Getting a Glimpse of SolidWorks 2017

17 Feb, 2016 By: Cyrena Respini-Irwin

At SolidWorks World, attendees are treated to a teaser of forthcoming features and capabilities.

February is a month known for its declarations of adoration and longing. This year, those sentiments were expressed not only on Valentine’s Day, but also at SolidWorks World — an annual event that attracts the most devoted users of the 3D product design solution for training, networking, and previews of future software releases.

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks prides itself on soliciting feedback and incorporating user-requested changes in its software. Since 2001, the company has implemented more than 75% of the most-requested enhancements, said Director of Product Definition Bruce Holway.

This year, the countdown of top enhancement requests included:

10. Revert to eDrawings 2013 engine and interface for desktops
9. Automatic fastener bill of materials (BOM) for large assemblies
8. Ability to use end points of sketch lines for Hole Wizard holes
7. Automate the explode lines creation
6. Enhance fillet, chamfer, and other functions for multibody parts
5. Bounding box values for any parts and assemblies
4. Move assembly sketch to component 
3. Use Alt to temporarily hide pointed face (face under cursor) during mating
2. Ability to export BOM tables with thumbnail images of components
1. Create a Classic Mode graphic user interface (GUI) option in SolidWorks 2016 that emulates SolidWorks 2015.

These were the most popular of the more than 500 ideas submitted by SolidWorks users this year. Although not all these requests will be addressed in a future release, enhancements are already under way. Regarding the GUI emulation voted to the number one spot, Holway explained that some users miss the more brightly colored icons of SolidWorks 2015. In SolidWorks 2016 service pack (SP) 3, users will have the option to revert to those icon colors “for all the commonly used modeling features,” Holway said.

SolidWorks 2017: A New Hope

The SolidWorks team delights in using elaborate costumes — and lots of puns — when previewing the next release of the software. This year, Princess Layout and Luke Sketchdrawer braved great dangers to free designers from the restrictive power of Dark Screensaver and Imperial Design Tools.

Although the previewed tools and enhancements are not guaranteed to appear in SolidWorks 2017, users can expect to see at least the majority of the following features when the new release appears this fall:

  • Create a circular pattern in both directions at the same time, as shown below, or create a mirrored pattern​

  • Chamfer tool enhanced to include many of the advanced option found in fillet: create multiple chamfers in a single operation
  • Create variable chamfers in one operation instead of multiple steps
  • Switch any preexisting chamfer to a fillet, and vice versa
  • As seen in the lightsaber handle below, the section geometry of any component or body can be made transparent to provide a clear view of any geometry hidden behind a section plane

  • The Thread feature, introduced in SolidWorks 2016, now enables users to define and control the lead-in and lead-out of their threads
  • When importing an assembly into Treehouse, all drawings are imported as well; components with associated drawings are tagged for easy identification
  • Treehouse structure print option added
  • Closed sketch contours now displayed as shaded areas, can be dragged to desired locations
  • Graduated shading highlights nested contours
  • Advanced Hole Wizard now enables the creation of multistepped holes in a single operation
  • Direct access to standards to define hole type and size
  • When adding a mate, components are aligned close to each other
  • New Misaligned Mate option allows users to mate together two sets of concentric faces of differing precision
  • When saving an assembly as a part, all references are now preserved
  • Latest Version Overwrite feature in Solidworks PDM enables users to avoid creating another version of the drawing when making a minor change
  • Preserve locked table and column widths when inserting a BOM table template into a drawing
  • Directly reference any table cell within a note
  • Sheet properties can be altered for all desired sheets at the same time

  • Emphasize the outline of section views
  • Add jagged outlines for crop views and detail views

  • Mirror a view vertically as well as horizontally
  • Basic dimensions of size functionality in DimXpert
  • DimXpert supports selection of edges as well as surfaces
  • 3D views can be reordered in SolidWorks MBD
  • Determine which annotation elements have changed between two versions of PMI data with the 3D PMI Compare tool

  • Hide all reference item types from view with one button
  • Offset a 3D curve on a surface
  • Wrap sketches onto any surface, and onto multiple surfaces
  • Magnetic mates automatically snap together
  • Magnetic mate asset publisher enables users to set up magnetic mates quickly
  • eDrawings opens many more formats, including Inventor, Catia, Creo, IGES, and STEP files
  • Directly open and use many CAD formats without translating first
  • Maintain features and mates when reimporting files.

Return of the Design Jedi

If you didn’t attend SolidWorks World this year, you can still register to watch some of the recorded sessions. And if you’re already planning for next year’s event, it will be held February 5–8 in Los Angeles, California.

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