[FTC]: Solidworks / CAD questions

We have downloaded Solidworks and added the tetrix parts. The team has played with it a little but is struggling to get parts connected and moving. Are they any good online resources or books anyone would recommend? We are a rural team so do not have super easy access to mentors or training sessions. I have been looking for a youtube that shows the basic steps for assembling tetrix parts and testing movement.

I know there is long term value to learning a CAD program but is this something other teams find absolutely essential? My team is accustomed to solving problems with limited resources and I have two students who seem able to see things in three dimensions. i.e. Someone mentions an idea and they just sit down and create it or make a quick prototype with lego parts.

Seems like one of the main benefits of a CAD program is for the creation of custom parts or am I missing something? If they have chosen to stick mostly with exisiting parts, I am wondering if it is better to have them learn solidworks during the off season.

Thanks for your input

I’m involved in FRC, so I can’t speak for FTC, but I’ve seen winning teams that designed their entire robot with 3D CAD, but I’ve seen other winning teams with robots designed with pencil & graph paper. I personally like CAD because things seem to fit better & require less rework. Plus it’s fun!

If you want to learn SolidWorks, here are some online tutorials:

And you can search Amazon.com for SolidWorks books. The neat thing about Amazon is you can “look inside” most books before you buy them. CAD books are expensive. If that’s a problem, you can buy an older title (for example SolidWorks 2010) or a used book.

You also might want to conact the closest SolidWorks User Group: http://www.swugn.org/. Even if there aren’t any local SWUGs, maybe you can find someone in your state that can help via web meeting (Webex, Skype or Join.me).

Good luck!

There are a many good SW tutorials on Youtube. I like those from Inspirtech, and Infinite Systems.

Both these companies sell full video courses. If you have funds, the best deal may be to subscribe to Infinite Systems where you can view all their tutorials (for SW and many other apps) for $9.95 a month.

If you have more questions, post them here. Good luck.