After you've installed either the 64 bit or 32 bit version of SOLIDWORKS, you'll be ready to launch the program. Once it's opened, you'll see a blank interface and some tools to get started. In this video, you'll learn how to launch SOLIDWORKS for the first time, and how you can navigate your way to the software's basic interface.
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Solidworks is the world leader in 3D solid modelling. Solidworks is a history and feature based parametric modelling program. The software uses a simple set of tools and commands to assist you in designing the next great product. Let's first go over opening the software and then we'll tour the interface. Under desktop, you should see an icon that says, Solidworks 2014 and you can either have the 64-bit or the 32-bit edition depending on the software you have installed. If you don't see it on the desktop you can go to the Start menu, and I have it as the first icon here. Go ahead and click on that and that should launch the program.
To get started, first I'm going to come up here to the Solidworks logo and directly next to that is a little arrow. If I click on that arrow, notice there's a little File menu that pops up, and if I go to the very end of that, if I click on the pushpin. It will stay up. I like to sometimes get into these File menus and actually open files from there, so it makes it really easy. To get started, the easiest way is actually to click on this blank sheet of paper called New. When this dialog box opens up, notice we've got three options. We've got a part, an assembly, or a drawing. And those are three different modes that SolidWorks can actually operate in.
Most of the time you're going to start with parts and you're going to take those parts, you're going to assemble those together and then we can make drawings of either parts or assemblies. Let's choose Part, click on OK, and launch the program. Now we have the full interface available. On the top, you can see we have what's called the ribbon bar. And the ribbon bar has all these different tabs. You can click through the different tabs to get the various tools that are available in different modes. We're primarily going to be using Features and Sketch. Directly below that is the Feature Manager. The Feature Manager is going to control all the different features we go through when we build an assembly or part and they'll build one on top of each other directly in this area here.
Also in these tabs, which you're not going to use quite as much, is the Property Manager, Configuration Manager. Dimension Expert and the Display Manager. We're really not going to use those too much, but I just wanted to point out what they are and where they are. Let's go back to the Features Manager, which we're going to be using all the time. Over here one the right, you can see, we have what's called the flyout bars. And if I click on one of them, notice, this whole little drawer pops up here and it has various tools available to us. Over here I can open a new document, I can view tutorials, I can even connect with local user groups.
There's a lot of nice resources that are avilable from that tab. Directly below that is the Design Library. And this is where I can store commonly used parts, or assemblies, or drawings, or annotations, or just about anything in the library and I can drag and drop those into my designs as needed. Below that is the standard file explorer. And, again, I can open recent documents or open things maybe on the desktop. And, I've got a couple other options here. I've got the Appearances tab, and I have the Custom Properties tab. And we'll be getting into those later. But, for right now, I just wanted to point out where they're located.
If you come down to the lower right hand corner of the screen, you can see an IPS icon down here. If you click on that, you'll notice it shows inch, pound, second, and these are your basic units you're going to be using in the software. The most common are millimeters or inches, so you can either switch between metric or imperial units. In this course here we are primarily going to be using inches but just in case you are working on design and the feature, it happens to be in millimeters. You can quickly switch between the two. If you need a little more inter-kit control over the units and the size as in things like that. You can click on the Edit Document units and you can really change anything you want there.
And last thing I want to point out is, these little icons here on the top of the screen. So if you have a model open, allows you to zoom to fit, this one allows you to zoom to area. You can look at your previous view. You can section the model. You can look at all the various viewer orientations. You can change the way you look at the model from shaded with edges all the way to wireframe. You can change the appearances. You can change the backgrounds. And you can change the way the graphics are presented on the screen. A lot of these really don't make a lot of sense quite yet because we don't have a model to actually look at. But I just want to point out again where these are located on the screen and how we can find them in the future.
You should now understand where most of the tools and options are located in the software. And how to navigate in a 3D environment.
- Creating your first part
- Starting a new sketch
- Adding and removing relationships and dimensions
- Sketching polygons
- 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