Archive for August, 2010

Little known uses for the POINT tool (pt 1)

Monday, August 30th, 2010

A lot of people think that the POINT tool (you know, THIS thing * ) in SolidWorks may not be very usefull other than for the Sketch Driven Pattern command…
If SO, you are missing out on some cool things it can do !!

Now the first thing you need to know is that there are 2 different types of POINTS in SolidWorks.
There are the ones that you can make when you are IN a sketch and then the ones you can make when you are NOT in a sketch !
For this little known POINT functionality, we are talking about the one when you are OUTSIDE of a Sketch.

Pick ANY face on ANY model (planar or non planar), hit the Insert–Reference Geometry–Point tool and BAM! you get a POINT right at the “center” of the face !

By the way, while you are there, take a look at the “Reference Point” property manager at all the other cool stuff you can do with it !!
Arc Centers, Intersections, Projected Points, Spaced Along a Curve ! Oh my !!
I’m SURE you can find some uses for those…

Stay tuned for my next blog on points, where I’ll show you some little known things about the point tool INSIDE a sketch !

Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

Shortcut Alert! – Rotating Components

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Ever wish there was a faster way to free-drag rotate a component in an assembly prior to applying mates other than using  1) Move With Triad or 2) Rotate Component? Wait no longer. Thanks to the Ronco Division at SolidWorks, a this-can’t-be-any-easier method of Free Drag rotation has been included in your copy of SolidWorks. And with old-school technology.

A simple RIGHT-mouse button click/hold/drag on the component to be rotated will leave you as happy as a tornado in a trailer park.

Join us next time when Shortcut Alert! helps you route the super-secret back way to your favorite lunch establishment.

Chris Snider

Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

Hear the Engineering Data Specialist Man on Solidworks:HEARD!

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Great Aunt Eleanor always made sure I kept things in perspective. I still remember the day I got my first paper published with ASTM. I was so proud, but when I got home to show her the book, she quipped: “That’s nice dear, but have you been on SolidWorks:HEARD! yet?”

Well, well Aunt Eleanor! What do you think of me now?

In this episode Lou and I talk about some of the basic functions of SolidWorks Enterprise PDM and some advantages a company might experience if they adopted a PDM system in their workplace. I am pretty proud of it, swing over and listen!

I was pretty nervous before we started recording, but it turned out to be a lot of fun to record the episode. I was hoping to meet the opening band, but Lou explained to me they were just “bumper music” and he would add them in during the post process. <drat>

They rock.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

SolidWorks Sustainability – a second look

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

A little over a year ago SolidWorks released SolidWorks Sustainability. It was fun, thought it was rather cute, but me being a glass half empty kinda guy I wasn’t really sure people would really use it.

As my friends at Infocom used to say. “Time passes…”.

Now most companies have some sort of  “Green initiative” going on now. I bet your company has one….but is it really much more than this?

Here is my tip to help you get a big promotion. Show your CEO how easy it is to use SustainabilityXpress inside of SolidWorks. Quick, easy reports showing your company is going the extra mile to save the planet -proof your designs are as green as they can be. (Just don’t print the reports on paper!)

Your CEO can now show you are doing more than putting up signs around the office. New stockholders will flock to your company, you get the corner office and you’ll have me to thank.

Thanks Engineering Data Specialist Man!

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Powerful little Ping

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Some scholars suggest the Windows “ping” command was first written in the early Ming Dynasty. I personally have been using it since Aunt Eleanor gave me my first PC as a graduation gift from preschool. However, I had only been using it as a simple connectivity checker. A few days ago, while debugging a SolidWorks Enterprise PDM issue, it was recommended to me to add an “-l” switch to the command in this manner:

ping -t -l 1500 <archive server name>


I knew the machines were connecting with each other, so I had not even thought to use ping. I first tried ping without the option, all packets came back. When I tried with the option none returned!

The -l option allows packet size to be defined.  A normal ping packet is only 8 bytes which is not a good test of actual TCP packets.  A typical TCP packet is usually 1500 which is why SolidWorks suggests using this value. Any dropped packets indicate you may see a loss of performance.

This is a very quick, cheap way to get better feeling for the quality of your Intranet connection.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Miami Valley SWUG Meeting

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I’d like to invite you to the next local SolidWorks user group. The Miami Valley group ( ) will be meeting at Gander Mountain in Huber Heights on August 25th at 5:30 pm. If you haven’t been to a SolidWorks user group meeting or haven’t been in a while, make plans to stop by. It is a great opportunity to learn and share how to best use SolidWorks and the many tools available in the software. The other great reason to come to the user groups….. networking. It is a great way to meet other people in the industry. The old saying is sometimes true, “it isn’t what you know but who you know”. Come out and meet other designers and engineers facing the same challenges that you face each day. I am sure you will learn something to take back with you that will make you more productive.

Date: 8-25-2010
Time: 5:30-8:30pm
Location: Gander Mountain, Huber Heights Ohio


5:30-6:15pm – Registration, Networking, and Food
6:15-6:30pm – Opening Remarks
6:30-7:30pm – Jeff Moore Presenting on Workflow Tips & Tricks
7:30-7:45pm – Break
7:45-8:15pm – Open Mic
8:15-8:30pm – Discuss Next Meeting, SWUGN Technical Summit 9/21, Wrap Up and Prizes

RSVP to if you plan on coming!

Scott High

Technical Services Manager 3DVision Technologies

No Inference Lines for Dimensions

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

When placing notes or dimensions on a drawing in SolidWorks 2010, you will notice that SolidWorks will try to align the note or dimension being placed with already placed dimensions – via the yellow inference lines:8-23-2010 7-53-10 AM

To prevent this, you have 2 options. The first is to change your System Options and they will never appear again for another drawing. (System Options > Drawings > ‘Disable note/dimension inference’)

The second (which I think is preferred) is to hold the ALT key down when placing the note/dimension. It will prevent those pesky inference lines from appearing for that particular note/dimension and you will be able to place the note/dimension anywhere you like with respect to other notes/dimensions.

Chris Snider

Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

Be concise when posting a question in the forum

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Hopefully you spend a little bit of time each week going through the SoldWorks forum? This is where the real answers to your questions are….sometimes the answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.

If you ever have a question to post, consider this Engineering Data Specialist Man’s super secret advice: “Be as clear and concise as you can in your question.”

I’ve seen some posts that are twenty paragraphs long, then the authors are always surprised [angry!] when their questions aren’t answered correctly or perhaps not at all.

The shorter the question the better. I can’t speak for everyone, but if a question reads like a text book, I either catch myself napping half way through -or skip the question all together.

Pictures and screen shots are also helpful.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Too Many Edges

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Working with tangent edges can cause the graphic area to get a little confusing. You have a bunch of edges on your model and maybe you don’t know what they are. You can always turn “Shaded with Edges” off but if you’re like me, I like to see the model edges. Well here’s an option that you might not know about; Part/Assembly tangent edge display.
This option allows you to show, set as phantom, or remove tangent edges. This helps “clean-up” your graphics area.
Go to “Tools>Options>System Options>Display/Selection>Part/Assembly tangent edge display” to turn the option on.

Go from this:Visible To this:Removed

Josh Spencer

Elite Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

Beta Testing in XP Mode

Monday, August 16th, 2010

A few posts ago, I wrote about the importance of beta testing SolidWorks. For many of us the major obstacle is hardware. You’re nervous about installing beta software on your production machine. I think that is a very valid concern. Your production machine needs to be lean, fast and mean…she’s your money maker.

For all of you Windows 7 users out there, I think I have a nice solution for you. As long as you have Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate you are entitled to run Windows XP mode for free. Windows XP mode is really a specialized version of Windows Virtual PC that is really easy to set up. Once you have it, you have a little virtual XP machine running in a window. This little machine has no idea it isn’t a real machine -it works just like a stand alone computer thus changes you make have no affect on your production machine. It is a great little sandbox for experimenting.

I just created a virtual machine, installed SolidWorks 2011 and SolidWorks Enterprise PDM on it and all is good. The only tweak I made was to increase the amount if virtual memory up to a GB, it was too slow at the default size of 500MB.


When I am done, I can simply delete the virtual machine and make another.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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