8 Replies Latest reply on Sep 25, 2013 10:37 PM by Josh Killalea

    How much time every day do you waste trying to "problem solve" in solidworks?

    Josh Killalea

      OK, firstly let me say i am only a "new" solidworks user (just over 12 months) and have come from 6ish years using Inventor, so it has been a big learning curve in the last 12 months. However, i am still finding that i am spending at least 3-4hours of my 12 hour work days trying to work out why something won't work the way you would expect or trying to work out the way SW expects something to work. (on average, sometimes way more sometimes a little less). the help menus in most cases are pretty much useless and when they do tell you how something works in a way that is easy enough to understand it is not always the best practice use for that thing. and a VAR is boardering on as useless as the help menus. it is getting beyond a joke how hard it seems to be to do even what you would assume are simple things. it really has me wondering if there is something seriously wrong with the set up here or if it is actually the software and everyone else is having huge troubles across the board with this program?


      so how long do you think on average you spend problem solving?....

        • Re: How much time every day do you waste trying to "problem solve" in solidworks?
          Josh Killalea

          well i did do this in responce to someone who asked a few questions...but that seems to be gone now....



          i'm not after answers on specifics. i would post something in a specific section with a specific question about that if i wanted an answer to something specific.


          i can problem solve most issues i am having and minor issues. between the information on this forum and the information i can find online in general and a couple of the other guys here i can work most things out reasonably quickly.


          to expand on my personal skill set a little (just to show i am not some brain dead moron that just doesn't get it) in Inventor i had the basic training via a TAFE collage and then taught myself from there how to create and manipulate libraries and the Inventors answer to the toolbox. i was learning to work with VBA and macros etc. i can model both top down and bottom up without issue in both programs and i have been working quite heavily with table driven parts for a good long time now including a very versitile and flexible set of stairs that comply with AS1657. i have created a large library of table driven parts within solidworks and they are all very stable and we can now do our most common jobs in about 1/4 the time it was taking us. i feel modelling skill wise i am probably about back on par with where i was with inventor  (possibly further given the amount of top down we do here) and i would expect a few little quirks that would mean somethings are bettter done one way then another to suit the programs "personality" or programing. with the exception of VBA i can do everything in SW i could do in inventor. so i get it, i get how these programs work and the theory behind most of the best practices. (atleast for what i do for work anyway). i also know i still have a LOT to learn about both programs. what i am finding though is there seems to be a never ending stream of "bugs" that you need to stop and think about and work out if it is something you have done or if it is actually just a bug and you need to find a work around for it.


          the specific thing that prompted me to eventually post this was i was just laying out a drawing and tried to put in a view of our main model. in this case it has about 4000-4500 parts in it. i was expecting it to take a while, that was ok, but after about 2 minutes of thinking about it and looking like it was working fine, the view wasn't placed. so i tried with a smaller sub-assembly (probably less than 750 parts) and that did the same thing. i have done drawing views of this smaller sub-assembly before and had no issues, so i have no idea why it wouldn't work. but not to worry i could do it differently and get the same sort of info if not entirely the best way to do my drawing, it would suffice for the sake of getting the job out. so i placed a view of the sub-sub-assembly that i wanted to detail that consists of about  60-100 indivdual parts (some appear quite a few times so the entire assembly is probably 120-150 parts being displayed) all the parts are in 7 sub-assemblies in this main assembly i placed the view of. it put the view in fine. i went to place a BOM table generated off that assembly and it just placed the heading. no "parts" showen for the 7 or so sub-assemblies. nothing. jut headings. so i deleted it and tried againg thinking it might have been something i clicked on wrong. nothing. tried a different BOM template. nothing. tried a few CTRL+Qs. nothing. so had to delete and replace the view and then it worked fine. but i had a quick look to see on here if was a common problem first and that is how i ended up posting this thread.


          it really is getting to the point of rediculious the amount of time i am spending trying to work out why simple stuff just doesn't work. just to name a few i can think of off the top of my head;


          1. the drawing views dissappearing randomly. why? why is this not fixed by now? i has been a problem from a long time ago as far as i can see.


          2. the dimensions jumping off the drawing views. again long time issue.


          3. the selection of just about anything can be very tedious at times. the hover and highlight thing helps a lot with this, but even it seems very tempremental. sometimes works sometimes doesn't select the thing it is highlighting, sometimes just doesn't work at all. the select other also works somewhat well, but if you are hovering over an edge that is over a whole heap of surfaces, it is not uncommon to not get the edge as a choice to select. it doesn't always help to rotate it to where the edge isn't over a heap of surfaces. and with the models we do that isn't always possible anyway.


          4. the rebuild button doesn't seem to do anything most of the time.CTRL+Q works much better, but even still alot of the time if a part you want rebuilt is down more than one assembly it often makes you open that part and often even a specific feature or sketch to get it to rebuild. i personally do a lot of top down models and mine are only normally 1 assembly consisting of sub assemblies and parts. very rarely do i have an assembly in a sub-assembly. and this problem happens HEAPS and is very time consuming to fix on occassion.


          5. everything will be working fine, and could be for hours or minutes, then SW will decide it wants to run at 1/100th pace. things won't rotate, won't switch windows, won't update, just decides to go on holidays for no particular reason. happens totally randomly and one guy might get the problem all day while the others working on the same models or same size models have no issues.


          6. one guy gets totally different issues to the next. there are 4 of us sitting in the office and one guy can have major issues with EPDM for example where it won't let him check stuff in/out or where it is crashing and running slow etc. while the rest of us get nothing. no issues at all. or it will happen to two and not the other 2. or 3 and not 1. it is totally random and no amount of log checking or "problem solving" shows a consistant reason for it. that happens accross the board with stuff though. one guy might be having troubles in laying out drawing and drawing views or something to do with a model, just all over the show. and what was working one day might not work the next day for no apparent reason.


          7. the other day i had a weldment that looked fine in the upper most assembly and every sub assembly below it and when you open the part it was displaying one small member that was till notched to the other member it joined. no errors anywhere. not issues with any of the feature in the feature tree. nothing had swithed order meaning everything else was "cut away" or anything silly. just wouldn't dislplay in the part. why? tried rebooting CTRL+Q etc. just nothing would work to get the part to display properly. you could edit a feature and it wouldn't change anything. just this one small mamber showing. i ened up having to redo the part. thankfully that was only a small part, but frustrating none the less.


          this is just a few things off the top of my head, but all 4 of us (some of the guys here have been working with SW in loads of different roles for 10+years) get the same feeling of just general random and frustrating little bugs through out the WHOLE program.


          for me my biggest gripe is with the 2D drawing side of things. and i posted 20+ issues i had with it in the "what would you change" thread of which only a small few were issues with what i was doing or something i didn't know about yet and the rest i was advised to add as ERs.


          our VAR i have rung twice, once with a simple issue, once with a reasonably complex issue, the first time was told i couldn't do what i wanted, 5 mins on here i worked it out. the second i kind of knew i couldn't do it but rang the VAR to see if maybe there was a way i hadn't thought of. took my number and said i will call you back. a few days later i get an email saying you can't do it and you can raise an ER if you want. i know this has been an ER for a good many years, so whats the point or raising another? and don't get me started on ERs and what a rediculas idea they are given the way they seem to work. a few days later another email saying my issue was being closed as resolved. one of the guys here rang about something he was struggling with and never heard back at all. and when i started and asked about ringing the VAR for help the general concensus was don't bother, they are not really helpful.


          i would be very interested in doing some trainning, but to be honest, i don't rate my chances of learning a whole lot form them as most of these types of courses i have done in the past just cover what i can find online anyway. one of the guys here has done the trainning offered by a VAR and he said the "trainner" more or less sat up the front of the class and read from the book and when questioned about things he either didn't know or just said have a look in the book. why would i go an pay the RUDE prices for the trainning couses to get that from it?


          all of this said not ALL our experiences have been bad across the board. we have had some pretty big wins with productivity by changing the way we work etc. the guy that came and installed EPDM for us was brilliant and is VERY helpful with all our issues when we can get onto him. it is just that these few wins are FAR out wieghed by the "bugs" that we find daily. we know that we are probably pushing the limits of the software and hardware with what we are doing so far as our main models are concerened and we are taking steps to work out better ways to model to help with this. it just feels like there are WAY to many hurdels to jump that simply shouldn't be there. like i say i still have a LOT to learn, but this is really getting beyond a joke on a day to day basis.

            • Re: How much time every day do you waste trying to "problem solve" in solidworks?
              Alin Vargatu

              Josh, for the record, I was the one asking the original questions. Immediately after posting them, I saw the pictures of your projects and that was answer enough for me. :)


              That being said, I thank you for your detailed answer. I am sure that any AE from any SolidWorks VAR would be extremely excited by the opportunity to come over to your place and start troubleshooting your issues. I know I would.  :) is like doing detective work - finding the culprits.


              I am a bit surprised by your feedback on training. Usually the SolidWorks training courses are top notch and most instructors are not even having their books open. I especially enjoy the brainstorming sessions that erupt from nowhere in these courses. Not only they take you in different directions, but everyone learns something new, the instructor included.


              Just curious, what are the specs of your machine?

                • Re: How much time every day do you waste trying to "problem solve" in solidworks?
                  Josh Killalea

                  the biggest problem we face with getting someone to our site is distance. i leave my place at 9am and get to site at 7pm via 2 plane flights. i have offered to go to the nearest VAR (in my city) during my R&R time to see if we can sort some of the issues here but our manager for whatever reasons isn't keen enough on the idea to let me do it or to make it priority for it to happen. e are trying to get someone up here for some more trainning with EPDM and that also is very difficult to do due to the day each way travel. for the VARs don't work weeekends like us when on site and they (totally understandably) don't want to come up over a weekend that would suit us MUCH better as it is the quiestest time in the office. so we are even getting headaches just trying to get help. you can see maybe why we are all so frustrated with SW on the whole?...


                  the reason for this thread though is that i wonder if it is just us that experience this or if it is an australia or even world wide issue. i went out of my way to get a job with solidworks because i had heard so many good things about it. i am now starting to regret that and seriously thinking i won't bother looking for another job with it when this contract is up. i had also hoped to buy a copy for myself with the view of moving my business in a direction that could offer work in both inventor and SW so as to not restrict by potential clients to much. but i am thinking i will NEVER spend money on this product unless they pick their act up 1000% in both the software and support. but i figured that given i had heard so much good about it before working here this might just be an exception as opposed to the rule. maybe it isn't an exception....

                    • Re: How much time every day do you waste trying to "problem solve" in solidworks?
                      Alin Vargatu

                      Josh, was your experience with Inventor different? Where you able to work better in it? Less bugs?

                        • Re: How much time every day do you waste trying to "problem solve" in solidworks?
                          Josh Killalea

                          FAR better. the biggest problem we found was that it was slow. (not that we had the best hardware, from memory 2.4 processors and 4gb ram with 1 gb graphics) but it was stable to the point that it was hard to remember to regularly save because it rarely crashed. Unlinke now where i find myself saving without thinking about it or everytime i go to do something a little out of the ordinary. it would always crash at the worst time though lol. it did have a few very strange quirks, but usually they were well known and workarounds easy to find. and normally it was because you were trying to do something with a function you werent meant to be doing with it. it did have some major weaknesses that SW doesn't also. but what if ound was that the support was second to none. EVERY time i rang support if they didn't know then and there they would normally only take a couple hours to get back to you with an answer or an alternate way to do your job and get the result you were after, and they almost never asked for your files.


                          as for hardware we are on now, intel Xeon E5620 @ 2.4GHz, 12GB ram, 64bit Win 7 Pro. running SW 2012 SP5.

                  • Re: How much time every day do you waste trying to "problem solve" in solidworks?
                    John Sutherland

                    I bought SW Premium in 2008 and still have not figured out how to workaround failures in Motion Analysis.


                    What you describe is, I suspect, the reason for major projects running over time and over budget.  The product just does not meet the claims made for it.


                    If you did the same type of task year in and year out, then you may become proficient at that task; but which sustainable business does that?

                      • Re: How much time every day do you waste trying to "problem solve" in solidworks?
                        Josh Killalea

                        we do pretty much the same thing or the same kind of things all the time. and i have worked in places that are and can be quite successful and sustainable doing that. and to that end i have taken the time to learn how to set up things like linked blocks to custom properties and custom properties that are driven by BOM table input as well as accurate descriptions etc. with table driven parts so that we are not doing repetive tasks from scratch every time. i am very lucky in that my current client could see the benifit of this with very little effort to sell it and has allowed me the time to do this. but it is a VERY time consuming thing just to set it up let-a-lone work out HOW to set it up so it is stable and works the way you want. and i understand that not everyone has that luxury of time to set up the program to work the way they want and very very few seem to have the knowledge on HOW to set it up in the first place.


                        the program can do all the things it claims as far as i have seen, it is just all the "bugs" or the things that work on small scale or one off instances, that are simply to unstable to work with in a real world environment.

                      • Re: How much time every day do you waste trying to "problem solve" in solidworks?
                        Josh Killalea

                        oh, and this one just happened to me....


                        i have a model i did 2 days ago, made heaps of mods on on the assembly it is in, been doing the drawings of it and other parts in the assembly yesterday and today. on of the dimensions is (was) 10mm. i was just looking at a detail view of it and it was saying 4.......look back in the model and the dimension had changed itself to 13.71644321mm......go figure....