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    Discussion in 'The Leisure Lounge' started by topher5150, Sep 22, 2016.

    1. topher5150

      topher5150 Member

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      So I'm in a bit of a pickle at my new job, before working here I never used Solidworks, I was never given any real projects, deadlines, or any design responsibilities, and now I am the only one in the company in this department, and the only one who uses Solidworks. My issue is unlike the rest of the engineering department, computer developers/programmers etc... they have some one to go to when they have questions about what they are doing, but me...I'm just trying figure it out on my own, and asking people on the internet, which I'm sure for many of you can make things even more confusing. So how do you lone wolves get mentoring, and guidance learning the in's and out's of the design/engineering world?
       
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    3. s.weinberg

      s.weinberg Well-Known Member

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      Wow, sounds rough.
      I have to shake my head in wonder at how you and your employer got into this mess.

      I hope they have a stomach for mistakes. Either you're going to make them, and, in your situation, probably quite a few, or you're neither going to be productive or learning.

      Solidworks is easy. Just remember, it's just a tool, and don't get too caught up in being a master Solidworks guru. You can pick up the basics mucking about with it, using the help files, and checking out the myriad tutorials available in print and video online.

      Lean on those you work with. That's not just people inside your company. Whoever is building and/or assembling your parts, internally or externally, probably has a wealth of knowledge you can mine, if you treat them with the respect they deserve. Let them know your situation, and ask lots of questions. Most will be happy to give you useful tips. Just remember, they're not there to do your job, nor are they the best equipped to, anyway. Be as well informed as humanly possible, and come in with specific questions with quick answers. Same applies when asking questions on online forums like this one.

      You mentioned other engineers in your company. They may not be doing exactly what you're doing, but they can probably help you out from time to time too.

      Also, the internet. The internet is an amazing font of information on every topic known to mankind, including engineering topics. If you know what you're looking for, you can probably find it. Look on the websites of manufacturers of the kinds of parts you buy. They often have tons of technical information, and even dedicated engineers who will give you tips on a case-to-case basis if you contact them. Again, try to be as well-informed as you can in advance, or you'll likely waste everyone's time.

      Looking forward to your future questions here :D Welcome
       
    4. K.I.S.S.

      K.I.S.S. Well-Known Member

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      Hi,

      The reality is that you learn the hard way, by making mistakes. To add to Stevens comment, there are at least three simple Golden rules of CAD.
      If you follow these, it will at least make the learning curve a little less painful.
      1.) Your design will change - this is inevitable. So think about how you model a part. You should model it in such a way that makes it easy to modify. As an example, you could have a cylinder with 3 diameters. You can extrude one cylinder, then make a drawing on the top face and extrude another cylinder etc. This will leave you with three features in your design tree. Also, you could extrude the full cylinder and then cut extrude the required features. This will also leave you with three features.
      Or you could make a profile sketch of the part and then do a revolved extrude. In this way, you'll have one single feature that you can modify very easily, and at a glance.
      2.) Name your features. You might well immediately know what cut revolve 17 is now, but you won't in a weeks' time, when it comes time to modify it. It's easy to do - just left quick twice over the feature in the design manager tree, and give it any silly name, as long as you know what it means.
      3.) Computers don't make mistakes, but people do, so make as much use of symmetry as possible. You can do this for a single feature, or for repeated features.
      Two examples: If you're drawing a plate with many holes in it, draw the plate, extrude it, draw and cut extrude the first hole and then allow the program to repeat this for you (Youtube SW feature repeat), or if you're modelling a symmetrical part, say a cylinder with four indentations in it, draw one quarter of it. Concentrate on dimensioning this accurately and then multiple mirror the feature using planes (again, Youtube will provide tutorials). The point is that you are far more likely to make a catastrophic mistake when modelling complex features multiple times than the computer will.

      Keep it simple - a sure sign of a CAD newbie is a cluttered feature manager tree with 50 odd features, when 10 could have done it.

      Oh, and don't be tempted to litter the graphics area with every available toolbar. In reality you'll probably need a quarter of them, unless you have a specific special project. Rather use the screen space to show you a larger picture of your model.

      Best of luck, and as Steven intimated, there are many people here who know a lot about CAD, so don't be afraid to ask - there are no stupid questions.

      K.I.S.S.
       
    5. topher5150

      topher5150 Member

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      Thanks for the help guys. Going into this job they knew that I was green, and have been paying for training. They hired me to be the new design guy, and to fix the nightmare left by the last person. Apparently she was hired from the parent company because they weren't getting very good results outsourcing. Well she made such a mess of things; no revision system, multiple assemblies, and drawings with the same name, models and drawings scattered over different servers etc...so yeah they gave me a huge learning curve, and now that they finally got me solidworks PDM I'm able to slowly part and piece things back together to get some kind of organization.
       

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