SOLIDWORKS 2017 is out of Beta and soon into Pre-release.
The SOLIDWORKS 2017 website is live with information and videos of the highlighted features. The SOLIDWORKS 2017 Launch event and will steam live on Tuesday 20st September. You can register to stream the event live
I’ve been living with Beta since it’s release. I have a simple plan with Beta. As I read the SOLIDWORKS 2017 – What’s New document, as I discover the new features and enhancements that take my interest, I try them out, then take a few screenshots & notes. These will make up a series of posts over the following weeks.
Before I share what I find interesting let me take a minute to look how we got to SOLIDWORKS 2017!
SOLIDWORKS 2017 is what I would call the third release in this series of the program. Starting with SOLIDWORKS 2015 which was a transition version. Mainly due to the rewriting of the code! It did, however, first introduced a few of the features that we see enhanced with this release. It also brought reduced files sizes and much promised efficiency. Unfortunately, the radical rewriting required a few Service Packs to unsure its stability and deliver all that it promised.
SOLIDWORKS 2016 and its all new mono-colour User Interface managed to upset a few people. With the past few Service packs they have address much of those concerns. First with an introduced “Classic” theme and then by introducing back in some colour back to some Icons. I personally have always liked the mono-colour look and the new Icons and have never felt the need to adopt the Classic theme. Addressing this issue with such a timely response, I believe could only have been achieved, due to the amount of work that has gone into the product over the past few years and testament to the work put in by the development team. The controversy of the interface caused many to overlook just how good a release that SOLIDWORKS 2016 is.
Which leads us the SOLIDWORKS 2017! Like all new versions of the product, it’s a mix of new highlighted features and enhancements of existing tools, across all of the components that make up the SOLIDWORKS matrix.
The following observations are a few things that have taken my interest whilst running through the “What’s New – SOLIDWORKS 2017.
SOLIDWORKS continue to tinker with the User Interface. The Dynamic Reference Visualization feature introduced with SOLIDWORKS 2015 has undergone a revamp. Gone are the sweeping arcs that overlapped the Features text in SOLIDWORKS 2016 (Image on Left). Replaced by geometric lines and filleted corners (Image on Right).
SOLIDWORKS 2017 RX has not only had a facelift but has seen a new feature added. The Reliability tab provides simple access to such information, as how the session was ended, which version of SOLIDWORKS was being used, as well as Windows Event Information. For all the years I’ve been using SOLIDWORKS I’ve rarely seen a mention of the Comments tool. Comments could be added by a RMB selection on a feature in the FeatureTree. The Comments would be placed in the Comments Folder situated at the top of the Feature Tree. The Comments Folder needed to be expanded to see the note and what feature it was referencing. SOLIDWORKS 2017 now show the Comment next to the Feature they are referring to.
Although covered in the Whats New under Parts and Features I think the enhancement to the Whats Wrong display is better covered now, whilst I’m talking User Interface. The Whats Wrong enhancement reflects the change made to Comments. Selection of an error or warning can be made from the FeatureManager design tree, breadcrumbs, or graphics area. The warning messages displays at the selection.
SOLIDWORKS 2017 sees the introduction of a new feature Offset on Surface. The Offset sketch feature has always been a much used tool of mine. The ability to use existing edges and face entities to create a new sketch, a prescribe distance from those entities is a great time saving feature. Now you have the ability with the Offset on Surface tool to use existing 3D edge and face entities to create new sketches as you would with the existing Offset tool.
The Segment feature introduced in SOLIDWORKS 2015 has seen quite a significant enhancement. The Segment tool, used to create equal length segment or sketch points was limited to line & arc (circle) sketch entities. The Segment tool now has the ability to work with splines, parabolas, ellipses, partial ellipses, and conics
Who hasn’t been perplexed when you believe you have created a closed contour sketch only to discover that it will not Extrude? On closer inspection you discover a random micro line causing the sketch to have open contours. It’s a reasonable common issue caused by click to click sketching! This should now be much reduced with the introduction of Prevention of Accidental Micro Lines. This is a background feature which creates a “dynamic buffer zone” when using the click-click sketch method and should see the reduction of accidental creation of micro lines! It’s interesting trying to deliberately create “micro” lines. I have little doubt that many wont even realise that this addition has been added into SOLIDWORKS 2017
That was my first look at the User Interface and the Sketch tools. Even at this early read of the What’s New it’s clear to say that both the Offset on Surface and enhancement to the Segment feature are going to be both extremely well received and much adopted tools.
Following soon: SOLIDWORKS 2017 A first look – Parts & Features – Model Display