Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SOLIDWORKS TECH TIP: Meshing Tips and Tools for Better Results (Part 2)

Part 1 - Part 2

Since I am always being asked what makes a good mesh, I decided once again to blog about a list I put together a while ago. This was a general list, in no particular order, of things you can do, things you can use, and things you can look for in creating a mesh. And knowing you have a good mesh, you can feel better about the results you are getting. This is part 2 in the series and will discuss a couple of advanced options.

Node Plot vs. Element Plot
Have you ever wondered what those advanced options are for in your Stress Plot Property Manager? There are two advanced options that we find when we are creating or editing the definition of a stress plot. You can see them below, labeled Node Values and Element Values, and they provide some pretty different-looking results.




Node Values                                                         Element Values

The stress plot that displays Nodal Values appears smooth, while the stress plot that displays Element Values appears rough. To understand these different appearances, let's explain the differences between nodal and element stresses.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Migration from Windows to Enterprise PDM Part 2: Fix Those References

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

Many companies have several projects stored in their Windows file system prior to an Enterprise Product Data Manager (EPDM) implementation. While it is ideal to leave older projects within the old filing system, it is sometimes important to integrate them into the new PDM system for future use. This is the second of a three part blog series entitled Migration from Windows to Enterprise PDM.

It is recommended that you implement in a test vault prior to executing on your production vault. Some instructions are intended for migrating large amounts of data at once. If you are only moving a few documents into the vault, it is still applicable but some steps may not be necessary.

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When migrating from Windows, some files may be missing references, contain cyclic references, point to duplicate files, or point to locations outside of the vault. Don't worry! They can be fixed!

Update References Wizard

A little known, but extremely useful, part of Enterprise PDM is the Update References Wizard. It will allow you to redirect, replace, add, or repair references. The tool can be accessed by selecting the parent file in Windows Explorer and selecting Tools > Update References. The sections below will explain how each tool works.

TIP: It is important to fix warnings BEFORE checking in for the first time. If you ignore the warnings and check it in, the Update References Wizard will NOT show them.


Redirecting References

This tool is useful when you have the warning File Not Found or if you just want to redirect a reference to another file of the same name.

  1. Choose the reference you wish to redirect and press Find Files.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

SOLIDWORKS TECH TIP: Meshing Tips and Tools for Better Results (Part 1)

Since I am always being asked "what makes a good mesh?" I decided once again to blog about a list I put together a while ago. This was a general list, in no particular order, of things you can do, things you can use, and things you can look for, in creating a mesh.  And knowing you have a good mesh, you can feel better about the results you are getting. This is part 1 in the series, and will discuss spotty results and number of elements.

Spotty Results
The first thing you can do, and definitely the easiest, is to do a visual inspection of the results and ask yourself “Do they look spotty?” In the simple L-Bracket below, you can see how inconsistent the results are in the area of the fillet where we are seeing our high stresses. This erratic behavior across the length of the fillet is a good indication that your mesh is too coarse. Simply refine (make your mesh smaller) and rerun.


Below, you will see the same L-Bracket with a better mesh showing more uniform results across the length of the fillet.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Migration from Windows to Enterprise PDM - Part 1: High Performance Migration

Many companies have several projects stored in their Windows file system prior to an Enterprise Product Data Manager (EPDM) implementation. While it is ideal to leave older projects within the old filing system, it is sometimes important to integrate them into the new PDM system for future use. This is the first of a three part blog series entitled Migration from Windows to Enterprise PDM.
It is recommended that you implement in a test vault prior to executing on your production vault. Some instructions are intended for migrating large amounts of data at once. If you are only moving a few documents into the vault, it is still applicable but some steps may not be necessary.

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Prepare the Source Data


  1. If possible, update all the files to the latest version supported by your EPDM version. This especially applies to CAD files for which EPDM has plugins (SOLIDWORKS, AutoCAD, Inventor). SOLIDWORKS Task Scheduler can bulk upgrade SOLIDWORKS files. AutoCAD has a similar utility. Outdated versions of CAD files can have trouble successfully migrating into an Enterprise PDM vault. They can also be the source of performance issues in SOLIDWORKS as well as Enterprise PDM.
  2. Ensure against excessively long filepaths or invalid characters. Windows can handle up to 255 characters for a full file path, but it is recommended to keep it well below that.


    Prepare the Vault

    Tuesday, September 30, 2014

    SOLIDWORKS 2015 FEATURE: What products are you entitled to?

    Today while doing some research for a presentation, I stumbled across one of the new features of SOLIDWORKS 2015 that was not highlighted in the "What's New in SOLIDWORKS 2015" presentations.

    Each year, SOLIDWORKS introduces a plethora of new features, some of which are highlighted, while others quietly sneak in the back door unnoticed. I found one of the latter today on the task pane within the SOLIDWORKS user interface.

    Click the "My Products" Link in the Task Pane under SOLIDWORKS Tools and SOLIDWORKS will display a list of products that your license entitles you to.

    If you would like to see more new features in SOLIDWORKS 2015, please register for one of our DESIGN EXCELLENCE FORUMS near your local office.

    In addition to the What's New Presentation in the morning, there are technical tracks in the afternoon, two of which I will be presenting:
    "25 Things you Didn't Know SOLIDWORKS Could Do" and "A First Look at SOLIDWORKS Mechanical Conceptual."

    The SOLIDWORKS session is designed to showcase features in SOLIDWORKS that will increase your daily productivity and recap some of the top enhancements of 2014. The SOLIDWORKS Mechanical Conceptual presentation will be first look at the 3DExperience Platform showcasing the abilities of SOLIDWORKS Mechanical Conceptual.

    Monday, September 29, 2014

    I'm Coming to a City Near you in October - Simulation @ Design Excellence Forum

    It's that time of year to learn about what's new in SOLIDWORKS 2015. FISHER/UNITECH has taken rollout events to the next level with our "Design Excellence Forum;" in addition to what's new, there are educational seminars and plenty of time to visit one-on-one. That's my favorite part of these events: getting to meet our users! With events being held close to all of our local offices, you can easily find a Design Excellence Forum near you.

    There will be three Simulation-specific seminars that prospective and/or seasoned Simulation users will find value in attending. We will be covering a broad range of simulation tools, from SimXpress to plastics Injection molding simulation and CFD.



    At 1:00 pm local time: 
    ROOM A: "Keeping Real World Simulation Simple"

    At 2:00 pm local time: 
    ROOM C: "10 Things You Should Know When Engineering Plastic Parts"

    At 3:00 pm local time:
    ROOM C: "SOLIDWORKS Simulation: Going Beyond Linear Static FEA"

    I'm looking forward to meeting everyone at the Design Excellence Forum! Click the image below to find out local dates and times and to secure a spot.  If you would like to meet up personally, feel free to send me an email directly at droccaforte@funtech.com.


    Friday, September 26, 2014

    SOLIDWORKS Executives Added to Second Annual Design Excellence Forum

    SOLIDWORKS Leaders Join FISHER/UNITECH as Keynote Speakers at Design Excellence Forum

    FISHER/UNITECH, a leading provider of SOLIDWORKS® 3D design software and Stratasys 3D Printers, just announced SOLIDWORKS executives will kick off the second annual Design Excellence Forum – a provocative event scheduled in 11 cities throughout the Midwest and Northeast.   Ken Clayton, VP Worldwide Sales; Paul Adams, VP of Technical Sales; Paul Giaconia, VP of Corporate Accounts; Gary Krauter, Territory Sales Senior Manager; Kurtis Anliker, Director of Technical Sales; and Mark Martel, Area Technical Director will be the keynote speakers featured at some of these events.

    This year's Design Excellence Forum will offer several seminars showing how to leverage today's most innovative technologies to achieve excellence in design and manufacturing.  The Forum promises to cover many stellar topics: 3D mechanical CAD enhancements; conceptual design with cloud-based collaboration; unified electronic design; improved simulation techniques; advanced 3D printing for product development; data management; and the latest for technical communication.  This event also features a reveal of the new SOLIDWORKS 2015 software. This roadshow will begin on October 1st in Kansas and travel throughout the Midwest and East Coast during the month of October. 

    "We truly appreciate the great partnership that we have with SOLIDWORKS as demonstrated by these keynote speakers. Our Design Excellence Forum will give end-users and executives alike a viewpoint of how today's most innovative technologies are being used by manufacturers to compete in the global economy," said Charlie Hess, CEO at FISHER/UNITECH.

    This forum offers management the opportunity to stay involved and up to speed on the latest and greatest manufacturing and product design technologies in the industry.

    Executives are invited to discover methods of optimizing design for additive manufacturing, improving product development efficiency through data management, leveraging electronic design automation, and learning how design validation improves product quality.  These solutions are sure to expedite manufacturing processes and make companies highly competitive.  SOLIDWORKS users can expect to be exposed to rich content that will enhance productivity and grow their skillset.  Lastly, SOLIDWORKS executives will be available onsite to discuss the future of Dassault Systemes.  

    The Design Excellence Forum is completely complimentary and all are welcomed to attend.  Registration is required. For more information on the agenda, locations and dates please visit http://www.funtech.com/Events/Design-Excellence-Forum.  This event is sponsored by HP, Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS, and Stratasys. 

    Monday, September 22, 2014

    So You're Planning Your 2015 Enterprise PDM Upgrade...

    You'll love the new features in Enterprise PDM 2015.  Here are some important things that we know so far.

    There are some important changes for Enterprise PDM now that its licenses will be served by the SolidNetWork License (SNL) Manager software in 2015.

    We don't have all of the answers quite yet, but here are some things to get the wheels turning, and we'll be sure to post again just as soon as sp0 is finalized.

    First thing: You'll need your serial number now. It's that 16 or 24 digit number that you received the day your license purchase went through, however many years ago, and that you could not ever find within the Enterprise or SQL interface after that.


    Here's what you do:



    Which will result in:

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    SE Michigan and NW Ohio SOLIDWORKS User Group Meeting: October 14, 2014

    Our very own Rod Harper will be presenting at the next SE MI and NW OH SWUG meeting coming up in mid-October! RSVP to the meeting and meet up with Rod and other users in the community. Check out the invitation from this SWUG below -

    The Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio SOLIDWORKS User Group meeting is here! This is an opportunity for you to network with your colleagues and peers to see how others are using SOLIDWORKS in their workplace. This meeting is free and open to students, teachers, designers, engineers, employers, and anyone with an interest in SOLIDWORKS and the design industry.

    We will be showcasing great presentations with food and prizes too! Our grand prize giveaway is a Google Nexus 7, 32GB, black.


    We will also have a special visitor at this meeting: Richard Doyle, User Group Community Manager from the SolidWorks Corp, is flying in from Austin, Texas. 


    DATE: Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 
    TIME: 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. 
    LOCATION:
    Career Technology Center (T-building) 
    Monroe County Community College 
    1555 S. Raisinville Rd. 
    Monroe, MI 48161

    RSVP to this User Group Meeting at the following link: http://www.123contactform.com/form-849568/RSVP-Form

    Monday, September 15, 2014

    EPDM TECH TIP: Making a Dynamic Dropdown for your Datacards

    In Enterprise PDM, you can insert a Combobox Dropdown that will allow you to either type in an entry or choose from a list. What if you want your typed entries to show the next time you use that dropdown? This is possible through the use of a list that is based on a SQL query. First, you will want to create a list that will contain the items you would like to start with in your dropdown. In this example, I have created a list called Start Customers.




    Next, you will create your query-based list. Add a new list and for Data type choose From SQL Database. Type in the following query:

    SELECT  DISTINCT  VariableValue.ValueCache
    FROM         Variable INNER JOIN
                        VariableValue ON Variable.VariableID = VariableValue.VariableID
    WHERE      (Variable.VariableName LIKE '<variable name>') AND VariableValue.ValueCache !=''
    UNION
    SELECT DISTINCT cardlistvalues.value
    FROM         Cardlistvalues INNER JOIN
                        CardLists ON CardListValues.CardListId = CardLists.Id
    WHERE      CardLists.Name = '<start list name>'

    You must replace <variable name> with the variable you will be assigning to the Dropdown and <start list name> with the list you created for your initial values. The server, database, login, and password should all be pointing to your EPDM datavase server. Set the Refresh to Periodic refresh every 1 minutes. Be sure to test the list and save.



    Now you are ready to use it in your datacard!

    TIP: Be sure to use Dropdown instead of Droplist or you will not be able to type new values in. For Items, choose Special Value and choose the name of the SQL based list.

    For more training and tutorials on the many 3D CAD Modeling solutions in the SolidWorks family of products and add-ons, please feel free to look through our Webcast Archive, register for an upcoming webcast or event, or look into our 3DU SolidWorks Training and Certification courses.