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Old 04-18-2013, 01:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Solidworks guys - Where to start

I've decided to broaden my horizons a bit on the modeling front, I'd like to start learning Solidworks purely due to the fact I see the most job postings for it and it seems like its more practical than Unigraphics.

So I popped on to amazon to see what I could get done and there is just a vast, vast array of books here.

Where do I start?

I have a pretty decent foot in the door as far as modeling goes but the higher end stuff I am pretty clueless about (I see some one make perfect tapered surfaces via law control and I just sort of grunt in approval) and would like to fill the gap.


For example, I can draw out the machine I want to build all day in UG but I don't know enough about the program to get to the more impressive elements, like knowing if the thrust of the head moving at 1500IPM and then abruptly stopping is going to cause the whole thing to just kinda fall over.


Goals overall:
-Create and confirm assemblies
-GDT assignment
-Animation
-Surface analysis/stress analysis.
-Analysis of movement (eg : inertia, center of gravity)
-Maybe incorporating MATLAB in there

So you folks who do alot of solidworks modeling, what route do you recommend me taking?
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Not real sure if I follow you correctly. You are knowledgeable with Unigraphics and want to learn Solid-dosent-Works and then learn to go beyond standard modeling to study motion of assemblies and possibly FEA?
A good place to start is Matt Lombard's book Solidworks 2013 Bible: Matt Lombard: 9781118508404: Amazon.com: Books . While using the book I strongly recommend using the SolidWorks forum https://forum.solidworks.com/index.jspa for questions as they come up. The above author is very active on the forum and is extremely helpful.

p.s. don't take my jab at Solid-Doesn't-Works the wrong way. I have used it for 5 years and like it as well as any of the other programs I have used. It just has it's bugs like the rest of them. Looking at your goals I think SolidWorks premium will cover what you are looking to do depending how far you want to go with the FEA. Basic analysis should be covered with premium but if you want to get more in-depth you will need SolidWorks Stimulation.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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So you want to learn FEA and simulation on top of a whole new CAD suite? I'd recommend taking a course or something, that is a heck of a lot to learn... Simulation capabilities also increases the cost of the software big time (another 5 grand on top of the basic suite)
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Just based on my experience, there is a big difference in learning how to make a program spit out an FEA model and actually understanding FEA. Many of the popular programs I have used/seen are buggy at best and you really need to understand the fundamentals before you can interpret the results they are giving you.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sorry, should have mentioned that just because you can make pretty pictures doesn't mean those pictures are accurate.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Let me simplify :

I want to be able to design things in 3d space that work and can be taken to the machine without issue. For reference :Clapper mag

I will most likely keep my job as a machinist as I do not believe I would survive the trip to university to get my mech Eng. I would how ever like to eventually move onto having a machine in my garage to do more paintball related fun.

I selected Solidworks due to the fact it comes up the most in job postings around the area as well as it seems to have an abundance of resources for learning. If I'm going the wrong way with it (eg : Learn more UG, Work for Big 3, get money) I'm very interested in hearing that too.

There are Catia classes locally but I have little faith in the school.

There are no solidworks Classes locally

There are NX classes but I already am the tutor for them at said school, so that's out. It also seems to be much less prevalent for learning material according to Amazon.
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Old 04-18-2013, 04:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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i learned catia last year at my current job with i get it. it was very helpful in learning the program.

here is a link to the courses and costs of what they have for solidworks

SolidWorks Training Courses, Assessments and Video Tutorials
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Old 04-18-2013, 04:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Solidworks has a built in tutorial. It's pretty good compared to some of the other software packages. You can't go straight from SW to the CNC without something generating the G-code first. There are plug-ins for SW, but there are also standalone pieces that can do it.

If FEA isn't job related and doesn't apply to you making PB parts in the garage, I wouldn't bother for now.

There are student versions of a lot of the software, and your school access should be good enough. The problem is that some of them are limited time certificates (12 months seems standard) and for others they never run out. For example, I use Pro/Engineer every day at my job. When I was in school, I got a student version for $200 and it has a perpetual license, so I've used it ever since. Going strong for something like 5.5 years on it and have used it for many, many personal projects.
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Old 04-18-2013, 05:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The built in tutorial for SolidWorks is a good tool however it seemed to leave out a lot of information to me. That is why I would use Matt Lombard's book ($30) and access to the forum as well to help along the way. Catia is a very good program but it is also much more expensive than SW.
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Old 04-18-2013, 05:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Oof... It is an easy program to get the hang off but you never really stop learning it because they are constantly messing with it.

I wouldn't even know where to start to tell you what you would need to do.. I have around 4 years on SW and still find new stuff.

Take a starters course honestly.
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