Archive for October, 2007

Is there life beyond DriveWorksXpress?

Monday, October 29th, 2007

I would imagine by now many of you are now enjoying DriveWorksXpress 2008. I have been asked: “since DriveWorksXpress does so many things why would I bother upgrading to the full version?”.

That was one of my first thoughts as well! It does appear DriveWorks is giving away the farm in the Xpress package. The control of drawings, parts, sub assemblies is so easy – what more do you need, right?

While it is certainly true that DriveWorksXpress (or DWX as it is often called) does a lot of great things, the full version of DriveWorks does even more. A nice comparison chart between the two products can be found here.

However the excitement of reading a chart is nothing compared to a top ten count down eh? So I thought I would give you my top 10 reasons why anyone would want to upgrade when they already have the free DWX.

10. DriveWorks gives me the ability to create the cloned files in any file path I choose

9. DriveWorks gives me the ability to control scales of drawing views

8. DriveWorks has API. Since it is programmable, if I can dream it, I can do it

7. DriveWorks will allow me to have multiple drawings for parts and assemblies

6. DriveWorks gives me the ability to do data lookups (even to external databases!), making nested if-then-else statements a thing of the past

5. Creating, managing, debugging, and controlling the revision of rules is much easier in DriveWorks. (DWX does a great job for parts and small assemblies, but the bigger the assembly, the better DriveWorks looks.)

4. DriveWorks will allow me to create more than one custom user dialog box, with more controls giving the user (maybe even customer) a better understanding of what they are specifying.

3. DriveWorks can drive more than SolidWorks documents. It can generate quotes, BOMs, PDFs, order acknowledgements, XMLs, etc.

2. With DriveWorks I have the scalability to allow more than one user to specify the product at a time, without even having to install SolidWorks on their machines. Specifications can even be done over the Internet.

1. DriveWorks specification test – when I am debugging large specifications I can watch my variables and rule outputs change “live” as the user populates his dialog boxes, without having to generate a single file!

Turns out it was rather difficult to choose only 10, I had several “honorable mentions” and I am sure people will argue with my order, but I guess that is what the comment section of these blogs is all about!

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

What’s New in 2008 Technical Tip: Setting a default RealView Appearance for all parts/assys

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Several people have asked me if/how you can set a DEFAULT RealView Appearance for any part that you open. There are really TWO ways to do this. The RealView Appearance gets SAVED WITH THE PART/ASSY FILE. So, for any NEW parts that you are going to create in SolidWorks2008, if you set a RealView Appearance in your part or assembly TEMPLATE and save the template, it will use that appearance. But the real reason people are asking about this is for when they open up an “old” file, which the template option described above will not help…

SO the ultimate way to set a DEFAULT RealView Appearance is to click on the RealView tab (over on the TaskPane) and expand the SCENES node… Inside the 3 sub-folders are all of the RealView Appearances to choose from (Basic Scenes have lights, Studio Scenes add a floor, and Presentation Scenes have a 3D cubic environment). When you find which Appearance you want just RIGHT CLICK on it and choose “SET AS DEFAULT APPEARANCE”! Now every “old” part that you open from previous versions of SolidWorks will use that DEFAULT Appearance!

Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

Planning for Finite Element Analysis – Part II of IV

Thursday, October 25th, 2007


Based on the industry, each customer has stringent requirements that are to be met by either the design, or the Finite Element Analysis results, or both. For example, a customer A can have a requirement that states that the factor of safety of the design should be at least 2, and that the maximum deflection on the design should not exceed 0.10 inches upon full-load application. Customer B might require the design to be within a certain dimensional volume based on overall length, width and height, while satisfying a stress criterion of less than 60,000 psi.

It is thus imperative that all conditions laid out by the customer are gathered in order to come up with a complete solution to the problem. These include the correct geometry, relevant material information, accurate load and restraint conditions, any contact conditions, details on deliverable deadlines and review dates, and format of results to be presented.

Since FEA relies heavily on accurate model setup, each extra specification contributed by the customer to the analysis will help in reduction of errors, and removal of simulation unknowns. This will also keep the analyst from having to guess the correct constraints and loads on the model. Spending sufficient time during initial investigation is bound to lay the groundwork for accurate model setup and consistent results.

Often, there are situations where stipulations set by the customer can be conflicting with either theoretical observations, or preliminary solutions (For instance, models built for manufacturing may have too much detail in them, which can be simplified during analysis). In such scenarios, it might be worthwhile in communicating with the customer. This might help re-align the analysis objectives, or even relinquish certain specifications.

(…To Be Continued)

Vikram Vedantham

Simulation Product Manager 3DVision Technologies

Sneak preview of DriveWorks 6.3

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

I installed the “early visibility” of DriveWorks SP 6.3 today. The installation went very quickly – about 5 minutes. (Especially compared with my 49 minute installation of SolidWorks SP 0.1 earlier in the day.) The highlight of the service pack appears to be a new wizard that imports a DriveWorksXpress project directly into an existing DriveWorks group. The wizard was quick and I got pretty good results.

I don’t think this wizard will be a normal workflow for people who already own DriveWorks, but will be a great tool for those that are new to DriveWorks – bringing their Xpress data up to their new system.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Planning for Finite Element Analysis – Part I of IV

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

With the integration that is available today between CAD and FEA, it is not uncommon to take model setup for granted, and put out fires at the end if there are conflicting results. For a seasoned FEA user, this approach works effectively enough. However, a little planning ahead can go a long way in ensuring correct results.

Analysis is a lot like tightrope walking. One misstep in the setup can cause results to look disastrous. However, if setup correctly, the results can be superlative and extremely invaluable in terms of time, money and resources. For example, if a cantilever is fixed on one end, and a load is applied on the other, the results will be synchronous with real-life testing. However, if the fixed restraint was not applied, and was substituted with a hinge type of restraint, then the cantilever would not behave as expected. One degree of freedom can make a world of difference if it is not accounted for in the model.

This brings about an interesting discussion on the rules to follow to minimize the chances of errors during analysis setup.


The first step in performing an analysis is to take sufficient time to assess the contribution of analysis to the entire design objective. An optimal design can be a by-product of analysis, or analysis can be treated as just a final spell-check on a functional design. If the scope of the analysis is outlined at inception based upon its role in the design phase, the influence of assumptions/idealization of geometry and loads can be charted clearly.

It is also important to make sure that sufficient details are gathered before setting up the problem. The type of geometry, the nature of the problem, the type of material(s), the loading conditions, the pattern of loading, the required outputs, and the time scale for completion of the analysis are examples of some important data to assimilate before conception of analysis.

While it is not a requirement, setting the platform for analysis by glancing through the theory governing the nature of the problem will help the user make appropriate judgments on validity issues. Performing simple hand calculations by using computer simulations/applets etc. can also be very useful in laying the groundwork for analysis. Successful analysis is often accompanied by spreadsheets that carry detailed research tracking trends in results with variations in pre-processing.

(…to be continued)

Vikram Vedantham

Simulation Product Manager 3DVision Technologies


Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

COSMOS is the FEA tool built to function right inside your SolidWorks interface. It is intended to empower both specialists and designers/engineers with capabilities to analyze their designs in an easy and resourceful way, and understand the results with its extremely user-friendly post-processing features.

Its efficient integration with SolidWorks makes it all the more versatile. In-built features such as using design scenarios for What if scenarios and easy re-analysis of design changes makes the tool technically sound. The breadth of the product in terms of addressing typical industry problems from stress analysis to fluid flow problems makes COSMOS a comprehensive mainstream product. Added to this, the comfortable pricing pattern makes the package affordable and a welcome tool in the industry today.

The origins of COSMOS run back to 1985 when Structural Research Analysis Corporation (SRAC) came out with the first FEA product for personal computers. It was called COSMOS/M and carried linear and non-linear functionality that was further developed during the following years.

By 1995, SolidWorks came into being, and started gaining ground as a Windows-based CAD application. SRAC became a partner solution to SolidWorks, and became the first Gold Partner in 1997. This enabled COSMOS to have single-window integration with SolidWorks. This integration allowed full associativity with the CAD model.

SolidWorks Corp. acquired SRAC in 2002, and COSMOS has now become a product that is developed and released by SolidWorks Corp. This unification has strengthened the bond between the products from a product development standpoint, and has helped in all portions of customer satisfaction, including concurrent sales, training and technical support.

COSMOS now enjoys the privileges of being a first-choice product for the CAD industry, and is an ever-growing application while maintaining its stance on ease-of-use. For more information on COSMOS, and to sign up for a free seminar on COSMOS in Ohio, Indiana or Kentucky, please visit

Vikram Vedantham

Simulation Product Manager 3DVision Technologies

What’s New in SolidWorks 2008

Friday, October 19th, 2007

What’s New in SolidWorks 2008

We’d like to thank many of you who attended one of our local “What’s New in SolidWorks 2008″ events. It was good to see friendly faces from training classes that I hadn’t seen in a while. It was also good to hear that business is growing for many of you. A few of you asked if the presentations could be made available to you. Many of you did not get to attend, but would like to flip through the presentations. You can download “What’s New in SolidWorks 2008″ and “Whats New in Cosmos 2008″ at

Scott High

Technical Services Manager 3DVision Technologies

Welcome to the 3DVision Blog!

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Welcome to the 3DVision Technologies blog site. Our Application Engineers and Technical Support staff will provide ongoing commentary about the design engineering community and its’ related topics. Please feel free to participate and comment at will. We hope you enjoy it!

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