Learning a new 3D parametric modeler is almost like learning a new language. The first one is hard, but you are an open book absorbing everything and every little detail. The second one is actually the hardest, as you naturally compare the second to the first. It can be difficult to let go what you have learned and what you became comfortable with. Learning your third, fourth, fifth and so on, gets easier and easier as you stop comparing and just start looking for the “picks-and-clicks” to make things happen.
I’ve been using Solidworks on and off for years, but I’d say casually. In the past few months I’ve start to use it more seriously, so I wanted to share some of the resources I used to “get up and running” in a limited amount of time. Solidworks isn’t my “first rodeo” so I really wanted to skip the beginner / fundamentals and really get to the good stuff. I also wanted to spend as little as possible (as in free). Here are a few of the resources I used.
The Embedded / Online Help
The included Solidworks help is excellent… if you are new to solid modeling. It also provides some killer tutorials for those moving from 2D, especially from AutoCAD. I went through the basic ones on the UI and navigation but then skipped ahead to some of the more advanced topics. What I found the most useful were the tutorials, especially the Advanced Techniques and Productivity Tools sections.
The first place I like to start with any software I want to learn is Youtube. There are a countless amount of learning resources for Solidworks on Youtube – the trick is finding the good ones. Once I find a particular author I like I stick with it until I’ve exhausted that resource. I found a lot of good ones and should have kept better notes. Some of my favorites were from Solidworks, Innova Systems, GoEngineer, and SolidWize.
A google search lead me to http://www.cudacountry.net/. Although the site is a bit outdated (talk about a blast from the past), it provides some very cool and interesting tutorials for Solidworks. The tutorials step you through something that you could build later. Like a Model-E model car, rocket, airplane, etc. Even though some are from older versions of Solidworks it helped in the learning experience to locate the specific tools in their 2015 homes.
I know what you’re thinking… “aren’t these a bit basic?’ True, but they are fun, and you learn at the same time!
12CAD.com provides tips, tricks, articles, and tutorials for Solidworks. I didn’t go through all of the available ones but picked and chose some of the topics I wanted to learn more about.
There are so many resources available on the web to learn Solidworks, it took me almost as much time to weed through to find the good ones than it did to actually work through some tutorials. This is a list of FREE tools I used to learn Solidworks, but there are many “pay-for” high-quality resources available as well. I for one believe in taking training and am not opposed to paying for the resource / training, but I could not find anything tailored for the experienced CAD user
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