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SolidWorks World 2012…The Midway:The boat and the conference

I have made it past the halfway mark of this fantastic event. As in my last blog post I am going to cheat. I am just going to hand you pictures (The 1000 word thing, right :-)). and throw some comments in there.

General Sessions
The general sessions are fantastic. Over 5000 people entering what feels like a rock concert.

On an aircraft carrier. Wow how awesome! The Midway has served in Korea and Desert Storm. The evening was fantastic. Just a heads up, we are some that need to get our certification going. Next year this event will only be for CSWE… Cutting the heard from this years 800 attendees.

Then of course there is all the presentations. This is defiantly where most people get their moneys worth. I got my presentation out of the way “Dumb Solids: How to make them your friend in SolidWorks”. The session was recorded, and should be available later this spring on SolidWorks website.
I have to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedule and attended. I am so grateful.
I also had a chance to sit in on one of Jeff Sweeney’s presentations on EPDM, Simply fantastic. And also attended one of Charles Culp’s presentations, Awesome.

SolidWorks World 2012…Sunday: Partner Pavilion and Fabulous Tweetup

Good morning
As my eastern standard ~apparently well adjusted~ body things 4am. is rise and shine on a Monday morning. Tooo early to really give a good and well thought encounter of my 1st. SolidWorks World Sunday afternoon and evening. I thought I would do the old trick of a picture is worth a 1000 words, and attach as few comments along the way.

The Partner Pavilion opens…
I am sure you have been to a car show or maybe even a trade show in the past. A lot of sparkling lights and smiling faces. The SolidWorks World Partner Pavilion is located a couple of floors above that. If you walk in here with any thought of CAM on your mind, you are for sure going to have a big smile on your face. Simplest way to say it is that they are all here.

I did not have time to talk to each of them, and some of them defiantly deserve a revisit. But one thing is for sure, these people came prepared and ready to show some cool stuff.
There is of course many other partner product here at SolidWorks World, luckily for this rookie I have a few more days, and therefore also more Partner Pavilion stuff I can share here. :-)

Fabulous Tweetup…

I have learned from reading all the great SolidWorks blogs in the past that it is not just what happens at the convention center that makes this the huge success of an event. 8:00pm at Hilton and the opportunity to meet old and new faces from the social media tool twitter.

Ya! I’m @Lars_cadcam on twitter but be careful of following me there, as Mr.Gebo, SolidWorks Eastern User Group Representative and last years SolidWorks User Group leader of the year experienced, I am the guy who want to shake your hand and say hi once or twice :-). You have to promise me that if you are here at world, you will say hello if our path crosses.

SolidWorks World 2012…Hold up your rookie card

So the question for you is how many times have you been to SolidWorks World?…2…4…8…or are you like me, a 1st timer…Newbie…The Rookie.

If you are going you are in for a treat. How do I know?…Well, I have never heard anyone complaining about that it is that time of year again.
Seasoned SolidWorks bloggers, forum users and User Group attendees praising this yearly event.
Not going?…sorry…The good news is that this event is always greatly covered. My intention is to shot a couple of blog post while I am there. Especially am I excited about the CAD/CAM goodness Im preparing to face in the partner pavilion. They are all there, Mastercam, Delcam, CAMWorks, Solidcam, HSMWorks etc.
So why am I there…
Because my employer, CADimensions, is willing to fly me across the entire continent and on top of that provide a comfortable bed.

To add to that I will also be challenging my rookie trip by doing a presentation at this years event.

Now I would actually never ask you to spend your valuable time attending my presentation, but please promise me that if you spot that face in the crowd you will come and say hello.
Did I say that I have a couple give a ways doing my presentation?… :-)

If you are going I surly hope we get a chance to meet. If not, as I stated earlier this event is very well covered. Picking through the blogroll to the right you will for sure find a lot of good content. I will also be tweeting @Lars_cadcam and that will filter to Facebook and linkedIn.

How to save back your shop knowledge to CAMWorks TechDb

The truth is that there is about 6-8 serious CAM program creators on the market. They are all trying to make a product that fits every CAM programmers needs. It is also a fact that every CAM programmer have their own preferable way of doing things.

One of the things that can really rock your toolpaths in CAMWorks is when you start adding your knowledge to the customizible database.
As a new user it is hard learning a new CAM product while you still are having a “every minute growing” work load to deal with, so luckly you don’t have learn how to customize your database in CAMWorks to start with. It will run fine out of the box.

However if you are looking to make some of those 1’s and 0’s in you computer help making your day easier (~It is ok being lazy with this kind of stuff when working with CAD and CAM~), getting to know your CAMWorks database will be some good time invested.
We are going to deal with some blog post in the future showing some of the neat things that can be stuffed into that CAMWorks database. Today we are going to go through the simple steps of getting some of the repetitious stuff out of the way.
The skinny is that Operation sequences and parameters for each unique feature is stored in the Technology Database, such as you depth of cut, step over distance, lead in/lead out etc. When the Generate Operations command is run, the operation sequence and associated parameters are extracted for the matching feature condition found in the Technology Database and then added to the CAMWorks Operation tree.

The cool thing is…
The way cool thing is, as you will see in this video, you can stuff some of your knowledge and experience into those fancy sequences and parameters.

So if you have CAMWorks on that CAM machine of yours, I’ll recommend you start putting your thumbprint on some of that CAM data of yours :-)

CAMWorks introducing an Xpress version

With LET’S GO MANUFACTURE! spelled out on CAMWorksXpress website I think you can say that the express lane has been paved for this CAMWorks “light” version.

I picked out the following FAQ’s from CAMWorksXpress website.

What is CAMWorksXpress?
CAMWorksXpress is the new and easy to use CAM package that offers seamless integration within SolidWorks and the flexibility to explore and utilize the highly powerful features required for machining your parts efficiently.

Is SolidWorks required to run CAMWorksXpress?
Yes. Currently CAMWorksXpress is available only as an add-in on SolidWorks.

What are the supported operating systems?
CAMWorksXpress is a Windows operating system based software program. It is designed to run on both 32-bit and 64-bit Vista and Win 7 operating systems running either SolidWorks 2010 or 2011.

Is there a demo/trial version available?
Yes, we offer free 30-days trial version (both 32-bit and 64-bit) of CAMWorksXpress. Before downloading the trial version, you need to register on our website . Click on the ‘Download free demo’ icon to access the free download of our powerful CAM software.

How do I get technical support for CAMWorksXpress?
We provide effective email support. For any technical assistance or query, write to us at

How can I buy CAMWorksXpress?
CAMWorksXpress can be purchased online. Visit our website, register and click on the link: ‘Buy Now’

And the price?…

This product is defiantly worth testing if you are looking for some basic CAM. The website is set up to for fill some nice valid content with video tutorials, blog and a user forum.

Get the Sinker EDM sparks flying with SolidWorks

One of the things that can make for a fun challenge on a injection mold is when necessary non-mill possible features, or crazy curved shut off surfaces’ that can only be done cost efficient and/or accurate enough by Sinker EDM are the challenge ahead.
This could be considered a challenge for the toolmaker, not the engineer. That of course is until the toolmaker asks the engineer for some Solid bodies that can machined from 3D on the screen to electrodes in real life.

Someone might told you that these electrodes can be created using standard SolidWorks commands.They aren’t lying. You see, you could also throw your smartphone in the garbage, and just go back to send smoke signals… :-) …alright maybe I’m not being totally fair. Let me show you what I am talking about. Here is a video that I recorded, using the SolidWorks Mold class example on how to create an electrode in SolidWorks.

Now let me introduce you to ElectrodeWorks. This product is developed by RnB out of Israel. The product is pretty amazing. As you will see in this next video we are going to attack the burn area as we did using standard SolidWorks tool. Then ignite the EDM fluids and simulate, adding holders, spark gap, and automatically create manufacturing drawings. In less time than it took using those ordinary SolidWorks tools.

You can defiantly create electrodes using standard SolidWorks functions, but I think this add-on deserve at least a look if creating electrodes and making a profit is an everyday goal. challenges you!

According to my trusted source, Wikipedia, it is estimated that there was spend more than 500 billion dollars on advertising in 2010. Now as a “middle aged man”(Also according to Wikipedia) I would like to believe that this expensive, but rather often simple propaganda are below my intelligence for having much effect.

I will have to admit that a casual flipping through one of my favorite trade magazines, the advertising agent did a fabulous job grabing my attention and fully direct it to their ad.

Can you make this part?
Well there I am, kids are screaming of hunger, the dog needs go outside, and I am sitting studying an advertising showing something that is suppose to pretend to look like a manufacturing quote, silently saying to myself, Sure I can!

So I decided to record a couple of videos. One creating this part in SolidWorks, and then follow up with one that machines that SolidWorks part using CAMWorks right inside SolidWorks. But before we go any further it might be in its place to discover who is in case you are not familiar with this online tool. Explaining that the easiest and proably most accurate is to direct you to about on their website.
Can you make this part using SolidWorks?

Can you make this part using CAMWorks?

So that part was not that hard. Of course we could do that part in SolidWorks and CAMWorks. If the part had been too hard I would probably never went this far. The magic of good advertising :-).

Surprise!…CAMWorks 2012 is here!…So what’s new?

CAMWorks users has a reason to smile a little extra this fall as they got their major release a few months earlier this time around.
CAMWorks has decided to roll their 2012 release back closer to SolidWorks 2012 release, instead of offering a service pack for compatibility to SolidWorks newest version. This decision should make life easier for customers, as they now can upgrade in a bundle.

So what is in the 2012 basket of new and good stuff?

Pin/Unpin Property Manager Pages…

CAMWorks has added the Pin/Unpin switch, known to SolidWorks users as a neat single or multiple interactions function.
At this point the following dialogs will have this functionality:
1. Insert Multi-surface Feature
2. Insert Wrapped Feature
3. Insert 2.5X EDM Feature
4. Insert 4X Feature
5. Insert Turn Feature
6. Insert Operations (including Mill, Turn and EDM operations)

Ease of managing tools for Mill/Mill-Turn…

CAMWorks continues to add functions for quick access to the powerful customisable database. This version gives the programmer a change to save some time adding and editing tools right from the machine definition dialog box.

Improved Functions…

1. Performance of Saving Files with Large Amount of Tool Paths. (They tested this with files containing more than 1.5 million toolpath moves, Ouch.)

2. Contain/Avoid Area Display. (One of my favorite tools, got a nice face lift.)

3. VoluMill Toolpath. (Update to VoluMill version 4.0. This is a must if you remove a lot of material.)

4. Improved Performance and Recognition in Mfg View. (CAMWorks does very well with Feature Recognition, and they keep on making it better.)

5. Z-level sorting of Recognized Features. (Feature Recognition will actually order the appropriate Z levels in a mill pocket.)

6. Turn Feature Definition. (Giving you the option for selecting traditional “Plane” selection or this new “Revolved” selection for turn profile.)

7. Turn Approach Move Control. (Provides the ability to define the turn approach moves as either rapid or feed motion.)

8. User Defined Turn Inserts. (User Defined Turn inserts can now also be used in Turn Rough, Groove Rough, Bore Rough and Face Rough operations in addition to the existing finish operations.)

One can assume that this list is going to be shorter compared to past years, as CAMWorks developers had their cycle shorten by months, and rightfully so. Now we might hope that a delicious Service Pack is intended in the beginning of 2012… Yes, as always we want more! :-).

One important thing to add is that CAMWorks is following SolidWorks by announcing 2012 also is going to be their last version supported by Windows XP.

CAMWorks makes eDrawings one cut better

One of my favorite features in CAMWorks is that the stock manager automaticly displays the minimum requried stock size needed for your part.

This feature itself might not seem as very magically fantastic. However I can not count how many times someone have shouted FIRE because ordering of material had been forgotten, and promised delivery date now is in jeopardy. Causing me to scrable solid parts and measuring tools to get the numbers on paper. Feeling the pressure as a mistake of wrong size material would never be forgiven.
So maybe this simple tool could be lifesaving after all :-).

Now since eDrawings is also a Geometric product like CAMWorks you can actually inject this automatically stock boundary into this easily share able format.
Highlight the Stock Manager in the CAMWorks Feature Tree, and the stock boundary will display around our SolidWorks part in the graphics display. Then the next step is choosing “Publish To eDrawing” on the CAMWorks Command Manager, and now you have easy Markup tools* to quickly add dimensions and notes.

This can be a great tool for shops where ordering of stock is a yellow sticker with what looks like a doctor note handed to a secretary.
Just imagine how cool you would look sending an eDrawing with measurement, stock boundary and notes along with the quote, making everyone’s life’s easier.

*Markup tools is part of eDrawing Professional that comes standard with SolidWorks Professional and Premium

Become an advanced master of selecting in SolidWorks

Ever dreamed about stuffing Google inside your SolidWorks menu for complete control on what you want highlighted in your Feature
Manager tree when working with assemblies?

“SolidWorks Advanced Select” a tool that could be nominated as one of the most underrated tools in this deliciously fun packed 3D modeling software . Seriously, it could save you hours of searching for components and features.

Cruise your white cursor in the tiny little black arrow next to your cursors twin at the top of SolidWorks menu bar. A drop down will appear where if you click this fancy “Advanced Select…” button at the bottom, a box pops up that seems a little like it could be related to the custom properties. Do not let that scare you at all :-).
This thing is pretty easy to use even if you are fairly new to SolidWorks. These dance step only contains a few taps at the top, and a couple of drop downs that is pretty self explanatory. But what a world of options we suddenly have at hand. It’s like you just got a much tighter grip on what is going on in your Feature Manager Tree.

So what are we after?…what is the end result?… Well this function has some pretty awesome tricks for you to search for things in your assemblies because you can customize the “ceiling fan” out of it.
Here is a few I came up with:

It could be selecting things in your assembly with a specific or a range of mass.
How about highlighting the components with errors? or a part with a vendor name in the title, or materials?
My favorite could be easily be special configurations.
I recommend that if you work with large assemblies you do you self a favor and make a “Simplified”configuration of your part. Simply turn off all the fancy stuff that might put heavy loads on your system resources. Suppress of fillets, maybe even features and holes that is not needed, and then when you are roaming in your big assembly you can use these “Simplified” configurations as a draft representation of not necessary high details of parts. Now tell me that is not a wonderful resources saving tip in itself.
But now lets turn the tip into magic…
How about we quickly set up an “Advanced Select” search for parts that contains these simplified configurations, so we quickly can find where to turn them on or off?
As you can see in the above picture we simply select from the drop down named Category 1, pick a Condition for then typing “simplified” in the value box. We are like 63% done already, easy right! Now we need to give it a name as it appears in our drop down. Type that in the field to the left of save icon. (Save icon is a disk…that is kind of funny we still using that as an icon. Should be a cloud or at least a thumb drive, don’t you think?)

Next jump over to the 2nd tap “Manage Searches”. Here we can check and un-check what we want to show up in our drop down box. I also need to add that if you double click on the a given number in this tap you can actually export your search. So now you could be nice and share your custom searches with your colleagues.

“Advanced Select” can be a real time saver, and the reason not that many uses it is because they don’t even know it exsist. You can set it up for a handful of searches in minutes…what’s not to love, so lets spread the word.