Background info

The typical design work flow

  1. PART:
    1. Building a model in SolidWorks usually starts with making a part based on a 2D sketch. The sketch consists of geometry such as points, lines, arcs, and splines. Dimensions are added to the sketch to define the size and location of the geometry. Relations are used to define attributes such as tangency, parallelism, perpendicularity, and concentricity. The parametric nature of SolidWorks means that the dimensions and relations drive the geometry, not the other way around. The dimensions in the sketch can be controlled independently, or by relationships to other parameters inside or outside of the sketch.
      • The first sketch in a part can be located on one of the 3 the basic xyz planes with no external references.
      • If a part is to be made to fit to an already designed part, or a part imported from the web, or a part designed to match any other physical object - motor, bracket, wheel etc., the original part can be imported into the new part producing a starting point and guidelines for the new sketch.
    2. When the sketch is finished it can be used to make a feature (volume segment) by various volume generating operations.
    3. When needed, the volume can be further modified by cutting holes in it or adding new features (volume segments) to it. This is normally done by locating a new 2D sketch on a proper face of the original volume. This sketch is then used to add or cut new volumes in the original solid. This procedure is repeated until the part is finished. If it is impossible to locate a new sketch on an already designed face, one of the 3 basic xyz planes can be used or a 2D plane can be added to the part and the new sketch can be located on it.

    1. Most CAD models are assemblies which consists of several parts connected to each other in more or less complicated ways. In an assembly, the analog to sketch relations are mates. Just as sketch relations define conditions such as tangency, parallelism, and concentricity with respect to sketch geometry, assembly mates define equivalent relations with respect to the individual parts or components. SolidWorks also includes additional advanced mating features such as gear and cam follower mates, which allow modeled gear assemblies to accurately reproduce the rotational movement of an actual gear train.

More advanced topics:

    • The motion of the assembly can (easily) be simulated with gravity, inertia, external forces, motors, springs, and so on.
    • The strength of each part or assembly can (easily) be simulated by the finite element method (FEM).
  • API
    • If needed, various features of SolidWorks can be automated (programmed) by Visual Basic for Applications. In this way SolidWorks can communicate with external programs and custom made simulations can be carried out.
    • Parts and assemblies can (easily) be high quality rendered by the use of the Photoview360 plugin, and interactive 3D web graphics can (easily) be generated from a SolidWorks part or assembly in the 3DXML format or as 3D pdf.
    • If traditional 2D drawings of the design is needed, this can be generated in the drawings part of SolidWorks.

Detailed description on how to use SolidWorks