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Setting up a Non-Linear Analysis with SolidWorks Simulation

Posted by Gabe Enright on Mon, Feb 20, 2012 @ 06:02 AM

Jay's next Simulation video reviews setting up a typical Non-Linear analysis using SolidWorks Simulation.  In order to perform Non-Linear analysis you need Simulation premium.  If your products utilize materials with non-linear behaviors such as plastics or rubbers, or loads that stress materials beyond their yield point you should consider performing Non-Linear studies on them.  These studies can answer questions like, "Is my part strong enough?" Is my part over designed and can I remove material?"  "Could I be using a different material?"


Tips for Meshing in SolidWorks Simulation

Posted by Gabe Enright on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 @ 13:02 PM

Jay is back with another YouTube video.  This time he's got some tips for meshing your models with SolidWorks Simulation.  The accuracy of any FEA study is dependant on the quality of the mesh.  SolidWorks simulation has a many robust Meshing options and Jay reviews them here.


Introduction to SolidWorks Simulation

Posted by Gabe Enright on Mon, Dec 19, 2011 @ 14:12 PM

SolidWorks has great tools for analyzing your designs.  SolidWorks Simulation has tools for doing Stress Analysis, Thermal, Vibration, and many more.  What the different capabilities are and how you can get them is often confusing for many people.  Jay recorded a video blog entry going over the different analysis types and what version of Simulation or SolidWorks you need to be able to perform that type of analysis. 

We've been generating a lot of video content lately for Simulation so there is now a Simulation Playlist over on our YouTube channel where you can access all of them from one location.




How to Model an Epicycloid Curve in SolidWorks

Posted by Gabe Enright on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 @ 10:11 AM

Disclaimer:  This is probably my geekiest post to date.  There is a lot of math and my explanation of the theory is not likely to be entirely accurate.  You have been warned.

A question came up on the support line recently from a customer who was looking to model an

Epicycloid Curve.  We first had to learn what one was.  Wikipedia of course was there with the answer.  Basically its the curve produced when a point on one circle rolls along another circle. Think Spirograph.Spirograph via Wikipedia

Epicycloid Curve


The next challenge is creating the curve in SolidWorks.  Modelling a curve driven by an equation is actually quite easy.  Just start a new sketch and insert an equation driven curve.SolidWorks Equation Driven Curve

I chose to use the form of the equation.

Epicycloid Equation

Epicycloid equation

Which looked something like this where r =2 and k =1.  And we solve for the parameter t from 0 to 6.25 (approximately 2Pi)

blog epicyloid equationSolidWorks Epicycloid Curve

So that was easy now lets make some of the other cool shapes described on the wiki page.  I'd rather not dig through the equation each time I want to change a parameter and find each location, I'd rather make it parametric.  Currently it isn't possible to link an equation to a SolidWorks global variable, but I can link the variable to a sketch dimension.  So I added a couple sketch points and dimensioned between them and then linked them to my equation.

SolidWorks Parametric Equation

I have two dimensions in my sketch now, one called r, and the other called k.  By swapping "r@sketch1" and "k@sketch1" for the numbers representing those parameters I can now control the equation by modifying them or even linking them to SolidWorks Global Variables.

Its time to change k to 4 hit rebuild and get a cool shape like this one4 lobed epicycloid. My geometry didn't update at this point, how come?  The reason is that SolidWorks creates Equation Driven curves as splines.  A spline has to be continuous and smooth and the cusps or sharp corners cannot be drawn as a spline.  That is why I in my first exampe I stopped short of evaluating T all the way to 2Pi, I was cheating.  If we zoom in on my curve you'd see the shape isn't complete. If I want to depict the entire shape I can copy the curve four times and evaluate it for a segment representing each node.  Which looks like this. (Download here in 2011 format.)

What about all the other crazy ones?  Like this?   Can we do them?  Yes but we'll need Simulation Motion, Sketch Blocks, and Trace Paths.  I'll show you that in a future post.  For now here is a teaser video.




Taking SolidWorks Animations for a Spin

Posted by Gabe Enright on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 @ 08:11 AM

Being down at Foxwoods Casino for our User Conference must have inspired Jon S. from the New York office.  He created a great video showing you how to create an animation of a Roulette wheel using SolidWorks Simulation Motion.  Check it out, it shows how you can apply friction, motors and contacts using Simulation Motion which is part of SolidWorks Premium. 


SolidWorks World 2011 Presentations Available Online

Posted by Jess Levasseur on Wed, Mar 09, 2011 @ 17:03 PM

describe the image

Even if like me you got to go to SolidWorks World there is no way that you'd be able to see everything you want.  There are dozens of sessions happening simultaneously.  If there are two happening at the same time you want to see you have to decide which you'll sacfrifice. 

Luckily for us SolidWorks has made recordings of all the sessions available to everyone online. Technically not all the sessions.  It appears the hands-on sessions were not recorded so you can't view my presentation.  With this great resource you'll be able to learn about SolidWorks, Simulation, 3DVIA Composer, Sustainability and much more.  Some of my favorite presentations are done by users.  (Check out a presentation from 2009 by David Woodruff)

So follow the link and if you see a presentation that you particularly enjoy let us know in the comments.  With presentations from the last 3 SolidWorks Worlds there's no way I'll be able to watch them all.


Get Your Ducks in a Row with SolidWorks Width Mate

Posted by Jess Levasseur on Tue, Feb 15, 2011 @ 09:02 AM

describe the imageIn the past if you wanted center one component on another you often had to resort to reference geometry.  You would either design your parts symmetrically about a plane, or create a plane between down the center of the geometry.  This wasn't hard to do in SolidWorks, and with the new "Width" plane option its even easier.  But why bother when you can use the advanced "Width Mate?"  John's latest video shows you how the width mate can allow you to get your parts aligned correctly in SolidWorks even faster.


Faster SolidWorks Assembly creation with Multi-Mate

Posted by Jess Levasseur on Tue, Feb 08, 2011 @ 12:02 PM

With the holidays and preparations for SolidWorks World 2011, John took a little break from his weekly video tips.  With all that over he's back and this week he's got a nice overview of Mult-Mate. 

If you find yourself mating multiple objects to the same references in your assembly you should check out Multi-Mate.


Tips and Tricks: Changing Sketches from John

Posted by Jess Levasseur on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 @ 16:11 PM

We've posted another of John's Tips & Tricks videos over on YouTube.  If you've ever had to make changes to a sketch and it was dimensioned or constrained in a way that made it difficult you should check out this video.  SolidWorks has some great tools for changing sketches and others for fixing problems in them when they occur. 

Check it out and let us know what you think.



Tips and Tricks for Reference Planes and Centerlines from John

Posted by Jess Levasseur on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 @ 15:11 PM

Johns latest video tips are centered around reference planes and center-lines.  SolidWorks 2010 revamped the interface for creating planes making the creation of certain planes a lot easier.  If you work with molded parts with draft, imported parts with planes in the wrong places, or any part with symmetry you'll find John's tips this week useful.



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