What are the best places to learn Solidworks for free other than the Soidworks youtube channel, this forum, and the available tutorials?
Is there something in particular that you're looking for? If you've made good use of the three resources that you've listed, you ought to be a pretty competent SW operator.
Please don't overlook attending the meetings at a SolidWorks User Group. You can find the one closest to you by looking in the User Group" section of the SWorks Customer Portal. The meetings are normally free and do not require any long-term commitment. The only expectation is that you come prepared to learn/share knowledge and make new contacts.
On top of what everybody is saying, some VARs offer free "Lunch and Learns" or something similar where they will spend an hour or two showing you something you may not know.
What is a VAR?
VAR - Value added Reseller - that is the company that you but SWorks thru.
The SolidWorks Milwaukee Area Resource Team (SMART), one of the oldest SolidWorks User Groups in the US, in within 5 miles of Glendale.
Their next meeting is March 22nd.
This is the first I have heard of user groups, what are they?
A user group is comprised of people that get together any where from 3 to 6 times per year to share their experiences with SWorks products. A typical meeting will include 1 or 2 training presentations and time for networking among the attendees. The presentations are often done by members of the group, people from SWorks vendors or SWorks employees. The user groups are managed thru the SWUGN (SolidWorks User Group Network). I would HIGHLY suggest trying to attend the one that Richard Doyle has identified for you. FYI - Richard is the SWorks User Group Coordinator and a great help/inspiration.
Jeff is actually being very modest in that he runs a very active group near Philly, PA. There is also usually free food to go along with the free knowledge. A lot of groups really appreciate users who come to the meetings with questions that other people can help them solve. I learned a lot from fumbling around, asking questions here, a few blogs and of course the users groups. Before you know it, you will be showing people new things.
The best free resource I have found is messing up models trying something new and having to figure out how to fix it. Oh ya, and give yourself a ridiculous deadline as well. Everyone seems to be able to learn really fast when there is no time.
Chris - either that is a common situation or else it seems like we must have worked at the same place.
I can't believe nobody has mentioned "Getting Started With SolidWorks"
also, not sure if the VAR's still do it but they used to let you sign up for a one on one hands on demonstration (in the hopes you'd purchace SW) where the instructor would demo the software and you'd complete a small project, when you were finished you knew the basics of 3D design, plus they gave you a 30 (or was it 90?) day demo version of the software so you could do the tutorials that come with a SolidWorks install. I still have the small clip lamp that was given to me for completing the 2001session.
by the time you did all that you had a pretty good base for using SolidWorks, next step would be getting the various books available or taking a classes from the VAR (which I was lucky to do not at my expense) and jumping in and and doing some design and asking questions here when you are stumped.
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