What’s New in SolidWorks 2017: Chapter 2 – User Interface

The leaves are turning, the air is chilling, and the smell of sweet, sweet CAD is in the air. Welcome to SolidWorks 2017! Take a look below for some of the best new features from the User Interface chapter of the 25th major SolidWorks release. You can learn more at the SolidWorks 2017 launch page: https://www.solidworks.com/launch

I’ll be back every few weeks with more of my favorite new features, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Try SolidWorks 2017 for yourself by logging to your free my.SolidWorks account and requesting a free, cloud-based Product Trial.

 


Honorable Mentions

Enhancements to Dynamic Reference Visualization

The parent/child relationship arrows displayed for Dynamic Reference Visualization have been redesigned to avoid obscuring other important information. What other subtle UI changes can you see in the example comparison image below?


Dedicated Hide All Types Button

The Hide/Show Items flyout in the HUD has been updated to include a dedicated, one-click Hide All Types command. Click the eye symbol (rather than the dropdown arrow) to toggle Hide All Types.

Enhancements to Breadcrumb Mate Information

When hovering over an assembly component, SolidWorks breadcrumbs will now display information about mates with errors, as well as information on the suppression state of mates.



Breadcrumbs also now include access to origins and reference planes of any part or subassembly selected.



Winner

FeatureManager Design Tree Comment Enhancements

The ability to add comments to certain areas of the design tree has been around for a while, but this functionality was so limited and – more importantly – so hidden, that it was nearly useless. While it was easy enough to add comments to part features, other users had no indication that the comment existed without checking each feature manually. Additionally, names and timestamps had to be added manually to each comment.

Comments can be used to explain design intent, guide users through training, or record specific design changes over the life of a product. It’s easy to see, then, why users have been clamoring for this much needed overhaul for years.

In SolidWorks 2017, comments can be added to not only part features, but every FeatureManager item, including mates, folders, materials, blocks, configs, and more. You can also add standalone comments, which are not attached to any one specific item (these comments appear in the Comments folder).

Most importantly, you can turn on Comment Indicators, which highlight any FeatureManager items which have comments. Additionally, usernames and timestamps are automatically added to new comments, and you can even attach images and generate screenshots of your model within the comment.

Better still, you can view ALL the comments that exist within a part, and export them to a single document.

Tune in next week when we discuss improvements to the licensing system.


Chapter 4: Installation »


Capture Some Enhancements! What’s Coming in SolidWorks 2016

On the final day of each SolidWorks World, the Portfolio Marketing team unveils a sneak peek of several new features which will (hopefully) be included in the next major release of SolidWorks. However, instead of a dry technical presentation, the team never fails to put on a show that’s funny, engaging, and only mildly humiliating. This year, David Pattern Borer presents… Designers in our Midst.

Continue reading

Bam! Zok! Poit! Get Hit With What’s Coming in SolidWorks 2015

From the desk of CAD Manager Gordon:

Help us Cadman and Rib-in! The evil Marker is terrorizing CAD City! Only the power of SolidWorks 2015 can stop him!

DSC_0349

DSC_0351

You’ll have to perfect your equipment…

DSC_0350

…Find his lair…

DSC_0353

…Defeat his henchmen…

DSC_0409

DSC_0410

DSC_0408

DSC_0407

…And unmask the villain himself!

DSC_0414

DSC_0440

Egads! An exploding BOM!

:Cue Twirly Batmusic:

DSC_0406

DSC_0356

Na-na-na-na

DSC_0363

Na-na-na-na

DSC_0365

Na-na-na-na

DSC_0364

Na-na-na-na

DSC_0361

Na-na-na-na

DSC_0360

Na-na-na-na

CADMAN!

CADMAN!

 

Continue reading

SolidWorks 2014 What’s New – Chapter 10: Drawings and Detailing

Hi All, sorry for the delay. I hope you’re all having a wonderful Holiday season – I know I am. This year, SolidWorks’ biggest gift to its community may be the enhancements made to drawings. There are dozens of great new enhancements this year, so if you want to learn about them all, check out the SolidWorks 2014 What’s New Document or the video below.


Honorable Mentions

Reattachable Balloons

If you’ve ever accidentally attached a stacked balloon to the wrong component, you know the only remedy was to recreate the entire stack. Not so anymore. Now you can simply right-click on the offending balloon, and select reattach. Now click any other component in that drawing view, and the balloon updates to reference it!

12-16-2013 11-25-26 AM

Soft  Snaps for Angular Dimensions

This always used to bug me. When an angular dimension is placed next to a linear one, it would look weird if they weren’t aligned perfectly, but there was no way to do this. In 2014, however, the angular dimension snaps perfectly to the end of the linear dimension, forming a continuous line.

lego112-16-2013 11-29-45 AM

Section Views of Surface Bodies

Previously, surfaces bodies could not be sectioned in drawings, and the surface bodies of mixed-body models did not appear at all. This limitation has been fixed in SolidWorks 2014.

SolidWorks 2013

SolidWorks 2013

SolidWorks 2014

SolidWorks 2014

Force Notes Into UPPERCASE (With Exclusions)

This enhancement is a very close runner up, based simply on the amount of time I’ll save because of it. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve had to retype an entire note block because I forgot to turn on Caps Lock. Or, even worse, I’ve had to go through a convoluted EPDM workflow to change a custom property to uppercase.

In 2014, that’s a thing of the past. Now I can select any note block – even those on the sheet format layer – and check a box in the PropertyManager to force all the text to uppercase. Even custom properties from referenced documents are affected. 

  • 12-16-2013 11-47-27 AM

What’s more, SolidWorks added a global override so all new notes are uppercase, no matter what. You can, however, add exceptions to this rule. The most common exclusions – units of measure – are pre-populated by SolidWorks. You can find this override, and the exclusion list, under Document Properties >> Drafting Standard.

12-16-2013 11-50-22 AM

Angular Running Dimensions

Angular running dimensions are a natural extension of Ordinate Dimensions. You start by defining a zero-degree dimension, and measure any number of angles from that dimension. The dimensions can run on one direction, up to 360 degrees, or bidirectionally, up to 180 each.  12-16-2013 12-02-13 PM

You’ll find most of the options available for Angular Running Dimensions (chain, jog, text position, etc.) to be similar to those of Ordinate Dimensions. Find angular running dimensions under the Smart Dimension command.

12-16-2013 11-59-25 AM

Find Virtual Sharps

This enhancement can be very useful for dimensioning a variety of irregular shapes, finding overall sizes, and determining volume envelopes. To dimension to a virtual sharp, start by selecting a dimension tool. Then, right-click the edge or line you’re interested, and select Find Intersection. Click the intersecting entity, and the dimension is automatically snapped to the virtual sharp. Finish placing your dimension as normal, and you’re done.

12-16-2013 12-10-38 PM

12-16-2013 12-11-20 PM

Fixed Shaded With Edges Bleed-Through Issue

By setting the quality of a Shaded With Edges drawing view to High Quality, thin-walled parts no longer show ghosted edges from the back side.

Center Marks and Callouts for Hole Wizard Slots

Continuing the pattern of slot enhancements, any slot created with the new Hole Wizard functionality can now have center marks and callouts automatically applied to them when inserted into a drawing. The same functionality is already available for holes.

Second Sheet Format

The Drawing Sheets document property lets you specify a default sheet format for when you add new sheets to drawing documents. This property lets you automatically have one sheet format for the first sheet and a separate sheet format for all additional sheets.
To specify a different sheet format for a new sheet, click Tools > Options > Document Properties > Drawing Sheets, select Use different sheet format, and browse to select a sheet format file (file ending in .slddrt).

12-16-2013 12-55-28 PM

Improved Symbol Library

The Symbol Library selection window has been completely redone, and is ow easier to use. When inserting a symbol, the drop-down shows the last category of symbols used. To access additional symbols, click the More Symbols button to access the full library.

12-16-2013 12-46-24 PM

12-16-2013 12-44-45 PM

Winner

Replace Model View

The Replace Model View command allows users to quickly change the file referenced in their drawing. This is most useful when creating drawings of nearly identical parts or assemblies. For example, let’s say you’ve just completed a drawing of a complex sheet metal part. But uh-oh! You were supposed to be working on the sheet metal assembly that included PEM nuts and hardware! Now, instead of doing the whole drawing over again, you can just replace the model view. And, because the assembly contains the part that you’ve already worked so hard dimensioning, all those dimensions, annotations, GD&T symbols, etc. aren’t lost.

12-16-2013 12-36-26 PM

You can even replace a part with a part or an assembly with an assembly. However, if the replacement file is completely different, the dimensions will dangle, and must be reattached.


Check out this video from DS SolidWorks about all the new drawing functionality in 2014:

Accessibility Enhancements: @JeffMirisola Wins victory for the colorblind

An accessibility change which has been championed for years by SolidWorks blogger and Man-stuck-on-the-wrong-coast, Jeff Mirisola, has finally arrived in SolidWorks 2014. From the What’s New document:

“An updated color scheme for certain icons makes the SolidWorks application more accessible to people with color blindness.
Icons in the active PropertyManager use blue to indicate what you must select on the screen; faces, edges, and so on. Adding blue to the icons provides a sharp contrast in colors so that people with color blindness can distinguish one icon from another.
Along with style updates to the main elements of the SolidWorks user interface, there is a new, more readable font.”
6-25-2013 10-59-03 AM

Congrats, Jeff. You finally did it. Now get back to work.

SolidWorks 2014 Beta 1 Now Available!

Image

SolidWorks today announced the release of their latest Beta version, SolidWorks 2014 Beta 1.

The new software can be downloaded through www.solidworks.com/beta or the Customer Portal. As in years past, issues can be logged through the Beta site, under the support tab, or through the Beta section of the Customer Portal, under My SRs. The quality of this product is in the hands of the beta testers, so please take the time to submit any issues you find to the Technical Support team, and you may find yourself on the leaderboard, walking away with some of the great prizes awarded to the most active beta testers.

6-25-2013 10-30-32 AM

6-25-2013 10-26-06 AM

I’m installing the Beta at this very moment, and although I’ve already had an incompatibility issue with SolidWorks Electrical – which now seems to share an installer with core SolidWorks – the installation itself seems to use the same smooth functional workflow as the past few years. When the installation is complete I’ll be able to add more commentary.

More more information on what to expect in the new version of SolidWorks, check out my previous articles, and the SolidWorks 2014 What’s New Document, available on the Beta forums or as part of the Beta download package..

Happy Beta-ing!

What’s New in SolidWorks 2013 – Chapter 4: Administration

Chapter 4: Administration

Enhancements for the bosses.

Honorable Mentions:

Save and Restore User Settings

Sort of like the Copy Settings Wizard, but friendlier.

Winner

SolidWorks CAD Admin Dashboard

9-22-2012_3-08-14_pm

This new tool allows your friendly neighborhood CAD Admin to keep an eye on his kingdom.  The dashboard lets the admin view all the system options for every seat of SolidWorks on the network, and shows if any user’s options differ from the company standards.  The dashboard also collects information about machines on the network, and suggests actions that may improve performance, such as updating drivers, adding more memory, or increasing storage.  

The dashboard can also keep records of every session of SolidWorks launched within your company, and track crashes and terminations that may help detect serious probelms early. 

9-22-2012_3-30-59_pm9-22-2012_3-31-22_pm9-22-2012_3-31-10_pm

The CAD Admin Dashboard can even be used to monitor Virtual Machines on the network.

9-22-2012_3-23-17_pm

The best part is, since this tool is available through the Customer Portal, it’s available from practically anywhere.

9-22-2012_3-24-42_pm

What’s New in SolidWorks 2013 – Chapter 3: SolidWorks Fundamentals

Chapter 3: SolidWorks Fundamentals

A grab-bag of new SolidWorks functionality, from equations to measuring to sounds.

Honorable Mentions:

  • API enhancements, including the addition of APIs to SolidWorks Costing and Sustainability
  • New tutorials and a redesigned tutorial window UI
  • Rotate about scene floor (great for rendering)
  • Searching SolidWorks Options
    • There’s a search box in the top-right of the Options window. Thanks for using my idea!
0image
  • Point-to-point measurements.
  • Quick-Filter Buttons
    • Choose whether to view only parts, drawings, or assemblies – or any combination of the three – in the Open dialog. Also filter only top-level assemblies.
  • Event-Based Alert Sounds
    • SolidWorks can now play an alert sound when certain events occur, such as FEA mesh completion or failure, render or animation completion, or successful file opening. Generally, these are things that may take a long time, and an alert will let you know when you should pause that YouTube video and get back to work.
  • SolidWorks FastStart
    • SolidWorks begins loading components in the background as soon as you start your computer, even before you launch SolidWorks.  I’ll have to use this for a while before I can form an opinion, but assuming it doesn’t kill the performance of your computer, this could be the answer to extreme opening times.

Winners

  • Direct Input of Equations into most PropertyManager fields

In SolidWorks 2012, the equation system was overhauled, but direct equations were only available in sketches. SolidWorks has closed the circle and added direct equation input into most PropertyManager fields, such as extrusion depth, draft angle, and offset distance. Users can also toggle between the equation and the output value in FeatureManager fields.

  • Orientation Dialog Box and View Selector
Image
     The Orientation dialog box (activated by pressing spacebar) is now much more robust that its predecessor. In addition to displaying the standard views in a more understandable way, it also allows users to save custom views globally, so they can be used in any SolidWorks model.  This is great if you need to render multiple parts in exactly the same orientation.  Users can also more easily update the standard views by simply right-clicking in the graphics area and clicking “Set Current View As…” and selecting a standard view.
     The most noticeable addition, however, is the View Selector. Whenever you press Space, the model will rotate to an isometric view, and display a view box around the model. This box has 22 selectable faces, including Standard (Top, Front, Right, etc), Diagonal, and Isometric from all sides. The View Selector can be activated without the Orientation Dialog Box by pressing CTRL+Space.

What’s New in SolidWorks 2013 – Chapter 2: User Interface

SolidWorks 2013 was officially launched today, after an exciting reveal at SolidWorks World 2012, and a jam-packed day of in-depth exploration at Media Day at Dassault HQ in Waltham. This version of SolidWorks has more enhancements to more aspects of the program than any other release in recent memory.  Every product – from Core SolidWorks to DraftSight to ePDM – has new features, enhancements, and options. There are also three brand-new products that have been released in the past year: SolidWorks Plastics, SolidWorks Electrical, and eDrawings for iPad.

Each week I’ll be posting on my favorite new features from each chapter of the SolidWorks 2013 What’s New documentation.  I’ll choose a few of these features to test and explore in-depth, and share my thoughts and experiences with you.

Chapter 2: User Interface

 Chapter 1 of the What’s New is only an introduction, so we’ll jump right into the new features in chapter 2. This chapter is limited to small but useful changes in the way you access information in SolidWorks 2013.

Honorable Mentions:

 

·         Improvements to customization of shortcut (“S-key”) bars. 

·         SolidWorks Tools (such as SolidWorks Rx and Benchmark Testing) are now available from within SolidWorks

Image001

·         The ability to toggle between a nested and flat FeatureManager tree.

·         Subfolders in the FeatureManager tree.

Image002

Winner:

 

Favorites folder in FeatureManager Tree

 

Image003

“Add commonly used features, sketches, and reference geometry to the Favorites folder in the FeatureManager design tree”

This will be very useful for anyone working with complex model and huge design trees, especially in a collaborative environment. If you need your partner to edit sketch 548, just add it to the favorites folder, so he doesn’t have to search through the whole tree. 

It’s also helpful for models that use master sketches or blueprints, so you can edit the overall shape, without scrolling up from the feature you’re working on at the very bottom.