Finally, after two days of being strangers passing in the night, Chris MacCormick and I finally had a chance to meet up on this day. But more of that later.
After the General Session was over, my first breakout session of the day was the Hands-On Session Creating SolidWorks Add-ins. Although I dabble in creating and editing SolidWorks API to help shortcut common functions, I still am just a hack at VBA programming. I had hoped this session would’ve been useful to continuing my exposure to VB.NET and making add-ins for SolidWorks. I was very dissatisfied with this session. This was particularly disappointing becauseÂ this was my only Hands-On session for the entire SWW8, even though I had logged-on to the SWW8 website at the right time to allow me to get any Hands-On sessions I wanted (way back in 2007). The session didn’t start off well. There was a typo on my schedule card that pointed me to the wrong room. Once I found the correct room and sat down, it took too long to get the session started. Once the presenter started, he asked a question to check every-one’s experience level. He asked the question so quickly, I do not believe anyone understood what he said until he uttered the words something like, “Good, everyone will know what I’m talking about. Let’s get to this.” Once he did start with the lesson, he flew through so fast, most everyone just gave up trying to follow along. It took forever to get his attention to tell him no one know where he was in the lesson. He just wasn’t paying attention to the attendees. Worse yet, very few of the computers were even configured correctly to allow us to successfully follow along, even if we tried. By the time some of us finally were able to bring this to his attention, half the session was over. Many of us had not passed the first few steps. He then discovered our computers had a wrong setting. As we moved on again, we again found we couldn’t follow along. He found out that yet another setting on the computer was wrong. Basically, the presenter did not make sure the classroom computers where set up properly for his lesson.
At that point Chris MacCormick gave me a call to check when and where we were going to meet up for lunch. I was so frustrated at the poor quality of the session, I answered the phone without apology. Chris and I planned toÂ meet up in a few minutes. I then just walked out with 15 minutes to spare. By that time, I was about the fifth person at a Hands-On computer to walk, and I wasn’t the last. Also, almost all back of the room observers had left by that point. What did I learn? Know when to hold them; know when to fold them; know when to walk away; know when to run.
I finally met up with Chris just before the cafeteria opened. It was about time. He turns about to be a cool guy with a lot of dynamic energy. Lunch provided by SWW8 was pretty good. (I had given up on the SWW8 breakfasts by this time.) We were later joined by Richard Doyle and another acquaintance of mine. Chris had missed the SWUGN Annual Summit Meeting on the day before, so Mr. Doyle filled him in on some of the details.
After lunch, my first breakout session of the afternoon was Chris’ own Using the Power of 3D to Teach GD&T. This session was geared towards being an interactive event between educators. There were a lot of others who attended that may not have understood this paradigm. Chris went into detail about the DimXpert and how to use this an other functionality to demonstrate GD&T, including possible limitations or dangers with relying too much on the software to define specifications. I’ll let Chris go into more detail about this and his other session if he chooses. His session did spark a lot of dialogue between educators. After the session, I witnessed more people flood up to the front of the room to talk to him than any other presenter at any otherÂ session I attended throughout SWW8.
My final breakout session for the day was Exploring the SolidWorks API from a Battleship. This session was more of a demonstration of how to use SolidWorks and its API creatively for unusual tasks. The game of Battleship was completely modelled and emulated within SolidWorks. It was very cleaver and extremely comprehensive. The presenter did go into his methodology for writing API. In part, these are some of the points:
- Identify goals and level of user interaction.
- Build API ready SolidWorks data (in the model and any files that will be used in the program).
- Outline the code and define variables; including organization of classes and modules.
- Explore SolidWorks API for automation.
- Use clear naming convention for variables.
Because of the nature of the demonstration, this session proved to be a bit self-serving to the presenter. However, this is also why this particular session was prolly the mostÂ entertaining of the day.