8 Replies Latest reply on Aug 29, 2013 6:11 PM by John Burrill

    What's the magic clue?

    Andrew Kronquist

      What's the magic clue to solidworks? I've been at it almost everyday for 2 years and I'm still spending more time struggling with it than being productive. Right now I'm wasting time trying to increase the size of a circle in a sketch, and everything I try just turns it into a mess of lines. Should I be turning off auto relations? They seem to be more burden than they're worth. Even if I get the sketch to work when I get to the features I run into a whole new world of struggles. There's more things to consider in SW than there are grains of sand in all the beaches in the world combined, and I have no idea how anybody can become proficent in this.

        • Re: What's the magic clue?
          Andrew Kronquist

          I removed ALL relations except the one relation I wanted to a circle made from another sketch, and the normal endpoints. Next I put all my own dimensions, and any relations I wanted  back in. Now it works fine. I wonder if it's just easier to turn off auto relations, and just put in what you need.

            • Re: What's the magic clue?
              John Burrill

              The first indication that you are mastering your tools is knowing when not to use them.

              What I have found helpful is to have automatic relations, detatch segments on drag on my mouse-gestures wheel so that I can toggle them easily.

              For example, toggling off automatic releations can make dragging go a lot more smoothely and cause goemetry to update more predicatbly.

              Also don't forget that you have a move tool  in sketch besides dragging. Select the objects you want to move, right-click and pull up move.  You can keep the existing relations between your selection and the other geometry in the sketch or discard anything that get's in your way.  The move tool tries to preseerve your existing geometry as you move it

            • Re: What's the magic clue?
              Greg Hynd

              What are your system specs? What do you generally use solidworks for?

              • Re: What's the magic clue?
                Roland Schwarz

                Actually, getting rid of auto relations can be a big step forward in learning.  Manually adding constraints helps one to learn what constraints are needed.  This knowledge helps in troubleshooting conflicting constraints.


                Avoid redundant constraints.  Sometimes they don't cause an issue until they conflict later.  Many times I even remove horizontal and vertical constraints.


                Dragging points around often causes them to attach to unwanted references.  Good time to not use auto relations.

                • Re: What's the magic clue?
                  Jeff Holliday

                  Have you taken formal training on SW at your VAR? If not, I would suggest either that or some on-line training. I agree that there is a lot of possibilities in using the program but a basic training is very beneficial.

                    • Re: What's the magic clue?
                      Andrew Kronquist

                      This is hopefully in response to everyone's helpful replies. I had the basic SW course back in October, 2011, and started really using SW around January, 2012. I've tried to extend that with SW blogs and websites, not to mention many YouTube videos. I've worked through most of the Advanced Modeling pdf I found online, too where you make a mouse and a bottle among other things. I'm still using SW2012 on a Dell Precision T5500 (I think).

                      I think getting rid of auto relations would be a big step for me. That's how I got my current model working, and now I can adjust different things successfully. Glen mentioned SW isn't a mind reader, but I think it really tries to be sometimes! I particularly like the warning that its mate suggestion won't work, then I choose the mate I originally intended to use. No fillets in sketches is a good idea, and I've found through pain not to reference a fillet in a model too. Sometimes I get frustrated knowing there are so many things I don't know about SW, like simulation, sheet metal, weldments, molds, ect... It's just a lot of things to know.

                    • Re: What's the magic clue?
                      Glenn Schroeder



                      I will preface this by saying it's intended as friendly advice and in no way is intended to offend.  Now, if you're still struggling with the software after two years it may be time to step back and take a deep breath.  I don't know if it applies to you, but I've learned from watching this forum that some people get very frustrated with SW because it doesn't work the way they want it to.  It isn't a mind-reader and can't be all things for all people.  Since you asked for a magic clue, I'll try to offer one.  I believe that it's to learn how the software works, what works and what doesn't, and then work with it within those constraints.


                      With that being said, I've been working with it for over 4 years, probably averaging 30 - 35 hours a week.  I'm still learning, and I still get frustrated when it doesn't work the way I think it should.  And I still have sketches go all to hell on me, but not as often as they used to.


                      Among his very good advice, Roland mentioned unwanted references.  If you have automatic relations turned on you can temporarily turn them off by holding down Ctrl while dragging or placing sketch elements.  You probably already know that, but someone else seeing this might not.


                      Good luck,


                      • Re: What's the magic clue?
                        Walter Fetsch

                        One of the most helpful things I ever learned about creating sketches that behave well is to never put fillets or radii in sketches.  Create sharp corners and fillet the edges of the part, later.  SW has a great deal of trouble updating sketches that have fillets and radii in them.