Hawk Ridge Systems Blog
Jacob Ames is an Applications Engineer for Hawk Ridge Systems in Bothell, WA, specializing in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, Simulation, and 3D Printers. Before joining Hawk Ridge, Jacob earned degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics from MIT with a focus on renewable fuels. If he's not teaching … More »
February 19th, 2018 by Jacob Ames
3D Interconnect made its debut in 2017, providing users with a fantastic new method for importing and collaborating with non-SOLIDWORKS models. Without the need for translation, models imported via 3D Interconnect come with fewer errors, while maintaining face and edge IDs and even establishing a parametric link back to the original model in its native format. That’s right – changes made to 3D Interconnect models in the native CAD program will propagate to SOLIDWORKS. For all the fine details on working with 3D Interconnect, please see this three-part series.
This new collaborative method was very well-received, and naturally, there have been several enhancements to 3D Interconnect in SOLIDWORKS 2018. In addition to new supported formats and the ability to import custom properties and materials, unconsumed sketches (or curves) in models from third-party native CAD programs can now be accessed and leveraged to generate SOLIDWORKS features. Figure 1 describes a simple SOLIDWORKS assembly with several non-SOLIDWORKS components imported via 3D Interconnect (numbered).
Figure 1 – Cabinet Display with Several Components Imported via 3D Interconnect
Component #3 is properly positioned, but there are no cut features in the mounting face for proper assembly. While converted/offset entities could be used here, the sketches required for these features have already been developed in the original file, which in this case is in Solid Edge format.
In order for unconsumed sketches to be available, system options must be set to include them upon import. Access System Options -> Import anduse the File Format dropdown menu to select the Inventor/Catia V5/Creo/NX/Solid Edge category. Ensure the checkbox for Unconsumed Sketch(es) and Curves is selected. Once activated, working with these sketches is exceptionally simple, as they are directly available in the FeatureManager Design Tree. In this case, a top-down approach will be used, beginning by editing the mounting face component and beginning a sketch:
Figure 2 – Editing Mounting Face Component and Beginning a Sketch
Once the new sketch is active, simply locate the desired sketch in the FeatureManager Design Tree and convert it. Available unconsumed sketches for imported components can be found organized neatly in a folder named Sketches just beneath the component name, along with additional folders (if applicable).
Figure 3 – Locating Available Unconsumed Sketches in Imported Component
Once converted, the sketch can be cleaned up as needed, or additional sketch entities can be added. In this example, a simple extruded cut can be used to create the holes needed in the mounting face for proper assembly. Remember, if the sketch in the original file is updated or modified in any way, the changes will propagate to the SOLIDWORKS model and any downstream features will update accordingly.
Figure 4 – Resulting Feature from Unconsumed Sketch
Having access to unconsumed sketch entities in non-SOLIDWORKS files makes working with 3D Interconnect more efficient and effective than ever before, and is just one of many impressive enhancements this year. Be sure to check out our What’s New series for additional blogs and videos on all the new features included in SOLIDWORKS 2018.
February 14th, 2018 by Ricky Huynh
Every year, Hawk Ridge Systems offers live Launch events for its customers to introduce the new enhancements of that year’s release. What if you were unable to make one of the 2018 live sessions? Don’t worry – we have you covered! We recorded the live stream (HawkLive 2018) of our first Launch event and separated it into 8 modules so you can easily digest what’s new in SOLIDWORKS 2018! Even if you’ve attended a launch in another city (besides San Jose, where this one was recorded), it’ll be different and exciting content! In today’s blog article, we’ll introduce some of the main topics we covered in Module 1, which includes a brief introduction to Hawk Ridge Systems, what to expect from the upcoming modules, and SOLIDWORKS customer’s we’re using to demonstrate the new enhancements of SOLIDWORKS 2018.
Introduction to Hawk Ridge Systems
Before we dive into the content, did you know that Hawk Ridge System offers:
What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2018
Nearly half of the development projects SOLIDWORKS undertakes are based on quality and performance, which means, speeding up tasks, stability improvements, and bug fixes. The other half is the new features and enhancements that will be introduced in this blog and video series! There are over 230 pages (239 pages, to be exact) in the What’s New 2018 PDF, alone. It’d be nearly impossible to cover every single enhancement, but our team hand-picked some of the best ones they believe could benefit SOLIDWORKS users the most. Here’s a run-down of the 8 videos and what they’ll be covering:
January 23rd, 2018 by Mark Dolinar
There are numerous benefits for creating your part design as a multibody part ranging from performance to file management in SOLIDWORKS. However if you have tried to apply a material to a multibody part you will notice that the materials folder of the feature manger will apply the same material to every single body in your design. This works fine if you have a weldment structure which is all made out of steel, but most designs use a combination of materials to accomplish their design goals. In this example for a conveyor belt, there could be aluminum, steel and even rubber. One material could be applied to the entire design, however our mass property and simulation results would be inaccurate.
January 5th, 2018 by Mark Dolinar
Using the standard SOLIDWORKS tools and features from the CommandManager is already an extremely efficient method to quickly bring concepts into a three dimensional model. However, many users prefer to leverage a variety of both standard and custom shortcuts through hotkeys or context menus for an even faster workflow. This article covers many of the most impactful default keyboard shortcuts in SOLIDWORKS, and describes how to customize them for maximum time savings.
While using SOLIDWORKS, all of the standard Microsoft keyboard shortcuts are available. As expected, CTRL-O can be used to open a document, CTRL-S will save the current document, and CTRL-Z will undo the most recent action. However, many additional SOLIDWORKS-specific keyboard shortcuts exist that can make potentially tedious point-and-click commands obsolete.
A few of the more popular shortcuts include using the spacebar to bring up the Orientation menu, which provides access to many standard views, as well as any custom views that have been saved. Pressing the R key will display a list of recent documents, and specific documents can even be pinned to the list permanently. Another great shortcut is CTRL-B, which will automatically rebuild your model. A table of some of the most popular default SOLIDWORKS keyboard shortcuts has been provided below:
One exceptionally popular keyboard shortcut is the S key. This opens a context-sensitive shortcut menu for rapid access to your favorite commands. Since the menu is context-sensitive, different menus will be presented depending on whether the part, assembly, drawing, or sketch environment is active. An example of this menu is shown below:
The tools found on this menu can be customized by right clicking on the menu once it has been activated and choosing Customize, or by simply clicking the options dropdown and choosing Customize. The resulting dialog is shown below, and several tabs are available for customization.
The Keyboard tab, shown above, can be used to modify existing shortcuts or create custom ones for any SOLIDWORKS command. Simply click in the Shortcut(s) cell for the command and type the keyboard shortcut to apply it. Multiple hotkeys can be added if desired.
The Shortcut Bars tab can be used to modify the shortcuts available in the S key shortcut menu. Commands can be dragged and dropped both on and off of the menus as needed, and the shortcut bar for each environment can be customized individually.
Additionally, mouse gestures are another great way to optimize workflow. Similar to shortcut bars, mouse gestures can be customized by dragging and dropping commands onto the context-sensitive wheels. To activate mouse gestures, simply hold the right mouse button and drag the cursor in the direction of the desired command. The customization menu for mouse gestures is shown below:
These shortcuts are an excellent way to optimize your workflow, ensuring that designs are created as efficiently and effectively as possible. For more information, get a SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD quote or contact us at Hawk Ridge Systems today. Thanks for reading!
December 22nd, 2017 by Damon Tordini
Any plastic part designer knows that one of the biggest worries in an injection molding process is a mold that won’t properly fill- commonly known as a “short shot.” While there are a handful of machine parameters that a molder can tweak to fix this, it’s always preferable to find such issues early in the design process- perhaps even when there’s still time to change the design of a part.
Sometimes, short shots are also intentionally run on a mold to try and visualize the filing process- something I had the opportunity to do at the injection molding lab at California State University at Chico. While the real-world part matched our simulation fairly well, SOLIDWORKS Plastics 2018 provides a great chance to examine the short-shot prediction more closely. To predict the filling pattern and compare it to a real-world short shot, we simply need to take a solid-body .SLDPRT file, such as the container handle below, and create a mesh with SOLIDWORKS Plastics:
Previous versions of SOLIDWORKS Plastics would predict a short-shot phenomenon with an easy-to-compute criteria: as the molten plastic cooled and the flow rate of the melt into the mold fell below a certain % of the maximum (by default, 1%), the part would be assumed “frozen” and the short-shot warning would be triggered.
In reality, we know that the actual shape of a part, regardless of whether there’s a short shot, results from where and when the plastic cools and solidifies. So, in SOLIDWORKS 2018, there’s a new “Temperature Criteria for Short Shots” option, which is enabled by default with the Glass Transition Temperature automatically pulled from the SOLIDWORKS Plastics material database. This means that the actual shape of the flow front will be based on where the molten plastic has cooled over time, providing for better realism.
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.