How to get your SOLIDWORKS models ready for a quad patch mesh export

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When it comes to design software SOLIDWORKS is great and so is its rendering and animation capabilities. But sometimes we must outsource rendering, animations, and or surface sculpting to other departments and firms. When this happens, they either ask for an OBJ/STL/VRML format and maybe STEP / IGES if they are a little more advanced with file conversion. Typically, when they receive a mesh formatted file from SOLIDWORKS they are not very happy with the default export from the meshing […]

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Mate References With and Without Names

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Today we are going to look at the difference between Mate References with a name and Mate References without a name. It turns out that the Mate Reference acts totally different if it has a name. Just as a quick reminder, a Mate Reference allows you to realize the benefits of drag & drop mating (SmartMates) without the requirement of having the part open. You can pre-identify and store in the part model the faces, edges, or vertices that you […]

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SOLIDWORKS Helical Parts Don’t Have to Be Round

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There are a few different ways to make helical parts in SOLIDWORKS. Most of these will leave you with cylindrical parts. Sweeping along a Helix, or sweeping along a path using ‘Twist along Path’. Using a touch of surfacing and the ‘Intersection Curve’, it’s possible to make helical parts that aren’t cylindrical. Let’s start with the shape we want to make a helix from: With this shape, the first thing to do is create a Surface-Extrude the length of your […]

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Using the Freeform Tool for Real Design

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If you’ve taken the SOLIDWORKS Surface Modeling class you’ve been exposed to the Freeform tool. During the case study, you were shown how to use the tool to modify the surface of a leaf-shaped extrusion to give a more natural appearance. Now seriously, how often are you going to be modelling leaves that look like this? I’d like to show you how to use the Freeform tool in SOLIDWORKS to make changes that are simple and elegant, as well as […]

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SOLIDWORKS: Viewports and Multiple Windows

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Did you know that SOLIDWORKS gives you double vision? You can even have quadruple vision, if that’s what you’re into. It is very easy to spin, zoom, and rotate your 3D models to focus on the specific areas you are working on. After modifying your part, you probably zoom out and look at the geometry from various angles. Maybe, you have custom views created to make this even easier. Another approach is to use additional display windows, shown at the […]

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SOLIDWORKS: How to Display Notes for X & Y Coordinate Points in a Drawing

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Drawings………can’t live without them. For drawings that need a lot of dimensions, this can clutter the entire document making it hard to read. The standard dimensioning schemes are: To avoid dimensions clutter, here’s an alternative method for you. How about adding a note that will show the X & Y coordinates instead of placing Model Items, a Horizontal or Vertical dimension on the drawing like this? Let me show you how you can create a note and link it to […]

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Design Intent, Not Just for Modeling.

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If you have taken a SOLIDWORKS Essentials course from CATI you will have heard the phrase “Design Intent” at least 100 times. Design Intent is not something to be taken lightly in the modeling world. It allows the user to get the most out of their parametric model. So, what is Design Intent? Design Intent is how the model should behave when changed. The way in which the model is created governs how it can change. Automatic sketch relations, equations, […]

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SOLIDWORKS Free Tools: Customizing Your Graphics Area Context Toolbar

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SOLIDWORKS free tools can be commonly overlooked by users. I consider customizing your SOLIDWORKS environment to be one of these free tools. Over the years, SOLIDWORKS continues to create different means for minimizing mouse movements.  From introducing the ‘S’ key for Keyboard Shortcuts or the ‘D’ key for Breadcrumbs or the Right Mouse Button (RMB) click for shortcut menus, just to mention a few. We are going to talk about one of the classics today. SOLIDWORKS 2015 introduced us to […]

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SOLIDWORKS – Part and Sketch Origins: Do you know the difference?

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7 years ago, in 2011, Ketul, one of our Application Engineers, did a blog on the fact that there are two SOLIDWORKS origins: 1 red and 1 blue. Have you noticed? Here is the original link if you’d like to read it. https://www.cati.com/blog/2011/03/why-is-there-two-origins-in-a-sketch-one-red-one-blue/ Now that we’ve established that there are truly 2 origins, have you ever tried to select an origin and it would not select it? Happened to me recently. Here’s the plain truth…. Red Origins (located on a […]

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SOLIDWORKS 2019: Master Modeling with Toolbox Hardware

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A very common question that is asked around the SOLIDWORKS customer base is “How do I modify a standard Toolbox component with extra features thus turning a purchased component into a manufactured one?” Well, it is actually quite easy and over the next few paragraphs, I will shed some light on this process. First, I start a brand new part file. Second, you activate your SOLIDWORKS Toolbox add-in or open a downloaded library part from your supplier: In my case […]

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