Over the past couple of weeks we have started seeing some “sneak previews” of the SolidWorks 2014 released over at the my.solidworks website. Today we have seen the launch of SolidWork 2014 and with it the official website. Over on the website Dassault Systemes SolidWorks have a series of videos which highlight some of the “Top Enhancements” in the SolidWorks 2014 release.
Over the past few weeks I’ve had some (limited) opportunities to start having a look through the release (with Beta). After a quick run through of the “What’s New” and with no great plan of attack I went looking to see what I could find. Apart from the “Top Enhancements” there are always many more small “day to day” and user interface improvement. It is these enhancement which I find to give the best improvements in daily productivity! These are some observations and discoveries I’ve made after a few hours of use!
The first thing you’ll find when you start SolidWorks 2014 will be the Message “SolidWorks 2014 is the last release that supports 32 bit operating system. SolidWorks 2015 will not install on a 32 bit operating system” No great loss there! (said he who ironically is currently running SolidWorks 2014 Beta on 32bit machine) I would be surprised that within the next twelve months you will even be able to buy a new system with a 32bit Operating System. Have a look at any of the major manufacture websites (Dell, HP etc) and apart from a few entry level “Home” systems everything else is now 64bit!
The first discovery was now you have a number of options when you “Save As” including “Save As Copy & Open” No longer do you have to tick a “As copy” box & then open that saved file! Let’s be honest! anyone who has ever used the “Save As”> “As copy” command has been caught working on the wrong file! We have all done it! This should at least help reduce that chance of working on the wrong file!
Assemblies are where you’ll find, what I believe to be, are some of the best enhancements! I know that’s a early big call, but for reducing mouse movement & mouse clicks these two are hard to beat! The first is Standard Mates from a Context Tool Bar!
I spend a major portion of my SolidWorks working time in Assembles! Which means I spend a good portion of that time Mating components! As much by habit (as much as anything else) I’ve always started the Mate by selecting (left button mouse) the required face (or edge) from one part, then holding Ctrl & select (left button mouse) the required Face (edge etc) from the other part, then Right button mouse to display a context toolbar, then select the “Mate” feature, which would then open the Mate Property Manager (in the Feature Tree)! ….. That’s even a handful just to type!
The Standard Mates from a Context Tool Bar in SolidWorks 2014 simplifies all of that! Now all that is required is to Select (left button mouse) + Ctrl the two required faces (edges). Once the Ctrl key is released the Context Toolbar appears with the available Mates! Then all that is required is to select the required Mate! For day to day use this would have to be one of (if not) the best improvement!
Let me continue expressing my love for the enhancements to the Context Tool bar! With SolidWorks 2014 you can now select a Configuration from the Context Toolbar!
How do you know if a part even has Configurations? Without either opening the part and having a look or right button mouse and display toolbar, then configure Component, then go through the Modify Configuration display panel. No more! Left button mouse the part (in either the feature tree or from the graphic display), will bring up the Context Tool Bar and shows the current configuration
Selecting then Displays all of the configurations
Select the required configuration, then confirm (tick)
Shows the selected configuration
These enhancement to the Context Tool are a great improvement and will greatly reduce mouse travel (& clicks). Even after using SolidWorks 2014 for only a short period of time I found myself, when back in previous versions, selecting a part and “looking” for the Configuration to appear (in the Context Toolbar)!
This one is one of those “niceties” enhancements! Preventing Rotation in Concentric Mates Nobody likes to have that little dash (-) showing an under defined Assemblies but lets be honest we all get a bit lazy to add a additional mate just to stop something rotating! By editing a Concentric Mate
You have the option of Selecting Lock Rotation
The Concentric Mate is indicated as “Locked” with a “solid fill” to the inner circle
The Lock Rotation can be toggled “Lock” – “Unlock” by right button mouse the Mate from the Feature tree
There are some interesting additions to what SolidWorks 2014 can Save As along with what files it can open (Open Files)
New inclusions to Save As are Portable Network Graphics (.png) (with a range of options! including dpi settings and the ability to include/ or not include background), along with SolidWorks Composer (.smg) and Luxology Scene (.lxo). Most notable is the Luxology Scene reflecting the ongoing closer collaboration between SolidWorks/PhotoView 360 and Luxology Modo.
Just when I thought I had seen most file types I discovered how little I know. SolidWorks 2014 is listed to be able to open Nastran (.NAS) and SimpoeMold (PG1, PG2,PG3) files. Which shows I’ve had little to do either FEA or Plastics as I had to look up both the file types. I would have liked to have a better look at both but finding (.NAS & .PG) files on the web proved unsuccessful! The SimpoeMold is most understandable as they are part of Dassault Systemes
Portable Network Graphics (.png) options!
Saving Animations as Luxology Scene (.lxo)
A nice enhancement is in Section View. You now have the the Option to display a Graphics Section.
One of the big enhancement right though the entire SolidWorks 2014 release is to Slots. Slots have now been added to the Hole Wizard. The Hole Wizard now shows the available holes in a Isometric Graphic displays!
Counterbore, Countersunk and Straight Slot from the Hole Wizard
A quick look into PhotoView 360 the first thing I notice is that there is a new Appearance in Plastic – Soft Touch. As well as a substantial range of outdoor Scenes within Presentation Scenes. To go with the Outdoor scenes (Landscape & Urban) there are the corresponding Environment (hdr)
We have all experienced it, the “Boss” comes in and casually drops “I have a meeting in 10min can you just produce a few Renders for me!” In the past I may have just taken a screen shot of the Render Preview but now you have better options. There are now options in the Preview to “Extended Refinement” and to “Full Resolution Preview” More importantly you can also Save Preview Image.
Which produces a quick “acceptable” Render with the “Save Preview Image”
Well that’s covers my first couple of hours of just looking through SolidWorks 2014 and seeing what I could discover! It’s barely scratched the surface of the some 200 odd plus enhancements. It certainly has the feel of a great release. Go visit the official SolidWorks 2014 website and have a look at the videos of some of the “major” new features!
Hopefully I have some more time over the next few weeks to start having a more in depth look at SolidWorks 2014 and some of the “Top Enhancements”