Recent Blog Posts

Tuesday April 22, 2014 at 10:31am

Animations:        Save As .avi recommended settings

I’ve had a number of calls on the support desk asking for help when saving their animations out as .avi files.  The comments range from the animation appearing ‘rough’ or ‘stuttering’, to the file size being far too big to send to anyone or upload to their website.  As it happens then, there are a few tweaks we can make to the Save As settings that should fix these issues and i have a little tip to help you to reduce the file size…

Tip #1

Always use a plain background, the Plain White works well.  Never use a gradient background either from the SOLIDWORKS list of scenes or any colour change to background that you make yourself, the compressor (we’ll discuss this later) and the file format sometimes have trouble when any view manipulation occurs during the animation.  I’ve seen this lead to the .avi file becoming corrupt or miss sections of the animation completely.

Tip #2

save as animation avi

 

On the Save As settings dialog I recommend the following values as a minimum guide…

Solidworks animation settings

Setting #1:               Save locally as file size will be large at this initial stage

Setting #2:               SOLIDWORKS screen or PhotoView quality will be a user choice

Setting #3:               Change the Image Size and Aspect Ratio to something standard as this will initially appear as the Graphical Window resolution and size; 16:9 or 4:3 will work just fine here

Setting #4:               Increase the Frames per second to at least 15, this will improve the finished animation as it now appear ‘smoother’, if you wish you may increase this further

Tip #3

On the next dialog, the compressor will default to Microsoft Video 1, this will be appropriate for most people unless you have any other codecs installed on your machine that you are familiar with.  I normally move the compression quality up from 85 to 95 and the most important bit here is to turn off Key Frames (clear the tick box).  Unless you are going to do a lot of editing then saving Key Frames is not really required but is often where people have issues when saving the animation.

SolidWorks Key Frame 

Tip #4

The file size of the .avi will normally be quite large, and as you can see below, the example I’ve used is 71.6MB…

I then normally recommend to the customer on the support call to use some kind of editing software.  As it's free, I usually discuss Windows Movie Maker - this is either already installed or can be downloaded freely from the Microsoft website.

Without having to place any slides or manipulate your animation in any way you can load the .avi file into Movie Maker and save out in a number of different formats.

Here I have chosen ‘for high definition display’ and saved it out in MPEG-4 format, as you can see below this has now reduced the file size to 1.14MB, a large reduction and now able to be used over email or for other distribution…

I hope this helps next time you’re animating.

By Russell Richardson

Elite Applications Engineer

SolidSolutions

 
Thursday April 17, 2014 at 10:36am
Being on the support desk exposes you to many ways of applying different techniques in SOLIDWORKS.
 
While making changes between configurations, a customer was finding that mates were sometimes over defining the assembly, or that too many parts were appearing in certain configurations and not at all in others, leaving the models coming out looking a mess like this. 
 
 
The key here are the two Advanced Options found in the Configuration Property manager highlighted in red.
 
This menu can be accessed by selecting a particular configuration using the right mouse button and clicking on ‘Properties’ or when creating a new configuration.
 
‘Suppress new features and mates’ and ‘Suppress new components’ can sometimes be forgotten whilst creating a new configuration and can lead to working round and round in circles.
 
 
The reason for this is that without these two tick boxes selected any changes applied in another configurations will propagate through to the active one-  giving some unexpected results like we saw above, and when fixing the problems in this configuration it can cause the rest to falter too.
 
Whereas with these buttons selected, the configuration becomes ‘independent’ from changes applied to the rest- a useful trait that most users would want.
 
It is important to note that this option has to be applied to each configuration individually so it is important especially when editing other peoples designs that you first double check that these options are selected on every configuration before enacting any changes. A tip however is to select these options on the initial Default configuration, so that when you create new ones these inherit the checkboxes from the original.
 
By Chris Morrogh 
Applications Engineer
 
Monday April 14, 2014 at 3:09pm
On Monday 14th April 2014 SOLIDWORKS released the third service pack in the 2014 cycle.
 
 
The release cycle for SOLIDWORKS 2014 Service Packs are as follows (subject to change):
 
Service Pack    Release Month
SP0 October 2013
SP1
November 2013
SP2  January 2014
SP3  April 2014
SP4  June 2014
SP5  October 2014
 
 
For further information in downloading your service packs please see my previous blog post where we discussed how you could download the final service pack of 2013 (SP5).
 
As reported at SOLIDWORKS WORLD 2014 SP3 has also introducted SOLIDWORKS Inspection to the SOLIDWORKS family. Again this can be downloaded from the customer portal, this product will certainly improve productivity to organisations who currently produce First Article Inspection documentation by hand.
 
 
Regards
 
By Simon Beamish
Elite Applications Engineer
 
Thursday April 10, 2014 at 2:35pm
SolidWorks users running Kapersky Anti Virus may be affected by a virus definition update released by Kapersky yesterday. The symptoms are error messages loading SolidWorks, or using Toolbox/ Hole Wizard. The bug is essentially down to a utlilty called "System Watcher" that is blocking access to Microsoft Access databases- Hole Wizard and Toolbox use these.
 
 
A fix has been sumbitted by Kapersky, you can download from our DropBox server below, and also see the instructions in red on the Kapersky forum below.
 

Click Here to Download Hotfix

 
The System Watcher Utility basically creates a 0kb sized database version of the "system.mdb"that is causing the issue- the utility in the forum finds and renames these to prevent the issues.
 After a reboot SolidWorks should be fixed. You should also subsequently run an update on the Kapersky program to get the latest virus definitions having corrected this error.
 
Any problems contact the Solid Solutions Support Team on 01926 333777 or support@solidsolutions.co.uk 
 
By Adam Hartles
Training Manager
Thursday April 10, 2014 at 10:29am
The multibody part environment is a huge strength of SolidWorks- the diverse range of features we provide in the part mode, means that you can gain fully detailed designs without having to even explore the assembly mode- there may be examples where you wish to convert multibodies to assemblies though- for example: Animations; assigning part numbers; assembly specific features. In this blog we explore some of the ways to do this.
 
1- Insert into New Part
 
This option allows you to take one, or more of the solid bodies in your part mode and directly export into a new single part environment- it retains its reference to the main origin location, so you can then put this into an assembly to build the structure back up. The advantage of this feature is that there is an external reference back to the parent model in the form of a Stock feature- as such the new file won't have feature history, but will alter if the parent model changes. The reference is only one directional though- additions to the newly derived part will not change the parent- ensuring this stays preserved. The feature tree displays this reference using the symbol ->. You can find this feature by right clicking on a body under the Solid Bodies folder.
 
 
2- Save Bodies
 
This command is particularly useful if you want to save all bodies, with each being taken into a new file and have an assembly created at the same time. In preparation for this it is worthwhile renaming the bodies (under the Solid Bodies folder- F2 to rename) as this is the default name taken to save the file, therefore this will save you a bit of time. The feature can be found via Insert > Features > Save Bodies.
 
Within the command you can choose which bodies you want to export by checking the tick boxes, then there is a button to "Create Assembly" this will then save the bodies as parts, and remate them into an assembly by positioning the parts relative to the assembly origin- so they slot in at the correct place. The external reference back to the original master model reacts a little differently in this case- as the Save Bodies command is shown as a feature in the tree, therefore having a historical position. This means that any changes to features before the Save Body operation will alter the derived parts, but additional features after the Save Body command will not propagate through- hence you may wish to use Save Bodies at the end of the design, or use the roll back bar to reorder features. The example image underneath shows that you can use this command to create sub assemblies- of the CD tower on the desk.
 
 
And this is what you are left with:
 
 
By Alex Hall
Applications Engineer
 
Thursday April 10, 2014 at 9:47am
This week SolidCAM UK have been demonstrating the power of iMachining technology on Stand 5242 at the NEC, Birmingham for the MACH2014 Exhibition. They have been overwhelmed by the response they have received from delegates visiting them.
 
On Thursday 10th and Friday 11th April 2014 Solid Solutions will be joining the SolidCAM UK team, and we would love to welcome you to the stand where you can see live cutting of 10 deep using the unique, revolutionary and patented iMachining technology.
 
 
This integration and power within SOLIDWORKS are certainly drawing the crowds - there is little room to move! 
 
 
So come visit Dave Warner and Stephen Abbott who both look forward to seeing you all.
 
By Simon Beamish
Elite Application Engineer
Tuesday April 8, 2014 at 11:37am
You may have seen articles in the press of late (link) stating that official support for the Micorsoft Windows XP platform has ended as of April 8th 2014. As a result no updates or bug fixes will be worked on by the Microsoft developers- as a result there are concerns of potential security risks that may now become prevalent with the lack of support. Microsoft have statistics that suggest 1 in 4 PCs still use this platform.

There are still a huge number of XP based machines using in industry and business as well, so now is a key time to think about an upgrade path. Check out our hardware recommendations via our technical documents page.

As far as SolidWorks goes, we ended support for Windows XP with the SolidWorks 2012 release, so if you are still on this version as a result of the Windows platform holding you back, you may now be looking for new hardware and then the software upgrade path.

Also for users not on subscription and still on old hardware, this may be a perfect time to get back up to date with SolidWorks and benefit from the great new features added in the 2014 release- get in touch with our subscriptions team on 01926 333777.

Check out the What's New Videos for 2014 on our Solid Solutions TV website (Part 1, Part 2)
 


By Adam Hartles
Training Manager
Wednesday April 2, 2014 at 1:13pm
SolidCAM is a Gold Partner Product which is fully integrated into SOLIDWORKS. This integration means you work within SOLIDWORKS, using familiar areas such as the command manager and manager pane. All machining operations can be defined, calculated and verified without leaving the parametric SOLIDWORKS assembly environment. Furthermore the geometries used for machining are fully associated to the SOLIDWORKS design so CAM operations can be synchronised to any changes with a click of a button. SolidCAM is recognised as the leading integrated CAM product for SOLIDWORKS, which is why 75% of VAR’s in the UK recommend this as their CAM solution to their customers. At Solid Solutions we are now offering customer training in 2.5d Milling, Turning and 3D High Speed Machining modules. To support this further I wanted to make you aware of further resources available.  SolidCAM Professor: www.youtube.com/user/SolidCAMProfessor Hosted by Sidney Eisner an Applications Engineer at SolidCAM he has produced a series of videos to enhance users knowledge of the SolidCAM Modules. SolidCAM: www.solidcam.com SolidCAM main website offering videos and various resources SolidCAM UK Knowledge Base: uk.solidcamsupport.net/ The UK head office of SolidCAM has recently launched their own online Knowledge base of FAQ’s. This is an evolving area but provides useful content from how to upgrade previous releases to troubleshooting.SolidCAM UK Knowledge Base: uk.solidcamsupport.net/ Don’t forget you can vist SolidCAM at the NEC, Birmingham on Stand 5242 in Hall 5 on 7-11th April where they will be exhibiting at MACH 2014: http://www.solidcamuk.com/news/2014/03/solidcam-uk-at-mach-2014-nec-birmingham/ SoldCAM UK can be followed directly on social media through: https://www.facebook.com/SolidCAM https://twitter.com/SolidCAMUK By Simon Beamish Elite Applications Engineer
Thursday March 27, 2014 at 2:15pm
Anyone that has used the Weldment command "Structural Member" will know that you can set it to give you mitred corners - here we will look at a situation where we have three lines meeting up at the one corner of a 3D sketch. If anyone hasn't seen it - this is the button that kicks it all off: -

 
As you can see now, I've selected the right hand line at the top: -
 
 
I've gone for a 1" diameter round tube profile for this example.
I can now select either of the other lines without any trouble, but I can't select both of them until I hit the
"New Group" button.
 
 
Having pressed "New Group" I can then have all three.
 
 
However, it isn't giving a great result where all the tubes meet up: -

 
To sort this out, there is an option in the "Structural Member" command that many people will not have spotted - to get it you need to be editing the feature, and you click on the pink dot at the corner - that brings 
up the "Corner Treatment" panel shown below: -
 
 
Many users will have spotted the three green and yellow buttons for switching between
mitre/end butt 1/end butt 2 - but maybe not noticed the "Trim Order" box.
This allows us to give equal priority to both of the "Groups" meeting at this corner.

 
Having changed that, this is the result: -
 
 
All the tubes are now mitred in the same fashion - which not only gives us a much nicer looking frame,
but makes cutting the tubes easier as well!
 
Rory Niles, CSWE
SolidWorks Instructor.
 
Wednesday March 26, 2014 at 4:55pm

Training at SolidSolutions also offers the attendees a chance to ask the instructor other questions about the software not related to actual course, we call this the SolidSolutions Surgery…Pre or Post course time is allocated to all kinds of queries that the instructor is happy to show on the projector to the whole room or individually on the user’s classroom workstation.

Last week during this period I was asked to remind a user how to use Save As to duplicate both the Part AND Drawing file at the same time, so instead of just sharing this with the delegate I chose to make the other delegates aware too, and I thought I’d share it with the rest of the SolidSolutions community with a blog post...

Let me explain below:

A lot of design work is based on an derivative design process where we often find users using Save As to duplicate the part, rename to the next part number and then continue to edit and make changes to the design, now this works fine up until the point you then need to create a 2D drawing and you’re faced with a Blank Page again, so the time you took to create the initial drawing of the previous version is required again…

A better way to complete this task therefore would be to save both the Part AND existing 2D drawing as new files whilst retaining the link between the two new documents.  This is achieved using the following method…

Open the 2D Drawing File…

 

Go to File, Save As and click on Advanced…

On the Save As with References dialog…

This dialog allows you to specify new part names and file locations for these new parts, but most importantly it is retaining the reference link between the two new files.  Saving the new files with new names can be done by adding a Prefix, Suffix or using the Find/Replace function commonly used in Microsoft Office…

 

The new names and locations are then displayed in a Green Highlight

 

So pressing Save All will then give me two new files, ready to be modified to create my next design derivative leaving the two previous files behind…

By

Russell Richardson

Elite Applications Engineer

SolidSolutions

 
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