One of the great things about a CAD community like SOLIDWORKS is the amount of resources available for learning and skill building. At a recent SOLIDWORKS Workshop event in St. Cloud, MN we covered things like user productivity tips for streamlining modeling and troubleshooting certain rare file scenarios. Here are some of the tips we covered.
Productivity Tips: S-Key and Mouse Gestures
For any type of modeling, these are two important SOLIDWORKS features you should be using. The "S-Key" or Shortcut Bar is a context sensitive pop-up menu—changing between sketch, part, assembly and drawing—with user generated commands that should house anything frequently used in your workflow. Just monitoring usage for a while can let you know which commands to include.
This eliminates mouse travel to those functions within the toolbar menu. Because it is for productivity and not a modeling feature, we sometimes see new or even seasoned users admit they have yet to capitalize on this. The name is slightly misleading as you can really choose any key you want for it.
Another function that can lead to drastic increases in modeling efficiency is the Mouse Gesture capability. This is another context sensitive array of commands that appear around the cursor as you hold down the mouse button. They can be customized from the options menu. A new feature of SOLIDWORKS 2015 is the ability to export your customizations using the Copy Settings Wizard. These functions will help from the modeling perspective.
From the processing side, if you have ever had to wait for a large rebuild to take place, here is something to consider—the Freeze Bar. With this, the user can control what gets rebuilt. Simply drag down the freeze bar and anything above in the feature tree will be left out of the rebuild process. Use this to save some time when working with a complex part.
Generating Drawing Views
In certain cases if the model has improper geometry lines or views that are missing from the drawing or exported file, a part error is likely. The first thing to check is whether it’s possible to switch to "High Quality" in the SOLIDWORKS drawing. If so, this may produce the missing geometry. Since this is usually caught at the drawing stage, if this doesn’t work, take a second to open the model up. Then run the "Check" function from the evaluate tab of the toolbar menu. Under results it should list the problematic edge or face.
Now we can find the missing feature to eliminate this problem. Browse through the feature tree to the corresponding feature and simply right click to edit. Then without actually editing, select "OK" to complete the artificial edit. What we did was allow the program to reassess any outlying edges or faces in space and delete them. Now from the drawing, try displaying “High Quality” again. Another thing to look for is whether the line shows in HLR mode for the desired view on the actual part. If not, this points towards the model as the problem, and running the check function again can point out the culprit.
Locating the Source of Corrupt Files
No matter how it happens—an interrupted save, network drive issue or other—dealing with a defective file can be tough. When attempting to open one, a user may see an error message show up instead. For an assembly in this case, there is a special function located in the open configuration menu labeled Advanced that can help. Choosing this will allow the user to temporarily bypass the warning and investigate which part may be causing the issue. This may be the key to avoiding having to do a complete rebuild and spending any unnecessary time.
After opening a file using the Advanced Configuration setting, choose the third option to Show Assembly Structure Only. Once this opens you will notice every subassembly or part is suppressed. From here go step-by-step to un-suppress each of the parts.
At this point, whichever one causes the program to malfunction or crash is the likely culprit. If it is more than one, a second run through the procedure can be done. Then either delete this part or possibly try renaming and opening another way, like dragging it into SOLIDWORKS. Believe it or not, there are about 11 different ways to open a part in SOLIDWORKS.
After this process, if it's still a concern to work through, SOLIDWORKS may have a way to repair it. For further assistance, contact our Alignex support technicians.
Written by Mike Strand
Mike Strand works with both the Marketing and the Application Engineering team at Alignex, Inc. During the week he attends engineering events, edits YouTube videos and writes posts for the Alignex Blog. On the weekend you’ll find Mike driving ATVs, snowmobiling and building tools like a cantilever lifting hoist.