8 Replies Latest reply on Sep 18, 2012 3:35 PM by Qi Lu

    Ranking SW command importance by its "age"?

    Qi Lu

      Hi,

       

      I seem to have found a good way to learn solidworks.

       

      Matt Lombard in Introduction of Solidworks 2010 Bible:
       

      SolidWorks is such an immense soft-ware program that trying to cover all its functions is an extremely ambitious undertak-ing, which has resulted me leaving a few out.

      And meremly under "features" there are 41 different and several of them have not be included in the ribbon by default.

      1.jpg

      Matt's book is indeed a good reference in that it covers most of the features Solidworks includes (excepts for add-ins), but just as he said in

      Introduction of Solidworks 2010 Bible:
        

      This book has been written as a desk reference for beginning and intermediate SolidWorks users.

      I have found it is very inefficient to learn each of the topics, even if I skip lots of chapters. For example,

      deform

      flex

      indent

       

      are all listed in chapter 7 which is qutie among the front part of the book and for such a reason I deem them as important. However, these features are not included in the "Feature" ribbon by default and I have found them more difficult to grasp than other functions. There are many topics in the book like this and I found that it might be better if I have a criterion to judge certain function's importance.

       

      In reply to Functionality expansion history of Solidworks Alin Vargatu referred me to the "What's New Guides" collection which listed the software's user guide and what's new manual from version 95 to 2012. I downloaded and combined 22 files into a single PDF. And when I later see a topic in Matt's book and want's to judge if a function needs to be prioritized for study, I simply search the combined PDF. For example:

       

       

      First come in

      In default ribbon?

      deform

      2004

      No

      flex

      2005

      No

      indent

      2005

      No

      scale

      99

      No

       

      Because Deform, Flex and Indent are added very late, I infer that they might not be the very essential functions, and the fact that they are not listed in default ribbon provides some additional support for that; for "Scale" however, although it not in the ribbon by default, it comes pretty (version 99), so I infer that it might be of moderate importance.

       

      So far this method works for me, and I just rank the topics within each of Matt's book chapter I am reading and tries to sort out a priority list first. It is something just like many textbooks would give difficulty indication of problems in the form of number of stars "", "","","","", and the only difference here is that ranking is done partly by the year when the functionality is added, or just its "age".

       

      I actually wish if Matt had alredy already done such a "importance ranking" in his book which would kindly provide a better readers a quicker and mroe efficient path to follow; as a generalization, I also believe the method can be expanded to the learning of other software, especially for those whose size and functionality are on the same scale as Solidworks.

       

      I wish to hear anyone's comments on this idea.

       

       

      Qi

        • Re: Ranking SW command importance by its "age"?
          Alin Vargatu

          This is an interesting approach, Qi. It will not work for me for sure, but maybe it will work for you.

           

          I am more goal oriented. "I need to model that. How do I get there? What is the fastest way to design that? What is the most robust way to design that in case the design intent changes?"

           

          The fact that a tool is newer than another it does not mean that it is less important. For example the boundary feature was introduced after the loft command. Guess which is my first choice now?

           

          Matt's book is a very good reference but I would not use it as a training manual. You said you will take training classes from your local VAR. If you can afford that, take those classes first, before you spend too much time on your own repeating mistakes that all of us did in the past.

           

          Even if you take only the Essentials training, those 4 days in class will save you months in self-study. Once you got a good understanding of the capabilities of the software and learn best practices, you will appreciate even more Matt's book.

          • Re: Ranking SW command importance by its "age"?
            Matt Lombard

            This is a waste of your time. To some people those features might be completely useless, to others they are not. I "only" have about 1200 pages in the book, and with the software getting more and more complicated, I do what I can to include everything. Are those topics explained at all in other books?

             

            In general, Deform is a mostly useless feature. You can do some parlor tricks with it, but that's about it. I would never use it for real design. I suppose it was added to the software to allow someone to check a little box in a competitive analysis against "global shape modeling" or something silly like that. The shapes you get from Deform are very "blobular", and not very intentional.

             

            Flex is good for making "looks like" models for flexible parts. I would probably never use it for real modeling, but for illustrating how a part should bend or flex, it's nice.

             

            Indent is a fantastic tool. Very good for plastics or castings, but you could use it for a wide range of stuff. 90% of users don't even know it's the name of a SolidWorks feature.

             

            Scale has limited functionality. If you make molds for parts or deal with thermal expansion a lot, you will use this frequently. Otherwise, you probably wont use it. I wouldn't use it just to make parts bigger or smaller generally.

             

            SolidWorks puts general machine design type stuff in the default CommandManager. People who do other types of modeling have to set up their own interface.

             

            If you have an idea of what you want to do with the software, the feature ranking should take care of itself.

              • Re: Ranking SW command importance by its "age"?
                Qi Lu

                Matt,

                 

                Thanks very much for replying.

                 

                I actually wish if can have your expanded and complete, non-nonsense style comments on each of Solidworks' functionality, I find it pithy and useful.

                 

                In additon, what does the last sentence mean (I am after all still a foreigner)? I am designing a mechanical stuff which also has plastic housing.

                If you have an idea of what you want to do with the software, the feature ranking should take care of itself.

                 

                 

                Qi

                  • Re: Ranking SW command importance by its "age"?
                    Matt Lombard

                    What I mean by that is that this sounds like an academic excercise by someone who doesn't know what the software is used for. I think if you know what you are trying to accomplish, and you can visualize in your head how you intend to get there, the tools priorities will become obvious. Just look at the feature tree of parts that you make, and count how many times a feature is used. That will prioritize the features for you. You have to be curious enough about each feature to understand what it can do for you.

                     

                    You can't approach SolidWorks as if it is some general software, or programming software, or graphics software, you have to know something about mechanical design first. The tools have no meaning until you have a context - the tools only have value in the context of mechanical design, and they will have different value for different kinds of mechanical design.

                      • Re: Ranking SW command importance by its "age"?
                        Qi Lu

                        Matt,

                         

                        I got it. This should be the reason why a number of tools are organized in Chapter 29: Using Solid Works Sheet Metal Tools, Chapter 30: Using Imported Geometry and Direct Editing Techniques, Chapter 31: Using Weldments and Chapter 32: Using Plastic Features and Mold Tools.

                         

                        I will try to sort them out and find those that I really need.

                         

                         

                        Qi

                    • Re: Ranking SW command importance by its "age"?
                      Jerry Brian

                      One person might only learn Solidworks.

                      Another person might make a model in SW then go in the machine shop and machine the part out of metal. Then go on to the next more complex model.

                       

                      These two people will have very different learning experiences.