SOLIDWORKS 2016 is out of Beta and into Pre-Release.   Over the past few weeks SOLIDWORKS have been releasing “Sneak Peeks”of fifteen of their highlighted new features on the SOLIDWORKS Blog.

The SOLIDWORKS 2016 website is now live and in Marketing Terms this is a soft launch.  The official launch of SOLIDWORKS 2016 will be via a  “Live” worldwide simulcast on the 22nd September 2015

The SOLIDWORKS 2016 website is very impressive and promoting the “Top Enhancements” of this release.   Interesting the first item that they are promoting is “SOLIDWORKS Visulize”  The renamed “Bunkspeed” Rendering program which it said is to be bundled with the Professional & Premium versions of SOLIDWORKS 2016.  A bonus which has come out of no where, as there were no sign of it in either Beta or Pre-Release.  The video on the launch websites shows it as a separate programs with Integration (& launch) from a Tab inside (incidentally still showing the Bunkspeed name) of SOLIDWORKS 2016    Looks like we will have to wait and see what comes with SP0!  You can never have too many rendering programs!  Although I’m not sure what signs these are for Photoview 360?

Almost coinciding with the release of SOLIDWORKS 2016 Beta 2 was the availability of Windows 10.  Being a compulsive updater at the best of times I installed Windows 10 on the first day of release!   Apart from the requirement to update many drivers, including for both graphics cards and a strange Microsoft Account/ Store issue the process was reasonably painless.

SOLIDWORKS 2016 will be fully supported for Windows 10.  Although I’ve hardly taxed SOLIDWORKS 2016 during the Beta period at this stage SOLIDWORKS 2016 and Windows 10 are playing very nicely together.  One note of interest is that SOLIDWORKS 2016 still links access to the Internet via Internet Explorer.   Even though Internet Explorer, in Windows 10,  is now only installed in the background and without simple access and has been replaced by the all new Microsoft Edge.

You don’t need to get to the What’s New – SOLIDWORKS 2016 to see one of the most significant (and I would suggest) what will be one of the most discussed/debated changes to the software.   So lets have a look at the “elephant in the room”

On opening SOLIDWORKS 2016 the first thing to be noticed is the New Interface.

User InterfaceI first saw the redesigned interface around 12-15th months ago when SOLIDWORKS first had a survey on, at the time, the proposed redesigned.  I had a change to have a greater look at the start of this year with an online meeting (with the User Experience Design Team) and the opportunity to discuss and provide feedback on the Interface.

My initial feedback was something like “I’m not offend by it” and “I’m a mono-colour type of guy but I find the colour is a little wishy-washy”.   However, now, after using it regularly at night over the past few months, then returning to SOLIDWORKS 2015 during the day I must say I now much prefer the new interface.   I’m even content with the  shade of the colour that I first thought was neither strong in blue or grey shades!

There are very good reasons for the changes to the Interface.   With 2k and 4k monitors becoming the norm, the SOLIDWORKS Icon, many still in bitmap dating back to the original SOLIDWORKS could no longer handle the scaling.   A chance to start with a “clean sheet of paper” approach has also allowed for a closer alignment of  the User Interface with the “3D Experience” products!

There was as suspected a diverse range of feedback (Haters gonna hate!) on the Beta Forum and SOLIDWORKS has reacted to some of the feedback on the “brightness” and “lack of colour”.  Apparently there were always plans to introduce “Themes” next year.  However they have reacted and brought forward some of those plans and pushed out a couple of additional “Experimental” themes – Medium and Dark with Beta3/& still available in Pre-Release.

User Interface - Medium User Interface - DarkTo go with the change to the User Interface is also a new Redesigned Triad.   .   The Triad used with screen manipulation tools is now single colour, more compact & a simpler 180º design (from its multiple coloured, 360º design).  A colour change to Orange with a change to Blue on activation (hover near)Redesigned TriadAt a first glance SOLIDWORKS 2016 looks to continue the trend of the past few years of expanding many of the existing features with increased functionality and usability.  Along with the continuity and compatibility of workflow across the range of features.   It is these enhancements which continue to increase productivity by reducing mouse movement and the number of selections (clicks).

As SOLIDWORKS will be promoting the Highlights of the release, over a couple of posts I’ll try and have a look at some of these “lesser” features and a few features that I think will be of most interest!

One of those features that have expanded from it’s introduction in SOLIDWORKS 2015 is the Visualisation Tool for Referencing.   It now displays Child Relationships and references them in a different colour (Purple).   Along with now displaying the name of features that cannot shown due to not being expanded.

Visualisation - Child FeatureBoth the Parent and Child Dynamic Reference Visualisation can be toggled ON-OFF independently.Visualisation - Child Feature On-OffThis will be one of those under rated and overlooked features but one of the most valued for reduced mouse movements. Moving the Confirmation Corner Options to the Pointer.  I currently have my OK & Cancel confirmation set in a Mouse Gesture but I might have to rethink this with this added feature.    The “D” Key has now been assigned as the default keyboard shortcut to move the Confirmation corner to the mouse cursor location Move Confirmation - DIt also applies and moves the new context based view “Breadcrumb” feature to a pointer location.Breadcrumb - DI’m going to make an very early call on this!  For me personally the Cap Ends for Offset Entities may be my one of my favorite and will most definitely be one feature that I will be most grateful for!  We do quite a few routes in timber panels for roller shutter tracks and are always using the Offset Entities feature, then having to select tangent arc to cap the end! But NO MORE!  The simple addition of selecting Cap Ends in the Offset Entities feature has now made this a much faster process.    Also added is the ability to change and add Construction geometry to either (or both) the base or offset line.Offset - Cap EndsThere has always been the ability to use a shortcut when you wanted to Convert Entities and you required the inner edges and not the outer edges.  You could Select a Face and then Ctrl select one inner edge, then use the Convert Entities too. Which would convert the inner edges to sketch entities.   The trick was to know that Shortcut!Face - Edge ConvertSOLIDWORKS 2016 has now added the ability to Converting Entities with Internal Loops as standard to the Convert Entities tool.  By activating the Convert Entities Tool and selecting the face it allows the selection of all inner loops

Convert EntitiesThe simplest of simple enhancements for the reduction of mouse movement will have to be Selecting Midpoints with Dynamic Highlighting.  Hovering over a line or an arc will dynamic highlight the entity as well as automatic displaying the midpoint and allowing the selectionDynamic Highlight - MidpointOne of my favorite features since it was introduced in SOLIDWORKS 2012 has been the ability to Hide/Show Parts in Assemblies by using the TAB (to Hide) then the SHIFT+TAB (to Show).  With SOLIDWORKS 2016 the ability to Toggle the Visibility of Bodies has now been introduced to Multi-bodied Parts.   So the same ability of TAB (to Hide) then the SHIFT+TAB (to Show) is now available with Multi-Body Parts. BUT there is a bonus!  Last year SOLIDWORKS 2015 introduced the ability to Preview Hidden Components or Bodies in Assemblies by selecting the component in the feature tree.   Now that the feature has been added to Multi-bodies.  They have also introduced a different method to preview all the hidden bodies.  Using the TAB+SHIFT+CTRL will display bodies transparent whilst holding down those key.  These can then be displayed by selecting the body in the graphic area.  The TAB+SHIFT+CTRL selection has also been introduced to display the hidden parts in Assemblies

Mulibody TABI couldn’t finish this post without looking at one of the highlighted features.

I like many, who once I had learned the basic of SOLIDWORKS and then discovered the Helix sketch tool modeled a thread.  It’s the thing to do. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing a thread sweep along the helix?  Then you find alternate way of producing threads using the Option of the Sweep feature and learn to how to use just a line and to “Twist along the path”

Thread can be tricky and for accuracy you need the right sketch profile along with the correct position to produce the right size. Then there is the sheer number of different types of threads!

SOLIDWORKS 2016 has simplified all that with the new Thread feature.   SOLIDWORKS 2016 will now produce threads with just the selection of a cylinder edge.   It produces both tap and die treads in both Metric (1.2mm to 100mm), Imperial (0.25″ – 4″) along with SP400 – SP425 Bottle Threads. All in both Right hand and Left Hand Threads.

Creating Threads couldn’t be more simple.  Select the Tread Feature from the Feature Tool Bar (it may not be set as standard) or Insert>Feature>Thread. Threads - ToolbarSelect the top edge of the cylinder, then under Specification, select the Type, Size, Thread Method – Cut or Extrude and Thread Options of Right or Left hand threadsThreadThe system is the same for either Tapped or Die cut threads.   Nothing could be simpler!

It will be interesting to see how the threads 3D Print and how they interact not only as a pair (tap & die) but with “real” nuts & bolts. Thread - TAPThread - Final

I’ve just start to scratch the surface of the SOLIDWORKS 2016 release with this “First Glance”   The above features are just a small selection of the new tool sets that have stood out in this first glance.   I look forward to having a “Closing Look” next time at some more Parts and Assemblies with this  SOLDWORKS 2016 release!


7 responses to “SOLIDWORKS 2016 – At First Glance #SOLIDWORKS”

  1. […] on from my First Glance at SOLIDWORKS 2016, it’s time to have a closer look at a few more features from the core […]

  2. I upgraded from SW 2012 to Sw 2016 and it’s a real pain. Few parts give me some error and I can’t open them anymore. This is very annoying to open an old assembly and see that 5% of the parts are missing. It’s a real mess with the mates. Also, rebuild takes forever with large assembly… Much more than with 2012. I really doubt that this upgrade was an improvement. I upgraded a week ago and I have lost at least 1 day to clean the mess in my assembly and re-download imported parts that doesn’t work anymore. New features are interesting only if what was working well is still working !

    1. Francis,
      Yes it can be frustrating having to repair geometry after an upgrade. I have to say that I have never heard of parts going missing from assemblies after an upgrade. I still believe that despite the pain the advantages of the new features along with the potential time savings makes the upgrade worthwhile.

  3. 2k or 4 k has little to do with icon colors, the new contrast is horrible

    1. Correct that 2k & 4k has nothing to do with the Icon colour. However it is the main reason for the need to create the new icons in the first place. The choice of colour relates to aligning with other Dassault product. I’ve been using SOLIDWORKS 2016 daily since the release. I don’t even see the colour now. I know where the icons are located and I’m purely concentrated on what I am modelling. I much prefer the new interface now and the issue in regards to the colour will become a non=event with usage

      1. I don’t really care about the colours on the toolbars, I don’t like them but switching to the Medium Interface Brightness at least makes those bearable. However it still leaves me with the Feature Tree items being harder to locate. I used to use the colours to quickly differentiate between surfaces, sheet metal parts, and features. It is now harder to pick the items I want to work with and to see which have been suppressed, hidden or changed transparency. The old colours made this much easier. This UI change has made their product more difficult to use.

      2. Mark,
        Thanks for your thoughts. Personally the more I use (and I use daily at work since the release) the less of the issue I find that it becomes. Now to a point that I don’t even think about the colour or the icon. I would think that this would be the case for most people. Hopefully you will find this yourself with time.

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