The honeymoon is over. The software that at first was a series of small joys has ground me down under its weight. But I'm not about to give up.
As I tried to load drawing templates for the 3rd online tutorial (Creating Drawings), I was stymied by annoying popup messages about how the software was not registered. No duh. I am still waiting for an email from SolidWorks with my registration information sent 9 days ago. Could it be caught in my spam filter? No such luck. Stubbornly, the tutorial let's me go no further.
Maybe I don't need the handholding tutorials. I venture out on my own. I try to make hex head bolt in the manner suggested by the tutorials and start an extrusion. I am able to pick a plane and then I find myself in the sketch menu. I see a buttons for lines, rectangles, circles... No hex. No polygon. But it must be there -- that is such a basic shape. Maybe I have to make a circle first and then approximate it but I can find nothing that lets me do that either. I reach for SolidWorks for Dummies and sure enough there is a POLYGON command listed in the index. But where? Am I going blind? I call over a colleague to make sure I am not missing a button in plain sight. They don't see one either. But it's here in the book, I protest to no one in particular. "Look at the online help," they say. Aha! I find it the pull down menu under Tools/Sketch Entities. Why it doesn't appear in the extrusion sequence of buttons is a question left for later.
I am (semi) successful in creating the body of the bolt but have done something wrong as the body and head are not properly unioned. I move on. I am happy to see SolidWorks' many HELIX commands and I rough up a helical curve which I hope to use to create the threads. Now that worked really well. But as I try to create a profile that will make the cut as it follows the helical curve, I realize I don't know how to define a plane at an arbitrary place in space. Back to the book...
Just by coincidence, I get a call from my SolidWorks contact. Had she heard me banging my head against my computer from across the country? Perhaps sensing my increasing frustration from this very blog she suggests I take class room training like most SolidWorks users do. Maybe I should. Or they could send someone to my office. I get the feeling that house calls are not extended to all users. I have to decline that offer. I can't accept special treatment as I'm trying to simulate a real user experience. She tells me she will send me the latest version (SW07). I think I should wait til that gets here -- it may have fixed some of the issues I am having.
I send an email to my local SolidWorks VAR, a company called GoEngineer, re. the next basic SolidWorks classroom training is offered soon but only 9AM-5PM. I wonder how I could fit that in.