Its time to start exploring areas of Solidworks that I normally have never used mainly because my current job didn't use it. Of of those areas is Routing. If you have Solidworks Premium, its an add-in available to you. I have spent the past few days going through the beginnings of the Routing training manual, and thought I would share some initial how-to's from it.
The first lesson will deal with setting up a connector so it will play nicely in your Routing assembly. Of course the first thing you need to do is make sure the Routing add-in is turned on:
Once turned on, you can then activate the Routing Tools tab of the Command Manager:
One of the first lessons deals with inserting ring terminals into an existing assembly and then creating some simple Auto-routes:
As you can see all the connectors are nicely lined up, but they didn't just automatically line themselves up so nice. Inside your assembly, on the Routing Command Manager tab, select the Auto Route Button:
A second ring terminal needs to be added to this light. Once you activate the Auto Route option, you then go to the routing tab on the task pane, and grab the ring connector. The connector has a pre-defined mate reference on it. As you drag it close to the taped hole on the light, the connector will snap concentric to the tapped hole:
Unfortunately the rotation of the connector is less than desirable. Here is the trick: while you are still holding the connector over the hole, and before you release the mouse button, hold the shift key, and press one of the arrow keys. The connector will then rotate to the position you want:
The key here is that the connector has an axis feature in it thats named "Axis of Rotation". Without that feature, you will not be able to rotate the connector:
Once you place the connector and rotate it, you can place a matching connector on the terminal block in the assembly:
To complete the Auto Route of the wire, you simple click the blue end of the Cpoint (connector point) on each connector, and they appear in the selections box of the Auto Route property manager:
You will also have a preview of the completed route:
Click OK a few times, and you will have the completed cable:
Thats it for rotating connectors, and creating simple Auto Routes. Next up is routing through clips, and assigning wire types to cables. If you would like to download these sample tutorial files, they are available on the Solidworks website at this link: Routing Training Files. The files have not been updated to 2009 yet, but they will still work. Other Solidworks training files are available at this link: Solidworks Training Files.
The last two weeks have been a pretty exciting time for me. It all started on Twitter when Matt West of Solidworks posted a link to the job openings at Solidworks. It all culminated today with the acceptance of a position working for Solidworks. I spent the last two days in Boston interviewing with some pretty cool people at Solidworks. Most I knew, but a couple I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time. In the case of the people I was meeting for the first time, it was just as I expected, they are just as passionate about the Solidworks software, as everyone else. Everyone I chatted with had nothing but good things to say about working for Solidworks, and they all pretty much called it either the best job they have ever had, or their dream job.
So on Monday January 5th, 2009 I will officially start my job with Solidworks in Concord Massachusetts. I will be working for Jeremy Luchini in the certification department. I have known Jeremy for a couple of years now, and I'm really looking forward to being a productive part of his team. Overall It's hard to explain how excited I am to be going to work for such good company.
One of the first questions I was asked on Twitter today, was what's going to happen with the blog. While I was in Concord the past few days, there were discussions being tossed around about how to keep it going, and I will say there are some great ideas. So in some form or another, I will still continue to pop up on your RSS readers rather frequently!
The other issue has been with the user group. There are plans to keep it going with someone else leading it, but no matter what it will continue to host meetings and to function. I now look forward to being able to possibly guest speak at user group meetings around the country! In many ways, joining Solidworks really started just over three years ago when I first met Richard Doyle, and he asked me if I would be interested in starting a user group in the Los Angeles area. That was the starting point for getting to meet people, getting to write a blog, and meeting various people.
So to all the people in Concord reading this, I look forward to joining the team, and meeting everyone else I haven't yet met. For those around the world that stop by to read my posts, and leave comments, I look forward to being able to chat about Solidworks, and other CAD related topics!
After download nearly a gigabyte of info, you don't want to do it again and again for every computer. If your not using an administrative image, I'm going to show you the easy way to do it. All you will need is a 1gb thumb drive, and some free time.
During the normal process of downloading service packs for Solidworks, one of the screen shows a message at the bottom about sharing the files your downloading to use on other computers:
See that blue message at the bottom of that screen? I have never been able to find where that documentation actually exists, until today. The impression I get from that message is that the information is in the Solidworks help files. I was never able to find anything using different search terms such as 'share download', etc. Well it seems as if that documentation actually resides in the download folder of the files you are watching being downloaded:
That read me file tells you basically how to do it. A possible easy fix to this once previous mystery would be to reword the last part of that blue message in the download window to say "Check the documentation in the folder being downloaded." Lets move on.
Once you complete your first upgrade, you need to insert your USB thumb drive, and copy the folder called Solidworks 2009 SP1 onto it. Now exactly where this folder resides is set by this page during the initial download of files:
The default location is what Windows will pick for you based on how Windows has been written to act for downloads. Thankfully enough you can browse to an easier to find location if you like.
So after you copy that folder to your thumb drive, grab you SW dvd and head to the next computer. Copy that folder to a known location, and open it. You will want to click on the following file:
That will launch the Installation Manager. Once it grabs your serial number from the Windows Registry, it will still need to download the new SWIM files:
so don't be confused by the quick 20mb download. After thats finished, you will end up at this screen:
You will want to select the second option, then browse to the location of the files you copied from the USB thumb Drive. Clicking next will start the upgrade process, and will finish once all the service packs have been completed.
For quite some time, the SolidWorks Installation Manager has been a source of much frustration for users trying to install or update software. It has been one of a couple of areas of Solidworks that I personally was never able to understand, and be happy with. That is until the release of Service Pack 1.0 for Solidworks 2009. Normally with each service pack released by Solidworks, they also release a newer version of the SWIM itself. Normally you will see it as the initial 20mb download when you first start the SWIM.
So whats so different to make me change my mind? For the most part, things are explained better. It walks you through the process, and helps you to get it set up correctly.
One of the first screens you encounter will be showing you what products you will be upgrading:
Right from this screen, you will see what products are going to download onto your computer. In my case I'm upgrading Solidworks Premium, so you see listed above just about all the normally used products. Now this is where a big source of frustration comes from for most users. They cant understand why the download is so big compared to downloading just the stand alone service pack file for Solidworks. Its because you are downloading patches for all the products listed under products to upgrade. In this instance its 866mb of files. If I was downloading just the SW patch, its about 120mb for SP.
Now we don't use PDM, so why should I be forced to download the patch for it if I'm not using it? I don't have to. So by checking the Customize Products to Upgrade button, then clicking next, I get this screen:
All I have to do is expand the Solidworks Explorer/Workgroup PDM box, and then choose to not install it:
That will tell the SWIM to not download those files. If there are any other products you don't want to upgrade, this is the screen you do it on. If I were to uncheck everything but the core SW patch, I would be downloading approximately .12gb or 120mb. See how that works? So in fact, SWIM doesn't download unnecessary files, its trying to get everything at once, you just need to tell it if you want something else.
Another complaint by uses has typically been why do they need the original DVD to do service packs? Well evidently its a Microsoft thing:
There is no real explanation why its a Microsoft issue, but at least we know its not just a quirk of the software.
On a different note, the file location shown in that window is going to default to where you originally installed SW 2009 from. In my case, I downloaded the files, then burned them to a DVD so I could do local installs. So in the window above SWIM is looking for that DVD. Well on the production DVD's, the file structure is just slightly different. I had to browse to the Correct folder on the DVD, and everything was fine.
So if you have avoided the SWIM in the past, I would highly encourage you to give it another shot with SP1.0 for SW2009. Follow the recommendations above, and you should be surprised at how much of a time save the SWIM actually is!
Do you have other computers to upgrade as well? No need to download the files on every computer. On Monday I will show you how to share the download with other computers with relative ease!