Monday, October 14, 2013

Increase SolidWorks productivity... in four key areas

Rather than charging into the next CAD assignment, take a moment to reflect how your time and effort is being used when managing multiple clients. Have you encountered recent modeling or drawing experiences where you thought to yourself "I know there's an easier / faster way to do this, but I'll set that up later"? Instead of improving the situation however, many just continue with the same tried-n-true mouse clicks they're accustomed to. If that has been your experience, then setting aside a small amount of time to address these four key areas should yield noticeable benefits toward increasing your efficiency and effectiveness with SolidWorks, and especially when managing multiple clients. 

  • Develop Part, Assembly, and Drawing templates specific to a client as soon as you begin a project
  • For these client-based templates, be sure to arrange:
    • the preferred 'Unit System', including number of decimals or whether to use fractions
    • the 'Hide/Show Items' to your preference
    • the Drawing 'Title Blocks' to feature the clients name and/or logo
  • Leave the Custom Properties of Part, Assembly, and Drawing templates blank
  • If not mapped already, ensure the System Options are arranged to include any needed templates in the Default Templates and File Locations > Document Templates settings
Custom Properties
  • Utilize 'Property Tab Builder' to create 'Custom Property' templates for Part, Assembly, and Drawing files
    • separate part templates can be developed for both designed components and for common hardware
    • use the 'Task Manager' pane to easily assign and edit the Custom Properties for each file type
User Interface and Customization
  • Add commonly used 'Command' icons to the 'Main Toolbar' or the 'View (Heads-Up) Toolbar'
    • locate these in positions that minimize mouse travel (i.e.: place a 'close file' icon next to the 'save icon')
  • Utilize 'Context Toolbar'
  • Utilize 'Mouse Gestures'
  • When building assemblies, simply press and hold [Alt] + select entity, then drag to mate model geometry
    • Press [Tab] to flip alignment, if needed
Of course, these are just four of the many aspects of SolidWorks that can aid in improving productivity. Easy to implement into a routine if you haven't done so already, these four areas should yield noticeable improvements toward managing multiple clients efficiently and effectively.