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SolidWorks 2014 What’s New – Chapter 5: Assemblies, part I


Part one of this chapter will be devoted to assembly features and other enhancements, while part two will cover the large number of mate improvements.

Chapter 5: Assemblies, part I (Assembly Features and More)

Honorable Mentions

Rotations in Exploded Views

We’ve been hearing about this enhancement for a few years now, but they SolidWorks team has finally polished it up enough for release. In an exploded view, you’ll now notice rotation rings in addition to the movement triad, which will allow you to move parts in a more realistic way when creating and animation explode steps.

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Message Handling for Large documents

“To facilitate the loading of large documents, some warning, informational, and error messages are automatically dismissed when you open drawings or assembly files. You can set the length of time that the software displays messages before dismissing them or turn off this option to dismiss messages.”

Now you can safely open a large assembly and walk away without fearing that an unnecessary error message will stop the whole process while you’re gone.

Flexible and Mirrored Subassembly Improvements

Flexible subassemblies now behave much more logically, especially when there are multiple instances of the same subassembly, or when the subassembly uses limit mates. There are also more options for controlling the positions of mirrored components. You can choose to mirror parts about the assembly’s center of mass, or the centroid of its bounding box. This is useful for mirroring asymmetric components, and used to require creating a new opposite-hand configuration or part.

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Selecting Components by Size

This simple slider filters components by size, as a percentage of the overall assembly. The tool allows you to select all very small components (such as fasteners) and suppress or hide them. Great for de-cluttering assemblies for export, or just speeding up performance. Access it from the select menu at the top of the SolidWorks window.

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Context Toolbar Enhancements

You can now switch between component or subassembly configurations very easily by selecting the desired configuration from the drop-down menu at the top of the context toolbar, which appears after clicking on a component in the graphics area. You even have the option to specify what assembly configurations the change will affect.

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Additionally, you can change a subassembly from rigid to flexible and back through the pop-up context menu. Simply right-click a component within a subassembly in the graphics area, click Select Subassembly, and change the solve state directly from the context menu that appears.

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Between these two enhancements, you’ll probably never have to delve into the Properties window again.



Pattern Enhancements

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Curve- and Sketch-Driven Patterns in Assemblies: These pattern types are now available in assemblies, where only feature-driven pattern was available before. You’ll be able to drive component patterns using assembly- or part-level sketches (made up of a series of points) or curves (any tangential entities in 2D or 3D space).

Pattern-Driven Pattern: The Feature-Driven Pattern command is no longer limited to features, so it has been renamed to Pattern-Driven Pattern. Pre-existing patterns (at the part level or assembly level), as well as features, can now be used to drive a pattern.

Highlighting Seed Features: When clicking on a pattern in the Tree, the seed feature highlights in a different color than the rest of the pattern instances, making it easier to find.

These pattern enhacements are designed to make assemblies more intelligent, and minimize the time and energy users spend placing unique components.


Check out the video below for an overview of all the new assembly-based enhancements in 2014. And stay tuned for part 2 of this chapter, where I’ll dive into the dozens of mate-related enhancements.

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