I made a decision to master this tool and it has really paid off. I just learn something new every day by reading through the forums, blogs, SolidWorks LinkedIn groups and by watching Youtube videos. I also optimize my setup by adding shortcuts, mouse gestures (working on it) and demanding a 3D mouse!
Can't wait to hear what other have to say. I'll add items to my list when I think of them.
- Reading blogs and the forums
- Using a 3D mouse, even the simplest one is a big improvement over just a mouse
- Adding X, Y and Z axes to your part and assembly templates
- Move the basic toolbars to the left (and turn off Use Large Buttons with text) of the screen to maximize screen space on widescreen monitors
- Scrolling in the command manager instead of clicking
- Holding alt while dragging drawing views so you don't have to click the edge
- Adding Page Up and Page Down to scroll through drawing sheets!
- Using the F key to fit the model/drawing on the screen
- Select two parts/assemblies, then click the mates tab in the feature tree to see the mates between them highlighted
- Search using the top bar of the feature tree
- Creating macros for tasks that can easily go wrong, that take a long time or that you don't enjoy doing
- On the topic of macros: killing those that are stuck in an infinite loop with Ctrl + Pause-Break
- Customizing the crap out of SolidWorks, even though no one can work with your pc anymore. I even added a custom shortcut to open the customize window
- Using Alt and Control when clicking up/down in dimension boxes, it changes it 10 and 0.1 times the default amount.
My main one since 2008 when it was introduced is to define your S key for your Sketch, Part, Assembly and Drawing needs.
Also, when you're dimensioning at the part level, add dimensions to entities as far up the FeatureTree. Keeps the amount of Parent/Child relations down to a minimum which allows more freedom in moving entities up and down the tree.
Lastly, if you have more than 1 user, get yourself a PDM tool (SolidWorks has a few really good ones ). Duplicate files, renaming files, moving files, etc. will drive anyone nuts.
- The use of a Skeleton Sketch part - Eliminates Circular Rebuilds, Better Models, Parametric Changes and a lot of other plus's
- Multiple Sheet Drawing - If you have a 100 different/unique parts, it's nice to open one file instead of a 100...
- Custom Property Tab Builder - To track custom properties in parts and assemblies individually
- Macros - get all the macros you can and use them in your workflow
- Task Scheduler
- #Task http://www.centralinnovation.com.au/
- Mouse Gestures
- S Key
- Layers (Colored)
- Use Colored Sketches (thanks to Alin Vargatu )
- Plus a lot more
Take advantage of symmetry when modeling. If your Part is symmetric, create your model with main planes at the center instead of on the corners.
We recently added the axes X, Y and Z to our part and assembly templates as well. No more linear patterns linked to feature edges so no more broken patterns. It's a real improvement, I'll add it to my previous post as well.
S KEY and A KEY Also like the Lock Rotation feature.
I wouldn't really say that anything I do is a "trick" but I do employ several practices with specific goals in mind that make things easier long run.
My main goal when making a model is to make the model flexible, adaptable, understandable, & simple.
1. I try and use constraints over dimensions whenever possible
a. This helps with making multiple configurations of my models as I only need to change 1 or 2 dimensions for a new configuration instead of 20. Also makes making revisions less likely to break the model tree
2. I try and create my 3D models with feature relations that make sense. I also make use of reference geometry to avoid bad relations
a. This is of course subject to what you are designing but generally if you follow a standard feature ordering you won't get that important feature accidentally related to that random fillet that you decided to delete and destroys half the model tree.
3. I try and name features and use folders in my models so that if another person needs to work with my model they can easily locate everything and make changes where needed.
a. In my opinion if things are understandable and easy to change people are more likely to change features instead of tacking them on at the end of the model tree.
4. I try and use as few models/features/relations as possible while still fully defining my models.
a. This one is rather self-explanatory but if you can make a feature with one sketch instead of ten it's probably better to do it that way. Granted there are times when this can be broken but as a general practice it's better.
b. I use models with configurations so as to avoid having multiple models with small variants. Design tables, & equations can accomplish this as well but I find for others looking at my models configurations are the most intuitive.
5. I use custom properties in my models and have these same properties auto populate my drawing template title blocks.
a. This is mainly a time savor and error prevention as it ensures all drawings generated from the model have consistent information.
Like I said none of these are really "tricks" but I find by following these practices when making my models everything ends up running smoother long run. Basic rule I'd say is "think before you model".
I really like this concept. But I have to ask just out of curiosity.
Why is the 'height' plane not divided into three planes just like the other planes are? You know, so you would have perhaps 'bottom', 'height middle' and then 'top'. Whereas currently you have only the two 'floor' and 'top'. Or am I missing something? (Probably) lol