Military Precision (Supacat and SolidWorks)

Recently, a DEVELOP3d contributor visited Supacar with an interesting report.  Of note is Supacat’s use of SolidWorks on products, including their Coyote truck.

“For the Coyote truck (6×6) we have the following breakdown: Full vehicle drawing pack – 2,200+ drawings (parts and assemblies) consisting of unique 5,500 parts and assemblies, 18,000 individual parts in the bill of materials,”  explains Dr Jonathan Farley, Supacat’s principal systems engineer.  All of the drawings and assemblies are done in SolidWorks, of which there are 20 seats in-house.

The very detailed article is a facintating read: Military Precision – DEVELOP3D

SolidWorks User Group Network Technical Summit in San Jose, CA on Dec 18, 2012

Some people say the world will end 10 days from now.  My bet?  We’ll be just fine on December 22, 2012.  That in mind, if you are in the Northern California area (or within an hour’s flight) and interested to improve your SolidWorks skill, networking with others professionals, and meeting SolidWorks employees, I recommend you look into attending this year’s SolidWorks User Group Network Technical Summit in Silicon Valley on December 18, 2012.

I’ve written about the benefits of the Technical Summits in the past.   SolidWorks employees will be attending this year, along with very helpful presentations.  Registration and details are found on the SWUGN site here.

My SolidWorks World 2011 presentation

I’ve first attended SolidWorks World in 2008 in San Diego, CA as a customer.  At SolidWorks World 2009 and 2010, I attended as a member of the Press.  In 2010, I participated on the panel in the Stump the Chumps II breakout session.  My short debut as a co-presenter was less than glorious but not terribly horrible.

At SolidWorks World 2011 in San Antonio, TX, I will be presenting my first breakout session, Establishing CAD standards within SolidWorks environment.  The session will be on Monday 24 at 2:45PM (local time), scheduled in room 202 of the convention center.  (All sessions may be viewed at the SolidWorks World 2011 website.)  My breakout session is one hour long and will discuss the general areas that require documentation which are essential for establishing company CAD standards within an engineering environment that utilizes SolidWorks.

Establish CAD Standards within SolidWorks environment

This session will cover as much as I can in one hour.  There will be a discussion on procedure writing techniques, important considerations when establishing standards, and the types of documents that should be written.  I will offer some specific advice, but the breakout session will focus on the big picture by providing a general road map for creating and maintaining your own CAD standards.

Monday is a busy day for many attendees.  Even still, I’m hopefully that many will join me for my breakout session.

SolidWorks World 2011 update

SolidWorks World 2011 breakout and hands-on sessions are now available for those registered to attend.  Even though this announcement was just made earlier this week by SolidWorks Corp, many hands-on sessions are already full.  This usually happens very quickly each year, as seating is very limited in those presentations.

Monday SolidWorks World 2011 schedule

This year, I’m presenting a breakout session entitled Establishing CAD Standards within the SolidWorks Environment.  The session will cover general areas that require documentation that are essential for establishing company CAD standards within an engineering environment that utilizes SolidWorks.  It’s going to be on Monday afternoon. Press events usually make Mondays very busy for me at SolidWorks World.  Now that I’m presenting on that Monday in 2011, it is likely going to be all the more busy.  If you attend my session, don’t be suprized if I’m out of breath from all the running that I’m going to have to do.  Hmm, maybe I should start working out again to be ready?

If you are interested in attending SolidWorks World 2011 and not yet registered, please see the SolidWorks World 2011 website for more details.  2011’s special event for SolidWorks World attendees promises to be…well, you decide.

Scania chooses Dassault Systemes’ PLM solutions

Dassault Systemes recently announced in a press release that Scania chose to invest in ENOVIA as their PLM for integrated production design, product development, processes and manufacturing. Scania is a company of over 32,000 people and is reported to be one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks and buses for heavy transport applications, and of industrial and marine engines.

Anders G. Lindberg, technology manager, R&D, Scania states, “the biggest difference [as a result of this investment in ENOVIA] for the user today is that we have a platform where we can construct in 3D from the start and make cross functional use in a whole new way. We also have other possibilities for parametric design, optimization tools and kinematics compared to our previous solution.” Lindberg also talks about CATIA by stating, “we realized that CATIA was still the best authoring solution for us.”

Dassault Systemes seems well positioned to suit the needs of large corporations. However, when one sees press releases that talk about being selected by such organizations, one may be left wondering about Dassault Systemes’ ability to adjust their business model to suit small to mid-size companies. What are the CATIA and ENOVIA adoption rates for smaller organizations? Among those small adopters, how many have positive and beneficial experiences?

Product Review: Template Wizard (2010)

Several years ago, I reviewed one of the earliest versions of Template Wizard, published by 3 Dawn Consulting, LLC at  Template Wizard is an application which fills a gap in SolidWorks functionality by creating the process to automatically generate document templates for drawings, parts and assemblies.  Kevin Van Liere of 3 Dawn Consulting has provided to me a new license of Template Wizard for the purpose of this new review.  This review is my own content without input of others. 

The current version of Template Wizard is refined and more capable.  Template Wizard gives the user the ability to create templates from scratch.  Users may also create drawing templates from AutoCAD generated files.  If the user wishes, they may use it to edit existing SolidWorks drawing templates.

tw2010-1User Interface

Template Wizard is an add-in that runs within the PropertyManager pane inside of SolidWorks.  Selecting settings within the interface is similar to other functions that run within the PropertyManager.  Users create new templates in a 9 step process.  The process starts with a blank drawing sheet and ends with a fully functional templates for drawings, parts and assemblies.  When creating a drawing template, some user interaction with the view pane is required to place objects and anchor points.


Installation is quick and painless.  Just execute the downloaded install file, then start up SolidWorks.  Template Wizard appears as a pulldown menu.  The user will be prompted to enter a registration code (provided at the time of purchase) the first time before they create a new template.


If a user wishes to create new templates, it is recommended that they create a drawing template first.  As mentioned, Template Wizard takes the user through a series of steps.  Once the drawing template is complete, it then allows the user to transfer applicable settings over to new part and assembly templates.

The order of drawing template creation tasks is fairly logical.   The user is prompted at each step:

  1. Drawing size, view projection, standards, units of measure, etc.
  2. Border creation, margins, zones, border layer.  Although Template Wizard does automatically create borders based on user choices, a nice function to include might have been the ability to choose settings that automatically follow standard ISO or ASME borders, based on drawing size.
  3. Title block and custom properties.  Title blocks may be created from existing title blocks or created from scratch using dozens of field blocks.  This step is likely the most complex.
  4. Establish tables and their anchors. This one function by itself may make Template Wizard worth its price.  SolidWorks has anchors that serve as automatic starting points when the user inserts tables onto a drawing.  However, this anchor functionality is somewhat under-documented and hidden.  Template Wizard labels each anchor which allows the user to see where and what they are.tw2101-3
  5. Fonts, bent leader length and tangent edge settings.
  6. Save “Page Design”. One thing that I find confusing is the use of alternative terminology in Template Wizard.  A page design means sheet format.
  7. Establish the “next sheet” variable and save “template design”. “Next sheet” variable is a quirky SolidWorks setting that establishes the drawing template.  Template Wizard uses this variable in a cleaver way to allow drawing templates to utilized a different sheet format for additional sheets of a multi-sheet drawing.
  8. Create part and assembly templates, and the custom properties file. This reduces the effort of creating part and assembly templates down to a push of a button.

Update Wizard

Though I have not tested this functionality, it is important to note that Template Wizard has a function called Update Wizard.  This tool gives the user the power to update the sheet format of a whole bunch of drawings at one time.  The tool even allows the user to find and replace specific text in the same way!

Purchasing options

Template Wizard is available through the website.  Given the value and time-savings potential of Template Wizard, the price of US$295.00 seems reasonable.  Visa and MasterCard are accepted for immediate delivery of the software license.  Paypal, invoice and check are also excepted.


Template Wizard was created because SolidWorks does not provide a simple method for template creation.  The process in SolidWorks is not well documented nor easily understood by new or some experienced users.  Template Wizard allows the user to bypass the learning curve by providing powerful tools in a fairly straightforward process.  However, even though Template Wizard is a great tool, it is not completely intuitive.

The user should read Template Wizard’s Help file before using it.  Treat the Help file as a tutorial.  The Help file gives the user information they need to make certain choices.  For example, during the Title Block creation step, the user is presented with tons of choices.  Those choices are defined in the Help file under “Pre-Designed Title Blocks” and “Title Block Elements”.  I would like to see this information included within the Template Wizard’s workflow in the form of a preview window or something similar.

Where Template Wizard excels is in the fact that it breaks down the template creation process into a series of steps.  Many of these steps are wonderfully automated, drastically reducing the time it takes to create a template.  It even changes settings in SolidWorks itself to allow the user more flexibility in how they wish to save and use their new templates.  As a byproduct of its workflow, Template Wizard also serves as an education tool.  It teaches the user about what is needed to make sheet formats and templates in SolidWorks.


Template Wizard’s value comes from the time and effort saved during the creation of SolidWorks templates.   It is not an application that has a high reuse value.   However, I do recommend keeping it installed (but inactive) on SolidWorks.  This will allow the user to make adjustments to their templates over time, as needs change.

Template Wizard is not for that do-it-yourself person whose independent spirit and drive pushes them to create their own template and sheet formats.  It is for the person or company that does not wish to spend a lot time creating, changing or maintaining templates.