Join Gabriel Corbett for an in-depth discussion in this video Launching SOLIDWORKS for the first time, part of SOLIDWORKS 2017 Essential Training.
- SOLIDWORKS is the world leader in 3D solid modeling software. SOLIDWORKS is both a history and feature based parametric modeling program. The software uses a simple set of tools and commands to assist you in designing your next great product. Let's go over opening up the software, and then tour the interface. The first thing we need to do is go ahead and click on the desktop icon for SOLIDWORKS 2016. For some reason, if you don't have the desktop icon, go into the Window's start menu and fire up SOLIDWORKS 2016.
When SOLIDWORKS opens up, you can see the interface has been completely redesigned. It has a totally new look, the icons look completely different, but most of the tools are pretty much the same. First things first, if I click here, anywhere in the middle of the window, that little sidebar will go in, and you can see up here I have File, View, Tools and etc. If you don't see these sticking out here, notice there's this little pin at the end, if I close that it'll go away, and there's a little arrow here that makes that fly out. I'm going to click on the pin, to keep it out. And then I'm going to click on this first icon here, which is New Document.
Whenever you fire up SOLIDWORKS, and start a new document, you have the option of three seperate modes inside of SOLIDWORKS. The first one is your part modeling mode, that's where we're going to be creating the majority of all our parts. Then we're going to take those parts and we're going to build assemblies from those parts. That's where your second mode is here. Now you don't necessarily have to build all the parts to build an assembly, you can sometimes download them from the internet. Or get them from other designers. And then finally, you've got the drawing mode. So the drawing mode is going to allow us to build and create drawings for both parts and assemblies.
To get started let's click on Part, and click on OK. And give that a second to load the individual toolbars, and the work environment. Now you see, we've got a bunch of different buttons all over the screen. So let's go ahead and take a look at each individual section. Up here at the top we call this the ribbon bar. That ribbon has the ability to change by these individual tabs here. So I click on individual tabs. Notice the tools automatically change. So if I go back to features, you can see that tools are available here, and if they're grayed out, that means they're not quite available in this mode you're in.
If you go over to sketch, same thing, you got a bunch of sketch tools here, some of them aren't available quite yet, for instance the Offset Entities. There's no entities yet drawn, so there's nothing to offset. As soon as you draw something, of course that tool will now be active. Okay, so that's the ribbon bar. Now over here on the left-hand side, is what we call the feature manager. This is where we're going to be building each individual building block of our part, one after another. Each feature will be labeled and in the order you create them. I also have a history bar that allows me to go back and forward through the process of creating the model, right here at the bottom.
So I can just drag this back. So far we don't have any features, so we're going to be getting into that a little bit later on. Over here on the right-hand side of the screen, this is a fly-out. So if I click on the fly-out, you can see I have a lot of the same tools available over here that I do at the top of the screen. I can start a new document, I can open a document, and I also have a few tutorials that I can go through for creating your first part, or making your own drawing. Some other tutorials there, even introduction to SOLIDWORKS. Take a look at some of the SOLIDWORKS tools down here, and even take a look at some of the community information.
Directly below that is our design library. Now, the design library is where we can keep individual parts, annotations, drawings, you name it, pretty much anything in SOLIDWORKS can be put into the design library for later use. So very very helpful there. We also have the option to use toolbox, which is standard fasteners, like nuts and bolts and so on. 3D Content Central allows us to download 3D CAD files from the internet to be used in our designs. And then same thing with SOLIDWORKS Content, we can take a look at that. The next thing down here you'll see is the file explorer.
This is going to show what's open in SOLIDWORKS as well as our desktop. A little further down here is going to be the beachball, which is going to allow us to apply appearances as well as scenes to our parts. Directly below that is going to be custom properties, which we'll be getting into later, but that basically allows us to assign things like part numbers or revision levels to individual parts. And the final one here is the forum. So if you want to post a question, and have the world answer, this is the place to do that. At the top of the screen we've got a bunch of different view options, but they're not going to make a lot of sense, because we don't yet have a part to really look at.
But just to quickly cover them, I'm going to click on view to fit, I'm going to view to area, previous view, section view if I want to cut my part in half to take a look at what's inside, all my different view orientations; the way I want to look at my model, whether it's shaded mode, or wire frame and so on. A couple other options here to show or hide different icons. And then the option to edit appearances. As well as the scene that we're looking at it. And then we can take a look at a few different view settings. Those are the basics for the SOLIDWORKS interface.
I also have the options to add in more toolbars. So if I want to add in a new toolbar, I can right click anywhere you see in this gray area here. Right click and these are all the available toolbars that I can turn on. I'm going to go ahead and turn on Tools. Now you can see as soon as I turn on Tools, it shows up here, and I can dock this toolbar anywhere I want. So I can put it up here at the top of the screen, I can put it over here on the right-hand side of the screen, on the bottom, on the left. It's fully configurable, my work environment. I can just move things however I want.
Once they're there, if I want to pull it back out, just click on it, drag it out, and then close the toolbar. So, the entire interface is configurable. And to take that one step further, if I right click on any one of these tabs up here, I have the option to come down and customize my command manager. So inside of here I can see all the different toolbars that are turned on. I can go to shortcuts, look at commands, I can add individual commands to anyone of the toolbars that I have. Just by clicking and dragging that icon to a different toolbar.
I can take a look at the different menus. The keyboard, there's a bunch of different shortcuts you can assign to individual keys. For certain different tasks, for instance, browse recent documents is the letter R. So if I click on R on the keyboard, it should bring up a window displaying all the documents I've recently worked on. There's mouse gestures, which is a great way to access very commonly used tools quickly in your work environment. And then some further customizations. Those are the basics for the SOLIDWORKS environment, and we're going to be going through a lot more of this later on, throughout the course.
However, that should get you started, knowing the basics, where things are, and how to get started with a basic part.
- Advanced Sketch tools
- Creating sketches
- Modeling with the Extrude and Revolve features
- Applying materials, colors, and backgrounds
- Sketching basic shapes and polygons
- Working with planes, axes, and the coordinate system
- Creating smooth and angled corners with fillets and chamfers
- Advanced part modeling with the Loft and Sweep features
- Creating circular patterns
- Using surfaces to build solid models
- Using design tables
- Adding assemblies to drawings
- Including a bill of materials