Hopefully you haven’t noticed this because you made the move to SolidWorks Enterprise PDM. But, recently a change from last year was brought to mind. In Workgroup 2013, the Rebuid Vault button was moved. This button moved to the Vault Management tab – a brand new tab.
But why even rebuild a Workgroup vault? To quote SolidWorks, “… (the) tool lets you rebuild vault metadata from key base files.” In case you’re like me and find that answer less than helpful, let me continue. Once the metadata is rebuilt, that may improve the startup time of the vault and may also improve general performance.
That’s good, but that’s not generally why we ask Customers to rebuild. The rebuild is used to repair metadata errors that may have occurred since rebuilding will recreate the base files. Sometimes, Workgroup "loses its mind" and a rebuild settles things down. So, maybe add this process to your regular system maintenance and rebuild occasionally.
Of course, before rebuilding a vault, always create a backup.
Post By Wayne White
New in 2014
SolidWorks Sketch Picture; A nice and convenient new feature coming your way is sketch picture scaling. Relative to other geometry, in this case the overall length of the body, we can instantly resize the sketch picture, a nice and welcome addition.
Post By Wayne White
Understanding SPLIT FACE in SolidWorks 2014 can unlock a lot of potential within the software that you never knew existed. In this example, I downloaded a beautiful butterfly from GRABCAD. In this example, we want to use split line to afford us the opportunity to better control the rendering.
I cannot overstress the importance of becoming familiar with websites like GrabCad and 3DContent Central. These sites have free and elaborate models. Why waste the time to model that pneumatic cylinder or office background for that nice Photoview rendering?
Recommendations aside, this quick example shows the wing area as 2 unique colors. How was this done?
The author created a 2d sketch, like this on the face of the wing. I want to be clear- this is not necessary. Why? You can split faces (non-planar or planar) at the virtual intersections of the sketch and the face. If you imagine taking the sketch and extruding it as a surface to infinity in both directions, wherever that surface intersects with the surface of your selection is what you’re left with for split.
Here we see the command. For the selections, use the 2d sketch and the face for it to split.
For this example, rendering capabilities become clear. But, split line is great for many things. Mold makers can use it to create split line for molds. Split lines can be used to control simulation studies. Split lines are useful for consumer product design to control continuity between interfacing surfaces and get those smooth, ergonomic surfaces we want in our products. The examples go on and on.
Become familiar with SPLIT LINE- it’s powerful.
Post by Wayne White
As promised, we're addressing the top 10 list of Customer support requests. First up is decals.
In this example, we want to put the TIDE logo on the front of the bottle. The first thing I do is grab an out of the box decal; this is a placeholder.
I choose the appropriate JPG or BMP, etc. This file came in at 27 kilobytes. This is SMALL. And, this is why it’s a great example. The file size can dictate what can be done with the file. Our expectations should not be terribly high here. Typically, I would like to see a few hundred kilobytes at least. No different here from the common expression…you get what you pay for. I mean that in relation to file size.
You can then save the decal as its own extension so it can be applied “at will” without going through this conversion process.
The masking is what we need to obviously change here- 4 options as detailed in the image. Most basic is NO MASK.
Below we see if we choose selective color mask- assign white as the mask or the area we want to see through. Obviously the price of the 27 kilobyte file…not very good masking.
Where to go from here? Well, you may pay for image editing software, of course. But GIMP is free…just saying - there’s no reason your decals should look bad!
We received a request from a Customer via a comment on one of these blog posts (we're listening - give us a shout!) to present a list of our most frequent support requests and the solutions. So, we're working on that. So far we have 13 in our Top 10 (exceeding expectations!).
We're working on the posts and will present them in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!
Here's the list in no particular order:
- Why are my dimensions gray (in a drawing)?
- Configuration Options (e.g.: suppress new features).
- * in a balloon.
- The wrong part is in the assembly.
- SolidWorks installation issues.
- SolidWorks activation issues.
- How to install and configure the SNL server.
- Supported versions/Operating systems/Hardware requirements.
- Change units.
- Sheet format vs drawing template.
- How to model a spring.
- How to apply a decal.
- How to use the split face command.
- which means this blog isn't nearly as popular as I imagine it!
So now we're down to 12 on our top 10 list. Check back Tuesday.
Post By John Hall
Probably one of my favorite new features in SolidWorks 2014 is the Replace Model feature in SolidWorks Drawings. While you could replace the references of a drawing in previous releases, you didn't have a lot of control over this, and it wasn't an easy automated process.
In SolidWorks 2014, you can now easily swap out any view (or views) of a model inside a drawing. This is a really great new tool, because you can easily swap out a drawing's model reference, and watch the entire drawing update with the new model. You can swap out parts and assemblies on the fly, and the software will actually reattach dimensions, sections, and detail views to the new referenced model, so long as the dimensions are to the same entities.
To use it, simply click the Replace Model button, then pick what view or views that you want to swap the referenced model from. Then, just browse to the file that you're replacing it with. Just like that, the drawing updates to match the new reference.
This should make a lot of drawing creation much easier, because just a quick replace of the views will allow you to swap in or out any model that you want.
This time of year, we're on countdown overload. The "most" this and the "least" that; the top and the bottom. Here's a "countdown" tip for Windows Explorer - file management oriented.
If your business labels projects or files using serial numbers or some other numerical value, you may find the Windows Explorer sort order bothersome. Depending on the setting, "111" may or may not preceed "2". Microsoft may see one-hundred eleven as more than two, or may see one as less than two.
Depending on your settings, if the display is set to show folders in ascending order, you may get:
If you're set for a descending order, you may get:
There is a setting in Windows to somewhat control sorting behavior. In the above sceenshots, the first set of pictures show the setting disabled, the second set shows the result with it enabled.
The setting is found in the Group Policies. "Turn off numerical sorting in Windows Explorer" (File Explorer if you've moved up to Windows 8 shown in the pic).
(If you decide to test it out, you may need to close and re-open Windows Explorer for the setting results to change.)
Post By Wayne White
In our Pitt office, I looked at my RC car that I made over 10 years ago, and thought the Powerpole would be a good blog. (THE URL doesn’t work anymore if you try to go to my website…)
From Grabcad, I "grab"bed this Powerpole connector as an example on how to use a standard component (downloaded) and create a connector from it for use within Routing.
Once Routing is added, select Create Connection Point.
For a C point, which is what I want here, I select a circular edge for reference and then fill out the properties on the left.
The above technique is OK, but we can do this using a WIZARD as well and have the connector then populate our Design Library.
Mate refs are great for automatic placement- it gives the model something to snap to. This will save you time as long as the connector is something used on a periodic basis.
Within the Wizard, you can then fill out the properties for the connector.
Here, I add the connector to our Design Library. Hope you learned something!
As you may know, I use SolidWorks on a Mac - SWONAMAC. Some of you do too - well, maybe not "you", but some of our Customers do. In order to do this I use Fusion from VMWare to create a virtual PC (btw - version 6 allows clones from snapshots!). That virtual machine needs an operating system and I chose Windows 8. I just upgraded to 8.1 and there are some new features, but most of them aren't applicable to the SolidWorks user.
So we got our start "orb" back. It doesn't do what it "usta", but we asked for the Start icon and Microsoft listened.
And we get this:
This is a pop-up that cannot be dismissed with the mouse, which is annoying since I don't have a touch screen. Disabling the touch screen device driver cures the problem. To paraphrase one of my friend's favorite sayings, apparently I want a touch screen because if I didn't, Microsoft wouldn't have installed the device driver for one.
There are more ways to get back to the Start screen, which is great when you first start using Windows 8 because there's no "Start" orb, so there's no Start->All Programs->SolidWorks->etc. and you have to go back to the Start screen to find the tile for the program you want - and then pin it to the taskbar so you can get to it from the Desktop next time.
But once you get everything pinned, I don't think the Start screen will be a place "we" (SolidWorks Users) hang out. We'll be using things from the desktop. If we had a touch screen, which we know we want since Microsoft installs a device driver for one resulting in annoying pop-ups - we could get back to the Start screen fairly quickly and maybe wouldn't need or want the taskbar icons. But then again, if we had a touch screen, we wouldn't have asked for the Start orb to make it easier to get back to the Start screen. Confusing, I know.
Which brings me to one good improvement - the ability to boot directly to the desktop.
And no, I didn't forget - Windows 8.1 now has a 3D printing API, allowing you to print directly to 3D printers from the Charms bar. BUT both the application you are printing from and the 3D printer need to support the new API. I know Makerbot does, but check with your printer manufacturer before hitting the Print button.
The last post of 2013 is a great one - and not even mine - so stay tuned!
Post By John Hall
Some Customers have been asking how to take a Toolbox part and modify it to create a custom part. When you save a Toolbox part as a copy, it will still have a Toolbox flag icon, indicating it’s still going to be treated as a Toolbox file in PDM systems and file references. You can remove this flag very easily to have the part be treated as a normal SolidWorks part by running a utility that is installed with SolidWorks.
Browse into the SolidWorks installation folder which is usually:
C:\Program Files\SolidWorks Corp\SolidWorks
Then, inside the Toolbox\Data Utilities folder you’ll see a program called "sldsetdocprop.exe". Run that program and you’ll be able to add any files that have a Toolbox flag – simply add the files, set the Property State to "No", and click Apply. This will remove the Toolbox flag and the part will now behave like a normal SolidWorks part.
Just a word of warning – only set this on Toolbox parts that you’ve created copies of, and not on the out of the box Toolbox parts, as this can severely effect the way Toolbox files are managed in the software.