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SOLIDWORKS World 2019 Top Ten List


As it has been for the last few years, announcement of the SOLIDWORKS World Top Ten List results has been relegated to a small breakout session, rather than announced widely on the main stage. While this format allows for a more intimate discussion between the most avid enhancement enthusiasts and the Product Developers who make it happen, it also denies a wider audience the opportunity to see how the software is progressing, and the internal processes used to create these enhancements.

To that end, I’d like to share as much information as I can from the Top Ten breakout session. I’ll give you a little background on the Top Ten Ideas voting system, talk about the winning ideas, resource allocation voting, and historical trends of voting, etc.

Most of this year’s Top Ten ideas are brand new, with a few old favorites thrown in to remind the development team what’s really important. Check out the SOLIDWORKS World Top Ten List Data page for entries and statistics going all the way back to 2001.

Top Ten Winning Ideas

10. Automatic Direction Change on extruded cut

SolidWorks should be smart enough to determine which direction of extruded cut will intersect the model, and update the feature direction appropriately.

9. Fix Top Ten List, Enhancement Request, and Knowledge Base Systems

A new Enhancement request system with currency-based voting, advanced tracking, discussions, and more now being prototyped internally on the 3DExperience Platform. Stay tuned…

8. Undo / Redo – Unlimited / Unrestricted

Wouldn’t it be great if SolidWorks could remove any limitations on the undo and redo commands, even across save points? This request has been made 3 times in the last decade, and I’d wager that it comes from fans of cloud-based CAD systems, where each action is stored in a database, and can be retrieved at any time.

7. Allow any drawing to be loaded with or without the model (i.e. user control)

This request aims to increase speed and performance while working on large complex drawings by eliminating the loading and rebuilding of all that sluggish body data. It’s essentially a better version of Detached Drawings, without the need for saving in a different (but same?) file format. Luckily, this functionality has already been implemented in the preview of SOLIDWORKS 2020, called “Detailing Mode.”
Once you’ve added the drawing views, sections, detail circles and BOMs you’ll want to use, simply save the drawing as normal, then open it in Detailing Mode. The drawing will open almost instantly with only data about the edges visible in the views you’ve already created (which means the drawing won’t update based on any changes made to the model since you last opened the drawing). Annotations, dimensions, weld symbols, sketches, and even balloons linked to the BOM can still be added by selecting edge lines. You can save your drawing as normal, and even save to PDF, DWG, and more from directly within Detailing Mode! Check out this write-up by Fisher Unitech for more:

6. Accurate and correct solid body sweep

Apparently using the solid body sweep feature results in some inaccurate geometry, and the people want change! Yes we can!

5. Allow SOLIDWORKS to kill a stalled file without having to close SOLIDWORKS

Wouldn’t it be great to kill that one hung drawing without losing all the progress you’ve made on the assembly it’s based on? I’m pretty sure Chrome allows a similar option, where single tabs can be killed without killing the whole program.

4. Provide better controls to prevent tangent and other mates from flipping

Previous Top Ten requests have asked for fixes for angle mates (2011), but only this year’s list has specifically requested a fix for flipping of tangent mates.

3. The “What’s Wrong” dialog box should have links to each specific problem and better descriptions

Especially for novice users, providing specific explanations for build errors will substantially lower the learning curve for SOLIDWORKS. This request has appeared on the Top Ten List three times in various forms since 2015, based on users dissatisfaction of the vague feedback in the SOLIDWORKS error messages:

2. Multicore workflow for large assemblies and drawings

Another long-time request from users (4 times since 2010), once they realize that, despite all the advanced multi-core chips we all have, the vast majority of SolidWorks functions are only handles by a single core. However, the issue with parametric modeling is the restriction that steps must be calculated in series, making parallel processing with multiple CPU cores essentially impossible.

1. Flip the new mate, not the old mate

Ever create a mate, and SOLIDWORKS tell you it wants to reverse a perfectly good mate you’ve just made? What’s up with that?

2019 R&D Resource Allocation Voting

For the past few years (ever since the ONE and TWO movement), SolidWorks has added the option to vote for how R&D resources should be allocated for the coming year. How much focus should be paid to improving reliability, performance, or functionality. Users vote using a sliding scale as seen below:

After the voting had concluded, this is how results looked:

SolidWorks users overwhelmingly approve of an increase of reliability projects, and have no issue with slowing down the pace of functionality improvements. If you’d like to have a voice in future resource allocation decisions, I urge you to vote for resource allocation in the Top Ten list area of the forums before next year’ conference (usually around December).

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2 Replies to “SOLIDWORKS World 2019 Top Ten List”

  1. Alin says:

    Great article. Just a note in regards to idea #2. The description of that idea described a step-by-step process of opening assemblies and drawings that would use multiple cores. It was not just a wish, it came with a serious proposal.

    In regards to idea #7, which will be implemented in SW2020, it was a serious project, 2 years in the making that started outside SOLIDWORKS R&D. Everything started with an end-user, Grant Mattis from Feature Walters who came with the idea for this workflow. A thing of beauty! Companies using SW will save in total million of dollars because of Grant!

    1. MegaHertz604 says:

      Thanks Alin! Always good to have your insights. I’m really impressed by the effort FW made to improve large drawing performance for all of us, and I’m glad they have a VAR like you to push it through to the end.

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