My Favorite Tools

Posted on April 8th, 2014. Posted In Software Review,SolidWorks Community

Every craftsman has his favorite tools and, aside from the fact that I’m no craftsman, I have mine.

First up is my SpacePilot Pro from 3DConnexion. I absolutely love how little I have to use my mouse and the amount of control I have when moving my model around. The there’s the ability to map commands to the buttons at my fingertips, the view buttons that provide me with all 8 standard view quickly and just how cool it looks next to my keyboard. If you have one, you know what I mean. If you don’t, you should look into getting one. If you don’t know what one is, click on the link.  […Read More…]

Infinite Skills Learning

Posted on January 3rd, 2014. Posted In Software Review

I’ve often heard people ask about SolidWorks training and what the best path is: VAR, self-learning, technical school, online or on-the-job. They all have their pros and cons, but I’m not going to debate them here, again. I’ve said many times that I think online training is the way to go, and I firmly believe that. However, should you want to hire me to provide you with some customized training… […Read More…]

SolidWorks 2014 Delighters

Posted on October 17th, 2013. Posted In Software Review

No, that’s not a typo, it’s a term that I heard someone at SolidWorks use a couple of years ago and I decided to use it because I think it’s the perfect descriptor for the things I’m going to be talking about in this post. My favorite ‘delighters’, the things in SolidWorks 2014 that make me smile wide. […Read More…]


Posted on October 14th, 2013. Posted In Software Review

3DSync, based on Siemens’ synchronous technology, is touted to increase one’s productivity while working with imported data by a factor of ten. Basically, they’ve spun off a bit of their synchronous technology that they’ve had since 2008 and made it available to the CAD masses for US$1995.

[…Read More…]

Stranger in a Strange Land – Epilogue

Posted on June 25th, 2013. Posted In Software Review


Where this was my first user convention that had nothing to do with SolidWorks, I was unsure of what to expect. Would it be as big as SWW? Would it be as fun? Would I end up with foot-in-mouth disease? The answers came slowly. […Read More…]

Stranger in a Strange Land – Day 1, Act II

Posted on June 25th, 2013. Posted In Software Review

My takeaway from this morning, sad though it may be, is that SolidEdge is obsessed with SolidWorks. Specifically, SolidWorks’ customers. I heard no other SolidEdge competitor named. That’s just my perception, however, and it may be a bit biased (though I don’t think so). I can understand it, SolidWorks is a huge target, but one would think Inventor would be in the crosshairs as well.
At lunch, there was a Q & A session for the press with all the muckety-mucks. It was here that I was introduced to Karsten Newbury, SVP and GM of SolidEdge. I was tempted to ask him what the deal was regarding SolidWorks, but he mentioned he’d like to chat later, so I put off asking him, for now.
I did pose the question to another SE employee, who shall remain anonymous, and their response was “wouldn’t you go after number one?” (I paraphrased, but that was the gist.) yes, I would, but singling them out in your presentation seems trite. Again, maybe it’s just me.
I’ll be asking Karsten the question tonight, when we go to the aquarium. I’ll also be doing my best from stopping a certain journalist from kicking penguins.

Stranger in a Strange Land – Day 1

Posted on June 25th, 2013. Posted In Software Review

It’s 7:15 and, due to avisit from Ms. Insomnia, I’ve been up most of the night. I think I got about 2 hours of sleep, which should make things interesting today. Hopefully, I can catch a fewz’s during one of the keynote speeches. I’m mostly kidding. The opening general session is two hours long…
Thus far, my interactions with the natives have been good. No derisive comments, no snobbery, no “neener, neener, neener!” I don’t get the feeling of excitement that one gets at SWW, but that may be due to the fact that I’m not a SolidEdge user. I am interested to hear Adam Stelzer’s keynote. He was the Lead Landing Engineer of the Mars Rover.
I’ve run into some people I know and been able to meet some that I only know through Twitter, including Mr. Burhop, which is always cool.
It’s getting close to general session time, so I’ll sign off for now.

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.


Posted on February 17th, 2013. Posted In Software Review

Just to keep you all interested, here’s what’s coming up in the next few posts on Jeff’s Tool Shed:
Boxx is sending me one of their computers so that I can kick the tires and test it out. The cool thing is that I had an Xi at work; had being the operative word there, and I’m getting an HP to replace it. While it won’t quite be a 1:1 comparison, it’ll be close.
I have an interview with Aaron Kelly from Draftsight that I need to transcribe as well as one from Mark Lyons (see, Mark, I didn’t forget!)
Just downloaded Delcam that I’m going to test out.

ePDM – Is it worth it?

Posted on October 27th, 2012. Posted In Software Review,SolidWorks Community

When I started in my new position I found it odd that they were using ePDM. As far as I was concerned ePDM was for large design groups, not 1-2 designers. In the back of my mind I started thinking about how we’d cleanly transition from ePDM to PDMWorks when the subscription was up. I’d be saving the company ~$1000 per year, or would I?

When I first began using it, I found ePDM to be a bit cumbersome and not very user friendly. While this may have had something to do with being a PDMWorks for years and having zero exposure to ePDM, I still think it could be a bit more inviting. That being said, I’m starting to warm up to it. Unlike PDMWorks, ePDM lets you check files in and out without bumping the revision, which is awesome (yes, I know about “working copy”). I like how it keeps track of each iteration, even allowing you to put in notes so you can keep track of what you were doing. In the fluid environment in which I work, this is a HUGE plus, especially where I suffer from CRS. When I check in whatever I was working on, I type in a few notes to remind me of where I was when I last left off. If only my predecessors had used this feature…

More upsides that I’ve sort of seen are the ability to easily export to different file formats. While all of our suppliers are good with PDF’s, most can’t handle native SolidWorks files. From what I’ve seen, I can simply set up tasks to export different file types right from ePDM. What I don’t know, but will find out, is can I decide where to save files to? What sort of parameters can I set? It’s the answers to these questions, along with a couple of other bits, that will ultimately help me decide whether to keep ePDM when our subscription is up. That will have to wait for another post.

If you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

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