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Part I

30

SolidWorks Basics

Summary

Product development is about design, but it is even more about change. You actually design something once, but you may modify it endlessly (or it may seem that way sometimes). Similarly, SolidWorks is about design, but it really enables change. Think of SolidWorks as virtual prototyping software that allows you to change your prototype rather than having to make a new one. Virtual prototypes will never completely replace physical models, but they may reduce your dependence on them to some extent.

SolidWorks is also about reusing data. Associativity allows you to model a part once and use it for Finite Element Analysis (FEA), creating 2D drawings, building assemblies, creating photorealistic renderings, and so on. When you make changes to the model, your drawing is automatically updated, and you don’t have to reapply FEA materials and conditions or redo the rendering setup. Associativity saves you time by reusing your data. Associativity and change driven by feature-based and history-based modeling can take some getting used to if you have had limited exposure to it, but with some practice, it becomes intuitive and you will see the many benefits for enabling change. Parametric sketching and feature creation help you to maintain Design Intent and also adjust it as necessary.

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