Enter to win the SolidWorks World 2010 First Timer Contest

So maybe being the Official Internet Correspondent wasn't your thing (congratulations Chris). Maybe it was because you've never been to SolidWorks World before, and you weren't sure what you would be getting into. That's OK. Because here's another chance for you to go.

Our new contest is aimed at you, the SolidWorks user who's never been to SolidWorks World before. We want you to come join us and take part in all of the fun, learning, and networking in Anaheim. And this time, I'm not even going to ask you to do anything while you're there*. But you do have to convince us to pick you as the winner.

So here's what you'll need to do. Leave a comment on this blog entry telling your best "SolidWorks first-time" story. Maybe it's something funny that happened the first time you attended a user group meeting. Maybe it's the first time things really clicked for you learning SolidWorks in college. Or maybe it was the first time you saw a demo and your jaw dropped. Get creative. Just no stories about the first time you attended SolidWorks World. Because you wouldn't be a first-timer then, now would you?

And as much as it pains me to say this, you must be 21 or older to enter, and citizens of Brazil, Quebec and China are not eligible. You can read the complete rules and regs here:

Download the SolidWorks World 2010 First-Timer Contest rules

Don't wait too long to enter–this contest ends at noon EDT on November 25, so start thinking!

* If you feel like meeting up the last day of the show and doing a quick video interview about the highlights of your experience, that would be great. But you know, only if you want to.

Matthew West
Senior Manager of Social Strategy at Dassault Systemes SolidWorks. Ageing indie rocker and sporadic homebrewer.
Matthew West
  • Rich comer

    I wish I was as eloquent or inventive as Chris McAndrew but unfortunately I’m not! I would have to say though, as a SWV opening and using Solidworks for the first time and then actually being able to produce something useful was very ego boosting! Solidworks is a 3d modeling aphrodisiac that makes you feel well endowed in the engineering department (if you know what I mean) In fact if really losing your virginity was that satisfying and easy there would be (and I think I’m predicting the future here!) millions of little ‘Solidworks babies’ running around and kicking all those Autodesk and ProE kids around the metaphorical playground!!

  • Boaz Axelrad

    It is simply clear to me. There is no doubt in my mind. It’s almost like I heard a heavenly voice saying “you are going to SWW 2010” think of the voice of Darth Vader. Convincing… No room for interpretation. Here is why it’s so plainly obvious to me. Well…apart form the fact that what Darth Vader says – you do!
    In the very beginning of 2000 I joined a plastics company in Toronto. By then I already played around with SW for a good two years, you know, on and off, between school, work and friends from other companies. My mind is wired in 3D you see, even as a young boy I always sketched in 3D (ask my parents) so for me SW was like a video game. When I tried using other CAD solutions at that time I always found that I spend more time trying to figure out how they work than actually running free with my ideas because when you think in 3D you more or less expect to see what you think on screen and not getting lost in the Amazon forest of drop-down menus. By now all of you SW fanatics understand why I was immediately hooked. So back to my new appointment as a “product and tool development engineer” at that northwest Toronto company. It wasn’t even a question to me when I had to introduce a CAD software. I had little to no trouble convincing the president of that division to make the purchase. All it took was a few edrawings emails from the SW sales person and he was awe struck (remember it’s 2000). So there I am finally getting my own full-blown, latest version of SW. So far so good right? Not so fast! Now I get to the nasty part. To avoid being a complete horrid, vindictive you-know-what and also because I am not a nasty kind of guy (again, ask my parents…) and also because I believe that the acting parties never really intended to cause the damage they did, I will not name names. So here we go:
    The SW reseller who got our PO at the time was so excited… not sure if it was because he was new to this stuff and this was one of his first sales or the fact that it was a very big company with numerous international divisions and dollar signs might have clouded the poor dude’s vision. The fact remains that before I even got my copy of SW, as soon as he got the PO from us, next thing he does, he calls head office, gets hold of the corporate Eng’ Manager and tells him that my division just bought SW and “why don’t you get the stuff for all of your divisions world wide”. That Eng’ Manager, it turns out, was a rusty old fellow who was stuck on AutoCad and not only he wasn’t going to move, he made it his mission from that point on to prevent anyone in the entire corporation from using SW. Next thing I know there’s a freeze on our PO. I personally made the trip to see that Eng’ Manager and explained to him that when it comes to designing plastic parts Autocad is, simply put, the very last choice anyone in their right mind would ever go for. After much reasoning he had no choice but to agree with me but insisted I use “Mechanical Desktop” which, if you remember, was a sad attempt at 3D by Autodesk. I had no choice. You know…corporate policy and all that jazz. But I never gave up the fight. Oh no! After I showed him the differences, the president of my division got the point but because head office was ruled by Autodesk-lovin’ people he got a seat of Inventor which was at its firs release then. When I still couldn’t accept the verdict and made the case to anyone who was willing to listen that SW was the only CAD that will make the company money (and me happy) I was bluntly shown the door. Yes! I was fired. I was fired for trying to increase my company’s productivity. No matter that I yelled and screamed about the fact that Inventor was a first release and SW was getting into its sixth. No matter that I reasoned that Inventor is a catch up game by 2D minded people and will take years to get to where SW is now and by that time SW will be still years ahead. Nothing mattered. I WAS FIRED. You would think that after that I should shun SW. On the contrary, I attended every new release presentation since then. I was instrumental in bringing SW into three other companies and I personally used almost every revision of SW since 1998. And some pretty amazing stuff came from SW under my very own hands… But I’ve never been to Solid Works World! I will never know what would have happened if that sales person wouldn’t have made that fateful call. I am not resentful and I am not looking for revenge. That company is in trouble today any way and the division I worked for broke off from it. Is it punishment from the SW Gods? Is it the “Force”? I don’t know. I simply say: If someone who lost his job for sticking up for his SW beliefs and kept the faith ever since doesn’t get to go to SWW 2010, who does?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jasonknox Jason Knox

    In highschool I took a board drafting class, and on the last day of the class they showed us how to use VersaCad and I thought “why the heck would anyone use a drafting board”, so I took 2 VersaCad classes. Then in college I used AutoCAD and I thought “why the heck would anyone use VersaCAD”, so I dove into AutoCAD and went far beyond what was required for the class. Then I got my first job, which just happened to be using Inventor (R2), and I thought “why the heck would anyone use AutoCAD”. I really went crazy for Inventor, and I wanted it to be great, I’m sure all the people reading the bug reports and feature suggestions knew my name (I actually found out at a conference that at least some of them did).

    Then, unfortunately, I worked a couple jobs for a few years each using AutoCAD. Finally I got my current job, and my first task was to evaluate both Inventor and SolidWorks, and provide input on which would work better for the company. Since I knew Inventor I started with it, and I thought “wow, it’s exactly how I remember it… from 8 years ago. Oh, I wonder if I can… nope, still can’t do that… how about, nope… hmmm.”

    So I loaded up SolidWorks and after adjusting to the middle mouse button rotating instead of panning I was off to the races. My first reaction was “this is almost exactly like Inventor”, but a few minutes later I was thinking “why the heck would anyone use Inventor”. I started pulling people over to my desk to show them how awesome SolidWorks was. I started modeling top-down, writing equations… I took an assembly that we make dozens of a year (but they are all different), and I made a model that could be adjusted to any size and automatically update the drawing, taking a 2 day job down to about 30 seconds.

    I’ve tried to learn something new in SolidWorks at least once a week, from surfacing to weldments, DriveWorks to Cosmos (Simulation). Now, two years later I’ve gotten my CSWP (I got 100% on my first try!), I’ve submitted dozens of bug reports and enhancement requests, and have been working happilly with my SolidWorks Bible by my side.

    I don’t know if I deserve to win this contest, but I will make the most of it if I do.

  • Jessica Hughes

    It’s early October, 2005. It’s cold and rainy. We are running a cheap, unstable, no good 3D software. The man responsible for bringing it into the company is on his way out the door. Permanently. The boss wants me to manage the parts and drawings that were generated in this catchpenny-company’s idea of 3D technology. I’ve got 3 months of rough training under my belt with, yet, another 3D software. I get the concept. I try my best to make it work and push forward. Ah, it’s no use. The only command this program knows is’ freeze up’, followed by ‘don’t save and shut down’! I’ve got to talk to the boss. I enter his office…

    “Boss, we need a new software. I think we should try SolidWorks.”
    “Do you know how to use it?”
    “Well, no. But I do have the concept! I learn fast, and there are training courses!”
    “Find out more about it, get a quote, and I’ll think about it. Until then, I think we’re going to hold off for a while.”

    Dang. I don’t have much persuasive power yet; I’ve only been with the company for several months. This would be an excellent time to strive, to prove myself, to show off all my hidden skills!
    However, I still have the responsibility of getting the job done, two-bit program or not. I get an idea. I’ll talk with the engineers, they double as sales reps, and I just know they would love the perk of showing off potential work with a real-time representation. Score! All of the engineers are now my allies. It turns out, customers have been requesting solid-model representation of our parts.

    There’s a new job on my desk It’s Brian’s design, and it is complex.

    “Brian, this job would be so much easier if I had solid modeling capabilities.”
    “I know. There are a lot of mounting holes, and there is great possibility for features not matching up correctly with the current 2D program. We’ll need to be very careful.”

    After further inspection, I realize this is the toughest part I’ve had to help design, and I already know that we’ll be designing on the fly. Wait… this could be leverage…

    It’s finally time to go back to the boss’ office.

    “Boss, I really believe we have a genuine need for SolidWorks.”
    “I’ve heard from the engineers that they would like to see it in drafting. I’m counting on you to get it up and running, and prove its productiveness. I’ll get it on order.”
    “Thanks Boss; I won’t let you down.”

    Talk about pressure! I’ve never used this before! Be that as it may, this is my opportunity to strive. I know I can do it.

    In short, the software arrived. Brian’s part was completed in about 25% of the time it would normally take. It was a huge accomplishment. I’ve proved, with the help of SolidWorks and Fisher-Unitech, to be more efficient, and the customers get any visual reference they ask for. The company has hired another mechanical designer/drafter, and most of our new designs originate from SolidWorks. Finally, the clouds clear and the sun comes out. We are now in a new era.

  • Manny P.

    For the fall 2007 semester at my college I was first introduced to SolidWorks. Being familiar in other 3-D modeling software I thought it would take time to learn this new one.

    The professor was less than an ideal teacher, his go to response was “check the tutorials”. Luckily the tutorials are great and quickly the models were coming.

    First a made computer monitor, got an A.
    Then a bird cage, got a B+.

    Then for the final an RC Car with 256 parts, got a B-. So I asked why the minus. The professor said we should have animated it to show the moving parts. Apparently he just learned how from a SolidWorks forum and directed us there.

    Now talk about being stunned. First to find out that SolidWorks can do so much with assemblies but there was an online community that is more valuable then my Fall 2007 semester. Wow was this where my professor was getting his information?

    If I knew that it would have been a solid B, we accidentally forgot the front wheels so an A was not an option.

    It’s been two years and still there is always a first to find and learn in SolidWorks.

  • http://gupta9665.wordpress.com Deepak Gupta

    It was the year 2006. Animation was fairly new to me. I have no idea of it while working on other software like Pro Engineer or Autodesk Inventor prior to start working on SolidWorks.

    I did quick hands of the online tutorials and was happy to see the results. I was really excited as what else I can do with animation apart from simple things. I did some exploded view things.

    One day I was giving out class on SolidWorks training in an educational institute and all of sudden one student come up and asked “Can we do spring animation in SolidWorks?” His question not only excited me but also made my brain to tickle as even I had not thought of that. I was just playing with simple stuff on animator and never thought of going into these kinds of stuff. I simply replied that I haven’t did that earlier but give me some time to test/try it and surely will come up with a solution. I asked him a week’s time to work on it. I started searching on net, looking for any kind of help on this issue but was not able to find up anything. Two days after I was working on an issue related with equations and that gave me a clue to the spring animation. I did some quick test on the spring using equations and VOILA the results were amazing. I was happy to see the outcome. Though that was not so good I was expecting but that gave me a direction to move further and continue my research. I shared that with the class and just heard one sentence “WOW that’s amazing”. Then they started asking how I made it did and I shared with them the secrets of equations. I had no idea of macros at that time so I wasn’t able to play much further. But now I know some macro thing and can easily play my spring.

    “I’m loving it”

  • http://profile.typepad.com/albertpino Albert Pino

    I’m not engineer, i’m a graphic designer that works three years ago on a shirt’s stamping company, watching how the painters works manually i had a question: Can i build an automatic stamping machine?, two years i spent designin it into my brain, machanical, electronics parts an user interface, then the second thrilling question: How can i get out this machine off from my brain?, the painful path begins.
    As a graphic designer i started in 2D usin Freehand, my old frien tool, full intuitive, magical, neither Adobe nor CorelDraw culdn’t beat it, even after its corporations death, but my old friend couldn’t give me what i want, so i dear to go to 3D World, i needed to get this machine out of my brain, it didn’t let me sleep well, i was driven crazy. Then i saw “The Inventor” by autodesk, and i thougt Inventor! thats my tool!, so i tryed 6 months… What a Pain! i went to home tired and with a gigaheadache trying that the software do what i want. Then one day i received my monthly issue on NASA Techbriefs, and i saw the SW advertisement with a biker carving an ice bike, wow! a creative ad, let’s see what is it. So after watch the promo videos i decided to try, so i downloaded an unlegal copy of solid works because the SW site didn´t offer i free tryout download, Sorry!, but after did the tutorials i start to design, begining from zero, then i get wandered to notice that in one week i rebuild all the pieces that took me 6 months in Inventor, WOW! at least, a 3D Software that works with me, like magic, like my old friend Freehand, i could plug my mind with the software, intuitively, a real “Soft”ware, i feel i’m working with play-doh dude.
    Of course inmediately i look up for a VAR and bougth my legal serial, because i had found a new friend tool.
    Now i go home tired, but for use my brain to create, to design, not fighting with the software.

  • Terri Mertens

    Early this last summer I had been laid off from my job as a mechanical designer and was trying to figure out what to do next. I considered buying some CAD software and starting my own business instead of trying to find a “real” job. I had heard a bit about SolidWorks so I started researching.

    The first thing I needed to know was the price to see if this was feasible. I hit the “Request a Quote” link on the SolidWorks webpage and was contacted that day (June 26th). I was then referred to the local reseller. They set up an online meeting within hours and showed me a demo. After using several other CAD software packages in the past, including ProE and most recently SDRC Ideas, I was very impressed. I decided to go for it and was on my way to many “firsts”.

    I had a lot to learn in as short of time as possible. In addition to taking many SolidWorks classes, I attempt to attend every event in my area as possible. I attended the SWUGN Technical Summit in Denver in September and the Launch Event 2010 in November.

    Future SolidWorks related “firsts” include attending the local user group (COSUG) meeting in December. Also, I plan on taking, and hopefully passing, the CSWP exam in December. And most anticipated future “first” is getting my first paycheck from this endeavor.

  • http://home.roadrunner.com/~zoerme/ctopherCADtips.html Chris Saller

    I have been using various CAD applications since 1984 and SolidWorks since 2000.
    SolidWorks has became my premier choice tool for mechanical design. Unfortunately being laid off twice during this career, I have not had the chance to go to SWW. I almost attended one year, but my manager at the time felt it was unnecessary.
    I also felt it was unnecessary to work with anymore, so I quit.
    I have dreamed about attending SWW, not only to see and hear the great things that I hear and read about, but to see some of my online friends that I have never met…yet.
    This coming SWW is only 9 miles from my house and will give me every opportunity to do what I have dreamed mentioned above.
    It will also give me the chance to meet other SolidWorks users and get their input on materials so I can update my online material database. (ctopher)
    Thank you.