What’s Coming in SolidWorks 2014

This year’s “What’s New” skit was by far the best of the three I’ve seen in person. Jeremy Regnerus hosted a cheesy home shopping gift show, interviewing wannabe inventors selling such products as…

The SolidGrill 3000! A laptop that gets so hot, it grills burgers!


ExactFlat At SolidWorks World 2013




Since we last checked in with Steve McClendon and the ExactFlat team at their debut at SolidWorks World 2012, their platform has been strengthened, and their integration with SolidWorks is more rock-solid than ever.  ExactFlat Design Studio is an add-in to SolidWorks that provides design tools for sewn products – anything from car seats to backpacks. I personally have no experience with this product market, but in the brief demo I received at SolidWorks World 2013 from Marketing Director Matt Smith, it was easy to understand every feature of the program.

Design can take place in either a 2D or 3D environment. The former is best for those who are used to current sewn product design tools, and the latter is for those with a strong SolidWorks background. The design style can be switched at any time, and all changes are parametrically linked. For example, a designer could model a car seat in SolidWorks, translate the surfaces of the model to 2D shapes, apply a force to the model to see how the shapes deform, add seam and hem material, and nest the shapes into a large cutting pattern, ready to feed into a cutting machine. In 2D mode, the software always remembers which edges will be sewn together, so a change made to one shape automatically updates its complimentary shapes, and the 3D model.

There are also special, automatic custom properties associated with each edge, including edge name, seam type, and a property not found anywhere else in SolidWorks, edge length. When creating a drawing, ExactFlat automatically measures the lengths of even the most complex edges, something that SolidWorks’ own dimensioning tools haven’t been able to do yet.

In developing their product, the ExactFlat team worked directly with SolidWorks – and gained R&D Partner status – meaning that the integration of their add-in goes deeper than most. For example, ExactFlat offers macros, mouse gestures, and system options through the standard SolidWorks UI. And the collaboration doesn’t stop there. ExactFlat even sponsored one of the receptions at SWW13! That’s a sure sign that business is good.


While ExactFlat is still technically in Beta, they hope to obtain SolidWorks gold partner status after their full product launch, schedulerd for March or April of this year. As the lauch approaches, excitement about the product grows. Steve told me that by the end of Day 1 of SolidWorks World 2013, they already had more interested customers than during the entirety of SolidWorks World 2012. That’s no surprise to me. I’ve known since their debut last year that ExactFlat’s enthusiastic team and the innovative new possibilities they bring to the CAD field would set them apart.


SolidWorks World 2013, Wednesday General Session



 Fielder Hiss opens Day 3, and introduces the partner from Dell.


Next, Mark Schnieder makes us all feel like incompetent children as he explains the Model Mania contest, and introduces the winners.



 Congratulations to Richard Wand (3rd), Tom Smith (2nd), and Satakal Khalsa (1st), with a stunning time of 8:45!


Marie Planchard – described by some as “6 feet of passion in a 5-foot frame” –  spoke to us next about her favorite thing: education. 



 She introduced Tom Atchison of the Mavericks Civilian Space Program, who mentors high school students throughout the entire process of designing, building, and launching a rocket.


We learned how the team used SolidWorks throughout their design process, and Marie made a special announcement!


Our next speaker was from Platinum sponsor, nVidia. What started out as a standard “commercial” soon turned into something more exciting. We got out first peek at the eDrawings mobile app on a Google device. The Google Nexus 7 – powered by an nVidia Tegra chip – ran eDrawings live on stage.


Bruce Holway then took the stage to go through the SolidWorks World 2013 Top 10 List, as presented by SolidWorks’ most senior employees.


The list follows, from the SolidWorks Blog:

1.       Make rebuild time faster

2.       True backward compatibility

3.       Slot mate

4.       Cylindrical mates need an option to lock rotation

5.       Provide a version of the eDrawings mobile app for Android devices

6.       Option for equal spacing on linear patterns

7.       Default concentric mate for axis to cylindrical surface

8.       External thread wizard for all thread types

9.       Draw a line segment starting from the midpoint

10.   Create auxiliary line for dimensioning angles

Next up, Jeremy Regenrus, Neil Cook Mark Schnieder, and the rest of the Product Marketing team gave us a hilarious sneak peek at SolidWorks 2014, through a fake infomercial called “Jeremy’s Designer Gift Show.”


Jeremy hosted cheesy inventors hawking such products as the SolidGrill 3000, the SolidWorkout, and the DesignBelt.

Take a look at the What’s Coming in 2014 post for more information about the features revealed during the General Session.
Bertrand then took the stage once more to close out the show, and announce next year;s location. SolidWorks World 2014 will be held in San Diego once again, January 26-29, 2014.


SolidWorks World 2013, Tuesday General Session

Welcome to day 2 everyone. Here’s what happened at this morning’s General Session:


We started with the awesome intro video…

Then Fielder Hiss took the stage to announce the winners of the SolidWorks 2013 Beta contests, including the first Triple-Crown winner!


Richard Doyle took the stage next to tell us about the amazing SolidWorks community and User Group Network.


Richard then took a moment to remember beloved user group leader and SolidWorks Community icon, Wayne Tiffany.


Wayne’s sons honored us by leading a moving tribute to their father, as we helped them learn a little more about what he meant to the community. The Tiffany brothers received a standing ovation from the User Group Leaders, who were doing their best to hold their emotions in check.



From now on, the User group leader of the year award will be presented in Wayne’s memory, and this year’s recipient of the award was Peter Fischer. The User Group of the year award was also presented to the New York City SWUG.

The final award – also named for a departed SolidWorks exemplar – is the Michelle Pillars Community Award. This year, Anna Wood of RenderBay, llc was awarded the honor.


Next up, Avelino Rochino and Mike Puckett of the SolidWorks Certification team gave us some information about the past 15 years of the certification program.


Did you know that 3.5 million SolidWorks Certification questions have been answered so far? Or that Mechanical Engineers hoping to work at Disneyland can’t even get an interview without their CSWP?

The Certification guys then announced a band-new exam. The Advanced Drawing Tools Specialist (CSWPDRWT) tests users on their 2D drawing prowess.


Next, we were introduced to Professor Vijay Kumar, of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Kumar and his students have designed an incredible swarm of autonomous flying robots.


The robots can, individually or as a swarm, map a dangerous building using Kinect technology, assemble large structures, find their way through tight spaces, and even play the James Bond theme song.


These robots are so awesome, they even caught the attention of The Rev. Sir Doctor Sen. Stephen T. Mos Def Colbert, D.F.A., Heavyweight Champion of the World.


Rick Chin introduced the next incredible speaker, who comes from the German company, Festo.


Elias Knubben is the Head of Corporate Bionic Projects, and also lifetime member of the Best Job Title Club. Elias showed us several projects that blend nature and technology in a way that can help mankind.  We saw the manipulator arm which has incredible strength, adaptability, and dexterity, just like an elephant’s trunk.


We also saw the magnificent flying robotic bird, which perfectly mimics the wing movement of an actual animal. The flapping motion is so efficient, the robot doesn’t need any lighter-than-air gasses to stay aloft, as we saw in a surprising live demonstration.


Stay tuned for tomorrow when we’ll hear about all the new and exciting features coming in the next version of SolidWorks, and much more!

SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual Teaser

SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual Teaser 1/21/13

Immediately following today’s general session – where we learned about the new, long-awaited CAD product known as SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual – Fielder Hiss, Bertrand Sicot, and the rest of the SolidWorks/DASSAULT executives hosted a press conference. During that conference, we got a few more details on the product, and it’s development up to this point. After the conference, however, I got a chance to spend 5 minutes using today’s newly announced product. But here’s the interesting part: the product I used was hosted on an iPad, not a PC, like we saw today at the General Session. I asked how it was possible that a product still in development could already be translated to mobile form. The answer surprised me: It wasn’t. At the core of what Gian Paolo Bassi is calling their 21st-century kernel is universal adaptability. SolidWorks MechCon, and presumably any future V6 app, can be used on any device – PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and web, to name a few – without a lengthy translation process. In the same way that Windows 8 is trying to standardize their user experience across PCs and Tablets, the V6 kernel is attempting to do the same for their conceptual CAD tool.But if the same tools are to be used in the same way across vastly different devices, they have to be simple but powerful. From my brief interaction, that seems to be the case. Simple tools that sketch basic shapes, create solid bodies, and modify existing geometry come together to grow a concept out of nothing. But remember, it’s not SolidWorks. The tools are different and will take some getting used to. They’re geared toward fast, simple modeling, not detailed design. There’s no way to input exact measurements, just whatever looks good. Remember, the tools are as powerful as they can be while still working on mobile devices.

The viewer side of the MechCon app.

Editing a model on an iPad. Not just viewing or animating, but actually editing. And those edits can be picked up on a pc or dropped directly into SolidWorks.

Notice the toolbar at the bottom of the app. Tools include erase, select, sketch entities (line, rectangle, arc, curve, circle), move, push, revolve, offset, smooth, paint and more.


mySolidWorks  1/20/13

SolidWorks Social Media director Matt West announced a new online SolidWorks community tool today at SolidWorks World. mySolidWorks is an information aggregate tool that will eventually combine information from dozens of SolidWorks content providers. As of the start of the public beta today (1/20/2013), the site combined posts from the SolidWorks Forums and online help package, along with SolidWorks Corporate and Education blogs, Twitter feed, and YouTube channel.  Signing in with an existing SolidWorks account allows more content and customization options, such as access to Knowledge Base articles.
The site is powered by ExaLead and Dassault’s newest acquisition, Netvibes. Check it out for yourself at my.SolidWorks.com.

CSWE Event Details Revealed!

There are a lot of CSWPs out there in the world. A LOT. So many, that the annual CSWP Special Event at SolidWorks World can’t handle them all. So this year, for the first time, the party will be limited to CSWEs only. The CSWE exam is a little more than 2 years old, and there are less than 1200 CSWEs worldwide. That means the party planners went all-out this year. Details on the big party are below. If this doesn’t motivate you to pass your exams, then there’s no hope for you.


Attention Certified SolidWorks Experts!

You have earned VIP Access to this year’s private CSWE event at SolidWorks World 2013.

This year’s event is celebrating speed.

We’ll have the newest Xbox racing game simulators for you to try. There will also be Wii gaming stations, an RC Racetrack, a Virtual Reality racing game, and a bank of linked NASCAR racing games that will let you challenge your peers! Don’t worry, no quarters are needed at this party, we covered that for you!

Florida Rock Band Sekond Nature will provide the music, and as usual we’ll have plenty of food, drinks, and beer!

You’ll also receive a limited edition, collectible racing car toy from our longtime friend and fellow CSWE,

Yanick Tremblay, Design Manager for MEGA Brands Inc.

Enjoy networking with old and new friends, listening to some great live music, and taking in a few laps on the video game tracks. No helmets or driving licenses required!

See you in Orlando!

The SolidWorks Certification Team


SolidWorks World 2013 – Uncharted Territory


Although SolidWorks World 2013 is technically my third time at the conference, in a way it feels like my first.  Since 2010, I have attended as a User Group leader or member of press.  This year, however, I will have an additional role.  I will also be attending as a representative for my new employer.  This will drastically change my experience at the conference. Previously, I attended breakout sessions on a wide range of topics which I thought would be most enjoyable, chatted with the Partners who had the coolest technology, and covered the press events which included the most innovative speakers.  This year, I made choices based what I believed would be most helpful to my company. Having that specific focus allowed me to break out of my comfort zone and into uncharted territory.  I never before thought I’d need to know about the SolidWorks API or 3DVia Composer, but I will find myself learning about them in a few days, because I’ve seen how those tools may benefit my coworkers.  My schedule is rigorous, with many time slots packed three or four deep (see my calendar below). But with the help of my team, I now have the ability to divide and conquer.



The problem is, there’s almost NOTHNG that SolidWorks offers that isn’t helpful to a company of any size. You can always find a way to adapt a tool to your needs. That’s why SolidWorks World is always so successful, with its attendance numbers growing steadily every year. No matter how much you learn about the program, you can be sure there’s so much more you DON’T know.


See you in Orlando!

SolidWorks World 2013 Special Event Confirmed!

Make sure to pack your wands and broomsticks, because this year’s special off-site event will be held at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! The news came this morning through a forum post by SolidWorks Community Manager Matthew West. Be sure to buy him a butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks.


For all those travelling by Hogwarts Express, here are some pictures to keep you occupied on the long ride:


Time to Plan your #SWW13 Experience!

The (Preliminary) SolidWorks World 2013 User Agenda is now live here.  While it’s still subject to change, the agenda provides a good overview of what to expect at the yearly SolidWorks conference, and can help you plan your sessions in advance.


Here are the stats:


177 Total Sessions (up from 159 last year)

124 Breakout Sessions

53 Hands-on Sessions


63 Beginner-Level Sessions

95 Intermediate-Level Sessions

19 Expert-Level Sessions


Categories (Click here to compare to last year’s distribution)


 Use this agenda to plan out your favorite sessions, and jump on them when registration officially opens  later this year.