All the Small Things: CAD Tips and Tricks
Do you have a tip or a trick that saves you time when you using SOLIDWORKS? Are there tools that are second nature to you or ones that you use almost automatically?
After spending years designing with SOLIDWORKS, going to user group meetings and attending the annual SOLIDWORKS World Conference, I have picked up quite a few of these. The funny part is I started to assume that if I knew about a certain technique, then everyone knew about it…right?
As I gave a presentation at a user group meeting or helped a colleague with an issue, it was common for me to hear, “Wait a minute. Back up. What did you do there?” Could it be possible that not everyone knew about all of these little timesavers that I always took for granted? I decided to start compiling a list of my favorite tips and tricks after finding out that some of my favorite power users on the SOLIDWORKS forums didn’t know about several of them.
When it was decided that I would be the presenter for the second annual SOLIDWORKS Largest User Group Meeting Ever (SLUGME), I knew I had the makings of the perfect presentation. One day while jotting down notes for my presentation, I was listening to some tunes, and the presentation found a name – All the Small Things. This is how I often describe the timesaving benefits of shortcuts. “How did you get that done so fast?” “Easy, it was ‘All the Small Things’!”If you are not familiar with SLUGME, it was a crazy idea I had a few years ago to have user groups from all over the globe “connect” to view a single presentation at the same time.
I modeled this presentation around the Jeopardy! game show. Each category had a specific theme. This allowed me to cover a lot of ground and share many great tricks within SOLIDWORKS. My time limit was going to be a little less than an hour, which meant that I would need to move fast to get through all of the categories and topics.
My intent for the presentation was to spend most of the time working in SOLIDWORKS. The individual topics were starting points for small demonstrations. This allowed me to share multiple tips and tricks for each topic. For example, one topic was the “S” key shortcut—this displays a pop-up toolbar, but it also activates the command search. These are two tips from a single topic, but when I did the presentation, I added almost a dozen tips related to the topic. There is not enough room in this article to list every single tip or trick, so I am only listing the categories and highlighting a few of the topics for one of the categories.
Below is a brief description of what was shown for my All the Small Things presentation:
If interested, you can view the entire presentation here or here. I also created a booklet that contains everything from the presentation. More information about the presentation can be found on the SOLIDWORKS forums.
About the Author
Todd Blacksher is the President of the SOLIDWORKS User Group of Nebraska (SwugOne), and is the SOLIDWORKS User Group Network Representative for the Southern US. Todd was named the DriveWorks User Group Leader of the Year in 2016. At SOLIDWORKS World in 2018 Todd was presented the SOLIDWORKS User Group Leader of the Year and the Michelle Pillars Community Award. Since earning his CSWP in 2005, Todd has collected another dozen certifications, the most recent one being his CSWE in 2015. Todd worked for a SOLIDWORKS reseller for a number of years before returning to industry, and resuming his role as President of SwugOne. Jumping on a bicycle and pedaling around as often as possible is a priority for Todd.