Archive for December, 2012

Materials in Design Studies

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Since it is the Christmas season, why don’t we look at one of the great presents we were given in SolidWorks Simulation 2013!  While there were many great enhancements this year, and it is very difficult to pick a favorite new Simulation toy, here is one that I personally rank towards the top of my list.  The ability to use SolidWorks Materials in Design Studies was a great gift, also known as an enhancement, to Simulation!   Prior to this release, we had to create custom materials, linking Material Properties to Design Study Parameters.  When doing this, we could link a property, such as Young’s Modulus, to a design parameter – one at a time.

While this simplification did work, it did not provide a great match for material selection.  Many material properties change between different grades of steel and aluminum, for instance, so only choosing Young’s Modulus as a variable wasn’t sufficient.  Further, if we optimized a solution based upon a single material property, like Young’s Modulus, we would have to try and match a new material to that Young’s Modulus and then consider what affects the other material properties might have on our optimized solution.

Enter the gift of Materials in Design Studies for SolidWorks Simulation 2013!  When we enter the parameters for our Design Study, notice how Material is now included the Category pull-down selection in 2013.

This is the first step in setting up Materials to be used as a design study variable.  The setup of the variable is unchanged – just add it to your list of what you can modify in your design.  Then, as you are adding design scenarios, you have the additional pull-down within each column to modify the material definition for each scenario.

This can be used for optimizing your designs, too!  I hope that you agree this enhancement was a great gift in SolidWorks Simulation 2013!  Now go make your products better with SolidWorks Simulation!

Bill Reuss

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

EPDM Search Options Quiz

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Let’s mix things up a bit. Typically you come here to see what I know, now I want to see what you know.

How well do you understand the behavior of these popular EPDM search options?

Question 1: Checking the option below will give you:

A. Every version of every file since being in the specified state (i.e. some files may be listed more than once)

B. All files that have ever been in the specified state, but only the version that was in that state is listed

C. All files that have ever been in the specified state, but only the latest version of the file is listed, even if that version is not in the specified state

Question 2: If you have the option in question one checked AND the option below unchecked, you will get:

A. Nothing

B. All files that have ever been in the specified state, but only the version that was in that state is listed

C. Only files currently in the specified state

Question 3: If you have the option in question one AND two checked, you will get:

A. Nothing

B. All files that have ever been in the specified state, but only the version that was in that state is listed

C. Only files currently in the specified state


Since EPDM’s searches are preformed by SQL, they are quick and powerful. If you can dream the conditions of a search you likely can search on it – you just have to pick the proper options!

Answers: 1:B, 2:C, 3:B

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

3DVision’s Own to Present at CISWUG

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

3DVision invites you to attend the Central Indiana SolidWorks User Group (CISWUG) meeting on Wednesday, January 16th. The meeting will host 3DVision’s own Randy Simmons as a special guest speaker.

Randy has been a 3DVision instructor since 2003. He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Wright State University and is a Certified SolidWorks Elite Application Engineer as well as a Certified SolidWorks Expert.

During the January 16th event, Randy will be giving a presentation around 6:30pm on ‘SolidWorks Electrical’. He is very knowledgeable of SolidWorks and will be open to any questions after his presentation.

The event will be hosted at:
Capital Industries
1677 W. 400N
Shelbyville IN, 46176
(888) 900-8245

For more information or to RSVP for the event email Peter Fischer at

Carrie Patrick

Marketing Manager 3DVision Technologies

Manipulating the “Compare files in EPDM”

Monday, December 17th, 2012

A few days ago I demonstrated how to easily compare documents with SolidWorks DrawCompare. Since that date, my Inbox has exploded! Thousands of you want to know if they can use this method with their files inside of SolidWorks Enterprise PDM.

Comparing two separate files within EPDM is easy. Just follow the steps from “Compare images and drawings“.

Comparing two different versions of the same file is a bit harder because EPDM gives you either:


Not much help.

To use EPDM’s “advanced” compare feature, the comparing program either needs to accept arguments on the command line or use its API. DrawCompare has neither.

You need to have a copy of the two version of the file in a location where you can manually load them into DrawCompare. Here is how to make a copy of those versions and place them on your desktop.

For the user/group you want to update, go to their settings, file compare and “add” a compare program. Next choose which extensions you want to compare. I use “dwg,dxf,jpg,bmp,tif,slddrw”.

For the path to the compare program, you cannot simply enter the DOS command COPY because EPDM is expecting a program, not a DOS command. However the program “cmd.exe” will allow you to send the COPY command to it as an argument.

Remember your old DOS command line days?

You could enter this following line into the “path of the compare program” and you would be finished…

c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe /C COPY "%1%" "c:\users\tim\desktop" && COPY "%2%" "c:\users\tim\desktop"

…as long as your are logged into the computer as “tim” and your cmd.exe program is located in the “windows\system32″ directory. You could certainly go through each user’s settings and ensure you are using the proper file paths, or you could take advantage of environment variables.

You can define your computer’s environment variables through the control panel. However the ones we’ll need (the location of our desktop and the location of the cmd.exe program) are likely already defined. To confirm, go to a DOS prompt and enter the word “SET” and hit enter. You should get a result resembling this image:

Notice the environment variable “ComSpec” is showing where my cmd.exe file is located, and “USERPROFILE” is showing the location of my user profile – and my desktop is a sub directory off of that.

Substituting these environment variables (surrounded by %’s) into the line above, I get:

%ComSpec% /C COPY "%1%" "%USERPROFILE%\desktop" && COPY "%2%" "%USERPROFILE%\desktop"

I can enter this same line of text for everyone in my company, and their chosen files should be copied to their desktop.

Want to see it in action?

YouTube Preview Image

Viava the command line!

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Compare images and drawings

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Surprise, surprise.

You customer changed their design -again.

He just sent you a new set of drawings…aaaannnnd as typical, did not bother to send you a list of changes.

Now you need to check each dimension, one at a time, looking for who knows what kind of changes you just got stuck dealing with.

Actually, there is a good chance you can use SolidWorks’ DrawCompare to compare the files.

It is true that DrawCompare only compares SolidWorks drawings; there is nothing to say that you cannot turn your bitty brain customer’s files into SolidWorks drawings!

If the files you want to compare are jpg, bmp, tif, png, wmf, or psd files, create a new blank SolidWorks drawing (without a titleblock.) Insert the drawing as a picture and place the image on the origin. Then save the new SolidWorks drawing file. Do this for both files you want to compare.

[Your results will vary. I've found black and white images work best, the compare quality diminishes as you get more and more colors.]

If the file is a dwg/dxf file, open the file in SolidWorks and save it as a SolidWorks drawing file.

(use “Convert to SolidWorks entities” option, do not embed as a sheet) Ensure you use the exact same scale for both files, and ensure the entire file fits on the sheet format. Do this for both files you want to compare.

Now that you have two new “SolidWorks” drawings…in Solidworks, Tools -> Compare -> DrawCompare…navigate to the new files you created, and the tool will show you the differences!

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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