Issues presented to SW Developers at T-VSWUG Meeting

At the T-VSWUG Sept 10th meeting, the forum was open to whatever happened to be on the people’s mind regarding SolidWorks.  Being face to face with members of the SolidWorks developers team brought out the inner need to express our frustrations.   Just some of the points brought up included:

  1. On drawings, dimensions and centerpoints to hole wizard holes should not detach when the type of hole is changed in the model.
  2. “Link to BOM” does not appear to be useful; or it is not obvious that this is the option to pick when it is needed.
  3. Make fly-out menus and menu bars more consistent (RMB clicks, LMB clicks, etc).  One problem is that the same function (such as Open Part) appears in so many different locations, depending on what is currently displayed in SolidWorks.  Make common functions appear in a more predictable fashion, relying less on context and more on general user interface consistency.  SolidWorks development team has started improving user interface inconsistencies since 2007.  2009 will further address these issues.
  4. Allow the user to use a logical center of rotation while in sketch mode.
  5. Generally, let the user choose a fixed point center of rotation within a model or assembly.
  6. Limitations preventing cropping and breaking out of detail views continues to annoy users.
  7. Create a weldment-like system for handling sheet metal parts with hardware, so that sheet metal parts can be a single file instead of an assembly.  My addition to this is that there should be a focus on creating a library of features for standard insert hardware (instead of a library of discrete parts for that hardware). 
  8. Support some sort of silkscreen function that will allow users to apply images to a part without jumping through hoops, and will not screw up a model when exported to other formats.  Maybe even develop this so that silkscreen documentation can be produced right from the model.
  9. SolidWorks Corp is attempting to apply ASME and ISO standards accurately for documentation relying of 3D models (instead of drawings), such as DimXpert.  However, the current 3D model standards (such as ASME Y14.4-2003)  are inadequate to address the growing reliance of solid models and the move away from drawings.  SolidWorks Corp should take a more active role in influencing the ASME and ISO bodies to implement useful future 3D modelling standards.  I suggest SW Corp work directly with these groups, and should even gain representation on their decision making boards.

These points, among others, were well received by the developers.  Some other points brought up already had solutions.  Some solutions involved functionality that which some may not have been aware.  Other solutions have been resolved on newer versions of SolidWorks, which some users are not yet using.

One point not received well (though politely) was the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that SolidWorks have a “What’s Lost” section to their manual to alert users to keystroke changes, menu changes, and any functionality that has been “removed” in the new release.  Perhaps, more detail about actual changes can be addressed in the “What’s New” section for each release.

I will address the discussions regarding SolidWorks release cycle, backwards compatibility, and running SolidWorks on Macs in up-coming articles.

T-VSWUG Sept 10th Meeting in Review

The Tri-Valley SolidWorks User Group Sept 10th meeting is one of those inspirational events that (upon reflection) seems bigger than perhaps any of us knew at the moment.  We had a productive face to face discussion with SolidWorks developers that really seemed to humanize the often corporate SolidWorks Corp.  Many topics were covered in this personable exchange.  In the end, I had the impression that these guys understand our needs and seem eager to fulfill our expectations.  Was I snowed?  Well, maybe, but I doubt it.  I will break up the discussion about this meeting in to several articles.  Stay tuned.

Tri-Valley SolidWorks UG Meeting – Sept 10

The next quarterly meeting for the Tri-Valley SolidWorks User Group is on Sept 10, 2008 at 6:30pm, held in the Holiday Inn Express (6275 Dublin Blvd., Dublin CA 94568).  If any SolidWorks users are within any kind of driving distance at all, I recommend they attend this event!  It will start out with Kenneth Barrentine’s presentation on weldments, deconstructing a vacuum cleaner and tube frames.

After that, Kenneth offers us a rare treat in the form of a SolidWorks Developer Round Table (hosted by Richard Doyle), where users will be face to face with SolidWorks developers.  Topics to be addressed include discussion about surfacing and free-form consumer product modelling, geometric editing, SolidWorks functionality that is nice but just not good enough, and areas where SolidWorks seems to be of lower quality and reliability.  I’m sure they will be open to other discussions as well, time allowing.  This is your time (as the user) to rant at them to let them know what bugs you the most about SolidWorks.  Of course, I’m also sure they will respond well to any raves you might have about SolidWorks as well. 

This is one of those events you’ll not want to miss.  Even if you don’t have any rants or raves, you’ll get a chance to rub elbows with SolidWorks developers and Richard Doyle.  My thanks goes to Kenneth Barrentine, who selflessly puts these User Group meetings together.