The March 2012 FredSWUG meeting was our best ever! We had a great turnout, a very useful presentation, and a special guest who gave away a unique prize. Thank you to everyone who attended!
We started out with a brief recap of SolidWorks World 2012, which was held in San Diego in mid-February. For a more complete recap, check out these General Session videos (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday), the official SolidWorks Blog recap (Monday, Tuesday,Wednesday), and my “SolidWorks World According to Twitter” posts (Monday, Tuesday,Wednesday).
We next learned about the new features of SolidWorks 2013 that were revealed on the last day of the conference. There were a lot of positive reactions from the group to many of these upcoming features, especially the promise of previous release interoperability. View the entire list of new features here, or download it in presentation form here.
Next, Marc Weigand of SpaceController took the floor, and demonstrated their impressive new 3D mouse. After a hands-on demonstration of the device, and its unique new features, Marc raffled off a brand new SpaceController to one very lucky group member. Congratulations James!
The main presentation was on working with dumb solids (or imported geometry) in SolidWorks. The presentation was originally given by Lars Christensen at SolidWorks World 2012, and I was lucky enough to be able to present it to the group. The presentation covered best practices for importing, imported file structures, direct editing tools, and Featureworks. You can download the presentation here, and the demo files here.
The next FredSWUG meeting will be on May 16th. Stay tuned for more details!
FredSWUG has moved!
Visit us at http://fredswug.webs.com/
Based on the responses to the recent timeslot survey <http://whenisgood.net/5zgphce/results/gntdya>, it seems best to move future meetings to the third Wednesday of every OTHER month. Therefore, the next meeting will be Wednesday, November 16th, and the meeting after that will not be until January (when we’ll be hosting a very special guest).
This month’s meeting will be:
Wednesday, November 16th
Applied Rapid Technologies
1130 International Pkwy # 127
Fredericksburg, VA 22406-1220
(http://www.artcorp.com/contact.html for directions)
View FredSWUG in a larger map.
I’ll be presenting on assembly features and mating, so come armed with your questions! Topics will include component patterns, mirroring options, advanced and mechanical mates, and assembly-level appearances.
See you all there,
Eman Kim, one of our favorite presenters from TriMech, came by on Thursday the 20th to show FredSWUG the best new enhancements in SolidWorks 2012
· Ambient Occlusion
Ambient Occlusion is a view style that adds yet another layer of realism to your models. It used to be confined to a single scene, but now Ambient Occlusion is available in every scene from the View Settings dropdown. Compare the images below to see the effect of Ambient Occlusion.
By default, Ambient Occlusion is turned off while rotating or zooming your model. However, You can enable draft quality occlusion during rotation by going to Tools >> Options >> SysOps >> Display/Selection >> Display draft quality ambient occlusion. However, this slows down your session considerably.
· Colored Section Cap
The colored section kaps that used to be only available in cross section previews can now be maintained by checking the “Keep Cap Color” box.
· Command Search
Now you can search for commands from the search bar in the upper-right. This is a great feature for new SolidWorks users, since it can also show you the exact location of the feature in the CommandManager toolbar, or, if it’s not already there, you can easily add it from the search results.
You can also assign tags to each feature in case a new user is used to them by a different name (for example, assign the tag ‘protrude’ to Extruded boss/base).
· Change Units in GUI
Quickly and easily change the units of the document you’re currently working on, without going deep into the options menu.
· Select All (Context Sensitive)
Easily select all of a specific entity without using the Selection Filter. Pressing Ctrl+A still selects everything, but if you first select a specific entity (such as an edge, face, dimension, plane, etc), Ctrl+A will only select that type of entity. This is useful for hiding all existing planes, while new planes will still be shown.
· Recent Documents Pane
The recent documents pane (accessed with the ‘R’ key) has gotten an overhaul, visually and functionally. You can now pin your favorite models to the recent documents pane, so they’re always available with one click.
· Automatic Double Dimension
After the first doubled dimension (across a centerline), SolidWorks 2012 automatically creates subsequent dimensions as doubled, until you click in an empty area.
· Undo Dimension Selection
Pressing the escape key while making dimension selections will undo the last dimension selection, instead of completely exiting the dimension command (unless no entities are currently selected).
· Auto-Rotation on Feature/Sketch Creation
With this option (Tools >> Options >> SysOps >> Sketch) enabled, your part will automatically rotate normal to a new sketch, and rotate to Isometric when creating a new feature.
· Toggle Sketch Numeric Input from Right-Click
This little-known but extremely useful feature is now easier to get to. Enable Sketch numeric input from the RBMB menu to instantly define dimension values when creating sketch entities.
· Exploded Views for Multi-Body Parts
A major limitation in the past has been the inability to explode multi-body parts (such as weldments). This has been resolved in SolidWorks 2012. The same explosion UI you know from assemblies is now available for multi-body parts.
· Feature Freeze
This highly anticipated enhancement is, surprisingly, not enabled by default. To enable it, go to Tools >> Options >> SysOps >> General >> Enable Freeze Bar.
This feature allows certain features to be locked, or “frozen,” and not loaded into the model when the filed is opened or rebuilt (such as when completing or editing a feature, or changing configurations). This significantly reduces rebuild time, especially in complex parts. However, the features are still available visually. Think of it as a lightweight feature.
· Equation Manager
Use equations with global variables, suppress/unsuppress functions, and every single dimension in your model. You can also rename dimensions in the modify box as soon as you create them. Best of all, you can create equations right in the dimension field, and you can toggle between displaying the equation itself, and the calculated value. This also works with features (such as an extrude), but you have to go back and add the equation to the feature dimension. It’s not available directly from the feature PropertyManager.
· Open any Layer of Subassembly
By right-clicking on a part, you can open any subassembly it’s used in, no matter how many layers deep it is.
· Highlight Modified Dimensions on Open
Enable this from Tools >> Options >> SysOps >> Colors. It will highlight any dimensions which have been modified since the drawing was last opened.
· Use Unused View Labels
Now, if you delete Detail View A, the next detail, section, or auxiliary view will reuse that deleted letter, instead of starting with B. (Must be enabled from Tools >> Options >> SysOps >> Drawings >> Reuse view letters…)
· Exploded Isometric in View palette and Right-Click Menu
Exploded Isometric is now a default view available from the view pallete in drawings. You can also switch any drawing view to the exploded state from the RMB menu.
· Magnetic Lines/Balloon Order
This is a feature taken from 3DVia Composer. When creating a balloon pattern, you can automatically insert magnet lines (or insert them later), which make ordering and spacing balloons much easier. The ‘Equal Spacing’ option keeps the balloons aligned and spaced, even when the magnetic line is moved, or balloons are reordered.
Balloons can also be ordered sequentially, as opposed to only by assembly order, as was the case in previous SolidWorks versions. Once a BOM has been inserted , the balloons can be ordered sequentially, clockwise or counter-clockwise, and the BOM will update automatically.
· Smart Mate Delay
Previously, when trying to smart-mate a part (by holding ALT and dragging), the part would instantly jump to the closest available mating position. Now, in 2012, the part has to be held over the desired mate feature for a few seconds. I’m sure this will cause more than a few headaches.
· Large Design Review
This feature replaces QuickView/Selective Open, which was a useful tool for viewing large assemblies, without taking all the time to load all the parts. In 2012, this functionality has been enhanced, to allow limited interaction with the model. In Large Design Review mode, you can rotate your model, as before, but now you can also measure, create section views, hide and show parts, and view walkthroughs (Note, this also works for large drawings).
In Large Design Review, you can also take a snapshot. A snapshot is a combination of view orientation and display state, meaning you can save a shortcut to a specific camera view, with certain parts hidden or shown. This allows you to quickly jump to the various key locations of your design, but still have the freedom to move around and hide/show additional components as needed.
· Form New Subassembly From Graphics Area
You can now create a new subassembly by selecting multiple parts from the graphics area, and using the “Form New Subassembly” command from the right-click menu.
· Add Non-Sequential Parts to Folder
Any parts can be dragged to a FeatureManager folder, even if they’re not sequential.
· Hide Components with Tab Key
You can hide a part by hovering over it, and pressing the Tab key. You can hide multiple components by holding the Tab key and moving your cursor over the model. You can show components again by hovering or dragging over the space where a hidden part should be, and pressing Shift+Tab.
· No Initial Point For Hole Wizard
Instead of automatically creating a hole wherever you first click, the SolidWorks 2012 Hole Wizard selects only the face on the first click, and creates your holes with subsequent clicks. It also previews the size and position of the entire hole before you place it.
· Fully Editable Forming Tools
Now you have more control over forming tools when modeling sheet metal parts
Lots of info here, so let’s get to it.
First, I want to thank Oke Liimatta for taking over the group in my absence. I hope everyone enjoyed the evening at Lonestar.
Our next FredSWUG meeting will be this Thursday, October 20th, at 6:30 pm (as opposed to the usual 6:00) at Syntronics.
Eman Kim, from TriMech, will be presenting an overview of What’s New in SolidWorks 2012.
We have some really great prizes this month, including some leftovers from previous months. Additionally, SolidProfessor has generously donated a 6 month license of SolidProfessor Premium to our group. (See their whitepaper, attached). SolidProfessor also produces a weekly newsletter with helpful tutorial videos, like this one.
There are three steps to entering the drawing for this great prize:
- Attend this month’s meeting
- Fill out this timeslot survey, indicating your preference for future FredSWUG meetings. (The survey says it’s for November, but treat it like any other month).
- Bring a new member to the meeting.
The timeslot survey will help us determine when to schedule future meetings, so they are accessible to all. Please fill out the survey even (especially) if you cannot attend the October meeting.
Other prizes include gas cards, sheet metal cut-outs, backpacks sports memorabilia, etc. (courtesy of our sponsors at SolidWorks and Rapid Sheet Metal).
As always, spread the word, and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.
3500 Shannon Park Drive,
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Last night, FredSWUG member Adam Snow (Applied Rapid Technologies Corp) gave us an extensive and detailed presentation on common mistakes, useful tips, and all-around expert knowledge in SolidWorks. Here are the 38 sections of his presentation, with my own commentary thrown in.
1) Under defined sketches
Basically, avoid them at all costs. Also, did you know that the practice of wiggling under-defined sketch entities to determine where relations are needed is called "exercising"? If only it worked my abs…
2) Not adding dimensions properly (using the sketch parameters instead).
This is a horror story that both Adam and I have seen in our days teaching CAD classes. Instead of using Smart Dimension, students just LOVE to use the PropertyManager to input dimensions. Then they make one little change and BOOM! Chaos. I had a student once go through an entire term project this way. Then, when it was time to make the drawings, model items didn’t work. He had to redo almost everything.
3) Too much data in a single sketch.
It’s much easier to suppress a feature than delete certain parts of a large sketch. Keep different features separated, and don’t worry about how long your feature tree gets. Use folders if you have to.
4) Not using the hole wizard
If you’re just making a simple round hole on a flat face, MAYBE you have an excuse not to use the Hole Wizard. But if you’re making anything that will be drilled by a standard in a real machine shop, or if you’re making a hole on a non-planar face, NO EXCUSES!
5) Not defining a surface/plane before using the hole wizard
Apparently this has been improved in one of the newest releases. Moving on. 6) Order of features in tree – Bosses – Cuts – Fillets
This is one of my favorite tips. Make all your bosses first, then add cuts and holes, THEN add small, cosmetic features like fillets, chamfers, etc. Features like these belong as far down the tree as possible, when the basic shape of the part is already evident.
7) Dimensions to false edges formed by fillets and chamfers
This shouldn’t be as issue if you follow tip #6, but it’s never a good idea to dimension something to a tangent edge, first of all because they don’t actually exist, and second because the size of your fillets are sure to change 100 times before it looks just right.
8) Improper use of the "Fix" relation
"Fix" does not mean "repair." Avoid at all costs.
9) Not Centering the Part About the Origin
Using as much symmetry as possible makes life easier.
10) Invisible relations (horizontal, vertical, coincident, etc.) use construction geometry instead
It’s much easier to see pick up on relations when there’s actually construction geometry there to help you visualize it. Your colleagues will thank you.
11) Not modifying part, assembly, drawing templates to use the settings/options that you want
Adam suggested adding as many custom properties as you can think of you your document templates, such as cost, date made/purchased, companies involved, etc.
12) Line to tangent and back to line
One of those secret SolidWorks tips that few people really know about. When sketching a line, you can move away, and then back to the endpoint of the previous segment. This converts your line into a tangent arc. It’s orientation is based on the direction you pull away from the endpoint. After placing your arc, you’ll be back in line mode again. But what if you didn’t mean to go into arc mode? Pressing ‘A’ (apparently for Auto-Transition) returns you to line mode immediately.
13) Using file properties
14) Edit / create keyboard shortcuts
Right-click on a toolbar, go to ‘Customize…’ and then Keyboard shortcuts. Have at it.
15) Rotate about a point or a line/edge
Middle-clicking on an entity turns it purple. Middle-clicking and dragging (as you usually would) restricts rotation to that entity. So, for example, selecting a face only allows rotation around its normal axis. Similar with an edge or cylinder. Also, double-middle-click to fit to screen,
16) CTRL drag to move or copy a sketch
Releasing CTRL first moves the sketch, releasing click first copies it. This is useful for copying large sections of sketches, without maintaining a link between them.17) Use the modify tool to scale the sketch PLUS the dims!
Most people know about the move/scale/rotate etc. tools for sketches. The predecessor of this tool is the Modify Sketch function, which has a lot more functionality with one major drawback: It can be used if the sketch has any references to existing geometry. So basically, it only works on the first sketch. Using this tool, you can scale, rotate, and flip the sketch around any point (even a point not in the sketch itself). The best part, though, is that when using the scale function, existing dimensions update to match. 18) Number of control points in sketches when lofting
Must match through loft sections. This is the reason for most loft failures.19) Remove or add in new toolbar buttons
20) Hold down CTRL to override the automatic sketch relations
If you want to place an entity very close to a snap point, but not quite on it, hold down to control to stop snapping while you’re working on that spot. 21) Select other tool
Use the Select Other tool (from the RMB menu) to quickly access faces through the part. Right-click within the tool to hide progressively deeper faces, or use the list menu that pops up. 22) Insert sketch pictures.
Best for surfacing models when Projected Curves will be used. See this project for examples.23) Edit sketch plane for features
Right click on sketch in FM tree, ‘Edit Sketch plane.’ It’s best to do this early or you’ll make a big mess. 24) "*" to expand a dir or feature tree.
Can’t get this to work in Windows 7. Anyone else?
25) Double click on a stray toolbar to put it back in its place
26) How to name dims and features.
The “Show dimension names” option has moved to the View menu or HUD. But the name itself can still be changed from the dimension PropertyManager
27) Trim tool also will extend
Powertrim! It slices, it dices, it… extends? Click and drag on an existing entity. It changes the length without messing with the angle, size, etc. Also, to undo a single powertrim command, just drag back over the red dot that’s formed when you trim.
28) Use simple sketches instead of nested contours to build parts.
See3 29) Give names to your mates to make them easy to find
Definitely a good idea, since most of us probably only use 4 types of mates, they can all start to blur together very quickly.
30) Exercise your sketches to see what needs mates/relations
See 1 31) Vertical vs horizontal as defined by the sketch origin
This is where we started running out of time and skipping a few… 32) Select loop/tangency
From RMB menu. Useful for converting entities, making filled surfaces, etc. 33)Clear selection option when working with dialog boxes 34) If the dimensions are highlighted in blue, just type new values, no need to (re)select or delete them
This is for things like extrusion depths. Just click on the feature, then single-click the dimension and type. 35) Alt key shortcuts
Add mates, access menu bars, etc. 36) Convert lots of diff things to a 3d sketch
Useful for adding edging around complex parts (as a sweep path). 37) Split the feature manager into 2
Pull down on the top of the FM to view 2 tabs at once. 38) How to use the "display references/constraints" goggles
The preferred alternative to leaving “View Sketch Relations on all the time.
If you’re an active member of FredSWUG, and want to have a say in the direction of the group, I encourage you to take this survey to help us improve. Thanks!
Does your company have a meeting venue that the group would be able to use?
Does the venue have A/V equipment (projector, screen, etc)?
What is the style of the venue (i.e. conference room, training room, cafeteria)?
How many people can the room hold comfortably?
Do you have any suggestions or requests for other types for meeting venues (college classrooms, restaurants, museums)?
Are the locations and times of FredSWUG meetings easily accessible?
Would you be interested in giving a presentation at a future meeting?
If so, do you have a topic in mind?
Would you prefer hearing one in-depth presentation, or multiple shorter presentations at FredSWUG meetings?
Which presentation(s) have you enjoyed most so far?
February: Surfacing, Eman Kim (TriMech), @ Syntronics
March: Weldments, Avelino Rochino (SolidWorks), @ McQ
April: Simulation, Paul Becker (TriMech), @ Syntronics
May: CNC & Printed Circuit Board Design, Frank Maas (SCI Corp), @ HDT
Which topics would you be most interested in about at future meetings?
Appearances & rendering
Assemblies & Mating
Macros and API
Import/Export & translation
Core modeling (Parts & Features)
GD&T (Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing)
Collaboration (eDrawings, n!Fuze, 3D PDF, etc)
2D (Draftsight, 2D Editor, AutoCAD import, etc)
Do you know anyone who would benefit from a notification about FredSWUG?
Do you have any suggestions for SolidWorks-branded prizes (similar to the notebooks, baseballs, etc we’ve gotten in the past)
Send your responses to Fred_SWUG@gmail.com
Thanks for taking the time to help improve FredSWUG!
Hi all,The next FredSWUG meeting will be held at: McQ, Inc.
1551 Forbes St
Thursday, June 16that 6:00 pm We have a presentation on DriveWorksXpress, a design automation tool included with every seat of SolidWorks. Additionally, Adam Snow has come up with a great best practices/common mistakes presentation that will surely be very useful to all. I also have a mini-presentation on using decals in SolidWorks, based on feedback from some of the members who would like to larn more about appearances. And don’t forget, we’ve got great food coming from Qdoba, so come hungry! Thanks everyone, see you on the 16th. Daniel Herzberg