DesignPoint Blog

DesignPoint Expands Offerings to Include Markforged 3D Printers Enabling their Manufacturing Customers to Create High-Strength Parts

Come Experience the Strongest 3D Printed Parts in the World! Join us at one of our upcoming open houses to see the new Markforged carbon fiber 3D printer in action and learn about the latest 3D printing technology! View Open Houses Revolutionary Markforged 3D printers use materials such as Kevlar®, carbon fiber, and fiberglass which [...] Read more...


Solar Power and Disaster Relief Reach New Horizons with SOLIDWORKS

See how Solar Ship designed, simulated, reduced prototypes and completed detailed analyses to accelerate the development of the first piloted hybrid airplane/airship with SOLIDWORKS. The designers and engineers of today have the ability to create with unlimited capabilities and explore new topics that were once deemed impossible. With the fundamental shift from fossil fuels to [...] Read more...


How to Fix Circles That Look Like Hexagons

Has this ever happened to you? I just extruded cylinder and I’m looking at it from the top, but the profile doesn’t look circular at all! In fact, I can see 14 distinct, flat, edges. I know I created this from a circle, so what’s the deal? Did my SOLIDWORKS completely break? Of course not! […]

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Reducing the Need for 2D Drawings ‘ Summary of the MBE Summit

SOLIDWORKS MBD helps companies define, organize, and publish 3D Product Manufacturing Information (PMI) including 3D model data in industry standard file formats such as eDrawings’ and 3DPDF. Unlike traditional 2D drawings, SOLIDWORKS MBD guides the manufacturing process directly in 3D, which helps streamline production, cut cycle time, reduce errors, and support industry standards.

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Demystify Plastic Part Design ‘ Part 1 of 2

Think designing an injection molded plastic part is easy? Try hitting up your favorite internet search engine with ‘guidelines for plastic part design’. You’ll find a litany of material on the subject. After about 20 minutes you’ll start to wonder ‘so if I can’t do this, and I certainly can’t do THAT’ what can I do???’ Still, you’re tasked with this project. You bury your head in the literature, and somehow you struggle your way through it. You modify your part so it has uniform wall thickness. You ensure it’s got ample draft. You adjust your ribs and fillets to be about half and one third of your nominal thickness, respectively. You’re good right? You followed all the directions in the literature, so your part is sure to come out right!

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What Takes Longer: Creating an Assembly Parts Lists, or Brewing Your Morning Coffee?

With the use of SOLIDWORKS Composer, assembly instruction images and parts lists are a breeze! I’m going to utilize three specialized tools, and get this task in the amount of time it takes brew a cup of coffee.

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Stress Less — Simplify Your Models with SOLIDWORKS!

Most of us have dreamed of a simpler life ‘ one that allows us to enjoy more freedom and less stress. However, the reality of our everyday life seems to push us in the opposite direction. This complexity can even be reflected in the way we do our jobs, and as CAD users in the way we model. Luckily, if you happen to be a SOLIDWORKS user, there is a tool that will help you simplify your models. Whether you want to reduce the complexity of your models to improve performance, or to generate a version for FEA, you will find the Simplify tool very useful.

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Adding a Comparison Application for the Compare Command

Have you ever tried to use the Compare tool in PDM Professional (or Enterprise PDM)? View the History for a file, Ctrl + click on two version of a file and then hit the Compare Button. While it’s great that it can tell us that the versions are different, that’s not extremely helpful. However, this message does hint at something we can do to get something more helpful. It’s telling us we can map this command to a move advanced compare tool in the PDM Administration tool.

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Shockingly Easy to Draw Schematics!

Looking at wiring diagrams or schematics can be intimidating sometimes, there is a lot going on in just a 2D drawing. Think of schematics as treasure maps, it’s basically telling us where to find things, and let’s face it, treasure maps are fun therefore schematics are too! I’m going to show you how easy it is to create your own schematic using SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematics. For now, we will only cover the basics of drawing some wires and adding symbols but, I guarantee you will want to learn more after you see how easy this is! Let’s start out on a blank sheet.

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Simulation Tech Tip: Mesh Sectioning

We’ve got our simulation study set up for the above shown suspension bracket. We’ve meshed the assembly, and think it looks pretty good’ but how do we know? It’s important to have a larger number of mesh elements at any location where we’ll be seeing large changes in stress. With insufficient elements, we may not accurately capture the stress values in the part, and as a result won’t be able to understand if the part is really yielding or not. On the above mesh plot, we predict that stress change will likely occur at the fillet pointed out.

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The Xpert That Can Help You

SOLIDWORKS is telling us that there is something wrong with this sketch. Sure; we could spend a few minutes trying to understand what the problem is, and how to correct it; however, shouldn’t we be focusing on ‘the big picture’, rather than the relations in a sketch?

If you agree with the previous statement then I want to introduce you to a time-saving tool for scenarios like this: SketchXpert.

With your sketch active go to: Tools>Sketch Tools>SketchXpert

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SOLIDWORKS MBD: DimXpert in Assemblies!

The DimXpert tool is commonly used in SOLIDWORKS MBD in order to display dimensions and tolerances onto your 3D Views. Previous to SOLIDWORKS 2016, DimXpert was only accessible within part documents. Now, DimXpert can be easily used in assembly documents too. Dimensions and tolerances specific to the assembly can be displayed just as they would be displayed in the part model.

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SOLIDWORKS Modeling For Performance: How to Get Better Performance, without Spending a Penny on Hardware

So you have your hard-earned $2,500 in hand, and are ready to invest it in a powerful new machine. After all, that will solve all your performance frustrations inside SOLIDWORKS, right? Not so fast. If I could save you that money, that would be great, wouldn’t it? You just need to understand that how YOU model in SOLIDWORKS is part of the equation, too.

A critical area to review first is YOUR specific modeling techniques. More often than not, when we investigate ‘poor’ PC or SOLIDWORKS performance issues from our customers, their modeling technique is part of the problem. Unfortunately, it is impossible to build a PC to compensate for poor SOLIDWORKS assembly and modeling techniques. The truth is, PC loads starts to grow exponentially as ‘processing expensive’ modeling techniques add up. If you want to have success with anything, you must first have a plan. We want to avoid PC ‘load expensive’ modeling because we plan to use these parts in large assemblies and drawings. These are the most common missteps we see with respect to poor performance, so let’s ensure you aren’t making these before spending money on a new PC that may not help solve your problem.

Today, we’ll talk about Part, Assemblies, and Drawing techniques, and examine some of the best practices that will allow you to be more productive, while sacrificing as little as possible. Our goal is to reduce the time you spend sitting around and waiting for a model to rebuild, and instead get you back to designing sooner.

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DesignPoint Customer, Onkos Surgical, Supports Difficult Tumor Case with 3D Printed Medical Model

3D Systems pioneers healthcare solutions that enhance quality-of-life through the use of 3D printing technologies and has been a leader in surgical planning and personalized medical solutions for almost 20 years.

3D Systems’ products and services meet the needs of all customers; they are dedicated to helping doctors train for, plan, practice and perform complex medical procedures and achieve better patient outcomes. The company is committed to building an end-to-end Digital Thread for Personalized Surgery; they offer healthcare-centric 3D printing and 3D visualization technology. The Digital Thread for Personalized Surgey is a a proprietary workflow guiding the entire process from patient medical imaging through surgical outcomes, enabling the transition from the virtual world to the physical with perceptual design tools and software, surgical simulation and 3D printed surgical guides and models.

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PDM (Play Data Management): How PDM won the Broncos the Super Bowl

Ok, I am not even sure if any company/team associated with the NFL is using PDM. Really, this is just a poor ploy to get you to read this blog post. But now that you are here, let’s imagine the Denver Broncos secured their plays in a PDM Vault with file permissions set up so well that not even the New England Patriots could spy on them. We will discuss permissions within PDM and how they relate to different departments coexisting.

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Building a Cost Effective Workstation for SOLIDWORKS 2016

We receive a few calls every month looking for recommendations from users and CAD administrators building or buying new PCs to run SOLIDWORKS. Depending on your primary workflow, the PC requirements for SOLIDWORKS can vary greatly. Let’s break out the main tasks in SOLIDWORKS and see how they relate to PC hardware, then we will focus on building a BALANCED system for SOLIDWORKS that doesn’t break the bank. We can easily do this between $1250 and $2000 (or $1500-$2500 for a laptop). If you are spending more than $2000 on a system, you are generally purchasing many ‘luxury’ items that have little impact per $. The bleeding edge of PC technology generally refers to your wallet.

Image 1Let’s take a look at several operations that a standard SOLIDWORKS user would put their machine through each day. We’ll discuss what each task is taxing in terms of your computer hardware, and look at what hardware can improve performance. Remember, it doesn’t matter how powerful certain individual components are, your machine is only as powerful as its weakest link.

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Copy Settings Wizard

When you get into a car after someone else has driven, it’s usually necessary to re-adjust the seat, mirrors, or maybe even the radio to what is most comfortable for you. What if I told you there is a way to save your custom settings to allow you to essentially pick up where you left off?

Well, I can’t say that this can be done for your car, but we can do this in SOLIDWORKS with the Copy Settings Wizard! As SOLIDWORKS users, we adapt to certain short cuts, quick keys, mouse gestures, or toolbar locations that are most convenient to us and we may have spent a good chunk of time doing so. By using the Copy Settings Wizard, we can save these customizations just in case SOLIDWORKS needs to be uninstalled, reinstalled, or upgraded. Also, it is really easy to use!

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Headed to SOLIDWORKS WORLD, in Dallas? Don’t forget your Lasso (selection tool)!

Many of us here at DesignPoint will be headed out to Dallas Texas next week for SOLIDWORKS World 2016. It’ll three full days of informative SOLIDWORKS sessions, and I’ll venture a guess that more than a handful of them will be cowboy themed, given the location.

With that being said, I come prepared. I wanted to remind you quickly of a nice enhancement from a couple of releases back: the Lasso Selection Tool.

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SOLIDWORKS Composer: What’s New for 2016?

SOLIDWORKS adds many new enhancements in each consecutive release. While some number of these are truly new features, many of the enhancements look to improve the user experience by making common tasks faster and easier to manage. These ‘delighters’ may seem small, but can save a lot of time and frustration.

Let’s take a look at a few of these, new for SOLIDOWORKS Composer 2016.

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Update: Taking Derby to New Heights

It’s hard to forget Derby, the incorrigible Little-Husky-That-Could that we outfitted with 3D printed prosthetics last December. With flagless determination, Derby was all tail wags and enthusiasm over his first set of prosthetics, which we designed to help him overcome the debilitating impact of his congenitally malformed front paws. In case you missed his story, get the full impact of his amazing transformation with this video.

As many noted when Derby’s story initially came out, the first version of his prosthetics kept him fairly low to the ground. This was a very intentional choice. Derby’s first pair of prosthetics was not only a concept test for the feasibility of the overall design, it also started the process of acclimating Derby to a new elevation. We wanted to give Derby the opportunity to gradually and comfortably adjust to a vertical status quo. Had we skipped this intermediary step and immediately addressed his height in isolation of his ambulatory abilities, his story would have evolved differently. His struggles would have outweighed his successes.

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How to Pick the Right 3D CAD Package

Choosing a 3-D CAD package today is significantly different than it was 10 years ago. If you were to take to your search engine of choice and search for CAD software you’d get dozens of options, some immensely dissimilar from others . . . but not necessarily on the surface. While medical devices vary greatly in complexity and application, without question a mature, capable, and scalable 3-D CAD system should be used to design these products for manufacturing.

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Posted in CAD

Virtual Surgical Planning Assists with Full Face Transplant

In September of 2001, first responder Patrick Hardison was gravely injured in the line of duty as a volunteer firefighter in Senatobia, Mississippi. After entering a burning home on a rescue search, the flaming roof collapsed, leaving Patrick with traumatic and disfiguring injuries across his face, head, neck and upper torso. ‘It was terrible,’ Patrick told Nightline, having left home on what seemed a normal day, only to have his life take a severe and painful turn. He lost his eyelids, ears, lips and scalp, as well as most of his nose.

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Customizing Hotkeys in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

One of the great things about SOLIDWORKS Electrical that really sets it apart from other software packages is that it has a best-in-class user interface. With each new release of the software, we see fantastic updates that make the software even easier to use. SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2016 introduced some of my favorite new enhancements to the user interface, including the new properties pane and nodal indicators (more on this to come). One of the features that has been around for a while, however, is the ability to add shortcut keys in order to immediately access your most-used commands.

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Automatically Generate a PDF Using SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional Tasks

With the 2016 release, SOLIDWORKS has created a powerful product in the form of PDM Standard. Files now live at states, and move through workflows, so you always know their status; integrates right in windows explorer; and most of all it’s included at no additional cost with all Professional and Premium licenses.

So where does this leave Enterprise PDM (EPDM)? Why do I need it?

EPDM is dead.

No, not really. Not at all, actually! Enterprise PDM has just been renamed to SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional. It’s an upgrade over PDM Standard, which has many additional functions, the biggest of which is task automation.

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Using the Update Function in SOLIDWORKS Composer

In SOLIDWORKS Composer, you have the ability to update your CAD model with any changes made after creating the SOLIDWORKS Composer file. This feature allows for concurrent work. Your designers can model the assembly while your technical documentation team can create the SOLIDWORKS Composer images and animation. An understanding of how this update function works will be beneficial to use this command properly.

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SOLIDWORKS Plastics: What the Mesh?

SOLIDWORKS Plastics is a powerful tool for validation of your injection molded parts. One of the earliest steps in the process though can often prove to be challenging: creating the mesh. Without a proper mesh, our results can be inacurate, so let’s talk briefly about the mesh types.

SOLIDWORKS Plastics has a robust auto-mesher. It is used to create two different types of meshes: Shell and Solid. Each has their pros and cons, and therefore have different uses.

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Family Molds – Automatic Runner Balancing

In SOLIDWORKS, I’m designing some parts that will eventually be injection molded. Really, I’d like to create a Family Mold; having two different parts created in the same mold. This is most often done when you have two components that need to fit together, like the top and bottom half of a casing, as I’m working on, shown below.

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It’s Time to Go “Back to the Features”!

The month of October is fast approaching and it is almost time for our SOLIDWORKS 2016 Rollout event co-sponsored by HP and Intel’ Core’ i7′!

Travel “Back to the Features” with the DesignPoint Team – watch the trailer below for a sneak peek of what to expect when you attend a rollout session at one of our two locations:

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Using a Grid in SOLIDWORKS Inspection Standalone

Most companies include a grid on their drawings. The grid system provides a great way to help someone find something you want them to look at. Revisions are a great example of this. In your revision block, you can have a column that specifies the location where a revision is located on the drawing.

A grid system can also be extremely helpful with ballooned inspection drawings. Luckily for us, SOLIDWORKS Inspection allows us to include a location column in our Inspection Reports. The only thing we need to do is setup the Grid and Inspection will automatically assign the location values to our ballooned characteristics. Let’s look at how we can set up this grid in SOLIDWORKS Inspection Standalone.

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Giving Your Model a Face Lift

Did you just receive an imported part from a vendor but the part you received is not exactly the part you need? You might need to increase the diameter or length of a particular feature within your part. With imported parts, that can be difficult to achieve because you are not able to import the features used to create the part. When you import a part, the FeatureManager design tree looks like the image shown with the only feature displayed is Imported1.

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Get (Even More) Parts Using the SOLIDWORKS Electrical Online Content Portal

Manufacturers parts in SOLIDWORKS Electrical capture a bunch of metadata about parts that can be purchased including their Part Number, Description, Circuits, Terminals, Class (Category), Root mark, Size, Series and any other User Data that you want to include (for example, Voltage, Frequency, Internal Part Number, etc). This metadata is extremely useful because it can be linked to symbols, allowing you to quickly create a detailed and accurate schematic. It is also used to automatically create detailed and accurate reports such as a Bill of Materials.

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Copy Tree Enhancements for 2015

Are you looking for yet another reason to make that jump to the newest version of Enterprise PDM? Or are you one of those individuals who has already made the jump to Enterprise PDM and just haven’t had a chance to check out all its new features and enhancements? If you answered, ‘YES!’ to either of those questions, then I think you would be very interested in hearing about the new enhancements to the Copy Tree tool.

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SOLIDWORKS Plastics: Dodging the Game of Trial-and-Error

What managers and owners don’t know is that Plastics isn’t taught in most Engineering schools. It’s more of the secret underground Scientology sort of Engineering that very few know about, exclusively via experience, NOT a textbook. The only thing most engineers know about plastics are the material properties and the atomic structure of plastics. We know plastics through the perspective of an electron, maybe. Useful. How about knowing plastics through the perspective of, say, a human?

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Using Location Labels to Find Your Views

When dealing with drawings that have numerous pages and views, it can be difficult to find the location of your section and detail views. It can be even more difficult to identify which view the detail/section view references. For this reason, SOLIDWORKS added the ability to use Location Labels in drawings. The label classifies which sheet and zone the corresponding view is located. Location Labels can be added to any detail, section, and auxiliary view. You can add the location labels to either parent or child views. For the parent view, the location label will be attached to detail circles, section cutting lines, or auxiliary lines. Location labels can be found under Insert>Annotations>Location Labels.

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DesignPoint’s Annual Technology Days are Back!

DesignPoint Solutions is once again holding our annual Technology Days. Our goal with these events is to bring you information that will make your design cycle more efficient, while creating more innovative products with higher quality. Our Technology Days are a great opportunity to get advice, learn from others in your industry, and obtain some education on the latest SOLIDWORKS products and 3D printing/scanning technology.

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Translating Textures from SOLIDWORKS to Composer

Recently, I’ve been working on designing a guitar in SOLIDWORKS. I’ve applied several appearances and it’s looking pretty good, so I’m ready to share the concept with some of my coworkers. I’ve decided to create some renderings and output them using SOLIDWORKS Composer. Using a simple File, Open from Composer, I can automatically translate my model. It’s super easy to do, and takes a matter of seconds. I love it!
However, when I did the open in composer, I wasn’t thrilled with the results’

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Adding a Footer Row to Your Inspection Report Templates

The SOLIDWORKS Inspection Template Editor has a Footer Row function that will automatically expand or truncate the rows in your report to match the number of characteristic values you are exporting. This helps make your reports look more professional and saves you time by not having to format additional rows or delete rows after exporting. Any rows in the Report Template that are on or after the Footer Row will appear at the bottom of your report or on the last page of your report.

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3D Systems and Washington University Cardiology Team Help Toddler Breathe Easier with 3D Printed Heart Model

3D Systems has announced that a 20-month-old toddler is breathing and swallowing easier thanks to a team of cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, who used a full-color 3D printed replica of his heart to prepare for a delicate, 2.5 hour procedure at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. 3DS has been at the forefront of surgical planning and personalized medical solutions for almost two decades. With an end-to-end digital thread that integrates surgical simulation, training, planning, and printing of anatomical models, surgical instruments and medical devices, 3DS has helped doctors in tens of thousands of complex medical cases to achieve better patient outcomes with faster surgeries.

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Medical Device Manufacturers: What Can SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM Do for You?

Many of us are well aware of the advantages of using Product Data Management software like SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM. In the case of Enterprise PDM, it’s more than just a server that provides a centralized location to store files. It also maintains CAD files references for drawing and assembly files and additionally gives you the ability to create references for non-CAD files. By far, one of the biggest advantages of Enterprise PDM is that it keeps track of versions and revisions of all files making it very easy to review a product’s life-cycle.

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Adding Duct Path to Reports in SOLIDWORKS Electrical

Creating detailed models of 2D schematics is fast and easy with SOLIDWORKS Electrical. Wires can be segregated by type and path, and report generation is almost fully automated. Out of the box, SOLIDWORKS Electrical comes with a number of useful reports.

The following blog discusses one way of customizing your wiring report to include the path wires take through ducts. Including this information in our reports allows us to quickly and clearly communicate the way in which we have chosen to segregate our wires.

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The Most Innovative Cancer Treatment is Designed in SOLIDWORKS

Designers are by nature ‘problem solvers.’ Sometimes designers are focused on making a product more aesthetically pleasing, but usually engineers are focused on this one fact ‘ to solve a need, and solving the huge need to eliminate cancer is no different. Designers are not doctors or nurses on the front lines of wellness, but there are many medical device designers who spend their days focused on helping those in need. From portable Defibulators to Incubators to artificial limbs, designers are solving a need to help those with ailments through better and innovative new products. However, when I think of medical devices, I think of smaller devices that fit into a patient’s hospital room, not devices that take up an entire three story building, as the good folks at ProNova Solutions are designing.

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3D Systems and Rita Leibinger Medical Get Disabled Dogs Back on their Feet Fast with 3D Printed Titanium Implants

More than 10,000 disabled dogs are now able to run faster, jump higher and play harder ‘ thanks to 3D printed metal orthopedic knee implants that 3D Systems manufactured for Rita Leibinger Medical.
Digitally designed and 3D fabricated titanium implants empower veterinarians to compress the treatment-to-recovery cycle of a common, but difficult-to-solve problem in dogs’ legs, underscoring the power of 3D printing to improve the quality of life for all.
Watch the video to see how 3DS’ printing capabilities help disabled dogs to walk and run freely, just six weeks after surgery.

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User Interface Enhancements for SOLIDWORKS 2015

Service Pack 2 is usually the time of the year when customers start upgrading to the next version. In honor of all the new 2015 users, this article will discuss the enhancements made to the user interface. In the past, SOLIDWORKS has included enhancements to be able to customize the menus such as the CommandManager, shortcut keys, mouse gestures and various other toolbars. The idea of customization is maintained in SOLIDWORKS 2015 with the ability to customize the context-sensitive toolbars. The context-sensitive toolbar can be seen when clicking or right clicking a feature, face, dimension, sketch, graphics area and etc. The ability to quickly get to commonly used command is the main benefit towards customizing this toolbar. For example, added to my toolbar is the ‘unsuppress with dependents’ command. This option allows the user to unsuppress a feature as well as its children features.

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Stop Making 2D Drawings and Eliminate Manufacturing Mistakes with SOLIDWORKS MBD

3D CAD has done wonders to eliminate design errors. By creating full models of our parts we can assemble them, verify fit, and even simulate a working environment. But at the end of the design process, we take all of that 3D data and output a 2D drawing to send to manufacturing. Why? Manufacturing from 2D drawings is still largely the norm, but it inherently has it problems. Unclear drawings can lead to manufacturing errors, and increased cost to you. In addition, interpreting drawings can be a painstaking task, leading to increased time to quote or fabricate your parts.

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Linear Pattern Your Way in SOLIDWORKS 2015

With every new release of SOLIDWORKS, we see a lot of improved and added functionality. This year, with the release of SOLIDWORKS 2015, we saw a lot of improvements that focused on patterning. In this short tech tip, I will talk about new options added to the Linear Pattern tool and how you can leverage them in your designs.

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Grey’s Anatomy Calls on Medical Modeling for Operation Planning

If you’ve ever tuned into ABC’s hit hospital drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” you know that the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial are up against the most challenging cases every week – not only in the OR, but in their personal lives as well. With high stress and high stakes, some of the scrubs-donning stars are reluctant to accept help, though this week they were happy to take an assist from 3D printing.

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5 Reasons Mechanical Conceptual is your Early Design Phase Solution

Design Freely. Is my concept a part or assembly of parts? Well’ Honestly, I don’t know yet. With mechanical conceptual, that’s not a problem. With a single modeling environment, you can move seamlessly between part modeling, inserting new bodies, and mating them together.

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SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM – Managing Paper Drawings

Have you ever printed a drawing for review or just to mark it up and somehow that drawing ended up on the manufacturing floor and was accidentally manufactured? Or the drawing ended up in the purchasing department and was purchased? Then, when the component was inspected, someone realized that the drawing actually was neber released’ Oops’ With SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM you can streamline the process and you can add Watermarks to the SOLIDWORKS drawings on a particular transition. So, how do we do that?

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Top 10 Applications for 3D Printing in 2014

At this point, it’s fairly safe to assume you’ve heard of 3D printing. Not necessarily because the technology has been around for 30 years, but because it’s gotten considerable coverage over the past few. The way we see it, this coverage will continue for a while longer, but then people will no longer be surprised that something was made using 3D printing. Why? Because of course it was! 3D printing is an exceptionally versatile tool, and as we perfect the technology, expand its applications and enhance its integration, it will reach a level of ubiquity that only common sense can dictate.

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Decide Between Design Creation and Reuse in Just One Minute!

Did you know 80% of CAD work recreates a part already made? EXALEAD OnePart is a standalone, web-based discovery application for designers and engineers to decide between design creation or design reuse. Results are fast; in under a minute you begin getting results in order to make a better decision regarding reuse. In addition, OnePart goes beyond parts and designs and even includes specifications, standards, test results and related data for engineering, manufacturing and procurement.
OnePart leverages data from existing data repositories including virtually any CAD systems (2D & 3D), PLM/PDM systems and more – all done without migrating data.

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Tech Tip: 5 Ways to Secure Your Proprietary Model Data in Composer

One of the best assets of SOLIDWORKS Composer is the flexibility with which you can share dynamic model content prospective customers, vendors, or other designers. However, how do you prevent these prospective customers from simply taking your model details and heading for the hills?

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Dimension Sketches Faster Than Ever

One of the things I love about SOLIDWORKS is that it has really powerful sketch relation and inferencing capabilities. In SOLIDWORKS 2015, believe it or not, they’ve taken this one step further with the ability to add sketch relations on-the-go (watch for a future blog: What’s new in SOLIDWORKS 2015). But what about dimensions? Can we add these on-the-go as well?

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3D Printing: Dog’s Best Friend

Derby the dog was born with a congenital disease that caused a malformation in his front paws. More like flippers than feet, Derby’s condition made it difficult for him to get around, but true to the effervescent spirit of a puppy, Derby demonstrated heart-breaking determination to move and play. Though he managed decently enough in soft, indoor environments, hard outdoor surfaces were out of the question. So how is it that Derby can now run and frolic with abandon? Why, with his custom-3D printed prosthetics, of course!

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SOLIDWORKS Community – Stronger than Ever

If you are thinking about implementing a 3D CAD system in your organization there are a few areas to consider before making a final decision. The typical deciding factors usually come down to the price of the solution as well as how long it will take for the people using it to learn and implement the solution. My purpose here is to take a few minutes and discuss one other key area of making a 3D CAD decision, and that is Community.

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Route Your Way, It’s Just an EW_PATH!

When using the “Route Wires” command in the Electrical add-in for SOLIDWORKS, we can automatically create our wires in the 3D model. In conjunction with a “Create Wire Route Path” command, we can direct how we want these wires to be run.

But what if we already have sketch geometry that we want to use? Do we really have to re-create it?

If you dig into one of our ducts (which automatically route correctly) we see it simply has a sketch in it named “EW_PATH”.

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Creating Left and Right Handed Sheet Metal Parts

When designing sheet metal parts, there may come a time when a user wants to create left handed and right handed versions of a part. SOLIDWORKS understands this, which is why the software has features implemented to streamline this process. In SOLIDWORKS, the process starts by creating either the left or right version of the part. Once one side of the part is created, the mirror part tool will be used to create the other side of the part. Do not confuse the mirror part tool with the mirror feature. The mirror feature adds the solid body into the same part. The mirror part tool adds the solid body into a new part file. Shown below is the left handed version of a sheet metal part.

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ProJet 5500X: Multi-Material 3D Printer

3D System’s Professional Line ProJet 5500X uses proven MultiJet Printing (MJP) Technology to build the highest quality, most accurate and toughest multi-material parts available. You can print finely detailed parts with varying degrees of flexibility, material transparency and color (black, white, or select shades of grey), all from one 3D printer!

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Nike Says 3D Printing is Crucial to the Company’s Growth

3D printing in manufacturing is increasing and many household brands, such as Nike have started looking into the many possibilities offered by 3D printing. In fact, since the company created their Nike Football Rebento duffle bag, specifically for three world cup players Neymar Jr., Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, their love of this technology has perfectly complimented their desire for innovative products.

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Congratulations DesignPoint Customers!

Manufacturers and business leaders from all over New Jersey joined NJBIZ for its first New Jersey Manufacturing Awards 2014 event on Oct. 3. The event, held in conjunction with the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, honored producers of innovation in the Garden State, including companies and professionals who are creating products and jobs right here in New Jersey every day.

DesignPoint Solutions would like to extend a huge congratulations to some of our customers on their outstanding nominations and wins at the NJBIZ Manufacturing Awards 2014!

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10 Easy Ways to Improve Large Assembly Performance

One of the things that makes SOLIDWORKS such a powerful tool is that it allows us to create complex assemblies – many with thousands of individual parts – quickly and easily. In this blog, you will find several tips, tools, and tricks that will help you reduce the load on your computer when working with large assemblies, so that you can enjoy faster rebuild times and little to no lag.

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It’s Time To Play “Feature Feud!”

The month of October is fast approaching and it is almost time for our SOLIDWORKS 2015 Rollout event! We have determined the best features of SOLIDWORKS 2015 and we will see which features shine in our “Feature Feud” competition. We’re excited to present to you the latest software, offering new tools and solutions to boost your engineering and design productivity.

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SLA Technology: The Gold Standard in 3D Printing

3D Systems Stereolithography (SLA) production printers transform the process of creating casting patterns, molds, end-use parts and functional prototypes. These 3D Printers enable manufacturers and engineers in a variety of industries to swiftly integrate new manufacturing processes and produce the parts they need more efficiently.

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SOLIDWORKS Part Reviewer Tool

While preparing to teach my first lesson in a Fundamentals I class, I remembered that SOLIDWORKS has a Part Reviewer tool. Part Reviewer allows a user to simply go through each step of the CAD modeling process by stepping through each feature and sketch as they were created. This is great for companies that have multiple designers working on one CAD model because one designer will easily be able to pick up where the other designer left off. This would also be very beneficial for companies that want to modify a part they receive from a vendor but have no idea how the part was modeled. Part Reviewer can be found under the Tools drop-down menu, as shown in the image below.

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Gate Type in SOLIDWORKS Plastics

Every injection mold design that we produce will need to include a gate, the location where the plastic will enter our part. The size, location, and shape of this gate will all need to be determined by the mold designer. Common types of gates include tab gates, banana gates, and submarine gates to name a few. In SOLIDWORKS Plastics, we can utilize and test any gate size and location to improve the design of our mold. To do this, we will model the gate in SOLIDWORKS along with the runner and sprue merged into the part we are designing. This will allow us to mesh the gate along with our model, and fully analyze the flow into our design.

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Eliminate Those Nasty Sink Marks and Short Shots For Good!

If you design injection molded plastic parts you may be familiar with terms such as short shots, sink marks, weld lines and dieseling. If any of those terms make you cringe, it may be time to look into better ways to identify these problems earlier on in the design process and eliminate them for good!

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Make Your Design Stand Out! Communicate in Strong, Full-Color Plastic!

3D Systems’ full color 3D printers suite a wide variety of customer needs. With 3DSystems’ 3D printers, you can build strong, high-definition, full color concept models, assemblies and prototypes enabling you to communicate design intent and spend time generating ideas.

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Duplicate File Names

There’s a critical thing we stress in our Fundamentals I class that has a high influence on how we work with SOLIDWORKS. That thing is making sure all your SOLIDWORKS files have unique names is very important. Because of the hierarchy of how SOLIDWORKS finds file references, you could end up opening the wrong “bracket.sldprt” file if you have another one in your working directory. If you are working in just one folder, this isn’t really an issue. This is because Windows won’t let you save a file with the same name as another. But in a lot of cases, most people have files in many different folders based on file type, part type, project, etc. Windows only checks for duplicate file names in the folder you are in and it doesn’t even check sub-folders. You could, therefore, have as many files with the same name as you the number of folder you have. We definitely do not want to end up in a scenario like that.

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Production 3D Printers: Direct Metal Printing (DMP)

The Direct Metal process builds up fully dense, chemically pure metals from 3D CAD data by melting fine powder with a laser beam, layer by layer. With layer sizes ranging from 5-30 microns, there are no limitations to part complexity. When complex metal parts are needed fast, 3D Systems’ direct metal solutions turns market pressure into a competitive advantage.

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An Opposite-Hand Blog, Part 1 of 2

A week or so ago, I injured my right arm. Being right-handed, this poses a bit of an issue when you need to use SOLIDWORKS every day. No problem though, I moved my mouse pad over to the left side, and even found the option in control panel to flip my mouse buttons. I was off and running on the opposite hand. It took some getting used to at first, but now that I’ve been using it for a few days I’ve gotten pretty good with my left hand. Ambidexterity, I’m coming for you!

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Installing and Upgrading Toolbox in a Multi-User Environment

The SolidWorks Toolbox comes with SolidWorks Professional and Premium (not Standard) and gives you a huge database of standard hardware (nuts, bolts, bushings, o-rings, etc) as well as some other specialty items like gears and bearings. By default, each user has their own installation of toolbox which exists as a folder called “SolidWorks Data” and is typically located at the root level of the C drive. During the installation process you can choose to change the name and location of the toolbox installation if you wish by clicking “Toolbox Options” on the Summary screen as shown below. It’s a good idea to change the name from “SolidWorks Data” to “SolidWorks Data 20XX” with the XX representing the year such as 15. Otherwise you may eventually end up with “SolidWorks Data (2)”, “SolidWorks Data (3)”, etc.

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Equally Spacing a Linear Pattern Using Equations

When creating a linear pattern feature, we are normally required to input the spacing value manually rather than defining the instances to be equally spaced over the length of our part. This equal spacing is something that is often our desire, and so we can create this relationship using an equation. The part we will create to display this process is the Grate shown here. We will pattern a cut with a pair of fillets in two directions with a linear pattern and control the spacing of that pattern with two equations.

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The ProJet x60 Printer: Full Color Concept Models, Fast and Easy

The ProJet’ x60 series includes full color 3D printers with an unparalleled ability to print 90% of the colors available in Adobe’ Photoshop’ and VisiJet’ PXL materials utilizing 3D Systems’ exclusive ColorJet Printing (CJP) technology. Feature rich with exceptional performance and value, the ProJet x60 offers enhanced functionality, utility and productivity.

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Automate Some of Those Painstaking Tasks in EPDM with Dispatch!

File management is always an ordeal. You’re tracking hundreds of different files, managing metadata, and updating status or workflow states. Even with a robust and powerful tool like Enterprise PDM though, some of these tasks can still be time consuming. What happens when you need to rename a few dozen files? How about updating their data card information? This is largely still a manual process.

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Microsoft Office Add-In for EPDM

As more companies take advantage of SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, it has become common to use the EPDM vault to store documents of all kinds- not just SolidWorks documents. Of course EPDM is intended for documents of all kinds, but it has special functionality for SolidWorks documents by way of a SolidWorks add-in. Now, because Microsoft Office documents are so prevalent in the vault, there is an add-in for those as well. It came out with the release of EPDM 2014 but is compatible with EPDM 2013 too. So what’s the big deal? Why would you want or need it? Ask yourself this:

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Creators of Inspection Documents, Stress No Longer!

Creators of Inspection Documents, stress no longer. The answer to all your frustrations is here and it is called SolidWorks Inspection (and you don’t even need to have SolidWorks to use it).
Are you a Designer, Quality Engineer, or Inspector who is tasked with creating inspection documents? Do you find the process of creating inspection documents to be both time consuming and sometimes error-prone? Do you wish there was a tool that could help reduce these issues? Look no further than SolidWorks Inspection.

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SolidWorks Included in the Top 10 Engineering Advancements of the 21st Century!

Over the past 17 years, DesignPoint Solutions has worked hard to help designers and engineers leverage their use of SolidWorks to optimize their ability to create and deliver designs. By assisting and providing the knowledge needed to run SolidWorks properly, DesignPoint aims to continuously improve the everyday experiences of our customers. We are honored to be a part of the SolidWorks community who’s impact has earned them the distinction of “Top 10 engineering advancements of the 21st century.”

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Automatic Wire Routing Using SolidWorks Electrical 3D

In 2013, SolidWorks first released a new product called SolidWorks Electrical. If you haven’t heard of it, it flawlessly connects electrical and mechanical design, and providing enhanced collaboration and planning, and allowing these processes to truly be parallel. If you’re like me, a mechanical guy, you probably also don’t get along so well with the electrical guys. Believe it or not, the tools introduced in SolidWorks electrical can actually make those electrical engineers bearable to work with.

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Layout Based Assembly Design

SolidWorks is known for being able to easily do some amazing things in 3D. But did you know you can do some really great 2D based things in SolidWorks as well? You may be asking yourself: “Why would I need to do anything 2D based in SolidWorks when the whole reason for using SolidWorks is to do all that awesome 3D stuff?” Well, the kinds of 2D based things I am talking about are going to help you save a lot of time when you go to do your 3D based things. So what kind of 2D based things am I talking about? I am talking about Layout-based Assembly Design.

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Exploded Assembly Animations

Creating Exploded views of assemblies is something many of us use to display our parts in drawings, but another nice functionality we have is to save out this explosion as an animation in an AVI file. Here is an example of how we can do this easily after having created our exploded view.

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How Do I Make a Decal?

Decals in SolidWorks are very useful for a variety of applications. Maybe you want to put your logo on your model. Maybe you have a label with nutritional information or a product name, etc. You can also use logos to show detail on your parts that would otherwise be difficult or time consuming to model. For example the grill of a car. These decals can be wrapped around surfaces that are cylindrical or round in addition to flat faces.

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Can’t Quite Get the Shape You Wanted? Try the Deform Tool!

Ever design a part with nice crisp edges, only to later realize it would function better if they were curved? The most common instance of this is with parts that an end user would be holding; sharp edges will be uncomfortable on your hand. However, going back and editing the base extrude shape can sometimes be problematic. So how do we add that curvature to the edge?
SolidWorks has several tools to help you shape a part even after the fact. One of these is the Deform tool. Specifically, let’s look at a curve-to-curve deformation.

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Sheet Metal Gusset Feature

As I mentioned in a previous blog, there are many great new features and enhancements in SolidWorks 2014. In this blog, I will focus on a new feature for Sheet Metal parts. Below is a picture showing various views of a bent sheet metal part.
It looks like a pretty standard sheet metal part for the most part. It has two simple bends and some gusset looking features. These types of gussets are a stamped feature and are used to reinforce bends of all types. If we wanted to create a feature like this in previous versions of SolidWorks, we typically had to use Form Tool features. In SolidWorks 2014, we now have the Sheet Metal Gusset feature. Not only is this a standard feature but it’s also very easy to use and extremely configurable.

Let’s go ahead and create a gusset feature so we can get familiar with this new tool. We will start with the same part from above but without the gussets.

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