SolidWorks World 2013 just weeks away

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.

SolidWorks World 2008 Day 3 (Jan 23) Breakout sessions

My first breakout session of the day was SolidWorks Sheet metal: Why do I do it like this or that?.  This session went into a lot of detail about sheet metal functions in SolidWorks.  There was discussion covering tears, closed corners, dimensioning preferences, K-factors, when to use normal cut, and the fact that all thicknesses on a sheet metal part need to be identical.  One good point was that closed corners work only when the flanges have the same parent feature.  Like all good sheet metal presentations, miter flanges where also discussed.  One problem I had with the presentation is that way too much time was spent on discussing creation of flat patterns.  When several attendees confronted the presenter with the fact that flat patterns are not often necessary for a designer to create, he argued the point without really understanding why the attendees contested it.  According to ASME Y14.5M-1994, the drawing represents the final product.  Adding intermediate steps (such as flat patterns) are unnecessary since the vendor is responsible for the final product represented on the drawing.  Besides that, most sheet metal shops are much better at determining K-factors and knowing their shop’s limitations than most designers.  I think more information could be packed into the presentation if less time is spent on flat patterning.

After lunch, I attended Leveraging the Design Tables and Configurations….  Many points where covered.  Here’s a few.  It is important to establish a good naming convention for configurations.  Effort must be taken to determine how the model will be represented (drawing, BOM, literature, etc).  Utilize folders in the Model Assembly.  Utilize formulae in the Design Table instead of equations area.  One good point was the suggestion to save backup copies of design tables outside of SolidWorks in Excel itself.

My final Breakout session of SolidWorks World 2008 was Demystifying PDMWorks Workgroup Triggers.  Although I’m not familiar with PDMWorks API, I did learn something about what is possible in PDMWorks.  Also, I learned about the setup required to utilize the triggers. 

I didn’t take many basic how-to Breakout sessions this year.  My main focus was on developing my skills in configuration, customization, more detailed how-to’s, and set up.  I made sure I attended several API related sessions.  Overall, I feel the experience was something that I would not want to miss.  I’m glad I had the opportunity be involved in this experience. 

SolidWorks World 2008 Day 1 (Jan 21) Breakouts and Such

Though the breakfasts at SWW8 left a lot to be desired, I have to say the food serviced at the lunches was enjoyable.  One of the things that SWW8 organizers tried to do was set up tables for lunch with particular themes, called Birds of a Feather.  Basically, each day, the cafeteria was laid out with tables in particular areas being labelled with particular interests.  One day the tables were labelled based on SolidWorks software related interests.  Another day, the cafeteria was divided into industry genre.  The last day was divided into regions of the U.S. and the World.  Honestly, it didn’t make a dang bit of difference to me.  Two out of the three days, I sat pretty randomly anyway.  The one day I did sit where I was supposed didn’t turn out all that interesting to me (no offense to the people at the table with me).

 On my first day of SWW8, my breakout sessions where actually not directly SolidWorks related.  The first breakout session I attended covered Advanced Project Management Concepts.  I choose this session originally because other available sessions at the same slot were either topics I already know well enough, or were not related to me at all.  I didn’t expect much from this particular session.  I was surprised.  I’m glad I was in attendance.  The session was kinda an eye opener covering topics in project management including criticisms of and improvement upon the critical path method, the root causes for scheduling issues, bad behavior that I have always thought was good behavior (multi-tasking), Parkinson’s Law (work expands to fill the time available for its completion), 3 Minute Egg Rule (sarcastically: it’s not quality if its finish before time is up), and the CYA factor.  The session then addressed the true nature of projects and discussed methods to use in order to plan projects more effectively.  Out of all my breakout sessions, this is the one where I took the most notes (and that wasn’t because it was the first one I attended).

I then attended the breakout session labelled Clarifying Software Tools and Regulatory Compliance.  I work in a heavily regulated industry, and have been grappling with the question of how to treat SolidWorks within that environment.  Is SolidWorks and related applications subject to validation requirements.  The answer I found here was no!  SolidWorks and its related applications are authoring tools.  Drawings can be document of record in the Device History File, but they can be so in the form of formats like PDF or TIFF.  My company already treats the PDFs of drawings as the controlled document, so this fits well within our processes without the risk of having cumbersome activities limit the use of SolidWorks in some artificial way.

Hybrid Modeling Solids and Surfaces was the next breakout session I attended on Monday.  This session was conducted by Matt Lombard.  This session revolved around the idea of using good practices to create models that employed both surfacing and solid modelling.  He discussed the sequential method where one starts out creating a part as surface model and then becomes a solid model.  This is accomplished by grouping all of the surface features at the start of the Feature Manager, and grouping the solid features at the bottom.  This method produces a well organized tree, but may be difficult to maintain if certain features which blur the boundaries of surface and solid modelling are used.  The alternative is simultaneous hybrid modelling, that has a combined use of solids and surfaces throughout the Feature Manager tree.  He also went into details about many of the surface and solid modelling tools.  Seeing many of the SolidWorks tools demonstrated was enough to make this time well spent.  I briefly met Matt at the end.  We previously have had some correspondences regarding a particular topic du jour: HM, CF, RC1, RC2, & RC3.

I went to my final session of the day on a whim.  I had intended on going to a session that covered the topic of PDMWorks and API or something.  However, it was across the building, and this session was just down the hall.  Welcome to the 9th Annual SolidWorks User Group Network Summit Meeting.  The attendees of these meeting turns out to be a who’s who in the SolidWorks universe.  Many of us Blog Squad members where there, but the focus of the group was the SWUGN and its leadership.  I was first introduced to this level of activity by a personal invite from Richard Doyle to attend a SWUGN Regional Technical Summit in 2007.  Before that, I had been to a couple of SWUG meetings over the years and that’s about it.  The one thing that strikes me as quirky and yet endearing is Richard Doyle’s pronunciation of the letters S-W-U-G-N and how they just roll off his tongue.  It’s not swu-jen, or swoo-jen, or swu-gun, or even swug-in.  He pronounces the g as in begin, not as a j like in giant.  He easily utters swu-gin in a way that may take other English speakers years to master.  

 The session was very informative as to the progress and goals for the SWUGN in 2007 and throughout 2008.  As the day come to a close, I headed off to recoop in preparation for the long day to come.