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Master Solidworks

To master Solidworks, even those using Solidworks for a long time don't know everything. I learned Solidworks by being thrown onto a computer and being told to go. I asked the other engineers when I got stuck, and what they showed me worked but I found out years later that they methods they showed me were mostly inefficient and didn't take advantage of the newer more efficient methods.

The biggest concept most newbie's don't get when learning to master Solidworks is understanding the tremendous leverage that has been built into the system via automation. Learning all of these tips and tricks is vital to the success of the engineer, it will dramatically cut down on design time and a lot of the dogwork. For example, a properly set up part, assembly and drawing template can reduce the number of clicks and keyboard strokes in between creating a new part and printing a drawing from the shop by 100 or more. Before Solidworks, most engineers or drafters had to manually create a cutlist, parts list and bill of materials by hand. I have personally had to do this, and it sometimes takes hours copying and pasting into Excel and there are usually errors. Going from a non-parametric CAD program such as AutoCAD 3d to a parametric modeler such as Solidworks requires a totally different way of thinking.

The beauty of Solidworks is that it mirrors the production process and machine processes unlike other CAD programs. This means that the assemblies and subassemblies should be structured to mirror the machine operations and order of assembly. This creates efficiency in the shop and different sections of the machine can be routed through the shop in parallel instead of in series like most antiquated shops. When things go through the shop in series, this often leaves the workers sitting around and waiting for all of the parts to come out of the machine shop. When done in parallel, different sections can be given different priorities and this will reduce or eliminate the number of workers sitting around waiting on the machine shop.

Learning to master Solidworks requires the user to think deeply about how it will interface with all of the different departments and all of the effects it will have on the rest of the company. This article is intended to get you thinking about some of these things, and understanding what information to seek. Good luck with your learning!

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