I’m tickled pink to announce that, with the help and generosity of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp (“Dassault”), we restored our access to our student/maker licenses for Solidworks. Here’s how to get one. These licenses are for our members only.
What is Solidworks
Solidworks is an industry-leading software program used for generating sophisticated 3D computer models – typically of machines, parts, art objects, and the like. It’s an indispensable tool.
You’ll use these models to generate manufacturing drawings/plans, visual displays for presentations, and other file-format-representations of your doo-dad (e.g., stl, dxf, jpeg, mp4, avi, tiff, ai, pdf, gcode). Then make or display your stuff using our machines (e.g., Multicam, Haas, Polyprinters, Shapeoko, laser cutters, plasma cutter, Formlabs printer, Samsung printer, vinyl cutter, large-format printer).
Solidworks is particularly useful for modifying and customizing STL files of things that other people have made (e.g., Yoda dolls you downloaded from Thingiverse). Even if you’re simply planning a welding project or woodworking project, Solidworks is useful for calculating and documenting dimensions, clearances, positions, bending radiuses, angles, and designs. It can even help you design injection molds. It has a bazillion uses.
This great video from Dassault overviews only a fraction of the software’s capabilities and features:
We will intermittently be offering classes in Solidworks, and some of our members are experts. Feel free to reach out to us for help.
Most importantly, there are excellent online resources from Dassault, its resellers, and Youtube creators that can get you started regardless of your initial level of expertise with 3D modeling. This software platform has a large user base that has been active for decades; so usually a quick Google search or YouTube search can get you started on solving whatever problem you’re having. There is also a specific forum for students at mysolidworks.com. Additional resources are available through the program itself.
I usually recommend that absolute beginners start with Tinkercad, which is a simple-but-powerful online CAD program that’s very user-friendly. Once you’ve mastered its basics, you’ll discover its limitations, and then you’ll want to move on to Solidworks. Much of what you have learned on Tinkercad will be useful in learning Solidworks.
What’s so great about Solidworks? Well, aside from its mind-boggling special features, it is “parametric modeling.” That means that when you say, “move this thing over there,” it’ll know what should adjust its position or size along with it, and what shouldn’t, according to parameters you’ve previously specified (e.g., this thing is always horizontal with that thing; or that’s always a 22 degree angle, or this is colinear with that thing, or that thing never moves, or this thing stretches twice as much as that thing, or these two things never touch, or these are always 2 inches apart, and so on). This saves you hundreds of hours of design time and avoids potential mistakes.
I would remind you that, even if you’re habituated to Fusion 360, the skills you learn in Solidworks have direct analogs in Fusion 360 (and vice versa) so it’s never a waste of time to learn either program.
If you’re looking for a more structured learning opportunity look here within the program:
We have a few hundred short-term, student/maker licenses that we can give to our members each year. They are awarded on request on a first-come first-served basis. Each of our licenses expires one year after its installation on your computer. So far Dassault has renewed them every year. [Thanks, Dassault!]
We also have a fully featured Premium version of Solidworks (but it’s from 2017) on the jump server. It has extra features and can be used commercially. We expect to update it to the 2021 version shortly. Instructions for accessing the Premium version on the jump server are here:
As for the student/maker licenses, you’ll get one license to the CAD module for 3D modeling and another one for CAM. The CAM module generates fancy g-code and tool paths for the Haas CNC machine and the Multicam.
Incidentally, Solidworks is Windows only. It doesn’t work on a macOS operating system. If you use Parallels, though, you can get it to work indirectly.
Dassault is one of our more generous sponsors. The Premium version of Solidworks that we have would cost $7,995 for an initial license and $1,995 per year for the annual maintenance fees. The student licenses are valued at $150 each for a year, and we have 300 to use. So, since this program has been running for 4.5 years so far, Dassault has contributed software rights to us that were potentially worth about $220,000 – with more to come. So please take advantage of this valuable benefit of your membership and, if you can, be active in helping us teach and promote this software to others.
DMS License Terms/Agreement
By downloading and activating your license, you are agreeing with Dallas Makerspace, Inc. (“DMS”) that:
Your license is governed both by the terms required by Dassault and the terms required by DMS, as they may be modified by DMS and/or Dassault from time to time.
You are representing and warranting that you are a member in good standing with DMS.
You will not communicate to anyone or share any DMS license codes for Solidworks.
Your license will only be used for your own personal and academic purposes, as interpreted by DMS and/or Dassault. During the installation and download procedure you’ll get an End User Licensing Agreement containing more detailed restrictions.
DMS has notified you of your eligibility to receive the appropriate maker/student license. Any download and use of a license by a person who is not eligible for it is a violation of the license agreement and applicable laws.
The licenses obtained through DMS differ from other versions of Solidworks software in that the relevant license will expire in accordance with the terms of your download card and/or DMS’s particular agreement with Dassault. Files created with your license will contain an “academic-use only” watermark.
We have special terms as part of DMS’ agreement with Dassault, by which you’ll be bound. In plain English, these terms include, among others, that: (i) they may create sales and marketing demos from certain of your model data files that we all agree to provide, and (ii) if so, you represent, warrant, and indemnify that any models, images, logos, and photographs that you provide won’t, when used for this purpose, violate anyone’s rights or confidentiality obligations.
If you can’t agree to these terms, do not download, activate, or use your license. Again, you will be deemed to have agreed to these terms if you download and activate the software.
Start your download by going to this website:
Input your name and email address. Select the Maker license. Check the “Yes” box stating that you already have a Serial Number that starts with 9020. Pick the latest Academic Version, if you want it. Click the blue button titled, “Request Download.” It will allow you to download the installation file to your computer.
Then you’ll get an email from Dassault. It will explain as follows:
Before proceeding with the download and installation process, please back up all SolidWorks data you may have generated from prior use of other versions of SolidWorks on your machine, then uninstall any prior versions of SolidWorks before installing. Be sure to check http://solidworks.com/systemrequirements to ensure that you have a suitable system that meets minimum requirements. DOWNLOAD and INSTALLATION INFORMATION: PLEASE NOTE: After you download and install a newer release of SolidWorks on your computer, older versions of SolidWorks will no longer function After clicking the download link provided on the website, you will be asked to save the downloaded file on your computer. PLEASE NOTE - THIS IS A VERY LARGE DOWNLOAD! Ensure that you have sufficient disk space on your computer to accept this downloaded file (download size: ~ 15 GB). The files that you download are copied to a temporary directory location during download. Your download will fail if there is not enough disk space for this operation. Check your browser settings for the temp directory location, and ensure there is sufficient disk space available When the download is complete, click UNZIP and follow the installation instructions. A SolidWorks serial number is required for installation. The number(s) will be displayed on the webpage, and we strongly suggest that you write it down, save it, or print it from your browser so that you have a backup copy of the serial number(s). If you closed your web browser before noting the serial number(s), you may simply resubmit the form and begin the process anew. NO TECHNICAL SUPPORT IS PROVIDED for installation or usage of educational licenses from Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. Access to student user forums is available at: https://forum.solidworks.com/community/educator___student In the event that your installation did not properly activate, or if Solidworks is not functioning as expected, we suggest that you consult the following links: Student Edition Technical FAQs (https://www.solidworks.com/STUDENTEDITIONFAQ) Installation Instructions System Requirements (https://www.solidworks.com/STUDENTEDITIONFAQ) SOLIDWORKS YouTube Channel Tutorials (https://www.youtube.com/solidworks) Knowledge Base through MySolidWorks.com (http://my.solidworks.com/support)
Now open the installation file and input your codes. You’ll have two codes available to you (the CAD code and the CAM code). Send a TALK message to @David_A_Tucker or, if I’m unavailable, @Team_Infrastructure to obtain the codes.
Please don’t forget that the installation email will have links to educational resources, as mentioned above.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our community on Talk or to me by direct message.
Best of luck!