July, 2011 | CADD Edge Blog - Featuring SolidWorks 3D CAD Design Software

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SolidWorks Save, Save-As, Save-As Copy???


Because of the relationships between files in SolidWorks saving a copy of a file can be an adventure for some, and an act of faith for others.  This is another case of describe the imageSolidWorks doing exactly what you tell it to do, not what you want it to do.  With just a little bit of practice and understanding  you can master your references and start copying files in no time.  Stefanie wrote up a great little exercise that will guide you through the differences between Save, Save As, and Save As Copy. Use this link to download the instructions.

Download it and give it whirl it shouldn't take you more than 10 minutes or so.  To learn even more about file referencing in SolidWorks she'll be teaching the File Management course in October.  Check out the schedule and register here.

SolidWorks Routing Library Components FAQs and Development Strategies


Being the inhouse expert when it comes to SolidWorks routing I get asked a lot ofdescribe the image questions from people considering using Routing for cable and harness design.  As I found myself cutting and pasting from one email to the next I figured it was time to answer them in a blog post.  Here are some of the questions I answer a lot. I have also included some reccomendations on how to develop your own routing library, it can be less daunting than you think.

Does SolidWorks Routing come with an extensive library of electrical connectors?

No it doesn't.  It contains a small handful of connectors that are useful for completing the tutorials and using as examples when creating your own library.

Are there any libraries of components specifically created for Routing available from 3d parties for purchase or free?

None that I know of at this time. 

Why isn't there a standard library of connectors available to use in Routing?

A standard library of connectors will vary drastically depending on what industry you are in.  Medical, military, aerospace, electronics, automotive all use different describe the imagetypes of connectors.  A standard library of components for all the different industries SolidWorks caters to would get unwieldly quickly.

End of FAQ---

At this point I like to ask how many connectors you actually use?  Most times nobody has a good answer for me, they will say they use "AMP", or "Molex."  I'm guessing you don't use the thousands of AMP or Molex connectors available.  I can almost guarantee your purchasing department doesn't want you using them all.

Developing a routing library can be less daunting than it seems.  Use the following tips and you'll be cranking out harnesses in no time.

  1. Plan and Standardize-Create a procedure for adding new components to the routing library.  You are going to be adding parts to a library that you will be accessing a lot.  Plan out the library structure and how you want the components to appear.  Then you can add the components as you go. 
  2. Build the library as you go-Take a harness that needs to be created.  Or model the harness that's already been created as practice.  You will have to add 100% of the components that make up this harness to the library.  But if you follow your procedure from Step 1, when you go to model your next harness you may only have a handful of connectors to add.  By building your library this way you see immediate results and also get to test your library and make tweaks.  If you sit an intern down with the AMP catalog and have him put every component into the library, chances are you will lose an intern.  Also when the library is complete if you decide something isn't quite right with your library process you will have wasted all that time and will have to create everythign all over again.

What are the steps to add Components to the libray?  The Routing Library Manager has great step by step wizards to aid you but here are the basics.

  1. Obtain a solid model of the connector.  Model it yourself or download from the manufacturer or other website like 3DContentCentral.  Beware of manufacturers sites, their connector models will often have more detail than is necessary.  While your at it get the mating half of the connector.
  2. Add Mate References to the part and its mating half.  Technically this step is optional, but I think its so important just assume its mandatory.  Use a consistent approach for adding mate references so they are easy to debug and test.
  3. Add a Connection point to the connector.  This is where the wire or bundles of wire attach to the connectors.
  4. Place the Connector in your library structure.
  5. Add the connector to your connector XML library.

Could Presenting be Your Ticket To SolidWorks World?


have written before about my experiences presenting at SolidWorks World.  Well its that time of year again when SolidWorks has put out its call for Presentations.  Why not present yourself and use it as an excuse to attend?  My posting title was probably a bit misleading. Being accepted will not get your SolidWorks World Breadkout Sessionairfare or hotel compensated.  It will get you into the conference for free.  Couple the free admission with the prestige of presenting and exposure for your company and you just might get the boss to spring for sending you to this great event.  This is actually how I've gotten to go the last two years.

Getting selected

I can't promise you your submission will be selected but I have a few tips.

  1. Come up with a topic that will attract attendance.  The folks organizing SolidWorks World know that the more compelling content they have to offer the more attendees they will attract.  You could present on a project that used SolidWorks in an innovative or unusal way.  If you use a particular aspect of SolidWorks a lot and feel yourself a bit of an expert present on that.  Sheetmetal, plastic parts, animations... If you do use it a lot chances are you have some insights to share with other users. 
  2. Practice locally.  Talk with your local user group organizers and arrange to present at your local SolidWorks user group.  They are always looking for new presenters at their meetings. 
  3. Team up.  Add another perspective to your presentation either with a coworker or someone outside your organization.
  4. Tell a success story.  This is more a selfish suggestion on my part.  The best sessions I've attended are by users who explain their design and development process. 

Have fun with it!  If you aren't enjoying the process it isn't worth doing.  However don't confuse nerves with enjoyment.  Its natural to be nervous about speaking in front of a big group, but doing it makes it easier.  And at SolidWorks World the audiences are always supportive, helpful and extremely appreciative.

So put together a proposal or two and see what happens.  I could think of worse places to be in February than San Diego CA. 

SolidWorks World Call for Presentations

Hope to see you there.


SolidWorks Tips & Tricks Archived Webinar


In case you missed this week's SolidWorks tips and tricks webinar, you can view it here. You name it- we covered it!

You can also view our other archived webinars here.

2011 Webinar Series Continues


As you may already know, our weekly webinar offerings are in full swing this year. We know you are busy and don't often have time to come out to us to learn about the new product offerings.  You might also just be interested in learning a few new tricks to make you more productive.  The CADD Edge 2011 webinar series is here to help.  The weekly webinars scheduled this quarter cover a range of topics including: Regulatory Compliance with Enterprise PDM, SolidWorks Simulation, and Design Automation.  The schedule is posted for the third quarter along with descriptions of the events here.

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