What should every beginner in Solidworks know

Few ideas to make your work with Solidworks easier.

  1. Step 1:

    Don't change your version of Solidworks as soon as the most new one is released. That means stay with your version of SW as long as is possible.

    This makes sharing of your work much easier and makes you better in this version instead of learning often useless features from brand new version. You won't probably use the most new features and possibilities anyway....

    It won't kill you if you use 2017 version when 2021 is already released....

    But be sure that you use the highest service pack of your version SW!

  2. Step 2:

    When using several of the same features (i.e. Extruded cut) at one and the same plane or face use previous sketch instead of a drawing new sketch again and again.

    During the modelling process it happens that you use Extruded cut at the beginning and after several steps you use Extruded cut on the same face again. Simply get back to the first Extruded cut, open its sketch and modify it (add new entities).

    This way is also very efficient for Fillet and chamfer! Instead of making a new fillet (with same parameters like one of previous ones) just grab that old Fillet feature and move it at the end of your model tree and add these additional edges (if it is possible of course).

    This will keep your Modelling steps tree more organized which makes you faster and more efficient.

    It also helps to who you share your model with to better understand the modelling process.

  3. Step 3:

    Use shortcut keys. That is often faster way to use commands insted of clicking with the mouse.

    My favorites are:

    refresh - ctrl+B

    copy - ctrl+C

    paste - ctrl+V

    save - ctrl+S

    normal to - ctrl+8 (8 under the function key - a bit awkward I know... :) )

    undo - ctrl+Z

    or you can just write Solidworks shortcuts in google and you are done :)

  4. Step 4:

    When drawing entities which are symmetrical use mirror instead of dimensioning of each one of them.

    In this way your re-dimensioning will be much faster and easier.

    When changing dimensions You won't miss to change also dimensions or position of mirrored entity.

    It also makes your sketches more clean and readable.

    And don't forget - this works for features too :)

  5. Step 5:

    When placing dimensions anchor them to edges (if it is possible) instead of other entity.

    again - it makes your sketches more readable.

    This also prevent you from problems with re-dimensioning because you have to keep your eye on every single dimension in the chain.

  6. Step 6:

    Use colors.

    Colors keep your model more organized and help you to work faster.

    And it doesn't work only with assemblies. Also for single parts is sometimes useful to define faces and planes by colors.

  7. Step 7:

    Find your way of naming of your models.

    Dont use only part_1.sldprt. Instead of that use i.e. cabinet_back_panel_1.1.sldprt. You can use data in the name or version no. and so on.

    It is then more easy to search for your files in your computer.....

  8. Step 8:

    The last one - and may be not all of you will agree with this point - but I prefer to use Patterns as a feature and not in sketch.

    When using Extruded cut feature (i.e.) - first draw a entity (i.e. circle) and finish Extruded cut feature. Then use Linear pattern instead of drawing hole, patterning it and then use extruded cut.

    Future changes will be faster and easier.

    But as I already said - this is more personal feeling than general hint :)

  9. Step 9:

    When you open file with Browse recent documents use expand.

    Each file in the Browse recent documents window has a small ikon in left lower corner. When you expand it you will get interesting possibilities especially for assemblies. Click on references and you will see where and how is saved every single part of this assembly.

    This is useful for large assemblies that takes loooong time to open.

  10. Step 10:

    When you work on part from identified material use this information in your drawing.

    When you draw steel cabined give to your part the real material using "Edit material" and draw it as a Sheet metal part!

    Each material has different properties and for further manufacturing like cutting, bending (especially) and so on...) it is necessary to use the correct one otherwise it will result in wrong dimensions of the real product.

    It is quite complicated to re-build "no-material" part (Feature part) into steel sheet part. In fact this the strongest part of Solidworks!

  11. Step 11:

    These are the most basic rules that help me to be more efficient and I hope they will be useful also for some of you.

    And if you already use them sorry for wasting your time :)

    I am also sorry if I didnt use the correct names of features or buttons and so on. I am too lazy to search in SW for the correct ones :)