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Saving your work is essential in all software. However, in SolidWorks, it's very important to understand how files interconnect. In this video let's go ahead and open up under Exercise Files, Chapter One, 1.4, and go ahead and choose 1.4.SLDASM for SolidWorks Assembly. And go ahead and choose Open. By the way, if you don't see that file, make sure you have both the parts and assembly icons turned on. If you didn't have that, you wouldn't see it. Go ahead and choose first one and click on open. And that should open a little stack of blocks, look like this.
And we're going to go ahead and work through a few of the saving options for this. First off, let's understand how the file system works. The SolidWorks file structure looks a lot like this. At the top level we have basically a top level assembly, which is then built up of individual parts, and those parts can have drawings made of them. And then you can also have subassemblies that are under the top level assembly, and then we can have drawings of that top level assembly. It can go further down by this subassembly here as part 2 and 4, with drawings 6 and 7 as well as being made up again of another subassembly and another drawing.
So that drawing is a drawing of this assembly, and this drawing here is a drawing of this assembly, so you can see, it keeps going and going. Many layers deep. Anyways, the point is, if you changed the name of one of these, for instance, sub Assembly3, if you were to change the name of that to, say, sub Assembly12. What would happen is sub Assembly2 would be looking for Assembly3, and it just wouldn't find it. And it's all based upon what you actually name that file. So it will then have a broken link, and then all the items below Assembly3 would now be broken as well.
So these would be kind of all orphaned parts and assemblies and drawings, because I can't find Assembly3. It's been renamed to something else, outside of the SolidWorks environment. And that will break all those links, so we have to be very cognitive about not making those changes. When we save files, you basically have an Assembly, followed by a Part, by a Drawing. And they're all linked together by their file names. So associated files will look for that same file name relative to their location. So if they're all in the same folder, they'll actually first look for those other parts of Assembly inside that folder. If not, they'll look for the last pass to where that was.
So if you've got parts in assembly in many different folders and across different systems, sometimes it can be a pretty big web of files, on all types of different locations. And it can kind of difficult to bring all that back together in one easy to understand architecture. If you do want to copy the entire design to one folder, it's a great way to put everything in one condensed folder, where all the links are internal, and it makes things much more easy. When you use the Save As command in SolidWorks, what happens is it actually replaces the links that are internal there. So for instance, here you have assembly A is pointing to part over here and then they have a drawing of that.
Now, if I do the Save As, basically it changes these arrows in these links to point to a different part. What happens then as the original part is just left orphaned on your file system, and all the links are now updated to the secondary part or wherever you saved it as This a lot of times can cause issues because you have the old version of the file and the new version of the file both in the same file system. It can get really messy. So I recommend not using the save as unless you really want to have a secondary copy of the file in that state and the links are now pointing to the latest file. So make sure you think through the file structure and naming scheme before you start a project, it'll really help out.
Naming in SolidWorks is really important and doing it in the beginning will really save you a lot of time in the long run. What happens is many people will start their designs. And by default, SolidWorks will come up with a part name like Part number one. And then you're going to have Part number two, three, four and there's really nothing telling you what those parts are. And later on, you might want to actually change those names. Well, the problem is, if you change the names using, for instance, Windows Explorer, then all the links that they're linked together will all be broken. So that's generally a bad thing to do. So the best thing you want to do is actually name them, with a good, logical name, right from the beginning, to make things easier.
Here's an example of what I would recommend. First off, you want to come up with some type of a company designator, followed by a project designator, followed by a part number. Fallback configurations. So for example, this company is called two tress olive oil and they are producing an olive press. We'll call it, olive press 1. And this is going to be your machine part and we are going to give a designator of part number 30. And we're going to use configuration 1. So that would boil down to a part number looks like tt dash op1 dash 3030 dash 1. This is really nice for when your using accounting software or an ERP system and you have to put these files in if you use this same type of situation all parts and designs by two trees would automatically all be in the same list.
Under the TT. All parts of the Olive Press One would automatically also be in descending order around OP one. And then, if you use some type of a naming scheme using some kind of part level designator, such as this 3,030, then all of your for instance, machine parts, would be in the 3,000 levels. So you can have 3,000 30, or 3030, 3031, and they'll all be in descending order. If you have sheet metal parts, they might be in the 4000 levels. Maybe molded parts in 5000 levels, and then your sub assemblies and top level assemblies would be in the 2000 and 1000 levels.
That way if you quickly look at a part number, you know exactly what type of part it is. Where it fits into the assembly, and where it fits in the hierarchy makes things a lot easier. And definitely doing that from the beginning makes a lot of sense. In fact, what I would actually do is go ahead and before you start a project, figure out what your part numbering scheme's going to be. That way we can figure out what your top level assembled parts are going to be, what sub-assemblies will make those up, and then what machine parts, machine metal parts, and you can give blocks of parts to different designers. Or working in your team. So if for instance if you're working on machine parts, you might give the three thousand one hundred block to one designer.
You might give the three thousand two hundred block to another designer. That way they can freely assign part numbers within that three thousand one hundred level part. And they're not going to be steeping on each other's toes. And it can also designate whose working on which part by that level of adesignation in the part number. It makes it really easy. Jumping back over to SolidWorks, let's take a look at what's going to happen here. If I were to open a part like this, click on File, click on Open Part, come up here to File, and I'm going to go to Save As what happens is it gives me a little dialog box pops up, and it says, hey, if you do a Save As This references will be changed over to wherever the new file is, but I have a couple other options here.
I can save a copy and continue, or I can save a copy, and then open that new copy up, which will then leave that orphan part on the file system. So I just wanted to point out, that's several of the options we have when we do a save as, because it's going to replace all those links with a new saved file. A lot of times you don't want to do that, you would prefer to actually just change the name of the file, and keep it the same. So I'm going to cancel that. In fact I'm going to close both of these. I'm going to close this, I'm going to close that, and then I'm going to jump over to SolidWorks Explorer. And on my desktop, notice I've got SolidWorks Explorer 2014.
Go ahead and click on that. If you get this error it's okay, because what happens is, SolidWorks Explorer is automatically built in with Workgroup's PDMWorks. If you don't have Workgroup PDM installed on your computer. It's okay, you can just go ahead and click OK, but if you do, this integrates quickly with the PDM system, allows you to check things in and out of the vault. If you're working with a bigger group of people, or you want to have revision level of control, used by the PDM system. When you first open up SolidWorks Explorer, you can see it's pretty much like Windows Explorer. Go ahead and click on the Desktop, and I'm going to choose Exercise Files.
And come down here to chapter one, and 1.4. You can see if I click on the any of the individual parts, shows you what it is, nice little screen. And if I wanted to change the name of one of these things, for instance I'm going to choose 1.4.2. Right click on it, and just say rename. Notice, it searches the file system, and find all the assemblies that are using that part. If there is drawings, it would find the drawings as well, but notice that it find's its drawing. Come up here, you change it to whatever you'd like, and then click OK. I don't really want to change the file name at this point and time, but I want to point out, that is the best way to make a file change, and it automatically updates all the links so that all your files work together well.
Let's jump back over here to SolidWorks now, and I want to point out about saving, so let's go back and open up that same assembly. When I want to actually save out these files, I can obviously come over here to File > Save, it saves it out, or at the top of the screen here just click on Save, it saves the latest version, that's great. But what about Autosave? What about like, backup versions? What happens if I'm working on this great design? I forget to save and I loose all my work. Up here at the very top of the screen, the far right, you click on this Option tab and if you come over here on the left hand side under System Options.
Come down to back up and recover, notice I get a couple options here. So first off I get auto recover, so it's going to save autofile. And in this case every ten minutes. You know what? I don't really want to go back ten minutes, let's just go back five minutes. It's not a big deal, especially if you have a faster computer. And then where do you want to save these files to? In this case here this is fine but generally I like to have this on a separate drive or some other separate system in case my entire computer were to crash I then have access to my auto recovered files. But backup's actually more important here. So click on Backup, and notice, you can keep multiple copies of the same backup.
So every time I save, for instance here, if I turn it to 3, it saves three individual copies of that file to the backup folder. So any time I need to go back in time, I can go back actually three saves of that file and then grab that folders back. In this case here, again it's trying to save it to my local user account. I don't really want to use that, so go ahead and choose this little icon on the far right, and let's choose a new folder. Now if you had a network drive, this would be the ideal place to be saving your file to a network drive. That way if something happened to your computer, you'd automatically have a backup on a network drive or to a file system that's not actually on this local machine.
I'm going to go to Computer, and I actually have a D drive. So I'm going to go in there and I'm going to say SW-Backup and click OK. And now all my backup files are going to be stored in that folder and I'm going to have three different copies of each file. Also you're going to have Solidworks prompt you to save your file every 20 minutes and you can also choose how long it takes for that notification to automatically dismiss. A couple great things that'll save you a lot of time especially working on a big complicated project. And, the computers maybe a little bit unstable, maybe it's crashing, and you have some issues.
This will quickly get you back to the point you were. And you can always go back and grab those back up copies. It'll really save you a lot of time in the long run. Solo-works is an amazing software. You can create amazing things. However along the way, to make sure you save your work, naming files correctly the first time will save a lot of time and in the long run, can lead to less clutter and better designs.
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