What’s New in SolidWorks 2013: Intersect (Wow!)

This entry is part 8 of 12 in the series New in SolidWorks 2013

SolidWorks 2013 introduces a new and powerful tool called Intersect. Intersect enables you to perform complex operations to quickly combine surfaces, planes and solid bodies in practically any way you need without the need for multiple cut, trim and fill features.  The tool’s visual interface allows you to do all the experimenting you’ll need in order to create the final shape you want.  The following is an example of how Intersect can help you to quickly build a part from multiple intersecting surfaces.

This is a set of surface bodies that will be used to create the exterior of a new consumer product.  The goal is quickly combine these surface bodies into a final solid shape that can then be shelled.

Series of surface bodies

  1. Intersect PropertyManagerStart the Intersect tool (found on the Features toolbar).
  2. Select all of the surface bodies.  As you select each one, they populate the Selections box in the PropertyManager.  Hint: you can use window select to get all the surface bodies at once.
  3. Choose Intersect button.
  4. A list of intersection regions is quickly generated in the Regions to Exclude box in the PropertyManager.  In the case of this project, there is only one region, so there will be nothing to exclude.
  5. Make sure Merge result is checked on the Options box in the PropertyManager.
  6. Because we do not want the surface bodies to remain in the final part, make sure Consume surfaces is also checked.
  7. Once you are satisfied with the previewed result, choose OK (green check mark button) to accept and apply.
  8. The result is finalized.  The entire operation appears as one new Intersect feature in the Feature Tree.
  9. Adjustments to your selections can be made at any time by editing the Intersect feature in the same manner as any other features are edited.

Preview of result

Preview of result
Final result
 Final result

What’s New in SolidWorks 2013: Orientation dialog and View Selector

This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series New in SolidWorks 2013

Orientation Dialog Box

Switching between views in the SolidWorks modelling environment has always been a fairly painless exercise.  Press the SPACEBAR and choose your view, or use the Normal to command.  The Orientation dialog window has now been improved in SolidWorks 2013.   In addition to icongraphic layout, you can now create custom views and save them for reuse in different documents.

To save views for use in other documents, create a new view same as before using the New View button.  The view will then appear in the Orientation dialog box between the standard views and the view port buttons.  When you highlight that view, a save icon appears.  When saved, a globe icon will appear next to new view indicating that it is now available for use in other documents.


View Selector

Another cool addition to the Orientation interface is the View Selector.  To turn on the View Selector, start the Orientation dialog box and click on the View Selector button in the upper right next to the pin.  While this button is depressed, the View Selector will automatically engage when you launch the Orientation dialog box.

The View Selector allows you to quickly and visually select your next view orientation of the model between standard views.  It provides quick access to the opposite views too (the other side of each standard orientation).  That means you can quickly jump to the backside upper isometric view as easily and you can jump to the front view!


2013 Sneak Peek from SolidWorks Blog: Center of Mass

From the SolidWorks Blog,

SolidWorks 2013 won’t be officially unveiled until September 10, but over the next few weeks, we’ll be giving you sneak peeks at a few of the new features we’ll be shipping this fall. And here’s the first.

In SolidWorks 2013, center of mass is a selectable entity in drawings, and you can reference it to create dimensions. In a drawing, you can create reference dimensions between center of mass points and geometric entities, such as points and edges.



Some New Macros to tangle with

Recently I posted some new SolidWorks macro at Lorono’s SolidWorks Resources which you would like to try and might find useful for your day to day use.

Here are brief details on the macros:

Send Email via SolidWorks : Macro to send email with assembly name in subject.

Save and Open as PDF:  Macro to save active file as PDF in the same location and open the created PDF file

Hide Show Note : Macro to hide or show note in the active drawing.

There are more useful macros and stuff at Lorono’s SolidWorks Resources and I’ll be adding more similar macro there, so keep watching.

New in SolidWorks 2012: Equations

Equations is, by far, my favorite update in SolidWorks 2012.  The interface has been totally redesigned (and UI very very is important).   My favorite new function with Equations is that we now have the option to include extremely simple equations directly to driving dimensions.  It makes me happy that I can now type “1 + 1” into a dimension field and have it remain as 1 + 1 instead of collapsing to its evaluated value of 2.


To add equations directly to dimension text fields, just add an equal sign at the start the field.  The Equation “E” then shows up next to the dimension text field. 

One current drawback that I did notice is that once you enter equation mode, you can no longer specify units of measure within the dimension text field.  However, you can still use non-persistent equations; just leave off the equal sign.  These will continue to behave as they always have (including the usage of units of measure). 

OK, there’s a lot more going on with Equations.  I cannot do justice to the topic in a a brief overview.  I’ll cover a couple of basic items.  I sincerely suggest that everyone look up the What’s New for Equations to get a real taste for the improvements.  The new Equations capabilities are an important addition to SolidWorks in 2012.

Some other Equations enhancements of note

The updated Equations View supports new functionality.  Equations within this view can be sorted and filtered.  There is a new selection available called “Automatic solve order”.   In previous versions of SolidWorks, if equations broke due to references shifting around or any number of other reasons, you had to move the equations around in a very manual process.  “Automatic solve order” will automatically detect dependencies within all of the equations and reorder them accordingly! 

Equations and global variables can now be suppressed from all views for troubleshooting and other purposes.  Additionally, they can be applied to selected configurations, right from the Equations View dialog window by RMB clicking them and choosing Suppress and the Specify Configurations.

Oh, one more cool thing to squeeze in at the end: Equations dialog box now allows the selection of mutiple rows to perform the same task on all selected equations.  CTRL and SHIFT keys function normally to multi-section rows.