Archive for April, 2011

Yeah, Baby! Midwest Mojo!

Friday, April 29th, 2011

It has been a very strong year for 3DVia Composer sales in the Midwest. We are holding three separate 3DVia Composer classes over the next few weeks in Columbus and Cincinnati. Why is interest so high in this product right now? I think that companies are starting to understand how this tool can make their lives easier by increasing productivity as well as increasing the quality of their instruction manuals and assembly instructions. The more time I spend with this product the more I know that it can help many of our customers. When we get the opportunity to show a company what 3DVia Composer can do for them there is always a lot of excitement in the room. I can remember giving demonstrations of SolidWorks back in 2000 when people had never heard of it! It was exciting introducing them to such a revolutionary tool that could make their lives easier. Now SolidWorks has established themselves as the proven and dominate 3D modeling product. Very rarely do we introduce anyone to the name “SolidWorks”. We are seeing the same sort of energy and excitement when people first see 3DVia Composer. The idea that there is a tool created specifically to address the challenges of creating and communicating assembly instructions and manuals is brand new. We are excited to see the awesome work our talented customers will create with Composer. No more outdated photos in the instruction manuals, no more redrawing everything in Illustrator, brand new ways to communicate assembly instruction through interactive videos; This product will energize the Technical Documentation team like nothing they have used before.

For those of you that have recently jumped on the Composer band wagon, here is a great site for tips and tricks. www.3dmojo.com Yeah, Baby!

Scott Powers

Scott High
Technical Services Manager
3DVision Technologies

Scott High

Technical Services Manager 3DVision Technologies

Should you upgrade to SQL 2008 R2?

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

You may have noticed in your SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2011 DVDs, Microsoft SQL 2008 Standard Edition R2 was in the box. If you originally installed EPDM 2010 or earlier, you likely have SQL 2008 Standard Edition installed. Should you use your new DVD to upgrade to 2008 R2?

SolidWorks says you do not have to. EPDM will run fine on SQL 2008, it even runs fine on SQL 2005.

The following capabilities are new to R2 Standard:

  • Backup Compression to reduce data backups by up to 60% and help reduce time spent on backups
  • Can be managed instance for Application and Multi-Server Management capabilities
  • High-scale complex event processing with SQL Server StreamInsight™

In your EPDM environment, the first bullet above is all you care about…a 60% smaller backup file is pretty impressive.

I had to upgrade because a customer sent me a backup of their database and as you can imagine my old SQL could not read this new backup format. The upgrade took about 20 minutes on my M6500 and was very easy. Drop the DVD in the drive and follow the prompts.
Upgrade
Though the smaller backups are nice, I wouldn’t recommend upgrading yet unless your backups are taking too long or you are running into storage issues.

Remember to backup before you upgrade.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Divergence and Convergence for Simulation Results

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Divergence in a model  leads to a stress quantity that continually increases as the user refines the mesh globally or in areas of localized high stress.  Divergence is typically encountered when the load transfer concentrates in the geometry at a sharp corner. The stress will continue to rise based on its own definition;

Stress=Force/Area

With a sharp corner the area becomes, zero.  This drives the stress value upwards with each new, tighter mesh. In manufacturing a perfect edge does not exist. All modern manufacturing methods will create small fillets.  The fillet helps transfer the load over a larger area hence eliminating the stress concentration.

4-22-2011 8-49-13 AM

Lets Discuss Convergence In a Simulation Model:

In Finite Element Analysis (FEA) the results are an approximation.  The way a user becomes comfortable with the stress, strain, and deflection calculated by an analysis depends on convergence.  A recommended variation of 5% stress between runs usually indicates good stress convergence.

To reach convergence a user can apply multiple methods, over the course of their analysis studies.

Global Mesh Refinement

The Global mesh refinement method indicates that a user over the course of three or four studies tightens the global mesh size incrementally until the calculated results are within the users specified convergence range.

    Plus: Easy to adjust the setting of global mesh size.

Minus: Larger run times due to areas of low stress having the mesh refined as well.  The more elements in the Finite Element Model the longer the computing time.Mesh Control

Mesh control allows a user to specify mesh refinement in localized areas of high stress leaving the global mesh density larger.  This is the recommended method.

    Plus: Allows user more control over the mesh in areas of high stress. Keeps computation time shorter as only areas of interest are being refined.

Minus: This takes more time to setup and identify areas to add mesh control.Adaptive Meshing (H Method)

Adaptive meshing allows the users to apply “mesh cruise control”.  Simulation looks for convergence based on parameters the user specifies, usually a target accuracy for the Strain Energy Norm.  Simulation automatically adds mesh control in areas of calculated high stress. It is important that the original mesh starts at default settings, and it is recommended this method be used with standard meshing. Five iterations is usually a good starting point.  Note that H Adaptive is only run once, as the software completes the mesh refinement and runs for you.  Remember that if the target accuracy is not achieved, you can re-run the H-adaptive study again and it will continue from the last iteration.

    Plus: Simulation automates the process.

Minus: Additional analysis setup time is required.When adding mesh control or mesh refinement always take small steps.  Mesh density should be adjusted in small increments. For example if a mesh control starts at 0.25″ the next change would be 0.2″.  We generally recommend a 20% reduction in mesh size with each successive analysis for applied mesh controls.

Let’s discuss Standard versus Curvature based mesh:

The Standard Mesh has been used from the beginning of SolidWorks Simulation.  The Standard mesher uses the Voronoi-Delaunay meshing scheme for subsequent meshing operations. The Standard mesher incorporates a global size that reads the thinnest area of the component and dictates at minimum cross section at least two elements define the thickness in the mesh.  This may lead to mesh refinement  in areas that may not be required.  Manual mesh control can then be applied to refine specified areas.

The Curvature based mesh creates more elements in higher-curvature areas automatically (without the need to apply mesh controls).  Typically curvature based meshes do not need additional user applied mesh controls, and take less steps to achieve convergence.

Mesh Quality

The output from any simulation is mesh dependent.  An analysis of a model with a  good quality mesh will have different answers than the same model with a poor quality mesh. It is always important to look at the mesh plot and investigate the aspect ratio of the mesh.  Aspect ratio is a measure of the skew of an element, defined as the ratio of the longest edge/ shortest edge.  For a high Quality element, the Aspect Ratio should be less than 3.  Overall 85% to 90% of the elements in a mesh should have an Aspect Ratio of less than 3. A high Aspect Ratio will cause higher stress to be calculated in that element than surrounding cells.

Robert Warren

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Windows 7 SP1 and SolidWorks

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

In case you were wondering “Is SolidWorks tested and certified for Windows 7 Service Pack 1?”, I have the answer below, which is Solution S-054436 from the Knowledge Base:

Windows 7 SP1 was recently released by Microsoft®. Due to an unfortunate timing coincidence, SolidWorks is not able to officially qualify Windows 7 SP1 for use with SolidWorks 2011 SP03.

If using SolidWorks 2011 SP03 or earlier, please test Windows 7 SP1 in an environment (network, PDM, add-ins, graphics cards/drivers, anti-virus, etc.) before deploying it on production or mission critical systems.

Barring any major unforeseen issues, support for Windows 7 SP1 with SolidWorks 2011 SP04 is expected.

Notes:
1. Windows 7 SP0 will continue to be supported for the lifecycle of SolidWorks 2011.
2. SolidWorks 2010 will not be officially qualified for use with Windows 7 SP1. Windows 7 SP1 may be installed for use with SolidWorks 2010. Any issues found may be reported, but these issues will likely be fixed only in SolidWorks 2011 SP04 or later.

Chris Snider

Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

Print your dwg files with EPDM Tasks

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Would you like to have your SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2011 tasks be able to [batch] print your dwg files as well as your SolidWorks drawings?

It is pretty easy, you only need to make a few changes to your Print Task’s “Advanced Scripting Options”.

Click on the advanced scripting options button in the bottom of the “Files” section.

scriptingbutton
Now all you have to do is find the function “bIsSupportedExtension” and replace all of it with this code:
Function bIsSupportedExtension(oExtension) As Boolean
oExtension=lcase(oExtension)
If oExtension = "prt" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "asm" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "drw" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "dxf" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "dwg" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = True
ElseIf oExtension = "psd" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "ai" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "lfp" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "sldlfp" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "prtdot" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "asmdot" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "drwdot" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "x_t" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "x_b" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "xmt_txt" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "xmt_bin" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "igs" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "iges" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "step" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "stp" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "sat" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "vda" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "wrl" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "stl" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "cgr" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "wrl" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "xpr" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "xas" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "ipt" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "iam" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "par" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "psm" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "ckd" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "emn" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "brd" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "bdf" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "idb" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
ElseIf oExtension = "3dm" Then
bIsSupportedExtension = False
Else
bIsSupportedExtension = False
End If
End Function

Lastly, if you wish to have all the prints “Scaled to fit” (regardless of file type) -add this highlighted line in the location shown:

PrintToFit

[Tested on EPDM 2011 SP 2.0.]

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Mesh Control: As Easy as 1-2-3

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

When is the last time you saw this warning dialog when meshing?  If your primary responsibilities include FEA, chances are it was as recently as yesterday.

2011-0412a Mesh Failed

As we continue to design and analyze increasingly complex models, our need to access mesh controls will increase proportionally.  Wouldn’t it be nice if accessing those tools were made simple?  Amazingly enough, they already are!  At the conclusion of a failed mesh, just click on the Mesh Failure Diagnostic button.

2011-0412b Failure diagnostics

Yes, it is that simple to access the Mesh Failure Diagnostic tools.  You’ll notice that this opens up the Simulation Advisor in the Task Pane.  The Simulation Advisor is a great tool for beginning and experienced Simulation users, alike.

Here are the 1-2-3′s of using the Simulation Advisor for applying mesh controls.
1. Select one of the parts from the list of ‘failed to mesh’ parts.
2. Click the Mesh Control button.
3. Apply the local mesh control desired to the part by either changing the slider bar or typing a value for the mesh control you wish to apply.

2011-0412d Mesh Control 123

Now click the green check mark to OK your mesh controls.  SolidWorks Simulation will mesh the component you just applied mesh control to.  Notice that you can apply mesh control to several components in one step by adding (clicking) more components to the ‘Selected Entities’ dialog box.  Another nice feature is that the Simulation Advisor window will stay open as long as you have parts that failed to mesh, allowing you to continue applying controls until your entire model has meshed.  Try using the Simulation Advisor the next time you encounter a model that is difficult to mesh!

Bill Reuss

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Use Dispatch to manage on-the-fly workflows

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Last week Lou Gallo and I recorded a pod cast discussing SolidWorks Enterprise PDM’s dispatch “script” language. I can’t add much more to the “cool-ness” of dispatch than Lou and I mentioned in the pod cast, but since the recording I have thought of another nice dispatch application I have seen…

SolidWorks has a nice knowledge base article (S-014655) on how you can use a parallel workflow in instances where you need more than one person [group] to be able to approve a document at once.

parallelThis image is a simple example as discussed in S-014655, the concept is -as users push the document through their “voting” transitions, their vote is recorded on the data card. Then via conditions of the transitions, the file either stays and waits for others to vote, or once the file gets all the votes it needs, it then can continue through the life cycle.

The limitation of this example is that all files in this workflow must be approved by all three voters. What if you want the ability to allow your users to determine who needs to vote?

Assuming you have something similar to SolidWorks’ example above, you have some controls that are used to track how the voting is going. Likely you have these “voting” controls read only to keep people from voting for others.

votes

To make this work, you need to add additional controls to give your users the ability to determine who needs to vote. Something like this:

requiredvotes

Here, our user has determined that only “B” and “C” need to vote for this file, so I can ask dispatch to vote for “A” by proxy. (If we don’t get a vote for “A” somehow, the file will not be able to pass through the workflow as designed.)

Next, install dispatch and create a new script.

The concept of the script is pretty close to Lou’s EPDM Dispatch Jumpin’ blog entry. Get the data card variable values and assign them to variable names inside of your dispatch routine.
SetVars

Set the dispatch to run as the file goes through a chosen transistion:

activation

The dispatch script would look like this: (Don’t worry about some of the weird syntax in the “Content” column, the dispatch wizard will build this for you.)

Dispatch

First line tells dispatch to check out the file. (Even the mighty dispatch cannot modify a card without it being checked out.)

The second line says that if person “A” needs to vote (the variable “varAVote” would equal 1 because a checked checkbox is equal to one) jump to the fourth line because I don’t want my dispatch routine to proxy for “A”. However if “A” does not need to vote, the value of varAVote would equal 0 and thus dispatch will simply continue to the third line of the macro.

The third line sets the datacard variable “Vote from A” to 1 – essentially checking the vote check box.

setvarincard

This works even if the control [checkbox] is read-only!

This logic continues for every person that needs to vote, then when we get to the end the file gets checked back in. Don’t worry if everyone is voting and dispatch didn’t change anything. If nothing was changed, the file is “undo check out”ed.

Thus my new file looks like this afterwards:

afterdispatch

I hope I didn’t scare you off, it really is quite easy. As I mentioned, you can think of the dispatch editor as a big wizard, it leads you through the process, it is easier than I made it look.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Your 3D mouse’s secret plan to take over the world

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Ask anyone who uses a 3D mouse what it feels like to use SolidWorks without it. –Their left arm is constantly twitching wanting to reach for the device that isn’t there.

Want to have that feeling with all applications? With 3DConnexion’s 3DxWare 10 driver you can!
Picture of SpacePilot Pro
This new driver allows you to use your 3D mouse in any application. “From Microsoft Office to internet browsers and from media players to games with 3DxWare 10, a 3D mouse can complement, or provide a compelling alternative to, most input devices including keyboard, traditional mouse, joystick and gamepads.”

Go to 3Dconnexion’s “Anywhere” page, check out the videos on the right, get your mouse and feel the arm twitch.

[Think they were reading Dezignstuff's recent post about the need for a better mouse? - Maybe the better mouse is already here, we just needed a driver for it?]

Sadly, my SpaceTraveler isn’t supported hardware, so I can’t give you a personal review. Let me know what you think.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Next Dayton, Ohio SolidWorks User Group Meeting

Friday, April 8th, 2011

The Dayton, Ohio SoldWorks User Group has scheduled their next meeting.
It will be held on May 19th from 5:00 to 8:30 pm.

Here are the details:

May 19, 2011
At Gander Mountain in Huber Heights, OH

5:00pm – 5:45pm Registration, food, and networking.
5:45pm – 6:00pm Opening Remarks.
6:00pm – 7:30pm Avelino Rochino Certification Program Specialist will talk about the SolidWorks Expert test. Then about the Weldments exam & a lesson on Weldments.
7:30pm – 7:45pm Break.
7:45pm – 8:15pm Q & A as needed.
8:15pm – 8:30pm Discussion about next meeting & Wrap-up Prize giveaways.

They are asking for RSVP’s to determine how much FOOD to order…
RSVP to ovapres@yahoo.com

Hope you can make it !

Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

Optimize your Design Analysis

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

For a very limited time, 3DVision Technologies is offering an opportunity to try before you buy with a complimentary 30-Day evaluation of SolidWorks Simulation Professional.

Here is how it works:To help demonstrate the value of Simulation Professional, 3DVision Technologies will be hosting introductory customer demonstrations focused on the value and ROI of Simulation Professional. Sharing examples of how a company can recover their complete investment of Simulation Professional in ONE USE.

So what do you have to do to participate?
-You must currently use SolidWorks version 2009 or higher.
-You must register for AND ATTEND one of our upcoming live events.
-After the event a 3DVision Technologies representative will email you an access code for your 30 day trial of one of the most comprehensive design analysis tools available.

To enhance your experience even further, you will also be given access to a simulation support portal and live technical support via Q&A webcasts and email throughout the trial.

Wednesday, April 6
Louisville, KY
Noon – 1pm EST (Lunch provided)
Click here to register

Thursday, April 14
Cleveland, Ohio
Noon – 1pm EST (Lunch provided)
Click here to register

Tuesday, April 26
Cincinnati, Ohio
Noon – 1pm (Lunch provided)
Click here to register

So, are you ready to step up your designs?

Carrie Patrick

Marketing Manager 3DVision Technologies

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