16 Replies Latest reply on Jan 19, 2018 10:54 AM by Christopher Estelow

    A few things about learning solidworks

    Eric Eubanks

      Throughout my time on the forums I've been given several pieces of advice. I would just like to comment on them because I've had time to think about them now.

       

      Don't be afraid to start over.

      J Mather especially suggests this. I've tried it with my helmet. I have helmet 1 2 3 and 2.5. It's worked well for me so far. I just haven't tried it with projects I've put a lot of effort in.

       

       

      Your school is terrible. You need to change schools.

      My school has more than a 90% job placement rating. I'm thinking it's more likely the problem is with me, not the school. I've talked to my instructor and he says most students can complete their assignments on time. I don't even come close.

       

      Progress is progress even if it's slow.

      I don't think I've been given this advice, but I believe it. The problem is the school doesn't see it this way. If I continue to not meet these deadlines which I come no where close to meeting I'll be removed from the CAD program at my school. I understand that in a job completing tasks on time is essential and the school is just trying to train me for that. I just wish I could learn solidworks without fear of getting removed from the program because I'm too slow.

       

      Does anyone have suggestions on what I should do?

        • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
          Solid Air

          First thought is are you over thinking how to model the part?  Trying to find the "best way" to model when you are first starting out will slow you down.  Just model!

          • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
            Dave Bear

            Hi Eric,

            Is CAD really something you WANT to do, and therefore are you really giving it the dedication that you should (Not a criticism)

            Can you identify any KEY areas in which you think you struggle?

            Do you know how or where to find the correct resources to solve most problems?

            Do you look at things from different aspects to see if there is some other way of doing a desired task rather than wasting hours with the same train of thought that is leading you nowhere? Sometimes it's better to walk away and come back 5 minutes later with a clearer mind.

            Just some things to consider...........

             

            Dave.

              • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
                Eric Eubanks

                Hi Eric,

                Is CAD really something you WANT to do, and therefore are you really giving it the dedication that you should (Not a criticism)

                When I know what I'm doing it's fun. A good challenge is nice, but there are times that it just becomes boring because I have no idea where to start if I want to try and figure it out myself.

                 

                Can you identify any KEY areas in which you think you struggle?

                At the moment mainly mates on curved surfaces.

                 

                Do you know how or where to find the correct resources to solve most problems?

                Youtube tutorials and here

                 

                Do you look at things from different aspects to see if there is some other way of doing a desired task rather than wasting hours with the same train of thought that is leading you nowhere? Sometimes it's better to walk away and come back 5 minutes later with a clearer mind.

                I have tried taking 5 minute breaks. I still can't do much without asking about it on the forums.

                 

                Just some things to consider...........

              • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
                Shad Thomas

                Eric,

                 

                It's so hard to get this stuff down while attending school. I feel your pain. In the "real world" environment, there usually isn't a single "right" way of doing things. You have a goal. You have deadline. Make it happen any way you can. It may not be the "right" way, but at least it's done and you can then learn from that experience.

                I used to design machinery. I now design glass bottles. I had to relearn many functions of this software when making that change. Surfaces are now my best friend. It didn't happen over night. I sometimes go back and review some of my early bottle designs and simply can't believe I did it that way, but I got it done none the less.

                Model what you know. Ask questions. Apply what you can. After 20 years of this, I'm still learning and applying.

                 

                Good luck!

                • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
                  Dennis Dohogne

                  Eric,

                  By your own words there is huge difference in your abilities when you are interested in something and know what it is you are doing versus when you are not interested in it.  Seeing your posts it is easy to see you are searching for how to learn not just how to use SWX better, but also the underlying knowledge to make using SWX even easier, that is the manufacturing processes.  I suggest you scour the How It's Made show How It's Made - YouTube and also by making the appropriate searches in YouTube for specific items.  Look at the different manufacturing processes, milling, turning (lathe), Swiss screw machine, brake forming, stamping, progressive dies/stamping, investment casting, injection molding, powdered metallurgy, grinding, etc.  If at all possible try to tour different manufacturers in your area.  Perhaps you can befriend folks at these local places to mentor you.

                   

                  Understanding the various manufacturing processes is invaluable in helping a person to be a good designer and in using SWX.

                    • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
                      Eric Eubanks

                      I have watched a few episodes of how it's made. I'll see if I can watch more. It would help a lot to know the manufacturing process.

                      • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
                        Todd Blacksher

                        Dennis Dohogne wrote:

                         

                        Eric,

                        By your own words there is huge difference in your abilities when you are interested in something and know what it is you are doing versus when you are not interested in it. Seeing your posts it is easy to see you are searching for how to learn not just how to use SWX better, but also the underlying knowledge to make using SWX even easier, that is the manufacturing processes. I suggest you scour the How It's Made show How It's Made - YouTube and also by making the appropriate searches in YouTube for specific items. Look at the different manufacturing processes, milling, turning (lathe), Swiss screw machine, brake forming, stamping, progressive dies/stamping, investment casting, injection molding, powdered metallurgy, grinding, etc. If at all possible try to tour different manufacturers in your area. Perhaps you can befriend folks at these local places to mentor you.

                         

                        Understanding the various manufacturing processes is invaluable in helping a person to be a good designer and in using SWX.

                        I cannot echo Dennis Dohogne's sentiments enough - the more you know about manufacturing, the better you will do . . .

                        It doesn't matter what part you are being asked to model, you should be thinking about how the physical part will be made.

                        The next step is to work through the modeling of the part it in your head - basically creating a "game plan" for when you start SOLIDWORKS.

                        It is very hard to teach years of experience - Keep at it, someday you will be handed a part and you can say "this was most likely made on a lathe, these are my key dimensions, these are the ones that might change, this is my design intent, I will start with a revolved profile, and so on . . .

                          • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
                            Dennis Dohogne

                            I didn't used to get How It's Made on my cable system, but now I do.  I've probably watched only 12 episodes in my life until recently.  In those 12 shows two of them were at companies I had worked, a scale company and a power tool company.  Though they don't mention the companies it is easy to identify a place you worked when you recognize the products and the surroundings.

                              • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
                                Todd Blacksher

                                Dennis Dohogne wrote:

                                 

                                I didn't used to get How It's Made on my cable system, but now I do. I've probably watched only 12 episodes in my life until recently. In those 12 shows two of them were at companies I had worked, a scale company and a power tool company. Though they don't mention the companies it is easy to identify a place you worked when you recognize the products and the surroundings.

                                I don't watch How It's Made nearly enough, but I flip over to it whenever I get a chance.

                                I always like seeing something familiar being made.

                                (Probably won't ever see one of the places that I have worked, but I have seen a couple places I know.)

                                • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
                                  Christopher Estelow

                                  How It's Made is my absolute favorite show.  I watch it whenever it is on whether I've seen it before or not.  There is a show called "How'd They Do That" and it was usually on around the same channel that is similar.  They tend to go a little more in depth on things. 

                                   

                                  Chris.

                            • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
                              Paul Risley

                              Eric,

                               

                              In regards to your post 2 things come to mind.

                               

                              First college job placement is a misnomer. I work with 1 college pretty regularly and another partially. Both have 80-90% placement rates. This is not field specific. This means the people who graduated are working. Period. When I graduated our class had a 90% placement the following year. In a class of 20 students 8 were working in the design/engineering field somewhere. 4 were working at the local grocery store, 2 were working at Walmart. The rest well I lost touch with them. Job placement rating is just a tool to recruit new people to the programs.

                               

                              Secondly you ask questions and while you struggle you try to see the benefit and listen to the advice you are given. These are priceless commodities nowadays. I can appreciate the fact that this might not be the field for you. If that is the case it would be wise to consider an alternative program that ignites your passion. Going to school for school's sake is foolhardy and will not get you what you are looking for.

                               

                              If you truly want to follow this path the best advice I can give is spend as much time as you can muster playing with the software and reverse engineering parts and assemblies. Hone your part and assembly building skills. I understand you struggled in the surfacing and mold making lessons you had. I think that was primarily due to the fact that your skills in the software were not ready for that jump.

                               

                              Everyone learns at their own pace. You will not keep up  with every student. There are some who this is like riding a bike just get on it and go. There are others who need training wheels and some coaching.

                               

                              Does your school offer tutoring or better yet advanced placement counseling? I believe that is what they call it here. A student gets paired with a volunteer in the field of study that they can meet with to get some real world perspective on what they are struggling with.

                               

                              No matter what the outcome good luck and stay positive. Either this will work out or you will find what you really need to be doing.

                                • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
                                  Eric Eubanks

                                  They do have a student improvement program which I will do after I take a break from school for about 6 weeks.

                                   

                                  I have been thinking of what else I can do, but I don't know. There are things I can be casually passionate about, but doing them professionally would ruin it for me. For example I love music. I sing and play piano. I enjoy the freedom of doing what I want. I can play songs I like instead of what someone else tells me to do. I can just not do anything with music for 3 weeks and that's fine. Doing in professionally means I do things because I have to do them, not because I want to do them. Doing music professionally would ruin the fun.

                                   

                                  I'm not as passionate about doing solidworks casually, but I don't think doing it professionally wouldn't ruin it too much. Still it's hard to find something I'll be really passionate about professionally. If I could just get comfortable with how solidworks works I think I could do it professionally. Maybe I'll even have a casual passion for it if it wasn't too hard.

                                    • Re: A few things about learning solidworks
                                      Eugen Lupascu

                                      Why you want to learn Solidworks? There are others CAD programs out there. What is your purpose for learning Solidworks?

                                      Solidworks is a tool like the hammer for example. What imagine your career be like? Do you imagine you'll like mechanical design for fabricating parts and assemblies or you like just the visual aspect of the product. For aspect you have to do product visualization and not design for manufacturing. You want to actually build something or just graphics?