3 things you should know to get started on 3DEXPERIENCE

By Craig DeCosta on

The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform offers many great features and tools but today I want to talk about my top three favorite: 3D Dashboards, xDesign and Collaborative Designer.


3D Dashboards

My three favorite things on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform start with 3D Dashboards. I think it is a fantastic way to visualize and set up information depending on how your company wants to organize its data at a glance and get access to applications that are right at your fingertips. The dashboard allows for more than engineering applications to be utilized but also gives you quick access to web pages, videos, graphs and charts. When I create a new dashboard, there are tabs at the bottom that allow us to organize how we want to split the different sections of the dashboard and we can start adding in the design tools that we use.

3DX Dashboard
Creating a 3DEXPERIENCE Dashboard


One of my favorite design tools is the xDesign app. I can drag that into my Dashboard, and I can also drag in the 3D Play app. When I’m happy with how this looks with the general outline, I can auto-fit my windows to the full page using the fit option. The advantage of having all of this information, all of these applications laid out in this manner is that now if I want to access data in my vault, or from my storage, I can dive into the folder that I want. If I want to preview a SOLIDWORKS file, I can drag it into the 3D player and we can enlarge the widget so we can interrogate this product a little bit and maybe share it with a group that we belong to on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

xDesign and 3D Play
xDesign and 3D Play

A great role on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform for this is the engineering release application and it might also be useful to have the 3D play application available to this team as well, so they can quickly drag and drop in parts as they work to get an idea of what this particular product is. You can get information for both materials and if you want to preview it, drag it into the the theme play window.

Collaborative Designer

The Collaborative Designer app allows you to work natively with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform while still using the SOLIDWORKS that we know and love. What we’re going to see is how we can use the collaborative designer role to work natively in SOLIDWORKS and also have the advantage of using the data management capabilities offered by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. One thing that you’ll notice that’s a little bit different is that I have an extra icon on my task pane on the right and it’s the 3DEXPERIENCE compass. This is an add-in that must be activated and enabled. Similar to the assembly tree in SOLIDWORKS, the 3DEXPERIENCE window pane displays information showing us all the different parts that make up this assembly. We get visual feedback telling us that the file has not been saved into the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, so I can go ahead and push it up to the cloud to make it available for my colleagues.

And now the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is going to allow me to give access to this information to all of my colleagues to push into the other applications on the platform. We have a visual confirmation that the file has indeed been pushed up into the platform and exists in the cloud.

3DX files saved
Files are saved to the cloud

If I wanted to take ownership of this file, for those of you that are familiar with data management systems, I can go ahead and lock this entire assembly or a particular part. What this does is it gives me ownership of the file. The Green Key is telling me that I have ownership of the file, and anybody else who tries to open it and edit will see a red padlock telling them that they cannot do so. I can just as easily release it back to the system and unlock it when needed.

Now another neat thing is I can initiate a revision right from the platform within SOLIDWORKS itself. I will enter a comment saying test revision. Now we get a prompt saying that revision B is the new active revision, and the top-level assembly has not been saved with this new revision added in. So, I can unlock this and then save my assembly with the new revision. You can then save and that will push the assembly with the new revision of the file up to the cloud. And now we can unlock this.