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Creating your Visualize environment can make the difference between rendered and real images

Have you ever tried to create a realistic image from the SOLIDWORKS rendering software but struggle to figure out why it doesn’t appear to be completely realistic?  It has happened to me as well.  I quickly found out that the scene was the main contributor to this.  You can’t physically take a picture of your product floating in a generic environment, so it stands to reason that it won’t look realistic. Follow along as I show you the technique I used to get rid of the dreaded “rendered” look.

SOLIDWORKS Visualize is a recent addition to the SOLIDWORKS ecosystem of products, and it has the ability to create stunning realistic rendered images.  I attempt to be a photographer in my spare time, so I thought I would give it a shot to see what the hype was about as well as attempt to actually create my first photorealistic image.

After installing, I had Jesse Sprague (our resident photo expert) give me the quick run through of the software and I was ready to begin rendering images.  I was trying to create a rendering of an electric carving knife but this is where I ran into my first issue.  The product does render out nicely but the exported image still has that rendered look.

Taking Baby Steps into FEA Simulation using SimXpress

Finite Element Analysis or FEA as most people call it is a great way to determine if your designed model will hold up to forces it might be subjected to in the real world.  Validating your design before real world testing is crucial in today’s society to save time and money.  FEA Simulation is a great tool but not everyone has access to Simulation.  What if I told you that if you have SOLIDWORKS, then you already have access to Simulation?  Included in every seat of SOLIDWORKS is a product called SimulationXpress. 

SimXpress is considered a “lite” version of Simulation, meaning it has some of the basic capabilities of the powerful Simulation software.  SimXpress can run static studies on parts only, but static studies are the most common study type so it is not much of a drawback.  Trust me, this is enough to get your feet wet in FEA Simulation.  I was always afraid of FEA Simulation like most people but hopefully after seeing how easy SimXpress is to get results you might actually want to use it and not be scared.  

The SimXpress tool can be found under Tools>Xpress Products or on the Evaluate Tab within the Command Manager.  If it is your first time using the SimXpress tool you will be prompted to enter a product code which can be found in one of my earlier blogs.  Check it out here.

Cooling your room without Air Conditioning - Setup

Now that fall is upon us, I find myself leaving the windows open at night instead of using the air conditioning to keep my room cool.  Hopefully I am not the only one, but I like having a window fan direct the cool ambient air into my room at night as well.  I just mentioned that the fan directs cool air into my room, but this is where the question is formed:  Which way should the fan face?

Does directing the cooler air into the room effectively cool the room quicker than directing the warmer air out?  I have always been one to point the fan into the room but if you’re familiar with the second law of thermodynamics you know heat travels from hot to cold.  So if the “air” inside the room is naturally trying to escape to reach equilibrium would it be more beneficial to point the fan out and aid in the natural thermodynamic property?

At this point I was questioning my entire childhood of whether or not I pointed the fans in the right direction.  This became extremely problematic. Well, not really, but it drove me nuts for at little while.  I wanted to get to the bottom of this; as much as I wanted to test the idea, but I have no tools or data collection methods in order to “real world” test the problem.  The one tool I do have, though, is Franco.  Not that Franco is a tool but he knows how to use Flow Simulation.  I ran to him with my idea and he said that if I created a room he would use that for a Flow Simulation.  Let the modeling begin!

Off the top of my head, I don’t know the exact size of my room but I looked up some approximate sizes and settled with a 15’x15’ room to keep it pretty generic.  I extruded a box, shelled it out and added my window cut.  Check it out below.

Can You Compare Files and Configurations?

The title question isn’t one I get asked too often, but, when it comes up, it is something I love to show users, since there is a powerful tool that can help them.  SOLIDWORKS provides the ability to compare two files or two configurations of a model using four different tests: Documents, Features, Geometry and Bill of Materials. 

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