Whether working with legacy documents or files from a supplier or customer, you may at times be opening SolidWorks files from different releases of SolidWorks. A neat new bit of functionality introduced in SolidWorks 2013 can be a great help when working with such older version files.
Starting in SolidWorks 2013, a new version of Micosoft Visual Basic for Applications has been introduced. SolidWorks now uses VBA 7.1 rather than VBA 6. This new VBA version supports 64-bit systems. As a result, your old macros may not compile correctly with this change.
One example is Declare statements used in prior versions of SolidWorks. These Declare statements must now be marked as safe using the “PtrSafe” attribute on 64-bit systems.
Also the “Long” variable for function arguments representing pointers will require the use of the “LongPtr” variable instead.
Please refer to the following Microsoft webpage for more information:
If you are using Win32 APIs, this new version also requires a change to the way you import these APIs. Rather than making multiple versions of macros, you can use conditional compiler directorives (#If Then, #Else, #End If). This will allow the macro to work in Solidworks 2012 or 2013 in either 32-bit or 64-bit environments. For more details and examples, please see the following forum posts. An active SolidWorks Subscription and Customer Portal account is required (http://www.javelin-tech.com/blog/2011/10/sw-customer-portal/).
Today let’s consider the situation where you need to fill the external cavities from the Mr. Smiley model with discrete solid bodies in order to 3D print the end result with a bi-material printer from the Objet Connex family.
This video proposes two different solutions for this challenge. Can you think of more?
Has this ever happened to you?
Imagine that you get this super complex model with a lot of intricate internal details from your customer or supplier. The file size is huge and the rebuild times are long, considering that you only need it for any one of these reasons:
- Use your customer’s model as a reference for modeling a nest in a fixture or tooling. You need to remove all the interior details.
- Use your customer’s model as a reference for modeling an enclosure around it. You need to keep only the external faces.
- Insert your supplier’s model as one item in your assembly and BOM. You need to remove as many details as possible,
- Just need to 3D Print it for your customer. You need to remove all the cavities (completely “fill” the model).
The first thing you will try is, of course, using the Defeature tool (introduced in SolidWorks 2011). But what can be done when defeature does not produce the expected results?
Starting with SolidWorks 2013 the answer is simple: use the magic of the new Intersect Tool to fill any internal cavities and also merge all the solid bodies that touch (on faces) or intersect each other.
Watch this video for a demonstration of this procedure:
When using Shell elements in your Simulation studies it is important to define the offset of your shell to ensure that the geometry accurately represents the 3D model.
The default offset selection in a shell definition is Middle Surface. Therefore the defined thickness will have half of the material on either side of the surface. If you require all of the material on one side or the other, the Top or Bottom surface can be applied. The direction is defined by the orientation of the mesh. If the Top offset was selected, then the material will start from the Top surface of the mesh (part colour) and go below. If the Bottom offset was selected, then the material will start from the Bottom surface of the mesh (orange colour) and be above. Flipping the mesh or adjusting the offset definition may be required.
In SolidWorks 2012 and prior, the orientation was verified after meshing the model by comparing the mesh to the offset setting. New in SolidWorks 2013 is the ability to render the thickness in 3D to graphically see if the offset is correct. Please watch the following video to see this new functionality.
In previous releases of SolidWorks you may have noticed that dialogs did not always pop up in front when they are most relevant. For example, when you edited a design table in SolidWorks 2012 or older a new window, Excel appeared in front of SolidWorks, but the accompanying dialog came up in the back. As a result Excel seemed to be unresponsive and you had to return to SolidWorks window using the task bar, close that dialog, and then return to Excel for it to work again.
You have to upgrade to SolidWorks 2013 SP3.0 in order to have total control over the bend allowance for multibody sheet metal parts.
Note: Many thanks to Anna Wood for making me aware about this new functionality!!!
While the ability to control the thickness, default radius and the bend allowance at the body level has been implemented in SolidWorks 2013 SP0, the workflow was not really intuitive for the user (read this article for more information about how this functionality worked in SolidWorks 2013 SP0, SP1 and SP2).
Starting with SolidWorks 2013 SP3.0, there is a new checkbox for the bend allowance at the body level that can control where the information is coming from: either from the Sheet Metal feature at the part level or from the one at the body level. Again, it is a good idea to rename your features accordingly.
There is still a little problem, this time with the way the sheet metal bodies with different K-factors are grouped in cut list items.
Watch this video to the end in order to see the problem and the workaround I found for it:
A great new feature in SolidWorks 2013 is the ability to use Luxology native appearances for PhotoView 360 renders. This opens up to SolidWorks users the ability to make use of the huge selection of additional appearances in Luxology’s online library.
But even better, for customers with an active SolidWorks Subscription contract, the subscription now includes free access to that library. Here is how you can get access to that library and make use of the appearance files available there.
Shortly after I’d posted my last video, my good colleague Alin Vargatu asked me to do a “sequel” to the last video showing the Half-Section, and how it has changed since 2012.
The main takeaway is that now instead of selecting the sketch then activating your section view command, you now select the command then the centre point (in my video I select the sketch point which happens to be in the middle, but you can see a centre snap point appear). The sketch is totally unnecessary! I could delete it and create my half section in about 3 seconds.