Archive for December, 2007

More normal than usual

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Here is a nice little SolidWorks UI tip: Click the “Normal To” button twice to get the opposite “Normal To” view!

Normal To Normal To

…and keyboard fans: <Ctrl-8><Ctrl-8> works as well.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Let my file go!

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Since PDMWorks Enterprise 2008 will not support custom applications written in VB6, I know a lot of you are busy converting your code to .NET. Here is a little “gotcha” to watch out for:

I had a little routine that would write to a file’s datacard at check in time. [EdmCmd_PreUnlock] It worked great in VB6 but when I converted it to .NET, PDMWorks Enterprise could not finish the check in operation telling me that the file was in use by another process.

I wept openly for about two hours before I finally found this little diddy in the help file:

The IEdmEnumeratorVariable interfaces are designed to keep the file open while the interface exists. This means that other operations on the file may fail with sharing violations while the interface exists. The recommendation in PWE 2008 and later is to always call the IEdmEnumeratorVariable8.CloseFile method when you are finished updating a file. The call will make it possible for other applications and API-functions to access the file again. This recommendation replaces the earlier work-arounds to explicitly clear IEdmEnumeratorVariable pointers (set them to Nothing in Visual Basic) and to call Marshal.ReleaseComObject in .Net applications.

The weird thing was that I was already setting my object = Nothing, but it still didn’t matter. (Nor did GC.Collect) When I added the suggested “CloseFile” method, all went smoothly!

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

How to ease the pain of writing a PDMWorks Enterprise addin

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Writing and debugging VB .NET addins for PDMWorks Enterprise is not a fun task. First you cannot step through your code and watch your variables update so finding the problem is a lot like finding a needle in a haystack… additionally, between the builds you need to constantly unload the addin, start/stop the explorer.exe process, compile the .dll, then reload the addin.

-Too much work for me. I typically write a majority of the code as a “Windows Application” then after I get that working I’ll convert the application into a “Class Library” (in the project’s properties screen). Granted there is a little cleanup to this step but I think that pales in comparison to writing the code as a class library from the beginning.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Christmas Cards in SolidWorks!

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Each year we send out a Christmas card to our valued customers and partners. This year, we decided to create our own image for the front of the card. We challenged our application engineers to create a rendering using only SolidWorks and PhotoWorks (a photo-realistic rendering software that runs inside of SolidWorks and is included in any of the SolidWorks Office products.) What they came up with may suprise you. PhotoWorks has made leaps and bounds in its ability to quickly and easily produce realistic lighting and materials. Mark Biasotti, the product manager for PhotoWorks, previously worked for a major industrial design company, IDEO, where rendering realistic images is of the highest importance. His experience and emphasis on high end lighting, materials, and technology have propelled PhotoWorks forward. If you haven’t given PhotoWorks a try recently, it is worth another look. See our winner and other entries below.

Our Winner! (click for larger versions)

Christmas Card Entry 1

Rendered by Robert Warren, 3DVision Technologies

Christmas Card Entry 2

Rendered by Scott High, 3DVision Technologies

Christmas Card Entry 3

Rendered by Vikram Vedantham, 3DVision Technologies

Christmas Card Entry 4

Rendered by Loren Welch, 3DVision Technologies

Christmas Card Entry 5

Rendered by Scott Baugh, 3DVision Technologies

Christmas Card Entry 6

Rendered by Seth Bischoff, 3DVision Technologies

Hope you enjoyed our PhotoWorks renderings. Don’t forget that if you have SolidWorks Office Professional or SolidWorks Office Premium, you have access to this great tool. Happy Rendering and Merry Christmas.

Scott High

Technical Services Manager 3DVision Technologies

The Little Book of Rules

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

If you are new to DriveWorks or DriveWorksXpress, consider getting a copy of “The Little Book of Rules” by Ian Yates.

This book helps you go through the process of taking your design logic -i.e. “We always have an 1/4 hp motor in our machines, unless the customer wants a heavy duty version, in which case we use a 1/2 hp motor.” and converting it into rules for inputting into DriveWorks or DriveWorksXpress.

This book would also be good for people who want to brush up on their Excel formula building.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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