Archive for January, 2014

What Can’t You Design In SolidWorks? #3

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

RC Hovercraft #3 – SolidWorks Simulation

To review, I had 4 main design criteria for the Remote Control Hover Craft.

  • Utilize the SolidWorks and SolidWorks Simulation Suite of software to develop and optimize the hovercraft design.
  • The RC Hovercraft’s main components will be 3D Printed using the Stratasys UPrint.
  • Easy to Assemble. I want to make the assembly as easy and as straight forward as possible with concise instructions.
  • For purchased components, use low cost, off the shelf components including the electric motors, electronic speed control (ESC), batteries, and propellers.

The next step of the design process is to verify using  SolidWorks Flow Simulation  that the motor and propeller combination will provide a proper amount of air flow to lift the hover craft.

Flow Simulation provides an understanding of  flow in an internal or external volume.  Flow Simulation calculates flow with media including Gases, Fluids, Real Gases, and Non Newtonian Fluids.  Flow Rate, Velocity, Pressure , Vortices, and many other parameters are calculated during the solution.

The following  calculation with the provided manufacturer information was used to calculate the flow parameter boundary conditions for the simulation.

CFM = Cubic Feet per Minute = Volumetric Flow Rate

Mass Flow Rate = (Density) x (Volumetric Flow Rate)

Newton’s Second Law of Motion:  Force = (Mass) x (Acceleration), or F = ma

F = ma = (Mass Flow Rate) x (Velocity), given a constant flow velocity

(i.e., constant propeller speed and pitch angle).

Velocity = (Volumetric Flow Rate) / (Area), where Area = (Pi) x (r^2), the

length of a propeller blade is a good approximation for the radius, r.

Thrust = (Density) x (CFM^2) / ((Pi) x (r^2))

Note: Keep track of your units!

The hover craft’s Flow Simulation was approached from an external analysis type.  A volume was specified around the  hover craft to capture flow into the  inlet and out of the bladder, and its effect from the surrounding environment.  A fan was used to provide the draw of air through the inlet into the internals of the hover craft.  Parts of the hover craft were removed including the canopy cover batteries, and escs.  These components are unnecessary for teh flow run and would increase computational time.


Air Velocity

Air Velocity

Air Velocity Top

Air Velocity Top

The results from the Flow Simulation run show a symmetric and even outlet pattern of flow from the Hover Craft’s “Bladder”.  The parameters provided by the flow simulation suggest that the motor and propeller combination should be sufficient for lifting the craft.

Robert Warren

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Sharing Projects in DriveWorks Solo

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

DriveWorks Solo“…the name nearly says it all. It is designed for one person, on one seat of SolidWorks. However it is possible to share your DriveWorks Solo projects.

Create and edit your projects on a network share.

As long as everyone has access to the share, they can open DriveWorks Solo, and navigate to the .driveprojx file just as if it is was on their local drive.




Only one person may edit the project at a time, and only one person can run a project at a time, so make sure you communicate with your design team any time you run Solo to ensure you don’t walk on one another, but having multiple people using multiple projects is a great way to leverage your DriveWorks Solo investment.



Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

How to Design a Garage in SolidWorks

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

If you’re into home improvements like I am, it’s that time of the year to start designing your summer projects.  It’s going to be another eventful year at the Tadic household as I plan to have my dream garage/studio built.  This is all possible due to a local vocational school that has offered to build it for only $500 (I will have to pay for all materials).  Normally, I’d be pretty skeptical about a service like this, but fortunately I was able to witness them do an amazing job on a garage a few blocks away.

So, if you’re game to take on a garage construction project this summer, get a kick start on the design with my SolidWorks model that I uploaded to GrabCAD.


If a garage is a bit too much for your summer’s agenda, maybe you could focus on replacing those rickety steps on your porch instead.  This SolidWorks model is equipped with a complete list of comments that can be reviewed with Part Reviewer.  The stairs are fully configurable to any size you may need.  All you have to do is punch in your overall dimensions.


3DVision Technologies

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SolidWorks Settings for DriveWorks

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

I don’t know if this is new or not, but it is the first time I’ve seen it documented anywhere… The DriveWorks help file now has a list of recommended SolidWorks settings for use when DriveWorks is generating your new CAD files:

I’m always teased by my friends because I don’t read the “classics”. Crazy. I love snuggling up to a good help file on a cold wintry evening.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

SolidWorks 2014 Sketch Auto Scale

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

One of my favorite enhancements in SolidWorks 2014 is the sketch auto scale.  It’s on of my top 10 enhancement because it saves so much time and frustration.  Here’s how it helps you.

When you create a sketch, you most likely don’t add dimensions right away.  You will get the rough shape on the screen and then come back and add the dimensions.  In 2013 and pervious, once you would add these dimensions, the sketch would possibly move all over the screen.  That’s because if you sketched a line that was 10mm but then placed a dimension that made the line 100mm the zoom wouldn’t change.

Well now in 2014, when you add the first dimension, the entire sketch will scale to that value.  So if you tell the 10mm line to be 100mm, it looks like nothing has changed and you originally sketched the line at 100mm.  It’s all based off the very first dimension you place in the sketch.

If you want to watch a video of this and some other new enhancements, check out our What’s New video.  It can be found here:

Josh Spencer

Elite Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

Task to make a PDF on Desktop

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Here is a quick modification you can make to a SolidWorks Enterprise PDM “Convert” task so it will save the file to the user’s desktop.

Go to the task’s “Advanced Scripting Options” find the line:

convFileName = "[OutputPath]"

and replace it with: (it should be only one line in your editor)

convFileName = environ("userprofile") & "\desktop\" & "[OutputPath]"

You can modify any of the task settings you like except do not include the path when defining the “Primary output path”, just define the file name.


(Don’t define the file path because you defined it when you changed the code earlier.)

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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