SolidWorks 2013 aims to simplify 3D design

Written by: Paul Fanning | Published:
SolidWorks 2013 aims to simplify 3D design

The newly-lauched Solidworks 2013 offers a number of interesting features that are likely to pique the interest of users. Indeed, many of these 200-plus changes (90% in fact, the company claims) have been driven directly by user requests.

One of the developments that Solidworks is most keen to trumpet is Conic sketch, which introduces the ability to create smooth transitions between existing geometries using true conic surfacing rather than borrowing spline curves from surface modelling programs. Using the new conic sketch feature, users are now able to create complex or hybrid models faster using surfaces, make a parabola, ellipse, or hyperbola tangent to existing geometry. In addition, this feature allows use of rho value for more precise control, while bridge curves between existing geometry can easily be created without using splines.

Also new to SolidWorks 2013 is an Intersect button, which allows the addition or removal of geometry without sketching. This can be used on a variety of surfaces, solids, and planes. Where there is an intersection of multiple objects, the user can specify what volume to keep and what to discard. Given that this previously required two or more steps, this is clearly likely to save considerable amounts of time.

Another new modelling feature of SolidWorks 2013 is the ability to use patterns with varying dimensions. This quickly creates variations of pattern instances with expanded SolidWorks patterning capabilities. This allows the user to select any feature dimension for variation and to override individual instance dimensions, thereby saving time and reducing the number of features.

Further features of SolidWorks 2013 include simulation sub-modelling and incremental meshing, which will allow users to perform precise simulation analysis for specific areas of large and complex models more accurately, faster and more efficiently. Meanwhile, Network Rendering for PhotoView 360 helps save time with faster rendering of photorealistic images by networking multiple computers to share the computational load.

Although perhaps strictly more of an administrative tool than a modelling one, the Dashboard function in SolidWorks 2013 is also of interest. Designed for CAD managers, administrators and all those tasked with monitoring system performance, the Dashboard will provide a comprehensive view of software performance, crash frequency, possible causes, and workstation statuses. Similar to a network administrator's system monitoring window, (albeit configured specifically for SolidWorks installations) This helps simplify management and troubleshooting of multiple SolidWorks users within a company from a single aggregated view. The Dashboard will be hosted on the SolidWorks Customer Portal and controlled by password.

To address the dispersed nature of most design teams, SolidWorks 2013 clearly aims at optimising collaboration with improved connectivity, enhanced viewing capabilities and expanded sharing of designs and data. Thus, it includes previous release interoperability (in other words, the ability to open SolidWorks 2013 files directly with SolidWorks 2012). This enables users to work more efficiently and improve collaboration and file exchange, reducing delays and easing the transition to the latest release.

SolidWorks Enterprise PDM workflow means that the routing documents and contacting of users is more efficient, while DraftSight/SolidWorks Enterprise PDM Integration facilitates access to DWG files within SolidWorks EPDM from the DraftSight user interface, and leverage 2D into the design process.


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