Join Gabriel Corbett for an in-depth discussion in this video Launching SOLIDWORKS for the first time, part of SOLIDWORKS 2012 Essential Training.
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SolidWorks is the world leader in 3D solid modeling. The software uses a set of simple building blocks and helpers to assist you in designing the next great product. Let's go over the opening of the software and then tour the interface. I'll highlight the main areas of the interface in the work environment. Let's get started. On the Desktop, I can see an icon for SolidWorks 2012. We're using the 64-bit version; double- click that, it opens up the software. It's the first time running it, so we have the option to activate the product now or we can do it later. So I'll click on the Later tab and Finish.
That opens up the environment. On the right-hand side, we have the Resources tab. We can open new documents, we can go through some of the Tutorials; the What's New and Introduction to SolidWorks. On the bottom side here, we can see links to User Groups, some of the technical alerts and news, what's available, and what's going on in the world of SolidWorks right now. This is a fly-out tab, so if I click in the environment, it goes away; if I click back over here, it'll show up. If I'd like to continue to keep this out, I can click on the little pin which will hold it out.
I have tabs here. So the next tab down is the Design Library. Inside of there, we're going to be able to store snippets of sketches or parts that are going to be used later in our design. We have the File Explorer below that and that's going to be very similar to Windows Explorer, so we can open files on the regular Desktop or anywhere in the file system. The View palette, we don't really have any views to open right now, but it's where we would start our drawings from. Following that would be Appearances and Scenes. So if we want to render our part or color the part in or change the appearances of the material, we can do that and drag these into the environment, which we'll cover later.
The final thing here is the Custom Properties. Inside of there, we're going to have what would be putting our part number, our revision materials and any documentation we want to put about our part, it'd go in there. So I'm going to close that little pin. On the upper left-hand corner of the screen, you notice we have SolidWorks tab and we have this little fly-out window, if we go over this little icon here. And if we want to keep that out, I can click on the pin and that will keep that File > View tab available. To open a new document, we need to click on either the New icon here or we can go under File and New or Ctrl+N; click on that.
That opens up our New Document window and we have three available options here which would the Part, Assembly or Drawing. If you don't happen to see this, you could be on the Advanced tab, which is going to have almost the same thing. Click back on Novice, click on Part, click on OK and that's going to open up our New window. This is our main drawing environment here. On the left hand side is going to be our Feature Manager. Feature Manager is going to hold all the features we create in our part. We start with three fundamental planes; Front Plane, Top Plane, Right Plane and notice that as I mouse over each one of those, they highlight on the screen.
If I'd like to continue to see that plane, I can click and there is this little icon that pops up called the Show icon. It looks like a pair of goggles. Click on that and that continues to show, and notice the icon changes from black-and-white to color. I can do the same with the others if I wanted to see those. Turn all three of those on so we can see that. To move the view around, I can always hold down the middle mouse button and spin that environment. Same thing if I scroll with my mouse in or out; it'll zoom the view. On the upper portion of the screen, we have what is called the Ribbon bar and this is similar to many other softwares out there, and what you'll see is different tabs.
So if I click on the corresponding tab, I get a different ribbon tool palette that will pop up and I have a variety of like five here, but I can right-click on any one of them and it will show me the available tool tabs that I can put up here. So I can quickly add Mold Tools, or same thing, I can take away Sheet Metal, for instance, to change that around. So the two we're going to be working with most are going to be the Sketch and Features tabs. Other than that, if we need to open documents or close documents, we have a quick shortcut which is on the keyboard. If we hit the R key, it pops up a little window which is the Recent Documents.
So if we wanted to go and open this part here, for instance, click on that and now I have that part open. We have a couple of documents open now. So if I go up to the Window tab, I've got a few different choices here as far as how to look at that. One of my favorites is Tile Horizontally which makes the two documents that are open tile. Now if I had four, it would put four on the screen and so on. So if I had 20, it would put 20 on the screen, but they'd become very small, and it's hard to look at; so keep that in mind. Then if you want to open any one of these documents, just click on the Maximize; it brings us back to full screen. You should now understand where most of the tools and options are located in the software and how to navigate the 3D environment.
The course shows how to cut and revolve holes into parts and use the Hole Wizard tool to generate industry standard holes like counter bores, counter sinks, and taps. Best practice for designing parts is emphasized throughout the course as well as methods for creating parts faster and easier using equations, mirroring, and patterning tools. The course wraps up with generating manufacturing-ready drawings complete with an itemized Bill of Materials. As a bonus feature, Gabriel shows how to photo render a final design. Exercise files are included with the course.
- Starting a new sketch
- Adding and removing relationships
- Dimensioning a sketch for specific size attributes
- Setting system options, units, and templates
- Drawing polygons
- Drawing circles, arcs, and splines
- Creating offset geometry
- Moving, copying, and rotating elements
- Working with planes, axes, and the coordinate system
- Using Revolve and Loft to create 3D objects
- Trimming with the Revolve, Loft, and Sweep cuts
- Creating smooth and angled corners with fillets and chamfers
- Designing with sketch blocks
- Working with subassemblies
- Creating threaded parts
- Integrating Excel to manage design tables
- Adding dimension notations to a drawing
- Rendering an image of a part or assembly