Archive for the ‘Tips & Tricks’ Category

Weldments and Bill of Materials

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

There are many different ways to create structural frames.  One method might be creating it as an assembly with many individual parts.  Another method, which is my preferred  way, would be as a single multibody part…as a Weldment.
Weldment Icon
The Weldment way allows for easy design changes, automatic structural member trimming/extensions, and creation of cut lengths.  This however is typically just a portion of the overall design.  There might be many more pieces that go on the frame.  This is when you would add your Weldment design to an assembly.

Now with your Weldment in the assembly and the other components attached, you need a Bill of Materials (BOM).  It’s possibly to show the cut list for all the structural members in an assembly BOM.  You will need to choose a BOM Type of Indented in the PropertyManager.

BOM Property Manager
Once you choose the indented type, the BOM will show as a cut list.  The QTY column shows a total length for the structural member.

BOM Image
If you then choose “Detailed cut list” in the BOM Type, it will break each member out in their own row with a length value.

BOM Image Detailed
Now your assembly BOMs can show all the individual items even in the Weldment.  But what if you are using Enterprise PDM.  Can you see the cut list in EPDM?  Of course you can.  It is under the Bill of Materials tab.  You would need to set-up a Weldment Cut List template in EPDM but that is very simple.

EPDM Cut List
As you can see, the cut list item names can be shown to make finding the correct member easy.  Just like in a drawing, you can choose to see a Weldment BOM.

EPDM Weldment BOM
This will group all the members together giving you a total quantity.  If you select the “Contains” tab, and RMB on a Weldment member, you get some more useful functionality.

EPDM Contains Tab
When you choose “Properties”, you can see the members data card with the length.

EPDM Data Card Weldment
You will need to add the length field to the card and map it to the “BOM Quantity” variable.

Josh Spencer

Elite Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

Flow Simulation ‘Replicate Condition’

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

New for 2014 a user has the ability to apply a single Boundary Condition to multiple instances of the same part.  This is a great time saving tip.  No more manually adding the same Boundary Condition to instances of the a part.

With your setup you can assign Boundary Conditions such as an “Inlet”, “Outlet”, and “Heat Source” to  “Part1 “(face/volume) for example.

Simply Right Mouse Button the Boundary Condition and select “Copy to Component Instance”.

The Boundary Condition auto populates on all “Part 1s” in the model.

You can deselect the instance(s) you do not want included.

Note: the “Part 1″ needs to be a part in an assembly for the transfer to work.

For the full pdf instructions please see the link below:

Replicate Condition Flow

Robert Warren

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

EPDM: Copying data card properties from Part to Drawing

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Hey happy EPDM users !
Have you ever wanted to make a SW Drawing “copy” its properties from the SW Part card ?
I have ran into several customers wanting to do this for various reasons.
For example: You might want the DESCRIPTION from Part card be auto copied to the Drawing for that part.  (they would be the same usually, right ?)

Here’s how you do it:
In the DESCRIPTION variable, add a new ATTRIBUTE with BLOCK NAME of “$PRPSHEET” and ATTRIBUTE NAME set to same value as the Custom Property attribute (i.e. most likely “description”).

When you go to test this, you need to MAKE SURE you put some geometry into your test part and insert at least ONE VIEW onto the test drawing !!

This will also work just fine if the description is entered in the Save As dialog box for the part vs the data card. It all goes to the same place.

Holy cow… Did I just write a Blog on EPDM !??!

Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

Register Now for the Greater Evansville Area SolidWorks User Group (GEASWUG) Meeting Thursday, March 20th

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

3DVision invites you to register for the Greater Evansville Area SolidWorks User Group (GEASWUG) Meeting Thursday, March 20th. SolidWorks Product Manger PDM Solutions, Kurt Lundstedt and SolidWorks Research and Development, System and Tools, David Leblanc, will be joining the meeting. 3DVision’s very own Application Engineer, Chris Snider will be presenting, “Multi-bodies are Better than One.”

5:00-5:30 Network and Dinner
5:30-5:45 Opening Remarks
5:45-6:15 Kurt Lundstedt
6:15-7:00 David Leblanc –“CAD Admin Dashboard & Beta”
7:00-7:15 Break
7:15-8:15 Chris Snider from 3DVision – “Multi-bodies are Better than One”
8:15-9:15 Giveaways and Networking

Berry Plastics Corporation

For more information, email

Click here to RSVP.

Lauren Hiller

Marketing Associate 3DVision Technologies

Register Now for the Northern Indiana SolidWorks User Group (NISWUG) Meeting Tuesday, March 11th

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

3DVision invites you to register for the Northern Indiana SolidWorks User Group (NISWUG) Meeting Tuesday, March 11th. There will be a presentation by ExactFlat Director of Sales, Andrew Rudisill, about ExactFlat Design Studio for SolidWorks. You won’t want to miss what’s new in Sheet Metal as well as some tips and tricks!

5:00-5:30 Meet, Greet and Eat
5:30-5:50 SolidWorks World 2014 Recap
5:50-6:00 Break
6:00-6:50 “ExactFlat Design Studio for SolidWorks” Presenter: Andrew Rudisill- ExactFlat
6:50-7:00 Break
7:00-7:50 Sheet Metal- “What’s New in SolidWorks 2014” as well as “Tips and Tricks”
7:50-8:00 Giveaways and Wrap Up

LMC- Bertrand Campus
1905 Foundation Drive
Niles, MI 49120

Please RSVP to

Lauren Hiller

Marketing Associate 3DVision Technologies

What Can’t You Design In SolidWorks? #3

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

RC Hovercraft #3 – SolidWorks Simulation

To review, I had 4 main design criteria for the Remote Control Hover Craft.

  • Utilize the SolidWorks and SolidWorks Simulation Suite of software to develop and optimize the hovercraft design.
  • The RC Hovercraft’s main components will be 3D Printed using the Stratasys UPrint.
  • Easy to Assemble. I want to make the assembly as easy and as straight forward as possible with concise instructions.
  • For purchased components, use low cost, off the shelf components including the electric motors, electronic speed control (ESC), batteries, and propellers.

The next step of the design process is to verify using  SolidWorks Flow Simulation  that the motor and propeller combination will provide a proper amount of air flow to lift the hover craft.

Flow Simulation provides an understanding of  flow in an internal or external volume.  Flow Simulation calculates flow with media including Gases, Fluids, Real Gases, and Non Newtonian Fluids.  Flow Rate, Velocity, Pressure , Vortices, and many other parameters are calculated during the solution.

The following  calculation with the provided manufacturer information was used to calculate the flow parameter boundary conditions for the simulation.

CFM = Cubic Feet per Minute = Volumetric Flow Rate

Mass Flow Rate = (Density) x (Volumetric Flow Rate)

Newton’s Second Law of Motion:  Force = (Mass) x (Acceleration), or F = ma

F = ma = (Mass Flow Rate) x (Velocity), given a constant flow velocity

(i.e., constant propeller speed and pitch angle).

Velocity = (Volumetric Flow Rate) / (Area), where Area = (Pi) x (r^2), the

length of a propeller blade is a good approximation for the radius, r.

Thrust = (Density) x (CFM^2) / ((Pi) x (r^2))

Note: Keep track of your units!

The hover craft’s Flow Simulation was approached from an external analysis type.  A volume was specified around the  hover craft to capture flow into the  inlet and out of the bladder, and its effect from the surrounding environment.  A fan was used to provide the draw of air through the inlet into the internals of the hover craft.  Parts of the hover craft were removed including the canopy cover batteries, and escs.  These components are unnecessary for teh flow run and would increase computational time.


Air Velocity

Air Velocity

Air Velocity Top

Air Velocity Top

The results from the Flow Simulation run show a symmetric and even outlet pattern of flow from the Hover Craft’s “Bladder”.  The parameters provided by the flow simulation suggest that the motor and propeller combination should be sufficient for lifting the craft.

Robert Warren

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

SolidWorks 2014 Sketch Auto Scale

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

One of my favorite enhancements in SolidWorks 2014 is the sketch auto scale.  It’s on of my top 10 enhancement because it saves so much time and frustration.  Here’s how it helps you.

When you create a sketch, you most likely don’t add dimensions right away.  You will get the rough shape on the screen and then come back and add the dimensions.  In 2013 and pervious, once you would add these dimensions, the sketch would possibly move all over the screen.  That’s because if you sketched a line that was 10mm but then placed a dimension that made the line 100mm the zoom wouldn’t change.

Well now in 2014, when you add the first dimension, the entire sketch will scale to that value.  So if you tell the 10mm line to be 100mm, it looks like nothing has changed and you originally sketched the line at 100mm.  It’s all based off the very first dimension you place in the sketch.

If you want to watch a video of this and some other new enhancements, check out our What’s New video.  It can be found here:

Josh Spencer

Elite Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

What’s New in SolidWorks 2014 VIDEOS

Sunday, December 29th, 2013


Merry Christmas ! and Happy New Year !

The COMPLETE “What’s New in SolidWorks 2014″ videos are up for viewing on our website !

FYI, There is a table of contents on the left hand side that will allow you to skip to any section you want to view.


Videos for What’s New in SW Electrical, SW Composer, SW Simulation, and EPDM will also be up soon…

Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

Mesh Improvements For Simulation Flow

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

SolidWorks Flow 2014 has been released and there are several updates.  I want to talk about the Mesh Improvements inside of Flow Simulation.

Two Main Changes:

  • Mesh Parallelization
  • Local Initial Mesh Regions now Adaptive


Lets discuss the Mesh Parallelization first.  There are three stages during mesh generation in Flow Simulation  Geometry Evaluation, Mesh Capture, and Mesh Saving.

Flow Simulation in 2013 utilized one processor for all three mesh operations.  Flow Simulation 2014 utilizes multiple cores(user specified) for the Mesh Capture(resource intense) portion of the process.  This speeds up the mesh drastically between versions.  A 1.5 million cell model in 2013 took 23 minutes to mesh.  In 2014 the same computer, model, and mesh settings took 11 minutes. Over a 50% improvement for this example model.


Adaptive Meshing has always been available in Flow Simulation, however it was only effective on the entire computational domain.  Adaptive meshing is a setting that allows the software to automatically refine areas of high gradient in the flow, allowing the software to converge the results.  Adaptive meshing on a localized region is now available for 2014.  A localized region is a region that a user specifies to have manual mesh refinements on.  This is done by inserting a body in the flow region and specifying it as a local initial mesh.  This region can now be specified to be affected by adaptive meshing.  This speeds up convergence by localizing the adaptive changes.



Robert Warren

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

How Much Does it Cost?

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

When you create a new design, you need to know how much it costs.  Are you going to be over budget or under?  How do you find the cost of your sheet metal or machined parts?  I would guess that you have an elaborate spreadsheet that you use to “guess” the price or you just compare it to a similar design.  Well if you have SolidWorks Professional or Premium, you could use SolidWorks Costing.

Costing Icon

SolidWorks Costing is a cost estimation tool that uses 3D geometry to estimate the final cost.  It doesn’t matter how the part was created in SolidWorks, it’s all about the geometry.  SolidWorks Costing will detect cuts, holes, bends, slots, etc.  It then applies a cost to each of these giving you a total cost.

Costing Folders

Where do you find this tool?  It’s under Tools>Costing.  There is just one button for Sheet Metal and Machining.  It will add another tab to the FeatureManager Design Tree.

Costing Folders Multibody

It will also add another tab to the Task Pane.  The Task Pane is where you fill in information about the costing such as number of parts to be made, material type, blank size, etc.


Where does it get the prices?  SolidWorks Costing uses templates that you can customize.  You add in the price of the material, the machines that you have, etc.  There will be a Sheet Metal template and a Machining template.  The Sheet Metal template would be for all Sheet Metal parts.  The Machining template would be used for all milled and turned parts.


Once you have the cost analysis done, you can create a report.  This can be exported as a Word or Excel document.  SolidWorks also allows you to add specific cost properties to the Part Properties.  These can be pushed to a BOM, to the drawing, or to Enterprise PDM.

Costing Properties


Now you will be able to discover how much your designs cost.  Give it a try.  If you have questions, check the help file or give your VAR a call.

Josh Spencer

Elite Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

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