SolidWorks 2007 Takes the Stage (Solid Thinking SolidWorks Tutorial)

6 Aug, 2006 By: Richard Doyle

What's new in the latest release of SolidWorks?

The next few months are going to be very exciting for SolidWorks users -- SolidWorks 2007, with more than 200 customer driven enhancements, has been released. SolidWorks 2007 includes new technologies that allow designers and engineers to focus on design, not CAD. Among the new functionality you'll hear a lot about SWIFT (SolidWorks Intelligent Feature Technology), new advanced surfacing tools and advanced mechanism design. You'll have plenty of opportunity to see these new features and functionality in the coming weeks. This article however, takes a look at some of the new features and functionality that won't get as much attention.

New Tools

  • One of the first changes users will notice is with numeric input dialog boxes. Horizontal sliders and thumbwheels have been added, making the adjustment of linear or angular units a snap. The new sliders and thumbwheels offer better control when adjusting values, and when you release the slider, the value is automatically highlighted for further input without an extra mouse click.

The numeric input dialog boxes are updated with horizontal sliders and thumbwheels giving better control when adjusting values.

  • A new tool found under Tools / Dimensions, this feature will add all you need to fully define a sketch. The Property Manager lets you specify all or selected entities to define, and options for different relations and dimensioning schemes are also available. This new feature makes importing and defining 2D geometry in sketches very easy to accomplish.

The Property Manager adds all the tools you need to define a sketch.

  • Have you ever moved sketch geometry and wonder where it was before you moved it? A new feature in SolidWorks 2007 sketch mode leaves a trail behind to show you where your sketch geometry was before you started moving it.

The Sketch mode now leaves a trail showing you where your sketch was before you moved it.

  • One of the niftiest new features is the Isolate command. Isolate lets you set all the components except the selected ones to either hidden, wireframe or transparent. You can also save the display characteristics to a display state before exiting the Isolate command. If you choose to simply exit the Isolate command, the display of components returns to the original state.

The Isolate command lets you set all the components except any you have selected - those are isolated.

  • You can now pin the View Mates dialog box and keep it visible while working with or diagnosing mates. When you select multiple components, the common mates are sorted to the top of the Property Manager tree. Callouts appear in the graphics area to help you visualize mate systems. Each mate gets one callout, and leaders point to the common mated entities. You can perform several different mate functions using the callouts, including flipping the alignment or suppressing the mates. Error and warning icons are also displayed.

The View Mates dialog box helps you visualize systems.

  • The Weldment feature has been around for a while, but had a limitation that is now solved. While creating a relative drawing view, it's now possible to select reference planes to specify view orientation. This is helpful when you create drawing views of cylindrical structural members.
  • SolidWorks 2007 adds the ability to drag a leader from radial, diameter, fillet or chamfer dimensions to create multiple leaders. Multiple leaders are allowed on entities that are the same size as the original dimension (hole callouts too!).

You can now create multiple leaders by dragging a leader.

  • There are many table enhancements. The hole table gets the most attention, and now allows tolerance and decimal precision settings for sizes of individual holes. You can also set specific tolerances for X and Y hole locations.
  • There are also new options for revision tables when you have multiple sheets in a drawing. You can set the revision table on the second (and subsequent) sheets to be labeled "See sheet 1" (same as SolidWorks 2006), or set the table to be linked to all sheets causing revisions to appear on every sheet the same as sheet one. Revision tables can also be set so that each table on a sheet can be independent from the other sheets. If you use a standard that requires different revision levels for each drawing sheet, this option now lets you do so.
  • Text alignment has been greatly simplified. Text is now aligned based solely on inference lines. When you align two lines of text, an inference line extends from one line to the other making it easy to justify to any position.

SWIFT Saves Time
SWIFT, which includes DimXpert, MateXpert and FeatureXpert, will greatly reduce CAD overhead allowing users to concentrate more on design. Advanced surfacing tools such as Freeform provide better control of surfaces and allow more complex designs. SolidWorks 2007 adds rack and pinion mates and belt and chain assembly features to make your assemblies come alive. You'll hear all about these new technologies in the coming weeks, but don't forget the little gems mentioned here.

About the Author: Richard Doyle

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