Setting Parts Colored and Opaque when Editing in SOLIDWORKS

    by Toby Schnaars on April 7, 2017

    When editing a component in the context of an assembly, SOLIDWORKS automatically makes all of the other components transparent. This makes it easy to see through everything else, to get at what you need, but can bring on its own challenges.

    This blog will demonstrate step-by-step instructions on how to override this default behavior to get assemblies looking just the way you need.



      How to Handle Multi-Part Components in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

      by David Hofer on March 31, 2017

      I was recently working with a SOLIDWORKS Electrical project that a customer had developed, and I ran across a situation that I see quite often. Users that develop components that are made up of multiple parts, often run into issues when associating symbols to them in SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic.

      Often the problem goes unnoticed until the project is moved to SOLIDWORKS CAD using the Electrical 3D add-in and the wires and cables are routed. Generally, the routing analysis will display an error having to do with the connection points.

      In this blog I’m going to show an example where this can easily happen and a way to spot the issue and fix it before entering the CAD environment.



        Best Practices when Installing SOLIDWORKS 2017

        by Toby Schnaars on March 29, 2017

        When the time comes to install or update your SOLIDWORKS software to a newer version, the process can feel a bit overwhelming.  Below is a guide to help you through this process.  Following these steps should ensure a clean and successful installation.  

        I have broken down the sections into “RECOMMENDED” and “OPTIONAL”.  Each step in “RECOMMENDED” should be followed and thought of as required.  The sections marked “OPTIONAL” can be skipped, but might give you some good tricks for ensuring that everything goes smoothly on the user end.

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          Two Great Tools Every SOLIDWORKS User Should Know (But Many Don’t)

          by Toby Schnaars on January 3, 2017

          As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’ve been a user of SOLIDWORKS for 18 two-great-tools-every-solidworks-user-should-know-but-many-dont-1years and began teaching new and experienced users since 2001. Today we are going to examine two great tools in SOLIDWORKS that every user should know how to use, but many don’t:

          1. CTRL+Q = Force Regen
          2.  V.O.R. = Verification on Rebuild

          These two tools share the same theme: They both generate a rebuild, which is more thorough and elaborate, but takes a longer time to complete.

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            Tips for New SOLIDWORKS Users Part 2: Keep Your Sketches Simple

            by Toby Schnaars on October 12, 2016

            Welcome back to our series of tips for new SOLIDWORKS users. As I mentioned in my last blog, I started teaching SOLIDWORKS CAD software to both new and experienced students in 2001.  This blog series covers three great tips I’ve learned over the years to help new SOLIDWORKS users get started off on the right foot:

            1. Always start your sketches the same way – and know when you are in sketch mode
            2. Keep your sketches simple
            3. Fully define, every time

            My last blog covered the first tip. Today, we will move into the second: Keep your sketches simple.

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              The Right Tool for the Job Part 3: Getting Your Fix with Fixtures

              by David Roccaforte on September 20, 2016

              In the first blog in this series, I introduced SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard, our entry level but high value analysis package. In my second blog, I discussed the single body limitations in Sim Xpress and compared that with the extended capabilities in our more full featured tools. In this post, I will discuss the fixed constraint option in Sim Xpress and compare this to the capabilities of Simulation Standard.  

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                The Right Tool for the Job Part 2: The Single Body Limitation in Sim Xpress

                by David Roccaforte on September 8, 2016

                In my last blog, I introduced SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard and how it is a lot of analysis power for the money. One point that I made is that there are many times when SOLIDWORKS users might be trying to do too much with the free Xpress tools or might not realize what they are missing in a more complete solution like Simulation Standard Professional or Premium. In this blog, I will discuss the single body limitation imposed by Sim Xpress.

                Sim Xpress allows only a single body and "fixed" constraints that stop motion on the chosen face in the X, Y, Z directions. The main reason for this limitation is that it prevents users from creating an unstable model by accident. Fix any face in X, Y, Z directions on a single body and you are going to have a stable model. In other words it's a slam dunk that the solver will able to solve for equilibrium and we can find a solution. This limitation guarantees a solution but limits the areas we can accurately extract stresses from and limits the types of situations we can accurately reproduce.

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                  SOLIDWORKS FLOW SIMULATION: Animating Transient Flow Runs and Solver Iterations

                  by David Roccaforte on September 24, 2013

                  In this simulation tech tip, I am going to cover using animations to display the auto mesh refinement splitting cells, since it is useful for watching steady state flow solutions develop, as well as viewing multiple time steps in a transient solution.

                  1. Make sure we are saving the steps during the Flow solution. Open the "Calculation Control" dialog. This is accessible from the flow feature manager, command manager, and the solver menu window:


                  1a. Choose the saving tab and enter how often you want to save results.
                  1b. The individual iteration results will be saved in your Flow folder for each iteration as  "r_XXXX.fld"
                  These are individual result sets which will be referenced to create your animation. Be careful: this is a good way to fill up your hard drive for larger models with small times steps.CONTINUE READING:

                  2. Solve the flow model.

                  3. Load the results (last iteration is default) and create a plot that you want to animate, such as a cut plot or surface plot.

                  4. To begin creating the animation, either right click "Animation" in the feature manager and choose Insert or right-click the desired result set to animate such as a cut plot and choose Animation.

                  5. Once the animation pane appears, you will want to drag the study "control point" all the way until the start of the animation (to the left).

                  6. To bring the individual time frames/iteration in, you will then click the "Movie" icon.
                  6a. Enter the desired duration of the animation, and click "Next."
                  6b. Choose rotation or not; you can still rotate the model using control points and views later if you choose "no" here. The rotation will add key frames for a simple rotation about the global axis. Click "Next."
                  6c. Select "Scenario" to animate multiple timesteps. Click "Next."
                  6d. Choose "Uniform" or "Proportional" and select the start and finish from the sliders if you don't want to include all the timesteps/iterations results.


                  6e. Now you will see a "control point" for each iteration brought into the animation.
                  7.  To determine when the features are displayed in the timeline, you can insert and drag the "control points" for that feature.
                  7a.  To choreograph different plots, you can adjust "control points" for the individual features to begin and end at different times or overlap etc... (see the video we phase out the mesh cutplot then phase in the flow stream cutplot.)
                  7b. To change the view during the animation, you can place "control points" in the animation pane to move from one view to another. First, you must right click the project name and unselect "Lock Orientation." Each control point is a specific view orientation, and when they are connected, the model moves from one view to the next dynamically. To adjust the orientation at a "control point," drag the slider bar to the point and adjust the model view. (See the video below).
                  8. Now you can hit the play button and the view orientation will change based on your view "control points." In addition, your feature plots with "control points" will update based on the solver iterations. You can also save the animation as an .avi file by clicking the record button. This can be useful since the frames can take some time to load.
                  Watch the video below a couple times and you will see that it's a pretty quick process.


                    Multiple Configuration Tables

                    by Angelle Erickson on November 29, 2010

                    Working with SolidWorks configurations just keeps getting easier thanks to the "Modify Configurations" window. If you use configurations and you aren't familiar with this then you need to pop open the Help menu and get acquainted.

                    In SolidWorks 2011, Modify Configurations got even better with the addition of the dedicated All Parameters button at the bottom of the dialog window. Simply click this and every configured parameter will open up in the table.
                    One of my favorite features about the Modify Configurations window is the ability to arrange configuration tables to your liking and then save them for reuse in the future. Add columns by double clicking dimensions and features in the graphics area, delete columns using the right mouse button, click drag columns to reorder and then, when it looks just right, give it a name and hit the Save Table View button. Now whenever a change is needed just open up the table which can be found in the Tables folder on the Configuration Manager tab. What's even better is you can make and save as many tables as you want.

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