While I’ve been using SolidWorks for what seems like forever, I’ve never really messed with Composer until this year. I remember seeing it at a SolidWorks World many years ago (6? 7?), and thinking how cool it would be to have for tech pubs manuals, but that was as far as it went.

Part of my role here outside of design work, traveling and being the grill master when we have a company cookout, is tech pubs and supporting sales with pretty pictures. Enter Composer. Having never really used it, and wanting to get a leg up, I went to training at my VAR. While I won’t go into details, it was one of the most over-priced things ever. Seriously. Paying $1000 to have someone read out of a manual for two days is ridiculous. Hell, it wasn’t even the official SolidWorks manual (though we did each get a copy), they’d created their own manual that had about 1/8 the info. Such a rip-off. So much for not going into details…

Back to Composer.

After my training, it was a few months before I got around to my first Composer project. However, it didn’t take long to get back up to speed and create an assembly manual for one of our custom suspended platforms. Two of the things I like are the ability to have the pertinent info from the overall BOM on the page, and the detail view tools.

Platform IIPlatform

 

While creating a manual was a nice experience, sales then asked for a video showing how easily our platforms go together. “Sure, no problem!”, was my response. This took a bit more doing. I storyboarded the video first, to make sure I captured all the steps. Then I had to figure out how to create a video in Composer. While too big to show the whole video, here’s a clip:

 

Granted, it’s not as slick as some marketing videos but it’s not too bad for a novice, right? My whole point is this: as with so much else with SolidWorks, Composer is easy to use. Easy enough for someone like me to figure out with minimal help and some over-priced training.

Well, this is a first for me. This post was authored by Tony Glockler of SolidProfessor. I agreed to a guest post because what he wrote aligns with how I feel when it comes to classroom learning and, I’ve been a bit too busy to write anything in the past few weeks. I hope you enjoy!

How were you taught growing up? If your education was like mine, you sat in a classroom with other students (and maybe a class clown or two) being taught by an instructor. And what did you learn? Likely, your education focused on the three “R”s: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. Most of what you learned in these classes probably wasn’t very different from what your parents learned, or their parents before them. These are topics that do evolve over time, but slowly, over generations. […Read More…]

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…]

3DSync

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

seu-2013

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.

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