SolidWorks World 2012 Top Ten Voting is in full swing!

The annual vote for the top ten requested enhancements for SolidWorks World 2012 is in full swing right now.   The format for this year’s Top Ten changed from previous years.  Last year, some ideas didn’t get noticed if they were submitted late in the process.  As a result, they received fewer votes, not because they weren’t desired, but because they didn’t have as long as other ideas to gather votes.

For SolidWorks World 2012, the system is more fair.  All ideas where submitted prior to voting.  On January 3, 2012, voting was opened.  So far, the response has been great, with some surprizes.  If you haven’t done so since the 3rd and you have an active subscription, check out this year’s Top Ten list, and place your thumbs-up or thumps-down for new functions that you’d like to see added to SolidWorks.  It doesn’t take too long to go through the list, so I would actually encourage anyone to vote on as many items as is practical.

Vote for your ideas to improve SolidWorks

Without much fanfare, a new feature was added to the SolidWorks Forum under the SolidWorks World area.  Its called Ideas.  Heres a link (you’ll need to be logged into the forums to gain access to this area).  In this new tab, you’ll be able to create and vote on ideas on how to improve SolidWorks.  Presumably, the most popular results will be presented at SolidWorks World 2011.  So, if you have some zany ideas on how to make SolidWorks better, go to Ideas and submit your idea.  Be sure to vote for great ideas submitted to others.

As of right now, it appears that the most popular Idea tag is “Drawing” and the second most popular is “Drawings”.  I think that speaks volumes about where SolidWorks needs to be focusing their resources to improve SolidWorks.  Happy voting!

The launch of SolidWorks 2011 is only days away

SolidWorks 2011 launchThe launch of SolidWorks 2011 is only days away.  SolidWorks Corp even made this countdown website to celebrate the impending release.  It isn’t obvious what will happen when the countdown is done.  An unwrapping of some sort?

As per the new tradition (starting last year), SolidWorks Corp will launch the new version of SolidWorks from their headquarters in Concord, MA.  The official release date was a little confused last year.  However, this year it’s quite obvious (just count up from the countdown).

One enhancement that didn’t make it into SolidWorks 2011 is discussed on the SolidWorks Forum.  That enhancement would have been a Feature/Model Lock or Freeze.  According to Mark Gibson of SolidWorks,

Unfortunately, we have determined that even with the limitations discussed earlier, we’re not going to be able to deliver the Freeze functionality for SolidWorks 2011 due to quality concerns.

That sucks! However, it is wise to avoid adding functionality before it is ready for use.

I cannot discuss enhancements actually included in the 2011 version yet.  However, expect plenty of articles after the release date for both SolidWorks and Enterprise PDM.

External Threads in SolidWorks (where are they?)

One of the unexpected weaknesses in SolidWorks is that there is no External Thread feature.  For years, SolidWorks has had the Hole Wizard and related functionality for various types of holes, including threads.  But there is no feature for creating external threads.  I’ve always been baffled by this.

So, when I saw that SolidWorks 2010 was improving the Cosmetic Thread annotation to allow the user to quickly choose a thread size from one of the thread standards (ANSI, ISO, etc), I had a brief glimmer of hope.  I found out, this is one of those enhancements that is just too little, too late.  All this new enhancement does is pull values from the Hole Wizard to add a Cosmetic Thread annotation.  If an external thread is desired, the user is still left with having to create the OD of the thread as a separate feature.

Sure, one may not expect an annotation to make a feature.  It just seems like an opportunity was missed.  Instead of just having the Cosmetic Thread annotation read from the standards, SolidWorks should have included an External Thread feature.

In my view, this feature should work in several ways.

  1. Allow the user to select an OD upon which the External Thread will be cut.
  2. Or, allow the user to select a flat face from which the External Thread will extend.
  3. Don’t require a precondition.  Allow the user to select their method within the workflow of External Thread command.
  4. Have the External Thread feature work the same way as Hole Wizard.  The helix of the thread is not modelled, but have several modelling and annotation options available (model to the ID or OD, and choice to use cosmetic thread).

Although the addition of the standards lookup within the Cosmetic Thread annotation is welcome, SolidWorks should fully support External Threads as an actual feature.  I created an ER for this topic this week, and invite others to do so as well.