SolidWorks 2011 launch is now official. The funny thing about launches is that this doesn’t necessarily mean the product will ship right away. That comes later. For this launch, SolidWorks Corp invited a panel of bloggers and journalist to their headquarters in Concord, MA yesterday and today to get a first hand look at SolidWorks 2011. As a matter of disclosure, my accommodations, travel and most meals for this event are covered by SolidWorks Corp. No one has made any requests regarding article creation nor content in connection with this event. Some material (such as images and basic information) was derived from the SolidWorks 2011 What’s New (beta) file. The content of this article is solely of my discretion.
As with each year, there are a number of enhancements in SolidWorks 2011. Here are a few, briefly covered. More detailed articles will follow over the coming month.
One area of note is that SolidWorks now supports fillet and chamfer features within an assembly. Though these new features can be useful by themselves, their is another feature enhancement that helps set a theme. Fillet welds will no longer be necessary as components within an assembly. Instead, simplified weld beads is a new feature that is a simple representation of a weld contained within the assembly itself. These additions and changes will give users more abilities in adding welds and weld specifications to assemblies and drawings.
Design Checker is one of those functions that has a more stealthy existence in SolidWorks. Well, maybe not stealthy, but under-utilized. It is a function that sees incremental improvement each year, but without much fanfare. In the past, I’ve been a little critical of this function’s lack of functionality. SolidWorks 2011 has eight enhancements for Design Checker. The enhancement that I feel is most important is the ability to create standard files (.swstd) from existing SolidWorks file formats. This is step beyond the Learn Checks Wizard currently available. This allows the user to create a new set of check rules based on an existing file.
For some reason, SolidWorks never had an automatic way to add a scale label to orthogonal views. There is a macro (that I helped create) which gives the user a non-dynamic method to add scale. The limitation of this macro is that if the scale of the view changes, the macro must be re-run. SolidWorks 2011 now gives the user the ability to add a true scale label to orthogonal views.
The macro may still be of use if there is a need to add pre-established labels to drawing views. For example, if view is pictorial or isometric, the macro provides a quick way to add that label.
ASME drawing standard
I’m not really sure why SolidWorks still calls ASME by the other name ANSI. The switchover to ASME happened like 20 years ago. Either way, SolidWorks 2011 claims that it now “supports some of the requirements of ASME Y14.5-2009”.
One of the important areas of support is geometric tolerance symbols. ASME Y14.5-2009 expanded the role of the ALL OVER modifier to a Profile feature control frame. With this expansion comes a new symbol (the double circle leader). Also included are the new Independency symbol (encircled I, which declares an except to Rule #1) and the Continuous Feature symbol (oddly boxed CF, which applies Rule #1 more broadly).
Parts and Features
More end conditions are now available with the Revolve feature: Up to Vertex, Up to Surface, and Offset from Surface. These can be specified separately in each direction (clockwise and counter-clockwise) of the revolve. These new end conditions are available in Revolved Boss/Base, Revolved Cut and Revolved Surface. This allows for better control and more flexibility in the use of Revolve features.
More enhancements available
These are just a few of the enhancements available in SolidWorks 2011. The What’s New file for SolidWorks 2011 has a fairly impressive list. However, none of the improvements this year seem monumental. I am impressed to see minor improvements continue on the Workgroup PDM product. There are improvements to Sheet Metal functionality, Motion Studies, and a new Walk-through function to expore or create a video of 3D geometry in large scale designs. More details will be discussed on later dates.