MCAD Tech News (#332)

13 Sep, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

SolidWorks 2013 Hits the Street

Notable new features are many, including CAD Administrator Dashboard, costing, simplified simulation tools, and interoperability with version 2012.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

Dassault Systèmes today introduced SolidWorks 2013, the latest release of the software for 3D modeling, simulation, technical communication, product data management, and sustainable design.

At a prelaunch media event last week at company headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, company executives stated that the latest enhancements "respect our core technology and values," relating to four main themes: more powerful design, faster model creation, improved software performance, and enhanced collaboration.

SolidWorks developers say they have held true to the core technology with release 2013, as shown in this slide.
SolidWorks developers say they have held true to the core technology with release 2013, as shown in this slide.

User-Pleasing Features

In a press release, SolidWorks CEO Bertrand Sicot said, "With SolidWorks 2013, we've upheld our tradition of listening to our customers by providing enhancements and functionality to help them simplify their lives and create the best products." Indeed, the latest release includes more than 200 customer-requested enhancements. Speakers at the media event, including Sicot, stated repeatedly that the company prides itself on listening and responding to its users.

"We obsess over user requests," said Gian Paolo Bassi, vice-president of R&D. "Eliminating just one click in a process — imagine how that could help the world!"

Significant new features target drawing capabilities, submodel simulation, cost estimation, network rendering, and increased connectivity — bolstering an already mature product now in its 21st release. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is editor-in-chief of Cadalyst.

The Devil's No Longer in the Details

Circles and Lines Tutorial: New detail and section view tools in AutoCAD 2013 are easy to use and flexible enough to conform to your CAD standards.

By Lynn Allen

If you've ever drawn a detail or section view in AutoCAD from scratch — and I'm sure you have — then you know how tedious the process can be, what with all the cross-hatching, excess linework, and double dimensioning. When AutoCAD 2012's model documentation tools were unveiled, I lamented that easier detail and section view tools were still missing. Thankfully, the AutoCAD powers that be heard my plea and granted my wish: The new section and detail view tools in AutoCAD 2013 are simple to use, yet powerful and flexible enough to adhere to your company's CAD standards.

Begin with a 3D model; the detail and section views are automatically generated from that. If you're still stuck in a 2D world, now is the time to add that third dimension! (Convincing you to make the move to 3D is an article unto itself, so I'll just assume you're already convinced.) Once you have your 3D model, it's time to use the model documentation tools that were introduced in AutoCAD 2012. (For more information on that topic, check out my column, "2D Views Now Linked to 3D Models.")

Create your standard views (top, left, front, etc.) using the ViewBase command, or by selecting the Base tool from the Layout tab on the ribbon. (You will create your detail and section views from these existing views, hence this important prerequisite.) Read more »

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Lynn Allen, Autodesk Technical Evangelist, has written Cadalyst's "Circles and Lines" column for 16 years and is the voice behind Cadalyst's popular AutoCAD video tips.


eDrawings for iPad v1.1

First Look Review: Low-cost CAD app brings robust 2D drawing and 3D model viewing to the Apple tablet.

By R.K. McSwain

Dassault Systèmes eDrawings has been around for many years as an option for CAD users to share models with project team members who may not own or use a given CAD application. CAD users can access the free eDrawings Publisher add-on to convert SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, Pro/ENGINEER, CATIA V5, Unigraphics/NX, SketchUp, and other types of 2D drawings, 3D models, and 3D animations into eDrawings files that are viewable on any PC or Mac that has installed the free eDrawings Viewer.

Now, Dassault Systèmes has introduced a mobile version of the popular viewer: eDrawings for iPad. Currently the tool is the only viewer available for the Apple tablet that works with native SolidWorks drawings, parts, and assemblies as well as AutoCAD DWG and DXF files and eDrawings files. We decided to take the mobile app for a test drive in Cadalyst Labs.

Download and Installation

To purchase the application, visit the Apple App Store and search for eDrawings. A couple of clicks are all that you need to start the automatic installation process. I tested eDrawings for iPad v1.1.0 (build, released in June 2012) on an iPad 2 with Wi-Fi only. E-mail and file storage sites such as Dropbox are the most common methods for transferring files to and from the iPad; Dassault suggests iTunes File Sharing as well. After installation, tap the eDrawings icon, and the app will start running in just a few seconds. It comes with a handful of sample drawings and models; the time needed to open these samples ranges from 6 to 18 seconds. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor R.K. McSwain is a designer and CAD systems administrator for Pate Engineers in Houston.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Search Better in Your PLM Session
September 25, 2012
2 p.m. ET
This webcast from Alcove9 will show viewers how they can search throughout an entire enterprise without leaving their PLM sessions. Topics will include unified access to multiple repositories including shared drives, databases, or any storage source one would log into separately. Read more »

CAD Americas Training Days
Through October 25, 2012
Various cities
At CAD Americas' 2012 training events, users of Autodesk software products can build their professional skills for architecture, manufacturing, civil engineering, Revit, 3D design, or management applications. The product training comprises best practices, tips and tricks, 2013 product features, and more. Read more »

Experience SolidWorks 2013
October 2–19, 2012
Various U.S. cities
At these SolidWorks launch events, Fisher/Unitech representatives will demonstrate the new features of SolidWorks 2013. Read more »

PLM Innovation Americas 2012
October 25–26, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia
Attendees of this independent event will be able to learn from experts, network with peers, and visit with PLM (product lifecycle management) solutions providers. 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


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It's Time to Buy Bigger, Better Monitors
CAD Manager's Toolbox: Is your company avoiding a much-needed display upgrade? Try bolstering your argument with these facts. Read more »

CAD Managers Resist Social Media Infiltration
Reader feedback indicates serious concerns about the impact of incorporating access to social media tools in CAD applications. Read more »

Add a Drop-Down List of Your Favorite Commands to the Quick Access Toolbar
AutoCAD's Quick Access toolbar is so accessible — why not add plenty of your most frequently used commands to it? Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how easy it is to add a drop-down list to the Quick Access toolbar, making you instantly more productive! Watch the video »

Autodesk Announces Revit LT
Autodesk today celebrated the one-year anniversary of Project Spark — an Autodesk Labs technology preview that is essentially a smaller, lighter version of Autodesk Revit software for building information modeling (BIM) — by announcing the impending release of Autodesk Revit LT 2013. Read the blog post »

Preview of the HP Z1 CAD Workstation
Take a personal tour of the HP Z1 workstation with Curt Moreno. The HP Z1 is the world's first all-in-one workstation with a 27" (diagonal) display that snaps open to let you swap out parts and make upgrades. No tools required. Watch the video »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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