SolidWorks 2016 Goes Online

15 Oct, 2015 By: Cyrena Respini-Irwin

An updated user interface promises greater efficiency, and SolidWorks takes its first steps into the browser.


Taking “photos” of 3D designs. Dassault Systèmes purchased Realtime Technology (RTT) and its subsidiary Bunkspeed close to two years ago, and now Bunkspeed visualization software has been reborn as SolidWorks Visualize. The new standalone product is available in Standard and Professional versions. 

Bunkspeed Shot has become Visualize Standard, and will be included with SolidWorks Pro and Premium on active subscription. Visualize Professional supplements the functionality of the Standard version with animations, camera filters, and other features.

Visualize simulates real-world lighting and advanced multilayer materials, creating images that are “indistinguishable from photos,” according to the company.

“You feel like you can touch [the objects in Visualize-rendered images] … you can render things that are emotional, visually stunning, and customers want it,” said Boyalakuntla. “We believe SolidWorks Visualize is the ‘camera’ for SolidWorks.”

MBD improvements. SolidWorks Model-Based Definition (MBD), the “drawingless” manufacturing solution introduced last year, has undergone enhancements intended to help users quickly define, organize, and publish manufacturing specifications, including dimensions and tolerances, directly in 3D. Global Product Manager Oboe Wu explained that the 2016 version of MBD seeks to ease the transition from 2D drawings. “It’s an industry shift, a paradigm shift,” Wu said.

With improved 3D PDF publishing functionality in MBD, users can include projected views, independent viewports, and multiple bills of materials. “3D PDF is like 2D drawings on drugs,” Wu joked, noting that it “adds another dimension of clarity and functions” that 2D drawings cannot provide.

The rest of the list. The complete catalog of new features is available here, but some of the top enhancements are: 

  • Sweep command creates complex swept shapes more quickly, and automatically create swept circular profiles in sections. The sweep can follow a spiral, and can sweep in multiple directions at once.
  • Thread wizard (below) enables users to choose a standard type of thread or create a custom thread with the same command.

  • Expanded flattening capability enables users to flatten even extremely complex geometry for manufacturing. Users can add relief cuts from reference curves to lessen stretch and compression in labels, appliques, and stickers.
  • With the Mate Controller, users can set positions, then animate assembly motion between those positions. “How can we make this so much easier?” asked Schneider. The answer: “Make it like a game controller!”
  • The Profile Center Mate function introduced in 2015 is now part of the Quick Mates toolbar. Users can rotate mates using arrow buttons, and use Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to copy and paste multiple components and their mates simultaneously.

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