Archive for December, 2009

Year End Countdown

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

I asked Ryan Seacrest to do a year-end countdown with me, but his agent says he only works with guys over 97 years old. [Dick Clark] Thus I am going to do this one solo.

Top ten cool CAD related things I saw/experienced in 2009:

10 – Sir Richard Branson, guest speaker at SolidWorks World.
I have to admit I didn’t know much about the guy before his speech, but he is the kind of person who you could listen to for hours. Very inspirational. I thought it was cool that after he saw the baby incubators designed for 3rd world countries, he pretty much snapped his fingers, ordered some and had them sent out. Do you think he said it like this?

9 – The release of Windows 7.
Not so much the new OS, but mostly that fact that Vista is dying. My life seems to improve with every uninstall.

8 – Twitter
I’ve found the SolidWorks community on Twitter a very helpful group. I’ve made contacts through Twitter that have helped me out of several jams. Check out SolidSmack‘s listing of over 180 SolidWorks and 3D CAD users who use Twitter. (yes, yes I know Twitter actually came out in 2006, but I didn’t find it until this year -and it’s MY list!)

7 – Columbus Technical Summit.
Great to see something local so well attended, I met people as far away as Philadelphia. It is fun networking with other SolidWorks users.

6 – The release of DriveWorks Solo.
This one took me by surprise. I knew the DriveWorks folks were working on something pretty big, ’cause I hadn’t heard from them in a while, I just figured it was DriveWorks 7. Who knew it would be a new product?!

5 – Tasks in SolidWorks Enterprise PDM 2010.
Batch work being done off line. Printing, conversions, you name it.

4 – 2010 Simulation motion’s event based triggers.
Finally don’t have to use timers on everything any longer!

3 – Design Study in SolidWorks 2010
This one doesn’t seem to get much love in the community, but I love it! It is a great way to quickly watch how variables affect designs.

2 –The new SolidWorks forum.
Simply improving the search capabilities alone gets this item in the top ten. (A forum where you couldn’t search? How did that ever get adopted??) The new system, bookmarks, friends and ease of use, make this a very valuable resource.

1 – Toolbox integration in Enterprise PDM 2010.
Let’s face it, the integration before wasn’t even a bandage for the issues multi-sites are suffering through. I think they finally have it right now

What’s the big thing for 2010? I think it is going to be Google Wave. Design communication and collaboration via email is very difficult compared to the benefits Wave provides. Granted Wave is not getting very good press and there are already good tools available to help designers with their communication issues. However remember Wave is still in its preview stages, it is constantly improving and you can’t beat the price. With screen caps, file uploads, threaded replies, I think it would be an interesting support platform too! Would you like it if 3DVision’s support team was on the Wave?

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Align Dimension to EDGE

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Ever get “stuck” not being able to get a dimension at the right angle/orientation ??
(when manually dimensioning on a drawing…)
Do you know about “ALIGN TO EDGE” ??
Go ahead and place the dimension (in the wrong orientation), then just right click it and choose “ALIGN TO EDGE”. Select some edge of your model that you want the dimension PARALLEL to, and there you go !!
Piece of cake !!

YouTube Preview Image

Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

Start Search – Goneski

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

‘Twas the night after my EPDM 2010 upgrade and all through my house
not a peripheral was stirring not even my Logitech High Performance Laser mouse.

When I clicked upon my start menu what didn’t appear?
‘Twasn’t my EPDM Search button oh how the end seemed near!

I picked up the phone, so lively and quick
technical support I called -the loss of this function made me sick.

I banged my head and was making a frown
when the sad new that it was permanently gone came down.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
but Engineering Data Specialist Man and eight tiny reindeer!

A bundle of batch files he had flung on his back
He looked like a genius opening his pack.

He spoke not a word and went straight to his work
and created this batch file and put it in the Taskbar with a jerk.


He sprang to his ’98 Escort reminding his team to not be late
and I heard his curse softly as his keys fell into the sewer grate.

But I heard him exclaim as he walked down the culdesac
“Turn in an enhancement request, maybe they will bring it back!”


Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Wild Enterprise Searches

Monday, December 14th, 2009

The searching powers of SolidWorks Enterprise PDM are pretty cool. (What did you expect, it is built on SQL)

Did you know you can get pretty fancy with just simple Enterprise searches?

Here are some points to remember:

  • * – is a wildcard character that can stand for any number of characters
  • ? – is a wildcard character that can stand one character
  • the space character means OR, if you don’t want the space to act like an OR use quotation marks
  • Searches are not case sensitive

You can use as many wildcards as you wish in a search. The search function will assume your entry is enclosed inside of asterisks unless you actually type a wildcard character. Thus “J” returns the same as “*J*”, “J*” returns the same as “J*”.

Here are some examples of what files are returned if you enter different values in the file name box in a search:

J all files containing the letter ‘J’ (same as *J*)
J* all files starting with the letter ‘J’
*y all files ending with the letter ‘y’
.doc all files containing the letter letters ‘doc’ (this could return all .doc and .docx files)
*.doc all files ending with the letters ‘doc’ (.docx files would not be returned!)
J*S all files starting with the letter ‘J’ and ending with the letter ‘S’
J*SWEENEY*.PDF all .pdf files beginning with the letter ‘J’ that have the letters ‘SWEENEY’
J .pdf all files containing .pdf AND all files containing with the letter ‘J’
J* *.pdf all .pdf files AND all files beginning with the letter ‘J’
Jeff is cool all files containing the word ‘Jeff’ AND all files containing the word ‘is’ AND all files containing the word ‘cool’
"Jeff is cool" all files containing the words: ‘Jeff is cool’
C?T.doc all .doc files starting with the letter ‘C’ and ending with a ‘T’ (cat.doc & cot.doc would be returned, coat.doc would not nor would cat.docx)
*.doc? all files ending with ‘.doc’ and one additional character (*.doc files would not be returned)
*.sld??? all SolidWorks parts, drawings and assembly files
J*.sld??? all SolidWorks parts, drawings and assembly files that begin with the letter ‘J’

This logic works with any Enterprise variable, not just file names. As an example “3?? S.Steel” in the material text box would return all parts made from 304 S.Steel or 316 S.Steel.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Get BOM Table in an Assembly

Friday, December 11th, 2009

In SolidWorks 2009 they introduced the idea of having a BOM in an assembly file. Cute and sweet, but no balloons? What good is a BOM table if you cannot connect the parts to their line items?

In SolidWorks 2010, they stopped the maddness and gave us the ability to balloon our assemblies. (Hey the best way to speed up creating drawings is not not have to create them!)

Is it just me or shouldn’t the assembly balloons be spheres?! Wouldn’t that look cool?!

Now that we have the BOM table in the assembly, you are asking how to connect to the table with the API. It is a good question, there are many examples to get the BOM object when working in a drawing, they are always connected to a view…but there are no drawing views in assemblies!

You could have the user select the table before your code begins, but this little sample macro file finds the BOM table for you then shows how to read the table by printing the BOM in the immediate window.

Pffft….Come on SolidWorks 2D balloons in a 3D model – hurts my eyes!

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies


Friday, December 4th, 2009

Looking for a quick way to kill your SQL engine and bring your SolidWorks Enterprise PDM system to a screeching halt?

I just got a support call from an Enterprise customer who was complaining they could not connect to the database. Tried restarting SQL, the service stopped – good…but then I could not start back up again – bad. Rebooted the server, the service still laid there dead. –worser than bad!


Next, tried to do a SQL repair install – the repair install failed, telling me “the database engine was bad”. Well no kidding! Had to do a clean uninstall/reinstall of SQL before we could get the service started again.

What happened? Symantec AntiVirus. Symantec started scanning the databases and less than a minute later there was nothing left but the crying. Luckily it didn’t seem to hurt the actual databases – they mounted right back up after the reinstall.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

SQL 2008 PreRelease

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Had a little scare yesterday and since misery loves company I thought I would share it with you.

Yesterday I received an email with this image:


These are the file properties of the Microsoft SQL 2008 install that comes with SolidWorks Enterprise PDM. Look closely, it says that it is a prerelease! Yikes! Using a prerelease for production data?

I’ve done some checking and this SQL build (also known as 10.0.1600.22) is a a RTM build. [Reference] I have no idea why it says prerelease in the version information.  If you are concerned, there is a service pack can be downloaded from the Microsoft web site.

Heart attack averted. As you were.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

What’s New in 2010

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

If you’re like me, reading those “What’s New” documents from SolidWorks makes your lips tired.

So to help, just as last year, 3DVision has recorded our “What’s New in 2010″ presentations for your viewing pleasure …and hidden them here on our web site! Yes, as any good web master will tell you, make your audience look for content -don’t put it in a location that will be useful to them.

However, since all you are a fan of my blog, I have sent the bloodhounds out and they have returned with location of these files.

What’s new in SolidWorks 2010

What’s new in SolidWorks Enterprise 2010 Next year I am hiring a professional reader to do a voice over.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join other followers
Powered By