One of the perks of writing this blog is being able to see things that aren’t released to the general public and then telling the general public about what I’ve seen. For example, I received an email yesterday, from my DriveWorks contact, with a link to a demo for their resellers. (For those of you unfamiliar with DriveWorks, they are a SolidWorks Certified Gold Partner, specializing in rules-based design automation.) The demo showed the full-blown version of DriveWorks, not the free DriveWorksXpress. I have to say that the various results that can be produced in one fell swoop with DriveWorks is pretty impressive. Models, drawings, reports, BOMs, invoices can all be produced with just a few mouse clicks and are all stored in a customer specific folder. Granted, one would have had to do some intensive front-end work, but for companies that produce customized products from base models (i.e. the gantry that DriveWorks uses for their examples), DriveWorks would be most beneficial. Go to the Driveworks website for more information on their line of products. Remember, too, that DriveWorksXpress will be available in SolidWorks 2008. SolidWorks 2007 users can download DriveWorksXpress for free by clicking here.

May 31, 2007 · Posted in Software Review  
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I’ve posted a few times about Acrobat 3D and how helpful I believe it can be. I received a press release earlier announcing that Acrobat 3D is now out of beta and available immediately. Some of the key features in Version 8 are:

  • Display PMI directly on the geometry and from the assembly tree.
  • Produce highly compressed Adobe PDF files that can be up to 150 times smaller than the original CAD files.
  • Export converted CAD files in PDF to STEP and IGES.
  • Convert larger CAD assemblies to Adobe PDF more quickly.
  • Leverage support for the latest CAD formats.
  • Open Adobe PDF documents faster
  • Take advantage of all the features of Acrobat 8 Professional.
  • AEC professionals will find the following navigational tools useful:
    1.       Model Tree – select objects directly from the model tree panel.
    2.       Object Selection Context Menus – select objects directly from the model area.
    3.       Bookmarks – Defined 3D views can also be navigated using Acrobat bookmarks to enhance the experience.

As mentioned on SolidSmack, the compression rate can vary but, for the most part, it’s a huge help.

May 30, 2007 · Posted in Software Review  
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It’s about Time!!

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It finally arrived, yesterday. I’ve been waiting forever for it to get here. Ok, forever is an exaggeration but, hey, it’s my blog I’m allowed to, right? That’s right, my SolidWorks 2007 Bible arrived yesterday. On top of that, it was autographed and Matt actually kept it clean. Actually, now I’m wondering if it was actually Matt that autographed it…I digress.
As  Rob Rodriguez and Anna Wood have already talked about, getting this book is a wondrous moment. Matt’s personality shines through. This was one of the reasons I wanted the book. Matt is an excellent writer and I knew that it would show through in this book, unless the publisher was a complete idiot. Add to that Matt’s intimate knowledge of SolidWorks and you’ve got yourself one hell of a learning tool. Do yourself a favor and go to Matt’s site and buy yourself a copy.

As with other SolidWorks tools and add-ons, I’ll be giving a more "in-depth" review of the book in the coming weeks.

May 19, 2007 · Posted in SolidWorks Community  
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Solidmentor is now up and running. A SolidWorks site for SolidWorks users by SolidWorks users, the brainchild of Ben Eadie (blog, website). His goals were simple:

  • Central location for all blogs, podcasts and SW news
  • The SolidWiki (this will require alot of user help to populate but could be a very powerful tool!)
  • The forum will allow uploads for SW files for diagnostics, testing, yadda yadda yadda…
  • The forum will be moderated and be able to ban jerks.
  • Live webcasts (There will be a beta cast soon Stay posted)
  • A central community calendar for Usergroup meetings, and other SW events
  • Contacts, links, networking
  • For the users by the users
  • Objective, Candid opinions from users

Check it out, add content, make suggestions, ask questions, get involved!

May 17, 2007 · Posted in SolidWorks Community  
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Most of you are probably already reading Matt Lombard’s blog and, therefor, have probably already read the interview that Franco Folini did with Matt on Novedge’s blog. However, if you haven’t read it, get your butt over there and do so now! Not that my opinion counts for much, but I thought it was a great interview with Matt and provided a little more insight into the creation of the SolidWorks Bible.

May 15, 2007 · Posted in Software Review  
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Good morning my faithful readers. While I don’t have one of my deep, insightful reviews for you today, I do have a tidbit from Adobe. You’ve read what I’ve had to say about Acrobat 3D. Maybe you’ve even tried out the beta version. Well, now you can hear more about it from the creators themselves. Adobe is hosting 3 eSeminars (sponsored by SolidWorks, 3Dconnexion and Cadalyst) to show you all that Acrobat 3D can do. Not only will you get that valuable info, but you could win a SpaceNavigator from 3Dconnexion too! They’ll also toss in a free white paper about 3D design tools. Click here to register. The dates are:
May 22, 2007  11am-12pm PST
May 23, 2007  1pm-2pm PST
May 24, 2007  1pm-2pm PST

FYI – I have a copy of SolidCam and of FormatWorks on my desk right now. I’ll be getting them loaded up ASAP and reporting back to you within the next couple of weeks.

May 15, 2007 · Posted in Software Review  
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So I finally had the time to get deeper into Acrobat 3D. Having been a Technical Writer/Illustrator prior to my present position as a CAD Administrator, I checked out how Acrobat 3D could help out in that arena.

With Acrobat 3D, the technical writer/illustrator can read the data from almost any 3D CAD file (SolidWorks, CATIA, Pro/E, etc). Beyond that, they can clean up the file, removing unnecessary info to provide their customers with only the pertinent data. Callouts, BOMs and animations can be easily created. The writer/illustrator can even change the texture and material as well as edit the lighting. Heck, JavaScript™ can be added for increased interactivity! If you have customers that access information about your products online, this tool would be invaluable. Your customer can manipulate the product, explode it and select the parts they need. While I’m no guru about these things, I’m betting that the interface could be set-up so that, with a click or two, they could add that part to their shopping cart.

If you don’t at least take the time to check out Acrobat 3D, you’re missing out on a great sales/marketing/part sales tool.

May 7, 2007 · Posted in Software Review  
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SolidMentor is a website, currently under construction, that will be chock full of all things SolidWorks. Links to other helpful sites, a ‘SolidWiki’ to capture and disseminate useful knowledge, a user’s forum, Blog and Podcast Role…basically one-stop shopping for all things SolidWorks. Need to find a website with macros, it’ll be there. Looking for a new VAR? Look under ‘Resellers’ on the weblinks page. Have some great information to share? Throw it in the SolidWiki! The search feature searches all of the content on the website, not just the section you’re in. There’s more, but I figured I’d just whet your appetite a bit…The basic idea is a site for SolidWorks users by SolidWorks users.

May 4, 2007 · Posted in SolidWorks Community  
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I’m going to start sounding like a broken record here, but I still like i.get.it. I do wish, however, that they’d fix the "remember me" thingy. I select it, but it never remembers me. Well, it’s just a minor inconvenience. On to the good stuff…

With i.get.it Professional, you get access to a whole bunch of training opportunities. For me, I was able to access training for everything from SW 2004 all the way to 2007, including office pro and premium for both ’06 and ’07. This aspect will be most beneficial as we’re going to be using routing and there are lessons for Electrical Systems as well as Piping and Tubing.

There are also user forums (which are becoming more active), a section to rant (which is very active), and access to cool videos, humor and wallpaper (of Julianna. You remember her, right?) as well.

I’ve said before that i.get.it helped me pass the CSWP exam and learn SW. I firmly believe that it can help you, and your peers, learn more about SolidWorks. It’ll be well worth the money spent.

May 2, 2007 · Posted in Software Review  
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Ok, so this is going to be way, way, way off topic. It’s not even close to being SolidWorks related but, hey, freedom of speech rules!

I stumbled across a blog today that, if you’re a parent, I think you’ll like. It’s called MetroDad and it’s written by a 30-something NYC’er and his adventures in parenting. It’s well written, humorous and, at times, the advice is pretty good. Heck, even you "non-parents" may get a kick out of it.

Chris, you say you read this…I’d recommend you start reading MetroDad’s blog too. If you, and your much better half, are planning on procreating, it may help you along.

May 2, 2007 · Posted in Software Review  
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