Hawk Ridge Systems Blog
Rony Godoy is an Applications Engineer out of our Woodland Hills, CA office. Rony has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Long Beach. When he's not working on SOLIDWORKS, you can find him exploring the great outdoors.
November 22nd, 2017 by Rony Godoy
I like nice curves and I cannot lie. And in SOLIDWORKS we can control exactly how smooth our curves are. When it comes to curves in SOLIDWORKS, there is a difference between what is smooth and what looks smooth. This blog will discuss how we can analyze our curves and control how smooth they really are by using surface evaluation tools and different spline tools.
The quality of a great surface lies within the curve that defines it. These curves are ideally created and controlled through splines. The spline sketch tool creates a smooth curve through the position of control vertices, or CV’s. Controlling the quality of our splines will ultimately control the quality of our surfaces. Splines can be analyzed using the curvature combs tool. The curvature combs tool graphically shows the amount of curvature at a given point on a sketch element. A smooth curvature comb is desired to produce the smoothest surface. As shown below, both splines look the same until we look at their curvature combs. The spline with the smoothest curvature combs (i.e. no flat spots or dips exist) will produce the smoothest surface.
To create smooth curvature combs, splines should be created with the least amount of points possible. Just as seen above, both of these splines are identical. The difference in curvature combs is due to the fact that the spline on the left was made with just 2 points, whereas the spline on the right was made with 5.
November 20th, 2017 by Vince Farrell
Hi everyone! In this blog, I’m going to showcase a brand-new feature available in SOLIDWORKS 2018 to help you design faster! Have you ever had an idea and either not had a mouse or wanted to sketch it freely rather than using a mouse? With this new release and your Windows 10 touch-enabled device, now you can live out those wants with Touch Based sketching.
I’m working on the gas cap for my RC car and I’ve decided that I want to really make it unique by adding a design to the front of it. I’m going to put a cloud to symbolize a gas cloud (and because there’s a reason I became an engineer instead of an artist.) I also found a picture that I want to use as a sketch picture and that’s in a sketch that I’ll unhide.
Figure 1: Gas Cap Isometric View
The first thing I want to point out is the new Sketch Ink Command Manager tab, which where all of my touch sketch commands will be. This can be turned on like any other command manager tab, right-click on an existing tab and select it from the list.
Figure 3: Sketch Ink Command Manager.
I’ll start my cloud sketch by selecting the gas cap face and hitting Sketch. There’s a pulldown to allow me to select a 2D or 3D sketch, touch sketching works with both. Next, you can customize your pen color and thickness. Use the slider to adjust the latter.
Next to that is an eraser tool if you need to delete any errant strokes, and the select tool to select geometry. The eraser works similarly to Power Trim, where swiping over existing geometry with it turned on erases it. The select tool turns your stylus or finger into a mouse pointer.
Figure 5: Remaining Sketch Ink Commands
The Touch button is next to that. I’m using a stylus, but you can use this mode with your finger. Without that button pressed, swiping on my screen causes the model to move around. Therefore, to start sketching I’m going to click that button. Next, there are 2 ways to sketch entities: Auto Shape and Auto Sketch Entities. I’ll use Auto Shape to sketch the cloud, converting my pen strokes to smooth geometry. These are just conceptual, but I can use Select and hit Update to Entities which will change them to sketch entities.
Figure 6: Cloud drawn using Auto Shape. Figure 7: Update to Entities command. Figure 8: Updated Entities.
If you prefer to go straight to sketch entities, use the Auto Sketch Entities button. I’ll switch over to that and sketch a lightning bolt. This will also imply sketch relations. Now I have a sketch that I can use to create a feature like a boss or cut, or a split line.
Figure 9: Using Auto Sketch Entities.
As you can see, touch sketching can bring more of your ideas to life with pretty minimal effort. For more information, check out our YouTube channel, get a SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD quote or contact us at Hawk Ridge Systems today. Thanks for reading!
November 13th, 2017 by Sean Marrs
New enhancements to 3D Interconnect in SOLIDWORKS 2018 allow for the import of custom properties and materials of third-party CAD Files. For those that don’t know, 3D Interconnect is an awesome tool added in SOLIDWORKS 2017 which makes it possible to work directly with third-party CAD files, rather than using the standard import and translation methods. 3D Interconnect allows SOLIDWORKS to directly read these parts and assemblies without translation, removing the possibility of translation errors that Import Diagnostics would need to fix. It also creates a parametric link to the original part or assembly file, allowing it to update if the file is changed in its third-party CAD software. Finally, 3D Interconnect maintains face and edge IDs so that when the file is updated, any mates or additional features added inside of SOLIDWORKS are preserved. File types that currently work with 3D Interconnect are:
*File types now supported in SOLIDWORKS 2018
November 10th, 2017 by Ryan Navarro
SOLIDWORKS 2018 introduces a number of enhancements for working with imported mesh designs such as .STL and .OBJ files. These files are most commonly imported into SOLIDWORKS as Graphics bodies, which have seen a variety of new enhancements this year as well – please see our existing blog article and video for a detailed look into these new capabilities.
This article and companion video focuses on a new workflow for working with mesh files in SOLIDWORKS 2018, which is the ability to natively modify mesh models. This is accomplished via a new body type called a “Mesh body”.
Graphics bodies, as well as native Solid and Surface bodies, can be converted to this new Mesh body type. To convert a body, simply select it from the appropriate Bodies folder and choose the Convert to Mesh Body command.
This enables an exciting new workflow. Converting Solid bodies to Mesh bodies allows traditional SOLIDWORKS features to be used to modify mesh files. This can be seen in the image below, where SOLIDWORKS features are used to make the threads for the imported bottle scan. The thread body is then converted to a Mesh body, so that it can be merged together with a Combine feature.
Previously, any modifications to a mesh file would have required a time-consuming process to convert it to a solid or surface body first. The new Mesh body type and supported features allows direct manipulation of the mesh files, and they can be re-exported in the native mesh format such as .STL or .OBJ.
Aside from basic Boolean style operations like Combine/Subtract, there are a number of additional commands supported. The full list of features currently available for use with Mesh bodies is visible below:
Using these features allowed me to take an imported 3D Scan .STL, such as the bottle scan below, and add manufacturing details to prepare a functional 3D printed prototype without ever having to convert the mesh file! This example was printed on one of Hawk Ridge Systems’ HP 3D printers, and had enough strength and flexibility to be dropped or squeezed without fear of damage.
If you are using 3D scanning or 3D printing technology, this new Mesh body type and workflow should be an exciting new functionality.
It’s worth noting, however, that Mesh bodies are not exportable as neutral CAD file formats such as .STEP or .IGES – so if that is the end goal, a conversion process will be necessary. Tools like the ScanTo3D add-in or the partner product Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS can greatly speed up the conversion process of imported mesh data, if this is required.
November 6th, 2017 by Ricky Huynh
With each annual release, SOLIDWORKS looks to streamline their tools to make the designer more productive. One of the most commonly used tools is the Measure Tool! We can use it to measure the lengths of edges, determine the distance between planes and surfaces, and even calculate the surface area, among many other applications. In 2018, SOLIDWORKS made it even better. Now in SOLIDWORKS 2018, the Measure Tool has been enhanced to include a larger selection window, the ability to quickly copy and paste measurements, adjust the font size for easier reading, and allows the Measure Tool to be pinned!
Larger Selection Window
When selecting items to measure, we’ve never had a limit on how many items we could select. We did, however, have a limit on how many selected entities appear in the selection window. For example, in the image of SOLIDWORKS 2017 below, we can see there are 8 edges selected, but only 3 items are visible in the selection window.
Now, in 2018, the selection window has been enlarged so we can see up to 6 items at a time! This makes it much easier to see what we’ve already selected and de-select anything we didn’t mean to include in the measurement.
November 1st, 2017 by Gabe Crisologo
We’ve had the ability to add folders to the FeatureManager Design Tree for quite some time now. If you’re not familiar with this practice, folders can be added to your FeatureManager Design Tree to help you organize features or components in part and assembly documents. In a part, you can create folders to group a set of sequential features that are used for a specific part of your design. For example, creating a folder to group machined features. In an assembly, you can group components, hardware, mates, etc.
Since these features or components are nested in the folders, you would have to expand the folder to access its contents. If you just wanted to see the state of features or components (i.e. hidden, suppressed, resolved), the added steps of expanding these folders can be annoying and time-consuming. Luckily, this is not the case thanks to the new enhancements in SOLIDWORKS 2018.
In SOLIDWORKS 2018, the folder icons in the FeatureManager Design Tree are color coded to indicate whether they contain features or components that are hidden or suppressed, resolved/lightweight, or any combination of the three. The image below is a screenshot of the same assembly folders shown above. Some components have been suppressed/hidden to showcase the new color-coded icons. The folders have also been renamed to describe the icon.
The color scheme for the folder icons is shown in the table below as well.
The new color-coded folder icons in SOLIDWORKS 2018 gives you a quick visual indicator so you can know the status of your features/components in your designs at a glance. For more information, check out our YouTube channel, get a SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD quote or contact us at Hawk Ridge Systems today. Thanks for reading!
October 30th, 2017 by Rony Godoy
Ahoy matey! Hop on board and take a look at one of the new mate enhancements this year.
Adding mates in SOLIDWORKS has always been, dare I say it, fun! And now with one of the new SOLIDWORKS 2018 enhancements, adding mates has become easier than ever. With this enhancement, we are now capable of hiding faces while adding mates.
There are different ways for us to take advantage of this feature:
For this example, I’m going to use the ALT key while using the Insert Mates tool to show this new feature. While adding mates, simply move your cursor over the face you want to temporarily hide and press the ALT key to hide it. This allows you to select obscured faces without having to rotate your model around or manually hiding components before using your mate tool. As seen in the images below, we were able to hide different faces of our model in order to select faces behind them. This allows us to create mates such as the Width mate quickly and easily.
With this new functionality, your productivity will increase and save you time from moving components around. Previously, you would have to rotate or move components around in order to select obscured faces. Or use the Select Other tool, but there was no way to toggle those hidden faces to show. If you accidentally hide a face you didn’t want to hide, you can unhide it by pressing the Shift+ALT keys. And to restore all the hidden faces back onto your model, you simply press the ESC key. This functionality works the same whenever you go back and edit a mate, use the Copy with Mates command, and use the Replace Mated Entities tool.
With the ALT key, it makes it very fast and easy to temporarily hide and show faces while adding mates in your assembly. So the next time you’re creating an assembly, play around with the ALT key while adding mates to see how much more control you have.
October 25th, 2017 by Mark Dolinar
Today we will be looking at a great new enhancement that has been rolled out with the new release of SOLIDWORKS 2018; the ability to mirror 3D Sketch entities. While mirroring 2D sketch entities has been possible for well over a decade, it can be invaluable in the way a designer goes about creating a model. 3D sketch entities, on the other hand, have remained impossible to mirror – until now. New in SOLIDWORKS 2018, 3D sketch entities can be mirrored, drastically improving the way parts are created using 3D sketches.
To show this feature, a set of handlebars will be designed for this chopper. Utilizing the mirror entities tool in a 3D sketch will assist in accomplishing this task with far fewer steps than before.
October 24th, 2017 by Amy Surprenant
The new SOLIDWORKS PDM 2018 is packed with enhancements, but one of the most interesting is the revision table integration. Gone are the days of workarounds to both update the revision table in SolidWorks and to limit the amount of rows on that Revision table.
This exciting new feature will let you:
Let’s take a look at this new feature and how we can make it work.