Solidsmack Has Lost It

Posted on December 23rd, 2009. Posted In SolidWorks Community

My buddy Josh, he of Solidsmack fame (infamy?), has lost it. He managed to put vomit, 3D CAD, Windows7 and a SpacePilot Pro all into the same post and make it work, mostly. The best part of the whole thing is if you can convince the contest fairies your response is the best, you can win the aforementioned SpacePilot Pro. Go check out Josh’s latest (scariest?) post, just be sure to not have eaten recently. Actually, I’m not sure why I’m posting this. I’d be willing to bet that anyone reading this blog reads Josh’s…well, there goes 10 minutes I’ll never see again. Thanks, Josh.

Wrapping It Up

Posted on December 22nd, 2009. Posted In Personal,SolidWorks Community

No, this isn’t a post about the wrap feature in SolidWorks. It’s about wrapping up another year. All things considered, I’d say it was a successful year. I’m (mostly) healthy. I finally quit smoking. My boys are healthy and happy. I only spent three months unemployed. These are all things to be thankful for.

There’s more though. I’m thankful for this blog, and the opportunities it has given me. It’s been three years since Mr. Doyle gave me the opportunity to start it, and helped me get it going. In those three years I’ve been able to try out a slew of hardware and software and meet some of the coolest people. Strangely enough, were it not for an ankle injury 12 years ago, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this. It was indirectly because of that injury that I ended up teaching myself SolidWorks and starting down this path. I guess that makes me thankful for weak ankles as well.

I’m looking forward to seeing what 2010 has up its sleeve. With any luck it’ll include much health and happiness, continued employment and more partner products to review.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Back in June, I posted a quick SolidWorks T & T post that seemed to be well received, so I figured I’d post another one.

  • ‘Ctrl’+8 will change view to Normal to. Hitting it again will flip to the opposite side.
  • F5 turns your filter toolbar on/off. F6 clears enabled filters.
  • To created geometry without snapping, hold down ‘ctrl’ before or after dragging to disable inferencing.
  • Repair broken sketch relationships by dragging, or manually repair by using relations.
  • Name your features, it’ll make your life easier down the road.
  • If working in a multi-user environment, enable multi-user environment to receive update notices (Tools->options->collaboration).
  • If you use variations of the same part, you owe it to yourself to check out DriveWorksXpress.
  • Always use fully defined sketches. Trust me.

Tips & Tricks sessions are always popular at SWUG meetings and at SolidWorks World. It looks like there’s a least 5 different T&T sessions at SWW’10. If you’re planning on attending, make sure you get there early, you’ll want to be able to take notes.

I’m the only SolidWorks user in the company and, up until now, haven’t been using PDMWorks. Part of the reason is I don’t trust our server. We’re a small company and the server’s stability worries me. Presently, I have everything on my computer, with a backup on an external hard drive. The only things I put on the server are pdf’s of completed drawings.
I’ve been contemplating creating a vault on my hard drive, with a backup on the external drive, for a while now. The thing is, I’m just not convinced it’s the way to go. I’ve used PDM plenty of times, and think I’m pretty well versed in the positives in a multi-user environment, but I just can’t quite wrap my head around using it solo. Yes, I’ve heard the “what if the company grows” argument, but it just isn’t enough to get me to make the switch.
Are you using PDMWorks in a solo environment? If so, why? How do you feel it enhances your work flow? If you’re not using it, why not? Curious minds want to know.

SolidWorks Resources

Posted on December 8th, 2009. Posted In Software Review,SolidWorks Community

Task PaneThe SolidWorks task pane. We’ve all seen it, right? Probably used it a time or two for drawing view insertion or to dig something up out of a design library. When was the last time you clicked on the ‘home’ tab and looked at what it has to offer? Granted, starting a new document, or opening a previous document, would be accomplished quicker via other means, but what about tutorials? What’s new?

How about moving down a little? Quick links to the customer portal, user group information and the discussion forums. Strangely enough, there are plenty of people out there who don’t even know if there’s a user group in there area or that there are discussion forums! How alone would you feel if that were you?

Tech news? There they are, right there with a link to more news and descriptions. Did you know PhotoWorks was being retired? That juicy piece of info is within that ‘view all’ link.

Partner solutions. Cool software add-ins to make your life better. If you haven’t checked out the software packages out there that make SolidWorks even better, and your job easier, you really should take a look.

You’ve all been to the SolidWorks Labs site, so the fact that there’s a quick link there is unimp…what, you haven’t been? So then you don’t know about Treehouse 2? What about Tagger? SustainabilityXpress? You need to go there now!

Don’t forget about the ‘Tip of the Day’. You never know what gem you may find.

AMV Steelworks

Posted on December 7th, 2009. Posted In Software Review,SolidWorks Community

AMV Logo

First, I owe an apology to Gabriele Meluzzi from Steelworks. Gabriele, mi dispiace. I took way too long to complete this review, especially after all of your patience.

In a nutshell, this program rocks. While it took me a bit to muddle my way through, I really ended up liking it. The tutorials are pretty damn clear, especially where they’re translated from Italian. All too often, translated instructions aren’t much easier to understand than the language they were originally written in.

I was very happy with the interface, especially how it so closely resembled SolidWorks. This makes complete sense as they are a SolidWorks Certified Solution Partner. SteelWorks has built in libraries for both domestic and foreign steel standards, complete with fastening systems. It also includes a SQL engine for order management.

I don’t work in the steel industry but, from what I can tell, this is a complete program. After creating your 3D assembly, you can get all of your 2D drawings including view, sections, general arrangements and fab drawings. All of it associated with the 3D models as you’d expect.

It’s too bad I didn’t have this when I was working on that processing facility last year. I can only imagine how much easier my job might have been. If you’re working in steel construction, you’ll want to give SteelWorks a look. I think you’ll like it.

Think you’re good at rendering?

Posted on December 4th, 2009. Posted In SolidWorks Community

If you do think you’re good at rendering using PhotoWorks, you should head over to Christopher Thorn’s website. Christopher took over for Rob Rodriguez after Rob realized he couldn’t give the contest the time it needed. Christopher has set up a great site and kept the PhotoWorks contest going. December’s contest ends on the 26th so you still have plenty of time to download this month’s model and get it submitted.

Go ahead, make our day!

Posted on December 2nd, 2009. Posted In SolidWorks Community

As I mentioned in my last post, Stump the Chumps II is on! Also, there’s a couple of more chumps that have joined us. I guess it would make sense to introduce you to everyone:

  • Matthew Lorono
    Matthew’s experience with SolidWorks starts in 1998 with a strong focus on streamlining drafting activities.  He has worked in the industrial mass flow, semiconductor and medical devices sectors since 1991.  He is the owner and primary author of SolidWorks Legion blog. He has also presented at SolidWorks Technical Summit and has attended three SolidWorks Worlds.
  • Rob Rodriguez
    Rob is the owner of Axis CAD Solutions LLC. A CAD services company specializing in rendering and animation of SolidWorks data. A CSWP since 2004. Rob is a regular speaker at SolidWorks events nationwide. Visit his website at
  • Lou Gallo
    Lou is the SolidWorks HEARD! blogger and a podcaster on everything SolidWorks and CAD related tech. Visit his site at Twitter: @gol10dr or @solidworksheard
  • Josh Mings
    Josh smells of woodchips and writes about SolidWorks, Product Design and related Tech for
  • Ben Eadie, A.E.T.
    Ben is an Aeronautical/Mechanical designer, Web designer, Social Media developer, Podcaster and blogger. He’s the brains behind and the talent in front of the camera for
  • Alex Ruiz
    Blogger for The SolidWorks Geek and SolidWorks Geeks. Alex is also the author of SolidWorks 2010: No Experience Required.
  • Bill Briggs
    Bill is a Sr. Technical Support Engineer at SolidWorks, working primarily with the SolidWorks PDM products. Bill enjoys writing custom applications using the SolidWorks API and developing innovative tools to assist with the daily tasks of technical support engineers.
  • Ricky Jordan
    Ricky is a Senior Mechanical Engineer and the author of, a SolidWorks blog. Ricky has been active in the SolidWorks community for years as a user, blogger, group leader and a speaker at numerous SolidWorks Worlds. He’s also married to Christy Jordan, author of, which makes him the most well-fed member of the panel.
  • Joy Garon
    Joy, a Certified SolidWorks Professional, has been involved in the CAD industry for over 25 years. Joy currently serves as Sr. Training Specialist at SolidWorks and has many years of experience in product data management (PDM) software product management.
  • Phil Sluder
    Phil is mechanical engineer, owner of TriAxial Design and Analysis, Certified SolidWorks Instructor, Certified SolidWorks Professional, a longtime member of the SWUGN committee, leader of the San Diego SolidWorks User Group.
  • Jim Wilkinson
    Jim is the Director of User Experience at DS SolidWorks Corp. Manages groups within SolidWorks doing interaction/UI design, UI development, end user documentation, and localization of software/documentation into 13 languages. Previously managed product definition and technical support groups at SolidWorks. Has been at SolidWorks since January 1996 and was first technical support engineer for the product and first CSWP.
  • Charles Culp
    Charles is a Design Engineer for Essex Industries, a St Louis based aerospace and defense manufacturer. I design ergonomic hand controls for fighter and commercial airplanes, and graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Missouri-Rolla.
  • Jeff Mirisola
    Then there’s me, the ultimate chump. My pedigree is nothing compared to my fellow chumps. I’m a CSWP, a former SolidWorks AE and currently employed as a CAD Administrator/Designer for Ultimate Survival Technologies in Monroe, Washington. I’ve been using SolidWorks since ’98. Not to state the obvious, but I also write this blog. This will be my 5th SolidWorks World, first as a presenter.

Unlike the session two years ago, we’re taking questions prior to the session. This will serve two purposes:
1 – It will allow us to, hopefully, answer more questions than two years ago.
2- It will allow us to answer obscure/difficult/impossible questions without getting bogged down.

Yes, we will be taking live questions, but we’re still working on the ‘how’ aspect of it. So, for those of you who would like to have your question answered by the chumps, simply send your question to Obviously, the more detailed the better (pictures, files, etc.)

If you have any general questions regarding the session, outside of ‘how do I…’ questions, feel free to post them here.

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