For years we have become familiar with the usual sounds SOLIDWORKS makes to let us know when certain things happen in our design.  Things like Rebuild Errors, Sensor Alarms, and Mesh Completion sounds are critical pieces of feedback that inform the user of the status of their design.  Starting with the 2013 release, SOLIDWORKS introduced the ability configure these sounds.  You can configure sounds from the Tools > Options > General tab.

The sound configuration is controlled by events in the Windows Sound configuration tool. If you scroll down, you will see a “SolidWorks” list of events.

To change a sound simply select the event from the list and choose a different sounds from the pull down menu.  You can also use any .WAV file you have by using the “Browse” button and browsing to the file.

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Many users take advantage of the built-in feature to quickly enable perspective in their models.  You can toggle perspective on and off from the View pull-down menu under View, Display, Perspective.  However most users don’t realize you can also modify the intensity of that Perspective View.  Once you enable the Perspective option you just have to navigate to the View, Modify, Perspective command.  You will then be able to adjust the intensity from the Perspective View PropertyManager.

Perspective is related to the size of the object being observed and the distance of that object from the observer. You can modify the perspective by specifying the Object Sizes Away. The smaller the value, the greater the amount of perspective distortion.

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One of the main issues with users new to SOLIDWORKS Costing is that it can be tedious to customize.  The templates that drive the Costing calculations have a lot of data regarding specific manufacturing techniques, operations, etc. that must be accurate in order for Costing analysis to be effective.  However, the SolidWorks 2014 release introduced a new “Customizable Volume Feature Recognition” option that simplifies Costing for the user that is looking for an easy to use solution for machined parts. You can find the option for “Customizable Volume Feature Recognition” in the Costing Options.

With this option enabled the user is no longer evaluating the model based on specific manufacturing operations. Instead they are using the volume of material removed from the stock defined in Costing and the finished part.  As you might imagine, volume based calculations will not be quite as accurate because of the lack of detail regarding specific manufacturing operations. However, for the user who is simply looking to get a rough idea of cost and does not want to spend the time adjusting feeds/speeds, etc., this is an excellent option.  The volume calculations for cost can be defined either by “Machining Operation”, which allows you to define a specific tool’s material removal rate, or by “Cost Per Volume Removed” which allows you to define a specific cost per cubic inch/mm of material removed.

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We are all familiar with the need to grab an entire top level SOLIDWORKS design with all its referenced files in order to share with a partner such as an outside vendor.  The question is, what is the easiest way to make sure we get everything within the assembly whether it be 5 parts or 500 parts? The answer is to use the Pack and Go tool.  This tool gives an easy to understand interface to quickly grab an assembly or drawing and all its referenced components and package them up for easy upload, transfer, or email.

Pack and Go interface

To use Pack and Go you simply need to have your SOLIDWORKS model open and then follow the below steps.

  • Navigate to the File pull-down and choose the Pack and Go option
  • Specify the Save to folder or Save to zip file location by clicking the browse button
  • Click the Save Button

Pack and Go has many other options to selectively choose which items are packaged up and how they are structured. Some of the options include the ability to attach associated drawings, Simulation results and any decals used in the models.  Additionally you can append a suffix or prefix to each file or even choose to not include some files.  Pack and Go will then make a copy of each file, insert it into the new saved location, and reattach references of the copies to documents within the new folder or zip file.  In addition to launching Pack and Go from inside of SOLIDWORKS, right-clicking on the same top level assembly in Windows Explorer and selecting Pack and Go from under the SolidWorks context menu will also launch this utility.

Pack and Go makes it extremely easy to distribute design files to the appropriate groups while avoiding the headache of manually locating the appropriate files to copy. This also happens to be one of the preferred methods for sharing your models with your SOLIDWORKS tech support representative.

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Creating realistic renderings with PhotoView 360 takes a mastery of many different concepts such as an understanding of light, composition, use of depth of field, and preparing your model’s geometry to name a few.   One of the more common enhancements a PhotoView 360 beginner overlooks when creating their renderings is to not address the CAD model’s sharp edges.  Razor sharp edges in CAD designs are common but in real life manufacturing it is not common, even with precision machining.

In PhotoView 360 we can have the software round all edges of your SOLIDWORKS model during rendering using an option called Round Sharp Edges.  This option is located in the Appearance PropertyManager and will affect whatever selections you have included in the “Selected Geometry” field of the PropertyManager.  You may need to switch the mode of the PropertyManager from “Basic” to the “Advanced” display.  Then select the “Illumination” tab and scroll down to the “PhotoView Illumination” section to enable the option to Round Sharp Edges.  You can then enter in the desired radius size.

 

This option is only a virtual setting and will only display in the preview or final renderings of PhotoView 360.  It does not appear on the CAD graphics area or add fillets ot the FeatureManager Design Tree in SOLIDWORKS.

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