#sww11 top 10 list

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Every year at SolidWorks WORLD they announce a Top 10 list of enhancements that are created by and voted on by you the user.  This year was no different.  Here is the Top 10 list from SolidWorks WORLD 2011.

10.  Press ESC to return to graphical interface – OK, I can understand this.

9.  File compatibility between versions – Why is this not #1???

8.  Ideas section available at all times in the Forums – Good idea, but really, top 10???

7.  Convert solid to surface without having to delete a face – Would be useful…great idea!

6.  Enhanced equations – Sounds like SolidWorks 2012 might already be improving this.

5.  Feature freeze – Supposedly already included in SolidWorks 2012.

4.  Clean uninstall– Supposedly already included in SolidWorks 2012.

3.  Dangle children relationships instead of having to delete them – Would be handy!

2.  Utilize processor cores better – Yes, yes, yes!

1.  Stop angle mates from flipping around – Good idea but I am not sure it warrants the #1 request.

There are some great ideas in this list but there are also some head scratchers.  One thing that I don’t understand when looking at this list is how a CATIA translator is not included.  That seems to be such a hot topic when talking to other users but yet no one votes for it?

What enhancements would you add to this list that aren’t already on it?

#sww11 solidworks 2012 preview

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One of the highlights every year at SolidWorks WORLD is the preview of the next release of the software.  This is usually done by a funny skit from the Product Marketing team at SolidWorks and this year did not disappoint.



Now that I have been back to work for just over a week I have had some time to digest all of the new features in SolidWorks 2012 that were previewed during the Wednesday morning General Session.  Please keep in mind that not all of these features actually make it to the actual initial release but for the most part they do.  Here are the enhancements that you can look for in SolidWorks 2012.

  • Performance
    • Clear the file from memory when closed
  • Administration
    • Complete uninstall
    • Uninstall via an admin image
  • UI
    • The ability to pin documents in recent files
    • Unit switcher on the status bar
    • Command search
    • Dual monitor support
  • Parts
    • Feature freeze
  • Sheet Metal
    • Parallel to base flange
    • Form tool rotation
    • Ignore faces when unfolding
  • Equations
    • Equation editor
    • Different variables available via dropdowns
    • Automatic solve order
  • Assemblies
    • Tab key to hide components
    • Additional motion sensors including actuator loads and bearing loads
  • Drawings
    • Exploded views available in view pallete
    • Create BOM’s without pre-selecting views
    • Sequential ballooning
    • Magnet lines to line up balloons
    • Automatic reuse of view labels
    • Add center marks at any time
  • 3dvia Composer
    • Per pixel lighting and ambient inclusion
    • BOM highlights
    • Custom compass
  • Costing Tool
    • Sheet metal costing including templates for suppliers
    • Cost reports
    • Template editor

I will be selecting some of my favorites from these in the upcoming weeks and give you my reaction to them.  Ricky Jordan from www.rickyjordan.com has a great write up and some great pictures of the new features listed above.  Make sure you go check out his SolidWorks 2012 Sneak Peak post.

#sww11 wednesday roundup

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Well, SolidWorks WORLD 2011 is over for another year and it did not disappoint.  I have heard many in the SolidWorks community that were there that this was the best one ever, and I can honestly not disagree.  The event staff did an outstanding job with everything at SolidWorks WORLD this year.

Wednesday morning General Session is usually the technology preview time of the show and this year did not disappoint.  The day started off with Mike Puckett and Avelino Rochino introducing Matt Perez of SolidWorksLessons fame.  Matt discussed his concepts behind some of the unbelievable car modeling that he has used SolidWorks for.  I would definitely suggest that you check out his site to learn more about him.


Jeremy Luchini then took control of the main stage and was quickly joined by a special guest.


That’s right!  Kevin Bacon was in the house.  Kevin talked about what is was like making the movie Apollo 13 (recognize the connection to Monday’s special guests) and also spoke about his website sixdegrees.org.

Mark Schneider was up next and announced the winners of the popular Model Mania contest.  Below you will find a picture of this years model and also the winners from both the customer and reseller groups.



Neil Cooke then jumped on stage to preview both SolidWorks n!Fuze and also SolidWorks Live Buildings which I will cover more in depth in upcoming posts.

The next chunk of the morning session dealt with the preview of SolidWorks 2012 and also the Top Ten enhancement requests driven by you, the users, in the forums.  I will cover both of these in upcoming posts as well.

Bertrand Sicot, the new CEO at SolidWorks Corporation, then came on stage to wrap up the 3 day whirlwind of General Sessions.  The announcement was made that on Thanksgiving Day of 2010 the 1,000,000th license of SolidWorks Educational Edition was shipped!  What an unbelievable achievement.  Tying into that Jeff Ray came on stage and introduced the crowd to an unbelievable 13 year old that is using SolidWorks at an early age to solve some complex problems.  Riley Lewis is a 7th grader in San Jose, California that has used the software to design a lock pick, un-pickable locks, and also is currently using it on a project for his dad’s company.

Bertrand closed the session by announcing that SolidWorks WORLD 2012 will be held in San Diego, California on February 12 – 15, 2012.  San Diego is a great place for a convention and is something that you should start planning on attending today.

Stay tuned for more in depth coverage of some of the previews shown last week and also for an all around assessment of SolidWorks WORLD 2011.

#sww11 tuesday roundup

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Day 2 at SolidWorks WORLD 2011 is also in the books at this time and it seems like this year the event is flying by quicker than any of the others I have attended.

Day 2’s General Session was a great time to recognize users helping users with the announcements of the SWUGN awards and also a time to recognize customers that are doing amazing things with SolidWorks.

After Fielder Hiss opened the session with some general announcements the stage was handed over to Richard Doyle who is the User Community Manager.  Being a leader of a SWUGN group I can say that what Richard does day in and day out is far beyond what I could ever put into words and I appreciate everything that he does for the user community.  Every year SWUGN hands out awards for the User Group of the Year, the User Group Leader of the Year, and also a lifetime achievement award which was renamed this year to the Michelle Pillers SWUGN Community Award which is a lifetime achievement award for those that have been involved and dedicated a lot of their personal time to make SWUGN a success.  The 2011 winners were:

  • User Group of the Year – Chicago SolidWorks User Group
  • User Group Leader of the Year – Ed Gebo of the Connecticut SolidWorks User Group
  • Michelle Pillers SWUGN Community Award – Wayne Tiffany

The other thing that happens on Tuesdays annually during the General Session is the spotlight of some unbelievable SolidWorks customers.  This year was no different.  Jon Hirschtick was up on stage to help spotlight these customers this year.

The 1st spotlight was of a customer that was officially customer #1 of SolidWorks.  In 1995 Barrett Technology, Inc. purchased the 1st ever seat of SolidWorks for $1,295.00 and as this say it has been history ever since.  Barrett is a manufacturer of robotic arms and have developed a robot that can run on (5) household 9V batteries.  What an amazing success.

The 2nd spotlight was on a company called MAKO Surgical Corporation which design robots to be used in surgery.  I was blown away with how they use SolidWorks.  What they do is the will take a 3D scan of someone’s knee if a knee placement surgery is pending and then they will take that scan into SolidWorks and model up a replacement knee to match the existing one.  How unbelievable is that.  A recent surgery patient joined the party on the stage and announced that he was walking 2 hours after having knee replacement surgery and was playing golf 3 weeks after.  Unbelievable!

The 3rd spotlight was different than the 1st two but an awesome story all the same.  The company is called Local Motors which uses an open source approach to building cars.  All of the decisions being made during the design and production of the cars are based on a community of everyday people like you and me.  Currently there are roughly 9,500 community members.  Each car has a limited quantity made (2,000) and it takes them ONLY 15 months to go from a 2D sketch to the 1st working prototype.

Unfortunately as the Bionic Builders were being introduced to the crowd I had to cut out to get ready for my presentation which started at 10:30 AM so I don’t have anything to report on them other than that what I did see them doing was great!

After another day full of technical training sessions and meetings with Partner Products we wrapped up the day at the conference off site event.  I will detail this event in a separate post because I feel that the SolidWorks Event Team deserves more the 1 sentence.

Stay tuned for all of the Wednesday happenings as more live coverage from SolidWorks WORLD is coming your way!

#sww11 monday roundup

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The 1st full day of SolidWorks WORLD 2011 is officially in the books and it was a great day!

The day started off with the General Session as it normally does.  Last year on Monday the big SolidWorks in the cloud announcement was made so there was some anticipation this year about what would be introduced.  Well, this year there were no BIG announcements like that but it was still an unforgettable General Session.


Jeff Ray started the General Session of by talking about some of the GREAT SolidWorks customers out there.  Many of you were enthralled with what was happening in Chile a few months back as 33 miners were safely rescued after being underground for 69 days.  SolidWorks customers played a major role in this rescue effort and they were recognized by Jeff yesterday morning.  Schramm, designed the drilling rig that drilled down to originally find the miners alive and also drilled the “Plan B” shaft during the rescue effort.  Another SolidWorks customer, Center Rock Inc., designed the drill bits that we used on the rescue shaft.  And a 3rd SolidWorks customer, Oakley, made special sunglasses for all of the miners rescued so that as soon as they got out of the capsule the sun light did not do harm to their eyes.  All of these companies and designers should be applauded but are often never thought of.


Jeff then thanked the crowd for a great 7 years as CEO of SolidWorks Corporation and then introduced Bertrand Sicot to the crowd as the new CEO.  Bertrand made some opening announcements and then jumped right into the SolidWorks V6 talk that was previewed last year.  Bertrand’s statement about what the future of SolidWorks looks like with this development work being done was “SolidWorks will ALWAYS offer a desktop application”.


Bernard Charles, from SolidWorks parent company Dassault Systemes then made his now annual appearance at SolidWorks WORLD and made probably the biggest announcement of Monday.  He, along with Jeremy Luchini, introduced the crowd to Post3D.  What is Post3D you ask?  Well, it looks like a virtual environment where you can join others in a virtual showroom to look at a design.  It looked very similar to the semi popular SecondLife virtual world.  Bernard said this is going to be the “new way to do business”.  I will have a more in depth post covering my thoughts on a program like this after the show.


lovell and kranzThen came the highlight of the day (and probably the highlight of my SolidWorks WORLD career).  Apollo 13 HEROES Gene Kranz (Mission Control Director) and Jim Lovell (Astronaut) took the stage to tell of the story of that NASA mission that all of us are so familiar with.  I do not think that I would be out of line to say that all of the attendees were at the edge of their seat as this story was told.  What an unbelievable privilege it was to be in the same room as these 2 true American Heroes.

The rest of Monday consisted of meetings with exhibitors in the Partner Pavilion (which I will discuss in a later post) and also sitting in on some technical training sessions (which I will also discuss in later posts).  The day ended with a unbelievable fun night at the CSWP event that included great food, great music, and Nerf gun wars.

Stay tuned today for continued coverage from SolidWorks WORLD 2011.

#sww11 big news!

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Now that SolidWorks WORLD 2011 is upon is there is a common question that everyone asks every year. What will be this years big news and/or big focus?

Last year at SWW 2010 all of the talk was focused around the SolidWorks on the cloud announcement.  Since last January I believe that this topic has been beat to death other than the fact that no one outside of SolidWorks really has a clue as to what this will look like.

However, one thing that we will be able to see this year in action is SolidWorks n!Fuze.  SolidWorks n!Fuze is the product that was introduced last year at the Wednesday morning general session as SolidWorks PDS.  What is n!Fuze?  Well it is SolidWorks’s first cloud based application that will work as a data management tool.  Earlier this week The SolidWorks Blog released the 1st screenshots of this new application and announced that the attendees at SolidWorks WORLD 2011 will get the chance to test drive it in the Partner Pavilion.  Here are a few screenshots of the new SolidWorks n!Fuze.

n!fuze_1n!fuze_2n!fuze_3So that brings be back to my original question.  What will be this years big new and / or big focus?  I personally feel that we will be hearing a lot about the relationship of SolidWorks Corporation and their parent company, Dassault Systemes continuing to get closer and closer.  Another big topic this year will be the change in leadership that was announced a few weeks back.  This will be the first year that Bertrand Sicot will be in charge.  I am sure there will be a lot of talk about how Bertrand carries himself compared to what the SolidWorks community has become accustomed to with the past few CEO’s.

All in all know one really ever knows what to expect until it happens.  No one saw the big preview of SolidWorks in the cloud coming last year.  What do you think will be the big announcement this year?  Will there be a big announcement?

Only time will tell.  However, stay tuned for coverage if it does come!


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SolidWorks WORLD 2011 is officially under way!  Registration is open and they are attendees milling around almost everywhere you look.  The Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas has officially been taken over by SolidWorks users!

I arrived yesterday around 11:00 AM CST and took some time wandering around aimlessly in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.  While walking through the convention center I quickly decided that this is going to be a great venue for SolidWorks WORLD.

One of the best things about SolidWorks WORLD every year is connecting with other users from around the world that you have not seen in a year.  Last night I have the pleasure of having dinner with a bunch of people you will see of frequently in the forums and on twitter.  It was great to finally meet some of these guys in person rather than in the virtual world.

Beginning tomorrow there will be an over abundance of information and updates flying around on Twitter (hashtag #sww11) and on the blogs.  If you aren’t able to attend this year I am sure you will still be able to have almost instant access as to what is happening here by following these social media outlets.

So stay tuned and take a moment to mentally prepare yourself for the barrage of information that will be coming your way these next 3 days. 

solidworks world 2011…general sessions

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In my continued series of why you should make a point to be in San Antonio, Texas in January 2011 for SolidWorks WORLD 2011, I want to discuss the General Sessions that are held each morning of the conference.

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 8:30 – 10:00 AM a General Session is held for all of the attendees at SolidWorks WORLD.  On Monday and Tuesday, this usually consists of some big name speakers.  In the past, these speakers have included Richard Branson and James Cameron among others.  These speakers do not always have a direct tie to SolidWorks but often have a connection to the engineering field or at least can give inspiration to the designers in the audience.

On Wednesday (and portions of Monday and Tuesday) you also see a preview of technology to come.  Specifically, on Wednesday you get a sneak peak at the next release of SolidWorks.  So in January, you will get a chance to see SolidWorks 2012 for the first time.

All in all, these general sessions are AWESOME!  There is really too much to write here without boring you to death.  I feel that the general sessions alone are worth the price of admission.

If you have any other questions about what happens in these general sessions feel free to comment here or send me an email.  I would love to give you more information.

solidworks world 2011…breakout sessions

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So you have been using SolidWorks now for a number of years and haven’t had any training since you first started using it.  Is this correct?  For most users this is an accurate statement.  Once the initial training investment is made it is not really revisited again because you know how to run the software and you know what you need to do your job.  But what this doesn’t take into account is continuous improvement which is a common phrase thrown around many companies in today’s world.

So where do you go to get additional training?  For some of you it is local user groups which usually consist of a couple of technical presentations.  For some others it may by the blogs or websites that are available.  But what if you could have solid 3 days of user group presentations done by some of the top users.  This is what SolidWorks WORLD offers to its attendees.  No other place can you find this type of training.  In fact, there is so many sessions crammed into 3 days that they could easily spread out the conference to 5 days and still have a good selection of sessions during each time slot.

The sessions that are available cover almost everything you could imagine in regards to SolidWorks so no matter what your forte is, there is probably a breakout session that will help you.

For a complete list of the sessions that will be available click here.  If you haven’t done so already, you need to make a point to get to San Antonio in January.  Remember, it’s continuous improvement!

solidworks world 2011…networking with developers

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With each passing day we get closer and closer to SolidWorks WORLD 2011 in San Antonio, Texas.  The 1st Early Bird Discount is already done and the presentations / presenters have been selected.

So again, you might be asking.  Why should I be spending the time and money to head to Texas?  This reason might be the #1 reason overall but I will let you judge for yourself.  How many times have you been working in your favorite desktop email, spreadsheet, or word processing program and had this thought…”why can’t this do it like this”?  At SolidWorks WORLD you have the opportunity to address some of the types of questions by talking to the people that actually write the program.

Usually by the end of the 1st general session on Monday morning you will know what the employee shirt style is for the year and for the rest of the conference you will notice these shirts / employees EVERYWHERE.  The one thing that really stuck out to me the 1st year that I attended was how open all of the employees were.  They were more than happy to talk to you if you stopped them in the hallway, sat with them at lunch, sat next to them in a technical training session, etc.

Here is your chance to make your voice be heard.  Do you have something that you want to tell the developers?  SolidWorks WORLD 2011 is you chance!