Welcome to SolidWorks World 2015!

You’ve arrived! Welcome to beautiful Phoenix, Arizona, home of cacti, rattlesnakes, and SolidWorks World 2015.

What’s next? Registration of course. Head over to the top floor of the stunning Phoenix Convention Center to register, and pick up your first collection of swag. This year’s backpack transforms into a messenger bag, the T-shirt carries on the hexagonal theme of all the media we’ve seen leading up to the event, and even the badges have gotten a modern makeover.

Everyone has access to wifi in the convention center this year! The back of your badge provides the password, along with some other very helpful tips (like “Drink free beer daily”).

While you’re in the registration area, you can even get your picture taken with this year’s animated mascots, or get some one-on-one help installing the new mobile app.

The wifi isn’t the only thing that makes the Phoenix Convention Center great. The gorgeous architecture and art installations make the few days you’ll spend here even more memorable.

Now that you’re settled in, what can you expect for the rest of the week?

Monday, immediately after breakfast, you’ll want to be first in line for the General Session. Do as the badge says and run, don’t walk. This is when they’ll likely make the official announcement that GianPaolo Bassi is replacing Bertrand Sicot as CEO of SolidWorks, as Bertrand moves up to a position in Dassault. We’ll also learn more about the release of the new Industrial Conceptual product (which was teased last year), and Rick Chin will chat with SolidWorks customer Thalmic about their incredible products.

After the keynote address by Bre Pettis of Makerbot, there are dozens of technical training sessions during the day, but only really matters. I expect to see you all at my presentation, “What You Didn’t Know About Assemblies and Mating” at 4:30 in room North 120D. Be there or be 2D.

Monday night is “Find a Party” night. Hook up with your VAR or your favorite vendor, or hang out with your fellow CSWEs and Twitterers at “the most interesting restaurant in America.” There’s no shortage of nightlife tonight, but you may have to go searching for it. Take a risk, make some friends, and get out there.

No time for recovery, because you’re back at it again bright and early Tuesday morning. Today’s General Session will feature presentations from the User Group, Education, and Certification teams, as well as announcements about major upgrades to my.SolidWorks. You’ll also hear from another incredible SolidWorks customer, Astrobiotic.


Continuing the space theme, the keynote address will be delivered by futurist, theoretical physicist, author and professor Dr. Michio Kaku. If you’ve ever seen an episode of Nova, or some Discovery Channel special on the universe, you’ll probably recognize Dr. Kaku.

After choosing from today’s dozens of stimulating technical training sessions, Tuesday night ends with a bang. And a YEE-HAWW probably. The thousands of SolidWorks World attendees will be treated to an unforgettable night of Mexican Rodeo thrills, live music, and authentic food at Corona Ranch.

Another day, another General Session, but this is the big one. So packed with information on new features and products, you can’t afford to miss it, no matter how hardy you partied the night before. They’ll review the Model Mania contest (which you should try out while you’re checking out the Partner Pavilion), and announce the winners. They’ll present the final keynote speaker of the conference – designer and perpetual TED Talker Jinsop Lee. Bruce Holway and the Product Definition team will announce this year’s Top Ten enhancement list with the entire SolidWorks community has been voting on through the forums for months (and I’ll update my data). This section always a lot of applause from the crowd, as they hear that their favorite features will likely be implemented soon.

Most importantly, the Product Marketing team will present their ever-entertaining What’s New skit, giving us our first sneak peek into what to expect in SolidWorks 2016. Just to give you an idea of the quality of these gems, recent skits have included CADman and Rib-in, and Back to the Feature.

Finally, the executives will bid us a final farewell, and announce the location of SolidWorks World 2016 (NO SPOILERS PLEASE!)

Before you pack it in and head back to reality, remember there are still three Technical Training sessions on Wednesday after the General Session, so don’t waste a second! It’s easy to lose momentum at this point, but remember, World is an endurance test. You’ll feel so accomplished after you power through to the end.

Good luck!

March FredSWUG Meeting Recap

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 (MondayTuesdayWednesday), the official SolidWorks Blog recap (MondayTuesday,Wednesday), and my “SolidWorks World According to Twitter” posts (MondayTuesday,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!

Discount Codes from SolidWorks World 2012

Many of the vendors in the Partner Pavillion at SolidWorks World decided against giving out freebies and swag, and instead opted to distribute coupon codes for their products to the attendees.  And since you’re all attendees at heart, I’d like to share the few of the best that I found. (If you know of more, add them in the comments.)

Mill It Now – Rapid CNC prototyping


10% Discount Code:
Valid indefinitely

iGet It – Online SolidWorks Training Courses


30% Discount Code: SWX2012
Valid through March 31, 2012

SolidProfessor – Online SolidWorks Training Courses


Bundle Upgrade Code (reduce the price of your product to the price of the next lowest product): SPUpgrade
Valid indefinitely

Best SolidSwag of SolidWorks World 2012

SolidWorks World is full of fun events, new information, and learning opportunities. But we all you why you’re REALLY here. It’s all about the SolidSwag. Here’s my breakdown of the best freebies, goodies, and giveaways at this year’s conference.

1) DriveWorks Dancing Wind-Up Robot – Booth 324

2) SolidWorks Beer Coozie/Gauntlet – Booth 141


3) iGet It Wooden Puzzle – Booth 100


The SolidWorks World Trifecta

I’ve done it. The triple crown, the hat trick, the turkey, the trifecta.  I’ve been invited to SolidWorks World 2012 by three -count ’em, THREE – different groups inside the SolidWorks organization.  Each group invited me for a different reason, but all based on my contributions to the SolidWorks community. 

I was first invited by Richard Doyle, in my capacity as a SolidWorks User Group Leader.  My Fredericksburg area user group (FredSWUG) was founded in December of 2010, and has consistently maintained a small but passionate membership.  With this invitation, I was also gifted one free admission to the conference.

The second invitation came from the PR department at SoidWorks – thanks to Matt West and Kristen Wilson – in my capacity as a blogger (which hopefully you know about if you’re reading this). Apparently Solidworks has noticed my work, and thought it worthy enough to reward.  This came as a total surprise to me, but I’m very flattered.  A good deal of credit should go to Josh Mings of SolidSmack, who helped me get started.  This invitation included hotel accommodations and access to SolidWorks VIPs at the press event.

Finally, the most exciting invitation came from the office of the CEO himself, Bertrand Sicot. As regular followers may know, I recently underwent surgery to replace a defective heart valve.  The company that manufactures the mechanical heart valve I was given, On-X Life Technologies, inc. recently switched from Pro/E to SolidWorks as their major design package to design these life-saving medical devices. Thanks once again to Matt West, Mr. Sicot Heard about my story, and thought it would be perfect to share in the first General Session of SolidWorks World 2012! 

I’ll have behind-the-scenes access to the main stage that day, I’ll be seated in the front row, and I may even be on stage with Bertrand (that part isn’t clear yet). With this final invitation, I was offered complementary airfare to and from the event. I might just be the only non-SolidWorks Employee to attend the conference completely free!  

It’s a great feeling to be so respected among a community of intelligent, passionate people such as this, and I promise to keep doing my part to show the world how amazing we all are.


FredSWUG October Meeting

Hi guys,


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:


  1. Attend this month’s meeting
  2. 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).
  3. 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).




Also, don’t forget about our private forum page, and the FredSWUG blog.


As always, spread the word, and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.





Daniel Herzberg
  FredSWUG Chair

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New @3DConnexion driver exercises your overactive wrist

3DConnexion, the first and last name in 3D human interface devices (aka: SpaceBalls) recently released the Beta version of their newest driver package.  This update brings your 3D mouse out of it’s current comfort zone of 3D modeling packages and large-number earth viewers, and into your everyday computer shenanigans.  3DConnexion’s description of the new upgrade explains it all:


The simple 3DxWare 10 interface allows you to assign keyboard strokes and traditional mouse or joystick movements in any combination to the 3D mouse. For example, tilt the controller cap to scroll a Web page, twist the cap to adjust the volume in iTunes, or use all six axes to pilot a helicopter in Battlefield Bad Company 2. The choice of application and assignment of the six axes and up to 31 function keys (depending on the 3D mouse model) is entirely up to you.

3DxWare 10 offers limitless possibilities for incorporating 3D mice into everyday use, including:

  • Documents and Browsers
    3D mice now offer a compelling alternative to traditional mouse wheel navigation in documents, spreadsheets and Web pages. Gently tilt the 3D mouse cap to scroll the view up or down or twist the cap to zoom in and out.

  • Games
    Most PC gamers rely on a combination of traditional mouse and keyboard to control their character or camera view, but with 3DxWare 10 a 3D mouse can be used to deliver intuitive and comfortable control in games like The Sims 3. It’s also possible for the 3D mouse to emulate a joystick or gamepad for a rich 3D experience in games such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, Wings of Prey and Need for Speed.

  • Media Players
    Until 3DxWare 10, controlling the volume, track selection or position was typically handled by the traditional mouse and keyboard shortcuts. With a 3D mouse, you can twist the cap to adjust the volume, tilt the cap sideways to fast forward and rewind, and tilt the cap forward or backward to move between tracks in your playlist. If you want to handle it a different way, it’s easy to customize the 3D mouse to your needs.

  • 3D Collaboration
    3DxWare 10 also provides a new feature for professional users by allowing multiple 3D mice to be used on one workstation. This innovative development enables easier viewing of 3D models in group design reviews or client presentations.

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Pimp my Ride with SolidSwag

At the first FredSWUG meeting, we had more SolidSwag than we knew what to do with.  Everyone jumped for the gas cards, polo shirts and flash drives, but no one seemed to go for the best prize of all: the SolidWorks-emblazoned stem valve caps. The fools.  I snatched these up as soon as I could, and finally, on this gorgeous Sunday morning, anointed Charlie the Charger with his first SolidSwag…


The valve caps in their packaging



Charlie is very happy with his new SolidSwag



I also put these stickers on the engine mount, because why have a MOPAR engine when you can have a turbojet?



My First SolidWorks World – Part 1

It’s safe to say that the experience of my very first SolidWorks World was unforgettable.  That being said, this post is more a record for my benefit than it is for all of you. So, before I forget it all, here’s a very long-winded description of my week in San Antonio…




My journey to SolidWorks World 2011 began at 3:30am Saturday morning.  Before this point, 3:30 and I had only met a few times, and we usually ended up sleeping together.  But this time, I didn’t get that opportunity.  I didn’t mind, I’d been waiting for this day to come for months.  I was so ready: my bags were packed, my SolidSwag clothes were laid out, and breakfast was quick and easy. 


I drove a little more than an hour to the airport, leaving another hour or so to park, take the shuttle to the terminal, and get through security. It took me less than 20 minutes.  Turns out I could have avoided that awkward moment with 3:30.

The quick hop from Richmond to Charlotte – where I had an hour layover – was uneventful, and I was excited to already see backpacks from previous SolidWorks Worlds gathering at the gate.  It really made me appreciate how widespread this conference is.  The plane arrived that would (attempt) to carry me from Charlotte all the way to San Antonio, and I was a bit put off at how tiny it was:


It was even too small to connect to the jetway, so we all walked out onto the tarmac to board.  I’d never had to do that, even at the smallest airports.  Somehow this tin can made it all the way there without falling out of the sky, and I arrived in San Antonio around 12:00 noon.  I hadn’t even gotten to baggage claim before I bumped into someone from the SolidWorks community that I knew:  Tom Cote, co-leader of my very first SolidWorks User Group (which hosted my very first user group presentation).  After we’d caught up for a few minutes, I caught the ‘SWUGN Shuttle’ to my hotel.  I want to thank Richard Doyle (SolidWorks User Group Network Community Manager) and Ralph Hernandez (Central Texas SWUG Leader) for organizing transportation for so many SWUGN members on their way into San Antonio.  


I reached my hotel, and within 60 seconds of checking in, I slipped on some kind of spill in the front lobby.  And what do you know, I ended up with free wifi for my whole stay!  Hooray for blackmail! Once I got to my room (on the top floor) I was able to take some pictures of my great view:


The room itself was really nice, and I ended up with a huge king bed.  But I didn’t stick around to enjoy it for too long, it was time to explore the city.


The San Antonio Riverwalk is a beautifully landscaped area that sits on many miles of the banks of the San Antonio River.  It’s home to dining, museums, shops, nightlife, and the annual San Antonio Fiesta (during which, apparently, a good number of inebriated revelers find themselves in the river).  And, with a local temperature of about 63 degrees that day, I took the opportunity to have my lunch outside, by the river’s edge.  The Riverwalk also served as my main highway that week.  It ran directly from my hotel to the convention center to the other hotels and bars to downtown, and was home to almost everything I needed or wanted to see during my stay.  And the gorgeous waterfalls, bridges, lights, and secluded areas made it an enjoyable walk any time of day or night.


I spent most of the rest of that day exploring the area, and the main locations associated with SolidWorks World. The convention center (which at that point was still hosting a wedding expo), the larger hotels (and hotel bars), and the Riverwalk in between.




I was down in the convention center bright and early for registration, where I got the first taste of SWW SolidSwag – including the ubiquitous SolidWorks World backpack and T-shirt, and my fully-loaded conference badge:


Then I met up with some bloggers/Twits for breakfast, before heading over to my first roundtable discussion of the day.  These discussions were hosted by the Product Definition team at SolidWorks, who wanted to get real, uninhibited feedback from the most hard-core SolidWorks users.  I sat in these discussions with some of the biggest names in the SolidWorks community, including Wayne Tiffany, Jerry Steiger, and Charles Culp. Needless to say, I was honored to be among them for not one, but four discussions that day. I was even more thrilled that I seemed to be able to hold my own in discussions with these heavy hitters.


The first forum of the day focused on Options and Defaults in SolidWorks.  I brought up some pretty good ideas, such as my plan to redesign the user interface for customizing mouse gestures, and creating a statistics tool for full assemblies, and developing a Windows 7-esque search tool for the options pane.

The next focus group centered on Installation and Ownership, and the discussion covered a variety of interesting topics, including:


  • Whether or not SolidWorks should be internet-based (or at least require an internet connection to start up)


This was brought up as a possible solution to combating piracy.  We all agreed that piracy sucks and we’d like to see SolidWorks combat it a little more strongly, but we also agreed that this was not the way to do it.  Between the necessity of working on the road and spotty internet coverage in some developing nations – such as Brazil, a big SolidWorks territory, and home of one of the focus group’s members – the overwhelming opinion was that now was not the time to implement this strategy.


  • Whether add-ons and tools found in the SolidWorks Professional and SolidWorks Premium packages should be sold as individual ‘Apps’ (in addition to being bundled together)


This concept brought out more mixed opinions from the group, as there are significant pros and cons to this proposal.  On one hand, each app would cost more than it now does, as bundled with other tools. However, customers would pay for only what they really need, and would most likely save in the long run.  However, buying only what you need severely limits the opportunities for learning new skills and growing as a user and as a company.


(I’d also like to point out that the concept of a SolidWorks ‘App Store’ came up multiple times over the course of the conference, and may be something to look out for, in one form or another, relatively soon.)


After a quick lunch with Joe “FlowJoe” Galliera and the rest of the SolidWorks Simulation team, it was back to the roundtables.  The Sustainability roundtable was led by Asheen Phansey, and the Configurations roundtable was led by Sal Lama.  These sessions were both similar to the morning’s groups, with the SolidWorks R&D team looking for suggestions and input in to the direction of the product.  However, I don’t think any of the discussions ever became as passionate as those in the Ownership group.

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FredSWUG SolidSwag is here!

I just received my first box of goodies direct from the SWUGmeister himself, Richard Doyle.  And although I’d happily keep all of this great swag for myself, it’s all going to the lucky SolidWorks who will be attending FredSWUG’s first meeting!  It’s shaping up to be a great success, and I hope to see you all there!  If you can’t make it, tell someone who can.  Ahd thir mother. And her dog.  Because a bunch of lucky SolidWorks Geeks are walking away with this and more…



We’ve got SolidWorks polos, flash drives, baseballs, even stem valve caps for your tires! Although, sadly, the baseball was not autographed by Stone Doyle.


Daniel Herzberg


FredSWUG Chair


FredSWUG Homepage

@Fred_SWUG on Twitter