Ralph Wright has just posted a very useful tech tip on the Javelin blog, including a detailed step by step guide about how to add new hole sizes in the Hole Wizard.
I know Ralph very well from meetings at the Ontario SolidWorks User Group and from having him in my SolidWorks classes. We discovered we have a common hobby – both of us like to brag about our expertise in SolidWorks. As a result, we entered in a friendly competition to see who can get the most SolidWorks certificates.
When he sent us the article, he also agreed to tell our readers a few things about his background as a designer in general and a SolidWorks user in particular. Here is the full interview:
Question: What is your background as a Designer? Where you born in the “CAD World”, or did you have a chance to touch a drafting board?
Answer: I learned the basics on a drafting board when I was in college. We were not allowed to use the computer until we understood the basics. To this day, I feel that was the correct approach. After college, I worked as a Mold Designer for 3 years before accepting my current position as a Tool Designer in the Toronto area. I have been at my current place of employment for the last 14 years. It’s a very interesting position and has the types of challenges that I enjoy.
Q: Why SolidWorks?
A: That’s easy. We were using AutoCad for our design tool when I first started with my current employer. After 3 years, I learned that we had obtained SolidWorks for use in another department. Since I had a background in 3D (SDRC and CADDS5) I talked to my supervisor regarding using SolidWorks as my design tool. I explained the benefits of 3D modeling and he agreed.
That was the start of something I love to do, Design and 3D Modeling using SolidWorks. As a result, I setup SolidWorks for our department and it continues to be our design tool. I find SolidWorks easy to use right out of the box.
Q: What motivates you to become a CSWE (Certified SolidWorks Expert)?
A: A quest to be the best I can be at SolidWorks. While setting up SolidWorks for our department I was training people how to use the software. While doing further research on SolidWorks I read about the CSWP Certification program. I thought about it and as the saying goes “if you’re going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk”. I studied and took the CSWP Exam, passing on my first attempt.
Now on to the CSWE Certification – I always enjoy a challenge and putting myself to the test. Some people have told me how difficult it is but, I am determined to succeed. I want to be the best I can be.
Q: How are you preparing for the five exams on your way to getting your Expert Certification? Has the formal training taken at Javelin helped?
A: The first step in my preparation was taking the SolidWorks Training courses at my VAR, Javelin Technologies. I found the training courses to be extremely valuable because you learn the proper way to use the software as well as shortcuts from the instructors which save a lot of time. One thing they taught me and the others was to think outside the box. I found this to be a valuable lesson. Thank you.
I have also purchased Matt Lombard’s SolidWorks Surfacing and Complex Shape Modeling Bible, SolidWorks 2011 Parts Bible and the SolidWorks 2011 Assemblies Bible to help me learn more about SolidWorks. I have found them to be excellent and easy to understand. There are tutorials to help you practice what Matt is teaching you. One of my favourite sayings is “you can never have too much information”.
Lastly, the most important preparation tool is practice, practice, and more practice.
Q: Are you considered the SolidWorks guru in your team? Are your colleagues coming to you for help?
A: I think that SolidWorks guru is a term that should be reserved for people like Ben Eadie or Javelin instructors. I don’t consider myself a SolidWorks guru, but I am using the people mentioned above as examples of where I want to go.
My colleagues do come to me for assistance and I’m always happy to help. That is one of the biggest joys I get from knowing SolidWorks, helping others. When I assist someone with SolidWorks I want to ensure they completely understand the issue when I walk away. I don’t feel I’ve done my job otherwise.
Q: What is your favourite area of SolidWorks?
A: That’s a difficult question because I enjoy many aspects of SolidWorks. Surfacing is something new to me and I have found it is a very useful but under utilized area of SolidWorks.
Outside of the program itself, I enjoy passing on what I have learned to other SolidWorks users. That is one of the reasons I go to the SolidWorks Forum. I also use the SolidWorks Forum to learn something new from other SolidWorks users. I encourage everyone to have a look.
Q: What is the functionality enhancement you most need to become more productive?
A: In my opinion SolidWorks is a mature software and has all the things I need to be productive. There are some very minor things but they’re too small to mention. I’m a happy user!
Q: How is your overall experience as a customer at Javelin?
A: Excellent. Whenever I require assistance, the Application Engineers are always there for me. They explain the problem, the cause and the solution very clearly. I have learned a lot of things by talking to them. I find talking to the people at Javelin very easy and comfortable.
Javelin listens to their customers. There have been cases where I need them to go that extra mile and they’ve always come through.
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