SolidWorks 2011: Defeature Feature

There’s a new tool in SolidWorks called Defeature. Although the Defeature feature has a seemingly counter-intuitive and oxymoronic name, this new tool garnered the most excitement from the Press at this year’s SolidWorks 2011 Launch Event.  Defeature creates simplified versions of models or assemblies that are easier to share, use, and also protect design details which may represent intellectual property.

Defeature for parts

In a part, Defeature allows the user to replace details (such as features and surfaces) with dumb solids (solids without feature definition or history).  With a model open, goto Tools pulldown>Defeature.

Defeature part

Defeatured model - before and after

The Defeature tool workflow may be straightforward for simple parts.  However, the selection/deselection process can be laborious for complex parts.  Once the user has selected the preserved features, they may save the results to a new file or upload the model directly to 3D Content Central.  The new file will not be linked to the original file.  It will only contain one feature called Imported1.

Defeature for assemblies

If Defeature only simplified individual models, it wouldn’t be all that impressive.  Defeature also works with assemblies!  It has several options that facilitate the selection/deselection process.  With an assembly open, goto Tools pulldown>Defeature.


Defeatured assembly - before and after

The assembly Defeature workflow allows the user to select/deselect whole components based on certain criteria, including the removal of all internal components or components that are less than a certain percentage of the overall assembly.  There’s more!

Defeature allows the user to preserve motion within the assembly, even with a significant number of details removed from the assembly.  For example, an assembly model of motor may be heavily simplified while still allowing its parts to move in the same fashion as they do in the original fully detailed assembly.  This well help suppliers provide fully functional assembly models while protecting their designs from competitors or other copycats.  The Defeatured assembly may be saved in the same manner as parts.  Components will be saved as virtual parts within the assembly file.

What others are saying about Defeature

  • Josh Mings on his blog awarded his Best New Feature Award to Defeature tool for parts and separately for assemblies.  He also stated on SolidWorks Heard! that the Defeature tool “prolly has the most buzz out of all the new stuff that’s being added” in SolidWorks 2011.
  • Brad Holtz noted in his tweet, “SolidWorks 2011 defeaturing does not lose mates, rotation, and other operational data,” and separately speculated, “looked like it came from 3Dvia composer.”
  • Ricky Jordon declares, “this tool allows you to convert an assembly to automatically create a ‘dumbed down’ model” on this blog, and also tweeted, “Defeature might just end up being the most under appreciated feature of the SolidWorks 2011 Release. Lots of capability!”
  • Kevin de Smet off-handedly commented on, “…I can see Defeature as a useful addition to the software…”.
  • Alex Ruiz lamented in his tweet, “I think the defeature tool would be really cool with a slider that goes from more or less features and you see the change dynamically.”
  • Jon Larrea celebrated Defeature in a tweet, “La opción ‘Defeature’ es asombrosa… y necesaria.” This roughly translates as, “The tool ‘Defeature’ is amazing… and necessary.”
  • Brian McElyea briefly mentioned the tool in this first blog post about the SolidWorks 2011 launch.
  • Guilherme Kastner states, “…a SolidWorks muito está se preocupando em ajudar quem está interessado em publicar arquivos para biblioteca Web.”  This very roughly translates as, “SolidWorks is concerned with helping those who wish to publish their models to libraries on the Web.”

SolidWorks 2011 Launch website

The countdown is over.  The SolidWorks 2011 launch website is now up and running.  It’s a bit fancy.  Even though it may take a couple of minutes load, it’s worth a look to see much of what’s coming for the next version of SolidWorks.  It’s not going to show you every improvement in SolidWorks 2011, but it covers the What’s New extremely well.

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.