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SolidWorks (stylized as SOLIDWORKS), is a solid modelingcomputer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) computer program that runs on Microsoft Windows. SolidWorks is published by Dassault Systèmes.

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Modeling methodology

SolidWorks is a solid modeler, and utilizes a parametric feature-based approach to create models and assemblies. The software is written on Parasolid-kernel.

Parameters refer to constraints whose values determine the shape or geometry of the model or assembly. Parameters can be either numeric parameters, such as line lengths or circle diameters, or geometric parameters, such as tangent, parallel, concentric, horizontal or vertical, etc. Numeric parameters can be associated with each other through the use of relations, which allows them to capture design intent.

Design intent is how the creator of the part wants it to respond to changes and updates. For example, you would want the hole at the top of a beverage can to stay at the top surface, regardless of the height or size of the can. SolidWorks allows the user to specify that the hole is a feature on the top surface, and will then honor their design intent no matter what height they later assign to the can.

Features refer to the building blocks of the part. They are the shapes and operations that construct the part. Shape-based features typically begin with a 2D or 3D sketch of shapes such as bosses, holes, slots, etc. This shape is then extruded or cut to add or remove material from the part. Operation-based features are not sketch-based, and include features such as fillets, chamfers, shells, applying draft to the faces of a part, etc.

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screen shot captured from a SolidWorks top-down design approach.

Building a model in SolidWorks usually starts with a 2D sketch (although 3D sketches are available for power users). The sketch consists of geometry such as points, lines, arcs, conics (except the hyperbola), and splines. Dimensions are added to the sketch to define the size and location of the geometry. Relations are used to define attributes such as tangency, parallelism, perpendicularity, and concentricity. The parametric nature of SolidWorks means that the dimensions and relations drive the geometry, not the other way around. The dimensions in the sketch can be controlled independently, or by relationships to other parameters inside or outside of the sketch.

In an assembly, the analog to sketch relations are mates. Just as sketch relations define conditions such as tangency, parallelism, and concentricity with respect to sketch geometry, assembly mates define equivalent relations with respect to the individual parts or components, allowing the easy construction of assemblies. Outlook u of c. SolidWorks also includes additional advanced mating features such as gear and cam follower mates, which allow modeled gear assemblies to accurately reproduce the rotational movement of an actual gear train.

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Finally, drawings can be created either from parts or assemblies. Views are automatically generated from the solid model, and notes, dimensions and tolerances can then be easily added to the drawing as needed. The drawing module includes most paper sizes and standards (ANSI, ISO, DIN, GOST, JIS, BSI and SAC).

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File format

SolidWorks files (previous to version 2015) use the Microsoft Structured Storage file format. This means that there are various files embedded within each SLDDRW (drawing files), SLDPRT (part files), SLDASM (assembly files) file, including preview bitmaps and metadata sub-files. Various third-party tools (see COM Structured Storage) can be used to extract these sub-files, although the subfiles in many cases use proprietary binary file formats.

Source: Wikipedia

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Autoconverter allows to import, export and convert between the most common 3D mesh and solid file formats as a native Windows executable. It supports many of 3D file extensions including STL (Stereolithography), OFF (Object File Format), OBJ (Alias Wavefront Object), 3DS (3D-Studio File Format), IV (Inventor File), SAT (Standard ACIS Text), PLY (Stanford Polygon Format), VRML (Virtual Reality), 3DM (Rhinoceros 3D Model), SKP (Trimble SketchUp), DAE (Collada), STEP (STandardized Exchange of Product), IGES (Initial Graphics Exchange Specification), BREP (Boundary Representation), ASC (Point Cloud), IFC (The Industry Foundation Classes), FBX (Filmbox), 3MF (3D Manufacturing Format) and DXF (Drawing Exchange Format).

Screencasts

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Features

  • Import STEP, IGES, BREP, 3DS, OFF, STL, OBJ, PLY, 3DM, DAE, VRML, IFC, FBX, 3MF & SKP file formats.
  • Export STEP, IGES, BREP, STL, OFF, OBJ, 3DS, IV, PLY, VRML, 3DM, DXF, DAE, ASC, SKP, FBX, 3MF & SAT files.
  • Convert triangulated polyhedral meshes into faceted BREP shapes (manifold solids).
  • Unify normals, invert facets, merge and split shells mesh editing commands.
  • Automatically fill up mesh holes to fix & heal 3D model geometry.
  • Calculate mass, centroid, moments of inertia, radius of gyration and principal moments.
  • Support hierarchical STP model assemblies & SKP named groups and object components.
  • Automatic mesh reconstruction from ASC, XYZ point cloud files.
  • Save SketchUp SKP & Rhino 3DM files in the given version.
  • Support for material texture images in OBJ, 3DS, DAE, 3DM, FBX, 3MF & SKP files.
  • Upgrade or downgrade FBX, SKP & 3DM file version without changing its content.

Requirements

  • Microsoft Windows operating system with minimum 2GB RAM.
  • 64 bits platform for large files with million of faces recommended.

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Evaluation Version

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  • Allows to freely test during a fixed period of 2 days.
  • Fully functional like the registered version.
  • Intended for evaluation purposes only.