Soldworks update

I've been doing quite a bit of work since my "Design Approach help" and "Solidworks is a Dog" threads of about a month ago. I thought I'd at least
owe the group a short update.
I'm happy to report that Solidworks and me are at peace now. It hasn't crashed in weeks. And files haven't been exploding into a million pieces or growing out of control at all. How?
[1] I do not use ANY external relations whatsoever.
Each and every part is designed as an isolated entity, as though the sofware did not have the ability to do in-context or external relations.
If an in-context bit of geometry is needed, the relevant points or sketches are brought across with external references turned off.
Yes, if you move a hole in one part you have to remember to manually move it on all affected parts. Same thing if you change the diameter. Same thing if you alter any geometry that would otherwise be linked through external relationships.
[2] Any library or toolbox parts used get saved locally. A copy is saved within the directory structure of the part/assembly. No external (to the directory structure) references are allowed. Any part or assembly must survive the "zip test": Zip the design directory. Send it to someone with SW. They should be able to expand and open the part/assy without seeing nuts the size of a SUV or any other anomaly due to library issues.
[3] Exporting geometry back out to DWG/DXF for CNC was solved by purchasing Kent Contract's excellent utility.
[4] Lastly, a little more understanding of what Solidworks likes and does not like.
The tool is very useful, of course. The ability to crank out twenty sheets of blueprints (some people still need them) from a model in two hours flat is just amazing for those of us who actually learned to draw isometric projections and cross section views by hand, without computers and with judicious use of electric eraser guns (raise your hand if you still own one).
At the same time, it's a damn shame that SW, the company, doesn't seem to address some of the imporant issues the software has. Not being able to use in-context/external relations for fear of making your life a living hell is truly sad. This is supposed to be one of the key advantages of this sort of sofware.
Also, their customer service and support --so far, and for me-- leaves much to be desired. I've had a support problem filed with my local VAR (GoEngineer in Los Angeles) for over a month now. They escalated it to Solidworks corp. and we have not heard a word back yet. Thankfully I --not them-- figured out a way around the issue and was able to finish my design on time. The prototypes will be out next week. I fully expect to get an answer from SW then. Just to make the whole thing nicely ironic.
When I get the time I'm evaluating ProE. Just to avoid living in ignorance. Hell, I might even take a look at this VX thing!
Thanks all for your help.
-Martin
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Thanks for the update. Interesting reading.
About the external references: did you have time to experiment with locking external references when you're done with them instead of avoiding them? It seems a shame to have to give up external references, and locking them seems like a good compromise.
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Dale Dunn wrote:

No, I guess I didn't think of that. Really, I just wanted to get back to doing my work. The easiest was to go for isolated parts and do the part-to-part intelligence by hand.
The other tool I wish existed was one that you could use to purge all references (or selected ones) from a design. Sure, you can disable them. I want them gone. Not a trace of any of it in a file. The only way I know to do this is at the moment is to start from scratch.
-Martin
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Wow!
That is amazing. Good work.
I've been a Swx user for many years (since 96) and 2005 is far and away the worst version I've ever experienced. I had been using 2003 up until about 3 months ago, and I would gladly trade the few really useful new features (not just menu changes) for the stability of 2003. 2005 not only crashes to desktop with regularity (multiple time a day) but lately the added benefit of hanging resulting in the three finger salute and shutting down SolidWorks. I've been keeping a log and it's pretty impressive thusfar. The only way I've found to minimize the hanging is to make certain that it has completed a command before picking another action. This has significantly slowed me down in development, but it's better than constantly losing work. I haven't found a way to reduce the crashing to desktop. Your notes may help that.
One of the designers here had to redo a part from scratch because it got to a point where he couldn't do anything with the model with SolidWorks crashing. It's sad.
Chris
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What SP of 2005 are you on?
I've been running SP2.0 for a few weeks with very few problems.
snipped-for-privacy@movingpart.com wrote:

away
2003.
day)
it's
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Very well said, Martin!
..
--
Posted via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG

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Not just "Very well said, Martin!", but a hearty thanks for taking the time. It is tough, as I recall doing these sorts of "Beta Testing" in the 90s. It was gut wrenching at times.
Your hard fought battle report has given the rest of us the guts to "Just Say No" to 2005 until these features are stabilized in a later 2005 Service Pack.
2004 SP5 is remarkably stable and productive for me right now.
I just don't have the free time to screw with relations that bust in building parts and then going to mold cavities.
Many Thanks Again - Bo
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Bo wrote:

Yeah that's definately one of the new "features". I'll bring a part into an assembly. I then move it and a bunch of my existing mates go zowie! Nice!
I just upgraded to sp2 today, oh by the way, thanks to the coding team that came up with the BRILLIANT idea that I have to have my original install CD's to update the software! It seems to be a little better today, but I'm not getting excited.
I also like the new feature that some mates don't show up in the feature manager tree unless you choose the tree display->mates and dependencies mode and then choose the part with the mate. Nice!!!
And finally is anyone else's confirmation corner turning itself off when editing an existing sketch? I've had to just about give up using the confirmation corner. It's a pain when doing 3d sketches because I don't have a 3dsketch icon so, how do you close a 3d sketch without a confirmation corner?
Can I get overtime pay for all this Beta testing?
CD
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My confirmation corner used to disappear all the time. More importantly my sw2005 sp1.1 and 2.0 where crashing 7 or 8 times a day. I found out several things. First I tried to uninstall SW but noticed I couldn't use the add/remove to uninstall Sw. I had to get an MS utility to uninstall SW (I don't recall it's name it's on my work comp) . I then was wondering if MS office was going to have the same problem. Sure enough the add/remove didn't work on office either so I had to use the same utility. Apparently something with XP SP2 and the SW installs screwed up some fundemental components of my computer (windows installer?). After cleaning all the MS programs and all SW programs, (dbworks included) I reinstalled everything. In the meantime I found an issue (actually my VAR found the problem) with one part file that I use in many of my machine designs. It was a simple representation of a light curtain. Something in the Custom properties of that file got corrupted. How? I don't know if it was SW, DBworks, or me, but since we found that file, reloaded everything important, it's like I have a new machine. I have had a few CTD's but compared to what I was getting I'm content for the time being. It's a shame to have to settle for some level of instabiliy. It doesn't seem right!
That's interesting about the external references. I wonder if locking them has the same effect. If so, does anyone know of a macro to traverse parts in an assembly and lock external refs? Mike
On 5 Apr 2005 14:43:47 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@movingpart.com wrote:

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You can close a 3D sketch with either a rebuild or by clicking on the 3D sketch button on the toolbar.
WT
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Thanks for the update. I'm really glad to hear that you were able to get your work done. And really sorry to hear that you had to completely blow away your external references. I'm quite sure that many of our problems and crashes are due to external references. But I also think that we have some problem assemblies with no external references at all. So you might be just going through a bit of calm before another storm.
Jerry Steiger Tripod Data Systems "take the garbage out, dear"
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Martin, Please take a serious look at VX.
Our company just went through serious demos and evaluations of: 1. ProE with ISDX $4500 2. ThinkId $18,000 3. VX $6000 4. SolidWorks $4000 with surfacing add-in $1000
FYI, as a background, I have 7 years of SolidWorks experience in small device engineering, typically smaller than a tennis ball. I was hitting the limit of what SolidWorks could do in terms of free form organic shapes. We needed a robust surfacing solution.
Our budget allowed up to $20k for a Solids/Surfacing package. I initially wanted ThinkiD because it was the most expensive :) Reason being that the most expensive is usually the best right? (Insert Sarcasm)
Well I was wrong! After importing several different IGES files into each of the above packages, VX came out the winner. VX's imported models were the best.
When creating simple but memory intensive lofted surfaces from scratch, SolidWorks and VX came out the fastest. They tied in terms of speed. ProE and ThinkID were SLOW to the point of being frustrating!!
VX and ProE were the best in terms of complex surface creation. VX being easier to create the target surfaces. SolidWorks only dreams of being able to make these surfaces!
Core and Cavity design - Thinkid came out the winner with VX a very close second. SolidWorks has novice core and cavity functions. ProE has a $7000 add-in that was not evaluated.
Straightforward User interface - from best to worst: 1. SolidWorks - It could be my 7 years SW experience :) 2. VX - not as bad as people say, I like it a lot. 3. Thinkid - pretty looking but not very friendly 4. ProE - ugly and not consistent from one tool to the next
In the end we went with VX. VX 10.91 just came out last week or so. Our copy of VX is arriving to our facility via DHL scheduled on Friday!
I encourage you to call VX and arrange a guided web demo. They do not use sales guys like Pro E. The ProE sales guys always had to ask their spplications guy for the answers to my questions. Your VX contact will be an experienced applications engineer, NOT some smooth talkin' sales guy! No pressure sales from VX.
Best of luck in evaluating modeling software!
Martin wrote:

ignorance.
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"4. SolidWorks $4000 with surfacing add-in $1000"
...but surfacing is not a chargable add-in with SW, at least not in the UK.
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I was referring to 3rd party add-ins to extend the basic surfacing of SolidWorks.
wurz wrote:

the
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Jon Banquer wrote:

I think we've gone over this before. It's the old (and sad) "no time to do it right" problem. Having said that, the time wasted messing with SW issues would have more than paid for the purchase of both ProE and VX (whatever that costs) not just using evaluation copies but the real deal.
In general I'm pretty angry at what SW claims to be vs. what it delivers. I'm also happy that I figured out how to make it work for my current needs. It's a "least worst" scenario. I'd love to hear from someone at SW and try to understand if they believe their won BS. 'Cause it's an undeniable, demonstrable and repeatable fact that the sofware has huge problems, bad ones.
-Martin
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Cliff wrote:

It's funny you should say that. Yes, Jon comes off as a guy who is hell-bent to promote VX, almost to a fault.
You, on the other hand, do yourself a huge disservice by posting mostly noise and BS. You mostly add noise to conversations and manage to come off as some sort of a lunatic who has nothing better to do with his life than to chase down any and all of Jon's messages and barrage him with senseless attacks.
Surely your life has more important things to focus on than this quest. Life is too short brother, don't use the time to dwell on negativity. Remember, your focus determines your reality.
BTW, don't be offended if I don't reply to whatever your answer might be to this. For me, it isn't worth spending any more time on this than what I just did. It simply not worth my focus.
You read the above and do some thinking. If you get it. Great! If you don't. Well. You don't.
-Martin
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You guys are great entertainment. I liked Autodesk Inventor. Hate AutoCAD 14 when I first learned about drafting. (Not counting hig school with the drafting easel)
SolidWorks does have problems but in my opinion its better then i
2001 when I first tried it. I thought Inventor 4 smoked it then Desktop - too clumsy - Pro-e too completed and unforgiving. Im no doing injection molding just stuff that needs blue prints an constant changing.
And for the money SolidWorks can handle that
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user responses that the software companies seem to be so blindly set on creating "New Features" that they don't take the time to properly refine and integrate existing and sometimes very old features.
No one VP of CAD Product Development ever stops and says, "Hey, we ought to spend a quarter or two cleaning up the old interface and code to get the niggling fixes, more dependible features and integration really cleaned up, because it is causing our users lots of lost man hours."
Seems like the late 1950s tail fin wars where they had to go larger, no matter what, but it did nothing to make the care more reliable.
So when are users going to literally scream, "NO MORE FEATUREITIS until you fix what you have already."?
Bo
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Bo wrote:

Users did scream once before. Remember Tres Amigos? Maybe it's time for another trip to Concord? :)
Seriously, there are very contradictory forces at work. New features help sell new seats that otherwise would go to the competition. Cleaning up old bugs doesn't lure new users, but pleases current users. SW Corp has to strike some kind of balance, while maximizing revenues to to keep the third party (investors) happy. As always, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Art
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