What are your most impressive tricks of solidworks, Please spread this question to more people.
It is better to list 5~10 tricks for others, we will accumulated more and more in future.
This was a cool thread. I appreciated all the great tips (learned some new things myself). I see it's been inactive for a few months; so Ill add to it. I don't know if these would be my 'top ten' but they are 10 decent (and perhaps less frequently discussed) ones that came to mind. Not all of these are 'my tricks' - some are simply standard functions or ideas I've learned from others; or things I've discovered while using Solidworks - but a few items here might qualify as unique or 'self-discovered' methods (I guess?). Either way - hope these are of help to some here:
Jason Warnke -
Awesome list, btw
It's great seeing this thread being rejuvenated with great tips. Yes this thread is long but, there is a ton of great stuff in it...
Thanks again Jason
Repost from the Dump just to share a bit of our how we use global variables.
It all depends what you intend to use them for. Bare with me with this as I'm having a hard time explaining it but basically we use them to drive referencial dimensions so that we can do studies inside the skeleton.
For example, these are our global variables. There's a set of variables which ends with F, which means it is for the fixed suspension, and a set of variable which ends with SSA, which means it's for the Self-Steered Axle. All of these global variables are driven by an external text file, as you can see on the screenshot below.
The other variables are general variables for the trailer beam, number of axles, axle spread, top flange thickness and bottom flange thickness.
Some of the variables are linked to dimensions in the main sketch
Then, there's another sketch to place the crossmembers which also uses the global variables.
While others are on a different sketch for a motion study of the suspension.
We generally do not keep the link with the text files simply because we don't want someone unintentionally editing one of the text files. The text files are used to populate the global values and we switch between about 20 different text files for different combinations of suspensions. The values we use are fixed ones so they shouldn't be modified or differ from one configuration to the other. The values that do vary from one configuration to another are equations and not global values. Here's the list of text files just for kicks
Alex Lachance - Thanks for sharing here
kewl!... btw,.. for good measure, maybe locking the txt's via the epdm/pdm or... ?
Yeah, we've put them in read-only on the server just in case
There are so many posts here and they are all so good! I use many and learned a whole bunch of new ones this morning.
This is a bit more complex and works best with PDM- For complex templates, I use an assembly sketch to define my changing parts(a common top-down practice), but then I Connect my defining dimensions to a Custom property. This allows me to enter information one time in the Data card, rebuild and have all my parts update to the specified requirements.
To take it one step further, I have created a macro that changes configurations of standard subassemblies to match the information entered into the assembly data card. It took a lot of time to set it all up, but it has saved hundreds of hours and countless errors in descriptions not matching the actual models.
I've just spent the last 1/2 hour or so cleaning up a model done by my student worker 10 years ago. It had a number of issues. I'm not blaming her, because she didn't have any SW experience prior to me hiring her, and she was learning as she went along. Now that I have the background out of the way, I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but I can't stress enough that for maintaining design intent, and for ease of editing down the road, never use a dimension if you can get the sketch defined with relations, even if you need to add construction lines.
Bingo! IMO probably the one of the most important concepts in design and CAD modelling. Not a trick but definitely a top tip...
My primary goal is to "Design For Change", I keep that in my Design Intent and follow that to the end of the project. This makes it easier to do similar projects, custom projects and makes it a plus when you work in "New" Product Development...
Glenn Schroeder wrote: I've just spent the last 1/2 hour or so cleaning up a model done by my student worker 10 years ago. It had a number of issues. I'm not blaming her, because she didn't have any SW experience prior to me hiring her, and she was learning as she went along. Now that I have the background out of the way, I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but I can't stress enough that for maintaining design intent, and for ease of editing down the road, never use a dimension if you can get the sketch defined with relations, even if you need to add construction lines.
Glenn Schroeder wrote:
Reading back over that I realize I could have worded it better. Those of you that agree don't need clarification, but inexperienced users might. In many situations of course you need to add dimensions when sketching, but use relations or construction geometry instead whenever possible. In the simple example below, the intent is to have the hole centered between the horizontal edges. The body is 2" wide, so the 1" dimension is placed from one edge. That's all fine and good until you edit the body and change it to 2-1/4" wide. Now your hole is no longer in the center, so you have to edit that sketch and change the value. Maybe more than once as the design evolves.
The second example has the construction line instead. It has one end coincident with the center of the vertical edge and the other end coincident with the circle's center point, so if the width changes the hole will still be in the center.
As a bonus, if you have "Enable on screen numeric input on entity creation" turned on, you could select "construction line", click on the edge's center point to start it, drag your cursor so it snaps horizontal, and enter the desired value. Hit Enter, then activate your circle command, click on the end of the construction line, enter a value, hit Enter, then exit the sketch. That way you never need to select "Smart Dimension" since you're entering the dimensions while sketching. If you have shortcuts set up properly (keyboard shortcuts, Mouse Gestures, S-key, etc) you can do all that within the space of 2 or 3 seconds.
I have been working on a new product design for the last several weeks and trying to be a zealot about adhering to John Stoltzfus' skeleton / top down approach. It takes a lot of discipline before it becomes second nature. Today it really paid dividends. What would have been a major change affecting countless downstream features... caused one spline to "pretzel" out of thousands. The change plus error diagnosis plus fix took all of 5 minutes. And a big part of this is from also following Glenn Schroeder's tip on defaulting to relations and construction geometry before dimensions.
I expect to see many more "dividends" as the design progresses.
Daen Hendrickson - thanks for the kudos - Sticking to the SSP process will definitely reduce the amount of time spent in diagnostics. "Design For Change" - is what it's all about, change a dimension and see what happens, delete a part and see if other parts error, if they do, you have a relation from Part to Part instead of Part to SSP. There is a big difference in modeling time once you get used to it, much quicker, but 75% of the time is used working on the SSP and 25% or less of actual modeling.
Throw in a couple other tips/tricks, name your sketches and name the dimensions that you think will change, (named sketches are easy to spot and change in the Equation Manager), color your sketches and use folders....
What are these stand alone licenses? Do we still get them? I have so much non work related stuff I could be doing at night.
Yes you can get standalone licenses, but from your comment about working at night I think you mean HUL or Home Use Licenses. And the answer to that is no. They have stopped giving them out and If I understand correctly those of us with them will be loosing that ability by the end of the year.
I "think" there is something online available but I haven't looked.
I hadn't heard that we would loose the ability to use a HUL at the end of the year. (It may be correct - and I would like to know for sure - I just haven't heard anything about that).
I know that Draftsight (free versions) will stop working at the end of the year and you will have to have a purchase version after that that you would renew each year just like the standard SWX licenses.
I do know that if you have been using a HUL and remove it, change hard disks, computers or any thing like that where you would need to reinstall or change it's disk location it will be deactivated and you will not be able to reactivate.
I guess many people will find out the hard way if on Jan. 1st the HUL's no longer work.
I would like to know for sure, as I have a HUL on my home system.
If anybody has more information / clarification on this - please post it.
I thought I read it was sooner than January...Maybe October?
In the UK HUL's were removed a couple of years ago; if not longer.
Matt Peneguy wrote: I thought I read it was sooner than January...Maybe October?
Matt Peneguy wrote:
OUCH, that's gonna hurt
Regarding end of HUL...
So far I actually managed to get them to authorize an installation on my laptop of the same licence as on my desktop after signing away my right to breathe in promises not to use both simultaneously. But it took a lot of arguing!
I have a policy of vigorously protesting any loss of functionality/usefulness that is not accompanied by a corresponding reduction in cost. Not that I get anywhere usually. They usually just succeed in taking more money off us in exchange for less....
Meanwhile it is possible to run an automatic shutdown batch file that triggers your licence to be released from your work pc when it is shut down, so it is available to pick up on your home PC. Just do that. After some large number of licence transfers (like 999 or something) I'm told it will error out and you will have to ring up to get them to reset the counter to let it keep going.
My worry was I could get stuck at home due to snow or something and there would be nobody at the office to release my licence to allow me to work at home.
But now I have remote access to my desktop from my laptop...
Gordon Rigg wrote:But now I have remote access to my desktop from my laptop...
Gordon Rigg wrote:
That's the route they took here. My colleagues can remotely access their desktop machines, so don't even need Solidworks on their laptops anymore. I'm not high enough up the food chain to rate a laptop.
For me I try to place geometry, dimensions and construction according to some "Predicted Future". In your case above the block I'm using may not always need the hole to be central. If indeed I want to hold that hole, say from the bottom of the block as that may be the mounting surface, I would put that dimension there. Also I may make that dimensions a function of the width, or even dimension it from the origin. I also use construction lines as you do or even less clicks and geometry, just add a a constraint horizontal to the the mid point of the line.
My whole point is that I do not think that there is any "You should do it this way". Dimensioning, geometry, design should follow function in nearly every case from start to finish.
For example if the important functional aspect of the above block is that it is held some distance from the edge where, in your first example, the 1.000 dimension is coming from, then I would add that dimension and not constrain it to the mid point. If however on the other hand I believe I will always want that hole to be central to the mid point I would constrain it as such. If however that dimension is some function of something else in the sketch I would make it an equation.
I think all too often we get stuck in "Do it this way" and we don't actually think about what the part is supposed to be doing.
My two cents anyway.
If you want the hole a fixed distance from the edge then of course you should use a dimension. I was merely trying to make the point that you shouldn't use a dimension if you want it centered.
Not sure if I should add this here, or here:
Prompted by Kevin Chandler to add it, anyway. Thanks Kevin!
When using the Property Tab Builder, one of the fields that you can select is a Date Field (using a Textbox field with the "Type" changed to Date):
When you use this Tab Builder template in a part template to create custom properties, you can set it to be a default date.....or you can leave the field blank in your template, and when you select the date drop down, it will default to today:
I originally had a date set up in here and had to keep moving the date in order to keep it near today.....but then I discovered that, if I left the field blank, it would default to today.
There you go.
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