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Learn how to use SolidWorks Configuration Publisher.

There is not many “How to..” on the subject of one of the best SolidWorks Assembly automation tools. The SolidWorks Configuration Publisher can be the tool that will assure your team is not making fatal mistakes when inserting parts and sub-assemblies into the main assembly.

In this video we are taking configurations starting with simple Windows commands such as Copy/Paste, through Excel Design Tables and finishing up with one of my favorite Assembly tools, SolidWorks Configuration Publisher. If you are thinking about using configurations, this video is for you.

Advanced notes in SolidWorks drawings: Pattern Instance

Want to stuff some sweet automatic pattern instance updates into your drawing notes?
Many times when people get to the point of creating a drawing they are stretched for time causing failing back to basic techniques and manually labor.
In this short video we are going to get some quick advanced drawing fun into our Solidworks notes. Getting your pattern instance into your drawings can safe you a lot of hassle when there is a design change.


Like to see more SolidWorks drawing tips, check out this blog post.

3 Things you should know about SolidWorks Search Routines

Changes are that appreciation is not what most people has on their mind when this message apear when opening an assembly. But if a tiny bit of frustration is coming to the surface do not point it at SolidWorks.
SolidWorks has at this point searched 13 different locations on your machine in a desperate attempt to get all referenced documents in order, for finally giving up with the above message.

13 locations to search…
1. Uses any open document with the same name.
2. Searches the first path that you specify in the Folders list in the File Locations Options dialog box.
3. Searches the path in Step 2 plus the last folder in the path where the referenced document was last saved.
4. Searches the path in Step 2 plus the last two folders in the path where the referenced document was last saved.
5. Repeats Step 4 until the full original path has been appended to the path in Step 2.
6. Recursively searches the first path in the Folders list, then recursively searches the path where the referenced document was last saved.
7. Repeats Steps 2 through 6 for the other folders in the Folders list.
8. Searches the path of the active document, then recursively searches the path where the referenced document was last saved.
9. Searches the path where you last opened a document, then recursively searches the path where the referenced document was last saved.
10. Searches the path where the software last found a referenced document.
11. Searches the full path where the document was last saved without a drive designation.
12. Searches the full path where the document was last saved with its original drive designation.
13. Allows you to browse for the document yourself.

3 Things you should know…
Check out this video that might give you some information you have been looking for.

Get going with SolidWorks Sheet Metal Gauge Tables

SolidWorks Sheet Metal Gauge Tables…
Time to do a quick filter through options and get going with using Sheet Metal Gauge Tables.

How do you use Sheet Metal tables in SolidWorks?
Where do you start?
Why do you need them?

Learning fabrication in a short amount of time can be challenging to say it at least. SolidWorks can handle your Sheet Metal data, but it can look a little overwhelming at 1st.
The trick is to learn something quick is to cut off the overflow information and single out the few important Lego pieces that will get you going in the right direction.
This video is an attempt to do exactly that.

Video Link

Use SolidWorks Costing to find the right price

A tool to extract costing data from your 3D CAD model, An excellent idea.

It is about time that I write something about one of my favorite newer tools in SolidWorks.

SolidWorks costing has been around a few years, and every year it gets a little better. In the 2014 version SolidWorks has upped the tool by adding straight up volume as a price tool. This is letting you bypass the customizable templates which can be a great function if you are comparing your current design to an older similar part you already have pricing for.
In the video beneath my goal is to give a good overview over what this tool does. It really has some great functionalities and being fully integrated into the SolidWorks Professional and SolidWorks Premium packages it means a lot of people already have access to this tool.
Remember, it is not in the add-on section but exist on your evaluation toolbar in SolidWorks part mode, so don’t be looking in the wrong place and think you don’t have it.

I used to be involved in a lot of quoting in the past and this tool would definitely have been handy. It is important to remember it is still algorithms and not a magic wand. But with your proven data, this tool can deliver a dollar value on your design.
I’ll buy a beer for whomever at SolidWorks came up with this idea.

6 things SolidWorks Users should know about 3D Printing

What do you want to know about 3D Printing?

My experience is that engineers and designers want to know everything about everything.

We just don’t always have that kind of time so we have to simplify.
The Trick…
My trick when I need to learn the basics of anything is 1st off to find any kind of expert and ask 2 questions and receive 6 useful answers.

  1. Tell me 3 things that I should absolutely know.
  2. Tell me the 3 biggest mistake other people make.

With these 6 answers printed on a yellow sticker on your monitor you can fairly safe adventure into new challenges 🙂

3D Printing…
I do not know much about 3D Printing so I went to my friend Lee McElhinny and asked the following 2 questions, and was lucky enough to end up with 6 good useful answers.

3 Things a designer should know about 3D Printing.

Lee’s Answer…
3d printing is VERY different from Machining

1) Support removal must be taken into consideration with fragile parts or fragile features on parts.

2) 3D printing can build complicated blind holes and undercuts that machining cannot.

3) With soluble support material, entire functioning assemblies can be built as one piece with no post assembly required.

3 Mistakes a SolidWorks User does on a design that need to be printed.

Lee’s Answer…
1) When scaling a large model down to be printed (I.E. a building or a car) a small features size are sometimes reduced to the point that they don’t build ( antennas and flagpoles for example).

2) Adjacent parts are sometimes not merged when they need to be resulting in the model being built as two parts (or one very fragile part) when the intent was to build one strong part.

3) A part is sometimes designed for machining (I.E. two joining parts ) when they can be built as one in 3D Print.

Thank you Lee…

I believe in many ways 3D Printing is going through the same development the CNC Mill did through the 90’s and into the 2000’s. As the machines gets better the engineers and designers will feed them more challenging projects. These 6 answers from Lee should be a good starting point.

SolidWorks Composer on the Shop Floor

Ready to drop playing weekend photographer/Microsoft Paint amateur to get the message across, and instead handle your communication with the shop floor a lot faster?
SolidWorks Composer…
Advertised as a technical communication tool most people are probably thinking instruction manuals as you get them with your latest IKEA purchase. I believe SolidWorks Composer is one of those tools that when you have it in house your will find other projects to use it on.
On the Shop Floor…
Check out this short video

4 Things you need to know about SolidWorks Rx

  1. It can quickly determine if you are having a graphics card issues
  2. It is simply the best way to get the right graphics driver for SolidWorks
  3. It is a great way to assure your computer is a lean mean CAD machine
  4. It can provide the right info to solve possible problems you might experiencing

It has been almost 10 years since one of the main CAD influencers, Greg Jankowski from SolidWorks, wrote this intro for the Rx tool on The power of this tool is awesome. Here is 4 reasons why…
Where to start…

Simply hit your Windows start button and type “rx”, then it will appear at the top of the list…click it!

Starting SolidWorks in OpenGL mode will take you graphics card out commission. Result= If you still see weird graphics issues, it ain’t your graphics cards fault, so blame something else.

Second tab “Diagnostic” gives you a quick link to get your latest certified graphics card driver (Need internet connection, and a supported graphics card) Note: A Nvidia Quadro K2000 or similar should be plenty for most SolidWorks users.

Would Jeff Gordon or Kimi Raikkonen’s pit crew ever send them on the track without having checked the oil level and tire pressure? Well, I like to believe we are just as professional as they are. Don’t forget “CheckDisk” and “Defrag”, and with the enhanced options when hitting “Start Maintenance” such as schedule it to run at your convenience, there is no excuse not to keep that CAD machine in good shape my friend 🙂

If it is time to call a friend, and things are just not working right with SolidWorks. Your reseller will hug you when you let them know you can forward them a SolidWorks Rx Capture. This data holds no personal information, but gives them most of all the data they could ever ask for in regards your system set up. On top of that, if the reseller has to escalate things to SolidWorks, they will be just as thrilled to receive this.
It is a cool tool! You are cool!! You need to use it!!!

3 Quick reasons to upgrade to SolidWorks 2014

In the need for an short elevator pitch to convince management why upgrading to SolidWorks 2014 is going to make you more productive?

If you are anything like me, you would prepare a 6 hours powerpoint presentation going through every detail of the 196 page What’s New pdf. Unfortunately I am pretty confident that management does not see the same fun in this.

One could imagine that a short video covering Part, Assembly and Drawings could do the trick. If not…well, then you might have to torture them with the 6 hours powerpoint presentation 🙂
SolidWorks 2014 is a great release. It has run very stable through beta into full release, and with all the great new enhancements it is defiantly a tool that is going to make you and your team more productive.

eDrawings…3 New features that could be game changers

Last week I was going back and forward with a colleague of mine debating which SolidWorks model we should use for an upcoming project. As I was traveling and therefore out of the office, eDrawings turned out to be the perfect collaborating tool. 🙂
I think that many of us “old time” 3D CAD user are taking this collaboration tool for given and maybe even forgotten about it a little bit, but lately they have made some great enhancements that we can not afford going unnoticed.

1.eDrawings Argumented Reality…
This really works! Being able to use your tablets or smart phone’s camera to place your 3D design in your current environment is not just cool looking, but great as a sales tool or to present to the customer how things really is going to look like in its real life setting.
See SolidWorks Blog Post

2.eDrawings on iPhone and Android devices…
Being fully supported and reasonably priced I think eDrawings have found a new comfortable home on your favorite mobile device. Awesome!
Check out the SolidWorks Link

3.Bring Markups back from eDrawings into SolidWorks…
This is one of my favorites! We can now bring markups back into our favorite design software, SolidWorks, and there by eliminating those scary brake downs in communication that no ones likes.
1)In eDrawings…Create your eDrawing Markup’s

2)In eDrawings…File->Save Markup

3)In SolidWorks Drawings…Insert->eDrawing Markup File…

4)Result…The markup right there inside SolidWorks, no confusion

I think eDrawings has upped the standard. Making sure that collaboration is their game!!