Archive for June, 2008

Grandfather your duplicate file names

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Let’s take another letter from our letter bag:

Dear Engineering Data Specialist Man,
I have been using PDMWorks Enterprise for a while now and have just found the option to not allow duplicate file names, but unfortunately I know there are hundreds of files already in the vault that have duplicate file names -especially from the legacy data I imported when I first started using PDMWorks Enterprise. Is it too late for me to turn this option on? Do I have to go through my entire vault looking for duplicate file names first? Please help quickly, I even lost a tennis match recently because of my concern! -- Ana I.

Thanks for the question. You are most wise to see the value of this option. Duplicate file names for some file types may be okay, but it is a terrible way of life if you have duplicate SolidWorks file names. You’re luck. PDMWorks Enterprise only does the duplicate file name check when a file is leaving the private state. Thus if you have a file that has a duplicated file name already in the vault, you may continue to check in/out the file as normal. You can even create a file with a duplicate file name, you simply cannot check the file in for the first time!

P.S. Try not to roll your wrist so much on your backhand, you’ll get a lot more control.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

A little Easter Egg in SW 2008 SP4

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

From the release notes:

CircuitWorks helps electrical and mechanical design engineers make sure printed circuit boards fit and function in mechanical products. CircuitWorks functionality is now available as a part of SolidWorks Office Premium. To access CircuitWorks, click Tools, Add-Ins, and under Other Add-ins, select CircuitWorks 2008.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Accuracy of FEA – a needless complication

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

I had to write about an interesting discussion I had yesterday with a CAE peer – a discussion on estimating the accuracy of analysis results. Finite Element theory has traditionally preached stress convergence. Instructors and technical staff tell the user to work towards making sure the mesh is fine enough at high stress areas so that the stress values do not change appreciably over successive runs.

To supplement this procedure, COSMOS has gotten ever so easier to use as well. Any trained designer/engineer can pick up meshing tips pretty fast. COSMOS makes it so straight forward, that the user only has to know two options in meshing – creating a mesh, and applying mesh controls.

Amongst all this commotion on accuracy, the user ends up overlooking a fundamental objective in performing analysis – GAINING DESIGN INSIGHT!!  More often than not, the objective of analysis is to understand where the high stresses are in a model, and try to mitigate their effects. The question here is:

Is it that critical to know exactly what the values of high stresses are at that location?

More often than not, you would answer no to this question. Granted that there is going to be a need every now and then to work towards the exact values!! But in most cases, one can bank upon design experience to estimate the necessary additional strength at a high stress location.

The locations of the high stress are not going to change, the values might!! But once the locations are identified, then in most cases, it is just a matter of applying design principles to strengthen these areas. The exact converged value of stress becomes a mute number that only quantifies the already known weak locations.

I see major advantages to considering design insight:

    1. Saves time involved in working towards stress convergence, and worrying about divergence issues.
    2. Saves discussions on what are the most accurate stress results
    3. Gets one away from modeling FEA-focused features (like fillets etc.) to avoid singularities
    4. Gets one thinking about the design than analysis

Using analysis to understand the model may be the thing of the future. Use it to your advantage – if you know a design can fail if the stresses seem to localize at a weak spot, try to focus time and energy on directly strengthening that location.

Hey!! If a dartboard can give you points even if you miss bulls-eye, then why not analysis!!

Vikram Vedantham

Simulation Product Manager 3DVision Technologies

PDMWorks Enterprise on a Mac?

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Imagine you have several people who use a Mac at work. It would be nice if they could directly contribute to your engineering projects -so all your project data could be in one place. Last week during an install in Kentucky I ran across one of our customers using Parallels Desktop for MAC with Enterprise. It looked pretty good!

With Parallels, a window of Microsoft Windows is available on the Mac desktop. The user activates this window if he wants to check in/out files then minimizes the Parallels window and now he can do his “crazy Mac thing”!

The “Remove local copy” command during checkin didn’t seem to work, but “clear local cache” did, so that seemed to be a pretty good work around.

Obviously SolidWorks doesn’t support it, but it seemed stable enough for production.

[<shudder> Two blog posts in a row that mention Macs. I hope my family back at home aren't reading these.]

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Double Click your rule

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Mouse travel. Invented by the evil Macintosh empire to turn all happy keyboarders in the DOS world into mindless clicking drones.

While building rules in DriveWorks you may have thought the programmers at DriveWorks have a big poster of Steven Jobs in their war room. Click on the rule, click on the “Build” button…back and forth you would go.

“Is there any salvation?!”

“Holy one button mouses, it’s Engineering Data Specialist Man!”

“Yes, kids, it is I, your friendly neighborhood Engineering Data Specialist Man here to remind you that you can simply double click on your DriveWorks rule to edit it. There is no need to wear down your mouse pads!”

“Now up, up and away!

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

SolidWorks 2009 Beta

Friday, June 13th, 2008

SolidWorks has finally started their 2009 beta program.

Why do you care?

  1. It is fun getting to see things before everyone else
  2. This gives your company a head start on what is coming down the pike. More time for planning on how your company can take advantage of the new tools. Is there a process that can be shortened with the new SolidWorks features?
  3. This is the best time to make sure the SolidWorks features you rely on will continue to work in the new version. When the software is in beta, bugs are fixed much quicker than once the software is in production.
  4. Prizes

[With the beta program in full swing, this means the 3DVision 2009 roll outs are on their way. Free continuing education, just like Christmas but without all the screaming kids. Keep an eye out for the announcement.]

You can sign up for the beta program on the SolidWorks customer portal.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Rabbit hutch weldment

Monday, June 9th, 2008

My daughter tricked me into buying her a rabbit for 4-H. (It is a long story; I am too embarrassed to tell.)

I had no hutch, so I did what any engineer would do, I went on-line to see if there were any designs I could download. I found a few designs, but they were not in my budget range. (i.e. none free)

As with any do-it-your-self project I undertake there were casualties:


So why is this in a SolidWorks blog?

  • I designed the hutch in SolidWorks, it has two interesting features that I wanted to show you:
    1. Note that I designed the hutch using the poorly named SolidWorks weldment feature. A weldment for something made out of wood? Sure! The weldment feature is a great tool to use any time you have multiple length parts sharing a common cross section. You don’t have to come up with a zillion configurations or part files. Plus you get cut lists – I was able to whittle my $100 worth of lumber to a small pile pretty quickly.
    2. Most weldments utilize a 3D sketch. I don’t care how good you are with 3D sketches, it is far easier to work with solids. Notice I started with a solid, then created a 3D sketch, then related my sketch entities to the solid? Now I can quickly change the interior volume of the hutch by changing my solid’s size. As nice as this example is, complex weldments [3D sketches] with bent pieces get an even faster payoff.
  • I will be building a window seat sometime soon, hopefully someone will design one in SolidWorks and pass it on to me.

Finished hutch
SolidWorks file.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Delete and destroy at once

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

I just learned something new today. When working in the PDMWorks Enterprise vault, if you have “Destroy” rights and hold down the SHIFT key while deleting a file -the file will automatically be destroyed and not go in the Enterprise recycle bin.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

The power of the press

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

I have a good friend who worked for a company where they had an elaborate workflow design process. Their workflow was managed by PDMWorks Enterprise. (Actually back then it was Conisio.)

In my opinion their designed workflow was way to complex…but I digress… It would take quite a while for their parts to go through this workflow and my buddy was always the scapegoat! In reality the parts sat on his boss’ desk waiting for approval almost as long as my friend had them…and he had to do the design changes.

This boss was the kind of guy who was never wrong. You couldn’t go to him and directly tell him he was the root of all evil -errrrr the company’s major design flow bottle neck.

[I learned a long time ago, the best way to get someone to agree with you is to get them to think your idea was their idea in the first place.]

We told the boss about the power of PDMWorks Enterprise report generation. Since PDMWorks Enterprise tracks who did what, where and why to every document, we could generate reports showing the status of every document in the vault. It took us a few more dots to connect for this guy, but eventually he came up with the idea to generate a report showing every document in every state and the length of time it was there.

As we expected, the report showed the documents were in the “Waiting for approval” state nearly as long as in any other state! As I recall, the report was only run one or two more times, before his boss decided the reports were “not really as helpful as they should be”. Less than a month later, the workflow was changed and his boss was no longer directly involved in the approvals process.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join other followers
Powered By