Archive for February, 2010

Giving away your library

Friday, February 26th, 2010

I once had a friend…we’ll call him “Jiff” who was really proud of his CAD library.

Jiff’s CAD library really helped make his company a “differentiator” among their competition. His library models had huge design tables, configurations and some of them even contained API that allowed him to quickly add parts to his assemblies and modify them to suit his particular design needs.

Many of his models were actually better then the models the manufacturers had, a typical model could be used to represent an entire product line. At least two times, Jiff’s company had been asked by manufacturers to sell the models to them. However, since they were the company’s intellectual property they would wouldn’t dream of selling it.

One day when Jiff was visiting one of his customer’s sites, he noticed some of their engineers studying models that came from a competitor of Jiff’s company. Upon closer inspection he noticed these models contained files from Jiff’s library! How could this be?! Turns out when Jiff’s company ships machines, the customer becomes owner of the designs, and thus receives a copy of the solid models. Later, when Jiff’s customer sends out quotes for more machines, they include models in their RFQs…”We want something like this….” …which they have a right to do, because they own the files. However because of this, Jiff’s competitors are slowly building up one fine looking CAD library!

How could this be avoided? Certainly the models could have been dumbed down a bit before they were sent out, but that is post work that no one likes to do, and is often forgotten. He should have used DriveWorksXpress to model these parts because once a model is created, the database/intelligence is no longer with the part. Probably would have been able to create the models quicker too -saving a lot of fancy Excel and VB coding.

Poor Jiff. If only he would have know the Engineering Data Specialist Man sooner.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

3DVIA Composer 2010x

Friday, February 19th, 2010

So I guess all the enhancements in 3DVia Composer 2010 just weren’t enough. Now available is Composer 2010x with a brand new ribbon-style interface. Just like Microsoft introduced in 2007 with its Office products and just like SolidWorks introduced in 2008, Composer has a sleeker than ever look with a ton of new tools that are going to make you smile. Click the link below to see all the new functionality demonstrated by yours truly.

What’s New in 3DVia Composer 2010x

Once you do get your hands on this new release, don’t forget to use the new right-click shortcut menu! It’s almost too good to be true, and I guess that’s why I forgot to use it throughout the video demonstrations.

3DVision Technologies

Your destination for design and manufacturing technology

3DConnexion Annouces the Next Step in Intelligent 3D Navigation

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Earlier this month 3DConnexion announced new capabilities with their 3D mice. These new capabilities will bring increased navigation intelligence to the design process. Specifically, 3DConnexion 3D mice can now automatically follow a designer’s point of interest and continuously determine the optimal center of rotation, enabling an easier and more intuitive exploration of the largest models and the smallest details. In addition, the center of rotation can now be seen at all times via an icon, further, enhancing the navigation experience.

For those individuals who already own a 3Connexion device, this new feature will be available later this month via a free 3DxWare software update and will support SolidWorks 2005 – 2010 on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

For those of you who have not yet made the investment in a 3DConnexion mouse, what are you waiting for? Right now 3DVision Technologies is offering a “Try and Buy” program where 3DVision Customers can try any of the 3DConnexion mice for up to 30 days under no obligation to purchase.

If you are unfamiliar with 3DConnexion mice, they deliver a level of comfort and control that is not possible with the traditional mouse and keyboard. Users engage both hands in a balanced and cooperative work style with one hand using the 3D mouse to select, create or edit.

Don’t get left behind, check out our full line of 3DConnexion products by visiting our online store today!

3DVision Technologies

Your destination for design and manufacturing technology

Let’s Go Design

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Ever since I was a little Engineering Data Specialist Man, I’ve wanted to design a machine that would help me rule the world. Alas, I never could get the design resources. But wait look what I found…
Let's Go Design

Jeremy has now given me a portal to start my evil plan into action! How perfect -getting the world to help design the very machine that will make me their leader!

I suppose if they do decide to do the collapsible commuter vehicle, that would be cool too. Go check out the site – I see this as a great way to learn from each other, improve design and collaboration skills, and have a good time. As they say, no one has ever had a bad time with Luchini!

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Greater Cincinnati SolidWorks User Group

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The Greater Cincinnati SolidWorks User Group is planning on meeting on March 23rd from 5:30 to 8:30 but is looking for a location to hold their event.

If you would like to showcase your company/organization and how you use SolidWorks please contact them at:

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Miami Valley SolidWorks User Group Meeting

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Like this concept for the new logo for the Miami Valley SolidWorks User Group?


(Contributed by Albert Pristera) This logo and at least three others will be voted upon at the next meeting.

Next Meeting Date: February 22

Location: Gander Mountain, Huber Heights Ohio

5:00-5:45pm – Registration, networking, and food
5:45-6:00pm – Opening Remarks
6:00-7:00pm – SolidWorks World in review
7:00-7:15pm – Break
7:15-8:15pm – Logo Contest and open forum for questions and issues
8:15-8:30pm – Discuss next meeting, wrap up and prizes

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

DriveWorksXpress Stairs

Monday, February 15th, 2010

“Engineering Data Specialist Man, I hear your arguments about DriveWorksXpress being a nice little tool, but not for us, every assembly is totally unique.”


Certainly there is something you do commonly? Is there a part that you always open, tweak the dimensions a bit, copy the drawing and “Save as copy”? Maybe a table your assembly sits on? A cool little transfer station? Maybe even a gusset? How about an industrial staircase?


Use DriveWorksXpress to create this part and its drawing, then add this component to your “totally unique” assembly…a nice little time saver.

The DriveWorksXpress store has recently added several new parts/assemblies to get your creative juices flowing. Download, extract and run…and may you never forget to click the “Save as copy” option again.


Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Where was everyone?

Friday, February 12th, 2010

This year,  SolidWorks World sessions were divided into one of the following tracks: CAD Administration, Customer Success/Designing Better Products, Data Management, Design Automation, Design Communication, Design Validation, Education, Modeling Essentials & Productivity Tools.

I decided to do something different, I followed the Data Management track for all of the sessions I attended. I am glad I did, there were some great sessions given by top notch presenters: Jerry Winters, Dan Burmenko, Joy Garon, Randy Simmons, Jeff Sweeney, … [though my name got left off of the program…what’s up with that?! That’s the real question we should be asking Kerri Dunne.]

Here is what I thought was interesting. The session Randy and I gave had 40 attendees – which was the most attended session I saw. One session had six attendees, the average was twenty. Where was everyone? Attendance was announced at 5,000, there were 20 sessions per time slot, taking into account people playing hookie or spending time in the Partner Pavilion, you’d still expect a hundred or so in these sessions wouldn’t you?

I learned several sessions had over 200 attendees, so people were going to the sessions, the presenters and topics were good, why is interest so low for this track?

Does this mean the average attendee takes data management for granted? Perhaps they are not in a position within their company to make decisions at this level? Did I screw up and all of the other tracks were that much better? Does the average attendee work for companies that have data management all figured out?

All questions no answers, just giving you something to ponder.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Enhancements in DriveWorks 7

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

(continued from yesterday’s post)

I think my favorite enhancement is that now DriveWorks Pro can be used as a sales configurator. True, true DriveWorks 6 did allow users sales groups to help produce sales quotes and approval models very quickly. However honestly, DriveWorks 6 is more of a design automation tool than something you would put in front of a customer to create a first impression. It worked best if your sales associate sat with his potential customer and they used DriveWorks together.

Now that DriveWorks Pro is more of a sales configurator, it is something you could put on your own web site [via DriveWorks Live], and allow your customers to directly interface with your product. Imagine your customer connecting to your site, he enters the parameters for your product, the approval models and a quote are sent directly to him and if he likes it, he could enter in is PO number and production drawings go right to your production facility.

If you saw DriveWorks Live in version 6, it is a child compared to what it is like in version 7. It is browser independent, allows for popup windows (the good kind, not spammy) and is significantly more customizable.

DriveWorks 6 did have a very simple workflow – Saved specifications, specifications pending release, and released specifications. As a design automation tool that pretty much did the job. Now that DriveWorks 7 can involve the customer and sales team more, DriveWorks 7 has significantly improved how specifications flow through your origization. The flow is now customizable, and has a graphical interface that is similar to how you would build a flow chart in Microsoft Visio. The workflow helps automate the entire sales approval process to ensure the customized design data gets to your production floor as quickly as possible ensuring vital steps are not missed along the way.

Eight more days until the release date…

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

DriveWorks 7 – Seriously

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Two of my all time favorite jokes are: “Two guys walk into a bar…which is kinda funny because after the first one did, you’d thought the second would have seen it!” and “We’ll put a man on Saturn before DriveWorks 7 comes out!”. While they are both funny to me, I admit I get more laughs with the first joke.

Not surprisingly it appears the second joke will be even less funny after February 19th because….that is the date of the DriveWorks 7 release! Yup after almost three years, the good folks at DriveWorks are updating their flag ship product. [In their defense, they have been rather busy -releasing DriveWorks Solo  in October.] I got my first sneak peek of DriveWorks 7 over a year ago, and this year old gag order was beginning to chafe a bit. Now the gag as been removed and I can finally tell you a little bit about it.

DriveWorks Pro, as I believe DriveWorks 7 will commonly be called, has over three years of improvements. I’ll give you a little taste today, then finish the rest in tomorrow’s post.

First, DriveWorks Pro no longer uses Excel as its backbone engine –it now has its own solving engine, with this new lower overhead you’ll notice a performance increase right away. All Excel functions are still available, so we are keeping the good and leaving the bad behind.

There are tons of little productivity enhancements – too many to list in a blog…most of them involve getting rid of all the little steps you had to do in DriveWorks 6 to make things work. As an example in DriveWorks 6, if you wanted to be able to move your project from one directory to another, first you had to make a variable of your path, then you had to use that variable to represent your path in your file name rules. Certainly not a difficult task, but it took two steps AND you had to know to do those steps. Now by default, your files can be relative to the project and thus projects are much more portable. Lots of little things that were easy -if you knew how to do them have been made easier because you don’t have to do them any longer!

As Glen, co-founder of DriveWorks said: “Everyone says their product is easy to use. No one puts on the box: ‘Now harder to use than ever’ our goal was to make using the  product much more intuitive.” Intuitive it is! The new interface is cleaner and faster, many less hoops to go through to get your rules built.

Nice productivity enhancements, but are there any new features? Yeah, I’ll tell you about them tomorrow.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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