Return of Ctopher’s Custom Material Database

ctopher custom materials for SOLIDWORKSCustom materials in SOLIDWORKS are important if you are using materials not included in the default set.  Around a decade ago, Chris Saller compiled a bunch of such custom materials from varies sources based on requests and submissions from many different people.  This list is informally known as Ctopher’s Custom Material Database, “ctopher” being Chris’ handle.

Various versions of this file have been available on now long-gone websites over the years.  Well, the material database is finally back and bigger (better) than ever!  Chris has complied a new version in SOLIDWORKS 2016.  This new version has many new materials.  The new database is now available directly on SolidWorks Legion in the File Downloads tab as Ctopher’s Custom Material Database.

There are two methods to point SOLIDWORKS to use a custom material database.  The easiest method is described on Ctopher’s Custom Material Database download page.  Below is a slightly more advanced method which should also work on networks.

To point SOLIDWORKS to make the materials in this database available:

1.To use, place custom_matls_091516_sw2016.sldmat file into an easily accessible folder, such as S:\SOLIDWORKS Shared File\Custom Materials.  The folder is your choice, based on your network and operational set up.


3.Goto Tools>Options…>System Options>File Locations.  In the Show folders for dropdown, select Material Databases.

4.Select Add button.  Navigate to your chosen folder, such as S:\SOLIDWORKS Shared File\Custom Materials.

5.Select OK button.

6.Repeat for all instances of SOLIDWORKS within the network that need to access this database.

To use the custom materials:

1.Open any part file.

2.In the Feature Tree, right click on Materials and then select Edit Materials.  “Custom_matls_091516” folder will be on your material list.

4.Click on desired subfolder, such as Copper Alloys.

5.Click on desired material to view properties.

6.Click on Apply to apply that material to your part.

7.Click on Close to return to your part.

Ctopher’s Custom Material Database

Resellers are already making great videos about SOLIDWORKS 2016 new functions

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series New in SOLIDWORKS 2016

This morning, I started looking around Youtube to see what’s already popped up for SOLIDWORKS 2016 What’s New.  There is already several great videos by several resellers.  Here’s a few for Mate Controller, Foreshorten Dimensions and DimXpert.


Osaka, Japan SOLIDWORKS 2016 Beta Rollout event

SOLIDWORKS 2016 BetaThere are many SOLIDWORKS Beta rollout events throughout the world each year.   Beta rollout events gives local companies and particular users an opportunity to preview SOLIDWORKS functionality for the upcoming release.  They are able to test drive the new SOLIDWORKS release with their own SOLIDWORKS files from their projects.  The rollout events allow them to help us find bugs and to preview functionality so they can get a heads up on what to expect in the next release.  Rob Jost Presents SW2016 betaThese also give customers a chance to directly interact with SOLIDWORKS team members from Development, Product Definition and User Experience.  Japan, China, Germany, Brazil, US, Mexico, etc all host events during the summer leading up to the official product release in September.  This year, I attended the Beta rollout event in Osaka, Japan and Shanghai, China.

The SOLIDWORKS 2016 Beta rollout in Osaka was a great two day event.  We met with several large customers and user influencers.  Rob Jost of the Product Definition team did most of the presentation, going into detail about what’s new in SOLIDWORKS 2016.  I presented on the topics drawings, MBD, eDrawings and a couple of other areas.

After the What’s New presentation, the SOLIDWORKS Japan team conducted a technical session to talk about the functionality.  Our customers had a lot of good comments about what they had seen so far.

SW2016 Beta rolloout technical session

I love rice and many Japanese dishes.  Each day, lunch was a treat!

Box lunch in Osaka, Japan

On day one, the SOLIDWORKS team had a great opportunity to talk with our customers all day, and answer their questions, not just about new functionality, but also about existing tools too.

On the second day of the SOLIDWORKS Beta rollout, our customers were able to try the new functionality on their own in our lab.  There were a lot of great discussions.  Rob and I gave impromptu presentations about What’s New again for customers who were not able to attend day one of the event.

Impromptu What's New presentations

Testing SOLIDWORKS 2016 beta

At the end of the second day, we wrapped up by gathering everyone for a final discussion.  Customers talked about what they liked about SOLIDWORKS 2016, and in some cases, what they felt needed further improvement.

SOLIDWORKS 2016 beta rollout roundtable

For me, and I hope everyone else, this was a great event!  Many thanks to our SOLIDWORKS Japan team for hosting this event and making it a success!

If you are interested, this event was covered real-time on Instagram.  Check out current SOLIDWORKS related postings by following the official Instagram account.  You’ll see more of my photos from this event, plus many more by the new Community Manager, Rachel York.


Found a gem about David Copperfield

In an interview earlier this year, David Copperfield apparently mentions SolidWorks eDrawings iPad app.  His comment doesn’t appear in the released edit of the interview video, but it is mentioned in the body of the article about the interview:  David Copperfield is looking to tech for new tricks.  His interview was at the CES 2015 and also his museum.  In the interview, he talks about modern interaction with his fans and how he utilizes social media to add depth to and improve his shows.

David Copperfield is looking to tech for new tricks

SOLIDWORKS MBD, New for 2015

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series New in SOLIDWORKS 2015


More info here:

Site Status: News about SolidWorks Legion

SolidWorks Legion logoIt’s been a long time since things have worked the way I want on SolidWorks Legion website.  This blog was started back in 2007 as a follow-on to my SolidWorks resource website.   SolidWorks Legion is now many times more popular than that original site.  When I first started this blog, I loaded it up with as many bells and whistles as I could find from WordPress.  The blog was loaded pretty heavy with plugins.  Despite using WordPress at its limits, SolidWorks Legion worked well enough for a long time, with a lot of cool features via the plugins.

This all came to a crashing halt when my article about Linux support for Draftsight went viral in March 2011.  With 10’s of thousands of hits in an extremely short period, SolidWorks Legion was literally slashdotted (a.k.a, hug of death) from Slashdot and other sites by very happy Linux fans wanting a free or cheap professional 2D CAD application.  SolidWorks Legion was up and down and up repeatedly for several days.  Up to that point, SolidWorks Legion was running about 400 unique hits a day.  Nothing has been the same since.  After the traffic settled back down, site traffic averaged 600 hits per day.

Unfortunately, that pushed the site up over the capacity allowed by my shared server.  I had to move SolidWorks Legion to what’s known as a Virtual Private Server.   Since traffic seemed to be steady, I didn’t mind paying the extra.  The problem is that SolidWorks Legion never really recovered from being slashdotted.  I had to scale back features, remove this and that elements, and tinker with settings just to get things to the point where I wasn’t constantly monitoring the site.

To add insult to injury, since that time, Google changed its search result algorithm to reduce the importance of blogs.  Over night, my unique hits dropped from an average of 600 to 200 per day.  It’s been a painful few years of website management.   On top of it all, I was hired on the Product Definition team by DS SolidWorks Corp later in 2011, so my available time for the site has been more constrained that ever.  This blog has been limping along for awhile now.  Each new release of WordPress seemed to slow things down even more, even with the use of site caching.

Well, I have some good news.  Thanks for a couple of friends (Dan Herzberg and Charles Culp) recently, I discovered new ways to get the website humming again (I hope).  First thing I was able to do it get notifications working again with  Using this site helps take pressure off my site by removing the need for various questionable social media publishing plugins.  SolidWorks Legion is now publishing automatically to Twitter (@swsuper), SolidWorks Legion page on Facebook, and several other outlets.  The one annoying hole has been Google+.   Jetpack WordPress plugin has solved this problem; and a whole lot more.  Jetpack brings a lot of functionality to self-hosted WordPress sites.  Much of this functionality was earlier only available via a myriad of poorly written plugins.  Jetpack appears to be a well constructed plugin that allows SolidWorks Legion to have all of its old bells and whistles again, plus a lot more (stuff I’ve wanted to add for a long time).  In addition, I’ve dropped caching, as that seemed to make things worse in the long run.

Let’s see how things go.  I’m hopeful that my old site is not just back to its old self, but better than ever!  Let me know what you think!  Has  SolidWorks Legion been better behaved over the past week?