SolidWorks World – My view

Posted on October 27th, 2006. Posted In SolidWorks Community

I realize that this is supposed to be a software/hardware review blog, but there’s a blockage in the pipeline that, I’m told, is being fixed. So, instead of leaving all (3) of my loyal readers hanging, I figured I’d jump on the SWW bandwagon with Richard Doyle and Rob Rodriguez. Rather than speaking as a veteran attendee like they are, mine is going to be from the first timer’s point of view.

Holy crap! (Can I say that here?). That was my initial reaction. I was not fully prepared for the assault upon my senses. Bear in mind, this wasn’t just my first SWW, it was my first time in Vegas. I was in sensory overload. I think it was sometime Monday afternoon before my jaw closed…

The venue for SWW ’06 was Caesar’s Palace (Caesar’s could be its own topic…). Registration was relatively painless, and you were supplied with plenty of information regarding where/when for sessions, food and fun. It was interesting to wander around and see how many other people were wearing SolidWorks credentials. The vendor pavillion was pretty overwhelming as well. I’d guess that there were around 100 vendors plus more food and drink. Going early allowed for plenty of one-on-one time with the vendors of your choice. I remember being impressed the NextEngine’s 3D scanner and Adobe’s newest 3D reader. (Hmmm, those might be interesting to review…)

Then there was the product design showcase. This is where your peers display the cool stuff that they’ve designed in SolidWorks. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I really liked the Koenigsegg. What a car!

Coming soon…Monday at SolidWorks World.

I’ve just heard from a reliable, well, mostly reliable, source that the keynote speaker at SWW ’07 is going to be Steve Wozniak. Woz, as he is known, is one of the founders of Apple and has become quite the philanthropist. I’m not a big fan of Apple, but I certainly can respect someone like Woz. He’s a visionary, extremely intelligent, and a giver. You can find out more about Woz at his website,

As for the rest of the conference, you should keep checking out Richard Doyle’s blog. As a veteran of numerous SolidWorks Worlds, he’s been writing about what you can expect each day of the conference.

I can’t wait to go. This will only be my second one but, if it’s anything like last year’s, it’ll be a blast!


Posted on October 23rd, 2006. Posted In Personal

I started following Roopinder Tara’s training diary, and it’s brought back some memories of when I started using SolidWorks.

Back in ’98 or ’99 is when I started using SolidWorks. Keep in mind, I’m not an engineer and I had no experience with CAD, aside from about 20-30 hours with AutoCAD. (I actually referred to myself as an "uneducated hack" when I sent Roopinder some words of encouragement). I followed the online tutorials, learned the basic functionality and went off on my merry way. Thankfully, most of the parts I had to model at Genie were, for the most part, quite simple. Very few parts were "complex" and this allowed me to start creating the models from the AutoCAD drawings almost from the get-go. Yes, there were plenty of pit-falls along the way, and zippo outside training (not my choice), but I wanted to learn SolidWorks. I knew it was my way out of the box I’d been put in. Now, I’m a CSWP and I have a job, as a CAD Administrator, that I never would have been considered for without SolidWorks.

If the opportunity is there, I strongly suggest anyone learning SolidWorks get some training. Whether it’s from your VAR, SolidProfessor or a consultant, learning how to do things correctly the first time will save you a lot of headaches down the road.

One other thing…Network with other users. There are plenty of forums. Two of my favorites are eng-tips forums and the SolidWorks forum. You can learn tons of stuff from all the users on both of these sites. There are others as well…comp.cad.solidworks comes right to mind.

Remember, too, that just because you can’t get it to work doesn’t mean it’s a bug. Matt Lombard actually has a great post about learning to ask to learn, which may help out new users when asking questions in one of the forums.

Ok, I’m done for now. I’ve actually forgotten why I started writing…gotta love Mondays…

M90 – The last installment…maybe

Posted on October 19th, 2006. Posted In Hardware Review

Ok, so I’ve had the M90 for almost a month now and figured I’d let you know how things were with it. I’m still really liking it, in spite of what happened today. I definitely think it was worth the money that was spent. I’ve had a couple of crashes, but nothing I could attribute to the laptop…until today. I crashed it 4 times this morning trying to create an AVI from a 42 second animation I’d created. Maybe it was the 15 frames per second or maybe it was the key frame every second…I don’t know. All I know is that I’d get an error message about lack of memory so I’d kill everything I possibly could, hit ‘retry’ and BAM! SolidWorks has terminated. I guess 2 gigs or RAM isn’t enough…?

I did, finally, get the AVI to work after enabling the /3GB and easing up on my settings. Part of me wants it to be a SolidWorks issue but, somehow, I think I should have opted for the $2400 upgrade to 4 gigs or RAM…not.

SolidWorks Pack ‘N Go

Posted on October 16th, 2006. Posted In Software Review

Ok, forgive me for being behind the times but I love that pack n’ go! I had a client who needed me to send him the assembly I’ve been working on. Normally, I’d burn it to CD and give it to him but he needed it tonight and there was no way we were going to be able to meet. I gave it some thought (hey, give me a break, it’s Monday) and remembered hearing about Pack ‘N Go. After a couple of minutes poking around I figured it out (again, it’s Monday!) and in a matter of seconds zipped a 25MB assembly down to just over 5MB. Man, that rocks! Thanks SW!


Posted on October 13th, 2006. Posted In Software Review

Ok, given the fact that I’m not in the forming field, my review is going to be pretty basic.

I tried out BLANKWORKS yesterday afternoon and, to be honest, I’m rather indifferent. Being the typical guy that I am, I went ahead and used it without reading the instructions. It was pretty straight forward and seemed to be quite easy to use. In the end, I ended up with a surface that represented the blank of the part I was using. From this, I could generate a report showing me any thinning issues I might have. Again, I’ve never needed, or had a use for, this kind of information so I can’t speak to the validity of the report. I can tell you this, BLANKWORKS’ (I don’t know why they capitalize it…) feature claims seem to be right on.

The one strange thing that I did find was when I actually did go through their tutorial. I followed the instructions to the letter and it ended up not working…no wonder men never read the instructions…

If anyone out there has a use for an add-on like this and would like me to try out something specific, I have 18 days left on the license…

BLANKWORKS – No, I’m not mad at SW

Posted on October 12th, 2006. Posted In Software Review

No, SolidWorks hasn’t ticked me off…yet. This is about BLANKWORKS, one of SolidWorks’ partner programs. Developed by Forming Technologies Incorporated, BLANKWORKS is said to be "the most accurate blank development tool for estimators and tool engineers in SolidWorks." You can see more stats and features here.

Well, that’s all fine and well but I’ve never felt the need to create a blank so this should be fun. I’ve installed the software and I’m just waiting for the license file to show up. Once that happens I’ll take this software out for a run around the track. I think it’ll be interesting to see how easy it is to use for a novice such as myself.

Check back in at the beginning of next week and I should have some more info!

For those of you still wondering, my M90 is working great! Too bad SolidWorks ’07 SP1.0 isn’t…

Dell M90 – Musings

Posted on October 3rd, 2006. Posted In Hardware Review

I love it. I really do. While, at times, it seems slow booting up, I really don’t have any complaints at all. Whether I’m in the office with it docked, at home, or at the coffee shop (I know, how "Seattle"), I haven’t had any real problems at all. No freezing or lagging. Performance has been excellent. This most processor intensive stuff I’ve done so far in SolidWorks has been with PhotoWorks and Animator with no problems at all. As of now, I think it was a great investment! Everyone, now, go buy one!

SolidWorks Lessons online

Posted on October 1st, 2006. Posted In Software Review

This is a SolidWorks Lesson Plan and Tutorial developed by Marie Planchard for use by Students, Eductors and Teachers for Instruction and Demonstration to reinforce Education of SolidWorks 3D CAD Mechanical Engineering Design Software. Find more lessons and resources at:

Did you know that you can find SolidWorks lessons online in video format? Below is a couple of samples. Click here to access even more!

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