SolidWorks 2011 – A Training Manual

Posted on July 25th, 2011. Posted In Book Review

A couple of months ago I got the opportunity to review a new SolidWorks training manual. This one is called “Beginning to Advanced SolidWorks 2011 Modeling, Assemblies and Drafting from Machined Parts to Blobjects”. Quite the mouthful. It’s put out by Design Visionaries, a group of highly intelligent engineers who are involved with a ton of stuff. However, I’m not here to talk about them, I’m here to talk about their book.

This book is 474 pages of information easy to follow and nicely illustrated. The authors obviously took their time and know how to get around in SolidWorks. As one would expect, they start with the interface and move on from there. I liked the manner in which the book was written, in an almost narrative form versus instructional. The graphics throughout the book are clear and, in my opinion, some of the best ones I’ve seen in a training manual. They really did a nice job on them.

I don’t think the authors missed any segment of SolidWorks and it’s functions. Parts, assemblies, sheetmetal, surfacing; it’s all in there covered in 93 exercises. They even throw in two projects at the end of the book for you to test yourself.

A couple of things bothered me about this book though. The first one, and the biggest one, was all the undefined sketches. It drove me absolutely nuts. You’re writing a book that has “beginning” in the title. Give the newbie some love and share some best practices with her or him. At the top of that list should be “always use fully defined sketches”. Hell, the authors spent like 5 exercises talking about constraints! (*deep breath*) The next thing is the cost. It’s around $100, which seemed excessive…at first. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I realized it’s actually a fair price. You’re paying just over a dollar per exercise, which seems quite reasonable.

While I’d like to see a “best practices” section, and a whole lot less blue in the example sketches, I’d still recommend this book. What I’m not sure about is how one would be able to order it. It’s not on Design Visionaries’ website, nor did I see it on Amazon. Hopefully, one of the authors will see this and fill in the blanks…

Yeah, yeah, boring title, I know. I was pretty limited in my options here, y’know? I suppose I could have gone for some long, convoluted title, but why? I’m mean, when all is said and done, you’re here now aren’t ya?

SolidWorks has put out a great self-study guide, but I’m a bit late to the party as far as reviewing it. Rob Rodriguez, Gabi Jack and Deepak Gupta have all done reviews, but I’ll add my 1/2 cent as well.

This 511 page, 35 chapter manual, including a Tips and Tricks chapter, is the perfect manual if you want to learn how to create animations in SolidWorks. Complete with a DVD that contains all the files you’ll need to complete the lessons within. It’s obvious that the anonymous authors did their due diligence in writing this book, as well as thinking about the intended audience. Each chapter contains easy to understand steps that slowly build upon each other. Chapter one explains, in detail, all the various interfaces within the Motion Manager so you, the audience, will understand all the terminology as it’s used in the rest of the manual. Using a liberal amount of images, the user is walked through each step necessary to create everything from a simple animation to a large assembly animation.

If animation is, or is going to become, a part of your workload, you’d be doing yourself a favor making the investment in this book, available for $89.95 in the SolidWorks Store or from your VAR.

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