Solidworks is seriously cool stuff. It's a general-purpose CAD program--pretty much anything you can machine, you can design in Solidworks. We use it a lot the solar car team.
I'd been wanting to learn how it works for a while. So tonight, I finally decided to sit down and build something. I pulled out a pair of calipers and some longboard parts. Progress was pretty slow at first. With me, the ME force is not strong. Also, there are some random things in Solidworks where "Undo" doesn't work. Eventually, I got a wheel:
The carbon-fiber deck doesn't exist yet, so I had to improvise. I made a sketch with a bunch of lines and angles on it. It said "OVERCONSTRAINED" in big red letters. Our electrical ninja, Greg Hall, told me this was nothing to fear and showed me how to fix it by pretending that my carbon fiber was sheetmetal. Worked beautifully.
Two beers and five hours later, with a little more help from solar car teammates Forest and Greg, I had my assembly. Birds were now chirping outside, which usually means you have to stop OCDing and finish. Four wheels, two trucks, two rubber risers, and a deck.
Then I clicked "render". Solidworks' black magic voodoo code figured out how to set up the lightsources and everything else, did a little raytracing, and came up with this. Nice.
Stay tuned for the real thing, once I get around to building that!
Science, the Endless Frontier
2 days ago