Preparing for the SolidWorks Certification exams (version 2)

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series SOLIDWORKS Certification

Certificate on the shelfThere continues to be 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 employer and industry recognition of your established skills.  Even as the number of Certified SolidWorks Professional grows (CSWP), the number of those with the higher CSWE certification is still small by comparison.  Right now, there’s just over 1500 CSWEs.  To earn your opportunity to take the CSWE exam, you have to pass the CSWP and also pass four advanced exam modules from a selection including topics like Weldments, Surfacing, FEA, etc.

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, advanced and the expert exams.

  • CSWA – Certified SolidWorks Associate
  • CSWA – Acedemic – Certified SolidWorks Academic Associate
  • CSWP – Certified SolidWorks Professional
  • CEPA – Certified Enterprise PDM Administrator
  • CSDA – Certified Sustainable Design Associate
  • CSWSA-FEA – Certified SolidWorks Simulation Associate – Finite Element Analysis Advanced Exam
  • CSWSP-FEA – Certified SolidWorks Simulation Professional – Finite Element Analysis Advanced Exam
  • CSWP-Sheet Metal – Certified SolidWorks Professional – Sheet Metal Advanced Exam
  • CSWP-Weldments – Certified SolidWorks Professional – Weldments Advanced Exam
  • CSWP-Surfacing – Certified SolidWorks Professional – Surfacing Advanced Exam
  • CSWP-Mold Tools – Certified SolidWorks Professional – Mold Tools Advanced Exam
  • CSWP-DRWT – Certified SolidWorks Professional – Drawing Tools Advanced Exam
  • CSWE – Certified SolidWorks Expert

Once you’ve earned your certificate, you can exhibit it in a number of ways.  The certificate with a unique code is provided to you in the form of a PDF file, which can be printed out or shown on your mobile device.  You can use your unique code number to allow others to verify your acheivement.  Banner images are also provided so that you can add a certificate badge to your emails or website.  You can also add your certification information to your Linkedin account.  Don’t forget to notify your employer and colleagues.

James Cameron in da house in the Tuesday General Session of SolidWorks World 2010

James CameronJames Cameron was the keynote speaker of SolidWorks World 2010.   The format of his presentation was in a sit down interview with John Hirschtick, founder of SolidWorks.  Cameron is a fascinating presenter who covered a surprizing number of 3D CAD relevant topics.   Though not mentioned in the movie Avatar, Cameron stated that the idea behind the human equipment on the alien world was that it was made on the planet itself and not sent there from Earth.  In a cleaver statement, he declared that the huge bulldozers of the movie where 3D printed (fictionally, of course).  Though not an engineer or scientist himself, he stated “I geek out on the hard science side”.  Hirschtick asked Cameron if SolidWorks was used in the process of making Avatar.  Though James Cameron did not give a direct answer, he did state that artists should use the tools with which they are comfortable early in the process of the project.

Cameron’s first step on every project is to go on a brainstorming retreat.  He then applies three statements.

  • Hope is not a strategy
  • Luck is not a factor
  • Fear is not an option (Don’t be afraid to be bold)

Cameron is working on projects that will be putting equipment on Mars, and also an exploration to the bottom of the Marianas Trench (7 miles down).  He talked about using FEA to verify the design of his deep ocean vehicle.  He will personally be going down to the bottom of the ocean in the vehicle, so it had better be done right the first time.

A later article will cover the press conference that followed.

Stump the Chumps submission form

See if you can stump the chumps with your SolidWorks questions at our session in SolidWorks World 2010:

Stump the Chumps question submission form

Also, if you have files to submit as part of your question, please email your question and files to

And the June SW Legion Contest winner is… (Part 2)

There are two winners for the June SW Legion Contest.  The official winner (Sandeep Pawar) and the unofficial winner (per the unstated and unofficial though originally intended rules) is Arash Erfanian.   Three individuals produced verifiable scalene ellipsoids with only three elements.  One individual used two sketches and one feature (3 elements total).  Two other individuals used one sketch and two features (also 3 elements total).  These made cleaver use of the scale feature.  After a suprizingly quick game of email roshambo, Arash came out on top, earning himself a CSWSP-FEA test.  Congrats to Arash.  He knows his scalene ellipsoids, and he knows how to play a mean game of roshambo.

As mentioned before, I received 11 submissions.  One submission was of a model that only had one 3D sketch and one feature (2 elements).  However, I was not able to confirm its scaleneness.  The solution was cleaver though; leave it to Matt Lombard to come up with such a simple approximation.  One of the other submissions was a surface model (not solid).  Unfortunately, it had more elements than the solid model submissions.

I don’t have access to the submissions at this moment.  When I do, I will go into further details about how everyone accomplished the goal.  I am not amazed by the variety of submissions.   I was surprizes at some of the methods employed.

And the May Contest winner is…

The winner of the May Contest is Deepak Gupta! The contest was to see who could list the highest number of SolidWorks related forums not currently listed at Lorono’s SolidWorks Resources.  The contest itself generated over 70 comments, with about 65 or so submissions.  I am personally amazed by the total number of submissions. 

For his efforts, Deepak wins a CSWSP-FEA test.  From the SolidWorks website,

“The Certified SolidWorks Professional Simulation Specialist exam is designed to test an individual’s complete understanding of Simulation tools inside SolidWorks. Candidates who successfully pass this certification exam have demonstrated the ability to set up, run, and examine the results of various types of Simulation scenarios. They also have demonstrated the ability to interpret the various results available to them in SolidWorks Simulation.”

Best of luck to you, Deepak.  I’ll send you the info for taking your test by the end of the week.  I hope you pass with flying colors! 

Honorable mention goes to Frank Dijkstra.

The June Contest will be announced next week. Best of luck to everyone!

SWW09: Prototype This!

Prototype This is a show on Discovery Channel where four engineers create prototypes for radical new ideas.  Dr. Mike North and Joe Grant represented the show at today’s General Session.  From their entrance, we know this would be no ordinary presentation.  Joe was in a Firefigther’s hat, pushing (and pulling) Mike up to the stage in one of their inventions for the local fire department.  It was a cart that could carry firefighting gear up stairs and convert into a chair to assist in the rescue of trapped individuals.

They talked about the earlier struggles they had with the show’s producers in the first few episodes.  The producers expected 100% successful projects of world changing scope each week (in fact they wanted two each week originally).  As the show went on, the producers gained more appreciation for the design process and began to focus the show in that direction.

At the news conference that immediately followed the General Session, Mike and Joe talked about the goals of the show: to show cutting edge technology, to inspire kids, and get them to reconnect with the development process.  As the show went on, they realized that kids started to think the way engineers think about design.  They were becoming interested in a career in engineering.

When the show started, many of the devices were built in very traditional ways (such as reliance on machined parts).  They then started working with companies like Forecast 3D (of which I am also a customer from time to time) to utilize rapid prototyping technologies.

I asked them, “How long have you been using SolidWorks, and how did you first become aware of the software?”  Mike (the mechanical guy) explained that before the show, he did not do the type of work that exposed him 3D CAD modelling often.  He discovered SolidWorks through the course of the show.  SolidWorks Corp provided one seat for them to use.  They then started to design and conduct FEA activities with SolidWorks.  Since then, it has become the show’s “bread and butter”, and that it was the “savior of the show”.  Mike explained that SolidWorks helped the show go from being a build-show to become a design-show.  You can’t get plugs better than that.

Another area they began using heavily was 3D printing.  Not only did using this technology speed up the design cycle, producers where enthusiastic about being able to print actual working parts right in front of the camera.  Mike and Joe showed off a wall walking device that would support 80 lbs of weight on window.  The structure of the device was 3D printed.  It had a shape and composition that could not be reproduced using traditional manufacturing means.

As the show progressed in season one, the producers began to understand that failure of a project is still an engineering success.  Failure is needed in order to learn and to succeed.  Sucess is measured by the achievements within the project.  It appears that SolidWorks played a significant role in helping this transition in their mindset by providing the backbone of the design process so that sucesses could be realized much faster.