New in SolidWorks 2014: Slots in spades

This entry is part 10 of 13 in the series New in SOLIDWORKS 2014

A big leap forward for the Hole Wizard in SolidWorks 2014 is the support of slots as features!  I’ll say this another way.  You can now create slots with Hole Wizard!

When SolidWorks first announced that there was going to be support for slots many years ago, I was a tad bit disappointed when I found out how.  Slots were only available as sketch elements.  Although I did find this useful and it did streamline my workflows, I found it to be a step short.  I was still having to make slots as separate extrude-cut features.  Converting holes to slots and slots to holes still needed a rather lengthy workaround.

SolidWorks 2014 addresses this, and how!  Slots are now supported by the Hole Wizard in spades.

Slots slots slot

Slots with counterbores, slots with countersinks and slots with..umm, well, straight slots with no counter-anything.

Not just that, you can quickly switch between slots and holes, based on design needs for your particular phase of development.

Pre-slotPost slot

Holes become slots with a quick edit (and then back again, if you wish)


SolidWorks 2010 Usability: Hole Wizard improvement

The SolidWork Corp team has made usability one of the key themes for SolidWorks 2010.  One of the areas that has frustrated almost every user since the beginning is that the user is required to select a surface before entering the Hole Wizard command in order to place their holes on a 2D sketch.  Hole Wizard would automatically assign a 3D sketch when no surface was preselected.  Having holes unnecessarily placed in a 3D sketch can create certain issues, such as difficulty with hole callouts on a drawing.

This is no longer so!  With SolidWorks 2010, there is no default sketch assignment to hole placement when starting the Hole Wizard command.  The user selects their surface within Hole Wizard when they are ready.  If they select a flat surface, Hole Wizard automatically assigns a 2D sketch.  If they select a non-flat surface, Hole Wizard automatically assigns a 3D sketch.  The user also has the option to manually select the 3D sketch option.

Before this improvement, Hole Wizard surface selection has been one of those areas that traps almost every user when they first start out.  (You can always identify a rookie simply by the fact that a 3D sketch unnecessarily appeared in their Hole Wizard feature on a part, such as a flat plate.)

Not only is this a welcome usability improvement that reduces frustration and inconsistent modelling, it is also one that will save many little bits of time for most users.  It will also improve the SolidWorks learning curve ever so slightly.