William Radigan

August 12th, 2015 NMSUG Meeting Minutes

Blog Post created by William Radigan on Sep 10, 2015
Wow, what an evening!  The August 12th meeting had a record number of participants.  Over 50 people from across the state gathered to learn aboutResumes, Routing, and more than anyone ever thought there was to know about SOLIDWORKS File References.  Thank You to everyone who participated and made the evening so much fun.

August 12th, 2015, Meeting Minutes:


MCAD provided a $1300 gift certificate for a training course as one of the prizes to be given away at the end of the meeting.

Jeffrey Weathers arranged for drinks and helped out with food in lieu of Mike Mitchell being gone. Thanks Jeff! Food was from Buca di Beppo.

In the court of public opinion, the consensus is that the NMSUG Logo is anemic. If you are creative, prepare a logo for the October meeting and submit it for a “fabulous” prize TBD.

The preliminary agenda for the October meeting is:

Wednesday October 14th, Meeting Agenda:
    5:30 - 6:00 Arrive, Get Some Food, Meet Someone New
    6:00 - 6:15 Announcement and General Business
    xxxx - ~30min - NMT Mini Baja Team - Vehicle presentation
    xxxx - ~1hr - Jim Wilkinson - "How we make the sausage"
    xxxx - 20min - 3Dconnexion - User Efficiency
    8:15 - 8:30 Wrap Up / Prizes / Giveaways

Dave Furry- Routing

Basic presentation. Terminal parts need a connection point (sketch on a plane and a point). This is required to terminate your routes. David noted that creating ribbon cables with routing are complex and he elects to use traditional modeling methods if he needs a ribbon cable.

Use the routing property manager to select
            Wire gauge/color (from a library)
            Orthogonal route
            Minimum bend radius

Once set up you can quickly “install” point-to-point wires between terminals or connectors.
The wire geometry is created with 3D splines. Once in place you can add spline points to your wires and drag/move them.

QUESTION: Does moving the connectors update the route? Yes. Dave moved one of his connectors then did a rebuild and the wires moved. This is a huge harness design timesaver (vs. rerouting).

David saves all his wires inside an assembly as opposed to discrete part files. This keeps his working directory from getting polluted by cast-off part models.

Routing functionality works for harnesses, tube plumbing, and piping.

Dave ended with a large harness that had 24 wires, 48 connectors. Can also show zip ties. SolidWorks gives a BOM that has wire numbers, colors, lengths, terminations. SolidWorks can also create a flat wire drawing or a pin board.

Routing is available in SolidWorks Premium.

Brian Hill – Resumes 101

Brian is from Southwest Prototyping.com, a small engineering services firm that provides expertise to local inventors, provides equipment upgrade services for the labs, and designs automation equipment. Brian has his own company on the side, Point Chin Designs, and works in product development and plastics design.

In a non-loyal environment (Chicago) a resume holds more sway than a web service such as LinkedIn.

Resumes are frustrating because they try to do everything. They filter candidates, create talking points, and may even determine salary. New college grads (NCG’s) get lots more latitude than experienced candidates.

A portfolio of past work speaks volumes about where you are. Take pictures, preserve some information and show it off.  Brian is also a proponent of LinkedIn.

Resume Rule 1. Customize your resume to fit the job
            Tech job resumes lend themselves to a chronological format
            Showcase industry specific skills discovered from company research
            For email resumes, use more buzz words
            For interview resumes, more stories

Resume Rule 2. Remember who is reading your resume
No one will read it top to bottom, 30 seconds is how much attention it will get.
            Your resume will be in a stack of others.
            Managers first want to reject you and remember you later
            Managers (not engineers) hire engineers. Get a manager’s attention

Objectives used to be popular. Not anymore. Don’t use an “Objective” section unless you are changing careers and need to explain why work history does not apply to the job for which you are applying. Don’t use the word “Quality.” It is a red flag. Nobody purposefully does poor quality work.

A Career Summary at the top of a resume is becoming more common.

Core Skills: This has become a common section. Make sure the skills you list are real and job dependent. Keyboarding is NOT a skill.

Don’t use White Font. It does not work anymore. It may get you rejected. (Google it!)

Professional Experience: Be able to tell a themed story about your experience. The professional experience section is story vignettes that “preface” your experience and accomplishments.

Length: One page for NCG’s, two pages if you have considerable experience. NOT more than two pages.

Brian suggests putting your big all-encompassing resume on LinkedIn and then customize it for specific positions that you are applying for.

Question: What about Education and Training? It depends on where you are in your career.

Matthew Fetke, MCAD – How the SolidWorks Certification Exams Think

Matthew used the SolidWorks Advanced Surfacing Certification (CWSP-SURF) Sample Exam (practice test) as his example. Some certification sample exams include part files, some do not.
Matthew recommends purchasing the manual for the functionality of the exam you want to take.

With regard to surfaces:

  • Use as few spline points as possible. Only put spline points at inflection points.
  • Pierce relationships are more robust than coincident relationships.
  • Initially move spline points and not spline handles.
  • Spline handles are the second tool for mimicking existing curvature.
Matthew worked through the first problem on the Surfacing sample exam. The answer that the test is looking for is the surface area of the part he created.

Matthew worked through the second problem: It was a fillet feature questions. He knitted two surfaces together in advance of using a surface fillet command. (Note: the surfaces edges have to be perfectly coincident.) Again, the answer is the surface area.

The third problem was a cut/trim surface problem. The answer is again the surface are of the finished part. MAKE SURE YOU ARE USING THE SPECIFIED MATERIAL AND UNITS. Your answers depend on it.

The fourth problem was to make the collection of surfaces a solid. Start by joining the surfaces with the Knit command and “Try” to form a solid, use ABS for the material. The weight is the answer…in grams.

Good Luck. Need to be able to do the practice test in ½ hour.

Themes: Pierce relationships are critical to robust surfacing. Understand them if you want to be proficient.

These tests build on themselves. The second problem usually depends on results from the first problem. Using global variables can help work through them efficiently.

Testing tips: Use two monitors. Use a 3D mouse. Always do the practice exams.

Tom Cote- SolidWorks File Management and Relations

Tom’s company, Applied CAD Solutions, provides CAD Admin and Data Management Specialist services. Tom has presented at numerous SolidWorks Worlds. He live less than an hour’s drive away from the SolidWorks east coast headquarters and frequently visits them to discuss EPDM functionality.

This presentation is to help users understand a core concept in SolidWorks: HOW FILES ARE CONNECTED. At SolidWorks World, this presentation lasts an hour and 45 minutes.

Do you ever get the SolidWorks Pop Up that reads “Unable to locate the file…Browse or Suppress all missing components” and the included checkbox, [Don’t show again]? And now in SWX 2014 this window dismisses itself in 10 seconds and will give you a report.

What causes broken references?
  • You renamed the file & SolidWorks does not know the file name.
  • You renamed the folder and SWX does not know the path.
  • You moved the file and ….
  • You deleted it.

If you stay “Don’t show again”, it remembers. Don’t check this box unknowingly. You can uncheck “Don’t show again” in the SWX Tools > Options dialog.


If you know where the missing file is, open it in RAM then unsuppress it in the assembly.
Repoint the file from the File > Open menu, click the References button. This works well for one file at a time but not for lots of files.

SolidWorks Explorer is not a great program but it can be useful for renaming. If you do not have a vault, use it to rename and manage your files. It is much more robust than Windows Explorer. You can use it to see SolidWorks custom properties and even update them.  You can even print from SolidWorks Explorer. Only use SolidWorks Explorer on files that are not open in SolidWorks or better yet, have SolidWorks closed when using SolidWorks Explorer.

TANGENT: Tom figured out how to fix the "short menu down arrow" problem (deemed not possible at a prior meeting). Right Click on the Command Manager > Customize >Customization >Show All and Show All.

Tom did a quick Pack and Go demo for the group. EPDM’s has “Copy Tree” which is Pack and Go on steroids.

SEARCH ORDER, where does SolidWorks look for files? Tom listed the 13 places that SolidWorks searches for a missing file (in order). If SolidWorks asks you to browse for a file, it has first looked really hard. Look online of in the forums to find this amazing list or use the term “Search Order” in SolidWorks help.

File References vs. External References:
    A file reference is the path filename
    An external reference is a geometry reference that is dependent on the geometry of another file.

The presentation is available direct from Tom Cote and may also be online from a SolidWorks World archive.

Checking the “Search file locations for external references” in Tools>Options slows SolidWorks down.

Changing references in the Save As command had evolved significantly since 2012. SolidWorks 2013 and 2014 also made changes to this. (Tom showed the different Save As dialog boxes since 2012).

In the 2014 Save As dialog be sure to purposefully check the “Save With References”

BUT…The Save As does not gather up the drawings and Simulation files. For that use Pack and Go.

Duplicate filenames can cause a Different Internal ID error. How do you fix it? – Go find Tom’s presentation.


Workgroup PDM Users: Workgroup PDM will be replaced by “SolidWorks PDM Standard” which will be included in SolidWorks 2016 Pro and Premium, this is sometimes known as "EPDM Lite".  If you are unsure of the impact that this will have on your workflow, please consult your local VAR.

Meeting minutes are courtesy of Randall Lynn, Lynn Technical Services,lynntech@comcast.net