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What’s New in SolidWorks 2015: Chapter 3 – SolidWorks Fundamentals


Welcome to week 2, which of course means chapter 3. This week we learn that SolidWorks 2015 is the year of progress! They’re leaving 2D emulator and 32-bit operating systems behind, and rushing headlong into the future of usability!

Honorable Mentions

Add-in Load Times

The Add-Ins dialog box (Tools >> Add-Ins) now displays the amount of time it took to load add-ins the last time you started SolidWorks. You can use this information to determine whether to disable performance-draining add-ins at start-up.

Don’t worry, I don’t actually start SolidWorks with all this crap enabled.

Model Break Views

You can now add physical breaks parts and assemblies using the Model Break View
tool (Insert >> Model Break View). Model break views are helpful when you need to shorten long components or increase scale to view small details. There are several break options and styles, and since the break views are stored in the model as configurations, you can now simply activate that configuration to display a break view on a drawing. This allows for more realistic Break Views in isometric (and other non-orthogonal) views and even renderings.



Model Break Views are only available in SolidWorks Professional and Premium, and the new SolidWorks MBD, but not available on SolidWorks Standard.


Open Model in Position

When you open a component from an assembly or drawing, you can open the model in the same view position and orientation as seen in the assembly or drawing view. Simply select Open Part/Assembly in Position from the context toolbar in the FeatureManager or Graphics Area. This can reduce confusion when opening a symmetrical part out-of-context, and improve editing of exploded views.

Surface Curvature Combs

You can now view curvature combs for surfaces. Curvature combs illustrate the smoothness of a surface or seam, and have been available for sketched splines for a while.

You can display surface combs through the view menu (View >> Display >> Surface Curvature Combs) to see the curvature of the entire part, or you can activate them through the PropertyManager of surface features to focus on one feature at a time, as you create it.

The stand-alone Surface Curvature Combs command has two modes; in persistent mode, you select one or more faces (of a surface or solid body), and the software displays the curvature of that face, and how it interacts with its neighbors. The mesh of curvature combs persist when you close the PropertyManager – similar behavior to spline curvature combs.

In Dynamic Mode, you click points on the model to define intersections of UV curves. Hovering your mouse over a face displays the curvature values at that point. This method provides a less cluttered visualization of specific problem areas of a surface. However, these combs are removed when you close the PropertyManager

Finally, you can also display curvature combs while creating a surface, through the Fill, Sweep, Loft, and Boundary Surface PropertyManagers. Activating curvature combs in the PropertyManager displays the same information as the stand-alone command, but eliminates an evaluation step.


View Selector Preview

The View Selector was introduced in SolidWorks 2014, and some improvements have been made for this version. When you use the View Selector to modify a model’s orientation, it appears with the current model orientation, rather than changing the model orientation. This makes it easier to change to the desired view orientation, and is a less jarring transition.

SolidWorks 2014:

SolidWorks 2015:

In addition, you can see a preview by moving the pointer over a View Selector plane. As you move the pointer over different planes, the preview window updates. If a view is a standard view, the view name appears in the upper left corner of the preview window.



Using Intersection Zones in Section Views

It’s crazy to think that, up until now, it’s been impossible to create a quarter-section view using the Section tool. But that tool has been improved vastly over the last two releases, and you can now create partial section views in a model, resulting in a sectioned model like those shown below.

You can create these sections by defining Intersection Zones based on a selection of faces and planes. As you may have guessed, using Intersection Zones to create a section view works similarly to using the Intersect tool to modify bodies in a model. Any combination of planes and faces can be used to create an Intersection Zone, which the Section tool then uses to cut the model.

After starting a section view from the HUD, choose Zonal from the new Section Method box.

Next, move the section planes so they cut through the model in your desired locations. You’ll notice that the Reverse Direction toggles are grayed out. This is because the sectioned portions of the model are based on the intersection zones you choose later.

The available intersection zones are highlighted in the graphics area. Select one or more zones to use for the section view.

You can still include and exclude specific components from the section. This feature was introduced in SolidWorks 2014.

The finished section view. (Don’t forget to save!)

If you’ve chosen multiple intersection zones that would result in zero-thickness geometry, SolidWorks gives you the option to either enable Graphics-Only mode, or automatically resolves the geometry issues by shifting the section planes imperceptibly.


<< Chapter 2: User Interface | Chapter 4: Installation >>

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