What About The 6%? #sww13

So at the time of this writing SolidWorks WORLD 2013 has officially wrapped up and many of the 4,500 users that descended upon Disney the last 4 days have probably started their trek back home. A lot of them are probably itching to get back to their dark & musty corner of the basement to try out all the cool stuff they just learned.


As a pre-requisite, this article is not meant to tear down anyone or anything but is simply some food for thought and a seed for some constructive discussions hopefully.


This morning I was able to watch the General Session from Monday in its entirety. One of the things that really stuck out to me from that video was the statement that “94% of the users surveyed approved of the current offering”. This is a great number considering around 250,000 users were surveyed but this also means that about 15,000 users (or 6%) were not satisfied currently. To take it a step further, of the 2,000,000 licenses sold (a milestone reached in December 2012), 120,000 of them are not satisfied if that approval rating continues to hold true. Likewise, is 12.5% of the total user base really a true depiction of the entire SolidWorks community?


Anyways, for the sake of this article lets assume that approval rating does hold true. My question is, what is SolidWorks doing about the 6% that don't approve of their current offerings? At my company I can compare it to a goal of being on-time will all of our deliveries 100% of the time. Now if we were on-time 94% of the time I would be pleased BUT what would really bother me is what happened the other 6% of the time. So, is SolidWorks holding their hat on the 94% or are they “upset” that 6% of their users do not approve? Is their answer / solution packaged in a new software like SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual (which needs to be a whole separate post) or is it included in some of the new features announced for SolidWorks 2014 (which again will need to be a entirely separate post)?


What are your thoughts on this? Are YOU satisfied with 94%? Should SolidWorks be satisfied?


Back From The Dead!

First and foremost, I need to share with you that I am using a new app on my iPad called Blogsy to write this post so if the formatting, spelling, or grammar turns out to be JUNK, I apologize. Also, I would like to say that if the article itself has a raunchy stench to it, I unfortunately can't blame the app for that and all I can blame is the sub zero temperatures I am being forced to endure right now and my lack of witty writing skills.
I need to confess that keeping this blog up to date over the last 18 months has been pretty low on my priority list but after seeing & reading all of the stuff coming out of SUNNY Orlando, FL this week, I have a renewed interest in bringing this blog “back from the dead”. I know this is probably the thirty thousandth time I have wrote this but I haven't felt this reinvigorated in a long time. Also, I am hoping that IF this new app works out, it will allow me to be a little more mobile & flexible with writing my posts.
Like I mentioned, there has been some interesting news coming out of the Swan & Dolphin Resort this week at SolidWorks WORLD 2013. Some of the highlights so far haven been…
  1. The Introduction of SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual
  2. User & Seats Statistics
  3. and probably a few more that I am forgetting right now due to the frostbite starting to form on my brain.
I am hoping to spend some more time in the upcoming days / weeks covering some of these topics more in detail especially after I try to round up some more information about them.


Ok, that is enough for now. My fingers are starting to freeze to the screen as I am trying to type this so I better shut down and shove my hands down my pants like a baseball player in October (for you Cubs fans, that is what some players & managers do to keep the hands warm during the postseason which I thought I better clarify seeing you probably don't even realize there is baseball played in October any more).


Until next time, stay classy SolidWorks Community!


RockSolid Tips & Tricks: Mid Surface

This post was driven by a request that I had on one of the presentations I did earlier this year at a user group meeting.  I first saw this “trick” performed while watching the infamous Tips & Tricks Presentation that Phil Sluder does every year at SolidWorks World.

The SolidWorks Mid Surface tool is a tool that probably does not get used very often or probably more accurately has its really “specific” uses that are determined by each user.  However, I believe the example below would have a more wide spread use by more users.

Below you will notice and extruded rod that will built off of the origin.  The original sketch was created on the Front Plane but by not being on the origin it makes the other Planes unusable.  Now, you could create new reference geometry to use but for what we are trying to accomplish, I think the Mid Surface tool might be a better fit.

Beginning Model

1.  Begin by going to Insert > Surface > Mid Surface

Insert - Surface - Mid Surface

2.  Select both end faces.  Notice that when you select the 2nd face (as long as it is a valid selection), SolidWorks will automatically create a new Face Pair.

Mid Surface Tool

3.  Now you will want to hide the original Solid Body that you had so that only the Surface Body is showing.

4.  Now go to Insert > Surface > Extend

Insert - Surface - Extend

5.  Select your newly created surface and type in what kind of end condition you would like to have.  In the case of this, I am going to offset the surface by a Distance of .750in.  This will insure that no matter what size my initial rod is changed to, my surface will ALWAYS be .750in bigger.

Extend Surface Tool

6.  Now go to Insert > Boss / Base > Thicken

Insert - Boss Base - Thicken

7.  Again, select your surface, and thicken your surface by your desired amount.

Thicken Tool

In the picture below, I have highlighted the original dimensions from our model.  The length was originally drawn at 10.000in and the diameter was originally drawn at 2.000in.

Original Dimensions

Now, if you would happen to change the length of your rod, you will notice that everything maintains its relationships and stays perfectly centered.

Length Modification

Or if you change the diameter, you will notice that the offsets maintain their relationships.

Diameter Modification

BUT, probably my favorite reason for using this tool is that you can even change the original sketch shape (in the case below, to a square) and it maintains ALL of your relationships and spacing.

Shape Modification

Hopefully this post will trigger some ideas for you on how you can use this in a production environment.  Feel free to share how you currently use the Mid Surface tool or how you might use it in the future.  Also, feel free to drop a comment if you have any other questions about this tip.

New Page: SolidWorks Presentations


Because of some recent requests and inquiries, I have decided to add a new page to the RockSolid Perspective site.  The new page, which is titled “SolidWorks Presentations” will host a Microsoft PowerPoint Show of every (I think) presentation I have ever done along with when and where the presentation was 1st given.  To access the new page click on the “SolidWorks Presentations” tab on the top of this page (see picture above).

All of the presentations are currently hosted on my Box.net site so when you click on any of the links it will take you to the Box.net download page.  From there you will have the option to view or save the PowerPoint show.

If you have a question about any of my presentations please feel free to send me an email and I would be more than happy to help you out.


This Blog IS NOT DEAD!

Over the course of the last week there has been some blogs that have been stating that SolidWorks has lost its mojo because the blogs have quieted down over the last year.  While this is true, the blog posts have been few and far in between for most of the SolidWorks blogs, I do not feel it is a result of SolidWorks losing any sort of mojo.

I personally want to speak to this, not for all of the other bloggers, but for myself personally and the future of THIS blog.  The reason for the decrease in the number of posts here at RockSolid Perspective is because my personal and professional life has changed dramatically since I started this blog.

In my personal life since 2007 my wife and I have welcomed our 1st child and will soon be welcoming another.  What this means is that the times I usually spent on my computer at night writing blog posts have now been replaced with dolls, Little People, coloring books, and spending quality family time with my daughter because I will never get these days / times back.

In my professional life since 2007 I have changed job roles, increased my hours, and have added responsibility in my every day job which is what pays our bills.  I have recently moved into a Sales Engineer role which has allowed me to continue to use SolidWorks but in a sales environment as opposed to a design environment.  This has also required me to spend some more time on the road which has limited my desk time and also points back to the reason why I make sure to spend time with my family when I am home.  On top of my Sales Engineer role, I am also hold the Project Manager, CAD Administrator, and IT roles at work.  So as you can see, my time is precious when I am at work.  I have been extremely blessed in my professional life with a bunch of work, a good job, great owners, and a fast growing business.

In regards to this blog, I have a LARGE list of blog posts in the queue that I need to write when I have time.  Starting this week you will see the beginning of a series of posts that cover some of my main points in a presentation I have given titled “Utilizing SolidWorks for Sales & Marketing”.

So in response to the question whether SolidWorks has lost their “mojo” or not, I am going to say NO!  I feel that the reason for the decrease in activity is directly related to workload and other commitments as opposed to not having anything exciting to write about.  So stay tuned because this blog IS NOT DEAD!

what do the users really want?

catia to solidworks

A few weeks back I mentioned how I was confused as to why a CATIA translator in SolidWorks did not make the Top Ten list at SolidWorks WORLD this year.  That one sentence began a firestorm of tweets about whether the translator was really a high priority among SolidWorks users.

First and foremost I need to mention that I live in West Michigan which is heavily entrenched in the auto industry.  With that being said, almost everywhere I go and everyone I talk to in the Midwest have mentioned the NEED for the ability of SolidWorks to handle CATIA files natively.  After all, both CAD programs are owned by parent company Dassault Systemes.

One of the first comments made on Twitter stated the my feedback and the user base I usually talk to might be skewed compared to the entire SolidWorks user base and I totally agree with the comment.  This may be the exact reason why it does not make it to the Top Ten list.

Still it leads to me think, what is the holdup of getting this translator incorporated into SolidWorks?  There are many tools inside SolidWorks that are industry specific, things like Mold tools.  So why should someone that has to constantly deal with CATIA files be forced to find workarounds in order to get their work done.

I personally know of a company that has a large number of SolidWorks licenses, however they also have a license of Autodesk Inventor for the sole reason of translating data.  I am guessing that this is probably not how Dassault Systemes wants there customers working.

So what is the holdup?  Is it pride?  Is it the possibility of making more money by releasing an additional add in down the road that customers are going to have to buy?  I don’t know the reasoning for it not being in the software already but I have to think that one of these is the deep rooted holdup.  When or if it does come I sure hope that it does not come at an additional cost if you have the Professional or Premium SolidWorks packages.

This post is not meant to pick on Dassault Systemes, SolidWorks, a development team, or a specific development person but is more to ask the question of why are we still waiting.  SolidWorks 2011 offers a wide range of translators for other popular CAD programs like Pro-E, Unigraphics, Inventor, Solid Edge, etc. but not CATIA yet.

Do you see the need?  Why do you think we are still waiting?

the jeff ray legacy

JeffRayAs most of you know by now, SolidWorks Corporation has a new CEO.

Jeff Ray, effective January 5, 2011, is moving on to a position as EVP of Global Operations for SolidWorks Corporation parent company Dassault Systemes.

Roopinder Tara wrote one of the best articles I have read in a long time about Jeff as a man.  This is an article you need to read.

Jeff Ray: A Gentleman Walks Off the Stage

Jeff was always open to talking to you and was always quick to respond to emails that were sent his way.  Jeff’s leadership and likeable character will be greatly missed but I am sure that Bertrand Sicot, the new CEO at SolidWorks will carry on the legacy that Jeff has instilled at SolidWorks.