What I learned in the Great Northwest

I recently had the chance to visit a few user groups in the Great Northwest, and I am still floored by how amazing this trip was. I talked about all of the possible drawing views in SOLIDWORKS, beginning in Portland, Oregon, then traveling to Yakima, Washington, and wrapping things up in Seattle, Washington. I experienced some beautiful country, good company, and now have a few more awesome SOLIDWORKS tricks up my sleeves – can’t beat that!

Portland SOLIDWORKS User Group
I flew into Portland, Oregon and got to experience dinner at the base of Multnomah, Falls.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Multnomah Falls, Oregon


While I was at the user group, I got to catch up with Cory Derico and Richard Salgado, both I hadn’t seen since we met last at SOLIDWORKS World 2015 in Phoenix.
Big thanks to the awesome tour provided by Bill at Contech Engineered Solutions. I learned quite a bit about stormwater management in a very short time.

StormFilter Stormwater Treatment
StormFilter Stormwater Treatment


Now here’s the thing that gets me most about our community – no matter where I am, I feel at home. How many friends have you known over the years who simply fell off the planet, never to be heard from again? When I began running my user group in Albany, New York several years ago, one of my ‘regular’ members was named Brendan. We hit it off immediately, always chatted at meetings, and enjoyed the same nerd world of video games. When someone stops attending meetings, your user group leaders notice – and I most certainly did. I reached out to him and was unable to connect. With no idea where he went or what had happened, life moved on. I moved to Saint Louis, Missouri and came to work for SOLIDWORKS. Well, it turns out that Brendan had moved to Portland, Oregon, and stopped by the meeting while I was in town. 5 years, 2 user groups, and 3,000 miles later, I was able to spend some time catching up with an old friend. Pretty crazy stuff, folks.

Now enough with the mushy stuff – what was the best SOLIDWORKS question of the night? This one goes to Keith:

Q: How do I scale a detail hatch proportionately to the parent view?

A: With a check box, of course! Check out Scale hatch pattern results:

Scale Hatch Pattern 

Yakima SOLIDWORKS User Group
From Portland, I drove the Hood River up to Yakima, Washington. And along the way, I was pleasantly surprised to find Maryhill Stonehenge. The project was commissioned in the early 20th century by businessman Samuel Hill and dedicated on July 4, 1918 as a memorial to those who had died in World War I.

Maryhill Stonehenge
When I arrived in Yakima, I finally got to meet User Group Leader, Chris Scarlett! He taught us all about the Vent Feature in SOLIDWORKS (it’s been there longer than you think). Super handy! Next time you have a few minutes, check it out!


Also, a big thanks to our Yakima Makerspace hosts. While it’s always a mixed-bag at these meetings, on this particular night, we had attendees who have never used SOLIDWORKS, all the way up to 15 year SOLIDWORKS veterans. It definitely keeps it interesting and keeps us all on our toes. Whoever you are, whatever skill level you are, you are welcome – there is no such thing as a stupid question and there are plenty of people in the room who can help to reword an answer if required.

Seattle Area SOLIDWORKS Power User Group
The last user group stop on my trip was to visit the first-ever SOLIDWORKS User Group in Seattle, Washington, where I got to meet several new people. Big thanks to our Lake Washington Institute of Technology hosts – the meeting room was fantastic!

My tech tip from this meeting? Attach notes to a different view quickly and easily by dragging them to the desired view, right-clicking, and choosing Attachment>Attach to view (new in SOLIDWORKS 2014):

Attachment options
On my way out, I had to check out the Olympic National Forest. Thanks again everyone for having me and as always, thanks for reading! I look forward to next time!

Olympic National Forest

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