THE SolidWorks 2007 Bible

Posted on April 30th, 2007. Posted In Software Review

This book is a must have for any intermediate user of SolidWorks. Matt Lombard, who I have mentioned many times here, is a man among men when it comes to SolidWorks. I’ve met Matt and he’s an incredibly intelligent individual, down to Earth and damn funny. (he does remind me of one of the cavemen from the Geico commercials though…) Seriously, Matt knows SolidWorks through and through and his blog is full of useful tips and tricks, musings and rantings. Go check it out.

To see what’s in this book, or to order it, go to Matt’s site. Personally, I think that it should be on the NY Times Bestseller List, a must read for engineering students and an Oprah Book of the Month. It goes beyond a simple "introduction to" or a tutorial. It is for more advanced users (why I ordered one is beyond me…). If you order directly from Matt’s site, he’ll even autograph it for you.

Can you see into the future?

Posted on April 27th, 2007. Posted In SolidWorks Community

Can you? Do you think you know where CAD will be in 50 years? If so, you should probably check out this blog and let ’em know:

More stuff in the works…

Posted on April 26th, 2007. Posted In Software Review

Fear not my loyal readers, I have more stuff in the works. I’m still playing around with, and I’m hoping to see my demo HP mobile workstation in the next week to 10 days. Also, I’m supposed to have a conferenct call with the powers-that-be at NextEngine tomorrow. The end result, I hope, will be to have one of their scanners on my desk in the very near future. I’m also still messing around with Acrobat 3D (my apologies for taking so long on it). It has a lot of stuff in it and, with my schedule being what it’s been like lately, I just haven’t had time to give it the undivided attention I need to.

I also spoke to my "connection" at SolidWorks today and I should be seeing some CAM software coming through the pipeline as well.

Now, I’ve asked this question before, but I’ll ask it again. Is there something you’d like to know more about? Is there a piece of software or hardware that you’ve thought about but aren’t sure it does what it’s supposed to do? Please let me know. Apparently, my blog is gaining some credibility and I’m finding it easier to get companies to let me try out their products. Send me an email or post a comment. I’ll do everything I can to make it happen!


SolidMap – More kudos

Posted on April 17th, 2007. Posted In Software Review

SolidMap announced today that SolidWorks has implemented SolidMap throughout its technical support organization.

"We have found this tool to be very valuable in helping us to understand the existing dependecies inside of SolidWorks models much faster.

I believe many in our user community will benefit from using SolidMap during design and redesign phases."

Ian Baxter
Director of Worldwide Technical Support
SolidWorks Corporation

Go to SolidMap and try it out today!


Yes, I have reviewed igetit before, but now they’ve got a new look (see above!) and feel. Between Julianna, and the new interface (V5), you really should check out igetit. You can sign up for free, so it’s not gonna hurt. Plus, you get to download wallpaper featuring Julianna. Beyond that, you’ll have access to forums that cover all the major CAD software (SolidWorks, CATIA, NX, etc.) out there, tech tips, and even a rant section.

Yes, there are learning opportunities beyond the tech tips and forums but, at the free level, they are limited. Even with that, you should still check it out. I’ll have more about igetit in the coming weeks after my subscription gets upgraded. Then I’ll be able to tell you about the tutorials that are available and how helpful I think they are. Stay tuned and, in the mean time, go sign up for a free account!

DriveWorksXpress – Check it out!

Posted on April 17th, 2007. Posted In Software Review

DriveWorksXpress, a SolidWorks Certified Gold Product Solution, was a pleasure to review, and play with. The software loaded up without a problem, the tutorial was easy to follow and the end result was just as described.

With DriveWorksXpress, which is going to be included in SolidWorks 2008, you can easily capture and re-use data to manufacture to order. In a nutshell, DriveWorksXpress automates various tasks freeing up time to work on other projects. As I was using it, I realized, happily, that we’d be able to automate the creation of one of our product lines that often is customized for the customer. This has been a problem child for us that, as soon as I can get to it, will be brought under control. If you find yourself customizing your products for your customers, you owe it to yourself to check out DriveWorksXpress. You have no excuse not to! If you’re a new SolidWorks 2007 customer, or on a SolidWorks subscription, you can download DriveWorksXpress right here!

While I didn’t get the opportunity to play with them, DriveWorks also offers three other products: DriveWorksEngineer, DriveWorksTeam and DriveWorksEnterprise. With DriveWorksEngineer you can:

  • Automate your repetitive design tasks Generate documentation / outputs – eg 3D models, 2D drawings, Cutting Lists, DXF’s, and e-drawings……
    You can even set up excel templates and then drive the cells to create customer specific documentation such as quotations.
  • Increase the speed, consistency and accuracy of your output.
  • Increase the speed and quality of your response to customers.

DriveWorksTeam allows the above, plus the ability to "clone" your best engineer and allowing others to specify products based on the established rules.

DriveWorksEnterprise allows for everything above as well as allowing non-technical employees (sales), and customers, to specify product based on established rules, even via the internet! It can also integrate with your CRM, ERP or MRP systems.

Like I said before, if you create customize products within set parameter, you really should check out DriveWorks and all their offerings. I’m going to start with DriveWorksExpress. I can see a future need for more though!

Still More to Come

Posted on April 11th, 2007. Posted In Software Review

Patience my loyal readers (can you believe I have multiple readers??)! I have more stuff in the works. There’s still more to come about Acrobat 3D. I’m also messing with and DriveWorksExpress. I’ve also been talking to PC Mall (HP Vendor) and hope to have their equivelant of my M90 coming my way soon. So, be patient. I’ve been so busy these past couple of weeks between work and coaching two little league teams, that I haven’t had time to do much of anything else.

Are there any SolidWorks partner products that *you* would like to know about? I’d love to get suggestions from you. Just send me an email or leave a comment and I’ll figure out a way to get my hands on it.


Acrobat 3D – More Cool Stuff

Posted on April 2nd, 2007. Posted In Software Review

When I listened to, and watched, Adobe’s briefing about Acrobat 3D, Rak Bhalla, Senior Marketing Manager, used Adobe Acrobat Connect to show me all of the cool things that Acrobat 3D could do. How cool was that? Here I was being shown all this cool technology via another cool technology that I didn’t, and still don’t, know about. For many of you, Acrobat Connect is probably nothing new, but I liked it. But, we’re not here for that, are we? No, we’re here to talk more about Acrobat 3D. How’s this for cool?

Can you say 150:1 compression ratio while still retaining details? For the example, I took a 60.8MB SolidWorks assembly, dragged it into Acrobat 3D, chose my settings and I ended up with a 646kb file! How much easier is it going to be for you to send your suppliers these little, tiny, fully detailed files? Oh, did I mention that if your supplier has Acrobat 3D, they can save out the files for, say, their CNC operations? These files (SolidWorks, CATIA, Pro/E, etc) are imported into Acrobat as highly precise CAD data. Precise enough to take accurate measurements or export to your CNC program.

Still more to come!

Acrobat 3D – My First Attempt

Posted on April 1st, 2007. Posted In Software Review

Ok, so I’ve started messing around with Acrobat 3D. Now, as is typical of me, I’m just "doing it". No help files, no online assistance, nada. All I did was open Acrobat 3D, then Windows Explorer. I navigated to my native SolidWorks file and dragged it into Acrobat. Below is the result (Note – you may need to download the latest Adobe reader):
Download test_part.pdf

Pretty damn simple if you ask me! So far, I’m giving Acrobat 4 out of 5 stars. Only four because I tried to use the help menu that popped up when I started Acrobat, but it didn’t work…the software is a beta release, but I’m thinking that the help menu should work…shouldn’t it? More to come…

**Adobe engineers: Have you guys got that little issue I mentioned in my first post fixed yet?**

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