Value of training options for SolidWorks

For me, SolidWorks was a fairly easy application to learn.  In fact, I am self-taught for the most part.  I learned it progressively over a couple of months because it was necessary for my jobs and I had to do it.  That was over a decade ago.  These days, that may not be an acceptable option.  Users often need to hit the ground running.   Not every situation is the same.  Even still, I’ve created a new poll to get the opinions of others.  Imagine you have a new hirer at your company for a position that required the use of SolidWorks, but they don’t have experience with the software.  How would you handle that?

What is the best way to learn SolidWorks for new users just starting a new job?

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Year of Richard Doyle

This is truly Richard Doyle’s year in the CAD community.  He was honored by his peers and associates at SolidWorks World 2009.  Now, CAD Society announces Richard Doyle is the winner of the 2009 CAD Society Joe Greco Community Award for his achievements in building the SolidWorks community throughout this decade.  Given his tremendous and tireless dedication, these types of accolades are long over due.  Please see Matthew West’s comments and announcement.

The Experience Grows!

So, as I got into the Engineering and Manufacturing industry I had no idea really what to expect. All I knew is that I wanted to design new things and be creative with all of my ideas. Since the beginning of the year I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience that has helped me to become a better Engineer and get a good grasp of how the Manufacturing process takes place. Since then I’ve been working with Solidworks 2007, helping my company refine the ways they produce models and drawings. I’ve been in charge of re-designing all of the drawing templates and a lot of the standard parts that we use on a regular basis as well as a number of assemblies that have specific configurations based off equations provided by some of our customers. We will be switching to Solidworks 2009 within the next couple months so I look forward to that.  It’s just been great to be able to implement a lot of these changes; they have really sped up the process by which we complete projects.

            With the economy in its current state people are being laid off left and right so it’s not very reassuring no matter what field you are in. I’m no stock market analyst or economic expert but the engineering industry seems to still be prosperous so for that I am grateful. I am hoping the New Year will bring fourth positive change and that the design field will grow even further! More to come in the near future! 😀

SolidWorks Technical Summit – Los Angeles, CA

The SolidWorks Technical Summit is coming to Los Angeles, CA on December 16, 2008!  A Technical Summit is a day long event that is is kinda like a SolidWorks miniWorld.  Included are sessions covering a wide range of SolidWorks topics to help users expand their knowledge and experience.  Technical Summits are held once a month at various locations throughout the United States and other countries.The line up of presenters for the Los Angeles Technical Summit beings promise of yet another powerful conference!


One inside heavy hitter is Hari Padmanabhan, who is experienced in presentations for CosmoWorks, now called SolidWorks Simulator.

Another insider is Patrick Rainsberry, Territory Technical Manager, SolidWorks.  Mr. Rainsberry has been on the Summit circuit before, so he’s an experienced veteran.  He also can be seen at local SolidWorks User Groups from time to time, with demonstrations about the greatness SolidWorks’ current release.

As icing on the cake, several blog squad members will be presenting sessions about various topics.  These include (in no particular order) Mike Puckett, Devon Sowell, Matt Lorono (oh wait a minute, that’s me!), and Anna Wood.

Then, of course we have the serial presenters Casey Gorman, Phil Sluder, and Richard Doyle, whose tireless contributions make SolidWorks User Groups and Technical Summits even possible.

Return on investment

The great thing about the Technical Summits is that they are official SolidWorks Corp events.  They are only $40 to attend.  Attendees get to pick which sessions they will join.  Breakfast and Lunch are included (worth the price of admission alone).  If you are within the Los Angeles and San Diego areas, I highly recommend attending the LA summit!  If you are even within a 2 hour flight from Los Angeles (such as: San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Las Vegas, NV, and Phoenix, AZ), I still recommend attending. If you are a supervisor with staff within these areas, I highly recommend sending the entire staff for the day.  They will easily come back with enough new knowledge to pay for the $40 and for the 1 day gone (and even the flight and one night hotel stay, if applicable), many times over.

I’ve mentioned in the past that similar type summits in other industries can easily cost $800 for the day, and the quality and diversity of those presentations may not even equal what you will find at a SolidWorks Technical Summit.  This is likely the best bargain available in the industry.

Sign up on the SWUGN website.  Click the black Register Now button near the bottom of the screen.  See you there!

Matching game

In the meantime, let’s play a little game.  Match the head shot below with each name here:  Richard Doyle, Mike Puckett, Devon Sowell, Phil Sluder, Anna Wood, and Matt Lorono.

Into the “real” world.

Hello my name is Joe.  I have been working in the Engineering industry for about 7 months and been at my current job for almost 3 months. After graduating from Northwest Technical Institute in February of this year I had a vast amount of jobs to choose from. There are so many different possibilities in this field that I found myself not sure what to do or even what type of job I wanted. For most it seems that the starting pay is what drives them to decide on a certain job. I wanted to find a job that paid well and used a program I enjoyed using. I am from Minnesota, right around the Minneapolis area where there is a technical jungle of drafting and design jobs for entry level candidates to choose from. I was lucky enough to be offered an internship while I was still attending school so I was able to explore many options. Only one out of the 6 job offers I had used SolidWorks so I was more than willing to give them a chance. I couldn’t be happier with my decision, I work with some really great people and I love what I do.

After being in the industry for a while I began to realize how much I never learned in school about SolidWorks. I did some online research and I couldn’t believe how many resources were available to me. I found out about using macros to automate SolidWorks and have actually been helping my company develop a standardized way to do drawings and fill in title block/bill of materials information using macros. With the help of Matt Lorono and other online resources I have been able to customize macros and actually am able to understand a lot of the code it takes to make one.

If you are fresh out of school be sure to explore every option available to you, take every job interview you can. This will serve you greatly in the future because you are not only seeing what else is available to you but you are building relationships and networks of people that may want to hire you down the road if things don’t work out where you end up.

I’ll continue to document my journeys and keep you updated!

Super Geek (republished)

This is a classic tale of super geekdom.  I originally had this story on my person blog in April of 2007, but felt it SolidWorks Legion is more appropriate.  (I don’t/won’t republish blog entries often.)  Here’s the tale.

I recently went to a users group meeting for SolidWorks. SolidWorks is a 3D modelling program that engineers use to create components on the computer to have them made in real life. The fact that I feel I have to explain this may suggest that perhaps this is a geek topic. Well, in the wrong context, this can be a bit of an embarrassment to some. ::Queue wrong context [music]:: (-:

At this meeting, for some reason they had these car large magnets that said something like “I design with SolidWorks”. Not exactly the coolest statement around. Most everyone at the meeting was like scratching their head as to why SolidWorks would make these things. But, of course, I immediately realized their value. I picked one up.

I waited for the ideal opportunity to put this magnet squarely on the passenger side door of my coworker’s 1989 Nissan Z. This opportunity came on Tuesday (a couple weeks ago [March/April 2007]). So on that Friday morning, [my co-worker] Elvis comes in to work and precedes to tell me how he has been rolling all around town the day before, only to discover to his horror this magnet on the side of his car. He even explained to me why he didn’t notice it right away (cuz he doesn’t see the passenger side of his car very often). The only reason he found it is because he happened to need to get something from the right side of his car that night (Thursday). He was telling me this first because he knew the thoughtful gift was from me.

Of course, being the good friend I am, I made sure he knew just how long it had been on his car, since that Tuesday lunch time. He was all, “Oh man! You mean I went all over town with this super geeky thing on my car? I went [to the local college] for an evening class, rolling around pimpin’ in the parking lot, laid back with my arm up on the wheel [straight armed].” Elvis takes classes at the local college in order to meet girls. So, all the while he was rolling around with confidence, he had this super geeky magnet on the side of his car, proudly displaying his inner geek for all to see.

My only regret is that I didn’t pick up more of these magnets to plaster all over the passenger side of the car to amp up the humiliation, NASCAR style.