Templates are the foundation of your SOLIDWORKS design. By having your templates setup correctly, you’ll be able to automate data downstream. It’s amazing how many people, even companies, don’t realize this and fail to leverage the power of templates. Thankfully, you’ve found this post and will be able to rectify a situation you may not have even known that you had. […Read More…]

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…

If you were to close your eyes and imagine what the stereotypical New Englander sounds like, there’s a good chance you’d hear a voice similar to Joy Garon’s. Every time I get the opportunity to talk with her, I’m immediately whisked home to Andover, where I grew up. She has enough “Boston-ness” to offset the fact that she, a die-hard Red Sox fan, married a Yankee fan. Well, mostly anyway. So, in honor Joy, and her awesome New England accent, I’m going to write this interview with a New England accent.

Joy stahted her design careeah at the tendah age of seventeen as a draftah/designah. At eighteen, she joined GE Aircraft Engine group as a tool designah, while continuing her education at night. (Side note: you’ll just have to affect the accent yourself now. It’s too difficult type) It was here that she was first exposed to CAD/CAM. They used ComputerVision and Joy was quick to realize the value of 3D design. It was her love of 3D, coupled with her love of computers that propelled her to jet a job at ComputerVision. While working there, she spent time dealing with large automotive companies domestically and internationally. Becoming involved with data management was a necessity at this point of her career. She also met some of the founders of SolidWorks while at ComputerVision.

Joy left ComputerVision and went to work at SmarTeam, becoming more involved with data management. She started realizing the the challenges of implementing data management and PLM at smaller companies. In 2001, she left SmarTeam to join SolidWorks as a Product Manager for data management.

When she first joined SolidWorks, she was more of a technical product manager, which is where her passion lies. As the position evolved into more of a business management position, she decided to join the training team so she could continue to remain a techie and prepare herself for a teaching career when she retires.

The training department as SolidWorks is responsible for writing all of those wonderful books that the VARs use to teach all those lucky enough to go to training. Much of Joy’s time is spent working with pre-release software, creating all those cool exercises in the books. Then, of course, all those books need to be translated into umpteen languages.

What Joy failed to mention was the fact that she travels all over the world to provide training from one of the best. Asia, Australia, Eastern Europe. Joy is all over the map. (Strangely, I can’t seem to get her out here for a SASPUG meeting…) Joy is also a fixture at SolidWorks World and her PDM sessions are always well attended. Should she ever make it to your neck of the woods, you’d be doing yourself a favor to let her learn ya.


Picture stolen from SolidWorks.com

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