Archive for March, 2011

Next Columbus User Group (COSUG) Meeting Announced

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

The Central Ohio SolidWorks User Group (COSUG) that meets in the Columbus area has scheduled their next meeting.
It will be held on Tuesday April 26th from 5:30 to 8:00 pm.

LOCATION STILL T.B.D. (stay tuned…)

3DVision employee Keith Rice will be delivering an “abbreviated” version of his 2011 SolidWorks World presentation titled “Debugging the Most Brutal Startup and Install Issues”.
I have been asked to present something on Advanced Drawings & Detailing Tips and Tricks.

Hope you can make it !

Randy Simmons

Application Engineer, CSWP 3DVision Technologies

Simulation Motion Helps With Difficult Billiard Shots

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Several engineers here at 3DVision got together recently and played billiards.  While expressing our favor towards the game we discussed the mathematics and mechanics involved.  No matter how you look at it, Geometry and Physics rule the billiard table.

Which brings me to Simulation Motion, the attempt here is to accurately predict tough billiard shots using the Motion Analysis package.

This blog details the first attempt at Simulating a billiard shot. The model was created to gain information for future Motion Analysis; the model is comprised of a billiard table, two billiard balls, and a cue.

3DVision Billiard Table

The billiard table is a multi-body part allowing for different material properties depicting the slate bed and rubber rails.

The billiard balls are either composed of Bakelite or Aramith.  Bakelite is the custom material in billiard balls in the 1970s; its polymer blend has a wealth of material information specifically for this application.   The newest material, Aramith, has replaced Bakelite since the 1990’s.  However, there is little information on its material specs.   Looking into the playability between the two materials, credible sources say there is no difference between the billiard balls.  In this model Bakelite is the best material, and is used for the billiard balls.

The cue is Rock Maple with a rubber tip.  (Rubber is used instead of a layered cowhide tip due to lack of material specifications on leather.)

Contact conditions were specified between the table rails and the billiard balls, billiard balls and table bed, billiard ball to billiard ball, and cue ball to cue stick.

A displacement was assigned for the cue acting through 3″ of movement in 0.25 seconds.

Motion accurately simulated a basic cut shot.  This is a preliminary setup using assumed friction coefficients and material properties.  This trial run demonstrates the setup of more advanced real world billiard shots including: adding English and draw to the cue ball to allow for proper cue ball placement for subsequent shots.

YouTube Preview Image  YouTube Preview Image


With more realistic boundary conditions and Simulation Motion, I will attempt to simulate the tougher professional billiard shots.  As well as detect and report the stress being generated by the impact of the cue to the cue ball, and billiard ball to billiard ball collisions.  Stay tuned for more information and new shot videos.

Robert Warren

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Total Uninstall – 2011

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Ever been told you need to do a ‘clean’ uninstall of SolidWorks? Prior to the 2011 version, this process involved manually editing the Windows registry to remove the registry keys associated with a particular user. Who wants to do that??

In SolidWorks 2011, a ‘Total Uninstall’ option has been added to remove all user settings during the uninstall process. It will remove the SolidWorks install directories and Window Registry keys under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SolidWorks section. It will NOT remove the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SolidWorks keys – so you won’t have to re-enter your license keys. Nice! Another nice thing is that it will automatically make a copy of your current registry settings – including your Simulation settings – as a backup. In case you forget.

To invoke this option, right-mouse-button click on the title bar of the uninstall window. Check out the screen shot below for where to look for this option and check out the following link on the discussion forums (registration required) for more in-depth info:

Total uninstall image

Chris Snider

Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

SolidProfessor for SolidWorks Users

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Did you know that SolidProfessor has products designed to help SolidWorks Users find answers to critical design questions when they need it most. . . during the design process?

SolidProfessor also delivers the most complete video library of SolidWorks instruction in the market. Included in the SolidProfessor products are Case Studies that allow you to practice using SolidWorks software and are designed to complement each step in your learning path. With these Case Studies you have access to part files, PDF guides and full video tutorials.

Right now for a limited time, 3DVision friends can access a 90 day pass to SolidProfessor 3D Skills and a 30 day access to SolidProfessor’s Modeling Tips and Techniquest archive.

Visit to register today and Keep Learning!

3DVision Technologies

Your destination for design and manufacturing technology

One EPDM archive server for two companies

Friday, March 25th, 2011

I just got back from a site that is using SolidWorks Enterprise PDM because they are doing a joint project with their customer. There is a replicated archive server at each location, this gives the two companies the ability to work together on the same project within the same vault. The solution works very well – updates are seen by both companies automatically. It isn’t much different than if they were in the same building -even though they are several states apart.

The solution worked so well, that the location I was visiting decided they wanted to buy EPDM for their own use, but they didn’t want to have two archive servers. Essentially, they wanted the same computer to store both their customer’s vault and their own.

I wasn’t sure if this was possible, but turns out it is possible and very easy to do. I installed the new database at their location, went to the administration tool on the archive server (that was only connected to the remote vault), RMB clicked on the server, chose to add the new vault and the wizard took over from there.

Now their archive server is replicating to their customer site and serving their local vault too. Each user has two vault views in their local cache so it is easy for them to track which vault they are using.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Macro Anyone?

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Last week at the Cincinnati User Group Meeting, an engineer from Oystar North America said that he downloaded a cool macro that would create multiple Isometric views.  I was able to find a site that has this macro plus others that you may find interesting.  The site is Lorono’s SolidWorks Resources.

Always remember that when you are using a macro, be sure to test it out before using it in production.

Josh Spencer

Elite Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

DraftSight on Linux Review

Monday, March 21st, 2011

What is better than free software? Easy. Free software than runs on a free operating system. You know I was quite excited when DraftSight for Linux was finally release last week. Quality free software on a free OS. Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

Until DraftSight, I mostly used QCad for my CAD editing software on Linux. QCad is a nice application, but since it doesn’t have DWG support I must admit I never used it for much more than helping my kids with their geometry homework. (Who remembers trig anyway?) Now, thanks to DraftSight, I have DWG support in an interface nearly the same that I have been using since high school…all on my computer in my kitchen!

The DraftSight.deb is rather small, 68.8 Mb (I was surprised it was bigger than the Windows install – 55.5 Mb) . The installation on my Ubuntu 10.10 system was cake. I double clicked on the download and the Ubuntu Software Center automatically took care of the rest. Total installation time was less than three minutes. I was secretly hoping it would install in my “Office” application list, but instead it went into the graphics area:


The DraftSight system requirements are very modest (1 GHz x86 processor, 1GB of RAM (2GB recommended)) so my 3 GHz machine with 3 GB of RAM had no problem opening the largest DWG files I could find.

I mostly tested blocks, XREFs, layers, dimensions, tables – these are the features I usually find lacking in 2D software. DraftSight did a nice job with them all. I found was that you could not change the number of columns/rows in an existing table, however this issue has been reported and a fix is expected soon.

I did miss not having an API, however this is available if you buy the premium pack.

I was pleasantly surprised by the help file. Most Linux programs have a barely adequate help file -I usually find Google more helpful. But look, look!


Pretty eh? …and useful too…


THAT’S and advanced search!

DraftSight has a powerful CAD interface, but can you share your files with others? Check out these SaveAs options:


Who here isn’t a fan of the Open Design Alliance? (You can also export: .bmp, .pdf, .stl, .tif, .png, .sld, & .svg files)

The Linux community support so far has been very strong, in the first week since DraftSight’s release there have been on average a little over 1,000 downloads a day. It is pretty exciting, what a lot of us have been looking forward to for a long time.

I like it a lot, give it a spin, it will only cost you three minutes.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Dynamic Clearance-Worth the Price of Admission

Friday, March 18th, 2011

In Essentials class this week, one of the attendees was very impressed with the Dynamic Clearance option available when using ‘Move Component’ in an assembly.  He commented that neither he nor the few other Engineers and Designers he works with knew about this functionality.  Considering this attendees’ company designs and manufactures non-static equipment, I am somewhat surprised.

As a refresher, the Dynamic Clearance option is available when using ‘Move Component’ on the Assembly Command Manager tab.  After you select ‘Move Component’, you have several options.  As you can see from the screen capture, I have selected the male and female yoke as the two components that I’m interested in knowing the Dynamic Clearance between.  Once I have selected the components and clicked the ‘Resume Drag’ button, I select a mobile component of the assembly and start to move it.  This dimension in the graphics window represents the current minimum clearance between the components I selected.  Also, you should note that in the Property Manager window, the dialog at the bottom of Dynamic Clearance provides an indication of the minimum clearance between the components, shown as [min = 0.079], as soon as you start to drag/move components.  Then all you have to do is watch your on-screen feedback to move the components to that closest position.

Now that you’ve added a new tool to your arsenal, take a look at some of your movable assemblies and see if you have less clearance between components than you thought.  As another Essentials attendee commented, not all of our minimum clearance conditions occur in our orthogonal views!  For him, the Dynamic Clearance functionality was “worth the price of admission”.   I hope the rest of the class was, too!
2011-0317 Dynamic Clearance

Bill Reuss

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Distribute the Enterprise PDM SolidWorks add-in options

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Imagine you have the Enterprise PDM SolidWorks addin tweaked perfectly. Everyone in your company should have the settings exactly as you have them. Is there a way to share your settings? Yes…but it involves editing the registry.


Great Aunt Eleanor always scolds me for playing with Windows registry keys. She says that if I want to change the registry, I should call her and let her do it, or at the very least I should make a backup first. Though I think she spends too much time playing Warcraft, she is correct. Directly editing the registry is risky if you don’t know what you are doing, so please don’t try this at home unless you are a professional -or at least play one at work.

The options are stored under the following registry keys:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks\Applications\PDMWorks Enterprise\ConisioCAD\SolidWorks
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks\Applications\PDMWorks Enterprise\PDMSW\Options

Export these two keys from your machine (and if you really want to show off your .reg hacking skills combine them into one file) and pass around to your friends. Your friends double click on that registy file and instantly they are just as good as you.

<insert standard disclaimer “Make your backup first.odt” of registry editing here >

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Pack and go at $60 an hour

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

I was reading Paul Gimbel’s comment about where the real cost savings of DriveWorks lay…in the input forms. The comment was so good I thought I would make another post out of it rather than reply directly to the comment.

Paul makes some good points, that boil down to “getting it right the first time”. We all know there are huge advantages to that. Faster time to market, less waste, happier customers, more quotes, more room on your shop floor to do the hard stuff, etc. Crazy money to be saved.

DriveWorks also has case studies where design time has gone from weeks down to minutes. Easy savings to see there.

But again: “nobody ever saved themselves into being a millionaire”.

How do you become “the millionaire”? Build a better mouse trap. Innovate rather than duplicate. You hire the best engineers you can find, pay a $60/hour burden rate for them to “Pack and Go” or “Copy Tree” the designs over and over? All the while they could be working on innovation. Improving your products.


Design Automation, frees your engineer’s time up to make the product better.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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