Closed for Business

Posted on January 9th, 2017. Posted In Personal,SolidWorks Community



I guess I’m just stating the obvious here, but Jeff’s Tool Shed is closed for business.

It’s been a great 10-year run, but I just don’t have the time to properly do you, my reader, justice with my (lack of) writing. Somehow, I don’t think sporadic two-paragraph posts about nothing are the way to go. 2017 isn’t just the end of Jeff’s Tool Shed, though. It will also be when I stop using SolidWorks on an almost daily basis, step down as leader of the Seattle Area SolidWorks Power User Group (we were first, Phil!) and it will be my final SolidWorks World.

Some months ago, I became manager of Technical Services for the company I work for. In a nutshell, I handle all post-sales customer services. These new duties include quite a bit of travel and no design. While I still have some design duties right now, they will be moved to others here in the coming months. This wasn’t a decision that I rushed into, but it is one that I am at peace with. After almost 20 years of using SolidWorks, it will be strange to not be. However, I love my new role here and truly enjoy being able to travel the world and see places I never imagined I would.

SolidWorks World will be rather bittersweet, but I am happy that I’ll be able to hang out with my fellow geeks one last time. I’ve had some incredible times at the 9 I’ve had the pleasure of attending and am looking forward to this last one. I’ve made some good friends because of SolidWorks and I’ll always be thankful for each of you. I would expect a ‘heads up’ if you’re up in Seattle so that we can break bread together and enjoy a drink or two.

Go Pats!!


Jeff – out.

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Posted on January 7th, 2015. Posted In Personal

As 2014’s flame slowly dims, I thought I’d take a minute and reflect upon all that happened in the past year. Why? Because I haven’t had anything worthwhile to post lately. Please don’t take that as some sort of promise that this post will be worthwhile, I just felt I should end the year with a post. […Read More…]

Stranger in a Strange Land

Posted on June 24th, 2013. Posted In Personal,Software Review

Once again I find myself flying to a user conference, but it’s not for SolidWorks as had been the norm for the past 8 years is so. No, this time I’m flying to Cincinnati to attend Solid Edge University.
I have to admit to a bit of apprehension; why would Siemens invite me, a lowly blogger who focuses mainly on SolidWorks, to attend their conference? If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d guess they were going to woo me to their side with promises of fame and fortune. Matt Lombard would be the middleman, telling me all about the treasure that would be mine. Thankfully, I’m not. I’m quite sure the reasons are much more innocent than that. I suspect it has something to do with the article a wrote for Develop3d Magazine about 3DSync. I am interested to see how SEU compares to SWW. Honestly, I don’t have a clue about SEU. Yes, I realize I could have investigated it, but where’s the fun in that? I’m making this into an adventure, my own personal safari in the wilds of Cincinnati. Though, had I looked into it a bit, I might have noticed the blurb about “business casual” earlier than when I was at the airport. I hope jeans and t-shirts count as business casual.
I’ll be tweeting and writing about SEU over the next few days while watching out for Lombard bearing gifts.

It’s Been a While

Posted on June 20th, 2013. Posted In Personal

I’ve been horrible about writing of late. I could give you a bunch of different reasons, but the main one is I’ve just been focusing on life.

I lost my job back in March, and have been searching for work since then. It’s surprising how busy one becomes when unemployed. Every morning I think about what I need to do that day and then, WHAM!, the day is over and I’ve accomplished nothing on my list. Now, too, I have to get past the cabin fever that is setting in. While I could imagine living the life of the idle rich, living the life of the “I-don’t-want-to-be-idle-my-savings-are-dwindling” isn’t any fun.

I did write a review of Siemen’s 3DSync recently, that will be appearing in Develop3D in the not too distant future. Because of the article, or at least that’s my assumption, I’ve been invited to attend SolidEdge University next week. I’m going, but have absolutely no idea what to expect. The one upside is that I already have a title for my post about it. (If anyone from Cincinnati reads this, what is there to do in Cincinnati?)

I’ve also been approached about some other writing gigs as well as possibly doing some training videos. The articles will appear here, after they’ve been printed, so you’ll end up seeing posts that aren’t SolidWorks related. I do hope you find them interesting, though. I guess things are looking up a little.

If you know of anyone looking for help in the Seattle area, send them my way, would ya? I really want to get back to work full-time. You can point them to my LinkedIn Profile, or just have them email me.

SolidWorks World ’13 – Go Pats,

Posted on January 21st, 2013. Posted In Personal,SolidWorks Community

It’s Sunday at SolidWorks World 2013 and I’m well rested and not hung over. Considering the day I had yesterday, that actually started Friday, I’m doing well. It’s probably a blessing in disguise that a certain CAD journalist from England was unable to make the trip.
Today is an easy day for most people. There are those who have signed up for roundtable discussions, or are Dassault employees that have to work, but most people just need to register and explore. For me, I’ll be spending a couple of hours with my parents; They spend the winter down here and we’re going to lunch.after lunch, some rest and then the Patriots game. It’s now Monday, and I’m in mourning.
I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and the first general meeting. They’re always exciting!

SolidWorks World 2013 – Prologue

Posted on January 18th, 2013. Posted In Personal,SolidWorks Community

I’m sitting at gate C9 at Seattle-Tacoma international airport waiting to board my red-eye flight to Orlando, and the magical time that is SolidWorks WorldThis yearbit more special for two reasons. One, I missed last year due to family reasons. Two, is a personal, but highly important reason. Important enough that I brought a button down shirt. No, it has nothing to do with a job.

Moving on…I only have one employee interview lined up, but I’m meeting with a few vendors with my sights set on a few more. I’ll be attending some breakout sessions this year as well, which is something I haven’t been able to do as often as I’d like. I’mreally looking forward to seeing Richard Doyle’s presentation on surfacing.

I have to admit that I feel a bit out of touch this year. It’s like missing a year through me off somehow. Relationships that I’d developed with DS employees, with the partner channel and with fellow users and bloggers didn’t get recharged last year. There will be excessive amounts of handshakes this year to make up for last year.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy people watching at the airport. The cross-section of humanity that you get to see never ceases to amaze me. I’m just hoping the couple with the two young, screaming, children know about benedryl, or I’m going to be a zombie tomorrow when I’m driving to Vero Beach.

If you’re on twitter, be sure to follow me for my incessant tweets from Orlando. You can find me @jeffmirisola. I’ll be blogging as often as possible, too. And, if you’re going to be there, be sure to say hi if you see me!



That’s right, a month from today and SolidWorks World 2013 will be over. Five-thousand attendees will be heading back from whence they came, probably exhausted and, thankfully, I’ll be one of them.

This year I’m going to try to get to more breakout sessions, so that I can then report about them. It seems like it’s been years since I’ve actually sat in on one. There always seems to be a partner to meet, a press event to attend or some other such thing. While I do have requests in to meet with some SolidWorks employees, and I do plan on pestering partners to be able to review their offerings, I want to get back into the sessions and see if they’ve changed at all. To see if  there’s a different vibe to them. To make sure people are still walking away as enthused as they have in years gone by.

With SWW heading into it’s 15th year, I wonder how it still sustains. What is it that keeps bringing people back? I’m going to have to figure out a way to answer that question. I know why I keep going back, I just wonder if my reasons are the same as other people’s reasons. Having not gone last year, I’m especially excited for this one. I love being able to meet up with people with whom I have an online “relationship”. Friends from other blogs, forums, Twitter, Facebook. It’s always nice to be able to sit down and talk with them, especially with those from outside the US.

This post seems a little disjointed. Probably because I feel like I’m coming down with a cold and I’m having a bit of an issue keeping my thoughts on track. It would probably help, too, if I weren’t trying to pay attention to the abysmal performance of the New England Patriots.

It’s getting Closer – SWW 2013

Posted on November 28th, 2012. Posted In Personal,SolidWorks Community

SolidWorks World 2013 is just under 2 months away and I’m so happy to be going this year. It was tough not being able to attend last year, but my reasoning was sound.

I’m not sure what I’m excited about most, seeing old friends, reconnecting with the partner channel, seeing what new products are out there…ah, who am I kidding, I’m looking forward to all of it. I’m going to stop by the Dell booth and thank them for the wonderful job they did on the new Precision M4600 I just bought. I’ll be swinging by to see the guys at 3DConnexion to see if they have anything better than the SpacePilotPro. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for new baubles that may help me in my day-to-day job. I have some interviews lined up, and I plan on attending a few breakout sessions and reporting on them as well.

One thing I’m disappointed about is that there is no longer a CSWP event. While I understand SolidWorks’ reasoning for discontinuing it in favor of a CSWE event, I’m still bummed. However, I’m setting a goal of getting my CSWE certification in time for SolidWorks 2014. I also plan on trying to sneak in to this years event with my press credentials. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Have you ever been to SWW? If not, do you want to go?

This year is the 15th year SolidWorks World is being held and will be back in Orlando, Florida January 20-23, 2013.

Where have I been?

Posted on October 4th, 2010. Posted In Personal,SolidWorks Community

Wow, it’s been too long since I’ve posted anything. Work has been encroaching on my personal life quite a bit lately. 10-, 11-, 12-hour days will do that. We had a big push to get the latest press design done. By ‘we’, I mean me, as in I was being pushed to get the latest design done. I did, and it’s now being built, so I’m hoping I’ll have some breathing room.

Currently, I’ve installed the template wizard from, and will be giving you guys the lowdown as soon as I’ve played around with it a bit. Also, there’s going to be a SWUGN summit here on November 16 which I’ll be presenting at. I’m looking forward to it. I feel as so I will have come full circle. It was a SWUGN summit in Seattle a few years ago that I first met Richard Doyle who got me started down the blogging trail.

I also owe you all more of my impressions regarding SolidWorks 2011. I’m hoping to be giving you my impressions of ePDM as well. That, however, will take a bit more time.

So please be patient with me, I’ll be getting on top of it here real quick.

External References – Why I hate them.

Posted on March 31st, 2010. Posted In Personal,Rant

I know, this subject has probably been discussed adnaseum but I don’t care. This is my blog and I write what I want. Today I want to write about why I hate external references. Specifically, why I hate it when someone creates an entire assembly that is so intertwined with external references that it’s next to impossible to change anything without blowing up everything else. Hold on, I need to take a deep breath here.

I took on a side job where I’m managing an assembly for a small company. 99.99% of the time this wouldn’t be a big deal, right? This particular assembly has a skeleton sketch, though. Again, not normally a big deal as skeleton sketches often only control the assembly and the placement of parts/sub-assemblies. Uh-uh, not this one. This sketch not only controls part placement but part geometry as well. I can’t even begin to describe how frustrating it is to try to fix a sketch only to see that, while it is fully defined, it doesn’t have a single dimension on it *and* it’s miles away from the origin. Perhaps this wouldn’t really matter in the big scheme of things, but every single external reference is broken. All of them. There’s only 54 unique parts in this assembly, but when every sketch entity is defined by at least one external reference…I’ll let you do the math on it, my head is starting to hurt just thinking about it. Again.

Look, I totally understand the need to occasionally create parts in context. I do, I’ve done it. However, I don’t leave those relationships after the part is created. Sure, it’s nice when hole A drives the size of hole B, but just at what point does enough become enough? Seriously, everything is driven by the assembly sketch. Can you imagine the carnage that would ensue should someone accidentally modify that sketch? The collateral damage (keyboards, mice, monitors) alone would be staggering.

The assembly I’m talking about, in the end, has 666 parts (a bad sign to begin with?) with only two sub-assemblies and it takes forever to open. Aside from the fasteners, and their patterns, almost every part has an “in-place” mate. This I find especially annoying as it goes against how I believe an assembly is created, and you all know that I am always correct. I’ll pause here for laughter. I’m sure that the originator of this assembly had only the best intentions when they created the original file; then again, so did Dr. Frankenstein. However, in creating such a monster, the mad scientist neglected to leave any information regarding the proper care and feeding for said monster. This, my friend, just exacerbates the situation. If you’re going to leave such an abomination for future generations, at least have the common decency to provide some notes regarding your thought process so that we, the unfortunate heirs, can have a chance at understanding what’s going on. It makes me thankful that I don’t drink to drown my sorrow, otherwise I’d probably have drunk myself to death.

I think though, the worst part of it all is that the overall assembly is so incestuous, that I can’t move the part sketches to their corresponding origins without wreaking all sorts of other havoc. I’m hopeful that once I’ve gone through everything and removed all the in-context bs that I’ll be able to have more control over the assembly. I’m not overly optimistic, though. It wouldn’t surprise me if the mad scientist has some other diabolically created mates or relations that will continue to aggravate me.

Thank you, dear reader, for allowing me to rant. I’m not 100% sure how much sense this post will make, but I certainly feel better at this very moment.

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