Archive for November, 2010

3DVision at SolidWorks World 2011

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

The agenda for SolidWorks World has been released, and there will be plenty of good presentations provided by familiar faces.  3DVision will be sending seven of our technical resources to host presentations at SWW in San Antonio from January 23rd-26th.

Monday the 24th:

  • Jeff Sweeney presents “How to Create a Best Practice Document” @ 1:30pm
  • Robert Warren & Josh Spencer present “SolidWorks Utilities and The Kitchen Sink” @ 1:30pm
  • Bill Reuss presents “CAD is not flat – 2D to 3D with Sheet Metal [Hands-on]” @ 2:45pm
  • Jordan Tadic presents “Rendering Like a Pro (in less than 30 minutes) [Hands-on]” @ 2:45pm
  • Jeff Sweeney presents “A Story of Implementing SolidWorks Enterprise in a Global Corporation” @ 2:45pm
  • Randy Simmons presents “Introduction to SolidWorks Routing (Tubing/Conduit/Piping ONLY) [Hands-on]” @ 2:45pm

Tuesday the 25th:

  • Josh Spencer presents “Staying on Track with the Design Checker [Hands-on]” @ 1:30pm
  • Keith Rice presents “Debugging the Most Brutal Install and Startup Issues” @ 4:30pm
  • Randy Simmons presents “Introduction to SolidWorks Routing (Tubing/Conduit/Piping ONLY) [Hands-on]” @ 4:30pm

Wednesday the 26th:

  • Keith Rice presents “Taking Macros to the People: Hands on for Beginners” @ 10:30pm
  • Jordan Tadic presents “Surfacing Tricks for Solid Modeling” @ 2:45pm

If you haven’t registered yet, JUST DO IT at the link below (notice the link for a justification letter on the front page)!


Basically, if you’ve ever taken a 4-day essentials class and thought that was a lot to absorb, imagine four days of non-stop learning, networking, and excitement while being able to choose the topic for each and every hour of the day.  Additionally, there will be all kinds of fun events like the exclusive CSWE/CSWP event.  Hope to see you there!

Jordan Tadic

Certified Elite Application Engineer 3DVision Technologies

“We’ve got a digital flow bench, we don’t need no stinkin’ flow balls!”

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Traditionally air flow benches have been used since the late 70′s by racing oriented shops to optimize the air flow in engine cylinder heads, manifolds and other intake/exhaust devices. Originally developed by OEM’s this technology has since been commercialized into a thriving aftermarket industry. This approach has yielded great gains and understanding of cylinder head flow behavior. However, this technology is at its limit and many of the measurement techniques affect the very measurement you are trying to make. With the advent of desktop programs like SolidWorks FlowSimulation, CFD analysis of cylinder head flow is now no longer in the sole domain of the OEM’s of high end users. Coupled with current flow bench empirical data this technology will take this knowledge to the next level! Another tool in the racer’s toolbox in the never ending quest for speed!”

Click here to read the full article written by our partner and friend David Woodruff from Design Dreams, LLC.

Also, if you plan to attend the IMIS show in Indianapolis, stop by the 3DVision Technologies booth #2441. David, along with many of our 3DVision Technical and Sales team members, will be there.

Carrie Patrick

Marketing Manager 3DVision Technologies

3DVision Technologies Launches New Twitter Account

Monday, November 15th, 2010

I am pleased to announce 3DVision Technologies brand new Twitter Account.

Lets face it, we are all juggling time vs. knowledge and we understand that you don’t always have the time to read our blog entries (sorry Jeff) or those marketing & promotional emails we send out. So to help ‘ease the load’ we are going to be sending out regular “Tweets” to announce product updates, blog topics, partner products, sales, promotions and more.

As a 3DVision Technologies follower, we also encourage you to send us direct messages with things that are impacting your day to day business objectives. You are our business so we want to hear from you.

Our account is live and waiting for you, to follow go to and search for @3DVisionTech

We hope to see you soon!

Carrie Patrick

Marketing Manager 3DVision Technologies

Thin Line Between Part and Assembly Modeling

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Over the past few years, SolidWorks has made some major enhancements that I believe are going to have a massive effect on solid modeling workflows across the globe.  Just a few of these enhancements include:

  • Multi-body sheet metal parts
  • Multiple materials per part file
  • Improved cut list organization
  • Indented cut lists in BOMs
  • Parametric move/copy bodies command
  • Right click access to hide bodies in drawing views

With these enhancements (and plenty more), SolidWorks just converted the solid line between assemblies and multi-body part files into a construction line.  Think about it; nobody complains about using part files for weldments…  Why not everything else (from furniture to electronics)?  Rather than using multi-body part files exclusively for parts containing structural member features, what’s wrong with extrusions?  Revolves?  Sweeps?  Sheet Metal features?

Certainly, machine designers will stick with assemblies as they will need to take advantage of mates and degrees of freedom to allow for physical dynamics between all of their machine’s components.  However, any “assembly” that’s static now lends itself beautifully to multi-body part modeling.  Here are some of the benefits:

  • Utilize all the in-context modeling techniques you can dream of without the hassle of external references!
  • Simple file management – there’s just one file.
  • No need to worry about defining parts’ locations via mates.
  • Great for quick concept design as bodies can always be saved out to an assembly file with individual part files if need be (for drawing files or PDM purposes).  All you need to do is remember where they buried the “Save Bodies” command (Insert > Features > Save Bodies…).
  • Show bodies in multiple positions using the parametric move/copy bodies command and control the distance/angle dimensions with a design table.  This method works great for controlling ‘open’ and ‘closed’ configurations of cabinet doors/drawers.
  • Don’t forget, if you happen to have a library of commonly used part files, you can still use them in multi-body part files!  Just drag and drop them in as solid bodies and choose whether or not they should stay linked to the original library component.

Try it out.  I bet you could save a third of your design time by building a multi-body part file rather than an assembly file.

Jordan Tadic

Certified Elite Application Engineer 3DVision Technologies

Update References for adding files into the vault

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Look at Johny sitting over there in the cubical next to yours balancing a spoon on his nose. You often wonder how he became an engineer, well actually you don’t – he’s the owner’s kid. You’re the one always stuck cleaning up his mess.

Johny is not not very careful about where he saves his files. He saves most of the files in the vault but it is not uncommon for many of them to exist only on his local hard drive.

You found this very nice feature in SolidWorks Enterprise PDM that would forbid an assembly from going into EPDM if files were outside of the vault, but you were scolded for stifling Johny’s creativity. (Jedi’s note: this option is a great option to have on – for everybody. Assemblies in the vault should only reference files inside the vault, if it references files outside of the vault a messy future you will have.)


Luckily new in EPDM 2011 the “Update References” tool makes it easy to automatically pull referenced documents into the vault.

Sit down on Johny’s machine, highlight the assembly and choose “Update References”

Highlight the files outside of the vault and click the “Add files to vault” button.


You will then be asked to select where in the vault you want these files added, then “Update References” will copy the files and fix the references in the assembly.

Remember that November is Engineering Data Specialist Month, do something nice for the Engineering Data Specialist you love.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Update References in EPDM 2011

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Have you ever seen this message while working with SolidWorks?

Yeah, certainly you have. I always found this message especially frustrating when working with SolidWorks Eneterprise PDM. I’d shout at my computer “You have a SQL database, capable of searching through millions of records a second and you want me to find the file?!?!” Occasionally I would throw something, but usually I would sigh and either start the EPDM search tool, or manually navigate to find the file.

One day, in frustration, I called the CEO of SolidWorks on my red Engineering Data Specialist phone (he always takes my calls) and asked him for a solution. He told me to wait until EPDM 2011 and in there would be a tool that would change my world. …and now that I have EPDM 2011 I see that he was right. The tool is “Update References”. And it is goooooood.

Highlight the assembly [that is like Great Aunt Eleanor in the shopping mall who has lost her children] and begin the “Update References” routine. (You can actually do more than one assembly at a time if you highlight them all first.)


Highlight the little orphan, and click the find files button.


Now sit back, let SQL do all the heavy lifting and find the file for you. “Update References” then reunites mother with child and happy hugs for everyone.

Remember that November is Engineering Data Specialist Month, do something nice for the Engineering Data Specialist you love.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

User groups are busy this time of year!

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

I love attending SolidWorks user group meetings. The meetings themselves are usually a great time to learn something from the presenter…even if the presentation is not on the types of things you normally do with SolidWorks. (It usually turns out that I learn the most from these.) After the presentation, if you are lucky, the host of the meeting will take you on a plant tour.

At the last Central Indiana SolidWorks user group meeting, the presenter was fabulous. However since I was the presenter, I didn’t learn as much as I usually do. (Great Aunt Eleanor always says if you want to learn something keep your mouth shut and your ears open. She also says druids get too many hit points in World of Warcraft.)

After the meeting we got to tour our host, Impact Forge’s plant. Freaking cool. I’ve been through die plants before. It is impressive to feel the floor and your heart shake as these multi-ton presses bang on their dies. However if the material they are hitting is nearly molten metal and this metal “splashes” off the dies at what must be over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit –your Engineering Data Specialist pretty much giggled with every impact.

Here are some thumbnail pics I took with my camera phone. I would have gotten closer, but frankly I was a bit intimated.

ScrapsSome scraps as the came off of the die, they were still glowing as they hit the floor.

WorkerHere a worker holds the piece as a 16 ton hammer makes an impact. You can see the glowing steel reflecting off of the graphite spray used to help the part release from the die. (Spray graphite…don’t wear your white pants here!)

SmallerHammerOne of the smaller hammers I saw. You can see the upper part of the die just over the further guy’s left shoulder.

What’s going on in a user group in your area?


Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Need Replaced?

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

You have a design change come in and you find out you need to replace one part in some assemblies. So how do you replace it? Do you delete the component, delete the mates and put in the new component in with new mates? WRONG…this takes way too long especially if you have multiples to replace in the assembly.
You should be using the “Replace Components” tool. It’s easy and does a lot for you.

  1. Right click on the component in the graphic area or on in the FeatureManager Design Tree.
  2. Now choose “Replace Components”. This component is added to the selection box of components to replace.
  3. Select the “Browse…” button and find the component that is doing the replacing.
  4. Under Options, make sure you select Re-attach mates. This is what saves the time. Also, if you want to replace all the instances, checkmark the box “All instances” which is under the top selection box.


So now you clicked OK and you have a selection box on the left, a preview box with the old component in it, a little toolbar with “isolate” on it, and the assembly has the new component in it. Now what?

  1. The preview window shows a face selected/highlighted. Select the same face on the new component in the assembly.
  2. Doing this puts a green checkmark on the left.
  3. Now either flip the alignment or move to the next red question mark.
  4. If you can’t get to the required face or can’t tell what face to select, rotate the assembly and you will see the preview rotate too. You can also click in the preview window and rotate the model.

Replace Mates

There you go a new tool that makes replacing components very easy.

Josh Spencer

Elite Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

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