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October 24, 2006


R Mexico

A true engineer (one who can actually think analytically and problem-solve) typically does not encounter this level of frustration with software programs. Training, manuals, and the like only serve as crutches to those whose metacognitive abilities are simply not up to snuff. Personally, I’ve experienced little to no difficulty using the product and consider it to be the finest on the market (perhaps that’s why it’s the leading software of its kind).

John Burrill

Sorry you had to dig for so long to get that hexagon. Unlike AutoCAD, Solidworks doesn't put every tool on the desktop out of the box (in fact neither does AutoCAD, but it looks that when those twenty express tools toolbars come up)
Fortunately, the complete listing of avaailable commands are accessible from Tools=>Customize in the pulldown menus. Goto the 'Commands' tab in the dialog that comes up. As a tip for learning how the software's layed out, go through the toolbars and read the tooltips on the icon.
On the Authcode thing, don't wait anymore. Write down your serial number and Call them:
I'm going to add my voice to the chorus, don't give up. Every CADDER worth their salt goes through this. And I'm going to break ranks, if all that were required for true mastery were classrooms, universities wouldn't have labs and libraries. Training can give you a valuable leg-up, but, long-term, it's 10 percent of what you'll learn.


I find people tend to latch on to a whatever brand of software that they understand and then defend it to the death. We use IronCad for custom machinery because it is extremely fast, intuitive and easy to use. Parametrics are there but we find they get in the way and do not add enough value for what we are doing. We can freely pass models around between us with no parameters to worry about. The Triball is a super fast and effective tool. None of us have needed a training course. The tutorials work well. We design automatic machinery... mostly simple shapes and very large assemblies. We integrate many purchased components. We can import or export in a wide range of 3D format Step, Acis, Parasolid, X_T, Pro-E, Granite One... they all work with the dual modeling kernal.

My thoughts are that 3D does not have to be overly complicated depending on what industry you are in...

I am keeping an eye on "SketchUp" as well as a napkin sketcher for quick 3D concepts.... For me "ease of use" is the magic phrase... not weeks of training for over-complicated software.

Jeff Mirisola

I'm telling ya, Roopinder, you can do it. I am not a trained engineer, I had minimal exposure to AutoCAD and I taught myself SolidWorks. It just takes some time. Network, visit the forums, ask those of us that are posting comments. I, for one, will do whatever I can to help you succeed. I remember how tough it was in the beginning, especially where I didn't understand a lot of the terminology.
Don't cave. Chew out SolidWorks for not getting you your reg code and forge ahead.


This is a good reason why magazine editors should not review software. No experience, models are to simple. Your time would be better spent going onsite to existing customers. Cad vendors have all kinds of customers listed on their web sites.
Ask the customer to go through a series of tests. Show me how you created that model, lets do some changes, how much training have you had.
Many times i get onsite and see a wide range of skills and models.
Some users will say ill never try to change models that User A created. User B is a good modeler
Hard projects goto User C.
So get out of your offices visit customers. Ask realistic questions. Maybe some reference customers arent really references but thereb is a user that has a good relation with the CAD company so they give a glaring reference every time.
Do it anonymously
this would be valuable information
to potential CAD users.
Good independent reporting thats not paid for

Richard Williams

Keep at it. I still think you should get SolidProfessor that is now able to embed itself into SolidWorks and click on it whenever you need something taught to you. Also try using the help menu and look up the subject of whatever you are trying to do. I get a lot of help or ideas from that.

Aaron Farmer

I want to add something to what I said below. While I think Solidworks is the easiest to use program of it's type and my daughter has made it through about a half dozen of the tutorials and part of my training manual mostly by herself, I still think training is extremely important to get the full benifit of what a program like this can do. Any program with the power and capabilities of Solidworks or any similar product, can't be done justice with a couple of tutorials. There is an attitude by a lot of people (mostly previous Autocad users from my experiences) that formal training isn't necessary. I'm smart and talented. I can learn this on my own. This attitude has been around for a long time. I myself was a mostly self taught Autocad user in the early to mid-90's. I had a few college courses, bought a few books, and Viola. I'm a proffesional Autocad user. I could do almost anything my employer ask me to do with it so that was what I thought. Wrong! I was laid off from this company and started doing contract design work on my own. I had to go across country to collaborate with another designer and engineer on one of my first jobs. It was during this experience I realized how lacking my skills really were. These guys could run circles around me. It's even a bigger issue with the many capabilities and depth of features today's programs offer. There is a huge gap in the skills range of people in design industries and you can't tell by talking to them. Everybody thinks they are good, but a lot of them aren't...at least compared the best people in their industries. The point I'm trying to make is you might get some benefit from the software by being self taught, but if you want a quicker more complete return on your investment...take training. No matter which program you use. A man can buy a hammer, ladder, and a pickup and call himself a carpenter...but it doesn't make it so.


You should think about installing SolidProfessor which runs inside of SolidWorks. When you hit a snag like you did here you can type in a search term, such as "Polygon" and watch a quick video that explains how the tool works from within the Task Pane inside SolidWorks. Much better than trying to find it in a book, and will get you up to speed if you can't get into the 9-5 class.

Larry Kutcher

I convinced the powers that "where" in 1997 to buy into 3d solid modeling to aide in our machine design. Out of those that where around back then, I was given the rare opportunity to pick for the company. SolidWorks was the choice I made. Ten years later I'm still glad I did. The company I worked for was under the impression that this software was plug_and_play. No experience needed - just start and go. Can't be much different than AutoCAD Version 10...Right? Classes!? That would take away from work; don't they have any night classes? Ah, -No. So the first six years of my solid modeling experiences came by my own failures and successes. When I "jumped ship" and started with another company they where much more open to training. Not in a large way- but more so than the last group. Basic training was at that point –slow, painfully. With advanced modeling I learned more technical tricks. Certification though was paid for out of my own pocket.
Was training worth it? I believe it still was. But the contacts and blogs that have grown over the last decade are immense. The tips and tricks found on line along with user groups as well as the local reseller -usually can get you out of a sticky situation.
Would I have advanced quicker had I been exposed to training early on? Yah', Probably. But looking back on my last ten years makes me feel good that I've been able to accomplish what I have mostly on my own mixed with help along the way.

Aaron Farmer

I am also amused at the trouble you are having, but for different reasons. I have a 13 year old daughter who has gone through a lot of the tutorials and part of my training manual without much help from me. She did need some help with terminology on several occasions, but besides that she hasn't hit any huge snags. Here's the tricky part though... she follows directions well. Another thing to her advantage is she has no preconceived ideas as to how something like this is supposed to work. All I've gathered from these articles is that you don't follow directions well and you seem to have preconceived ideas of how things are supposed to work. I've seen that a lot in this industry. People are stuck on the methods and ways of their previous software packages. In the last 10 yrs I have used all 3 of the leading midrange solid modeling programs. This includes Inventor and SolidEdge along with Solidworks. There are some aspects of each of these programs that I liked over their competitors, but overall Solidworks has been ahead of the others in technology and ease of use. The only people I've found having problems learning Solidworks is the people not following directions or trying to use it like their previous program. So please don't give Solidworks a bad name because of the reasons listed here. If you are still having problems in a couple of months, maybe during her X-mas vacation I can send my daughter to help you get through the tutorials.

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