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

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?



SolidWorks Help is being updated frequently based on user feedback

Feedback on this topicSolidWorks Help is being updated on a regular basis.  The primary source for the frequent updates is user feedback through the Feedback on this topic link that you can find at the top of each help topic of the Web Help.  SolidWorks appreciates user this feedback.  For more information on some recent updates, please check out this posting on the SolidWorks Forums:

Recent Enhancements to SolidWorks 2013 SP2 Help in Response to User Feedback

Gupta reviews the SWW13 floor plan

Due to priorities, there is no SolidWorks World 2013 app for smartphones.  Even still, there is an interactive floor plan link available for the Partner Pavilion.  I am able to use most of the functionality of the link on my Android 4.0 smartphone.  Deepak Gupta has a quick review of the SolidWorks World 2013 floor plan link in his article:



Solidworks World 2013 Floor Plan


SolidWorks World 2013 partner profiles on SolidWorks Blog

Over the past few weeks, SolidWorks Blog has been profiling several Partners that will be exhibiting at SolidWorks World 2013.  There is a lot of detailed information shared about each in the following recent articles.

  • Capvidia – A global company specializing in 3D data translation, data quality, validation, visualization, and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) for SolidWorks users. They’ve been working with SolidWorks since 1995 and are a Certified Gold Partner with four products.
  • Moldex3D – They provide a complete solution to help users simulate and validate their part and mold designs before actual production. Covering a wide spectrum of injection molding processes, they help part designers, mold designers, and mold makers detect potential molding problems in advance
  • ATR Soft -CustomTools for SolidWorks and EPDM offers Office-EPDM integration. They are a service partner for EPDM and SolidWorks. Their products let you focus on real design, and automate the rest.
  • Mastercam – Mastercam is 2- through 5- axis milling and routing, turning, wire EDM, Swiss machining, artistic relief cutting, 2D and 3D design, surface, and solid modeling. Also, Mastercam is fully integrated into SolidWorks with our Mastercam for SolidWorks product.

There’s plenty more profiles to explore on SolidWorks Blog as well, such as HP, Striker Systems and several others that have been profiled since October 2012.

Preparing for the SolidWorks Profession Specialty Exams CSWP CSWE

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series SOLIDWORKS Certification

{Updated: 01/17/2015}

There is a lot of interest in getting certified as SolidWorks Expert (CSWE).  Through there are no official accolades that go long with passing the CSWE, the certificate can garner industry recognition of your established skills.  Even as the number of Certified SolidWorks Professional grows (CSWP) due to the online accessibility, the number of those with the higher CSWE certification is still small by comparison.  Right now, there’s just over 1000 CSWEs {update: still under 2000, as of Jan 2015}.  Please see this Certified SolidWorks Professional infographic for additional details.

To earn the opportunity to take the CSWE exam, you have to pass the CSWP and also pass three four advanced exam modules from the selection of topics: Weldments,  FEA, etc. Surfacing, Sheet Metal, Drawing Tools and Mold Tools.  {FEA is no longer included as a option to fulfill the CSWE prerequisites.}

Applian Way Technologies has a blog with several articles that are brief preparation guides for various exam modules.  A Very Swell Idea, Inc has some good advice for taking the modules in their discussion of CSWP Weldment exam.   3D Dimensional Engineer also has a great series on CSWP Preparation.

SolidWorks website itself has great information for each exam, including the core and the expert exams.