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,
SolidWorks Elite Applications Engineer
CSWA, CSWP, CSWE
Short answer, no.
However, (yes, there’s a “but”!) we have heard of a few successful cases of users running SolidWorks on a Mac in conjunction with a tool like Boot Camp.
The official response:
Prism Engineering and DS SolidWorks do not recommend or support SolidWorks running on a Mac computer.
In response to rumors of successful attempts to run SolidWorks in a Windows OS installed on a Mac, SolidWorks published a Knowledge Base article in 2010:
More recently, SolidWorks posted a blog article regarding Mac compatibility. You’ll read in the post that a main reason SolidWorks is not supported or tested on Macs is because SolidWorks was developed to utilize OpenGL technology, which is found in workstation-grade video cards, such as NVIDIA Quadro and ATI FirePro drivers.
In addition, of course you are able to VIEW SolidWorks files using eDrawings for Mac.
So the long answer is this: Maybe.
But Prism & SolidWorks won’t be able to support you in the event your Mac catches on fire, emails all of your friends viruses, and destroys your life’s work. With that in mind, Prism can’t recommend or support you if you’re using SolidWorks on a Mac.
SolidWorks has the following system requirements:
To learn more about how to ensure your hardware meets the needs of your software, visit the SolidWorks System Requirements page.
SolidWorks World 2014 Recap
We even had a few cases of sunburn, but we decided that was the lesser evil compared to frostbite from the bitter-cold temps at our East Coast offices:
We finally adjusted to the sunshine, and embraced the So-Cal spirit with a ukelele session during Toby’s Surfacing for Beginners technical presentation on Tuesday. Watch the Surfacing for Beginners presentation Toby previously recorded:
Toby is Prism Engineering’s Director of Technical Services; frequently he carries a ukelele & performs this instructional musical video entitled, “Fully Define (Every Time)”. It’s a quick guide to ensuring your sketches are properly restrained:
We are also very proud of a few special members of the Prism Engineering User Community; two of our longtime customers & friends were recognized for their superb SolidWorks talent & dedication:
Jeff Holliday is the local leader of the MARISUG (Mid-Atlantic Region Independent SolidWorks User Group) SolidWorks User Group & has been a customer of Prism for many years. Jeff is not only a great partner to work with, he is a pillar of the SolidWorks community in Prism Engineering’s User Community. Congratulations, Jeff!
Tom Smith is a regional power user of SolidWorks. Tom smoked the competition during the Model Mania design-off this year by recreating a complete model accurately in 9 minutes and 53 seconds–WOW! Tom is also a Prism partner of many years, and he regularly attends Prism & SolidWorks events–make sure you say, “HI!” next time you see him! Congrats, Tom!
Stay tuned for more updates on SolidWorks World 2014; some exciting product announcements coming your way! Join us for Toby’s SolidWorks Tech Talk–it’s a free webinar featuring tips, tricks, and news surrounding SolidWorks–on March 5 at 12 PM for further updates regarding SolidWorks.
Hi Prism Engineering Community!
I posted Toby’s Tech Talk Episode 27 on Prism’s YouTube Page. We talked about SolidWorks World 2014 in sunny San Diego, and we discussed some of the new products announced at the conference, such as SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual. Of course, we ran through some technical tips and focused on drawing skills this week.
As always, please comment with questions below.
Mastercam for SolidWorks is a tool developed by CNC Software (the developer of MASTERCAM) that helps bridge the gap between your design and manufacturing processes by embedding toolpath creation directly in SolidWorks with a process called, “feature based machining”. Full integration enables the designer to optimize designs for manufacturing in one system–eliminate transferring designs to a different software to lay out tool paths only to discover multiple design revisions are needed. Watch this video to see Mastercam for SolidWorks in action:
Best-in-class companies (like Summit Tooling featured in the video above) are optimizing designs & manufacturing processes by simultaneously design parts & creating toolpaths in one system. Mastercam for SolidWorks harnesses the time-saving processes of feature based machining, high efficiency machining, and mulit-axis toolpathing integration.
Maybe you’re getting ready to install SolidWorks for the first time, but you’re not sure if your computer is up to the task. Or maybe you’re ready to upgrade to the latest model workstation, and want to ensure that you’re ready for the future…
Hi Prism Engineering Community,
I posted a recording of a lecture I gave at SolidWorks World 2013, back in January of 2013.
Here is the link to the YouTube page : http://youtu.be/2Zvta6Fk8AY
The topic of this lecture is “Using a MASTER MODEL LAYOUT PART to Drive Assembly Design in SolidWorks“. There is mention of a PDF supplement during the lecture, and if you would like a copy of this PDF, please email us at SWTECH@prismeng.com.
I encourage anyone who is working with assembly design–particularly in context assembly design–to try this method out. There are some great tips and tricks in here that will help you keep the inter-relationships between your parts in line.
There are also some tips for reverse engineering a design, simply using photographs and a measuring device (digital or dial caliper).
Director of Technical Services
Prism Engineering, Inc.
Hi Prism Engineering User Community,
Toby’s Tech Talk Episode 023 was recorded Wednesday, October 2. Watch below:
In this episode, we provided a “QUICK TIP” on using the SEARCH function for commands and options in SolidWorks. Learn to configure your search files to broaden your searching capabilities; even search for sweep commands (and others) within SolidWorks!
We get into 5 great great new features in SolidWorks 2014.
Excited for the release of SolidWorks 2014?
In case you missed this month’s Toby’s Tech Talk from Prism Engineering, watch the recording to learn more about what’s coming up.
Toby gives a preview of Prism’s SolidWorks 2014 Launch events, including key guest speakers like Ken Clayton, VP of Worldwide Sales at SolidWorks, and Richard Doyle, User Community Organizer.
Don’t forget to send in your submission for Prism’s “Design a Stein” SolidWorks Design Contest by September 27th!
Register for a Prism Engineering Launch event today!
In the above image, I have three separate bodies. One is a surface body, which is the body with the ocean decal applied to it. The other two are solid bodies (the red cylinder and the translucent solid surrounding it). Let’s pretend, if you will, that this ocean wave is roaring to rip the top of this cylinder off with the topological geometry seen at the top of the surface. As you can see in the above screenshot of the part, the surface is pretty bumpy. Imagine forming the eventual top face of the cylinder with Cut Extrude features. It’d be pretty difficult to do that, right?
The reason I chose an ocean wave for this example is because it’s easy for all of us to visualize an ocean wave. Picture the very top ‘surface’ of an ocean wave. It’s very bumpy and curvy, isn’t it? What if we wanted that same bumpiness and curvature to top off something like a solid cylinder?
As you can see, ‘Cut With Surface‘ is a command that makes a cut to the solid model by removing material from that model with a surface body. If we use this feature, all we have to do is select: a) our surface body to cut with, and b) our solid to cut.
You’ll see that ‘Body-Move/Copy1′ inhabits the ‘Surface Cut Parameters’ box. This is the name of my surface body selection because the body automatically took the name of the last feature used to modify it. The same applies for the cylindrical body I selected under ‘Feature Scope’. You’ll also notice that my mouse is hovering over an arrow in the viewport. Clicking this arrow allows you to flip the direction of the cut, if needed. Right now, it’s pointing in the intended direction. Therefore, I will leave it alone. I am now ready to execute the command, so I’ll click the green checkmark.
As you can see, the top surface, displayed in grey, has changed. Its shape is now dictated by the topological geometry of the surface we used to cut it. Post-cut, I simply hid the surface body (as well as the solid body formerly surrounding the cylinder). I’m hovering over the feature which built the surface to display its outline, which might give you an even clearer idea of what the command actually did.
One question I’m often asked when fielding tech calls is how to transfer drawing views and/or bill of materials (BOM) tables onto new drawing sheets. In SolidWorks drawing files, doing this is about as easy as cutting and pasting a paragraph from one text document to another… because it’s basically the same method! In this example, I’m going to do the cut and paste with a Drawing View; however, cutting and pasting the BOM would virtually require the same steps.
Step one is to highlight the drawing view you want to cut and paste. Once this is highlighted, you can go here to cut:
As you can see, the shortcut for ‘Cut’ is listed next to the command in the menu. Using ‘Ctrl+X’ accomplishes the same effect. Next, we’ll go to the destination sheet, or the sheet where we wish to place this drawing view. Once I’ve activated this sheet (in my case, it’s Sheet2), I’ll simply paste it in:
At this point, you’re done! Orient the view/BOM as you wish. It’s as simple as that.
We often hear complaints in the Prism SolidWorks Tech department that a user’s SolidWorks Command Manager sort of ‘ran off’ to the side of his screen. Or we hear it’s somehow wound up in the middle of the user’s interface, hogging up the limelight while your model sits in the background pouting.
There are two easy things you can do to set things back to normal again.
In a situation like the one above, you can simply drag the Command Manager back to where you want it. Click and hold on an empty area on the Command Manager, and drag it. Once you start dragging, look for directional indicators like the ones below to pop up. These signal that you can ‘snap’ the Command Manager down to a designated area on the screen.
To snap the Command Manager to the left, top, or right arrows, simply continue dragging over to the arrow of your choice. Once your cursor is on top of the arrow, you should see the area highlight in blue, like this:
Doing this snaps it back into its out-of-the-box location.
Don’t feel like doing this? Can you simply not find your Command Manager? If you don’t feel like playing “Hide and Seek” with it, just use this option to set things back to normal:
For those of you playing at home, that’s View>Workspace>Default. Easy, huh?
Post questions below!
~ Sean O’Neill
When managing SolidWorks files, you’re probably tempted to organize, move, and rename each file using typical Windows conventions. Actions like “Right click, Rename,” “Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V” and “Drag and Drop” are indelibly hardwired into my brain. This is fine when it comes to some files, like the text file you made yesterday when you needed to jot down the number to the new pizza place around the corner. However, when it comes to other files–like SolidWorks files that may be linked to by other files–this is not okay.
For example, consider your typical SolidWorks drawing file. Your drawing views might reference either a part or an assembly–how is this reference made and maintained? SolidWorks stores the file location of the referenced part/assembly within the drawing file. It immediately looks to that specific location to retrieve up-to-date information about that part/assembly. If, for instance, you renamed a file named ‘Pulley.sldprt’ stored in C:/SolidWorks Parts/Prototypes to ‘old pulley.sldprt’ using the Windows means of doing so (like right-clicking on the file in a Windows Explorer window and clicking “Rename” under “Delete”), the SolidWorks drawing file would have no idea where to look. You’ll get messages like the one displayed below if you do this:
As you can see in the above picture, the process to safely and responsibly rename a SolidWorks file is as follows: Right click, SolidWorks, Rename. Upon clicking Rename, the following SolidWorks Explorer window should appear:
You can rename the file by editing the “To:” field. Having “Update where used” checked is important, because it instructs SolidWorks to update the file reference held by files that are looking to this part for information. You can also include virtual components in your search for references.
Hope this helps solve any associative issues you may be having. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me in Prism Engineering’s SolidWork Tech Support department
~ Sean O’Neill
First, let’s look at the re-branded program. You will notice that all of the icons and interface splash screens have been updated to the new SolidWorks Composer 2013 Symbol:
Users who choose to download the software from the SolidWorks customer portal will also notice that SolidWorks Composer is now grouped on the SolidWoks Tab. 3Dvia composer is also still available for download on the Composer tab, if needed.
This also brings a few technical changes that will be much appreciated by Composer users. Composer can now use internet-based activation. This means that you will not have to generate and send a license file request with the MAC address of your machine anymore, which will make it a lot faster and easier to get Composer up and running on a new machine.
Additionally, Composer is now supported on the Solid Network License Manager. So if you have an existing network of SolidWorks licenses, Composer can be easily added. This will make it easier to share a license of Composer between multiple users.
All existing customers who own 3Dvia Composer 2013x are entitled to SolidWorks Composer 2013. I would highly recommend downloading and installing it. If anyone needs any help with the migration, please contact the Prism SolidWorks Technical Support department at SWtech@Prismeng.com.
~Dan Wagner, Applications Engineer, Prism Engineering
Fast. Faster. Fastest.
Whether I’m trying to optimize a driving route to work, or micromanage my morning, I’m always looking for ways to navigate through the task at hand more quickly. The same goes for navigating through a model in SolidWorks. That’s why I love features that allow me to swiftly operate within the software.
In this post, I’m going to explore two features unique to SolidWorks that I use quite a bit. These two program features can be HUGE time-savers, and they’re ones that I love sharing with our customers: Quick Filter Buttons and FeatureManager Tree Filter.
1. Quick Filter Buttons
I find these buttons to be awesome. These handy selection buttons are especially useful for situations like Pack and Gos, which can come equipped with a diverse array of files such as parts, assemblies, and drawings. The Quick Filter Buttons allow you to quickly display only the types of components you wish to display. You can filter by Parts, Assemblies, Drawings, AND Top-Level Assemblies, which is very convenient. Filtering by Top-Level Assembly allows me to find and grab the main assembly file with great speed. You can find the Quick Filter buttons in the bottom right corner of the ‘Open’ explorer window within SolidWorks 2013.
2. FeatureManager Tree Filter
(Note: The top-right image is not displayed in SolidWorks. It was added to the screen-capture in an effort to better-indicate the functionality of this feature.)
When you’re working within a large assembly that contains multiple subassemblies and/or parts, the FeatureManager Tree Filter is definitely something you’ll want to try using. It also serves as a reminder of how important it is to assign a sensible, solid nomenclature to your parts/assemblies. If you give your parts/assemblies names that you can recall, it can be much easier to find these components using this filtering tool.
You can further customize the results here by clicking on the down-arrow next to the filter box icon, which brings up the following menu:
As you can see above, you have two options. The first, “Filter Graphics View,” shows you the remaining components that match the qualifications of your entered filtering query. For example, if you a) have this option checked, b) have a component named “pin” and a component named “short pipe,” and c) have only typed “pi” within the filter box, you will see both the “short pipe” and the “pin” within the viewport. With this option turned off, the viewport will not update based on your filter query.
When selected, the second option listed, “Filter Hidden/Suppressed Components,” will hide hidden/suppressed components within your filtering results. You will not, of course, see this component within the viewport, regardless of the status of “Filter Graphics View.”
Hope this helps you increase your productivity! As always, questions can be commented below, and we’ll get back to ASAP. Otherwise, feel free to contact Prism Engineering’s SolidWorks Tech Support team at anytime.
~ Sean O’Neill, Prism Engineering SolidWorks AE
This year SolidWorks World 2013 in sunny Orlando, FL yielded over 4,700 CAD users, and a handful of exciting announcements and special features.
Aside from the usual sneak peek at next year’s release (more to come on 2014′s enhancements), there were several other “new” announcements:
1. my.solidworks.com - SolidWorks created this blog-style site to bridge the gap between its many outlets of information; you’ll now be able to access articles, the forum, tips, tricks, and eventually more robust content at one location, rather than several.
2. SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual – This new tool allows the creators to get creative. Throw around your ideas, collaborate, get input from stakeholders, all within Mechanical Conceptual. Designers use a single modeling environment to take an idea from just that, to a 3D model, while connecting to 3rd party contributors intuitively using modern social media technology.
3. eDrawings for Android – Although we knew this would arrive eventually, eDrawings for Android is a big victory in the business world, and we are psyched to start reviewing designs on the go! Coming later this year, but we saw with our own eyes at SolidWorks World 2013, this is possible!
Prism Engineering is proud of a few accomplishments at this year’s conference as well. For the third time, Prism Engineering was named the 2012 Top Reseller in Highest Customer Satisfaction in North America. We’ve said it before (in 2008 & 2011, to be exact!), and we’ll say it again: we owe this one to you! Thanks for your support and partnership; you know Prism’s Technical Support teams strive for excellent support and services, and we’re happy you think we’re succeeding!
This year, Prism Engineering’s Manager of SolidWorks Technical Services, Toby Schnaars, presented a technical session for Intermediate CAD Users: “Using a Layout Part to Drive an Assembly“. He packed the house; standing room only! Thanks to all who came out, and be sure to download the SolidWorks Layout Part Instructional Guide before it’s too late!
We even had a little fun at Shula’s Sports Bar on Monday night with a few of our customers that made the trip down to Florida. Thanks for coming out, everyone!
We enjoyed traveling a little farther South to Orlando for the 75 degree weather–in January!
It was also great to see some local users represented in the general sessions. Way to go Tom Smith, CHL Systems, for winning 2nd place at Model Mania 2013!
Don’t stop modeling, Tom! Check him out around minute 18:44 in SolidWorks World 2013 Day 3′s General Session Video.
If you have any thoughts, photos, questions, or great memories you’d like to share about SolidWorks World 2013, post below!
Check it out:
Rolling into the New Year, we’re happy to announce a new face to our technical support and blogging force. Sean O’Neill recently joined the Prism Engineering SolidWorks Technical Support team; he’s based out of our Horsham, PA Office & Training center.
Sean brings to the Prism team technical experience, with extensive web and graphic design knowledge, that he’s already begun to put to use working with SolidWorks users in the Prism Engineering User Community. This week, he brings a SolidWorks 2013 tech tip to the table that both new AND seasoned SolidWorks users would be wise to keep in their back pocket:
“One of the most convenient new features I’ve utilized thus far in SolidWorks 2013 is the ultra user-friendly View Selector tool. This is a shortcut that can come in handy for new and experienced SolidWorks users alike. By simply pressing the out-of-the-box Ctrl + Space / Spacebar shortcut key, SolidWorks 2013 users will see the following visual (model will, of course, vary):
Following the execution of this Keyboard Shortcut, SolidWorks 2013 surrounds the model in a translucent cube. This ‘View Cube’ allows CAD users to select their orientation by clicking their desired perspective. I think that this new feature will prove especially useful to new SolidWorks users who are initially unfamiliar with the many Mouse/Keyboard Shortcuts used to navigate about the viewport.
As always, you can go to Tools >> Customize in order to customize your Toolbars, Shortcut Bars, Commands, Menus, Keyboard Shortcuts, and Mouse Gestures within SolidWorks.”
In this edition of Prism Tech Tips, Toby Schnaars – Manager of SolidWorks Technical Services, describes the cause of this error message and how to permanently resolve it.
Need SolidWorks to do more?
What happens when a user finds something SolidWorks can’t do, and they would like to see it in the next release?
Who reviews these enhancement requests?
How can I submit an enhancement request?
Find out the answers to these questions at this terrific blog post:
Data management has always been a focus for engineering and production companies. Even companies without a PDM (product data management) system utilize data and revision management.
Consider the example of drawing a “title block” or “revision table” in SolidWorks. In many ways, drawing title blocks and revision tables is a form of data management. Engineers and designers maintain current revision numbers (or letters), sign offs, design changes, and “where used” information from the title block and revision table. This may work out OK when your engineering team is only one or two people working on one project at a time, but as your company grows and your productivity increases, your team may need to look to a computerized system to handle product data management (PDM).
Enterprise PDM (EPDM) is a great Windows-based data management solution for SolidWorks users.
3 great benefits users see after implementing SolidWorks Enterprise PDM:
1. Workflow Management and Notifications
The workflow management in EPDM will allow for seamless approvals and can incorporate digital sign-offs to approve revisions. The built-in notification system can instantly notify required users when a document is ready for review and can be moved through the design process without email, phone notifications, or verbal confirmation.
2. Company-wide data management solution
While EPDM is known as, “The data management solution for SolidWorks,” it can also manage revisions of ANY windows-based document. Word docs showing ECOs and .jpeg images illustrating proposed changes, excel spreadsheets or any other windows-based document can be checked into the EPDM vault and revision managed. Document workflows can be tailored to handle these file types using different rules that SolidWorks file types.
With this capability, EPDM can then be utilized by EVERY department, not just engineering: legal, marketing, order management, manufacturing, etc could all use EPDM to handle their data management needs.
3. Instant cross site and multi-site collaboration
With EPDM, collaboration becomes instantaneous. Users and viewers from different departments access all files in the vault (provided they have permissions) at any time during the design process. If a company has multiple facilities in different locations the EPDM vault can be replicated so that the data in the vault will instantly reflect changes made at any of the sites. Should one of YOUR customers need to approve a working design they can be given temporary access to the files and allowed to view their files, even from offsite.
This small list only scratches the surface of the possibilities and advantages you will gain by implementing Enterprise PDM. For more information please feel free to contact the Prism Engineering technical team.
Hope you enjoyed this post,
Certified Enterprise PDM Professional (CPDMP)
Prism Engineering, Inc.
One of my favorite enhancements to the recent versions of SolidWorks is the use of the “S”-key. By simply pressing the “S”-key on your keyboard, you can launch a little toolbar that contains all of your favorite commands. This dramatically cuts down on mouse travel and can really help you finish your design faster. I have discussed this awesome shortcut at length in some of my tech tip videos on YouTube.
Yesterday, while teaching, I discovered something interesting about the “S”-key shortcut in SolidWorks. If you use the “S” key in 2012, SolidWorks will bring up the shortcut menu as expected. It will also activate the search field at the top of the window (upper right search area in the SolidWorks user interface). If you hit any keys after that, it will start populating the search field. This was confusing for me, and I wasn’t sure if you could turn off this function.
Turns out you can. If you go into TOOLS>CUSTOMIZE you will see the options shown below. Turn off the “Activate Command Search…” option under Shortcut Bar, and the search field will no longer activate when you hit the “S”-key.
Questions? Comments? As always, I look forward to hearing any questions or comments on this topic. Please feel free to post comments below, or to email me at SWTech@prismeng.com. Thanks for taking a look at today’s blog, and I hope you found the info useful.
Take care, ~Toby Schnaars
SolidWorks 2012 was released at service pack 0.0 in October of 2011. Over the past few months, I have compiled a list of the most common questions we get in regards to the update process. I hope that you will find this overview helpful, when you and your company are performing the upgrade to SolidWorks 2012.
This guide is meant to serve as an overview of the upgrade process. I’ve left out some of the details and specifics, in order to help reduce the length of the overview. If you have any questions or get stuck along the way, please don’t hesitate to contact us in tech support.
First things first – Go to SolidWorks.com and download the latest version of SolidWorks, using the option FULL DOWNLOAD. This will be approximately a 5 GB download, and will contain everything that was originally included on the DVD, but at the latest available service pack. Throughout this document, we will reference and use a number of the folders in this download. If you need a step by step guide on how to acquire the FULL DOWNLOAD of SolidWorks, please refer to this PDF.
(I also have a PDF which explains how to download individual elements of SolidWorks, so if you just wanted to install the SNL, you can simply download this part of the install. DOWNLOAD ELEMENTS of SolidWorks PDF)
END USER INSTALLATION:
Prism Engineering has created a number of installation videos and tips and tricks webinars regarding the installation of SolidWorks. A great video for installation tips and tricks is available on the PrismEngineeringInc Youtube page at the following website address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFfHFFAOdaA
The key things to remember when installing on the client machine are:
1. Be sure to login with FULL ADMIN RIGHTS before beginning the installation
2. Create a new installation folder for the new installation. This will be very helpful when setting up and troubleshooting the location of templates and libraries. I like to use the following naming convention:
C:\Program Files\SolidWorks 2010
C:\Program Files\SolidWorks 2011
C:\Program Files\SolidWorks 2012
SolidWorks NETWORK License Manager update:
The SolidWorks Network License manager (hereafter referred to as the SNL) is used to manage floating seats of SolidWorks. The 2012 SNL can manage seats of SolidWorks 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006. Since it can manage seats from previous versions of SolidWorks, this should be the first thing you update to 2012. The client (end user) seats of SolidWorks make a call(ping) to the SNL approximately every 15 minutes. The update takes about 5 minutes provided nothing unexpected happens. A server reboot is not typically required. Thus, many customers are able to run the update to the SNL during work hours, without the 2011 (or previous) clients needing to close or log off of SolidWorks.
After doing the FULL DOWNLOAD, there will be a folder called SWLICMGR(SW LIC MGR – SolidWorks License Manager). Copy this folder onto the server which is hosting the SNL. This folder contains the required installation files for the SNL.
Inside of this folder there will be an executable called Setup.exe. Double-click on this file and run the setup and installation of the SNL, using the default options. The serial number information will be automatically captured from your 2011 SNL install. Choose the defaults, next, next, next and finish.
You may be asked to ACTIVATE (automatically) or you may need to launch the 2012 SNL. Launch the SolidWorks 2012 SNL on the server by going into the Programs section of the WINDOWS start menu, and then choosing SolidWorks, SolidWorks Network License manager. Click the MODIFY button, and then choose ACTIVATE/REACTIVATE. Enter your server information and email address, and choose to activate automatically over the internet.
After the activation concludes, go onto the tab called LICENSE USAGE, and verify that there are licenses of SolidWorks (and any other products). You should begin to see your users taking licenses, as they begin to use (or continue to use) SolidWorks.
The admin image for SolidWorks 2012 can be used to install SolidWorks on multiple 64bit and/or 32bit computers, from one single image across a network. The CAD ADMINISTRATOR in your company can create this image on a server, and allow end users to browse to this folder and double click the STARTSWINSTALL.hta file, which installs SolidWorks and inputs your serial number, products to install, and installation location, all based on options set while the image was being created. Additional options can be customized to control which serial number is assigned to each computer (for companies with multiple stand alone serial numbers) and which computers get which products installed (for example: Some computers might get SolidWorks Simulation Professional, while others get SolidWorks Flow Simulation).
I have created a PDF which explains the step by step process to install an admin image, with a number of different options. Please feel free to email me for a copy. To get the admin image created, start by copying the entire FULL DOWNLOAD folder onto the server which is going to host the Admin Image. The FULL DOWNLOAD folder contains an executable called SETUP.EXE.
Double click on this SETUP.EXE and the SolidWorks 2012 Installation manager will launch. Choose the option to CREATE AN ADMIN IMAGE and specify which products will be included in the “MASTER COPY” of the admin image. If different computers are going to have different products installed, choose every product available when creating this MASTER admin image.
After the admin image has been created, you will be left with an entirely new folder on the server, which contains the ADMIN IMAGE. Within this folder there is a file called STARTSWINSTALL.hta. Once the image is created, create a share to this ADMIN IMAGE folder, and allow the end users access so that they can double click on this STARTSWINSTALL.hta which will kick off the automated installer, on their machine.
Like I said, for more detailed steps in the creation of the admin image, please feel free to email me.
A number of users have asked about the use of SolidWorks Toolbox during the upgrade process. SolidWorks Toolbox is a table-based library of commonly used nuts, bolts, washers, and other hardware. It is included in SolidWorks Professional and higher. Often, companies will create customized parts in toolbox, or will modify the toolbox parts to include customized part numbers. These changes will not be lost when upgrading to SolidWorks 2012.
To migrate an existing toolbox into SolidWorks 2012:
1. Backup your existing toolbox folder. To do this, simply make a copy of the folder (usually called TOOLBOX DATA or SOLIDWORKS DATA) and add a date to the name: “SolidWorks Data-Backup from 2011″.
2. During the installation (either a STAND ALONE installation or during the creation of the ADMIN IMAGE), there will be a screen which asks about Toolbox/Hole Wizard options. On this screen, choose the bottom option “USE AN EXISTING TOOLBOX”, and point to the location of your shared network toolbox.
During the FIRST installation of a SolidWorks client, the 2011 Toolbox (or previous version) will be converted into a 2012 toolbox. Let this first install complete, before proceeding. After the first install is complete, additional clients will simply point to this new, 2012 toolbox share. They will not need to convert the toolbox (since it has already been upgraded to 2012).
Because of this process, users who are deploying from an admin image should do a single client install, first, let it conclude, and then do multiple additional client installs simultaneously.
3. That’s it. That’s all you need to do. Any additional questions on your toolbox install just give us a call or an email.
SolidWorks Workgroup PDM VAULT:
SolidWorks Workgroup PDM is a vault data management system which allows users to CHECK IN and CHECK OUT files, creating a revision history each time the file is checked in and checked out. Clients use an add-in to SolidWorks to access the vault, and the vault portion of the Workgroup PDM is installed on the server. The vault portion includes both a SERVICE (which runs on the server machine) and a single folder called VAULTDATA. This folder is installed by default into the server location C:\Vaultdata.
To upgrade Workgroup PDM to SolidWorks 2012, an administrator will need to get onto this server and run the installation by following these steps:
1. Ask all users to CHECK IN and RELEASE OWNERSHIP of any files which they currently have checked out or owned. (They can use the FIND/SEARCH command to search for any documents which they own)
2. Go to the server where the current service is running, and STOP the service. The service is called, ” SolidWorks Workgroup PDM Server”. Right click on this service and choose to STOP the service. This will prevent any interactions between the any client and the vault.
3. Go to the server where the current VAULTDATA folder is being housed. Make a backup copy of this entire folder(simply copy the folder), and add the current date to this backup copy.
4. Go to the FULL DOWNLOAD folder of SolidWorks, and copy the folder called PDMWSERVER onto the server which is hosting the existing Workgroup PDM service(from step 2). Run the SETUP.exe from within this copied folder, on the server.
5. During the install of SolidWorks 2012 Workgroup PDM, you will be asked (for the first time) to ACTIVATE and VALIDATE the 2012 Vault installation. This one time procedure is used by SolidWorks Corp to get a feel for how many companies are utilizing SolidWorks Workgroup PDM. There is no limitation to the number of computers onto which you may install a vault, and this activation/validation process is for informational purposes only (not licensing purposes). Here are some of the screens you will see during the validation process:
On the SETUP TYPE screen, choose VAULT, and then point to the location of the existing vault. Choose Next and Finish, and the SolidWorks Workgroup 2012 Vault SERVICE will be installed and will utilize your existing VAULTDATA folder.
A NOTE ON CONVERSION OF THE VAULTDATA INTO THE 2012 FORMAT:
Your vault is now updated to the 2012 service, but the data within the vault is still from a previous version of SolidWorks.
SolidWorks utilizes a new version of the Parasolid Kernel for each release of the software. SolidWorks 2012 will take slightly longer to open and save single part files which have not yet been saved into the 2012 format. SolidWorks will take significantly longer to open and save large complex assemblies and drawings of large complex assemblies, until the assembly and all of its referenced parts have been saved into the 2012 format.
Since users of Workgroup PDM often utilize a mix of READ ONLY and READ/WRITE files, within the same assembly, engineering teams may experience this slower opening/saving time over and over and over again, as the READ ONLY files will not be saved into the new format, and will need to be re-converted each time they are opened into ram.
To address this issue, Prism Engineering strongly encourages users of Workgroup PDM to run the SolidWorks 2012 Task Scheduler utility to CONVERT THE ENTIRE VAULT into the 2012 format, as soon as the Vault has been upgraded to the 2012 format. To obtain instructions on this conversion process, please email me at SWTECH@prismeng.com.
This overview is meant to help guide you and your company through some of the key steps and concepts of the SolidWorks 2012 update process.
Please keep in mind that we, in tech support, are here for you and are happy to help guide you through this process and answer any questions you may have along the way. Please don’t hesitate to call or email us anytime:
Telephone – 215-784-0800 X1, X1
Email – SWTech@prismeng.com
Old Computer Died
Well, my awesome Dell M4400 died 2 weeks ago. I loved that computer until….tear….she had a catastrophic hard drive failure, and it was time to spec out a new machine. The good news was that I could tell it was about to happen. The hard drive kept “click-click-clicking” (not a good sign), and so I was able to get all my data off, and took the appropriate steps to ensure that nothing would be lost before the day of doom.
Which brand? Which Model?
I decided to go with a Dell again, this time around. We here at Prism have had success with some other vendors, but we mainly run HP and Dell laptops, and I loved my M4400, so I figured Dell would be a good place to start.
I went with the new model Dell M4600 Laptop. This is a lovely looking machine, and as you can see from the image above it came with a 10-key (number pad) in the smaller 15.6″ screen model. In previous versions of this laptop, Dell only offered this 10-key on the bigger 17.3″ screen model, and with all the traveling I do for presentations, I always try to go with the smaller model. So the 10-key was a big plus!
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
Next I chose the processor. I went with a Quad-core. SolidWorks modeling itself is very linear by nature, so having multiple processors or multiple cores isn’t going help much with building a single part model. However, there are many areas of SolidWorks and general computing which will certainly take advantage of these multiple cores. Within SolidWorks, the loading of large assemblies is an important area which benefits from multiple cores. Simulation and photo-renderings will also utilize the multi-core processor to cut down on the total time required. Like most users, I am running not only SolidWorks but am running MS Outlook, Internet Explorer, MS word, and a number of other programs simultaneously. Having a multi-core processor will help split the load and make each of these programs run faster, even when working on a complex surface model (which would likely take advantage of only one single core). Beyond this, I discovered that the dual core option that was offered only supported up to 8 GB of RAM. This was an important discovery, and something to consider if you are planning on expanding the amount of RAM in the system, sometime in the future. So I went with the Intel Core i7-2860Q (Quad Core 2.50 GHz with an 8M cache). This is a screaming chip and so far, I’m happy with this choice.
RAM (How much, and what speed?)
As far as RAM goes, I went with the faster (and slightly more expensive) DDR3-1600MHz. This machine is an investment, and I wanted to make sure I get at least two or three years of quality production-level work out of it, so I decided to go with the faster RAM. I went with 8GB for now, but I imagine I will be bumping this up to 16GB sometime in early 2013. I could have gone to 16GB right away, but I have been running with 8GB for the past year and have yet to exhaust all 8GB, even when opening larger assemblies. So I am confident that 8GB will be sufficient.
Lastly, I considered the graphics card. Again I was looking at this purchase as a long-term investment, so again I went with the higher-end choice. Nvida Quadro 2000M with 2GB of onboard video RAM. Again, I am hoping to configure a laptop here which will last me for the next 2-3 years, so the investment is worth it.
And that brings me to the conclusion of this debacle: Sure there are some other things I had to decide upon when configuring this laptop, but these are the key factors: Operating System (Win7 Pro-64bit), CPU, RAM (speed and amount), and Graphics Card. I wanted to blog about this new machine to help those who are considering making a similar purchase, by taking you through my thought process.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post below.
I have been running this machine for about a week and so far, I am VERY pleased.
Take care everyone and happy New Year!