Archive for August, 2009

Keep your computer clean

Monday, August 31st, 2009

I remember back when I was a kid, my Dad received for Christmas a real nice set of screwdrivers. I really liked them. I used them all the time for: poking holes in jar lids so my lightning bugs could breath, as a paint can opener, chisel, cleaning the mud out of my shoes, digging up ant hills. One of the worst beatings I ever got was when I nearly burned through one when I was using it as an electrical switch for a 4-H project.

bentdriverI felt they never were very good at doing what they were supposed to do – driving screws. Turns out they were good at driving screws when they were new but my abuse made them worthless.

Your work computer is a tool. Certainly more important than a set of screwdrivers. Yet I see people abusing them too. iTunes, flying toaster screen savers, SETI servers, browsing to questionable websites, generally installing software that has no business being on a work computer.

Keep your computer clean and run routine maintenance on it. If it isn’t making you/your company money it shouldn’t be on your computer.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

“The Basics of Simulation” at LouSWUG

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Some of you might be aware of this already, but I am planning on giving a presentation next week on the basics of Simulation at the Louisville SolidWorks User Group meeting. The presentation will involve a basic introduction to the need for simulation, along with examples illustating the interface and ease of use in terms of setting up analyses inside SolidWorks.

Meeting Details:

  • Date: September 1st, 2009 (Tuesday)
  • Place: University of Louisville – Henry Vogt Building – Rapid Prototyping Center, Louisville, KY – 40292
  • Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
  • Cost: Absolutely FREE
  • Please RSVP via email to

Hope to see you there!!

3DVision Technologies

Your destination for design and manufacturing technology

Miami Valley SolidWorks User Group Meeting

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Miami Valley SolidWorks User Group is meeting on September 24. Two speakers for the price of zero. Take that Jeffrey Gitomer!

Grander Mountain
8001 Old Troy Pike
Huber Heights , OH 45424
(937) 236-9786

5:30pm – 6:20pm Registration, food, networking.
6:20pm – 6:30pm Opening Remarks.
6:30pm – 7:30pm Avelino Rochio from SolidWorks presentation on the new CSWP exam.
7:30pm – 7:45pm Break.
7:45pm – 8:15pm Craig Sink from Force Design talk about PDM.
8:05pm – 8:15pm Discussion about next meeting date and what we would like to cover.
8:15pm – 8:30pm Wrap-up Prize giveaways.
RSVP to Randy Adams

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

SHADED threads without COSMETIC threads

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Did you know that it is possible to show SHADED THREADS (the neat .jpg image wrapped on your holes) on your model WITHOUT showing COSMETIC THREADS (the dashed circle at the top of the hole) ?!??
This might be useful for doing a nice screen capture without the dashed circles, or maybe you just don’t like them…

You can do this, but you have to “trick” SolidWorks a little bit…
Right click on the ANNOTATIONS folder (in the tree) and choose DETAILS, if you turn OFF Cosmetic Threads it also “disables” the Shaded Cosmetic Threads option. But it really doesn’t… Hit OK to dismiss the window.
Go back into the DETAILS window again (same way as before) and NOW you can just turn ON Shaded Cosmetic Threads WITHOUT turning on Cosmetic Threads !! Woo Hoo !!
Weird, but it works !

Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

Mesh Recommendations for Flow Simulation

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Here are some basic tips on how to get to a good mesh in CFD inside Flow Simulation:

Start by creating a mesh using the default (automatic) mesh settings. Start with a Level of initial mesh at 3. It is important to enter the appropriate values of the minimum gap size and minimum wall thickness, which will provide you with a suitable mesh. The default values of the minimum gap size and minimum wall thickness are calculated using information about the overall model dimensions, the Computational Domain size, and area of surfaces where conditions (boundary conditions, sources, etc.) and goals are specified. Don’t switch off the Optimize thin walls resolution option, since this allows you to resolve the model’s thin walls without the excessive mesh refinement.

Next, closely analyze the obtained automatic mesh – the total numbers of cells created, especially near wall regions and narrow channels. If the automatic mesh does not appear to resolve these regions adequately and changing the minimum gap size and minimum wall thickness values do not give the desired effect you can proceed with a custom or local mesh. Also, if the number of cells created are extremely high, then take a look at areas where the mesh cells are unnecessarily dense.

Start to create your custom mesh with the narrow channel refinement disabled, while the Small solid features refinement level and the Curvature refinement level are both set to 0. This will produce only zero level cells (basic mesh only).

Next, adjust the basic mesh by incrementally increasing the Small solid features refinement level and the Curvature refinement level. Then, enable the narrow channels refinement. You can also use control planes to optimize the basic mesh if necessary.

Finally, try to use the local mesh settings. You can tweak the number of cells around faces, edges, vertices, and even components. I particularly like controlling the partial and fluid cells close to faces by using local mesh control.

Another common trick I like to employ is to create a dummy body in SolidWorks (as a separate part file) that envelopes the area of interest requiring mesh refinement. You can apply component level local mesh control to this block and tweak all the fluid and partial cells inside this block using the slider bars, and thus refine all the cells inside this volume. Keep in mind though that you have to Disable this dummy component (from Component Control) in order to dissolve the body in the fluid.

Have fun meshing!! Keep in mind that you can always study the mesh in 3D (not recommended due to overload on graphics card), or you can study the mesh in 2D using Cut Plots (recommended approach). A good mesh leads to a good solution!!

3DVision Technologies

Your destination for design and manufacturing technology

Add Hyperlinks to parts in your ECNs

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

I received this rather interesting telegram today from Western Union:

Stardate: 44995.3

I on behalf of the entire Klingon empire wish to thank you for your blog post on Earth date August 13, 2009 where you first posted the idea of including hyperlinks in ECN documents to make it easier for users to quickly find documents without having to even open SolidWorks Enterprise PDM.

You don’t know it yet but the format you used:
conisio://[vault name]/open?projectid=[projectID]&documentid=[documentID]&objecttype=1
is still in use today. In fact, the actual API code you wrote to make it easier for the engineers to automatically create the hyperlinks was used when we designed the Negh’Var-class birds of prey to help crush the rebellion and restore the empire!

Emperor Gowron

Thanks Emperor, what an honor it is to know I will be honored. As I am sure you know, you actually can do a lot of fun things with hyperlinks in your office documents when using Enterprise PDM. Here is a list of all the things you can do with a hyperlink: (replace “open” in my historical-to-be hyperlink with the proper command)
open– Opens the file in associated application
view– Opens the configured “Viewer” application for the file
explore– Opens an explorer window in the folder the file resides and selects the file
get– Triggers a Get of the file to the local file vault view
lock– Checks out the file
properties– Brings up the file properties
history– Brings up the file history

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Temporarily “Disabling” On Screen Numeric Input

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Like using the “Enable on screen numeric input on entity creation” when you are sketching in SolidWorks 2009 ??
BUT, have trouble being overdefined a lot because of this ??
Especially when “closing up” a profile ??

No problem…
As you are sketching, just hold down the ALT key before you click to end a line and it will NOT add a dimension to that line (or arc, or circle, etc.)

Pretty cool !

Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

SolidWorks Enterprise Item Master Webinar

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

I have been asked to do a new webinar discussing Enterprise’s Item Master. This webinar will be for those already familiar with SolidWorks Enterprise PDM but are curious of the new Item Master functionality and how it could help store additional information not traditionally stored in a PDM system.

The webinar will show how to set up Enterprise’s Item master, the basics of the interface then show some “real world” examples.

If you would like to register, go to the Webinars page. See you on the 24th.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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