Yakima SWUG

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Last night I had the honor of presenting at the first meeting of the Yakima SolidWorks User Group. Jeff, John and George did a great job putting it together and they had a great turnout for their first meeting. 22 people showed up to be awed by my ‘Tips & Tricks’ presentation, followed by a Q & A session. Ok, so "awed" may be a tad strong, but I did get at least one "ooh!" and an "ahh!". The group was very engaged, an excellent thing. Good questions, enthusiasm and camaraderie. I can see YSWUG being a very successful group. Hopefully, the local VARs will step up in their support.

Their next meeting will be in April. If you live in the area, keep an eye on www.yakima1.com/yswug. They’re going to be loading up the page with info, including an impressive list of online resources the Jeff has gathered over the years.

On a separate note, I can’t wait to get on a plane next Friday and head down to Orlando. SWW, here I come!

January 30, 2009 · Posted in SolidWorks Community  
    

Design for the Future

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My good friend and Geek-in-Charge at The SolidWorks Geek, Alex Ruiz, is throwing his weight (notice I’m leaving out the obvious cheap-shot) behind Design For The Future, a charity drive for under-privledged kids at the Orangewood Children’s Home in Orange, California. Why is he doing this? Because Alex lived there as a teen and now he wants to give back. Please head over to Alex’s site and read more and give what you can.

January 22, 2009 · Posted in SolidWorks Community  
    

So SolidWorks has extended their "get certified for free" deal until, effectively, the end of 2009. Ugh. I don’t know why this bugs me, but it does. Maybe it’s because when I originally took the CSWP exam, it was ~$500 and an 8 hour exam. Granted, my VAR at the time gave me a discount on the price, but not on the exam length. Somehow, this whole "free" thing, along with the shortened time, seems to lessen the certification process. When I retook the exam, as an AE, I noticed that the exam was easier. Yes, I’m sure the intervening years helped with my knowledge of SolidWorks, but there seemed to be less pressure, less angst, even though I had to get at least 90%.

I considered passing the CSWP (both times) a major milestone for me. It meant a lot to me to be able to say I was a CSWP. Not only did it show that I was quite proficient with SolidWorks, but it showed a dedication to it both in money and time.  Now it’s free, easier and 1/3 the time.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just grumpy. Maybe it’s the TES (twitchy eyelid syndrome) I’ve been dealing with for a week. Maybe I’m just sleep deprived. Maybe I’ve been so swamped at work that I haven’t been able to come up with a better blog post. Ugh.

January 21, 2009 · Posted in SolidWorks Community  
    

As I mentioned in a post last week, I finally have SolidWorks 2009 on my desktop. Unfortunately, the project I’ve been working on all these months just got shelved, so I was only able to mess around with the files a little before we archived. However, they’re firing up another project and, it would appear, they’re going to keep me around. This will provide me the opportunity to create a similar project, mostly from scratch, in 2009.

My first impression of 2009? Not too bad, but it’s a first impression with limited use. The install went smoothly, I haven’t had any template issues and nothing seems too amiss. I am developing a love/hate relationship with the dynamic sketch dimensioning. First, it didn’t appear to work. Then I realized you had to tick the ‘Keep Dimensions’ box. Ok, no worries there, though not overly intuitive. However, between the dimensions and auto-relations, I keep getting sketches that are over-defined. I’m hoping it’s just because I’m being an idiot and not one of those new features that are only half done. Time will tell.

Creating a sheet metal part from a solid is pretty slick. I created a semi-complex part and SolidWorks gave me a sheet metal part in no time. I’ve always been a proponent creating sheet metal parts as sheet metal from the get-go. With this new functionality, I could definitely see myself changing my stance. Again, time will tell.

While I opened up the "old" project’s drawings in ’09, and they did open faster, I really haven’t gotten into any of the new functionality available. That will come in a few weeks when we start producing the drawings for the new project.

Currently, I’d give SolidWorks 2009 a ‘B-’. I haven’t experienced any of the issues I’ve seen reported elsewhere but, aside from the sheet metal improvement, I haven’t seen anything Earth shaking either. The sad thing is I’ll be at SolidWorks World in just a few weeks and on the last day we’ll see a preview of SolidWorks 2010 which will only wet my appetite for all the new functionality.

Time will tell.

January 14, 2009 · Posted in Software Review  
    

Using SolidWorks, companies are helping out the environment. There’s the BigBelly trash bin, a solar powered trash compactor. Trojan Technologies has come up with water disinfection system using UV-light. Greentec Systems has the Reee chair, made from recycled video games. Now enter, Island Sky Corp. They’ve come up a way to transform water vapor from the atmosphere into potable water. They have a home/office model as well as a larger model. Designed completely in SolidWorks, they can deliver up to 1100 liters of water a day!

You can check out the press release here.

January 12, 2009 · Posted in SolidWorks Community  
    

I’ve been waiting since it was released to get my hands on SolidWorks 2009. Yesterday, the waiting was over. I’d gone back to my apartment for the day when I got a call from the boss-man informing me that IT wanted to load it and could I come back in. 6 minutes later, I was at the office with the 2009 DVD in my hands. Because I’m testing it, before full release, I created a separate install folder and the install went flawlessly.

I waited until this morning to start playing with it. So far, it’s only locked up once which is a HUGE improvement, compared with all the problems I’ve had with ’08. I’m slowly going through and seeing how the various sub-assemblies, main assembly and drawings react. I’m truly hoping that the performance improvements that have been reported hold true. With all the performance/stability issues I’ve had in ’08, even a 25% improvement would be welcomed.

Stay tuned. As I go through things, I’ll keep you all posted.

FYI – The assembly stats are:

total number of components: 5060
total number of bodies: 11,689

The main assembly file is sitting around 50+MB. The various drawing files range in size from 3.5MB to 40+MB. I’m especially interested to see how ’09 handles the larger drawings, once I’ve converted everything.

January 9, 2009 · Posted in Software Review, SolidWorks Community  
    

Shapeways now has an online store for you to make money on all those designs you’ve been saving. You have heard of Shapeways, right? The online store to bring your designs to life? Well, not only can you get 3D prints of your designs, you can now sell them! Do you have some cool stuff that you’ve designed in SolidWorks (or, gulp, another 3D package) and you’re interested in selling it? It doesn’t matter if you’re a designer or an artist or just screwing around, Shapeways is there to help you make some extra cash.

You can read the press release below, or go to www.shapeways.com/shops for more information.

SHAPEWAYS SHOPS HAVE ARRIVED: NEW GLOBAL MARKETPLACE FOR 3D PRINTED PRODUCTS LAUNCHES

From Model Trains to Gadgets, Shapeways Shops launches for 3D designers to Sell their Products in the Worlds First 3D to Reality Marketplace

CES – January, 2008 – Shapeways, the 3D printing and production service, announced today the
launch of the much anticipated Shapeways Shops. The Shops offer artists, designers and hobbyists alike, a unique online platform to show and sell their designs to a world-wide audience. This new marketplace enables anyone to make money with their 3D modeling skills, bridging the gap between the digital 3D models and real tangible products.

More details can be found at www.shapeways.com/shops
Shapeways makes unique production affordable. Whether you design beautiful interior
accessories or make useful items for you and your fellow hobbyists. You don’t have to think about
mass production anymore. From now on you can actually make money with your 3D models.
Upload your models and sell them at the Shapeways Shop and start your own personal
production line without any investments.

Shapeways does everything for you: payment service, customer support, production and
shipment, which is all provided free of cost. All you have to do is creating your own 3D models.

Shapeways provides an easy, online interface for 3D artists and contemporary design consumers
of all skill levels to order their reasonably priced 3D designs as physical, printed objects. Within
ten business days, a tangible, 3D product will be produced and arrive at the customers home.
Join Shapeways and become a member of the vibrant and creative community to share your
knowledge, interest and now make some money with things you really like to do.
Key Points:

- Shapeways offers an online platform for 3D creative’s to show and sell their designs to a
world-wide audience
- Shop owners can price the items they are selling with their own mark up.
- Artists and designers keep the copyright rights to their designs / products.
- Shapeways assumes full responsibility for production, orders, shipping and customer
service enabling designers to focus on doing what they do best: Imagine and create.
- Shapeways accepts most file formats of 3D modeling software (.STL, VRML, .X3D,
colada) what makes uploading a design easy and efficient.
- Users and potential buyers can browse through their favorite designs easily through
categorized objects the can enter the shop via the models or via the shop gallery.
- Shop owners have the ability to promote their shop and 3D designs on the Shapeways
landing page as well as display feedback and comments through Shapeways Shops.

January 7, 2009 · Posted in Software Review, SolidWorks Community