SolidWorks:HEARD! - Episode 420 - Envelope Workflow

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Envelope Workflow:

This podcast covers the new updates envelopes in SolidWorks 2013 and how they have been redesigned to be easier to incorporate into design use.  Topics covered:

- Introduction to SolidWorks Envelopes

- Details about enhancements in 2013

- Applications and uses for envelopes in design

- Downstream effects of envelope use

- Tips and preferences

Envelopes in SolidWorks have been around for well over 10 years but ironically was not used by a bulk of users in the community.  I have talked about envelopes a few times on the show and despite my personal use of the feature, one aspect that made using envelopes was the workflow that needed to be followed.  In the past, parts would need to be created as envelopes or inserted into assemblies as envelopes which made using the feature cumbersome.  

Benefits of envelopes were always in the subtraction in mass properties and BOM items, however in 2013 the barrier of workflow was broken down and the flexibility has made this tool much more streamlined and I imagine will be adopted by more users in the design process.

I have a long history using envelopes and am excited to see useful tools like this get some love in the new release.  I covered envelopes about 2 years ago in EP-286 and this might be the first time envelopes actually have been given new features.  If you have not tried them before or had and thought they were too much work to use, take a look again.  ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 403 - SolidWorks 2013 Sneak Peak

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SolidWorks 2013 Sneak Peak:

This podcast covers a few sneak peak features slated for the new SolidWorks 2013 release due out on September 10, 2012.  For the past couple of weeks, SolidWorks has been leaking out a few tidbits to get the the momentum moving for the launch next month.  Topics covered:

- Referencing center of mass in drawings and assemblies

- Automatic routing along existing geometry

- Autodimension while sketching

- Insert multiple components in assemblies

Although most of the sneak peaks thus far have been additions to existing functionality, they do add that little "rounding of the edges" that we all like to see.  I enjoy more enhancements to existing functionality than new features so for me these were nice to see.  That is not to say that we won't see plenty of new functionality, especially since they debuted two brand new products in Plastics and Electrical.

It is interesting that the ship times seems to be around the same time but the trends in path to FCS (First Customer Ship) seem to be different than in past.  Many of you might remember the days of 3 to 4 betas and then 2 pre-releases before we saw the final bits. Another trend is happening with me... I am doing less and less beta testing since I am too busy to simply dig in and find bugs, although I do miss finding the easter eggs...

I will be curious to see at what point Windows 8 will be supported since this is not my only operating system even though it has only hit RTM (Release To Manufacturing).  I vaguely remember that when Windows7 shipped it was not till the first major SP that support came.  Thus far I have not found any issues but an official stamp would be nice to see sooner than later!  ~Lou

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Direct Download

**UPDATE**  I mention in the cast that the bits would be shipping on 9/10/12 when it is just the launch date when the embargo of beta will be lifted and everyone can talk about it.  It has not been said when the exact date of FCS (first customer ship) will be....

SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 377 - SolidWorks BOM Tips

SolidWorks BOM Tips:

This podcast covers tips and added features to SolidWorks Bills of Materials since the first podcast episode when SolidWorks 2006 was the tool of choice. Topics covered:

- A short clip from my first podcast episode..

- BOM features enhanced over 6 releases

- Tips to everyday BOM usage

- Enhanced usability for BOM (my uses)

Since I covered BOM tips in my first ever show, I figured talking about bills of materials was probably long overdue!  There are a number of features that were added since 2006 but the HUGE bulk of the features were introduced in 2008/2009/2010.  These versions introduced the power of table-based BOM and how linking and associativity is the holy grail. 

I didn't touch on the fact that BOM information can be shared in eDrawings and accessed directly through Enterprise PDM but knowing that the data being controlled in the BOM is always up to date to the file's specific properties is a huge time saver.

I share the ALT/Drag trick with reordering assemblies the old fashioned way in the feature tree, making sure your balloons match the right BOM and a few other things that I get asked at user groups and  other gathering that SolidWorks geek speak are echoed. ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 363 - Utilizing LDR

Utilizing LDR:

This podcast covers how to take advantage of the new assembly performance mode for reviewing large assembly data sets without loosing access to necessary tools in SolidWorks. Topics covered:

- Recap of LDR features

- LDR workflow

- How to use LDR for more than just review

- Limitations to features

- Other tips and tricks

Since Large Assembly Review was revealed on stage at last year's SolidWorks World, I wanted to really dig in and see not only how the performance of LDR was, but what limitations and other uses this lightweight power tool had in store.  Although there is a limited toolset, the tools that are available can help in understanding the "big picture" when it comes to the overall project.

Having talked to a few customers that have extremely large top-level assemblies that even their work-horse, 64 bit workstations could not open, were excited to the possibility of not only being able to open but be productive with these projects.  Although LDR has replaced QuickView, a previous method of selectively opening components, there are a number of other methods that can help in large assembly management, none of which have the performance benefits of LDR.

I want to make sure users know about this new mode that SolidWorks has and how to take advantage of the limited toolsets in it to get the most out of those performance-draining large data sets they have.  It would be ashame if this was a feature that fell outside of the user rut we all tend to get into! ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 337 - Layout Sketches Revisited

Layout Sketches Revisited:

This podcast covers the technique of using layout sketches in SolidWorks to quickly verify and change designs before 3D modeling.  Topics covered:

- Technique definition

- Layout relations (Traction, Belt/Chain, Make Path)

- Creating and using blocks

- Creating layouts in parts and assemblies

- Converting layout sketches into parts

- Discuss 2 SPR issues within asssembly "Layout Sketches"

- Tips for using layout sketches

- Using layout sketches with SolidWorks Motion

This week we are going to talk about layout sketching and some of the uses for this capability.  Layout sketches in SolidWorks are a top-down assembly modeling technique to assist in adding associative elements to a design before starting the 3D model.  This technique has been integrated into SolidWorks as a "feature", however many of us who have been using parametric modeling software have approached designs using this same technique using standard sketches.

I have talked about layout sketches 2 other times on the show and the last time (8/9/2009) I had discovered a couple of issues when using this feature from assemblies in SolidWorks.  I describe the issue in detail in the show how the "Belt/Chain" (SPR-375387) and "Make Path" (SPR-393207) options are greyed out within the "Layout Sketch" functionality in SolidWorks assemblies.  These have been verified as bugs and have SPRs (above) associated with them.  I tested this again in SolidWorks 2011 SP4 and the issues remains. I really hope to see this fixed in 2012!

I also mention in the show how you can assign mass properties to blocks in layout sketches and perform motion analysis as well.  If you have not used it or it has been a few years, give it a go! ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 326 - Large Assembly Tools

Large Assembly Tools:

This podcast covers a variety of tools built into SolidWorks to help alleviate performance issues related to large assembly modeling.  With 64 bit now being the dominate OS among SolidWorks users, the complexity and scope of designs growing. Topics covered:

- AssemblyXpert

- Open Methods

- Lightweight (options and capabilities)

- Quickview / Selective Open

- Large Assembly Mode

- SpeedPak

As our hardware and software grow in capacity, assemblies have grown and continued to push the envelope of performance.  Although the adoption of 64 bit Windows 7 is growing and now has become the majority, there are still a number of measures we can take in the software to help balance performance vs. capability.

Lightweight mode has been around for a long time and among users it seems to be one of those necessary tools but requires a number of user interventions when certain operations need to be performed, like edits. Over the past years Lightweight mode added to the list of functions that can be done while in this "performance sensitive" mode.

Now with tools like Selective Open and SpeedPak, there are a number of tools now to address these performance hits and can be toggled on/off easily depending on the operations required.  My hope is to see all these tools come together in a similar way as Windows memory management has.  Imagine SolidWorks knows what resources are available and always allows me to operate at the optimum performance for whatever operation needed to be performed.  This appears to be the direction SolidWorks will be taking with it's SolidWorks V6 solution, as most cloud based tools do on the server end. ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 304 - SolidWorks Routing 2011

SolidWorks Routing 2011:

This podcast covers the new enhancements to SolidWorks Routing and the specifics that really make this build worth a second look.  Topics covered:

- History of the SolidWorks Routing toolset

- Challenges of getting a library-centric product working

Routing Library Manager: 

- Walk-through of the new standalone interface

- New P&ID Tag Manager

- Default Pipe & Tube library (5600+ parts out of the box)

In-SolidWorks Routing Experience:

- Global weld gaps

- New implementation of Guidelines

- New Move Fitting with triad

- New Segment highlighting and placement interface (P&ID)

I have been using SolidWorks Routing back from the beginning when it was called SolidWorks Piping.  As the product has grown over the years with the addition of tubing, cabeling and wire harnessing, the management and creation of the various libraries has always been an undertaking, making the task of getting the tool ready for production intimidating.  

After doing 7 rollouts in 7 cities, it was amazing how many questions I received after the presentations about the new Routing in SoildWorks 2011 Premium.  It is aparent that the issues of creating a database of usable components was a focus or correction by SolidWorks along with the overall usability of the tool.

This was the first year that I had done any presenation on Routing without any setup or usage of supplied libraries.  My default installation worked on an outside assembly and all the new features worked without setup.  With Routing being a library-centric application, these adjustments in 2011 are going to pull more users into the fold! ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 286 - Assembly Envelopes

Assembly Envelopes:

This podcast covers SolidWorks assembly envelopes which are reference components that can be used for easy selection and visibility control without impacting BOM and mass properties. Topics covered:

- Assembly envelope introduction (features and tools)

- Adding / building envelopes for reference

- Applying envelopes for selection

- Applying envelopes for hide/show operations

- Use cases and applications

I wanted to get back to basics and cover more hidden core functionality inside of SolidWorks for assembly design.  I love envelopes and they work well when you need a reference component to represent a space (work envelope), volume (liquid in a container), or a foundation product (existing truck for after market parts).  The beauty of this tool is how SolidWorks understands the intensions of an envelope, automatically making the envelope part transparent.

There are a number of features envelopes add for component selection (both native to envelopes and integrated in the Advanced Selection tools) and show/hide using the inside/outside/crossing criteria.  Possibly one of the best aspects is how SolidWorks negates envelopes from showing up in Bills of Materials and mass property calculations.  

Just another hidden jem in the software that many are not aware of.  If you use assembly envelopes and have a unique or practicle use case, leave a comment and share it with the community. ~Lou

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