Randy Lynn

June 14, New Mexico SolidWorks User Group Meeting Minutes-10 YEARS!

Blog Post created by Randy Lynn on Jun 22, 2017

The June 14th, 2017 meeting of the New Mexico SOLIDWORKS User Group was held at The BioScience Center in Albuquerque.  This meeting was a celebration of the New Mexico SolidWorks User Group which was founded 10 years ago. In attendance from SolidWorks was Richard Doyle, Senior User Advocacy for SolidWorks User Groups who also was present at the first NMSUG event in 2007. Also attending from SolidWorks was Rachel Diane York, head of SolidWorks Media Content.


5:30 – 6:00 Arrive, Get Some Food, Meet Someone New

5:45 – 6:15 NMSUG 10th Anniversary Commemoration, Memories and Milestones

6:15 – 6:40 Markforged – Carbon Fiber & Metal 3D Printing, Justin Smart – Interlink Engineering

6:45 – 8:15 The Certification Game, Rachel York

7:05 – 8:15 SolidWorks World Roundup

8:15 – 8:30 Wrap Up / Prizes / Giveaways

Stories from NMSUG’s First 10 Years


Nestor Montano: Nestor was one of the founders and the first NMSUG president. He shared a story about how at SolidWorks World 2007 some MCAD folks invited him to dinner at a Cajun restaurant. Little did he know they were planning to “strongly suggest” he get a user group going.



Randy Lynn: Randy was one of the founders and also a past NMSUG president. Randy recalled the very first meeting. It was held at the UNM Continuing Education building. Scott Harris, one of the SolidWorks founders was presenting on an overhead projector. He was describing how they developed SolidWorks. He showed a slide of a handwritten table. The column headings were the competition such as ProE, I-DEAS. The rows were the different aspects of the fillet command such as full round, variable, and tangential. Scott explained they had these tables for every SolidWorks command and function. They were always checking off the features the competition had and programming them into SolidWorks as fast as they could.




Richard Doyle: Richard actually had a photograph from that first meeting. He noted there were 35 attendees. He says we have been averaging about four meetings a year. Richard asked today’s group the same SolidWorks trivia questions he asked at the first meeting in 2007. Richard also presented William Radigan and the rest of the group a 10 year award.

  William, Richard.png


Nestor, Randy, and Richard were all presented with polo shirts featuring the NMSUG logo.


Markforged – Carbon Fiber & Metal 3D Printing, Justin Smart – Interlink Engineering


Interlink hosts the user group in the Phoenix area. Justin typically does all the presentations at the meetings in Phoenix. Interlink provides onsite SolidWorks expertise to their clients. They are not a SOLIDWORKS reseller. Also in attendance to answer questions was Brad Blake, Markforged West Regional Channel Manager.


Justin had an SLA 250 back in 1994. He admitted what we all already know: 3D printers are neat. We can ogle over the output in design reviews. However, at the end of the day, the printers were just toys and the parts they made were low tolerance non-functioning representations of an item that would ultimately be produced using traditional manufacturing methods. Justin maintains that the Markforged 3D printer has evolved 3D printed parts from novelty items to realistic production parts. The part geometry is usually acceptable and often better than traditional manufacturing methods.


He brought with him an assortment of the best looking parts we have seen anywhere. He showed a $350 machined part  that costs $11 to print on the Markforged printer. Someone asked about threads. He has printed parts with 4-40 threads-no problem. What he showed may be the best surface finish from a 3D printer we have seen thus far and NO POST PROCESSING.


Justin has had his Markforged Mark II ($13,500) machine for six weeks. It ships in a Pelican box. Justin was printing parts within 1.5 to 2.0 hours of setting it up. So far he has had no maintenance. He has to run a 2-minute bed-leveling calibration from time to time. He can stop the printer, embed parts, and continue the operation.


Q and A from the group…


Strength? Along the Z-axis he parts are almost as strong as along the X and Y axes.


Build envelope is about the size of a shoe box.


Materials: Kevlar, Fiberglass, HTHS Fiberglass (increases environment temp), Carbon Fiber (The carbon fiber parts are almost as strong as aluminum). They have an Onyx material which is comprised of nylon and chopped carbon fiber. The small parts he was showing were about $4. It prints “as fast as any other 3D printer he has seen.” Materials come spooled in 50 micron and 150 micron material. Materials and spool prices are available on their very informative and cool Markforged website (www.markforged.com).


The Mark II prints in 100 micron layers.


You can design in tolerances to your part and the Mark II will scan/measure/ and then proceed only if the part is still in spec. It calls you on the phone if it is not. (It scans every layer in the part build).


It comes with its own cloud-based software called Eiger and is free for download. It uses STL files. Internet access is required. If the internet crashes during the build, it does not damage or kill the job.


Soon Markforged will be releasing the Mark X, the first metal-printing 3D printer under $100k. Its projected cost is $69k. It comes with a cabinet. The printing envelope is about 2.5 times that of the Mark II and it can print in 50 micron layers rather than 100 micron layers. The Mark X prints oversize parts with powdered metal and plastic which shrink during a sintering process. Estimated cost with a sintering oven is $160k. It will print stainless steel, titanium, Inconel, and tool steel among other materials. The sample parts they brought including a splined chain sprocket were amazing.


Feel free to contact Justin or Brad for more information and/or some sample parts.





Mid-Meeting Announcement-Steam Summer Camps


Derek Sanchez was in attendance. Derek is 17 years old. He has been using SolidWorks for six years as part of his robotics clubs and competition teams. (Currently he is using FEA and has a Sandia internship). He was touting the Steam Summer Camps that teach computing and robotics to kids ages 8 to 17. Derek said thanks to SolidWorks all the members of his team get one-year renewable licenses to work on their projects. Folks, this isn’t the basic SolidWorks license either. These kids get it all, Simulation, Flow, everything.


Find more information at: www.BeGreaterThanAverage.com

Steam 1.pngSteam 2.png


The Certification Game – Rachel York from SolidWorks


Rachel Diane York (use the middle name to find her on Google). Formerly Rachel ran a user group in NY then went to work for a reseller, then moved to Missouri and worked for another reseller, and finally joined SolidWorks two years ago. She co-manages certification and manages all the SolidWorks technical content and social media content. Rachel got her CSWP within 30 days of going to work for her first reseller.




Why get certified? The obvious answer is employment. You also get listed in the SolidWorks Certification Directory which is great for marketing, and you get discounts on partner products.


SolidWorks certification is the industry standard. Reseller employees can’t provide tech support in areas in which they are not certified. Certification will make you a better user. By studying the online content, taking the practice exams, and passing certification exams, you become aware of the SolidWorks tools, commands and functionality that many old-school users don’t even know exist.




Certified SolidWorks Associate Exams

CSWA, CSWA-Academic, CSWP-Core (Sketch, Features, Assemblies, Evaluate)

Cost $99


Certified SolidWorks Professional Exams and Advanced Specialty Exams

CSWP-Core (Sketch, Features, Assemblies, Evaluate), can take it in segments

Segment 1 is 90 minutes, Segment 2 is 40 minutes, Segment 3 Assemblies is 80 minutes, (must be able to create a coordinate system). These are bottom up assemblies.

Can retake a segment in 14 days

Cost $99

CSWPA-Sheet Metal, Weldment, Mold Tools, Drawing Tools, Surfacing

Can retake in 30 days

Cost $19.95 each


Certified SolidWorks Expert Exam

CSWE-MD (Mechanical Design). To take the CSWE you must have passed the CSWP and 4/5 advanced exams. There are only 3,052 CSWE’s thus far (at the time of our meeting). If you fail, you must wait 180 days before retaking it.

Cost $149.95


To take an exam…

  • Rachel suggest two monitors, one for SolidWorks and one for Tester Pro
  • You cannot pause the exam. What if SolidWorks or computer or internet fails…Tester Pro tries to reconnect for two minutes then it ends the test, you fail


If you are on subscription you get a free exam for each license you have. (Excluding the CSWE)


A good place to start is here.





When you create a Virtual Tester Account…


Be sure to use a personal email address. You can’t change it later without a lot of work.

How you spell your name is how it will appear on your certificate(s)


JUST FOR FUN, LIVE AND IN REAL TIME, Rachel took the SolidWorks Mold Tools CSWPA Exam.


It is a five question test. She recommends that your record yourself taking the test.


With subscription, login to SolidWorks.com (log into the customer portal account) and go to Certification Offers for Subscription Customers. The voucher you get via text is good for 180 days. Once you enter the voucher number into tester pro, you are taking the test.



  • Design Intent-Read ahead and know the model. (There are 7 ways to draw a line in SWX).
  • Input-Assign Global Variable and material properties. Save the part in stages to late follow you thought process.
  • Meditation-Choose best profile and default planes. For test taking-The best profile is the one that includes the most variable values.
  • Construction-Create all solid geometry. Remove material, add applied features such as fillets and chamfers. “Set up material, remove material, then do fillets and chamfers.”
  • The summary page is the last page of the exam. The questions are weighted differently. Read through all the questions and look at the weights on the summary page. Focus on the high point questions.
  • Turn off automatic rebuild when test taking. Rebuild manually. For exams especially, put different fillets in separate features.
  • For subsequent questions, first input what you know. Update variables before changing geometry.
  • Delete relationships, never delete the entities
  • Your answers must be dead on to the same number of places in the answers. When you get an answer from Mass Properties, copy and paste the text, DO NOT FAT FINGER IT


Rachel did a 30 minute exam. This was a great way to see how an exam goes. These were real exam questions. Most questions were multiple choice. The last question asked her to make a modification and fill in the blank with the new mass.


THIS WAS AN OUTSTANDING PRESENTATION AND Rachel is giving vouchers to everyone in the group tonight to take either the CSWA or CSWP exams.