1. What's Solidworks?
SolidWorks is a 3D mechanical lt CAD (computer-aided design) program that runs on Microsoft Windows and is being developed by Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp., a subsidiary of Dassault Systèmes, S. A. (Vélizy, France). SolidWorks is currently used by over 2 million engineers and designers at more than 165,000 companies worldwide.
2. What can I do with it?
SolidWorks is a Parasolid-based solid modeler, and utilizes a parametric feature-based approach to create models and assemblies.
Parameters refer to constraints whose values determine the shape or geometry of the model or assembly. Parameters can be either numeric parameters, such as line lengths or circle diameters, or geometric parameters, such as tangent, parallel, concentric, horizontal or vertical, etc. Numeric parameters can be associated with each other through the use of relations, which allows them to capture design intent.
Design intent is how the creator of the part wants it to respond to changes and updates. For example, you would want the hole at the top of a beverage can to stay at the top surface, regardless of the height or size of the can. SolidWorks allows you to specify that the hole is a feature on the top surface, and will then honor your design intent no matter what the height you later gave to the can.
Features refer to the building blocks of the part. They are the shapes and operations that construct the part. Shape-based features typically begin with a 2D or 3D sketch of shapes such as bosses, holes, slots, etc. This shape is then extruded or cut to add or remove material from the part. Operation-based features are not sketch-based, and include features such as fillets, chamfers, shells, applying draft to the faces of a part, etc.
In an assembly, the analog to sketch relations are mates. Just as sketch relations define conditions such as tangency, parallelism, and concentricity with respect to sketch geometry, assembly mates define equivalent relations with respect to the individual parts or components, allowing the easy construction of assemblies. SolidWorks also includes additional advanced mating features such as gear and cam follower mates, which allow modeled gear assemblies to accurately reproduce the rotational movement of an actual gear train.
An example screenshot from the internet!