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By Matt Lombard for BRUGS April 6, 2006
File management Part Modeling Built for speed Interface Hardware System Maintenance
Best Practice lists are never a substitute for using your head. These recommendations are for general modeling when specific circumstances don t require a different method. No one can write a formula that applies the best technique for all situations, which is why engineers haven t been replaced by computers (yet). So, don t apply these or any other best practice lists blindly. Try to understand why it is recommended, and whether or not it applies to your situation.
File Management Guarantee unique names for files Problem: multiple parts named Base or Cover in an assembly can cause you to get unexpected parts in your assemblies Make sure you understand the section in Help under search file locations for referenced files Use a project number or customer name as a prefix or suffix for parts Library parts especially need to be unique because they will be used by more users in more assemblies. with more potential conflicts. .
File Management Guarantee unique names for files Descriptive file names are always tempting. If you REALLY don t like working with part numbers as file names. you can display the Description instead of the file name in assemblies. but are very easy to duplicate from one project to the next. and inside SolidWorks. Remember that the file property for Description can be seen from outside the SolidWorks software. . consider appending a descriptive name after the part number or vice versa.
current revisions have no rev in filename Possible solution: use folders. split parts.) Possible solution: add revision levels only to obsolete files. mirrored.File Management Don t use revisions in filenames Problem: If you have assemblies with a lot of parts. base parts. but be aware that you can also get assemblies that reference across folders Best Practice: Use a PDM system . changing the revision level in the filename for parts will cause havoc with external references (in-context. etc.
use a PDM system. also look at DBWorks. you crash more frequently .File Management Sharing Information Problem: Multiple users accessing files across network. On large assemblies. If you need cheap. PDMWorks is cheap and works well. read/write problems Really. Access problems. Read/Write and access problems are going to be pretty tedious to resolve using manual file management. network traffic can become a performance problem. without PDM. When you work across a network.
and will also help other downstream applications such as MRP . find. at least work on files locally on your own computer. If you do drawings or make BOMs. but may cause problems with having different versions of files available on the network. This leaves a journal file in the file location which must constantly be written to. If you have to work across a network. sort. Use Custom Properties. custom properties will help you identify. track your parts. don t double click files from Windows Explorer to open them from the network. Use the Open dialog. or weldments or PDM.File Management Sharing Information If you can t use a PDM system. This increases speed and stability.
. and then turn TB off. based on TB. and use Excel to mass populate descriptions. getting descriptions and materials added as custom properties is extremely tedious Toolbox 2007 will address huge screws The only way to mass populate the descriptions as custom properties is to create all Toolbox size configs. Copy sections of the table to make new material fasteners. then create a Design Table. Best Solution: Make your own library. Things will improve significantly in 2007.File Management Toolbox Problem: Screws without proper configurations come in at default size.
captive hardware ) Simplify geometry as much as practical (no helical threads) Libraries can be kept in PDM rather than on a network drive (for usage and Where Used reporting as well as local file issues) Pre-populate with custom properties and configurations driven by Design Tables for ease of change .File Management Journal file should be local Tools > Options > File Locations > SolidWorks Journal File Libraries Model small assemblies as parts (bearings.
Mirroring bodies is faster than mirroring features. ½ of the part or build it symmetrically around the origin. deleted or changed.Part modeling Think about symmetry when you start building your part. Either build ¼. Make relationships to sketches rather than to faces or edges when possible (this is because faces and edges tend to lose references easily) Don t make relations to edges created by fillets (fillets are often moved. although mirroring bodies requires a Combine feature. which may upset your relations) .
you might want to consider using surfaces as reference geometry to help you build the correct solid. (some people the opposite.Part modeling Create fillets as features instead of in the sketch. See my hybrid ppt. they don t show up in Feature Statistics. including the ability to apply draft. If you find you are drawing sketches with lines that don t create any part faces. There are many reasons to do this. . and this can be a big performance hit if you make a lot of unnecessary geometry. and you are very limited by the types of things you can do with sketch fillets. to avoid relations to fillet edges. and so fillet errors don t cause other types of features to fail. Remember that each extruded sketch entity makes a face whether you use it or not. but you cannot suppress or reorder sketch fillets.) Fillets should be last in the tree.
but with Verification on. it checks each face against every other face in the model. (Tools > Options > Performance > Verification on Rebuild) . hitting Ctrl-Q. or before sending the part out of your control Using Verification generally means turning it on. SolidWorks checks faces of a new feature against only adjacent faces. but for parts with increasing complexity. I recommend that you ignore this setting for simple parts. and then turning it back off again.) Under normal circumstances (with Verification off). but I have found that it can cause a 60% increase in rebuild time (for solid parts with lots of fillets.Part modeling Use Verification on Rebuild to check your models ocasionally. if you see things behaving oddly. you may want to check it after questionable features. Some people recommend working with it turned on all the time.
and doesn t require 3D data. for example knurling on metal will be applied through a rolling process. Put a note and cross hatching on the drawing.) Create simplified configurations for parts where small detail and cosmetic fillets are removed. (Plastic molded knurled surfaces would require the 3D data. Use a consistant name so the assemblies can automatically create simplified configs using the part simplified configs. This will help eliminate unnecessary time for SolidWorks to try to figure things out. . Don t model things that don t need to be modeled.Part modeling Always fix rebuild errors in parts.
assembly features Large assemblies should always have a simplified configuration which suppresses unnecessary parts and uses simplified configurations of necessary parts and subassemblies. .Built for speed Assemblies Use subassemblies to distribute / segment the rebuild time Use of flexible subassemblies will slow things down Use component patterns when possible Don t mate to in-context features. component pattern instances.
Built for speed Assemblies See my Efficient Assemblies ppt (also called assyperf. the more drastic settings you should make. Avoid circular references (A references B references A) Keep track of your in-context use Order your parts so references only go up the tree Use skeleton parts or assembly layout sketches .ppt) Don t be afraid of Lightweight or Large Assembly Mode Use other reasonable display settings. The larger / slower the assembly.
These are more efficiently modeled as a simple cylinder. Use SW Utilities or Advanced Show Hide to help you build simplified configurations of parts and assemblies. at least use Lock References instead of Break References . Turn off Automatic Rebuild (RMB on top level assembly icon in Feature Manager) . There is no benefit in Breaking References.Built for speed Assemblies If you feel you must remove external references from parts. Build simplified parts which you don t need detailed 3D geometric data to construct. such as helical springs. This gives you the ability to change your mind later.
Avoid duplicating mates (such as parallel and coincident between two planar faces) .Built for speed Assemblies Resolve all feature and mate conflicts / errors Don t mate to features which are eliminated in a configuration If you use patterns to make holes in a part. use a component pattern to put the fasteners in rather than mating them one at a time Unless it is causing problems with dynamic assembly motion. do not make all 3 mates to fully define hardware such as bolts.
Built for speed Assemblies Combine several components into a pattern to avoid duplicate patterns Use Display States instead of configurations for visualization only (Display States are much faster) .
Built for speed Here is a slide from SWW 06 showing how features affect rebuild times .
print it out and stick it on the side of your monitor (much easier in 2007) . and I like a high screen resolution Keep a list of hotkeys in Excel. your hotkeys are copied as part of the Copy Settings Wizard I use a lot of hotkeys because I m not too good with aiming the mouse.interface Everyone works differently Windows logons can save different users settings Make a copy of your settings and carry them with you on a thumb drive (Copy Settings Wizard) or put them on a website or network location for access anywhere In 2006.
some people hate em) . and remove them from your toolbar Use hotkeys for functions burried deep in the menus (View > Modify > Section View) Use the Command Manager and flyout toolbars to consolidate space (see my Getting the most of the interface ppt) Place the Task Pane on the left side of the screen to cover the Feature Manager when it is open Consider a Spaceball (some people love em.interface Save graphics area space Use hotkeys for the most frequently used functions.
but is slower than the Quadros SLi is probably overkill . you ought to set yourself up for success. Wasting time for a model to rebuild is just throwing money down the drain. Get an approved video card.Hardware If you make your living with this stuff. Red is not approved Yellow is not approved Green is approved Get an nVidia FX Quadro 550 or higher ATI Fire GL will work. Really.
Dual core is definitely better for Cosmos.Hardware Processors I have a desktop with an AMD FX 57 (single core) and a laptop with an AMD X2 4800+ (dual core) For some things. for some things the dual is faster. etc. power usage and cost . Single core seems to excel at individual very complex parts I really believe that AMD is the way to go due to speed. the single is faster. Assemblies. Photoworks.
you need 1 Gb of memory just to show up 2 Gb is enough for most applications. you will need to be using a 64 bit OS and the 64 bit version of SW in order to make use of more than 3 Gb of RAM Increased RAM is the only reason to use 64 bit at this point .Hardware Memory These days. aside from FEA and very large assemblies Once you go past a certain limit.
but I use XP Home successfully with SolidWorks (differences are shown here: http://www. sp2 fixes some annoying tool tip issues (tool tips show the wrong text) SW does not run on Linux There is some news about Apple being able to run Windows OS and Windows applications . in fact.com/windowsxp/home/howtobuy/choosing2. and XP Home is not.microsoft.mspx) SW works fine with XP sp2.System Maintenance Operating System Windows 2000 will no longer be supported under SolidWorks 2007 Officially XP Pro is supported.
Understanding a little about viruses will help keep you from unnecessarily encumbering yourself out of ignorant paranoia . . I use Grisoft AVG (free). This removes unused entries and repairs broken links in the registry.o) Registry cleaning should be run once a month or if extensive changes to installed software have happened.System Maintenance Utilities Defrag your hard drive now and then (once a week) Diskkeeper is a good defrag utility Norton Anti Virus seems to cause a lot of problems with SolidWorks installation and maintenance.
html?pid=252) ± It is not unheard of for things like audio drivers to cause problems with the rest of the system .solidworks.com/pages/services/VideoCardTesting.System Maintenance Drivers Spaceball drivers should be kept up to date Video card drivers should be the latest approved version on the SW site (http://www.
and clean these out when not needed (C:\documents and settings\<user name>\local settings\TempSWBackupDirectory) ± When these areas become too full. (C:\windows\temp. and functions can time out or crash.System Maintenance Temp Areas The temp areas of your computer should be cleaned out regularly. C:\documents and settings\<user name>\local settings\temp) Know where SolidWorks puts backup and autorecover files. Once a week should be ok. Windows delays slightly when SolidWorks is trying to read or write to them. .
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