Archive for March, 2010

Keep your Drawing Views Rolling

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Have you ever wanted to rotate a model in a drawing view like you can in eDrawings? SolidWorks should really add this functionality. Oh wait….they did.
Inside your drawing, if you go to View>Modify>3D Drawing View, you will be asked which view you want to rotate.

Once you choose the view, you will be able to rotate, pan, and zoom.

Now you can see the back side of your model in real time.
With it rotated you can open the Orientation View box and create a custom view. When you go back to the model, the custom view will be there for you to use.

What a great tool. Thank you SolidWorks.

Josh Spencer

Elite Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

“What I Learned @ SolidWorks World 2010″ PT.1 (ideas for Symmetric Relations)

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

If you have taken the SolidWorks Essentials class, then you know about the SYMMETRIC RELATION and how it can be used with entities INSIDE your sketch.
But, you may not have thought of using it like this…

Using a construction line IN a sketch and:

1. Edges of the model OUTSIDE of the Sketch.

2. Planes OUTSIDE of the Sketch.

3. Two Temp Axis OUTSIDE of the Sketch.

Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

Let There Be Light – PhotoView 360 Lighting Tips

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

I had a customer ask me the other day how they could get more control over the lighting in PhotoView 360. Obviously in its current form PV 360 doesn’t give us a lot of control of lighting and settings. You have the out of the box environments and that is about it. Here are a couple things that you can do to control some aspects of the lighting:

1. You can rotate the environment once it is loaded. This will affect the way the light is cast on the model. To do this, go to Settings, Environment Settings, and change the Environment Rotation. If you grab the arrows on the right you can drag to change the angle.

2. You can load a custom environment file. This is new for 2010. Go to File, Load Environment Image. The environment is not seen but can be reflected in the geometry and can add lighting to the geometry. There are only certain types of files that can add light to the geometry. A “jpg” has color information that can be reflected. An “hdr” file contains light and brightness information that can light up geometry. There are places where you can purchase HDR files. These files are very similar to the environments in PV 360. There are some you can play with under the SolidWorks textures. These are generally used by PhotoWorks and RealView. You can find them under your SolidWorks install directory (C:\Program Files\SolidWorks Corp\SolidWorks\data\Images\textures\background). It appears that you can load an HDR file through the environments to capture lighting effects and then load a background image to set the background. I haven’t played with that process a whole lot, but it seems to allow that.

3. Lastly, you can create geometry in your SolidWorks model that represents a light. Then in PV360 add a light material to the geometry. This object will now cast a light on the model. I create one single surface (not solid) to represent each light. This way, I can use the “hide element” to hide the light in PV360. If you use a solid, you will have to use the hide element for each face of the solid. Just create your lights far enough away from the model that they aren’t seen in the view you want to render. Here is an example model with surface objects as lights. These can be used in conjunction with an environment to highlight a specific area of the model. You could also build an assembly with these light objects and make a reusable studio.

Storage Chest with Lights

PV360 is getting some major enhancements in 2011. Hopefully we’ll have an easier way to create and control lighting effects. Until then, I hope these ideas help you to get the results that you want.

Scott High

Technical Services Manager 3DVision Technologies

Upgrading EPDM Tasks

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

When you upgrade your SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, don’t forget your tasks do not upgrade automatically. If you want the latest and greatest tasks, you’ll need to unload and re-import the tasks from the new install disk.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

There’s an object for that

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

When writing custom code for your SolidWorks Enterprise PDM system, have you been tempted to connect directly to the Enterprise database tables? You certainly could. The database isn’t encrypted and when you first start out it is easy to get the information you need with a simple SQL query.

Don’t. There’s an object for that. Everything you need from the database: BOMs, history, users, variables, searches,  … has an associated object in the API.

It may take a little while to learn these new objects, but your code will be more robust and since you never know when SolidWorks may change the database schema, your code will be much more “upward” compatible in the future.


Check out the EdmUtility constants list in the API help file to give you a taste of some of the objects available to satisfy your little SQL writin’ heart.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

New improved URL

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Quick, what is DriveWorks’ web site? Nope Nada Not even close.
It’s Yeah…if it wasn’t for my browser’s bookmarks, I’d never remember it either.

I’ve written letters, attended town hall meetings, even offered bribes to get a web site address I can remember. Finally my persistence paid off –three fold! Try:

The site is the newest of the three, the highlight is the link to the new DriveWorks Live sample site at the bottom of the page. Take a minute and try it out (Username and password is “Guest”) …here is a screen shot:


It is easy to imagine seeing your own product line in DriveWorks Live allowing your customers to explore all of the options available for your product.

Go check out the new site. Isn’t it fun when new software versions come out?

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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