Archive for March, 2012

SolidWorks Announces a SWUGN Technical Summit in South Bend, Indiana

Monday, March 26th, 2012

The South Bend SWUGN Technical Summit will feature presentations by SolidWorks Product Managers and local SolidWorks expert users. User registration is $40 and includes meals.

You are invited to join fellow SolidWorks users from the South Bend, Chicago and Holland ares for a full day of learning and networking, and of course, a little fun.

Scheduled to appear:
Paul Kellner – Engineering Transport, LLC
Ed Eaton – DiMonte Group
Peter Fischer – FBG Engineering Consulting
Jason Raak – RockSolid Perspectives
Krishnan Suresh – University of Wisconsin
Adrian Fanjoy – Computer Aided Technology, Inc.
Ryan Cole – DASI Solutions
Greg Dawes – Fisher/Unitech
Bill Reuss – 3DVision Technologies
Richard Doyle – DS SolidWorks

The event is scheduled for Tuesday, April 17 at the Swan Lake Resort, 5203 Plymouth – LaPorte Trail, Plymouth, IN 46563

7:30-8am Registration/Breakfast
8-8:45am Opening session, orientation
8:45-10am Session 1A-In-Context Design in SolidWorks
8:45-10am Session 1B-Topology Optimization using PareTO and SWX
10:15-11:30am Session 2A-Tricky Tricks for Modeling and Editing
10:15-11:30am Session 2B-CAD Admin – properties, templates
11:30-12:30pm Session 3A-SolidWorks Utilities
11:30-12:30pm Session 3B-Simulation Using PhotoView 360
2-3:15pm Session 4A-Tables, Tables, Tables
2-3:15pm Session 4B-Maximizing SolidWorks Performance
3:30-4:45pm Session 5A-Part/Assembly Optimization
3:30-4:45pm Session 5B-Tips and Tricks for SolidWorks Motion

To register for this event, click here.

For more information or for questions on SolidWorks support of user group meetings, you are invited to contact

Carrie Patrick

Marketing Manager 3DVision Technologies

Pattern Via Dimension

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Here’s a cool trick that we teach in the Advanced Parts Class.  You want to create a linear pattern but there isn’t a good edge to choose.  Maybe that’s because there isn’t an edge going in the correct direction .  Well if you have a dimension that is going the right way, you can choose that.

This is just one of the cool things you will learn in the Advanced Parts Class.  Here is a link to our training page that you should check out.

Josh Spencer

Elite Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

CSWE Prep: Sheet Metal

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

If you haven’t heard yet, the Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP) event has been officially retired this year at SolidWorks World 2012. Over 800 CSWP’s attended this year’s event on the USS Midway in San Diego, CA.  Not sure if there’s an exact limit to the quantity of attendees for an event to still be considered “exclusive”, but I’m guessing 800 would exceed that number.  Starting at SWW 2013, the exclusive celebration of extraordinary SolidWorks certification achievements will now be limited to Certified SolidWorks Experts (CSWE).

So, if you haven’t yet, I would strongly consider acquiring a CSWE certification.  Besides the event at SWW, it’s a great way to demonstrate your personal level of expertise.  According to SolidWorks online certification testing center, there’s only 6 CSWE’s in Ohio and they’re all employed by SolidWorks VARs (Value Added Resellers).  Who will be the first non-VAR CSWE in Ohio??

To be able to participate in the CSWE exam, you must first pass the CSWP exam and 3 of the following 4 examinations:

The CSWE certification might force you to learn portions of SolidWorks that you don’t use on a daily basis.  To help get the North East Ohio region kick started, I’ll be presenting tonight at our NEOSWUG meeting about Sheet Metal.  If you can’t make the meeting, feel free to reference my introduction to sheet metal presentation and study guide below.  The best preparation for any of these tests are the training courses we offer (Sheet Metal & Weldments, Surfacing), but be on the look out for more of these introductory study guides for the other topics soon.


Jordan Tadic

Certified Elite Application Engineer 3DVision Technologies

I Need To Use A Non-True Type Font

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Recently a customer called to inquire about using a non-True Type font with SolidWorks. They had an older laser-cutting machine that could not work with True Type fonts, so could they install a non-True Type font to use with their designs?

Installing a new font is a piece of cake, but the issue is that SolidWorks only supports True Type fonts. So what to do? Create your own library of letters or words? That did not sound appealing to me, so I went looking for something else.

What I found was the ability to ‘Dissolve Sketch Text’ – this converts the text created with True Type fonts into lines, arcs, splines and so on. This way you get the best of both worlds – the ease of using approved text formats and the ablity to convert that text into something your aging equipment can use.

‘Dissolve Sketch Text’ can be found by inserting some text into a sketch and then right-clicking on the text. It will be on the right-mouse menu.

Have fun.

Chris Snider

Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

Copy Tree puts copy/paste in the tomb

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

I usually have my staff answer my letters. They do a good job in beijing, and since they include an autographed 8×10″ glossy of me in all of their replies I think everyone agrees the system works out pretty good. The best part is, a good percentage of the time the staff gets the answers correct.

Here is a letter I saw the other day:

Dear Engineering Data Specialist Man,
Is there a way to copy (and paste) a parent file in SolidWorks Enterprise PDM and keep all of the reference files attached to the new pasted file? I can copy and paste a parent file into the same folder in EPDM (the file name automatically changes when it is pasted) but none of the reference files stay attached. Any suggestions?
L. Croft, U.K.

Dear Ms. Croft, instead of copy/paste, try using EPDM’s “Copy Tree” functionality. It will preserve any tree structure- even the structure of non-CAD files! Take a look at this example:


Here, I simply added ” – Copy” as a suffix through the “Transform” button.


Now, if I wanted the new “Parent” to reference the original “Child” I would have left off the “Copy” checkmark in the child’s row. This Hope this helps, and say “hi” to Mr. Gard for me!

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Saving out just a few faces/surfaces

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Have you ever had a “bad” area on a model that needs to be cleaned up or filled in, but there is too much other stuff going on around it to fix it ?
OR, have you ever just wanted to save out a face or two from one model and use it in another model to trim with or swap out an area of that model ?
How about just saving out a body or two from a multi-body part ?

Well here is a VERY little known trick in SolidWorks to accomplish that task…

All you have to do is select the face or faces that you want to save out, and then do a SAVE AS and choose PARASOLID (*.x_t) for the “Save As Type”. After you hit the SAVE button, you will be prompted for WHAT you want to save out… (All Bodies, Selected Face(s), or Selected Body(ies))
Awesome !

Then you can open that up in its own file and work on it (for repairing a bad area) and then bring it into another part to use it for something (trimming, replacing face, etc.) by using the INSERT–PART command.

So easy ! When you know how…

Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

Top Ten Enhancements – 2013

Monday, March 5th, 2012

One of the most fun things about being part of the SolidWorks community is you really get the feeling that SolidWorks is listening to us and our ideas of what we would like to see in the product. They are very transparent on the top requests -in fact every year at SolidWorks World they publish a top ten list of what people are asking for.

Imagine Microsoft asking us how we would improve Internet Explorer! (Do you suppose it is a coincidence how IE is losing market share while its more open competitors are taking over?)

So what were the top ten requests announced this year?

  1. Start using more CPU cores
  2. Mass properties should include the option to automatically put a point at the center of gravity
  3. Don’t delete your children, dangle them instead
  4. Address “shaded with edges bleed through” issue
  5. Reduce the bounding box of drawing views to visible components only
  6. Ability to control a plane’s front & back side orientation
  7. Dimensions should stay where you place them
  8. Escape key should immediately return control of the interface
  9. Add “lock rotation” option to cylindrical mates
  10. Add a “thread creation wizard”

Some are repeats from 2011 and still some there from 2010. Numbers 6, 7, and 9 are three fantastic new comers that I hope “retire” from this list soon. Imagine a tree with fully defined fasteners! Now that would be pretty.

SolidWorks listens to us by more than reading enhancement requests, they also do customer visits. If you would like to have a product definition manager stop by your place where you can share ideas with SolidWorks directly let me know…I know people that know people, maybe I can set you up!

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Where should I put my SolidWorks file properties?

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

I hope you are storing your meta data inside of your SolidWorks files.

Material, manufacturer, part number, treatments, description, etc. should be stored in the file properties rather than just typing the information inside of your titleblock. There are too many advantages and not a single disadvantage. If you disagree, call me. -All calls will remain anonymous….at least ’till I blog about it and make fun of you.


A fair question is: “Where should the information be stored in the file properties? In the “Custom” tab or under each configuration in the “Configuration Specific”?

I recommend putting all information in the “Custom” tab unless the property is specific to the configuration. (Pretty profound eh?)

As an example: Say you had a part that was identical except one configuration was made of 306 stainless steel and the other was made from 316 stainless steel. As such, all properties would be in the “Custom” tab except the material information (and maybe part number), they would be under the “Configuration Specific” tabs.

Documenting this logic in your company’s best practices will ensure uniformity and give your company greater leverage over its data in the future.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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