This next series of blogs about tools available on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform will focus on SOLIDWORKS Cloud. SOLIDWORKS Cloud is a set of tools that allows us to complete a vast majority of our design work right inside a web browser. There is no need for expensive high-end hardware or CAD workstations. This opens design workstation possibilities to multiple platforms and devices. Mac, PC, Linux, iOS and Android are all now options for an engineering PC. Unlike virtually hosted machines, these are tools designed, built and run as browser-based applications. This eliminates the need for installing applications. You simply open a browser and start to design.
We talked about some of these tools before in our circular saw project. The point of this new series is to introduce the tools specific to SOLIDWORKS Cloud. All these tools are bundled together into one convenient package. We will cover how each of the tools works independent of a single project and just focus on the tool itself. This will be divided into ten segments.
Why Use 3DEXPERIENCE for this Project?
Cloud-based tools are not like traditional software you install on individual computers or a shared internal network. Instead, they live on protected external servers that are accessed via a web browser and an internet connection. This means that your 3DEXPERIENCE tools can be accessed whether you’re on your work PC, home Mac or mobile device.
- Navigating the Web Browser – In this segment, we will look at the interface of the 3DEXPERIENCE Browser. Creating a layout and navigating the tools inside the browser is an important first step in being successful with SOLIDWORKS Cloud. We will discuss some of the key items you need to get started in the right direction.
- Designing with 3D Creator – The core of SOLIDWORKS Cloud is 3D Creator. 3D Creator is the parametric feature-based modeler in SOLIDWORKS Cloud. This provides all the core modeling and assembly functionality. It also provides some unique topology optimization tools that help in minimizing mass while maintaining structural integrity. We will look at creating features and parts in this tool as the foundation of a design process.
- Designing with 3D Sculptor – In this section, we will focus on 3D Sculptor. It allows us to create unique shapes using sub-divisional modeling techniques. This allows a user to start with a primitive shape and then move and align points/faces/edges until the desired shape is achieved. It unhinges some of the constraints of traditional history-based modeling and allows users to freely create organic shapes.
- Designing with 3D SheetMetal Creator – When designing machines and enclosures, sheet metal can be an important aspect of the design process. In this segment, we will look at tools to make designing sheet metal parts more efficient. A user can quickly create edges, tabs, bends and cutouts all of the same thickness and then flatten those designs for the manufacturing process.
- Designing with 3D Structure Creator – 3D Structure Creator is a tool that automates the creation of structural metal designs. We will explore some of the features that make designing welded or bolted structures easier. A user simply creates a layout of the desired shape and then applies sections to each portion of the layout. From there a cut list can be generated and shared with the team.
- Detailing with Product Document Creator – Model-Based Definition is a convenient method of adding critical dimensions to a 3D Model and then sharing that information with downstream users. This streamlines the design process, eliminating the need for a traditional 2D print. All the critical design information is located in one place. This segment will demonstrate how to take a model created in 3D Creator and add critical dimensions and tolerances needed for manufacture.
- Detailing with Drafter – Drafter is the only tool in SOLIDWORKS Cloud that requires a local installation. This tool still needs a Windows-based PC to install and run, and it does not run in a browser. For circumstances where Product Document Creator doesn’t meet the needs of the design process and a traditional 2D Drawing is needed, we will see how to use the Drafter role to create that content.
- Create marketing content with 3D Render – One benefit of creating 3D models of a design is the ability to create marketing material well before prototype or production parts are available. In this section we will learn how to use 3D Render to create photo-realistic images of our designs and then render them using cloud resources.
- Collaborating with 3D SWYM – The last two segments will use tools available in the Collaborative Business Innovator portion of SOLIDWORKS Cloud. The first one is 3D SWYM. This is a tool that allows collaboration regarding the design and documentation of the design process. I like to think of this tool as a digital project book. A user can keep all relevant information about a design in one convenient spot. Since collaboration is a key component to SWYM, there is no further need to print out emails and attach them to a project. This information can simply be created there.
- Sharing designs with 3D Drive – The second Collaborative Business Innovator tool in SOLIDWORKS Cloud we will discover is 3D Drive. We will explore how to use 3D Drive to communicate designs electronically with suppliers and vendors. 3D Drive gives the ability for users outside of our design process to view, comment and redline designs and share that information back with designers.