solidworks-screamFor most in the US, there’s dancing. It’s a three day week as happiness surrounds the Thanksgiving holiday and ensuing riots to get 90% off a ham brazier. We’re excited about the same here at SolidSmack, not with finely charred ham, but with.. oh yes, finely charred tips.

A short week, with a limited fewer interruptions is the best time to dress-down, close out projects and learn a bit more about how some features work. So strap yourself into the scream chamber with your ham, we’re dropping Mach 2 on your SolidWorks productivity.

So how can your really focus on a model and blast through it?
With limited time it seems impossible, but here’s a three step process sure to help.

  1. Outline your assembly structure
  2. Create sub-assemblies to simplify
  3. Lay out your drawings views

Outline your assembly structure
This works so fast for getting an overviews of what you’ll be modeling. I started doing this with assemblies a while back. (It’s actually helped a lot with writing articles. Lay out the main points, then start filling it in.) It gives you clarity about the process. It gives you steps that can easily identify the beginning and end. I’ll usually do something like this:

  • Main Gadget Installation
    • Top Gadget Assembly
      • Gadget structure assembly
      • Gadget Sub-assembly 01
      • Gadget sub-assembly 02

Create sub-assemblies to simplify
I want to get to the point where I can create a very easy, very CLEAR drawing. The best way to do this is group parts into sub-assemblies. Even if it’s just a stack-up of hardware, it reduces the amount of parts in a BOM (Bill of Material) and makes it quicker to create a drawing. When you’re creating them, you may decide that a sub-assembly could be reused elsewhere, a standard assemblies. These can go into one drawing that can be re-used over and over. Smashing.

Lay out your drawing views
Even if the assembly is not finished, lay out some views and create some sections. Don’t worry, you can delete or change them later. One rule of getting things done is always having a place for things. With a drawing catching your changes, you are leading the task of completing it. With the views you’ve created, you’ll be able to take off dimensioning, adding more or catching problems that could impact design.

Bonus: Don’t worry about the details
For a lot of SolidWorks users starting out, there’s a lot of focus on the idea that every detail has to be created (or can be.) If you’re a beginner, you’ll find as you go on, that you can get the concept, or envelope laid out quickly, leave the details alone and get a lot further along on a design, than if you had taken the time to investigate all the possibilities.

Do you do this or see problems with working like this? What works best to help you get your models done quick?


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.