By John Nolin, Senior Technical Representative at SolidXperts
Each year SOLIDWORKS is improved with over 200 functional enhancements, and while the “What’s New” document for each annual release is reasonably thorough, most working engineers do not have the spare time to read the 225 or more pages to find what benefits them most. Since 2015, I have produced a 5-7 page summary document that outlines the more interesting or important enhancements in a quick headline format that can be read during a couple of lunch hours.
For the 2017 release and later `Whats New Hit List’ documents I have even hyperlinked key words and phrases to the full SOLIDWORKS ‘Whats New’ documentation in the online help system.
Below are my personal choices for the Top Three enhancements in SOLIDWORKS 2015 through 2019 and my ‘What’s New Review’ presentation from the 2018 SolidWorks Largest User Group Meeting Ever!
2015 Top Three
- Selection Sets: creates a collection of faces, features, and other items and places it at the top of the feature tree for later reuse.
- Parent – Child Visualization: upon mouse over of items in the feature tree, arrows clearly show the child related features or sketches
- Variable Table-Driven Pattern: instances can have their dimensions changed by entries in a pattern table.
2016 Top Three
- Bread Crumbs: a left click in context popup bar with icons to directly access the mates, sketches, or feature definitions for a selected item
- Visualize: an additional standalone photo rendering application
- Fully Detailed Thread: a new feature wizard to make helix swept internal or external threads as needed for 3D printing or illustration
2017 Top Three
- 3D Interconnect: allow part or assemblies from other CAD systems to be inserted into a SOLIDWORKS assembly, while keeping them in the originating file format.
- Magnetic Mate: allows for a snap together, drag to separate quick mate for Speed Pack and other items
- Sweep Profile Enhancement: Sweep feature definition is enhanced to allow for faces or edge loops in place of sketch profiles for a sweep feature.
2018 Top Three
- Tab & Slot: connection feature for sheet metal, weldments, or multi-body parts
- Mesh Body: a new body type in addition to surface or solid body that also provides for opening of additional file formats
- On-Line license: allows for standalone serial number seats to have some of the benefits of network licensing via logging into MySolidworks.com
2019 Top Three
- 3D Texturizing: a tool that converts a 2D appearance texture into a full 3D mesh suitable for additive manufacture or illustration
- Structure System: a fast way to create large weldments while referencing edges, reference geometry and other items
- eDrawings – File Save As HTML 5: allows for saving eDrawings files into HTML 5 format that can be opened with any current web browser