Archive for the ‘Misc.’ Category

Download fasteners & hardware in SolidWorks format with full history tree

November 14th, 2011

There are several different places to get hardware and fasteners for your SolidWorks projects. The simplest is SolidWorks Toolbox which comes with SolidWorks Professional or Premium. You can also use however it is painfully slow. I recently needed to be able to download bolts and nuts with the thread fully modelled as it had to be printed in 3d with rapid prototyping. After some searching and reading of the SolidWorks Forums, I came across McMaster-Carr

I was delighted to find that I could download the SolidWorks format of every fastener I required with the full history tree intact, and also with the full modelled thread. A big kudos to McMaster-Carr. See below a nice screenshot of a bolt, nut and a square flange mounted bearing with the full history tree.

Some Parts downloaded from McMaster-Carr with the complete History Tree and full modelled thread.

Misc., Note to Remember , , , ,

New in SolidWorks 2012 – Ambient Occlusion

November 10th, 2011

One of my favourite additions to SolidWorks 2012 is the Ambient Occlusion option. It makes models appear really realistic. (wikipedia explanation) It does require a RealView graphics card or a “patch“.

How to turn on Ambient Occlusion in SolidWorks 2012

Even though it appears that if the RealView Graphics icon is not available, the Ambient Occlusion does appear, however both “RealView Graphics” and “Ambient Occlusion” need to be turned on.

Before and After Ambient Occlusion

SolidWorks 2012 with Ambient Occlusion (Note the extra shadows in the wheels and seat)

SolidWorks 2012 with RealView Graphics only (Note: no depth shadows visible)

Further details

You may find that as you rotate the model, the Ambient Occlusion shading disappears, and as soon as you stop rotating, the shading and shadows re-appear. There is a “Draft Quality Ambient Occlusion” option which can be turned on.
Tools -> Options -> System Options -> Display/Selection -> “Display draft quality ambient occlusion”.
When this is turned on, you can rotate in 3d and have the Ambient Occlusion shadows remain in real-time, however it is a more draft quality shading.

Either way, it makes models really stand out. It’s great for doing Animations without having to render in PhotoView360 which would take quite a long time.

Misc. , ,

Enable RealView on gaming Graphics Cards

October 28th, 2011

RealView (top) and No RealView (bottom)

RealView Graphics in SolidWorks (View drop-down -> Display -> RealView Graphics) makes your models look visually impressive on the screen. You get to see the materials and floor reflections in real-time, without having to render the model in PhotoView.

There are certified graphics cards recommended by SolidWorks (ATI FireGL and nVidia Quadro ranges) which have this RealView functionality, however they can be expensive (as they are specifically for CAD Applications, as opposed to Gaming). In saying that, you can get a cheap RealView certified graphics card for ~€125.

Gaming Graphics Card used

A while back, I got a Medion MD8855 computer in Aldi, which had an ATI Radeon™ HD 5670 graphics card with 1024 MB memory. As expected after installing and opening SolidWorks, the RealView graphics icon (View -> Display -> RealView) was greyed out. Also, under Tools -> System Options -> Performance, “Use Software OpenGL” was unticked, as it should be, unless you have an onboard or very poor graphics card.

RealView Icon

Software OpenGL Option








Enable RealView Graphics

If you google, there are two main methods. One is using RivaTuner to adjust your graphics card/drivers, saying your graphics card is actually a ATI FireGL or nVidia Quadro. Another is to modify SolidWorks with a RealHack exe program (which edits the registry settings for SolidWorks). The RealHack program worked perfectly for me with SolidWorks 2011 SP5 x64 on x64 Windows.

  1. Download the RealHack program
    (google realhack rar download) (local copy)
  2. Make sure SolidWorks is closed
  3. Run the exe and click ATI or NVIDIA.
  4. Open SolidWorks. Check for the RealView icon.
    (I didn’t have to reboot the PC)

Note: This didn’t work for me previously on SolidWorks 2010. If it doesn’t work, then there is not much you can do, but to research the references and find out more information. Links to reference websites for RealHack are Ref1, Ref2, Ref3


Using process monitor, you can see what realhack does. It appears to (only) add entries to the registry. There is also a RealHack 2.0 available which supposedly works for SolidWorks 2012 (which has Ambient Occlusion). Again, you can find this with google (local copy). Presumably this app enters different registry entries depending on what your current graphics card is. Of course SW may change things in the future and this app may not work. It is surprising however as to why SolidWorks doesn’t allow RealView to work on more graphics (gaming or other) cards.

How-To, Misc. ,

Linear Patterns & Equations

May 9th, 2011

I was driving a linear pattern with an equation and found that SW was rounding the result up or down to the nearest whole number. Therefore when I had a spacing of 2.5, a pattern of 3 was inserted. Not what I wanted. Anyways, the solution:

"D1@Pattern1" = int("D1@Sketch1"/1200)+1

int() rounds down to the nearest whole number.

Kudos to

Misc., Note to Remember

Xenocode – running applications (SolidWorks) in the “cloud”

September 5th, 2009

xenocode-solidworks Josh over at solidsmack and a few otherstalk a lot about running applications in the “cloud” and how SolidWorks 3D CAD will run on the Internet, and people use it as required. Its also referred to as SaaS (Software as a Service). Up until today, I didn’t realise how, apart from a citrix or remote desktop scenario which suffers from bandwidth issues. Matt over at dezignstuff has a good article about this, with comments regarding bandwidth issues.

Let me introduce xenocode. I originally came across it for a way to run IE6, IE7 etc for web development purposes.
After a little 2MB app is run, any application can be run within a minute or two. The xenocode website has some examples, from winamp to a DivX player, to Opera, Chrome etc. How about wanting to run Quicktime, without the hassle or large download?!

A few of the main points I found:

  • No installation of the program to run.
  • Full hardware support.
  • Network latency not an issue as application is not streamed when running.
  • Initial download of runtime environment does seem to be required.
  • Typically used for allowing demo use of software, i.e. IE8 etc.

Whether or not its a good idea, or whether it will take off is a different discussion altogether. It’s just with this, it seems a little more possible.