Doing 3D CAD work requires more functionality and comfort from peripheral equipment. Get some tips on how to improve your workflow.
- [Instructor] While it's not as critical as your workstation configuration, setting up your peripheral hardware for your computer can also be very important. Let's begin by talking about keyboard selection. Currently, there are many different kinds of keyboards available to the user. We're going to focus on some of the main features that are important when dealing with CAD. Many designers will agree that it's important to have a keyboard with a number pad. Currently, you have the option to select keyboards with a number pad included in the build, or a whole other auxiliary number pad separate from your keyboard, depending on your setup.
No matter which you prefer, I would just make sure that you have a number pad available to you, because this is going to be critical when inserting dimensions and changing values of SOLIDWORKS features. You want to be able to do this quickly and easily. Most people can type values in much faster on a number pad than they can across the top of a keyboard. Looking forward, there are also some custom keyboards out there available that give you the ability to program specific SOLIDWORKS features to the keys. Let's say, for example, you don't like using hotkeys.
You can instead program a keyboard on a blank button to always use the extrude feature, for example. If you use a set of features a lot, you can get a very small custom keyboard and program it with all these features built in so that you're reducing your movements with your mouse and just hitting another button on the keyboard. One other thing to consider when talking about keyboards is wired verus wireless. Now it's very common for people to have a wireless keyboard and mouse setup. I personally prefer to have a separate mouse, separate keyboard, and both wired.
By having a wired keyboard, A, you'll know that it's always powered and working, and if there are any issues with it, you won't be struggling with it in the middle of an important build. With USB ports more common across all surfaces of your workstation, this makes it really easy to plug in no matter what your setup. The biggest and most important thing to consider when selecting any keyboard is something that's appropriately sized for you and is comfortable. You don't want to be fighting a keyboard that's too big, too small, or doesn't fit your hand correctly when you're working in SOLIDWORKS.
This can act as a distraction, and slow down your designs. Next, let's talk about mouse selection. Again, like keyboards, you can get them both wired and wireless. Unless you're using it for travel, I prefer using a wired mouse. It's just more reliable, and you won't have to deal with batteries going dead or errors that come up because a signal isn't going through correctly. Just like a keyboard, many new age mice come with programmable buttons all around it, so you can program features from SOLIDWORKS right into a special button on your mouse, other than the left, right, and scroll wheel.
We also have a new type of mouse called a 3D mouse, which has been popular for the past 10 or so years. This is a different kind of mouse which gives you the ability to handle your 3D model a little bit differently than you typically would with your traditional mouse. Instead of holding down on a button to drag and drop or rotate, you can simply twist a knob on the 3D mouse or push in and out on it like a joystick to move your model around with ease and much more precisely.
I would also suggest getting a very large mouse pad. This is going to give you the space that you need to move your mouse around comfortably and not be running into all the other stuff on your desk when you're moving around. The main goal of all of this is to limit the movements that you have to make and to keep you comfortable in your chair so you can focus on your design and not worry about moving your hands all over the place. Speaking of where we are, the last thing we want to discuss in this is ergonomics. While this doesn't directly relate to your workstation or the components that you've purchased, you want to make sure that you have a desk that is appropriately sized, a chair that's appropriate for you, and everything's adjusted in the correct way so that you're sitting comfortably.
This is going to increase your speed when you're trying to click and type all over the place, making design changes. It's going to help you stay focused on your work, have your movements be faster. It's also healthier for you.
- How your workstation's hardware functions
- Adjusting System Options settings
- Modeling best practices
- Creating custom configurations
- Fixing your assemblies
- Using SpeedPak
- Increasing modeling performance with Instant2D and Instant3D