Solidworks Outsourcing – Modeling, Design & Drafting Services
SolidWorks is one of the most frequent software platforms that we use. It is the most popular real 3D CAD software in the world for modeling, design and drafting.
As of 2016 SolidWorks was reported at 19.6%, Fusion 360 at 14.6%, AutoCAD at 8.3% and Inventor at 6.7% market share.
In fact Dassault who owns SolidWorks and CATIA, thinks Solidworks will turn into a billion dollar company by itself by 2020.
There is little we have not done, from SolidWorks modeling with bottlecap molds, to various simulations. One of SolidWorks greatest strength is in working with non-SolidWorks data. Most CAD system do a poor job (mostly on purpose) translating data, but Solidworks is much more open ended.
SolidWorks Project Examples
To give you a glimmer of the power of various projects we have done with Solidworks:
- Using CircuitWorks to read and write various PADS files.
- DriveWorks Express to automate repetitive tasks and automatically generate designs.
- eDrawings to share data.
- FeatureWorks, a common task for us importing and translating files.
- SolidWorks 3D Interconnect – this a a twist of FeatureWorks, here we actually integrate directly to Maintain direct integration of native CAD files from PTC® Creo®, Autodesk® Inventor®, Siemens® NX, Solid Edge®, and CATIA®, and treat them like native components.
- PhotoView 360 to create photo-realistic designs and rendering.
- Costing, producing a BOM and generate costing lists.
- Design Checker, this is an important task to verify the integrity of a design and standards.
- We have used FloXpress, Motion, and Motion Manager to simulate anything from fluid dynamics, moving assembly lines, and dynamic assembly lines.
- We have used ScanTo3D, but wind up using GeoMagic more often converting scanned point cloud data into meshes.
- TolAnalyst for GD&T projects
- And of course let’s not forget standard STL files for 3D printing, and NC tooling.
Solidworks Industry Applications
- Heavy Equipment
- Consumer products
- Mold & Tools design
- Sheet metal work
- Process Plant
- Energy conservation
- Medical tools
- Product design and other engineering services.
SolidWorks Drafting & Modeling Experience
As you can see we can provide a very wide range of 3D CAD services using the SolidWorks platform. To put things in perspective. We completed a very large CAD conversion project for Amazon.com. Our task was to convert over 1,000,000 files for them into 2D, 3D, PDF, AutoCAD, and SolidWorks various files. Yes, 1 million files. In fact we set a speed record converting over 1,000 3D models for several days. Impressive, and serious, even in our own eyes. Our base platform? SolidWorks.
It is often that we get asked to convert a part into SolidWorks. As you can see from the above, we can take many different paths, depending upon the most important part of all – what YOU need. Do you need a part or an assembly? Do you need a regenerative design process? Various types of simulation? Use our experience, use our 30 – years of refining our engineering process. Why reinvent the wheel? Rest assured, by now, we are run into some of the most difficult design problems.
The source can take three different approaches
- Hard copy. These could be engineering drawings, J-size Mylar’s (often Aerospace), technical drawings, and sometimes little more than a picture of something even coming from Amazon. In our case, we generally use one of our five Contex 54” and now 60” scanners to scan. Imagine taking 200 J-Size Mylar’s, with many cross sections into a single complex part. This is why Cad / Cam Services is hired.
- A 3D scan. In our case, we often use Artec 3D scanners, and TomCAT CT scanners for most of our work. These create what is called a Point Cloud. A zillion (lots) of dots out in 3D space that happens to look like your part. This is not a CAD drawing by any means yet; it is just a collection of dots. A ½ billion points is not uncommon for an AEC building.
- A physical part. Here we pretty much have to use step two, where we 3D scan this part. Again, our end result will be a collection of a zillion points. This is often called reverse engineering.
About 20% of the time, we get in a combination of the above, meaning we get a partially completed CAD file, and the various raster scans. The user and company simply ran out of time, they don’t have the resources, or maybe this is harder or slower than they thought. At this point, we finish the design work. We have finished designs for most of fortune 100 companies.
Anymore it often does not matter who scans this item. In step one if you have *.tiff or say *.pdf files of your engineering drawings, these often work just fine. The rule of thumb, if you and I can read these by a human on the computer screen, all is good, so can we.
3D scanning can be a bit tricky if you have never used a 3D scanner before. Sometimes it can be easy to miss sections. This relates to an unknown area that we cannot convert. Again, if we can see all of the areas we are asked to convert, we should be fine. Please note, there can be a huge difference in 3D scanners. There is a reason some handheld scanners are a few hundred dollars, and the Artec handheld scanners we use are $ 30,000. Accuracy and speed are often the big hidden differences. We are always happy to evaluate your Point Cloud to help determine it is usable.
3D scanning’s next step is often a mesh. Here we are connecting all of these dots that represent the surface of your part/object into a cleaned up mesh of all points. Sometimes for quality control issues, this is all we need. At this stage, we can accurately measure something to confirm if it is made to within tolerances or not. Think of 1,000 parts coming off a manufacturing floor, and you randomly pull and check parts to make sure all parts are exactly the same, or at least within spec. Again, at this point we are not a CAD file yet, just a cleaned up section of dots. GeoMagic which is independent of all CAD software is often used at this stage. At this stage, we can accurately measure geometry.
Finally, we are ready to start with the CAD process. Sometimes this can be straightforward; sometimes, we can spend months on a single design. One of the first questions we ask is: What CAD software will you be using? CATIA? NX? PTC Creo? Or maybe SolidWorks? In addition to most of the higher-end CAD software is very version specific. Often we can go up, but not down in software versions. We generally work in your native software — that way all tree and history data is preserved. Our object is to create that Cad Perfect™ CAD file, just as if you had redrawn this by hand yourself.
Because we now have a real 3D mesh, we can turn and rotate your 3D part as needed to recreate it. This is a big deal. It is easy to tell when something is wrong or out of place. Think of simple parts like flanges, nuts, bolts. These are all easy and quick. But now think of a very complex service with 100+ cross sections showing a varying thickness and slope, probably with hundreds of varying width and depth channels with complex geometry (this was a real project). Here is where can spend weeks, if not months on a single assembly or complex part.
I might also add during this CAD conversion stage; sometimes it is valuable to bring in specific enhancements to your software. Think of SolidWorks add ons like DriveWorks, Feature Works, PhotoView, various simulation approaches, GD&T, motion and many more. Many of these require specific advanced training.
Once that CAD file is complete, and often several times during iterations, this is QC’d by somebody different than the engineer.
What we produce is often used to manufacture, 3D printing, and NC Tooling. Depending upon the design process we might go through several iterations, until we get the design you are looking for. With Reverse Engineering, we are generally more accurate than your best manufactured part.
We Can Help You with Your 3D Solidworks Project
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