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.

SolidProfessor – Catching Up

Posted on March 12th, 2015. Posted In Interview,SolidWorks Community

SolidProfessor-Logo

At SolidWorks World 2015, I had the distinct pleasure to be able to sit down and talk with Tony Glockler, one of the founders of SolidProfessor to find out what was new with with them as all I’ve ever done in the past was test out their software. […Read More…]

Onshape – A New Way to CAD

Posted on March 9th, 2015. Posted In Interview

Though it took a few tries between the two of us, I was able to talk with Jon Hirschtick over the weekend to find out what I could about his latest venture, Onshape. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard about it at least a little bit. For those of you who have been under a rock, here’s how Onshape describes Onshape:

“Onshape is the first and only full-cloud 3D CAD system that lets everyone on a design team work together using any web browser, phone, or tablet.”

While I’m still not 100% sold on cloud computing, I know that it is only going to get better as time goes on. Obviously, Jon and his team feel that the time is now. […Read More…]

SOLIDWORKS Certification – 2015 update

Posted on February 16th, 2015. Posted In SolidWorks Community

SW-Certification-Logo

I realize that some people don’t care about the SOLIDWORKS certifications that are out there, some calling them money grabs and other such things. For users like me, however, they help to lend a little validation to our resumes. With that being said, let’s get a quick update on where the certification program is in 2015. […Read More…]

SOLIDWORKS World 2015 – Wrap Up

Posted on February 14th, 2015. Posted In SolidWorks Community

This has been a rough conference. Not sure the cause, but I feel as though I haven’t slept since I got here and no, I haven’t been out partying. […Read More…]

SolidWorks World 2015 – Tuesday

Posted on February 11th, 2015. Posted In SolidWorks Community

Holy crap, what a day today was.

It started off as most days do; breakfast, then the long wait for them to decide to open the doors to the general session. Then comes the stampede as a large portion of the group speed walks/runs to get a good seat. The press corp isn’t immune to this, either. There are a few of us who yearn to be in the front, and will also hustle to satiate that yearning. […Read More…]

SOLIDWORKS World 2015 – Sunday

Posted on February 8th, 2015. Posted In SolidWorks Community

After missing last year’s SolidWorks World, I’m excited to be back with my peeps. It’s even more special because a lot of Super Bowl decorations are still up so it feels like I was at the big game. Well, maybe not so much, but it’s still cool to see the stuff.

As is the norm of a Sunday at SolidWorks World, not a whole lot goes on. Tons of people arriving, registering, getting the lay of the land. I’m still amazed by how many people show up, and how many show up year after year. It’s a beautiful think, man. I hate, though, that I’m sore terrible with names. It’s a bummer to have to try to surreptitiously look at someone’s badge to remember their name. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that it happens to, right?

The partner pavilion is jammed with oohs and aahs again this year and I’m looking forward to checking it out in more depth in the coming days. I’ve already seen a few things I want to try out and I’m hoping to get my grubby hands on some demo models. There seems to be a fair amount of 3D printers this year, but with how that industry is exploding, it makes complete sense.

As has become the norm, Twitter will be exploding as the press, and attendees, share what’s being said during the general session. Watch for the #SWW15 tag and follow along with all the comments, snarky and complimentary. I, for one, am hoping that they’ve cut down on the time allotted for the partner commercials. They are always such a downer.

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…]

Asheen Phansey

On a recent trip to Maine, I took a day to head down to Waltham, Massachusetts and sit down with Asheen Phansey to talk sustainability. He and I had talked about it a few years ago, with regards to SOLIDWORKS, but Asheen’s role is now aligned with Dassault Systèmes corporate and I felt that it warranted another sit down. […Read More…]

What’s up with Workgroup PDM?

Posted on September 18th, 2014. Posted In Rant,SolidWorks Community

What’s up with Workgroup PDM? Who knows. SOLIDWORKS is unable, or unwilling, to say what they’re plan is for WPDM and that lack of communication is getting on the nerves of those of us who use it. Honestly, I don’t know why it’s such a difficult topic to address. As a matter of fact, I’ll give you what I think is the best option and exactly what SOLIDWORKS (Dassault) should do with it:
Keep it. You don’t have to improve it. You don’t have to change it. Just keep it compatible with all future versions of SOLIDWORKS. Why? Because there are those of us who don’t need ePDM, or some other over-the-top PDM system, and we have a ton of time and money invested in what we have now. Why would you abandon what I’m assuming is a decent portion of your user base? While the bean counters may see dollar signs, I suspect that showing such disregard would not go over well.
So there’s your answer, SOLIDWORKS. Now, you just need to accept my plan and then let your WPDM users that WPDM’s life will last as long as SOLIDWORKS is around. I believe there are many who will breath a sigh of relief.

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