My.SolidWorks.com was introduced in beta during SolidWorks World 2013. Last week the website finished it’s beta run and now it’s ready for the user community. Think of my.solidworks.com as a one stop shop for SolidWorks user community information that’s unique to you. You don’t have to check a number of different SolidWorks sources for information, answers, videos, etc., with my.solidworks.com it’s all in one location.
Here’s the bullet info to get you up to speed quickly:
* My.SolidWorks consolidates access to key sources in the SolidWorks community. It’s a place to find answers to questions you may have about being productive with SolidWorks, and keep up with recent activity in the community in a personalized experience.
* For now, My.SolidWorks doesn’t replace any of our existing online properties, including the Customer Portal. The Customer Portal has useful links to your Support activity, to system requirements, downloads and more, which are not currently available in My.SolidWorks. But for tips, insights and knowledge about how to use SolidWorks most effectively, we suggest using My.SolidWorks.
* My.SolidWorks gives you a single place to find insight and expertise from all over the SolidWorks community. It lets you connect, discover and share anything and everything SolidWorks. My.SolidWorks provides immediate access to forum posts, online help, YouTube videos, blog posts and more. You can also search all of those sources for answers with a single click. All of the relevant results are delivered on one page
* Anyone can use My.SolidWorks via a web browser, at http://My.SolidWorks.com. You’ll get the most capability when you’re logged in using your SolidWorks customer account.
* Customers with an active SolidWorks Subscription get the most value, because content tied to a subscription also appears in My.SolidWorks.
* Mobile capabilities as well as an add-in to SolidWorks will be added soon.
Head on over to My.SolidWorks and have a look. It may become one of those sites you check every morning or on your lunch break or……….
SolidWorks World 2013 finished up about a month ago. It doesn’t seem possible that much time has passed but my schedule has been so crazy it’s hard to keep track of time in general. Since I’m posting so late I’m not sure it’s worth reporting all the details everyone else already has so I thought I’d give you the highlights of what I did and didn’t like. I’d also like to wrap up with a little information about SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual. Here we go.
The Good Highlights:
Speakers at Tuesday’s general session.
There were two speakers during Tuesday’s general session. One of them was Vijay Kuhmar who’s an engineering and applied science professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Vijay talked about the work they’ve been doing with robotic helicopters. More specifically how these helicopters can work independently but as a team to accomplish all sorts of tasks. We saw them fly through hoops, do flips, play the James Bond theme song and what was really impressive, work together to build structures. Keep in mind, the robots were not remote controlled, they were actually analyzing data and making decisions based on the data “thinking” to complete a task.
The other was Elias Knubben from the Bionics Projects division of Festo. Elias talked about how Festo is designing future projects based on nature. We saw a gripper machine where the arms are based on an elephant trunk and the fingers based on fish fins. What impressed me was how elegant and seemingly simple the designs were yet they accomplished complex tasks. What really brought oohs and awes from the crowd though was an actual mechanical flying bird. The design was based on an actual bird and if you were standing a distance away and saw it flying you’d never guess it was a machine. It was very impressive to say the least.
SolidWorks 2014 skit
Every year the SolidWorks team does a skit to showcase some of the new enhancements for the next release. This year’s skit was titled, “Jeremy’s Designer Gift Show” and it was a spoof on the infomercials you’d see on late night TV. It was very comical and did a nice job of showing off some of what’s to come in the 2014 release. I’m not going to cover the enhancements here but if you want to see them check out Ricky Jordan’s write up. I will say the enhancements shown looked to be solid which leads me to believe the 2014 release will be a good one. Every year I think, wow that is the best skit they have done and then the next year they out do themselves. This year was no exception. This may be the best skit the team has put together. Well, until next year of course
The Tuesday night offsite event
The offsite event this year was at Universal Studios Island of Adventure Park. Yes, the entire park was rented just for SolidWorks World attendees. Free rides, free food, free drink, no waiting lines. Just doesn’t get any better than that!
Red Bull Stratos Jump
Art Thompson and Jon Wells from Sage Chesire talked about the engineering behind the Red Bull Stratos jump. I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t understand everything they were talking about. Sending a man in a capsule attached to a balloon to the edge of space so he can jump and free fall back to earth is a complex process. Watching the video of Felix Baumgartner jump from the capsule was pretty intense. I can’t even image sitting in his seat. This was definitely one of those stories where you think, ” this is unbelievable” even though you’re watching it happen.
Wayne Tiffany Tribute
If you’ve been involved in the SolidWorks user community for any length of time then you’ve probably heard the Name Wayne Tiffany. Wayne was a regular on the SolidWorks discussion forums, SolidWorks beta testing, SWUGN network and anywhere else he could help out a fellow SolidWorks user. In 2012 Wayne lost his battle with cancer and the SolidWorks community lost a great asset. Richard Doyle took the stage at SolidWorks World 2013 to say a few words about Wayne and announce a SWUGN award named in his honor. How important was/is Wayne to the SolidWorks community? In SolidWorks 2013 go to help/about SolidWorks. Hold down the shift key and click on the red SolidWorks icon. You’ll see a pop up that says “In memory of Wayne Tiffany 1955-2012″. That’s pretty awesome.
SolidWorks World is really just a very large user group meeting. The people you meet, connect and reconnect with there help to define the SolidWorks World experience. It may be SolidWorks employees, users, the presenters, maybe all of those……….. it’s the people and the interaction with those people that make SolidWorks World the great event it is. That’s my opinion anyway but really, if nobody was there would you want to go?
The Bad Highlights:
Sponsor speech’s during the general sessions
This year during the beginning of each general session the larger sponsors of the event were given 10-15 minutes to talk on stage. This was something new this year and hopefully it’s not repeated next year. A 10-15 minute sales pitch isn’t something I want to see during the general sessions. The place for that is the partner pavilion.
“3D Experience Platform “
If I see one more speech, watch one more video, read one more word or hear one more talk about the “3D Experience Platform” I’m going to be sick. If I understand the message correctly, (this may be a big IF) with Dassault Systemes 3D experience platform a company can design/model, simulate, manage data, virtually display the data and then connect it to everyone from conceptualist to end consumer using the web and social networking. You should go to this page so you can read all about the 3D Experience platform and draw your own conclusions about what it is or isn’t.
Myself as a SolidWorks user I guess I don’t understand how the 3D Experience Platform really benefits me. My modeling is done in SolidWorks, my data management is done using Enterprise PDM, my simulation is done using SolidWorks simulation tools. I can virtually share my design with clients using SolidWorks tools like, PhotoView 360, Motion and e-drawings and there are plenty of ways to use the web or social networking to connect with clients/consumers. I never really have to leave the SolidWorks ecosystem to achieve the 3D experience as I understand it. I suppose I could use 3Dvia to communicate my design to the world rather use the SolidWorks provided tools or maybe I could use 3Dvia tools in conjunction with SolidWorks tools. The problem is. 3dvia tools are more like a video game rather than a realistic representation (movie quality) of a 3D World and the translation between SolidWorks and 3Dvia really isn’t all that good. I never have to travel to any other parts of the compass to achieve this 3D Experience they keep talking about. Granted this could be because I’m not a large multi million/ billion dollar company but I bet I represent the typical SolidWorks user more than I don’t. So when Dassault Systemes keeps pushing the 3D Expereince Platform on me the SolidWorks user I just keep thinking, they don’t understand me or my business at all.
The Neutral Highlights:
SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual
After years of waiting SolidWorks finally introduced a product based on the Dassault Systems V6 technology. It’s not SolidWorks V6, that name isn’t being used anymore. It’s named SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual. From what was shown it appears to be some sort of conceptual modeling tool (mechanical modeling not organic modeling) that allows the user to create concept sketches, models and simulate, animate them while easily sharing them with others. Other than some screen shots there wasn’t a lot of info given about the product. Questions about the product at the Monday press conference really weren’t answered beyond what was shown on stage. This leaves a lot of people wondering what we can expect. The product will be released in the fall of 2013 but the non beta, beta is supposed to be available in March to select customers. I’m hoping to be one of those select customers so I can see what’s under the hood.
Overall the SolidWorks team put on a great event this year. Nice work!
Thank you to Mike Lord for sharing some of his pictures for this post.
SolidWorks World 2013 is only a few days and I’m looking forward to attending this year for a bunch of reasons.
We will of course see a preview of SolidWorks 2014. I’m not sure what will be added in 2014 but the SolidWorks 2013 release was very solid and well accepted in the user community. If SolidWorks 2014 can follow the 2013 lead we should see some good things.
SolidWorks should be showcasing a version of their future V6 product this year at the conference. You’ll notice I didn’t say SolidWorks V6. If you remember, last fall at the DS Solidworks media event, SolidWorks announced they would be releasing a “conceptual modeling tool” this spring. They did not say it would be shown at SolidWorks World but that was my (and I think most everyone else in the rooms) expectation. The fact that the full SolidWorks V6 software is not ready and still not being talked about is quite interesting to me. For reasons that are not being shared with customers DS seems to be unable to deliver any sort of “V6″ product to deadlines they themselves have set. SolidWorks Live Buildings which is based on V6 technology was supposed to arrive sometime later in 2012. It didn’t and any talk of this product is minimal at best. When SolidWorks V6 was previewed at SolidWorks World a few years ago it was stated the technology about 3 years away. Three years is up and there is also very minimal if any talk about this product. All we really have at this point is this “conceptual modeling tool” we first heard about in the fall. My thoughts, this “conceptual modeling tool” is the part of SolidWorks V6 that is actually ready to be shown while the rest of the product is still being developed. Rather than shut out SolidWorks World attendees completely on the V6 product DS has decided to show what they have. Pure speculation on my part but I hope we do get to see something based on the V6 technology and information is more free flowing.
There is a great new product that has just been released from Npower software, Power Surfacing. Power surfacing brings free form organic sub division surface modeling to SolidWorks. It’s a plug in that has a nice almost seamless integration into the product and makes complex shape creation easier and fun. Npower will be at the partner pavallion showing the Power Surfacing product and they also have a breakout session scheduled to give users a more in depth look at the product and it’s capabilities. If you create complex geometry models in SolidWorks you should definitely have a look at this product. I expect there to be a lot of excitement around this product during World. It would actually give SolidWorks V1 users a very powerful “conceptual modeling tool” . SolidWorks V1 is a mature CAD platform so when you combine it with Power Surfacing it might actually steal the show from any V6 technology shown? Again, more speculation on my part. If you’re attending the event be sure to check it out.
I’ll be giving two break out sessions this year and I always have a good time with these. My first session will be on Tuesday at 2:45 and is titled, “PhotoView 360: What’s new in 2013″. The session will cover (you guessed it) all the new stuff in 2013 pertaining to PhotoView 360. We’ll take a pretty in depth look at the new features and I’ll show examples of all of them in action. My second session is a hands on session at 1:30 on Wed. This session will be an updated version of the “PhotoView 360: Instant Images” I’ve given in years past. This session is geared towards beginners and gives them a good general overview of the tools in PhotoView 360 and how to use them to create basic images. If you’d like to learn more about PhotoView 360 be sure and stop by one of these sessions.
When you’ve been attending SolidWorks World as long as I have you meet some really good people and make lasting friendships. While I may keep in touch with these friends by e-mail throughout the year the only place we really get a chance to meet and talk face to face is SolidWorks World. SolidWorks World is as much about networking as it is anything else and I like to take advantage of my time there to do just that.
If you’ll be at SolidWorks World be sure to learn lots, network and talk with other users, make the most of it, feel free to say hi and most importantly have fun. See you there
I normally stick to rendering topics on this blog but today I’d like to talk surfacing. More specifically, complex organic shape creation. I’ve been a SolidWorks user since release ’99 which means I’ve been using the product for about 14 years. Over that period of time complex shape creation in SolidWorks hasn’t really come a long way. Yes, adding multibodies support to the software helped. Yes, the surfacing tools have been upgraded and refined over the years to make some things more robust. Overall however, if you want/need to create complex, free-form geometry in SolidWorks it requires a lot of time, knowledge and trial and error. Especially if you’re a user that only needs to do this on occasion.
A few years ago I began using modo for rendering. modo also has a full set of subdivision surfacing (subd or SDS) tools which I play with from time to time. SDS modeling is a much easier way to create very complex organic type shapes and geometry. Much easier than NURBS based modeling. SDS modeling is popular in the CG (gaming, film, character, etc) industry because you literally push, pull, stretch, smoosh, bend, etc geometry into any shape quickly. This “free form” ability makes it very easy to create the types of character or props you might see in an animated movie or video game. I’m guessing most SolidWorks users have little interest in creating character models but what if this SDS type of modeling could be used to create housings, containers, bottles, seats, toys, etc, etc, etc. Anything product design related that requires smooth flowing organic shapes.
Taking an SDS model from an SDS modeler into SolidWorks however is not an easy task. There are software products that allow you to do this but results vary and in the end once you bring your SDS model into SolidWorks you have limited editing abilities. We all know design is a constant process of change so limited editing capabilities is not a good thing.
What this has lead to is a workflow issue. You may have an industrial designer using Maya, modo or 3D Studio to create a beautiful shape for the next new wiz bang product but that shape then has to be recreated in a NURBS format so the engineering work can be done. Since NURBS modeling isn’t real free-form friendly the actual product shape is limited by the tools and skill of the operator and may in fact be quite different from the concepts developed by the designer.
So, we have two very different types of modeling (SDS and NURBS) that each excels in their own areas but what we really would like is the best of both worlds. What we really want is a product that can do the free form concept shape modeling and the heavy engineering modeling required to actually manufacture and document a product. Something that makes complex shape creation fun and creative for the expert and casual user.
Let me introduce you to a soon to be released product. Power Surfacing. Power Surfacing is a SolidWorks plug-in that allows the user to easily create and edit SDS models right inside of SolidWorks. Not only can you create complex geometry but you can also use all the familiar SolidWorks modeling tools to transform that geometry into an engineering model. Your SDS model becomes a feature in the tree. It’s fully editable, parametric, you can have multiple SDS features in the tree and when you’re finished with your model it’s 100% NURBS. Another bonus to Power Surfacing is it’s ability to read and right obj files. Now you can fully share and edit models between SolidWorks and SDS modelers in both directions. Power Surfacing effectively removes the workflow issues of the past. It allows the SolidWorks user to easily create complex organic geometry that can be used from the concept stage to final engineering model. I’ve been using Power Surfacing over the last few weeks and am amazed at the speed and ease at which complex geometry can be created. Shapes that required hours to create using the standard SolidWorks modeling tools can be created in minutes using Power Surfacing. The plug-in blends the more creative SDS modeling and the more rigid NURBS modeling almost seamlessly. Have a look at this short video showing Power Surfacing in action. Power Surfacing is brought to by nPower Software (a division of IntegrityWare Inc.), is currently in limited beta and will be released at SolidWorks World in January. Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more information on this exciting product.
Network rendering is one of my top three enhancements for PhotoView 360 2013. It will definitely save people time when processing final renders or fully rendered animations. Have a look at the video to find out more.
The application of appearances has been made easier with enhancements to the appearance target and the addition of the appearance filter. Check the video.
PhotoView 360 users now have the ability to use Modo materials as appearances! The video takes you through the process step by step.
Copy/paste has returned for SolidWorks and PhotoView 360 in 2013. It’s nice to have it back. The video also shows a nice little tip/trick to consolidate appearances so make sure you watch in it’s entirety.
A great enhancement to PhotoView 360 2013 is the “Rounded Edge” option found in the appearance property manager. This will not only save you a lot of time but also enhance your images. Watch the video to find out more.
I’ll be traveling to the DS corporate offices in Waltham this week to attend the SolidWorks 2013 media rollout. The media roll out exposes members of the press to information about SolidWorks and the soon to be released 2013 version of the software. I’ve been using the SolidWorks 2013 beta for about a month now so I have a good handle on the enhancements but it’s always nice to see and hear the official presentation. I’m also hoping SolidWorks will treat the media to a look at SolidWorks V6 or at least be able to give out some updated information.
The official SolidWorks 2013 customer launch date is September, 10 2012. The 2013 launch site will go live that day and I’m sure there will be a variety of SolidWorks 2013 information on display for users. If you’d like some sneak peeks on what to expect in SolidWorks 2013 have a look at these videos.