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: http://youtu.be/BZkU4dFii7Y
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,
SolidWorks Elite Applications Engineer
CSWA, CSWP, CSWE
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,
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
From here, Jane completes the details of the necessary electrical components, wiring, cables, and harnesses.
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.
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,
SolidWorks Elite Applications Engineer
CSWA, CSWP, CSWE
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: