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teaching:solidworks_information

SolidWorks Information

This page contains information about SolidWorks in MIE.

NOTE: If you find any errors on this page, or if you have some cool SolidWorks links to suggest, please send email to salustri@ryerson.ca.

Solidworks is a very popular CAD package. If you don't believe me, see this blog post, or just Google “popular mechanical CAD software” - you'll see Solidworks is always listed.

Online free course at Lynda.com

For the time being, Ryerson students can get free access to the online teaching resource Lynda.com, which offers free Solidworks courses.

To register for Lynda, see these instructions.

A good place to start is the SolidWorks 2017 Essential Training course.

The built-in tutorials

There are some great online tutorials available. Once you've started Solidworks, you find them in the Help menu.

The tutorials assume no one has ever used Solidworks on that computer. This is not the case for us. There are certain parameters and options one can set and then not set again. Some previous user may have done this. So if a tutorial tells you to do something, and you can't find it on the screen, beware that it may have already been taken care of by a previous user.

Tips & Tricks by Instructors and TAs

We've started a list of Solidworks Tips & Tricks that's curated by instructors and teaching assistants. It will grow in time.

You can access the Tips file here.

General hints

  • SolidWorks Webinars: A webinar is a web-based seminar – an online tutorial that can help you learn features of SolidWorks. There are a number of free webinars available from the Javelin Technologies website.
  • Save your work often: Save your work to a floppy disk or USB key because the local hard drive is cleaned up regularly and automatically, with no regard to the contents.
  • Don't rename or copy your SolidWorks files: SolidWorks files expect to find other files in certain places. If you rename or copy a solidworks file, then you'll likely be unable to open it again. If you must move or copy a file, use Save As from inside SolidWorks.
  • Infinite Undo: SolidWorks has infinite undo. If you make a mistake, just use the Edit > Undo menu item.
  • “Viewer” for SolidWorks: There is a program installed in the computer labs that lets you view and print SolidWorks files without running solidworks. This can help those students who have brought CAD files from home and had difficulty printing them in the lab. The program is called eDrawings and can be accessed as: Start > Programs > eDrawings2007 (though it may have a different year tacked on the end of its name).
    The program is available for free from the SolidWorks website: http://www.edrawingsviewer.com.

Creating a multi-sheet Solidworks Drawing

(Developed by Karl Schumacher.)

Follow these steps to author multi-sheet drawings:

  1. Open a new drawing
  2. Place your first part in the first sheet (apply sheet formats as necessary)
  3. Annotate the drawing as per requirements
  4. From the insert menu select “sheet”
  5. Place your next drawing in the new sheet by selecting the view layout tab (along the top) and press the “insert standard 3 view button”
  6. Annotate the drawing as per requirements

Continue to loop through steps 4-6 until “N” drawings have been inserted and annotated to your liking.

Next go to the file menu and select save as. Select PDF as the format and select all the sheets in the ensuing dialogue so that all of the sheets in your DWG file are included in a multi PDF (single pdf file).

Changing the title block

The default title block is rather large and full of boxes you won't typically need. You can alter the title block (see the Online Solidworks Tutorial about Drawings for further details) to make it smaller.

One important thing, though. DO NOT SAVE YOUR CHANGED TEMPLATE TO THE DEFAULT LOCATION. If you do, that change will appear for any other user who happens to use the same license as you. When you save your new template, save it to your own USB stick.

Per-PC differences

Solidworks was designed on the premise that one user gets his/her own installation of Solidworks. It therefore allows one to permanently modify some settings. This generally makes sense in industry, where each worker has their own workstation.

In academic settings, however, this may cause some (minor) problems. For instance:

  • Settings, such as those for how hidden lines are rendered, may be different between different PCs.
  • Icons may appear in different locations on different PCs.
  • The default title blocks may appear filled in with someone's name.

Be aware of these possible problems. They are not acceptable excuses for errors you may make in your Solidworks drawings or renderings.

Hidden & centre line weirdness

Sometimes, hidden/centre lines in your drawings may look fine on the screen, but look different or wrong when you create a printout or a PDF file from your drawing.

There are settings in the PDF printer dialog to turn on high quality; doing this helps ensure that hidden lines are properly rendered in PDF.

The black and white printing is rarely selected and it uses a greyscale, but when it converts a colour to greyscale it inevitably screws it up. So, you can tick the black and white box and that may help it. Again, this has to be done at the time of making the PDF.

Lastly, there are options for the hidden and centre lines. Make sure those are set to correct values (one of the online tutorials should be able to guide you through that). As a last option, instead of using “print” and selecting the PDF printer, I've noticed that this new version of Solidworks allows you to save to .pdf format directly; this should improve the quality of rendering and translation.

Choosing display options

solidworksdwgoptions.jpg Fig. 1: Click to Enlarge this view of which display options are recommended.

Wireframe display style generally only works on views of parts and not always in the drawing views because Solidworks is set up to handle parts and views in completely different modules. Thus, a student may not be able to change to wireframe viewing style in a drawing in the same way they can when in the solid modeller.

That being said, the tutorial on Drawings explicitly shows how to change these options in the drawings module by getting them to play with display states. Essentially it allows them to set how they want each part/view/type to display in the drawings. With display states they can set that they want the principal views to be in wireframe, and if there's an isometric or trimetric view, then that one can be solid with edges.

Otherwise, they can change the display style of each view they put into the drawing using a simple setting in the display settings option (see image to the right). Please note that for this setting, it only changes new views added, not views already on the sheet.

The 3 options marked with arrows should be what every student uses for every principal view.

Vanishing views

Sometimes, when you are trying to add your name to a drawing – typically in the <Company Name> slot in the title block – your drawing will disappear. This usually happens when you right-click and select the template field. To make your views reappear, you just right-click and select edit template again. The views are only in the background (temporarily hidden), behind the template.

This should work all the time, but there have been reports where this trick might not work. If you can't get your views back, talk to your TA or the instructor.

How to change units

Sometimes, you may find you're doing a drawing in, say, millimetres, but Solidworks is using some other unit.

To fix it, refer to this link (Solidworks 2012).

Curves composed of line segments

Fig. 2: Tesselated lines in Solidworks.

You may see curved lines in Solidworks drawn on the screen as a series of short line segments - as shown in the figure to the left. This is not a problem. Solidworks is just rendering the curve with straight line segments to speed up operation. Internally, the shape is still curved.

When you print the drawing, you should get nice, smooth curves.

If you really want to try to make the screen rendering smoother, try the following:

Go to Tools > Options > Display > Display Resolution and set the Arc and Circle smoothness to 1000. Then “regenerate” the whole drawing.

Tangent Edges

A tangent edge is the line that may appear where a flat surface meets a fillet or other curved surface. There is an option to toggle such tangent edges that is covered by the Solidworks tutorials. Students are responsible for knowing about this once they have done the tutorials.

Tangent edges may be useful to you while you are constructing solid models, but are not actually part of a real technical drawing. So make sure you toggle tangent lines off before printing/submitting your work.

General Drawing Tips

(developed and contributed by Sarah Nicholson)

Using End Conditions

(developed and contributed by Sarah Nicholson)

Finding the MEC222 Drawing Template

(developed and contributed by Sarah Nicholson)

Departmental Solidworks templates (in “portrait” and “landscape” orientations) are available in the folder U:\Solidworks-Templates on the lab computers. Those templates are read-only so you must make your own copy before using it.

You are advised to make your own MEC222 folder on your U: drive and put your copies of the templates in that folder.

Loading those files into Solidworks is done as Ms. Nicholson indicates below.

Creating Drawings from Parts

(developed and contributed by Sarah Nicholson)

Changing the Display Style

(developed and contributed by Sarah Nicholson)

Using "Annotations" to edit drawings

(developed and contributed by Sarah Nicholson)

Change scale to optimize page usage

(developed and contributed by Sarah Nicholson)

Remove redundant dimensions

(developed and contributed by Sarah Nicholson)

Changing between diameters and radii

(developed and contributed by Sarah Nicholson)

CosmosMotion

Enabling CosmosMotion

CosmosMotion is for doing kinematic analysis of assemblies. It may not be enabled on your PC. Here's how to turn it on.

  • Start Solidworks
  • Go to menu Tools > Add-ins
  • In the popup window, check the box for CosmosMotion and OK.

CosmosMotion documentation

  • Make sure CosmosMotion is enabled — see above.
  • Open an existing assembly model.
    • You must have an existent assembly model. Assemblies are created with SolidWorks.
  • Go to menu Help > Help on CosmosMotion.
  • You can then read the online documentation or the tutorials.
teaching/solidworks_information.txt · Last modified: 2020.03.12 13:30 (external edit)