ACTE, National Robotics League, and Howe & Howe Premiere

The following entry was originally posted by Marie Planchard on the Learn. Create. Succeed SolidWorks Teacher Blog.


It's been a busy week.  Congratulations to Bay Path Regional Vocational High School who won the National Robotics League Brawl at the Mall competition last Saturday.  The students from Assabet Valley did a great job to set up the ring and run the event.  Thank you to all the SolidWorks employees and customers that attended the event to cheer on amazing robots.  It was a special treat to see Geoffrey Howe of Howe and Howe Tech  give out the awards and to cheer on so many teams.  Howe and Howe begins its second second on the Discovery Channel on Monday Dec 13.  I can't wait to see what they will design next.

Luckily my husband, David and I get to go on great dates to robot competitions and design contests.  He really helps me out.  When one of the students came up and asked how to change  templates from millimeters to inches, I was jet-lagged so David said he would post it on his Tips and Tricks web section.  In the world, most designers use millimeters and first angle projection in drawings.  But in the US we use either millimeters or inches and third angle projection.  Depending on what you select at the beginning of SolidWorks installation will determine your templates, however, you can change them.

ACTE stands for the Association of Career and Technical Educators.  This year's annual conference was in Las Vegas – I didn't gamble once.  It  was great to see so many robots designed with SolidWorks at the show, Gears Educational Systems had a 1ft square robot platform that you could stand on.  Vex, also designed in SolidWorks, had a game to play, Fanuc, showed their industrial robot for classroom use, you can find a Fanuc robot model on and the newest robot NAO, a humanoid, made a great impression with its dancing and programming talents.

But the show was far more than robots, it was all about education and incorporating the latest in technology, sustainable design, and job-ready skills for the 21st century.  SolidWorks Sustainability presentation filled a room with teachers that now have to introduce Life Cycle Assessment concepts into their classroom.

SolidWorks introduced our 3rd revision of the Certified SolidWorks Associate Exam CSWA.  You can view the CSWA sample exam.  The CSWA tests fundamental engineering graphics competencies.  It is the same exam we give to our commerical customers and schools can apply to be a CSWA provider.  This is very helpful in states that apply for Perkins grant money and need to prove a connection to industry.  The CSWA exam is given worldwide in 10 languages. We have over 30,000 SolidWorks certified users.  Now instructors can track students progress on each question and where students need additional practice to be successful. Exams are automatically graded and we keep track of students throughout their career.  SolidWorks also displayed how our Student Access Initiative can provide home/dorm access to your students for both on the ground and online classes.  Contact your local SolidWorks EDU reseller for more information.

Another big hit at ACTE was DraftSight, our free 2D drafting software to create, edit and save .dwg files.  Let's face it, schools have tight bugets today.  Having a free tool to teach drafting with tutorials for students is just a great idea.  Anyone, anywhere can download DraftSight.  Students can use it at home and in school.  Be certain to join the DraftSight community to receive free tutorials for your classroom for  a no cost CAD solution.

Thank you to all the teachers and students that stopped by. 




Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.