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How to Open Autodesk Inventor Files in SOLIDWORKS

Posted by John Hall on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

If you have legacy Autodesk Inventor files or you have received an Inventor file and need to open it in SOLIDWORKS, it may seem as though there is a washed out bridge in your path - but don’t panic! You CAN do this in SOLIDWORKS.

Now you might not believe me if you have tried to open these types of files before like you would open any other file format. Inside SOLIDWORKS, if you click Open and select your Inventor file, all you get is an error and maybe elevated blood pressure. You received this error because you do not have Autodesk Inventor Viewer installed.


This link will give you the choice of what version of the viewer you want to download (I would use the most recent one). From there you just run through the setup and install wizard. The install will want to put an icon on your desktop. There is no need to do that if you don’t want to.

If you are wondering "Will I need to view my Inventor file in the downloaded viewer?", the answer is “No”. As long as the viewer is on the computer you want to open an Inventor file with, you'll never need to look the Autodesk program again. Just open the file like you would any other file inside SOLIDWORKS. The model and assembly will now import just like any other non-native solid file. However, you should always run Import Diagnostics on any imported model to fix possible issues with it.

That’s it! You are all set to continue working with your Inventor files inside of SOLIDWORKS.




How to Insert a Title Block into SOLIDWORKS Composer

Posted by Dave Bazinet on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

Customers have asked a few times recently if it’s possible to use their own title block inside of SOLIDWORKS Composer (SWC). The short answer is yes; the long answer (how do I do it) is below.

The first thing we need to do is capture an image of our drawing title block. We can get all fancy and use a vector image for this, but I’m not in a fancy mood today. Instead, I’m just going to screen capture my title block and save it as a jpg. A word of caution: make sure any field you want populated in SWC is empty.

Now I’m going to open SWC and create a new project while giving it a meaningful name.


There is no need to add any files so I’ll simply click “cancel” at the next screen.

One of the first things I like to do is to turn off the Ground and Grid options located on the Render tab. Next I’ll change the Foot color to white (or whatever color you want your “paper” to be on your title block).


Now we want to insert an image using the Image 2D tool (1). Simply open the tool, then drag a rectangle on your paper space. Once done, your screen will look like this (2):

image3 image5


After the image box is inserted, click on the “…” box located in the properties pane under Texture / Map path (3). Once opened, navigate to the title block image that you took earlier.

When your title block is loaded, resize it to fit within your paper space (hint: turn on your “paper outline,” and when you are done scaling the image, it will expand past your SWC “paper”).

image6 image7

Once resized (and still selected), set your properties as shown above (trust me on this), then click on the pull-down for Freeze and select “Freeze” (highlighted as “No Freeze” above).

Now that our border is in place the real fun begins….. What we need to do is insert text boxes for every field we want populated on our Composer title block. To do this, click on the Text 2D button and place your text box in the required location (don’t worry about formatting just yet).



Once I have all the text boxes placed, I go into my Collaboration pane and rename each field accordingly, then I create a selection set containing all of them (give your selection set a snappy name such as “01 – Title Block Information”).
image10 image11 image12

One of the last steps is to adjust the properties of your text boxes. Simply box select all the text boxes and apply the above settings.

Once we finish modifying the properties, we are just about done. All that remains is to save an image of the title block and save the file as a .smg. To do this, open the Views Workshop and make sure your settings match the ones below. Then click on Create to capture the view.

image13 image14 image15

Once you have the view showing in your view pane, save the file as an .smg (use a name that corresponds to your title block, A-Border for example). Then feel free to close out the file as we’re done.

All that’s left to do is put our newly created title block to use. How we do this is simple: open any SWC file and create a few views (for us to play around with), then open the Workshop tab and open Model Browser. Navigate to where you saved the title block (“…” box).


Drag and drop your title block onto the “paper” space, then adjust (zoom) the model accordingly and automagically your title block is now in the view.

image17 image18

Lastly, remember that selection set we made earlier? Open your Collaboration tab, expand that Selection set and fill out each corresponding property.

And yes, you can link metadata from your SOLIDWORKS files to your Composer title block, but we’ll leave that as a topic for another time (ie. ”6” / 0.25HP BENCH GRINDER” as shown above).


SOLIDWORKS on a Tablet or Smartphone (iPad or iPhone)?

Posted by John Hall on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 @ 15:07 PM

SolidWorks eDrawing iphone touch screen3D CAD software has come a long way over the past few years, and the technology is only getting more accessible. Not too long ago, I had to lug a desktop computer around to perform demos, but now I can run SOLIDWORKS on a 15” laptop and still have more horsepower than my old desktop. But there seems to be a lot of conjecture about the eventual demise of the laptop to their cousin mobile devices and touch screens. As people are becoming more and more enamored with the ease of use and power of tablets (Apple iPad, Lenovo, Microsoft, Samsung, etc) and smartphones, it’s easy to see where they could potentially fit in to the daily design work of an engineer.
You’ve probably seen that eDrawings is available on mobile devices, and that you can interact with design concepts on a touch screen (video) . You may have even seen the awesome augmented reality running on an iPad (video) where you can view the 3D model as if you’re watching it in person (if you haven’t seen it, check out that video ). In terms of real applications, these may be a great way to get the point across to people in the field, and to communicate your designs and possibly even work instructions to someone who wouldn’t need to have a whole printout or be reliant on getting access from a computer.
Run SolidWorks on a tablet or smartphoneYou may have also seen the new SOLIDWORKS Mechanical Conceptual software, introducing social interaction to designers and engineers regardless of platform - mobile devices, tablets, laptops or just a normal web browser on a desktop (video here). It doesn’t seem very far-fetched that before long we’ll see 3D CAD and mechanical design in general available to any device anytime. At the very least, for the short term, Mechanical Conceptual is a great way to collaborate with other people who might not necessarily be in charge of designing, but who want to communicate their ideas in real time without having to rely on meetings or email chains to get things done.
Personally, I'm even more excited about the Microsoft Surface Pro, where you can actually install a full license of SOLIDWORKS and drive the software from a tablet even when you’re on the go. Granted, the horsepower might not be there for doing any serious modeling. I haven’t tried it out yet as I’m still saving up for the Surface Pro 3, so we can’t officially recommend it. However, SOLIDWORKS has actually come up with a few things that might make it easier to run on a tablet, like the option to make icons much larger and to turn on mouse gestures for quick access to commonly used tools.
eDrawings logo 100x100So that’s where we are at – you can leverage your 3D information downstream easily with things like the eDrawings app for iOS and Android (download it here) and you can collaborate your ideas with social interaction tools inside SW Mechanical Conceptual. You can even run the full design software on a tablet if you’re so inclined. Even though Moore’s Law may have seen its day, it might not be long before we see programs like SOLIDWORKS and others running 3D design on tablets and smartphones. This could be a great idea for people on the go who just want to capture a quick idea or a snapshot of a design and then refine it later. It’s a cool concept, and I’m excited to see what the future brings.

Contact our Sales team for more information about SOLIDWORKS products.


Stratasys releases new flexible and rigid Connex3™ color palettes

Posted by David Sciuto on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 @ 15:06 PM

On June 9th Stratasys introduced an exciting extended range of flexible and rigid material options for the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer. With these new color palettes, Stratasys is continuing to expand your ability to improve the look, feel and functionality of your 3D printed parts.

The palettes represent hundreds of new Digital Material options in two broad groups: flexible color and rigid gray.
One of three new Stratasys flexible color palettes composed
of rubber-like black (TangoBlackPlus) and rigid opaque colors,
spanning a wide selection of Shore A values.
Industries that can benefit from these new palettes:

Consumer goods
such as toothbrushes and sporting goods that require color overmolded prototypes. Kitchen gadgets that are flexible like ice cube molds and spatulas. Electronics prototyping that have sleek, reflective surfaces.  Automotive for sleek gray prototypes and overmolded interior components. Medical devices and research can have clear components for liquid flow observationcombined with popular gray housings as well as increased options for flexible materials in new Shore A values, colors and tints.
shower head
Shower heads by Ideal Standard Ltd were produced using a combination of new flexible color and transparent materials.
Swim fins also produced on the Objet500 Connex3
using new flexible color
Boaz Jacobi
Boaz Jacobi
Boaz Jacobi who is the Product Marketing Manager for Stratasys described the advantages of these new palettes, "The wide variety of material combinations enables manufacturers to create parts that actually look, feel and function like future products rather than only looking like them. This allows the production of complete products without manual assembly and means product designers can now validate designs earlier in the product development cycle, accelerating time-to-market."

Objet500 Connex3
Learn more about the
Objet500 Connex3
Triflex materials

3D Printed Injection Molds? Turning Skepticism Into Delight

Posted by David Sciuto on Mon, Jun 09, 2014 @ 12:06 PM

3D Printed Injection Molds Help Whale Reduce Risk and Re-Engineering,
Cutting Product Lead Time by 97%

When you’ve been around as long as Whale has, you get to know a thing or two about technological innovation. The Belfast-based company can trace its origins back to 1810.  Today, Whale exports in-house designed and manufactured goods to more than 48 countries around the world. 

Whale recently began investigating the possibility of using 3D printing for injection molds. At the beginning they were skeptical - how could a mold 3D printed with a photopolymer plastic, injected with a hot liquid plastic, not melt in the process? To their sheer delight, 
Objet350 Connex VideoView the video to learn how Whale's move to 3D printing is revolutionizing its injection molding process.
the 3D printed injection molds delivered and proved a major breakthrough for producing prototype parts in final materials for functional testing. Jim Sargent, 3D Technical Services at Whale, discovered the PolyJet-based Objet Connex 3D Printers from Stratasys, and the rest of Whale’s management agreed that Objet Connex technology was the way to go.
3D Printed Injection Molds
3D printed injection mold for a diaphragm being removed from the Stratasys Objet350 Connex.

You can blend materials together, you can have plastic, you can have rubber, you can specify shore hardness, you can have multiple colors, you can run clear materials, and the details you can get with 16 micron accuracy is phenomenal. So we took the plunge two years ago and got the Objet350 Connex Multi-material 3D Printer.  Literally a week after we received the machine, it was fully being utilized. So four months ago, due to the overwhelming demand, we got our 2nd Rolls Royce - the Objet500 Connex Multi-material 3D Printer,” explains Sargent.
The injection mold tools are 3D printed using Stratasys’ Digital ABS material, which features distinct material properties ideal for low volume part production – high temperature resistance and toughness. Whale also offers its Rapid Prototyping Service to external customers, including the automotive and aerospace industries, producing 3D printed multi-material parts and tools using plastics such as polypropylene and polypropylene glass-filled.
Whale Injection Molds
A sample of molds for varoius industries made from high temperature ABS materials.

Monster Sized Savings on SOLIDWORKS: Limited-Time Offer!

Posted by David Sciuto on Thu, Jun 05, 2014 @ 13:06 PM

Get an instant upgrade and save up to $5,000
Buy SOLIDWORKS and SUBSCRIPTION service, and receive an instant upgrade at no additional cost!* Experience expanded capabilities that provide more insights into your designs, increase your productivity, and extend the value of your 3D models.

* Click here for full details and upgrade request.

Now is the time to upgrade! Offer ends June 15th, 2014
solidworks june promo

Purchase Get Instant Upgrade to Savings
SOLIDWORKS Premium Simulation Professional $5000
SOLIDWORKS Professional SOLIDWORKS Premium $2500
SOLIDWORKS Standard SOLIDWORKS Professional $1500

SOLIDWORKS Premium is a comprehensive 3D design solution that adds powerful simulation and design validation to the capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Professional, as well as ECAD/MCAD collaboration, reverse engineering, and advanced wire and pipe routing functionality.
SOLIDWORKS Professional builds on the capabilities of SOLIDWORKS Standard to increase design productivity, with file management tools, advanced photorealistic rendering, automated cost estimation, eDrawings® Professional collaboration capabilities, automated design and drawing checking, and a sophisticated components and parts library.
Get up to speed quickly with SOLIDWORKS Standard and unlock the benefits of this powerful 3D design solution for rapid creation of parts, assemblies, and 2D drawings. Application-specific tools for sheet metal, weldments, surfacing, and mold tool and die make it easy to deliver best-in-class designs.


CADD Edge Helping AMVETS

Posted by David Sciuto on Fri, May 23, 2014 @ 16:05 PM

Leon Austin
By: Leon Austin
Technical Manager for CADD Edge
CSWE (Veteran of USAF)
How can you say no to helping out an American Veteran?

We recently received a request from a member of the veteran’s organization - AMVETS (American Veterans) - to make some modifications to a medal he had so that he could generate chocolate molds for promotional purposes. The downside was he didn’t have an electronic model, he only had the medal itself.

As a designer and instructor with with over 14 years of experience with CADD Edge, I have access to the cutting edge SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD technology needed for such a task. And as a fellow veteran, I wanted to help.

How do I get this model into SOLIDWORKS? 

I started by putting the medal and a ruler onto a regular office scanner and emailed myself an image.  SOLIDWORKS allows me to put an image file into a sketch.  This could be a scan of an actual model, or even an artist hand drawn sketch.  The ruler will ensure I get the correct size.
scanned insignia
Next, I imported the scan as a Sketch Picture (Tools->Sketch Tools->Sketch Picture).  As I add the picture, I can size the it to the correct dimension, which makes the ruler handy.

From here I was able to create sketches and start extruding geometry to duplicate the original model. Below you can see my approach.  I started on the outside edge with an extruded feature.  After that, I just used a circular pattern to get it around half the part, then the mirror command to ensure both sides were identical.
Import into Sketch Tools
Imported Scan into Sketch Tools
Spline Tool Trace
Spline Tool Trace
The spline tool made it easy to trace the eagle.  Using fewer points is best to make it easier to control and look smooth. The Control Polygon also makes adjustments easy.  I added a little text instead of tracing it and I was almost done.

Step by step, I was able to duplicate each feature and make the height changes needed so it would work as a chocolate.  The key was getting the detail pronounced enough to stand out. With the completion of the medal, I was able to create the mold tool. I simply used the disjoint bodies to create two separate bodies and then used the Combine feature to subtract one from the other.
Pronounced Detail
Detailed Medal
Create the Mold
Created Mold
A 3D model on the screen is good, but nothing is better than having the part in your hand.  Using our Objet30 Pro 3D Printer from Stratasys, I was able to print out an actual model.
This proved I was able to capture a perfect replication of the original with even a little added depth so it would be recognizable when made out of chocolate.

With tools like SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys printers available, how could I not offer to help?

To all the veterans who have served to make this country what it is, I thank you.

Leon Austin, CSWE
(Veteran of USAF)
Final 3D Printed Product
Final Result

Greentown Labs Grand Opening Sponsored by CADD Edge

Posted by David Sciuto on Tue, May 20, 2014 @ 16:05 PM

CADD Edge was proud to have sponsored the May 7th grand opening of Greentown Labs in Somerville, MA. Greentown Labs is a 30,000 sq. ft. incubator that provides open office space, machine shop equipment, an electronics shop for building and testing electronic hardware, and multiple industrial design software packages for entrepreneurs who need to build and launch their clean energy and clean technology products, quickly.
Greentown Labs Work Space
Greentown Labs Workspace
There were over 300 people in attendance ranging from supporters, engineering professionals, and friends and family members of the incubator start-ups. Sponsor and guest speaker, Marcel Matte, COO of CADD Edge, was also in attendance. Emily Reichert, Executive Director of Greentown Labs, opened the ceremonies, followed by Jason Hanna, Greentown Co-Founder, and the Honorable Mayor of Somerville, MA, Joseph Curtatone.
Marcel Matte, COO of CADD Edge and Emily Reichert of Greentowen Labs
Marcel Matte and Emily Reichert 
Marcel highlighted his 30 years in the engineering community and how he could relate to everyone at Greentown. Marcel mentioned he has worked for several start-ups and understands the unique challenges start-ups face, saying, “You don’t get where you need to be without help, and CADD Edge is here to help.”  Marcel reinforced CADD Edge’s commitment to provide on-going access to SOLIDWORKS software and data management. “If you have a problem you’re trying solve or don’t have the tools to resolve it, contact us. We have free open labs and you can work on our systems and have access to our application specialists.” 

Speaking on behalf of CADD Edge, Marcel thanked Greentown Labs and said he is always looking forward to working and supporting them in their further endeavors.
Marcel Matte, COO od CADD Edge

Introducing SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual

Posted by John Hall on Fri, May 02, 2014 @ 11:05 AM


SolidWorks World 2014 Mechanical ConceptualThe big product announcement at SolidWorks World 2014 was SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual. This is a collaborative tool to create any sort of mechanism designs at the conceptual phase in a much faster and easier manner than most people are doing it today. Currently, most companies create pen and paper sketches to create a mechanical concept, but this is very difficult to share and evolve the design from pen and paper. SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual allows you to very easily create the conceptual designs and share the design with your customers, while allowing very powerful collaborative tools to design concurrently with other engineers.

So here are my first thoughts about SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual:

SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual Connected 1
SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual updates modified components live in your session, ensuring that you're always working with the latest data.

The interface is the most intuitive that I've ever seen. A lot of times when I see how something is done in SWMC, I'm shocked that it can be done so easily. For instance, if you want to dimension a line, you click on the line, and the dimension is already there, you just type in what you want to give it a true driving dimension. Simple! All of the tools you would expect to use pop up when you're working, and all you need to do is click on the object you want to modify. There's so many cool concepts about the way the software handles the interface that I'm really impressed. There were a few times that the adaptability and the ease of the interface actually blew my mind - i.e.: the fact that you can just toss a fillet on a whole bunch of bodies and it puts the feature where it needs to be in the feature tree without having to
think about it. It just makes sense, it's simple and easy.

SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual Connected Chat
Connect instantly to collaborate with other SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual users through chat, screen capture, and on-screen annotation.

The community aspect is also very exciting - the ability to pass files back and forth with ease, but also to get live feedback and allow customers to view and provide feedback on projects was essential to a lot of the lighthouse customers. The seamless way that users can work on the same project at the same time is very impressive. Users can both work on the same design and can add and change geometry live while the other one is working.  You can even preview a new change live in the 3D before accepting the change! This adds a ton of adaptability to the design process. Project structuring seems very simple - every project can be focused on a single design, or a series of designs, and you can add collaborative users to each project as needed. Also, the way that the software handles searching for files is easy and everything is searchable in seconds.

The motion analysis is very cool, the fact that you can see the motion path of any object without having to calculate a motion study, and even see the 3D space that the object will take up is very useful for any mechanical design. I'm also very impressed by the SIMULIA aspects - all of the designs can be simulated and verified to ensure that they'll work correctly when under stress or thermal loads. The interface was very intuitive and setup was simple - but the solver was what really impressed me. It's using the Abacus solver behind the scenes, and the speed in which that calculated analysis was stellar.

From what I heard talking with other attendees, there's a lot of buzz about the product and it seems like it will be replacing a very costly and manual process of the conceptual and planning stage of products for a lot of customers. There were some great customer testimonials from what they've termed the "lighthouse" customers - early beta testers who were able to work with the product and collaborate their designs before the products release. Some of the time savings that these lighthouse customers were saying were astronomical - some were able to push the product through the initial concept phase weeks faster than before.

Learn more about SOLIDWORKS Mechanical Conceptual on our website.



Draftsight 2D Overview - View and edit legacy data... for FREE!

Posted by Dave Bazinet on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 @ 13:04 PM

I’ve visited a few customers lately that have legacy 2D CAD data.  The question always comes up “we want to migrate into a single source provider for our CAD software, do we need to keep a seat of “that other program” around if we ever have to view or edit this legacy data?”   

Call me a bit biased but I tell them there is no need as we have multiple solutions to address that concern.  Of course we have eDrawings and Solidworks where we can view and edit 2D files as required but everyone knows that.  What I’m going to talk about is a different program Dassault provides called Draftsight.

When you open the program you will get an interface that you are already accustomed to:

This gets better, when drawing or editing within Draftsight no special training is required (drawing is done in the same manner as the “other guy”).  For example, “L” opens the line command, “C” opens Circle, etc.

If you are like most (myself included) we all “grew up” with that familiar command “array”.  The good news is that command also works inside of Draftsight but if we are still thinking in a Solidworks state of mind we enter “pattern” on the command line instead.  Guess what, both work inside of Draftsight which means we don’t have to remember which one goes into which program…

Just for giggles, I went ahead and opened up one of the first 2D CAD files I created (for those that want a trip into the past, this was created with a DOS version on a 386 & CGA graphics - take a look at the date stamp).  By the way, did I mention Draftsight has native .DWG & .DXF format support?

Yes, I know this is a very complicated part but hey, this was almost 20 years ago.  The point is my legacy file opened without any compatibility or corruption issues (even after 20 years in storage). 

So by now you are thinking this will be a huge benefit but in the end how much will this cost?  Will the program cost as much as a seat of SolidWorks, Composer, Electrical, etc.?  I hate to be the bearer of bad news but no PO’s will be filled out as Draftsight is a FREE product.  Yes, I did say free, well almost free.  You do have to provide an email address to register the program but that is all (for the record, I’ve yet to receive an unsolicited email from Draftsight). 

Of course as with all things in life we have an option to upgrade (for a fee) to the Professional or Enterprise pack of Draftsight.  I won’t get into details here but I encourage you to check out our website or give us a call for more details as you get a lot of bang for your buck with these two upgrades.


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