SOLIDWORKS is offered as commercial, educational, and entrepreneur license types. Commercial and Entrepreneur licenses can be used in an unlimited manner meaning they can be used for both non-profit and for-profit endeavors. However, unlike commercial or entrepreneur, educational licenses are only to be used to allow engineering students to learn how to use SOLIDWORKS in a classroom setting. Educational licenses cannot be used for for-profit ventures and doing so violates the Terms of Service. The way that SOLIDWORKS enforces this is by adding a watermark to any file created or saved with an educational license.
How Does this Happen?
You may be asking yourself, “We’re a business and we have commercial licenses. Why does this matter to me?” Well, there are two main scenarios where a SOLIDWORKS educational watermark may still pop up on your engineering files. The first is when you are working with a student intern. While physically in the building there shouldn’t be any problem with them saving files with an educational license because they will be using a company machine with a company license. If the student was like me, they make use of an educational license on their personal laptop to work on school assignments. If they bring work home with them, use their educational license to make changes, and then save the file, SOLIDWORKS will put a watermark permanently on it.
Secondly, sometimes companies will make use of standard parts libraries created by other users. Online CAD libraries allow anybody to upload files that they create ignoring the type of license used. For the hobbyist this isn’t important because a CAD file is a CAD file but for a company using part like this would cause the watermark to appear. This effectively stops their design process as manufacturers won’t allow them to use the watermarked files.
How do I fix a SOLIDWORKS educational watermark?
For non-critical files (files that don’t matter or put a stoppage of work on the company), the only viable route is to spend the time to remake the parts. This can be done a couple of different ways. The first and most obvious, is to build the part up from scratch by recreating all the sketches and features used in the original model. Although this is the most time consuming, it will lead to the most accurate result when compared to the original model. The second option is a less optimal solution and involves converting the SOLIDWORKS Model into a neutral format. By converting the SOLIDWORKS Part or Assembly into something like a STEP or IGES, you are stripping the “SOLIDWORKS” nature from it and ultimately ending up with a dumb solid. If nothing needs to be edited, the file is “fixed”, but you can always dynamically load in FeatureWorks to make changes to dimensions when necessary. This option, while getting rid of the SOLIDWORKS educational watermark, is not an ideal solution because it really is no longer a SOLIDWORKS model and is instead just a solid model that’s almost a SOLIDWORKS model.
On the other hand, SOLIDWORKS will remove the educational watermark from files that are deemed “critical”. For SOLIDWORKS to deem these files critical and remove the watermark, customers must provide the following:
- Why the educational version was used in a commercial setting
- How these files are being used
- Why the files are critical and why can’t they be recreated
- A declaration that the watermark was accidental
- SOLIDWORKS Management Approval
Once the above conditions are met, your SOLIDWORKS Reseller (such as TriMech) can begin the Watermark Removal Request Form and start the process of the watermark removal. As the process continues, the client will provide all the affected files and SOLIDWORKS will remove the watermark. If this is an issue that is affecting you or your company, please reach out to TriMech Technical Support and we will be happy to help.