There’s nothing quite like a fresh-squeezed glass of OJ in the morning, unless you’ve had a traumatic experience in an orange grove and you’re deathly afraid of oranges. Then, not so good. That’s probably pretty common. So instead, I’ve got some fresh-squeezed tips for new SolidWorks users, although just about anyone could use them some how.
Now, when you’re first learning SolidWorks, most people would probably tell you to go get some proper training or to listen up in class and apply yourself, blah, blah, blah. Even if you kinda do that, there are some other things you can do right up front to get ahead.
Tip #1: Apply it to what you’re interested in
So what do you like to do? Do you like bikes? Is there a company out there that uses SolidWorks to design bikes? Well,looky there, Trek Bikes and Mountain Cycle both use it to develop their designs. Do you like to watch TV? Model up a remote like Steve suggests in a comment.
Doing something you love goes without saying. However, applying something you can learn to what you enjoy doing can enhance and even open up opportunities to enjoy it more as a career or in developing your own products. Take what you’re learning and apply it to what you like to do.
Tip #2: Understand the manufacturing process
Whether you’re interested in making your own product or starting out a new job, there’s certain ways things are made. If you understand this, modeling it will not only be easier, but you will also be able to explain it to others. So, go and talk with manufacturing, form some relationships and find out what they do and what information they need to make their job easier. You’ll end up with some very happy shop people.
If manufacturing is a plane ride away, let your boss know you’re interested in meeting and talking with manufacturing to find out how your team can make improvements. Even if it’s not possible, it shows your motivation and may get you more involved later on.
Tip #3: Push yourself to learn about other functionality
Sure, the book or instructor says to do it this way, but what happens if you do…THIS. Dang! Shouldn’t have done that, but now you know and you will be wary of doing such things next time.
What about ways of making development faster? Does your department have a library of parts, templates or processes set up? If no one else has done this, it the perfect chance to take charge and get it going. Ah, that’s very important. You don’t have to wait to be told to do something in order to do it.
Tip #4: Teach someone
Go on, share the wealth. This is hands down one of the best ways to learn something. It forces you to explain it in a way someone will understand. It also helps with your communication skills. If you smell good and have a pleasant voice it will generally make people like you. So, groom yourself and be patient with people as well.
If you’re really excited about teaching, check out a local Technical College or University also. You may be able to teach some classes or give a short course on SolidWorks. If not, maybe your company will allow you to do some short courses. Bottom line is, you won’t know until you ask.