Methodology in making solid models (a discussion)

According to some of my sources (who shall remain nameless), there was a time when SolidWorks Corp thought about making a something like a best modelling practices guide for SolidWorks users.  The idea of best practices is something of which I’ve been critical.  The main reason is that every situation, environment, company and industry is different, with different needs.  Even the same tools in SolidWorks are be used in completely different ways to achieve desired results.

An example of this can be sheet metal functionality.  Sheet metal models may be created in one way for a company that makes cabinet chassis and be used completely differently at a company that makes furniture.  Heck, even within just one industry, different methods may be employed for different scenarios.

Each company should develop their own standard or set of standards.  Depending on the environment and type of modelling, these may be rigid, they may be very general, or somewhere in-between.  Set rules can apply to the models and assemblies.  Rules may even vary from project to project, depending on business needs.  Even non-design considerations come in to play when setting up standards.  Network setup, computing power, PDM/PLM/ERP programs, etc can impact methodology.

All of these variables make it impossible to establish best practices for all of SolidWorks users.  This is likely why SolidWorks Corp has seemingly dropped the idea of providing set best practices advice.

Author: fcsuper

As a drafter, mechanical designer and CAD engineer, I've been in the mechanical design field since 1991. For the first 8 years of my career, I was an AutoCAD professional. I utilized AutoLISP and many other AutoCAD customization features to streamline drafting activities for 6+ drafters and designers. I authored several custom functions, one of which was published in the March 1997 issue of Cadalyst Magazine. Since 1998, I've been used SolidWorks non-stop. I've worked to utilize the SolidWorks' user environment to simplify drafting and design activities for 20+ engineers. I've created this website to provide current information about SolidWorks from a variety of contributors. More recently, I am now employed by Dassault Systemes as SOLIDWORKS Sr. Product Definition Manager to improve drawing, annotation and MBD related areas.

6 thoughts on “Methodology in making solid models (a discussion)”

  1. While you make valid points, I feel that a general best practices guide would still be helpful. I am the only engineer at a small process manufacturing company. I use solidworks for my various projects in the plant and am in the process of moving all our plans/blueprints to the “digital” realm. My predecessor used excel for everything, including sketches! I would definitely benefit from some sort of guide or best practices, since I am creating my companies policies as I go along. Even just as a starting point, since I don’t really have anything else and I’m just making it up as I go along.

  2. No one tool for all application. I am not sure about SW, as I am still a new user.
    Take example like a common 2d drafting software, In my company, there are two engineers who use completely difference method for the same application. One use layer and the other use block.
    I do understand why SW has to dropped the idea.

  3. I agree with you Cutri. I have seen that engineers either who have been trained on the software or even the one who have been using it miss those basic stuff which we call more or less as design intent or best methods to design parts. I have seen people working in the same company having their own methods of making similar parts which sometimes create issues for the people when they have to work on parts made by others.

  4. Just to be clear, I’m not against setting of company standards. I’m against one-size-fits-all approach to the creation of standards around the board. Multiple standards may be necessary within the same company to address different needs. That’s not to say there shouldn’t be a standard at all.

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