Welcome to our new series focusing on the nuts and bolts of being an Admin. The scope of what an Admin does can vary greatly from company to company. In some cases, as with smaller engineering departments, the Admin not only handles software functionality but also can be a: trainer, I.T. and may even be called upon to handle project assignments. For larger companies, this role might be more defined and be seen as a subject matter expert who works with multiple departments to achieve their goals or as I affectionately have called it, “The Red Tape Labyrinth.”
Posts Tagged ‘SOLIDWORKS’
Our Santa Ana, CA office was buzzing with fun and giggles last week. We welcomed an Irvine Girl Scout Troop to get an insider’s look at custom design and 3D printers in action. 11 troop members, aged only 8-9yrs old, were all but shy when it came to being an engineer for the day. They excitedly listened to Jeff Jordan, Applications Engineer at GoEngineer, as he walked them through the SOLIDWORKS design steps of creating a custom Girl Scout cookie. They got their design inspiration from a favorite cookie, the Thin Mint, then added the Girl Scout logo for fun.
Do you recall a time when an Application Engineer first came to your business to demo SOLIDWORKS? You might remember seeing him or her click all over the screen, mashing buttons, moving parts and bringing up features with the slightest movement of their wrist.
It may seem like they were working magic but I’m here to clue you in on a secret. They didn’t have a special macro running in the background nor did they spend countless hours customizing the settings to tweak the shortcuts. Mostly, they used the default settings in SOLIDWORKS to make their workflow faster and more convenient. Just like any program based in the Windows operating system, there are quite a few commands that are common to any program (everyone knows about Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C, and Ctrl-V). But all programs have their own little quirks, and SOLIDWORKS is no exception.
Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that bring the most satisfaction. With over 200 enhancements that SOLIDWORKS makes with each release; small enhancements and sometimes entirely new tools, can go unnoticed. Such is the case with two particular enhancements found in SOLIDWORKS 2015.
The first enhancement I would like to bring to light, and quite possibly the easiest to overlook, is the addition of a year on the SOLIDWORKS icon. For those SOLIDWORKS junkies among us, and those who have multiple versions installed, this means that it’s no longer a best guess as to which SOLIDWORKS version you are opening. Maybe I am easy to please but I really like this 4 character enhancement to SOLIDWORKS 2015.
30 years ago, Computational Fluid Dynamics was a topic reserved for PhD analysts or research groups at Universities. Fast forward to 2015 and CFD is accessible on the laptop (or even some tablets) for any engineer with SOLIDWORKS CAD. When we classically think of CFD, applications such as air flow over airplane wings or water flowing through a pipe come to mind. While these quintessential studies were the foundation of the development efforts, we can also study many common everyday scenarios.
Earlier this week I was cooking some fish and vegetables (admittedly both were from a frozen bag). One of my main frustrations with the particular vegetable blend that I used was that the potatoes never come out quite right. Green beans…perfect! Fish fillets…perfect! Potatoes…cold in the middle.
Time to put on my engineering hat! The fish is sliced into thin fillets and the green beans are long and slender. Both of those geometries lend themselves to relatively high surface area to volume ratios when compared to the chunky potatoes. If only there was a way to figure out how long I should leave the baking sheet in the oven without forcing myself to eat fish for the next several weeks.
The gap in work force skills in the United States today is becoming alarming. Our country and industries were built upon the hard work of our parents and grandparents. One of history’s largest generations is exiting the workplace in droves as the Baby-boomers retire. Over the next 10 years, there will be a huge hole left in our manufacturing and engineering industries. Many of the skills and knowledge that were taught to the baby boomers are no longer present in our education system – things have changed!
During my travels as a CAMWorks Application Engineer, I’ve instructed many training classes to diverse groups of machinists, designers and engineers. Frequently while teaching, I notice a striking challenge in terms of context for those lacking adequate machine shop experience. This can be difficult during training, considering how much artistry and background is required to skillfully work with CNC machinery. While CNC’s can be unforgiving dangerous machines in the wrong hands; there is really not much magic to understanding the essentials. CNC is similar to driving a car, or more accurately, using a giant 3-Dimensional, computerized Etch-A-Sketch, except with giant spinning blades and twenty horsepower motors.
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Northrop Grumman—there is a good chance you recognize all of these names as aerospace and defense powerhouses.
If there is one common trend amongst all of these companies, it is their embracement of 3D printing (3DP) as a legitimate manufacturing tool. Alongside the automotive industry, aerospace and defense industries have been the driving forces behind 3DP’s revolutionary growth.
As it turns out the benefits of 3DP are quite universal so what works for large, multi-national corporations can also work for much smaller widget-makers and everyone in-between.
Using SOLIDWORKS Mechanical Conceptual for the first time is like the first time you used an iPhone after having that state of the art flip phone. Stepping into the Single Modeling Environment (SME) is like seeing your favorite games, email, calendar, and music on the same screen for the first time. The SME allows you to switch from a multi body part to an assembly with the click of a single button without the interface really changing at all. As a long time CAD user with all of the preconceived notions of what a file or assembly structure should look like, I am not sure that I really grasp the intricacies of what this change in thought process can actually provide. I have tried to force myself to expand my thought process into how this would change my daily workflow, but feel as though I am just barley scratching the surface. It plays very well into the intuitive pillar; you don’t have to think about file structure as part of the design process. When you have spent so much time concerning yourself with sub assembly structure this is a concept that may take some time to fully understand.
Glory comes in one form with data management – Automation.
In a huge corporate demonstration with executives looking on and a hundred thousand on the line, the only “oohs” and “aahs” you’ll hear are the ones connected to productivity gain. Everyone at that level loves to see labor intensive tasks that today, take several steps and possibly a dedicated human resource, reduced to a right click menu option.
For example, let’s take an EPDM admin that supports an engineering group. He may get a small pat on the back for building in the ever essential revision control… But, watch their eyes light up when automated emails and electronic signatures are brought online.
From the top of the organization to the end CAD user, automation is king. We’ve seen some really slick automation over the years and then we’ve seen some downright brilliance. Whether from our own implementation specialists or from customer administrators, the following examples are sure to please.