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Printing Halloween Props with SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys 3D Printers

Posted by Rich Annino on October 31, 2014 at 2:41 PM

Use SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys 3D Printers to make all of your hard to find Halloween costume props a reality.

Have you ever thought of a prop that would go great with your Halloween costume, only to find that the ones in stores are either terrible looking or don’t exist? Our solution at CADD Edge is to design your own using SOLIDWORKS and print it out with a Stratasys Mojo FDM Printer.

Earlier this month, SOLIDWORKS Application Engineer John Hall and I were joking about what we were going to be dressing up as for Halloween, and the conversation was dominated by how bad most Halloween props online and in stores look. This, of course, lead to the possibility of printing something that would look better than what we’ve seen in stores, which naturally turned into a massive web search for .STL files of different costume props.

After coming to the conclusion that the most interesting prop we could print would be a cartoonish ray gun, John and I were unable to find a single one that would be worthy of a quality Marvin the Martian costume. Even though this was a little surprising, we were not deterred one bit.

Using SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, John quickly drafted up the base ray gun design while I chimed in occasionally with features for him to add. A lightning bolt here, a fin there, and soon we had a completed concept. The final ray gun design looked great on paper, but it remained filed away under “fun things to print” until this week when I was suddenly given an opportunity to print it.

Printing Halloween Props with SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys 3D Printers

To start, I sliced the ray gun model into three parts to maximize the build tray of the Mojo printer, scaled it down to the proper size, and printed it out piece by piece. The parts spent four hours in the wash tank where Sodium Hydroxide was heated and agitated to remove all support. Though they were printed at seven thousandths of an inch layer height, I used 150 and 320 grit sandpaper to reduced visible layer lines. After assembling the parts using a two-part epoxy, I sanded each seam so that the epoxy was flush with the surface of the ray gun.

Printing Halloween Props with SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys 3D Printers

Two coats of white primer paint were applied to the model, followed by a coat of satin finish aqua blue. All details were hand painted using a variety of hobby paints, and the model was sealed with a glossy clearcoat finish. Even though neither one of us will be using it this Halloween, everyone in the office agrees that the final product would make Flash Gordon proud.

Printing Halloween Props with SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys 3D Printers

Happy Halloween!

Stratasys Mojo
The Mojo 3D Printer offers you an ideal first step into the world of professional 3D printing. It’s affordable, easy to use and fits right on your desktop. Reinvent the way you create and design.
icon-download Mojo Data Sheet




Quickly Reverse Engineer with Simulation and 3D Print Your Random Broken Parts!

Posted by Tim Pulaski on October 24, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Thinking outside of the box when it comes to your skills and tools can be fun and save your company a lot of time.


What to do when a part breaks around the office? Why, just reverse engineer and 3D print a new one of course!

Our retractable marketing banners can take a serious beating being transported from event to event, and the latest casualty was a plastic support which holds up the banner itself. We started discussing our options for getting a replacement when it dawned on us – why not just print a new one?

Quickly Reverse Engineer with Simulation and 3D Print Your Random Broken Parts! Quickly Reverse Engineer with Simulation and 3D Print Your Random Broken Parts!

The first step was to reverse engineer the original by taking measurements using digital calipers.

Quickly Reverse Engineer with Simulation and 3D Print Your Random Broken Parts!

This gave me all the information I needed to duplicate the design, at least to a respectable degree. I added some thickness to the O.D. and to the vertical rib attaching the support, as well as adding some fillets to help transfer the stress to the rod attachment. But was it enough? Would it really be any better?

For the answer, I turned to SOLIDWORKS Simulation! I picked up a spring scale on the cheap and used it to measure the force the retractable banner would subject my support to under normal conditions.

Quickly Reverse Engineer with Simulation and 3D Print Your Random Broken Parts!





With my operating conditions established, I put my solid model to the test. I applied the downward force measured from the spring scale to the top ridge of the holder and fixed my inner diameter face.

Quickly Reverse Engineer with Simulation and 3D Print Your Random Broken Parts!

Quickly Reverse Engineer with Simulation and 3D Print Your Random Broken Parts!

The end result was a FOS greater than 2, which was deemed acceptable. Off to the 3D printer it goes!

Quickly Reverse Engineer with Simulation and 3D Print Your Random Broken Parts!

We printed the part out of ABS using a Stratasys FORTUS 3D printer that we just happened to have lying around. The result was clean and took only a few hours to complete. Still quicker than waiting for a replacement to ship!

The moment of truth had arrived! We broke out the retractable banner and put our freshly minted support in place. Success! Just goes to show what can be accomplished in short order when you put an engineer in a room with the right tools!

Quickly Reverse Engineer with Simulation and 3D Print Your Random Broken Parts!

Quickly Reverse Engineer with Simulation and 3D Print Your Random Broken Parts!


Dynamic Reference Visualization - Turn Off Those Arrows in the SOLIDWORKS 2015 Feature Manager

Posted by Matt Kokoski on October 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM

SOLIDWORKS 2015 added a nice new function called “Dynamic Reference Visualization”.


Dynamic Reference Visualization is a Great New Feature in SOLIDWORKS 2015...That Not Everyone Wants

SOLIDWORKS 2015's new Dynamic Reference Visualization function allows you to see which features a particular feature is dependent upon. This eliminates the need to open the Parent/Child dialog box to see this information. Arrows appear when you hover over a feature or sketch for an extended period of time. It can be a very useful tool when a feature shows a rebuild error and you are not sure why, or why a feature is moving when you make changes in the feature manager.

Dynamic Reference Visualization - Turn Off Those Arrows in the SOLIDWORKS 2015 Feature Manager Dynamic Reference Visualization - Turn Off Those Arrows in the SOLIDWORKS 2015 Feature Manager

However, not everyone is going to want to continually see this. To make it look like it did in 2014, we can turn this functionality off. Simply right clicking at the top of the feature manager shows a menu, where you can unselect “Dynamic Reference Visualization.” This will turn on and off the arrows.


Learn about what else is new in SOLIDWORKS 2015.



Power Drawing a Schematic Diagram in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

Posted by Michael Souders on October 10, 2014 at 2:01 PM

A schematic diagram will typically show the electrical components contained within a system, along with their connections. In this particular example, we’ll take a look at a power drawing.

SOLIDWORKS Electrical Makes Power Drawing Schematic Diagrams a Snap

In order to detail the connections between components, we’ll typically show the wires that connect them. In SOLIDWORKS Electrical, we can easily draw multiple wires at once. Up to 5 lines of wires can be drawn at one time. In addition, there are options to invert the phase of the wires, and we can also easily add bends to multiple wires at once.

Power Drawing a Schematic Diagram in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

The wire style selector will also allow us to choose how many wires are drawn, as well as which types of wires.

Power Drawing a Schematic Diagram in SOLIDWORKS Electrical


SOLIDWORKS Electrical will even automatically connect wires that are drawn on top of each other.

Power Drawing a Schematic Diagram in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

After wires are drawn, symbols are easily inserted from the Symbol Library.

Power Drawing a Schematic Diagram in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

Once symbols are placed, they can be assigned to a location within the electrical design, and can be associated with a real world manufacturer’s part.

Power Drawing a Schematic Diagram in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

This will help ensure that your Bill of Materials is accurate, and can help in the component procurement process. Symbols are also easily moved, and attributes can be modified as necessary.


Learn about our SOLIDWORKS Electrical trainings.



Bundle All Your References in One Shot with SOLIDWORKS Pack and Go Feature

Posted by John Hall on October 3, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Ever want to send someone a SOLIDWORKS assembly and include all of the components at once? Have you ever sent someone a drawing file and forgotten to send the associated part along with it? There’s a quick and easy way to do this called Pack and Go.

Grab Your SOLIDWORKS Assembly, Part or Drawing, While Bundling All Associated References Along with It!

Pack and Go is a great tool to save all your references in one shot, and it eliminates a ton of manual effort if you’ve ever spent a long time searching for an assembly’s full list of references and drawings associated to each.

Simply open the model, then select Pack and Go from the file pull-down menu within SOLIDWORKS. This will allow you to grab the assembly, part or drawing, while bundling all of the associated references along with it.

Even if you’ve been using Pack and Go for a while, there are a lot of really cool things you can do with this tool that you might not be aware of.

Pack and Go is a great tool to save all your references in one shot, and it eliminates a ton of manual effort if you’ve ever spent a long time searching for an assembly’s full list of references and drawings associated to each.

You can use the “Include Drawings” option to grab all associated drawings, even if they’re not associated with the top-level assembly or drawing that you’re running Pack and Go from. This will search out all parts and grab any drawing associated to them. You can do the same for Simulation results, Toolbox components, and even custom decals or appearances if you’ve got them applied.

Another Pack and Go feature is the option to bundle everything into a Windows folder, or to a Zip file right from within the tool – if you’re emailing the file set, a Zip is your best option – and even add prefixes or suffixes to any of the file names.

One other feature that’s also super helpful is the option to “Flatten to a single folder,” which will take all of the references, regardless of where they reside on your computer, and push all of them into one single directory.

SOLIDWORKS Pack and Go is a great tool to save all your references in one shot, and it eliminates a ton of manual effort if you’ve ever spent a long time searching for an assembly’s full list of references and drawings associated to each.



SOLIDWORKS Photoview: Keep Your Perspective

Posted by Wayne White on September 24, 2014 at 10:36 AM

During our Concept2Design SOLIDWORKS Training and User Event at Foxwoods this year, one person asked how to keep the same camera perspective, but include a shadow that was effectively being cut off by the perspective.


Save Your Perfect Perspective in SOLIDWORKS and Avoid Clipping? Just Change Your Aspect Ratio.

SOLIDWORKS Photoview keeps perspective

Using SOLIDWORKS, we can obviously modify its placement and focal point in the initial setup of the camera.



The initial camera produces the vertical bars - this is the aspect ratio in play; default is 11:8.5 near 1.



Just a simple modification for visual purposes changing the aspect ratio to 16:9.

So at the end of the day, if you have the perfect perspective and some things are being cut off, try changing your aspect ratio.



How to Open Autodesk Inventor Files in SOLIDWORKS

Posted by John Hall on September 19, 2014 at 11:00 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.
Open Autodesk Inventor Files in SOLIDWORKS


SOLIDWORKS To the Rescue? Open Up Legacy Autodesk Inventor Files Painlessly?

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 that 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 September 12, 2014 at 11:05 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 July 8, 2014 at 3:00 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 June 11, 2014 at 3:05 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

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