The Best SOLIDWORKS World Technical Training Session Ever

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What do you get when you take the best two SOLIDWORKS World presenters and put them in the same room? Simply the best SOLIDWORKS World Technical Training session ever!

Ed Eaton of the Dimonte Group is an industrial designer who has been doing his “Curvy Stuff” presentations at SOLIDWORKS World for years. Even though I have hardly ever designed curvy stuff in SOLIDWORKS I have never missed one of his presentations. Ed’s understanding of how SOLIDWORKS “thinks” always fascinates me.

Phil Sluder of TriAxial Design is a mechanical engineer who has given a presentation at SOLIDWORKS World every year. I have to admit I have missed a few of them but the ones I have attended I have left with pages of notes -the guy knows how get the most out of the SOLIDWORKS software.

The last day of SOLIDWORKS World was capped off by Ed and Phil teaming up putting together the presentation titled: “Sluder and Eaton Take on your SOLIDWORKS Problems”. I liked the concept, they each took several real world modeling questions and answered how they would solve them. Since they both have drastically different backgrounds I was expecting some rather heated debates and two unique ways to solve the problems.

The debates never happened and their solutions were rather similar -however the educational and entertainment value was just what I hoped for!

They started out with a part they found in a blog posting by Elise Moss. She found a part that has many [patterned] holes in it. The part did not look like it was very complex but it had terrible rebuild times. They challenged each other to improve rebuild performance. First both noticed that turning off the option: “verification on rebuild” significantly improved performance. (over 90%!) They weren’t done, knowing that complex features later in the feature manager run faster than if they are earlier in the feature manager they found significant improvement just by reordering the features in the part. Moral of the story, spend time with the “feature statistics” tool in SOLIDWORKS, tweak your features and their order to learn how SOLIDWORKS builds models. It CAN make a difference. (Just don’t spend more time tweaking a model to improve performance than you would ever save!)

Other quick hits:

  • Since it is true complex features work better at the end of the feature tree, if you have several complex features sometimes you can see performance improvements if you break the part into multiple sub parts.
  • Back a few versions ago SOLIDWORKS no longer automatically displayed the “update folders” in assemblies. They were so handy when inspecting your in-context relationships in the parts of your assemblies. I don’t know why they did this, but did you know they are still there? Just right mouse click on the assembly feature, the option to display them is there!
  • Want SOLIDWORKS to handle your slip and press fit dowel holes and call them out by your standards on drawings? Try creating your own custom standard in the hole wizard!

There was so much more. There was a filming crew there recording the entire session and the PowerPoint presentation was promised to be available as well. Keep your eye out for it, you won’t be sorry!