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!

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The SolidWorkOut! A bike that powers your workstation! Get work done even when you’re biking home!

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And the DesignBelt! Keep your laptop strapped to your body wherever you go! Doubles as a handy workbench!

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During all that cheesy product pushing, we got a look at some great SolidWorks enhancements.

Section 1: Drawing Enhancements

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 Replace View Model

This feature allows users to replace drawing views quickly and easily inside the drawing. You used to have perform a complex save as & replace references manually, but now it’s easy, and all dimensions should be preserved.

 Existing View Icons

It’s now easy to determine if a certain view already exists in your drawing. An icon will be displayed in the View palette if the view has already been inserted.

Display Style Context Menu

This in-context dropdown menu makes it easy to change the display style (shaded, HLR, etc.) of a particular view.

 High Quality Shaded Views

This is the answer to the edge “bleed-though” problem in many drawings when using shaded with edges mode for parts with this surfaces.

Angular Running Dimensions

This dimension type is similar to Ordinate dimensions, except with angles. It’s great for specifying positions of features on circular or turned parts.

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 Split Table by Row Count

 In SolidWorks 2014, you will be able to split a Bill of Materials – or any table – by row count.  When you add components to an assembly, the setting is retained and the BOM will continue to split based on the number of rows you set.

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 Section 2: Display, Photorealism, and Rendering Enhancements

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 Order Independent Transparency

A new method of applying transparency to models that ignores overlapping/interfering faces. I don’t understand it fully, but the results shown on-screen during the demo were a major improvement.

 Sunlight and Sunlight Animations

A very cool little feature that allows designers to use accurate sunlight – based on location, date, and time – as the illumination source for their models. In animations, you can also illustrate changes in sunlight throughout a given time span. Very useful for designing outdoor installations.

Network Rendering Animations

Similar to last year’s introduction of network rending for still images, you can now do the same for PV360 animations.

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 Section 3: CircuitWorks Enhancements

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 CircuitWorks Thermal Properties

Users can import (or manually enter) thermal properties for components used in electronics design. Properties can include specific heat, thermal conductivity, and more.

 

Link to SolidWorks Flow Simulation

Some or all of the aforementioned thermal properties can be linked directly from CircuitWorks to SolidWorks Flow Simulation, and used in thermal studies, eliminating the need to input the data twice.

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 Section 4: Sketch Enhancements

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 Slots in Hole Wizard

Several kinds of standard slots, including counterbored and countersunk, can be created using the Hole Wizard in 2014. Even if you’re already using a hole with hardware, and want to change to a slot, the mates will not be broken.

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 Path Length Dimension

Any closed loop of sketch entities can be forced to maintain a specific length. That dimension can also be used in equations to pattern and size repeated components, such as a bicycle chain.

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 Fixed Length Spline

Similar to the path length dimension, the Fixed Length Spline dimension adds another level of control to notoriously slippery splines, forcing them to maintain a set overall length, even while dragging control points and handles.

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 Style Spline

This new type of spline is built on a brand-new mathematical model, and is controlled with different geometry. The result is smoother curvature and easier control.

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Replace Sketch Entities

Replace existing sketch entities with new ones, and update all references along with it. Sounds like a huge time saver to me, as long as it doesn’t take longer to replace the entities than to delete them.

 Section 5: Electrical Enhancements

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 SolidWorks Electrical Harness

Being an electrical luddite, I’ll just feel my way through this one. Seems that you can create harness geometry based on existing cabling and connectors. I’m sure that’s a big selling point for SolidWorks Electrical!

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 Reuse Existing Harness

Assuming you’re using the same cables and connectors, you can reuse an existing harness design, even if it’s routed in a different shape.

 

Clips in Flattened Representation

Include clips and connection points in flattened harness drawing views.

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Section 6: Simulation Enhancements

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 Bolt Mapping

In 2014, users won’t have to go through the tedious process of defining virtual fasteners in simulation studies. SolidWorks will detect existing fasteners, and apply the correct connection automatically.

 Results Symmetry

When using the Symmetry constraint in a Simulation study, the results mirror themselves automatically to display simulation results for the whole model.

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Residual Stress from SolidWorks Plastics

The SolidWorks Plastics application can calculate the stress of the injection molding process, including shrinkage and warping. Those stress results can now be imported into a full SolidWorks Simulation study.

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Section 7: User Interface Enhancements

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Environment Themes

This is a new feature that may have grown out of one of my enhancement requests. I wanted a different set of mouse gestures for each type of work I was doing (i.e. surfacing, weldments, core modeling, etc.). SolidWorks took it several steps further and will allow the entire UI to be customized for each type of work. So, instead of keeping every tool you’ll ever need…

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…you can use this tab to show only the tools you need for your current project.

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 History Folder

A folder in the FeatureManager tree near the favorites folder that displays the last five features created or edited

Flexible Assembly Context Menu

Buttons have been added to the assembly popup menus that let you switch from rigid to flexible subassemblies and back.

Streamlined Save As Copy

In 2014, it will be easier to save components as copies, and you also have the option to leave open the copied parts. Relationships and assembly references are also cleaned up a little.

 Section 7: eDrawings Mobile Enhancements

Augmented Reality for eDrawings Mobile Apps!

This functionality has been widely anticipated since its first demo in September of 2012 (see video below), and it seems to finally be ready for the spotlight. Augmented reality is a complex technology, but it essentially involves inserting computer-generated graphics into real-time video in a way such that the graphics seem to interact with the real world.

In the demo at SolidWorks World 2013, Jeremy wore a marker around his neck that was recognized by eDrawings through the iPad’s camera. eDrawings then projected the DesignBelt model onto the marker, making it seem like Jeremy was  actually wearing it.

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The full app – scheduled to be released within the next two weeks – will include even more robust features, such as live sectioning and ground plan detection. Keep an eye out soon!

Section 8: Sheet Metal Enhancements

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Sheet Metal Corner Gussets

Add corner gussets to sheet metal, which are automatically ignored during flattening, so the part can be flattened correctly.

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Lofted Bend Transitions

Create lofted bends in sheet metal by specifying options such as number of bends, bend angle, and more.

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Section 9: Assembly Enhancements

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Smart Mate Delay

Instead of snapping to mating features immediately, this customizable smart mate delay pauses briefly before mating. This reduces the occurrence of undesired orientation when you get to the feature you’re trying to mate to.

Feature Driven Component Pattern

Improvements to the Feature Driven Component Pattern in assemblies, including the ability to pattern one set of components after an existing component pattern.

Rotation in Exploded Views

After being tossed around last year, this feature finally made its way into SolidWorks 2014. The ability to rotate parts in an exploded view will make for much more accurate assembly/disassembly videos. Imagine being able to turn screws or flip open panels in an explosion animation.

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Quick Mate Context Menu

After selecting 2 or more components, this smart menu will appear, listing all the mates possible based on your selections. In the image below, selecting two flat faces brings up coincident, parallel, and more in the context menu.

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That was it for demonstrations of new SolidWorks 2014 features. The amount of new features seems a little light, and the enhancements a bit incremental compared to previous years, but I’ve been told by numerous heavy users that we can expect quite a few more surprises when Beta testing rolls around this summer.

Note: Since there’s so much information coming at us rapid-fire during the What’s New presentation, some of the facts and images from this article came from Ricky Jordan’s Blog and Michael Lord’s Blog.
i GET IT

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