3D Interconnect made its debut in 2017, providing users with a fantastic new method for importing and collaborating with non-SOLIDWORKS models. Without the need for translation, models imported via 3D Interconnect come with fewer errors, while maintaining face and edge IDs and even establishing a parametric link back to the original model in its native format. That’s right – changes made to 3D Interconnect models in the native CAD program will propagate to SOLIDWORKS. For all the fine details on working with 3D Interconnect, please see this three-part series.
This new collaborative method was very well-received, and naturally, there have been several enhancements to 3D Interconnect in SOLIDWORKS 2018. In addition to new supported formats and the ability to import custom properties and materials, unconsumed sketches (or curves) in models from third-party native CAD programs can now be accessed and leveraged to generate SOLIDWORKS features. Figure 1 describes a simple SOLIDWORKS assembly with several non-SOLIDWORKS components imported via 3D Interconnect (numbered).
Figure 1 – Cabinet Display with Several Components Imported via 3D Interconnect
Component #3 is properly positioned, but there are no cut features in the mounting face for proper assembly. While converted/offset entities could be used here, the sketches required for these features have already been developed in the original file, which in this case is in Solid Edge format.
In order for unconsumed sketches to be available, system options must be set to include them upon import. Access System Options -> Import anduse the File Format dropdown menu to select the Inventor/Catia V5/Creo/NX/Solid Edge category. Ensure the checkbox for Unconsumed Sketch(es) and Curves is selected. Once activated, working with these sketches is exceptionally simple, as they are directly available in the FeatureManager Design Tree. In this case, a top-down approach will be used, beginning by editing the mounting face component and beginning a sketch:
Figure 2 – Editing Mounting Face Component and Beginning a Sketch
Once the new sketch is active, simply locate the desired sketch in the FeatureManager Design Tree and convert it. Available unconsumed sketches for imported components can be found organized neatly in a folder named Sketches just beneath the component name, along with additional folders (if applicable).
Figure 3 – Locating Available Unconsumed Sketches in Imported Component
Once converted, the sketch can be cleaned up as needed, or additional sketch entities can be added. In this example, a simple extruded cut can be used to create the holes needed in the mounting face for proper assembly. Remember, if the sketch in the original file is updated or modified in any way, the changes will propagate to the SOLIDWORKS model and any downstream features will update accordingly.
Figure 4 – Resulting Feature from Unconsumed Sketch
Having access to unconsumed sketch entities in non-SOLIDWORKS files makes working with 3D Interconnect more efficient and effective than ever before, and is just one of many impressive enhancements this year. Be sure to check out our What’s New series for additional blogs and videos on all the new features included in SOLIDWORKS 2018.
Every year, Hawk Ridge Systems offers live Launch events for its customers to introduce the new enhancements of that year’s release. What if you were unable to make one of the 2018 live sessions? Don’t worry – we have you covered! We recorded the live stream (HawkLive 2018) of our first Launch event and separated it into 8 modules so you can easily digest what’s new in SOLIDWORKS 2018! Even if you’ve attended a launch in another city (besides San Jose, where this one was recorded), it’ll be different and exciting content! In today’s blog article, we’ll introduce some of the main topics we covered in Module 1, which includes a brief introduction to Hawk Ridge Systems, what to expect from the upcoming modules, and SOLIDWORKS customer’s we’re using to demonstrate the new enhancements of SOLIDWORKS 2018.
Introduction to Hawk Ridge Systems
Before we dive into the content, did you know that Hawk Ridge System offers:
All products that are currently developed by SOLIDWORKS and Dassault Systemes
A full range of 3D Printers and Scanners from HP, MarkForged, and Artec
SIMULIA Abaqus as our high-level analysis software
SOLIDWORKS CAM post processors
CAD, Technical Communications, Analysis Consulting, and Mentoring Services
Classroom, Online, and On-Demand Training Offerings
Custom written software like XBOM and PDMTeamWorksPro
Live Support chat (in addition to phone, email, and web)
Comprehensive Support documentation
Active and ever-growing YouTube channel, blog (like this one!), weekly webinars, and much more
What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2018
Nearly half of the development projects SOLIDWORKS undertakes are based on quality and performance, which means, speeding up tasks, stability improvements, and bug fixes. The other half is the new features and enhancements that will be introduced in this blog and video series! There are over 230 pages (239 pages, to be exact) in the What’s New 2018 PDF, alone. It’d be nearly impossible to cover every single enhancement, but our team hand-picked some of the best ones they believe could benefit SOLIDWORKS users the most. Here’s a run-down of the 8 videos and what they’ll be covering:
There are numerous benefits for creating your part design as a multibody part ranging from performance to file management in SOLIDWORKS. However if you have tried to apply a material to a multibody part you will notice that the materials folder of the feature manger will apply the same material to every single body in your design. This works fine if you have a weldment structure which is all made out of steel, but most designs use a combination of materials to accomplish their design goals. In this example for a conveyor belt, there could be aluminum, steel and even rubber. One material could be applied to the entire design, however our mass property and simulation results would be inaccurate. (more…)
Any plastic part designer knows that one of the biggest worries in an injection molding process is a mold that won’t properly fill- commonly known as a “short shot.” While there are a handful of machine parameters that a molder can tweak to fix this, it’s always preferable to find such issues early in the design process- perhaps even when there’s still time to change the design of a part.
Sometimes, short shots are also intentionally run on a mold to try and visualize the filing process- something I had the opportunity to do at the injection molding lab at California State University at Chico. While the real-world part matched our simulation fairly well, SOLIDWORKS Plastics 2018 provides a great chance to examine the short-shot prediction more closely. To predict the filling pattern and compare it to a real-world short shot, we simply need to take a solid-body .SLDPRT file, such as the container handle below, and create a mesh with SOLIDWORKS Plastics:
Previous versions of SOLIDWORKS Plastics would predict a short-shot phenomenon with an easy-to-compute criteria: as the molten plastic cooled and the flow rate of the melt into the mold fell below a certain % of the maximum (by default, 1%), the part would be assumed “frozen” and the short-shot warning would be triggered.
In reality, we know that the actual shape of a part, regardless of whether there’s a short shot, results from where and when the plastic cools and solidifies. So, in SOLIDWORKS 2018, there’s a new “Temperature Criteria for Short Shots” option, which is enabled by default with the Glass Transition Temperature automatically pulled from the SOLIDWORKS Plastics material database. This means that the actual shape of the flow front will be based on where the molten plastic has cooled over time, providing for better realism. (more…)
New enhancements to 3D Interconnect in SOLIDWORKS 2018 allow for the import of custom properties and materials of third-party CAD Files. For those that don’t know, 3D Interconnect is an awesome tool added in SOLIDWORKS 2017 which makes it possible to work directly with third-party CAD files, rather than using the standard import and translation methods. 3D Interconnect allows SOLIDWORKS to directly read these parts and assemblies without translation, removing the possibility of translation errors that Import Diagnostics would need to fix. It also creates a parametric link to the original part or assembly file, allowing it to update if the file is changed in its third-party CAD software. Finally, 3D Interconnect maintains face and edge IDs so that when the file is updated, any mates or additional features added inside of SOLIDWORKS are preserved. File types that currently work with 3D Interconnect are:
Autodesk® Inventor: .ipt for V6 – V2016, .iam for V11 – V2016
CATIA® V5: .CATPart, .CATProduct for V5R8 – 5–6R2016
SOLIDWORKS 2018 introduces a number of enhancements for working with imported mesh designs such as .STL and .OBJ files. These files are most commonly imported into SOLIDWORKS as Graphics bodies, which have seen a variety of new enhancements this year as well – please see our existing blog article and video for a detailed look into these new capabilities.
This article and companion video focuses on a new workflow for working with mesh files in SOLIDWORKS 2018, which is the ability to natively modify mesh models. This is accomplished via a new body type called a “Mesh body”.
Graphics bodies, as well as native Solid and Surface bodies, can be converted to this new Mesh body type. To convert a body, simply select it from the appropriate Bodies folder and choose the Convert to Mesh Body command.
This enables an exciting new workflow. Converting Solid bodies to Mesh bodies allows traditional SOLIDWORKS features to be used to modify mesh files. This can be seen in the image below, where SOLIDWORKS features are used to make the threads for the imported bottle scan. The thread body is then converted to a Mesh body, so that it can be merged together with a Combine feature.
Previously, any modifications to a mesh file would have required a time-consuming process to convert it to a solid or surface body first. The new Mesh body type and supported features allows direct manipulation of the mesh files, and they can be re-exported in the native mesh format such as .STL or .OBJ.
Aside from basic Boolean style operations like Combine/Subtract, there are a number of additional commands supported. The full list of features currently available for use with Mesh bodies is visible below:
Using these features allowed me to take an imported 3D Scan .STL, such as the bottle scan below, and add manufacturing details to prepare a functional 3D printed prototype without ever having to convert the mesh file! This example was printed on one of Hawk Ridge Systems’ HP 3D printers, and had enough strength and flexibility to be dropped or squeezed without fear of damage.
If you are using 3D scanning or 3D printing technology, this new Mesh body type and workflow should be an exciting new functionality.
It’s worth noting, however, that Mesh bodies are not exportable as neutral CAD file formats such as .STEP or .IGES – so if that is the end goal, a conversion process will be necessary. Tools like the ScanTo3D add-in or the partner product Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS can greatly speed up the conversion process of imported mesh data, if this is required.
With each annual release, SOLIDWORKS looks to streamline their tools to make the designer more productive. One of the most commonly used tools is the Measure Tool! We can use it to measure the lengths of edges, determine the distance between planes and surfaces, and even calculate the surface area, among many other applications. In 2018, SOLIDWORKS made it even better. Now in SOLIDWORKS 2018, the Measure Tool has been enhanced to include a larger selection window, the ability to quickly copy and paste measurements, adjust the font size for easier reading, and allows the Measure Tool to be pinned!
Larger Selection Window
When selecting items to measure, we’ve never had a limit on how many items we could select. We did, however, have a limit on how many selected entities appear in the selection window. For example, in the image of SOLIDWORKS 2017 below, we can see there are 8 edges selected, but only 3 items are visible in the selection window.
Now, in 2018, the selection window has been enlarged so we can see up to 6 items at a time! This makes it much easier to see what we’ve already selected and de-select anything we didn’t mean to include in the measurement.
We’ve had the ability to add folders to the FeatureManager Design Tree for quite some time now. If you’re not familiar with this practice, folders can be added to your FeatureManager Design Tree to help you organize features or components in part and assembly documents. In a part, you can create folders to group a set of sequential features that are used for a specific part of your design. For example, creating a folder to group machined features. In an assembly, you can group components, hardware, mates, etc.
Since these features or components are nested in the folders, you would have to expand the folder to access its contents. If you just wanted to see the state of features or components (i.e. hidden, suppressed, resolved), the added steps of expanding these folders can be annoying and time-consuming. Luckily, this is not the case thanks to the new enhancements in SOLIDWORKS 2018.
In SOLIDWORKS 2018, the folder icons in the FeatureManager Design Tree are color coded to indicate whether they contain features or components that are hidden or suppressed, resolved/lightweight, or any combination of the three. The image below is a screenshot of the same assembly folders shown above. Some components have been suppressed/hidden to showcase the new color-coded icons. The folders have also been renamed to describe the icon.
The color scheme for the folder icons is shown in the table below as well.
The new color-coded folder icons in SOLIDWORKS 2018 gives you a quick visual indicator so you can know the status of your features/components in your designs at a glance. For more information, check out our YouTube channel, get a SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD quote or contact us at Hawk Ridge Systems today. Thanks for reading!
Ahoy matey! Hop on board and take a look at one of the new mate enhancements this year.
Adding mates in SOLIDWORKS has always been, dare I say it, fun! And now with one of the new SOLIDWORKS 2018 enhancements, adding mates has become easier than ever. With this enhancement, we are now capable of hiding faces while adding mates.
There are different ways for us to take advantage of this feature:
While using the Insert Mates tool
While editing our mates
While using the Copy with Mates tool
While using the Replace Mate Entities tool
For this example, I’m going to use the ALT key while using the Insert Mates tool to show this new feature. While adding mates, simply move your cursor over the face you want to temporarily hide and press the ALT key to hide it. This allows you to select obscured faces without having to rotate your model around or manually hiding components before using your mate tool. As seen in the images below, we were able to hide different faces of our model in order to select faces behind them. This allows us to create mates such as the Width mate quickly and easily.
With this new functionality, your productivity will increase and save you time from moving components around. Previously, you would have to rotate or move components around in order to select obscured faces. Or use the Select Other tool, but there was no way to toggle those hidden faces to show. If you accidentally hide a face you didn’t want to hide, you can unhide it by pressing the Shift+ALT keys. And to restore all the hidden faces back onto your model, you simply press the ESC key. This functionality works the same whenever you go back and edit a mate, use the Copy with Mates command, and use the Replace Mated Entities tool.
With the ALT key, it makes it very fast and easy to temporarily hide and show faces while adding mates in your assembly. So the next time you’re creating an assembly, play around with the ALT key while adding mates to see how much more control you have.
Today we will be looking at a great new enhancement that has been rolled out with the new release of SOLIDWORKS 2018; the ability to mirror 3D Sketch entities. While mirroring 2D sketch entities has been possible for well over a decade, it can be invaluable in the way a designer goes about creating a model. 3D sketch entities, on the other hand, have remained impossible to mirror – until now. New in SOLIDWORKS 2018, 3D sketch entities can be mirrored, drastically improving the way parts are created using 3D sketches.
To show this feature, a set of handlebars will be designed for this chopper. Utilizing the mirror entities tool in a 3D sketch will assist in accomplishing this task with far fewer steps than before.