MCAD Tech News (#316)

22 Sep, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

First Look Review: SolidWorks Premium 2012

Latest release adds cost analysis, motion optimization, and faster handling of very large assemblies.

By Bill Fane

Highly Recommended

In the current economy, a picture is only worth about 200 words. If you want the full 1,000 words, you must do a lot more than just present a pretty picture.

Manufacturing companies can no longer survive if designers only produce engineering drawings of their ideas; now they also must conduct detailed analyses to ensure they are producing an optimal, manufacturable design.

Today's engineering software market offers full-featured 3D design and analysis packages that allow designers to analyze factors such as stress, flow, mold design, and environmental impact and almost instantly see results of changes to the model.

SolidWorks, a 3D design solution from Dassault Systemès SolidWorks, is one such comprehensive package, and SolidWorks 2012, announced in early September, adds even more features that give manufacturing companies insight into the overall viability of a product design. For this review, I looked at the Premium edition.

What's New for 2012

One of the most important new analysis tools in SolidWorks 2012 is Costing. With it, you can analyze sheet-metal or machined parts to estimate their manufacturing cost. You can experiment with different materials, different processes (for example, water jet vs. laser cutting), and different part configurations. Read more »

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Bill Fane is a Cadalyst contributing editor, a registered professional engineer, and a close personal friend of Captain LearnCurve.


IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Document Assemblies with Level of Detail

Suppress components and create views in Autodesk Inventor.

By Kevin Keene

Level of Detail (LOD) can be used for more than just large assembly management. Here, I'll explain how you can use an LOD to document your assembly.

Like most people, you've probably created an assembly that needed to be documented. And like most, you've probably run into the scenario where the full assembly has too much information for one drawing view, so you needed the ability to display only a portion of that assembly in your drawing.

There are several ways to go about this, and as I've made my way around to different companies, I've come across a variety of methods. One tool that I haven't seen used as much as it could be is LOD representations. LODs have often been used or talked about in the context of large assembly management, but they can be used in smaller assemblies as well. You can use them to both reduce the resource footprint of an assembly by suppressing components, and to create views that will be used in your documentation. Read more »

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Kevin Keene is a senior applications expert for IMAGINiT Technologies.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Essentials for New-Age Design and Manufacturing Leaders: DFM & DFA
September 22, 2011
11:30 a.m. ET
Design for manufacturing (DFM) and design for assembly (DFA) methodologies address multiple problems related to cost, quality, productivity, collaboration and knowledge. This Geometric webinar will explain the concepts of DFM/A and how to implement it within your organization. Read more »

Moldex3D Technology Summit and Users' Conference
October 2–4, 2011
Novi, Michigan
This event will feature content from customer presentations, industry professionals, and three key developers/founders of Moldex3D. Moldex3D will also use the conference to announce the release of Moldex3D R11. Read more »

PLM Road Map 2011
October 4–5, 2011
Plymouth, Michigan
At PLM Road Map 2011, attendees can find out what issues are confronting end users in design and engineering. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What’s New at


GIS Guides Cleanup and Construction in Tornado Aftermath
In Joplin, Missouri, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers creates maps to help field personnel remove debris and locate safe shelter sites. Read more »

Cadalyst Labs Report: How to Configure a Workstation for CAD
Performance, longevity, value: Your next system can have it all if you know how to shop. We're here to help. Read more »

ArchiCAD Insights Tutorial: IFC Made Easy
An IFC file is the best solution for transferring BIM models — but what is it? And how can you export to the IFC format from ArchiCAD? Read more »

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Learning 3D Is No Cakewalk — and I Can Prove It
It's easy to speculate about how long it will take users to transition from 2D to 3D, but how can you be sure? Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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