SolidWorks 2010 More speed tests (Tune-up III)

So, I set out to make really bad use of Delete Face and Surface-Fill features.  This would be a completely outside the box type of screwing around that might not be expected, just to see if I can maximize the contrast between speed improvements from SolidWorks 2009 to SolidWorks 2010.

The motor-casing model that comes in the Samples folder of SolidWorks 2009 seems to tax SolidWorks a bit as is, all without any fancy features.  In SW 2009, I used the Delete Face feature to remove all of the internal walls in the main casing.  This was followed up with horrible Surface-Fill to patch the hole.  (Please take note of the rather unnecessarily wavy Surface-Fill results.)  After saving and Rebuilding twice, I checked the model’s Statistics.  The image below represents one of the better Rebuild (CTRL-Q) results I was able to achieve in SW 2009.  No surprizes.  Surface-Fill is on top and Delete Face is near the top.

Next, in SolidWorks 2010, I opened that very same file.  After saving in SW 2010 format, I closed the file and reopened it, then checked the Rebuild results there.  Strange….  I didn’t notice much of a difference.  This was starting to look a bit like my previous round of tests on another model (See the previous article in this series).  To check this further, another test needed to be done.

I deleted the Delete Face and Surface-Fill features and recreated them from scratch in within SW 2010.  Three things happened.  First, I was able to more quickly access both the Surface-Fill and Delete Face commands.  Second, SolidWorks made a much more logical choice in how to form the Surface-Fill feature.  Note how smooth it is versus the same feature created in the same fashion within SW 2009 (predictable results when creating features is another area where SW 2010 has improved). Third, look at what happened to the Delete Face Rebuild times!

Surface-Fill time reduced from 5.13s to 3.16s.  Delete Face time reduced from 0.63s to 0.09s!  It may be that the Surface-Fill time is more a factor of the simpler form than improvements in the underlying code.  However, since the software did make a more logical choice in the formation of the Surface-Fill, this still kinda counts.  Either way, the big news is the time savings on Delete Face!

Who really cares?!

OK,  OK, now the question from many comes up, “I’ve never use Delete Face; who cares about it!?”  In fact, in my test here, the difference in Rebuild times is entirely traced back to the Surface-Fill and Delete Face features.  No other Rebuild improvements are witnessed in any of the more common features.  So where does this leave individuals whose focus is on machine or sheet metal parts, where Delete Face would generally be very bad practice?  Well, as mentioned in the previous article, other areas have also been improved.

Improvements to multibody parts and related commands, Weldment cutlist updates, and equation performance have been reported by SolidWorks Corp.  Other areas may have also been improved, but I have yet to get confirmation of those.  The funny thing is that performance improvements aren’t really covered in the SolidWorks 2010 What’s New file!

In the What’s New file, I only found information about selecting a large number of entities within a sketch to create blocks as being “much faster”, and that Copy and Paste within Sketch mode is faster.  Nothing else readily comes up!  So, why does it seem that SolidWorks Corp is letting one of the more significant improvements in SolidWorks 2010 go under-reported (practically by word of mouth)?  I only found out about these improvements because the faster times for Delete Face was briefly demonstrated at the recent Blogger Event at SolidWorks HQ in Concord, MA.

The cynical side of me might say they’ve made no big announcement because they don’t want to make a big deal about how slow SolidWorks has been in the past.  However, the devil’s advocate might say that they’ve made so many improvements, they may not have a collected list of those items even now (as the case may actually be), and certainly didn’t have that list when the What’s New file was released.  Either way, it is almost fun trying to find the speed improvements, like an Easter Egg hunt (pun intended…and if you understand why that is a pun, you are truly a geek).

Jon Hirschtick at SW Corp HQ

When Jon Hirschtick talks, his excitement is infectious.  Maybe reason for this is that he is excited about what he’s talking about.  At the recent visit to SolidWorks headquarters, several of us SolidWorks bloggers got to met with Jon again, but it never seems like enough time.

He talked about how he likes to keep up on what’s going on in the world.  He’s always looking for new technologies that may be worked into a new feature within the SolidWorks business model (my wording).

One particular area he talked about again was that 3D modelling isn’t owned by the 3D CAD industry.  It is owned by the Gaming industry.  The guys in the Gaming industry are the ones working with unique motion control within huge 3D worlds. This is a point he also made at SolidWorks World 2009.

He also is trying to keep updated on hardware technologies that may be used on the side of CAD but within the CAD context.   Again, he pointed to the Gaming industry and such devices as the Wii and Xbox.  Jon seemed fascinated by the fact that his son rather voice talk to him via the Xbox instead of the traditional land-line or cellphone because it is easier, its better quality and more reliable. He also mentioned that “kids” do not voice talk much on their cellphones.  They rather text.  Voice is reserved for emergencies. It is fascinating that the methods of communication used by older generations is much different than what is now being used now by the newer generations.  This process of change is likely to continue.

One prediction that he made is that cellphones will all soon be equipped with a projector that will allow human interfacing within the projected image.

Secret Spy Photos within SolidWorks Headquarters

Several fellow bloggers and I were recently fortunate enough to be taken on a tour of the SolidWorks headquarters in Concord, MA. Not many have the clearance for such an honor. (The last of such tours was conducted on April 1, 2005.) The onsite DNA analysis required samples that I now regret giving up. The lie-detector test took over 5 hours. After all that (and more that I will never speak of again), the tour started. They allowed me to take photos just as long as they were able to redact any secret information before I published them. Unfortunately, this meant that a great many photos simply got removed. Here’s what I am allowed to show you.

Secret Area 1

The only fact I’m able to share about this photo is that this is Secret Area 1.

Power Plug

I was told that this power outlet generates enough electricity to power 2 vacuums at the same time. The blanked-out areas adjacent to the outlet are ÞÐsΛ Θ♣É−‡Ñ for other purposes.

Skunk Works

I’m not allowed to say that this stair well leads 18 levels underground to Secret Area 5 where current tests are now being conducted on something called t-virus in a joint venture with Umbrella Corporation.

England rules!

Although SolidWorks Corporation is wholly owned by Dassault Systemes S.A. of France, there continues to be rumors of an English connection. I personally found no evidence of this.

Secret Area 7

This is Secret area 7. I’m not allowed to specifically mention the individual who is blocked out in this photo.

Processing Lab

This may or may not be a secret processing lab where much of the development of SolidWorks may or may not occur.

Pretty boring

This was the only photo that wasn’t redacted at all. Frankly, it’s just a chair. I’m sorry that I was only able to provide this boring photo in its original form.

SolidWorks headquarters

The visit to SolidWorks headquarters in Concord, MA has been very eventful.  This has been on busy trip.  The schedule has been full from each early morning to evening.  The SolidWorks bloggers definitely have a lot of material to work from in the up coming months.  There is a lot of detail on already available information, as well as a ton of info about what’s to come soon. One thing that is coming up that SolidWorks Corp is very proud is Sustainability and SustainabilityXpress.  There’s also a lot of exciting improvements to SolidWorks 2010 that make it worth a look when it comes out.  More to come, including “secret” photos of the SolidWorks operations.  😉  For now, I’m heading out to my long flight back home.