SUMMER SCHOOL: Reform your design & manufacturing skills

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Prism Engineering, Inc. is proud to announce Summer School: Self-paced CAD, CAM, and 3D Printing video training delivered to your inbox weekly at no cost!

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This summer, reform your design & manufacturing skills from the comfort of your beach chair! Taught by Certified SOLIDWORKS, Mastercam, and 3D Printing Applications Engineers, Prism Engineering’s Summer School course will whip your CAD, CAM, and 3D Printing skills into shape just in time for the busy fall season.


What is it?

Summer School is a self-paced video training course intended to help you reform your design & manufacturing skills on your own time, from anywhere!

All participants will be sent weekly video lessons to the email provided at sign up. Course content includes several hours of self-paced video instruction, supplemental guides, blog posts, and educational content. Quick quizzes will be administered weekly.

How much does it cost?

It’s free! Summer School is Prism Engineering’s way of saying, “Thank You!” to the Prism Engineering Community. At the conclusion of the weekly video lessons (accessible from anywhere with Internet), participants will receive a link to a quick quiz. The first 25 students will receive a $100 credit to attend a LIVE Prism Engineering training class, led by a Certified SOLIDWORKS or Mastercam training instructor!

What will I receive?

All participants will be sent weekly video lessons to the email provided at sign up. Course content includes several hours of self-paced video instruction, supplemental guides, blog posts, and educational content. Quick quizzes will be administered weekly.

Summer School Weekly Lessons:

1. Creating your 3D Model

2. Preparing your 3D Model for Manufacturing

3. 3D Printing your 3D Model

4. Manufacturing your 3D Model

summer school $100credit

At the conclusion of the weekly video lessons (accessible from anywhere with Internet), participants will receive a link to a quick quiz. The first 25 students will receive a $100 credit to attend a LIVE Prism Engineering training class, led by a Certified SOLIDWORKS or Mastercam training instructor!

When does it start?

Classes start in July! Sign up for Prism Engineering’s Summer School ASAP as space is limited

How can I sign up?

Visit to sign up for Summer School today!

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Mastercam X9 is Available!

Learn about the new features & product changes released with Mastercam X9 at a Prism Engineering Rollout Training Session


allentown panoramic

Join Prism Engineering to learn about the enhancements of Mastercam X9, including product changes that drastically increase functionality & versatility of the software. Users can now enjoy the benefits of previous tools offered as add-on products within their software package.

Existing Mastercam users can follow the Prism Engineering instructions to install Mastercam X9 today! Attend a Prism Engineering Mastercam X9 rollout to receive complimentary training (and live machining demos) & learn more about the Mastercam X9 product changes.

Enhanced Functionality Available in Mastercam X9:


Mastercam (CNC Software, Inc.) Announces New Leadership

Meghan Summers-West Named President of CNC Software, Inc.

Meghan Summers-West has been appointed president of CNC Software, Inc., the developer of Mastercam® CAD/CAM programming software for CNC machine tools. Former president, now chairman, Mark Summers made the announcement to all 139 employees on Thursday, April 2 at the company’s headquarters in Tolland, Connecticut. Its educational division staff located in Gig Harbor, Washington, participated in the celebratory announcement via teleconference.
“As many people close to the Summers family know, this transition has been almost 32 years in the making. My daughter Meghan was born the same year that my brothers and I officially launched Mastercam and established CNC Software, Inc. in 1983,” Mark Summers said. “As a father, I am proud. As a business owner, and to all of you who have contributed so much of yourselves to make this company successful, I am wholly confident in this decision. For the majority of you who have watched Meghan grow up in these offices and have been impressed by her warm and direct leadership style, her curiosity and willingness to learn, her product knowledge, and her overall intelligence, I know that you are certain, too, that the future of our flagship product Mastercam and our organization is in very capable hands.”

Summers also said that with the rapid consolidation of many CAD/CAM companies, this decision represents a continuation of CNC Software’s deep, personal dedication to Mastercam and to Mastercam’s global customer base. He emphasized that appointing Meghan also demonstrates that the company remains a private entity. This is important for both employees and customers as it represents the least amount of potential change for the company.

“We answer to our customers rather than a board of directors, and we intend to stay that way. Today is a very happy day,” he said.

Meghan Summers-West also spoke to the crowd. “Today is two things. It’s an acknowledgment of all I have worked for and desired since I can remember. It’s also, more importantly, the beginning of the next 30-plus years for Mastercam and CNC Software,” she said. “I am honored and excited to take on this role and to continue to work with the sincerest and smartest people in our industry – you and our dedicated and loyal worldwide Reseller network and our bright, innovative customers.

“Mastercam plays a vital role in changing lives for the better. It’s used in all facets of industry, from helping to make life-saving medical devices for the human body to parts for planetary exploration, expanding our knowledge of the universe. Mastercam boosts personal and industrial productivity, supporting our global economy as a whole. Mastercam for educators and students helps train future machinists, engineers, and programmers – people who create, solve problems, and enjoy good incomes and satisfying careers. Mastercam touches almost every person in every place in some way. We are changing the world, one feature at a time. As such, my intention – with your valuable contributions – is to continue to evolve Mastercam by anticipating manufacturers’ and technology teachers’ needs and wants for decades to come.”

Ms. Summers-West has served as Operations Manager at CNC Software since 2009. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business at Bentley College, Massachusetts and an MBA in Management at Hawaii Pacific University. In 2014, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers named her one of the “30 Under 30 Future Leaders of Manufacturing”. She serves on the Young Professionals Group for HVCC, the local food pantry and human services agency. She also participates in the School to Business Partnership as well as interview days and career fairs at several local schools. She resides in Vernon, Connecticut with her husband and their two children.

Current executives at CNC Software, Inc. will continue in their leadership roles. Brian Summers is vice president. Gary Hargreaves is vice president – business development and Rich Norton, corporate controller. Mark Summers will also be involved in the daily operations of the company.

How to Reduce Virtual Simulation Study Time

Using SOLIDWORKS Simulation to optimize designs is a cost & time-saving practice, but generating those studies can sometimes be time consuming. Toby Schnaars, Prism Engineering, walks you through a quick tip to shorten Simulation study time by using shell elements rather than solid elements. Toby demonstrates that using shell elements will generate displacement results within 10% of those generated in the same study using solid elements. He also reviews a few tips for setting up your shell element study.

Purchase SOLIDWORKS & Get an Add-On Product at No Cost

buy solidworks in pa nj de dc va wvSOLIDWORKS has a solution for every stage of your design process, allowing you to be more productive and efficient.

This special offer makes purchasing a SOLIDWORKS Professional or Premium license an even smarter buying decision. From now through May 31, 2015 extend your design capabilities by including one additional product license at no cost*.

Request SOLIDWORKS Promotional Pricing Here

Purchase SOLIDWORKS Premium, and receive one of the following at no cost:

  • SOLIDWORKS Composer
  • SOLIDWORKS Plastics Standard
  • SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2D or 3D

Purchase SOLIDWORKS Professional, and receive one of the following at no cost:

  • SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM CAD Editor
  • SOLIDWORKS Model Based Definition
  • SOLIDWORKS Inspection

*Terms and Conditions: Offer valid until May 31, 2015. Cannot be combined with any other discount or offer. Educational and Research licenses do not qualify for this offer. Subscription Service must be purchased for one-year at full price on each new SOLIDWORKS Professional or SOLIDWORKS Premium license as well as full one-year subscription price on additional no cost product license(s) outlined in this offer. Other restrictions may apply. Contact with questions.


Using the SolidWorks Note Feature to Improve 2D Drawings

Hello Prism Engineering Community,
Toby Schnaars here with another Prism Tech Tip. Today we are going to examine the process of combining dimensions into notes using the SolidWorks Note feature. Combining Dimensions Into Notes Image 1


When working in a SolidWorks and using the command INSERT > ANNOTATIONS > NOTE, you have the ability to add 1 or more dimensions to this note text. This dimension text will then appear as part of the note, and any changes you make to the original dimension will automatically update the note, as the 2 will be linked together.

To accomplish this in SolidWorks, simply open a drawing and add some dimensions to your drawing views. These dimensions may either be DRIVING DIMENSIONS (from the model) or DRIVEN DIMENSIONS (newly created in the drawing).

Combining Dimensions Into Notes Image 2

Next create a new note (INSERT > ANNOTATIONS > NOTES) and begin typing some text.

Combining Dimensions Into Notes Image 3

When you are ready to add the DIMENSION info to the NOTE text, move your mouse out onto the screen and single left click the desired dimension. You should see your dimension text added to your note.

Combining Dimensions Into Notes Image 4

This functionality works for both DRIVING and DRIVEN dimensions, and any changes you make to the original dimension (for example, adding a bi-lateral tolerance to the driving dimension) will be automatically propagated to the NOTE, via the linked text.

Combining Dimensions Into Notes Image 5

Once the dimensions are combined into the note with the desired display, you may (optionally) utilize the command VIEW > HIDE/SHOW ANNOTATIONS. This command will allow you to single click on any visible dimension in your drawing, changing it a very light grey. Once you choose the command VIEW > HIDE/SHOW ANNOTATIONS again, you will exit the command, and all the dimensions you selected will be hidden completely.

2015-04-06 Combining Dimensions Into Notes Image 6

To view these hidden dimensions launch VIEW > HIDE/SHOW ANNOTATIONS once again and single click on any hidden dimensions. Upon exiting the command these hidden dimensions will return to their previous state (visible).

I hope you find this trick to be a useful way to combine dimensions into a single note, to get the perfect presentation for your SolidWorks drawings. For more great tips tricks and webinars be sure to visit us at

Have a great day!
Toby Schnaars

Toby SchnaarsAuthor: Toby Schnaars, Sr. SOLIDWORKS Applications Engineer, Prism Engineering, Inc.





Using SolidWorks EPDM Data Cards to Update Excel Documents

Automate documentation of ECOs in multiple documents using EPDM Variable Fields

We all know that SOLIDWORKS EPDM can store files created by Microsoft Excel, but what if there is information in the Excel file that we want to display in the file’s EPDM data card or vice versa?

SolidWorks EPDM allows the user to create a relationship between Excel, Word, and SolidWorks content and EPDM data cards, enabling the user to update multiple documents by editing just one EPDM data card field.

Is there anything special we need to do with EPDM variables to make this automated update process work? Is there anything special in Excel we need to do? In this article we will find out how to make EPDM data cards communicate with your excel file:

Overview: Entering ECO data in one EPDM data card to update many documents

A good example of why you might want to push data from a data card into an Excel file is if you are using Excel to document an engineering change. In this example, we will do just that.

I have created a template for new ECOs (Engineering Change Orders). This template brings up a data card that prompts the user to enter information about the engineering change:

using epdm data card to update excel

This data should then be used to populate fields in the data card rather than the user re-typing all that information into the Excel file. Our philosophy should always be to create a single point of entry, meaning enter the data once and have EPDM leverage that data elsewhere automatically.

In this example, when I select the “Create File” button, this is what I get for my Excel-based ECO:

using epdm data card to update excel 2



The text that has been pre-filled into the Excel file came from the data card:

So, how did all this loveliness happen?

Procedure: Link Metadata fields between your EPDM data card & Excel

Excel can store and use metadata just like EPDM and SolidWorks can (This is also true for Word). The metadata for Excel and Word is called custom property, just like in SolidWorks.

We’ll take a look at just one field in the data card: the “Description” field. As we can see, the “Description” field is storing its information in an EPDM variable called “Description.” This Description variable is linked to custom property information called “Description” and it applies to SolidWorks files, .docx, and .xlsx file types. Of course, in our case, we are most interested in the .xlsx file type.

using epdm data card to update excel 3

That’s all that is needed on the EPDM side. Let’s get the Excel file ready to read the information in the EPDM data card:

using epdm data card to update excel 4

In Excel, when you select a cell, the cell’s name is displayed in the top left corner, just below the toolbar. Typically, it’s something like, A11, B12 or G4… Hey, you sunk my battle ship!!

These are the coordinates of the cell you have selected. You can actually rename a cell and that is what we will do to communicate with EPDM data cards. In this case, the field that will contain descriptive information about the ECO has been renamed to “Description.”

To display an Excel file’s custom properties, go to the home button in the top left corner and select “Prepare” and then select “Properties.”

using epdm data card to update excel 5

Select the “Document Properties” pull-down and select “Advanced Properties.”

using epdm data card to update excel 6

In the property dialog, create a new custom property called “Description.” Then select the “Link to content” check box. This will allow you to choose from the list of named fields in the “Source.” In this list of names, you should see the field we named “Description.” Select “Add” and “Ok.”

using epdm data card to update excel 7

Now, that field in our spread sheet is linked to the custom property “Description” which, when added to EPDM, is connected to the data card field “Description.”

And that’s it! Yet another way to automate our processes and make our lives easier through EPDM.


Using SOLIDWORKS to Create Festive 3D Models

March is filled with so many great things: Spring, March Madness Savings, and St. Patrick’s Day! Prism Engineering’s SOLIDWORKS Technical Support Department had a few interesting requests on St. Patrick’s Day…

Use SOLIDWORKS to turn images  into 3D CAD Models:

Aaron & Sean, SOLIDWORKS Applications Engineers, give you a quick look at how to use SOLIDWORKS to quickly design realistic 3D models with a festive flair:

Aaron’s St. Patrick’s Day Hat Challenge:

solidworks model irish hat prism

This was quite a fun model to make. My first thought was, “What do I want it to look like?” In order to decide this, I browsed pictures of various hats on the web.


Once I found a hat that I liked, I began by drawing splines on the front plane until I created a shape for the brim and the top part of the hat that looked similar to the picture.From this point I revolved these sketches to form the base of the hat.


The belt was created by converting, offsetting and trimming entities and then revolving the subsequent sketch. The extruded portion of the belt clip was created in a similar way.

Next, the cut extrude of the belt clip was created by converting the outer edge of the clip onto a plane which was offset from the right plane. I then offset entities and added finishing sketch geometry to complete the shape of the belt’s cut extrude. The last cut extrude was a simple, circular cut created on a plane made coincident to the bottom of the hat’s brim.

Finally, I added the appropriate appearances and the hat was complete!

aaron winthers prism engineering

Aaron Winthers, SOLIDWORKS Applications Engineer, Prism Engineering


>>Download Aaron’s St. Patrick’s Day SOLIDWORKS hat model here.<<





Sean’s Festive Shamrock Design:


prism engineering shamrock st pattys

Being the Irishman that I am, St. Patrick’s Day is clearly a very important holiday for me.


Using the power of the Autotrace add-in in SOLIDWORKS, I was able to have SOLIDWORKS instantly trace my imported sketch picture of a shamrock.


After I extruded the closed spline shamrock, I efficiently inserted a fully-created sketch block of the Prism Engineering logo for extrusion.

In no time at all, I was festively finished!

sean o'neill prism engineering

Sean O’Neill, SOLIDWORKS Applications Engineer, Prism Engineering


>>Download Sean’s St. Patrick’s SOLIDWORKS Shamrock Model Here.<<




How to Get Started with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD Tools:


If you’re not yet a 3D CAD user, learn more about the SOLIDWORKS March Madness Savings available to help you create quick, impactful models like Prism’s St. Patrick’s Day SOLIDWORKS designs:


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Mastercam Dynamic Motion Seminar Announcement

mastercam dynamic motion event

March 20, 2015—Philadelphia, PAPrism Engineering, Inc., the Mid-Atlantic’s most trusted & preferred source for CAD, CAM, and 3D printing solutions, welcomes Mark Summers, President & Founder of CNC Software, the developer of Mastercam, to its Mastercam Dynamic Motion Seminar March 26, 2015.

Mastercam’ Dynamic Motion toolpaths use material-aware technology to generate milling & turning toolpaths that reduce cycle times, extend tool life, and reduce machine wear.

mark summers cnc softwareMark Summers, President & Founder, CNC Software

CNC Software, Inc. is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art software tools for CAD/CAM manufacturing markets. Our goal is to provide superior software products based on our users’ needs to solve simple to complex design and machining problems.

Mastercam Dynamic Motion Seminar:

mastercam dynamic motion seminar prism eng maryland

What is it?: At Prism Engineering & CNC Software’s Mastercam Dynamic Motion Seminars, we demonstrate the Dynamic Motion technology in presentations, in-depth technical explorations, videos, and live machining demonstrations.

Where is it?: Prism’s Mastercam Dynamic Motion Seminars take place at Mid-Atlantic machine dealers giving you the opportunity to explore best-in-class CAM software AND CNC machines!

Who should attend?: Those managing/using or interested in using CAM software or CNC machines in their businesses should attend these events. Learn what Dynamic Motion toolpaths are, how they work, and why they’re the industry-leading toolpath technology for any machine.

Find a Prism Engineering Mastercam Dynamic Motion Seminars near you.


March Madness: SolidWorks & Stratasys Savings

SolidWorks & Stratasys Savings until March 31st:

savings on solidworks and statasys until march 31 2015

Save up to 27% on SolidWorks Products through March 31st! Get 0% financing on a new Stratasys 3D Printer!

  • SolidWorks Professional – Save $1000 or 18% savings
  • SolidWorks Premium – Save $2000 or 25% savings
  • Buy SolidWorks Premium and Get a Simulation Upgrade for $1000 – Save $4000 or 27% savings
  • Certified SolidWorks Associate Exam – NO COST – 100% Savings Learn More Here
  • Stratasys 3D Printers – 0% Financing for 36 months – Learn More Here
  • Additional SolidWorks Products – Promotional Pricing Available

Some restrictions apply. Promotion expires March 31, 2015. Cannot be combined with other offers. Contact Prism Engineering at with additional questions.