16 03, 2018

SolidWorks 2018 Importing STL Files

By | 2018-03-16T09:35:05+00:00 March 16th, 2018|Categories: SOLIDWORKS, Tech Tips|0 Comments

Today we are going to give you some tips and tricks using SOLIDWORKS 2018 when importing STL format files. The STL format file, or “Stereolithography” format, was developed by 3D Systems, and has been around since 1987. In these past three decades, it has been widely used in rapid prototyping, as well as in the 3D Printing industry. As for SOLIDWORKS, it has the ability to import STL files. The default import setting is to import the body as a graphics body, therefore, what you can do with it is very limited. For example, you can’t get a cross-section, you can’t perform Boolean operations, nor can you create a sketch on the body’s faces. In short, it’s like having a 3D picture on your screen. However, did you know that there is a way to change that setting and import STL files either as a BREP solid or a surface body? The first step to do this is to set your system options for importing Mesh files. Go to System Options > Import, and set your File Format to STL. This is where we will change the import option to Solid Body. Now, the next time you open an STL, [...]

5 02, 2018

SolidWorks 2018 Tab and Slot

By | 2018-02-06T09:16:59+00:00 February 5th, 2018|Categories: SOLIDWORKS, Tech Tips|0 Comments

There’s a new feature in SolidWorks 2018 called Tab and Slot that helps you to create a design to interlock two parts, whether in the context of an assembly or multiple bodies. Rather than doing it the traditional way, with several sketches and features, you can now use this new feature in SolidWorks 2018 to get it done much easier. In the image above, we have a box and a lid which we want to interlock with intermittent tabs and slots. To access the new feature that will assist you with this, you go to Insert > Sheet Metal > Tab and Slot. Just as a note, although this new feature is found in the Sheet Metal menus, it can just as well be used in not sheet-metal applications. In the Property Manager, start by selecting an edge for the tabs and corresponding face for the slots. Then, under Spacing, you can set the spacing and number of instances. Under Tabs, set the length, thickness, height, and edge type. Last, you can set any clearances or offsets that you need for the design to be functional. The preview show above signifies that you parameters were input correctly. Click OK and [...]

8 11, 2017

SolidWorks 2018 UI Enhancements

By | 2017-12-29T08:46:41+00:00 November 8th, 2017|Categories: SOLIDWORKS, Tech Tips|0 Comments

SolidWorks 2018 is now out to the public so let’s take a look at five new enhancements that will allow you to get better acquainted with the User Interface of this release. Right off the bat, when you start up SolidWorks, you’ll notice that there is a new Welcome Dialog Box. It’s a one-stop shop for functionality that used to be found in the Task Pane. For example, the Home tab allows you to open new or existing documents, browse recent documents or folders, and even access SolidWorks resources. The additional tabs provide links to Tutorials, Sample Files and MySolidWorks Training, Certification, and even technical alerts to help you stay current. The second enhancement has to do with Mouse Gestures. Not only do you have many more options as to the number of commands available in the mouse gestures wheel, but it’s also easier to customize with the new Mouse Gestures Guide. Third, let’s talk about the Measure Tool. Some of the enhancements here include the Input Box now supporting 6 items, instead of just 3. There is also a new function called Quick Copy, which allows you to copy a value from the dialog box, and paste it at [...]

11 10, 2017

Using SolidWorks PMI for Final Inspection

By | 2017-12-21T08:58:41+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Categories: SOLIDWORKS, Tech Tips|0 Comments

Let’s discuss two pieces of software that work really well together in the 3D part inspection world: SolidWorks, and Control X. SolidWorks is one of the leading CAD tools in today’s design and manufacturing world. One of its advantages is that it offers you the opportunity to create a 3D annotated model. This can include things such as explicitly-specified dimensions, tolerances, 3D GD&T, surface texture symbols, finish requirements, and so on. This 3D annotated model is then used to manufacture the part, as well as provides the needed criteria to inspect the part. A part can contain anywhere from several dozen annotations, to several hundred! Wouldn’t it be great to repurpose these annotations, and import them directly into the inspection software, as opposed to recreating all of them one by one? Well, one of the inspection software packages that have this ability is Geomagic Control X. The first step is to add all of the 3D annotations directly to your 3D model. This is a pretty simple process in CAD. Once this is complete, you can open up Geomagic Control X, and use the PMI Wizard to import the 3D annotated model. All of the explicit dimensions and GD&T information [...]

13 09, 2017

SolidWorks 2017 3D Offset on Curved Surfaces

By | 2017-12-21T09:09:27+00:00 September 13th, 2017|Categories: SOLIDWORKS, Tech Tips|0 Comments

There is new functionality in SolidWorks 2017 that allows you to offset 3D curves on a surface. Offsetting 2D geometry is very efficient. It allows you to quickly grab 2D geometry and create a same shape contour with a specified gap distance. However, when working with 3D sketches containing 3D curves, it’s not as simple. As of SolidWorks 2016, many steps were required to accomplish this task. Now in SolidWorks 2017, it got a whole lot easier. Notice in the example below, we have a surface body that contains 3D curved boundaries. To create the 3D offset, you can simply go to the sketch tab, and click on the Offset on Surface button. This quickly launches you into a 3D sketch environment. From this point, all you need to do is click directly on the edges, enter your offset value, and choose your offset direction. If you wanted to choose the boundary on all sides of the face, you can just choose the face itself, and the command will propagate the edges accordingly. This command is ideal to use if you wanted to punch out the center of a 3D surface, or even create the design for an over molding, [...]

21 07, 2017

SOLIDWORKS 2017 Mate Controller

By | 2017-12-22T08:28:45+00:00 July 21st, 2017|Categories: SOLIDWORKS, Tech Tips|0 Comments

There is a great new enhancement in SOLIDWORKS 2017 that improves the Mate Controller tool. One of the benefits in creating assembly designs in CAD is the ability to simulate component motion. In CAD, you are able to define 3D motion constraints called Mates so that the part interaction resembles real-world motion – whether you want to simulate a robot, a lift mechanism, or even a bionic arm. However, creating animations when a series of specific positions are involved is no easy task. Usually, you would have to create a configuration for each specific position, and then toggle them to create the animation. The new Mate Controller tool in SOLIDWORKS 2017can can you achieve this in an efficient manner. The original Mate Controller tool was introduced in SOLIDWORKS 2016 and allowed you to show and save the positions of assembly components at various mate values and degrees of freedom without using configurations for each position. The Mate Controller then allows you to create simple animations between those positions, and save them out as .avi files. Various mate types are supported when utilizing this tool, such as angle, distance, limit, slot and width mates. SOLIDWORKS 2017 took it a step further. [...]

12 07, 2017

SOLIDWORKS 2017 Advanced Holes

By | 2017-12-22T08:33:00+00:00 July 12th, 2017|Categories: SOLIDWORKS, Tech Tips|0 Comments

Since as early as SolidWorks 2000, SolidWorks has had the Hole Wizard tool to quickly help you create a hole on your part with a predefined cross-section, based on the standard and sizes that you chose, but now there is a new tool in SolidWorks 2017 called Advanced Holes. This is useful when the hole gets a little more involved, containing multi-sized cross-sections, like trying to create the holes for the shoulder bolts in the motor mount assembly shown above. This tool allows you to define the near side and far side faces of the hole, with differing specifications. To use this tool, go to Insert > Feature > Advanced Hole. The property manager opens with the Near Side flyout displayed. Select a face to start creating the advanced hole and you will notice that a temporary preview of the hole appears, based on your initial selections. To add the next portion of the whole, click Insert Element Below Active Element. Here, you can use the pull-down arrow to define this element as a hole, then set your specifications for that as well. The last element will be a clearance hole for the threaded portion of the shoulder bolt. Just [...]

24 05, 2017

SolidWorks 2017 Multiple Start Threads

By | 2017-05-24T09:02:39+00:00 May 24th, 2017|Categories: SOLIDWORKS, Tech Tips|0 Comments

Today we are going to talk about the enhanced functionality to the Thread feature in SolidWorks 2017, mainly using multiple start threads. There are various reasons why someone might use threads with multiple starts. The main one is that it allows the lead distance of a thread to be increased, without changing its pitch. This proves useful when fine threads are required, but at the same time you want a quick advance, for example like that on camera lenses. In our examples, we have a single thread with a pitch of 1/8”. One full turn gives us a Lead of 1/8”. And in the other, we have a 4-start thread. One full turn here, gives us a Lead of 1/2", allowing for a quick connect and disconnect. In both examples, however, 1/8” pitch is maintained.      Another design advantage of a multi-start thread is that more contact surface is engaged in a single thread rotation. A common example is a cap on a plastic water bottle. The cap will screw on in one quick turn but because a multi-start thread was used, there are multiple threads fully engaged to securely hold the cap in place. In addition, because the [...]

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