documents, you can also drag a recently accessed model into an assembly or drawing. Take a look at our video on youtube for a great tip that you can use, everyday. Check out the video below.

Hope this helps,
Toby Schnaars
SolidWorks Elite Applications Engineer




5 SolidWorks Tools You Should Use Everyday: Tip 1 – The “S” key

2014-03-03 Default Shortcut Bars in 2014-The S key


Today, Friday, March 7, 2014, we begin our 5 week series exploring 5 SolidWorks Tools to Use Everyday.

The first tip is using the “S” key in SolidWorks. This little trick is one of the greatest shortcuts ever added to SolidWorks, and users who take advantage of this shortcut will immediately see an increase in their performance. The “S” key can be customized to utilize any icon-based command in SolidWorks, making it versatile and uniquely tailored to each users’ strengths. Take a look at the “5 SolidWorks Tools You Should Use Everyday” video I posted on YouTube, or watch below. Comments and feedback are always welcome!

Hope this helps,
Toby Schnaars
SolidWorks Elite Applications Engineer



Prism Engineering Announces Preferred Reseller Partnership with SolidBox


March 4, 2014—Philadelphia, PAPrism Engineering, Inc., the Mid-Atlantic’s leading provider of CAD, CAM,
and 3D printing products & services, announces its “Preferred Reseller” partnership with SolidBox, a turnkey
hardware integrator for SolidWorks and Mastercam end users.

SolidBox defines Preferred Resellers as a source for superior SolidWorks & Mastercam software & training
solutions in that region. Defined on the SolidBox website as a reseller that shares “the same passion for
customer service” as SolidBox, Prism Engineering provides “services and support that actually do add value to an
already amazing software package” for SolidWorks & Mastercam users.

As an exclusive Preferred Reseller in the Mid-Atlantic region, Prism now provides a direct path to optimized and
approved hardware solutions for its best-in-class software packages: SolidWorks and Mastercam. Prism
Engineering clients have direct access to 6 different configurations of laptop and desktop packages approved &
optimized by SolidBox specifically to run powerful & demanding CAD and CAM packages. Visit Prism’s
“Recommended Hardware” page to learn more: SolidWorks SolidBox Packages; Mastercam SolidBox Packages.

“We want to give our clients the best solutions to do their jobs’ effectively, which includes hardware offerings,”
says Toby Schnaars, Director of Technical Services at Prism Engineering. “We’ve partnered with SolidBox to
provide this option as they are the leading turnkey hardware integrator for systems optimized for SolidWorks
and Mastercam.”

To learn more about the Preferred Reseller program, visit the SolidBox Preferred Reseller listing.

To learn more about Prism Engineering, Inc.’s technical support, subscription service, and other products &
services, visit

About Prism Engineering, Inc.:
Prism Engineering is the Mid-Atlantic’s leading provider of SolidWorks 3D CAD software, Mastercam CAM
software, and Stratasys 3D Printers. In addition to these products, Prism offers a host of complementary
Training and Support Services at its regional facilities and Certified Training Centers located in Horsham, PA,
Allentown, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Harrisburg, PA, Elkridge, MD, and Lynchburg, VA. For more information,
demonstrations, and news about products and services, please contact Prism at 888-441-9696 or visit

About SolidBox:
SolidBox is a turnkey hardware integrator for SolidWorks and Mastercam end users. We sell servers, desktops,
and laptops that are configured specifically for SolidWorks and Mastercam. Our integrator process ensures an
optimal experience. Go, create…Empower Yourself!


Contact: Elizabeth Shovlin, Prism Engineering, Inc., 888-441-9696,