Chris Briand

Apply a Bounding Box to any Model using SOLIDWORKS 2018

SOLIDWORKS Bounding Block

Let’s take a look at a common scenario that crops up after a design is complete – the design of packaging! While some designers may be savvy and experienced enough to embark on their own packaging design, others will need to speak to someone with some expertise in the packaging arena.  One of the first questions that will be asked from the packaging designer will most surely be “How large is the Item”. While this question could throw us into a wide variety of discussion topics, I am going to focus us on the super-practical aspects of getting an immediate report upon a volume of a box that encloses my part. In order to perform this operation in prior releases of SOLIDWORKS, one would have had to be working with a weldment or sheet metal component in order to make use of the “Bounding Box” functionality.  This tool has been…

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New Progress Indicator for Opening Assemblies in SOLIDWORKS 2018

SOLIDWORKS Assembly Open progress indicator

The new SOLIDWORKS Assembly Open progress indicator will resonate with anyone who has sat staring at their monitor wondering at exactly what stage, and exactly how long their assembly will take to open at any point. It is the tip of the iceberg for some additional functionality contained within the Performance Evaluation Dialog. The aim of this new dialog is to provide us with information that will ultimately keep us from killing the SLDWORKS.exe process from the task manager when we believe things are not taking too long or are “Frozen” while opening assemblies upon the system. The indicator walks us through the time involved in opening the assembly, as well as which one of the three phases of opening the file we are currently in: Opening Components into RAM Updating the Assembly Updating the Graphics Display PLEASE NOTE: The progress indicator dialog will only remain open when the assembly…

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Expanded use of the Perpendicular Mate in SOLIDWORKS 2018

SOLIDWORKS Perpendicular Mate

Like many enhancements that come along during any SOLIDWORKS release cycle, it seems like the ability to add a SOLIDWORKS perpendicular mate between a complex (Non-analytic) surface and a linear entity, may get overlooked rather easily. UNLESS this is the exact feature you have been waiting for! A number of years ago I bumped into a designer who was working on a biopsy device to extract bone biopsy samples, and their example (although graphic) came clearly to mind when I was investigating this new feature.   The customer would regularly have 3D scanned data of the most non-analytical type surfaces there are – us humans! They were hoping for an easy method to mate the central axis of their designed device, perpendicular to the surface of the bone scan – in preparation for animations and illustrations. It takes a great number of enhancements to make up each release of SOLIDWORKS,…

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A Rebuild Renaissance in SOLIDWORKS 2018

SOLIDWORKS 2018 Rebuild

As you might expect, the rebuild tool in SOLIDWORKS is one of the most frequently used tools in the suite. The frequency of this tool is due to the necessity to regenerate our models into a current state as the physical shape of the model develops along changes in parameters that drive the model or assembly. The SOLIDWORKS 2018 Rebuild tool has combined some terminology moving away from the former naming of “Regenerate” operations (CTRL+Q) to align them with the more visible Rebuild tool (CTRL+B) in the SOLIDWORKS interface (most of us called the “Regen” tools “Rebuild” in any case).  They have also given them buttons so that they can appear on any toolbar in the SOLIDWORKS interface. Force Rebuild (CTRL+Q) – Force Rebuild appears only within the part environment, and Force Rebuild Top Level Assembly (CTRL+Q) – Will Rebuild from the top of the assembly tree. In addition to the nomenclature…

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Adding Symbols within your SOLIDWORKS Custom Property Fields

SOLIDWORKS Custom Property Symbols

We can add a hint of elegance, and more importantly reduce the number of characters required to annotate a custom property value through the use of symbols, or what Windows users would term as special characters. One example of this would be when placing a dimension within a drawing,  typically you will have the option to add symbols to the note surrounding the dimension value. The process of adding SOLIDWORKS Custom Property symbols can be somewhat tedious in certain areas of SOLIDWORKS as the buttons to generate symbols are simply not present. One such area is the Custom Properties dialog, which simply accepts regular keyboard entry…which generally raises the question: do we have an alternative method to enter symbols into our custom property fields? Using special keystrokes One alternative to the awkward use of the windows character map or less-refined sequences of characters, is to use the special keystrokes for each special…

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Where are the hidden settings for the display of SOLIDWORKS Cosmetic Threads?

If you had interest in my previous article: The “Easy Bake” recipe for Displaying Cosmetic Threads, you may be wondering where to find the four settings that were mentioned. This article will help you to locate each of the four SOLIDWORKS Cosmetic Thread Display settings. The four settings that affect the visibility of cosmetic threads within the SOLIDWORKS part, drawing and assembly environments are: “View All Annotations” Setting “Cosmetic Threads” Setting “Display Annotations” Setting “Use Assembly Settings for all components” Option As I mentioned in my previous article, it is a combination of these settings that can often prevent the display of cosmetic threads entirely. Some of these options can be mildly difficult to find, thus I will do my best to illustrate them below: “View All Annotations” Setting” The “View All Annotations” setting is located within the View menu: View menu > All Annotations The remaining three options are all found via the…

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The “Easy Bake” recipe for Displaying Cosmetic Threads

Are SOLIDWORKS Cosmetic Threads a ‘Nice to have’, or a ‘Nuisance’? Depending on your organizations standards, SOLIDWORKS Cosmetic Threads can be a life-saver or a nuisance. The nuisance factor may be enhanced multi-fold, when you are unable to display cosmetic threads as intended in your drawings or assemblies. Given the difficulty that can ensue with the display of this annotation feature, many give up and elect to avoid using SOLIDWORKS cosmetic threads altogether. Our hope with this article is to guide you through the pinch points and have you confidently apply cosmetic threads as desired. Display settings for SOLIDWORKS Cosmetic Threads There are five main settings that will effect the display of SOLIDWORKS cosmetic threads within your parts, drawings or assemblies. The very first point to make regarding the visibility of cosmetic threads is: IF the cosmetic thread annotation in the component’s feature tree is set to HIDDEN, the cosmetic…

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Bring simplicity to your SOLIDWORKS Sketch through advanced use of basic features

When we start out with a model we usually have every intention of keeping the SOLIDWORKS Sketch clean, simple and easily understood. With continually compressed timelines, even the most basic sketches can turn into a mess…very, very quickly. Consider the case of a simple sketch involving a rectangular profile used to cut a groove into a shaft, as shown in the figure below. Reduce SOLIDWORKS Sketch Entities One method that can assist us in steering clear of messy sketches, is to keep the number of sketch entities as small as possible — by using advanced functionality within our most basic features. While advanced methods can not address a lack of time in the day,  it may at the very least shorten diagnosis if you run into any issues involving the sketched feature and bring some elegance to your feature tree. Typically, the need for this type of shape can lead one…

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