Join Gabriel Corbett for an in-depth discussion in this video Launching SolidWorks for the first time, part of Learn SOLIDWORKS: The Basics.
- To launch SOLIDWORKS for the first time, let's go ahead and double click on the icon. Let it go ahead and load up and as soon as it does, we're going to have a user environment that looks a lot like this. Let's go ahead and click on this little blank sheet of paper at the top of the screen. And that's going to give us this dialogue window asking us if I want to start a Part, Assembly, or a Drawing. Now SOLIDWORKS has three modes. So basically, we're going to be building a bunch of Parts. And then we're going to take those parts and we're going to assemble those parts together to create an Assembly. And then I can make drawings of individual parts or the assemblies.
If you don't see this window, you might be over in the Advanced tab. You can see a lot more individual templates that you can use inside of the Advanced tab but we're going to be focusing only on the basics in this course. So click back on Novice, click on Part, and click on OK. Starting at the very top, you can see I've got my standard File, Edit, View, Insert, and all the basic Tools window. Right next to that is New Document, Open Document, Save, Print, and System Options down here at the end. Directly below that is the ribbon bar, the ribbon bar is where all the main tools we're going to use in creating Parts in SOLIDWORKS are going to be found.
I have three different tabs shown right now. So I have Features, I have Sketch, and I have Evaluate and there's a bunch of other tabs that I can turn on. If I right click on any one of these individual tabs, you can see here I've got a listing of all the individual toolbars I can turn on. So if I go ahead and turn on Sheet Metal, you can see I get a Sheet Metal toolbar with all the individual Sheet Metal tools. If you don't want that, right click on it. Click on Sheet Metal again and it goes away. Click on Sketch, you can see I have all my individual Sketch tools available there. Directly below that is my View Palette, right here. I can click on Zoom to Fit, Zoom to Area, Zoom Previous, Section View, View Orientation, Display Style, Hide and Show different items, I can click on Edit Appearances, Applying Scene, as well as View Settings.
Now I don't have a Part to show you how those actually work but we are going to be using those throughout the course. Over here on the right-hand side of the screen, click on this little house, this little window pops out and you can see I have a whole bunch of SOLIDWORKS resources. This tab here has a lot of the same things we see up here at the top of the screen. So click on New Document, Open Document. I can take a look at some tutorials and I can even come down here to some of these tools. Directly below that is the Design Library. The Design Library allows me to store individual Parts, Assemblies, Drawings, and Sketches that I can then reuse in my designs.
I also have Tool Box in there that has thousands of premade individual fasteners, nuts, bolts, hardware that I can drag and drop into my Assemblies to easily create complex assemblies without having to create those individual parts. 3D Content Central allows us to download SOLIDWORKS parts and assemblies from individual manufacturers out in industry that I can then put into my assemblies and reuse their components. So sometimes that's a lot easier than designing the parts themselves off of drawings or off of individual parts that you might be measuring. Just go ahead and download them from the manufacturer and put them in your assembly.
A really quick and easy way to reuse some content that's already been provided for you. And below that is SOLIDWORKS Content which has a whole bunch of different assemblies, annotation features, and stuff like that that you might want to use. If you click on it, it's going to ask you for the first time if you want to accept their terms. If you don't want it, go ahead and click on the red X to get rid of it. Now right next to that is a toolbar. Now toolbars can be docked anywhere inside of SOLIDWORKS. So click on it and drag it out. You can see here, it is the tools that I have available in this toolbar which it happens to be called Tools. And if I don't want to see that I can go ahead and click on the red X to close it out or I can take it and dock it.
I can put it over here on the left-hand side of the screen and notice it just docks right over there. If you don't want it there, click on it and drag it back out. If you don't want it showing at all just go ahead and click on that red box, it goes away. If you want to show other toolbars, right click and here are all the individual toolbars that it can show. And I'm going to go ahead and turn that Tools right back on. It shows back up over here and I'm going to dock it over here to the right-hand side of the screen. Over on the left-hand side of the screen is the Feature Manager. This is a very important Feature Manager because we're going to be using it throughout the entire design process.
This is where all the individual features we create, all the individual sketches, everything in our design is going to be listed here, one after another in the way we create the Part. That's called a history-based modeler. It's also parametric-based modeler, so each one of these things can be linked to each other. So as we go and design our parts, you'll start seeing individual features with the individual sketches directly below that. Right now we have a blank part so there's nothing in there but that's where those are going to be listed in the future. There's also a couple tabs here at the top, the Property Manager, the Configuration Manager, the Dimension Expert, as well as the Display Manager.
We're not really going to be getting into those in this course but I do want to point out where they are. So back here to Feature Manager. In the final view area here is just our main window here where we're going to be creating our parts. And that's when we start making sketches and creating solids. That's where they're going to be showing up. So that's the basic overview for the environment inside of SOLIDWORKS.
- Navigating the SOLIDWORKS 3D workspace
- Creating sketches
- Extruding 3D parts from 3D sketches
- Using the Spline tool
- Adding dimensions
- Trimming and extending sketches
- Using the Mirror tool to repurpose geometry
- Referencing geometry
- Adding fillets, chamfers, and patterns
- Mating parts in an assembly
- Creating part drawings