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Posts Tagged ‘What’s New in SolidWorks’

What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2018: Touch/Pen Input for Sketching

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Hi everyone! In this blog, I’m going to showcase a brand-new feature available in SOLIDWORKS 2018 to help you design faster! Have you ever had an idea and either not had a mouse or wanted to sketch it freely rather than using a mouse? With this new release and your Windows 10 touch-enabled device, now you can live out those wants with Touch Based sketching.

I’m working on the gas cap for my RC car and I’ve decided that I want to really make it unique by adding a design to the front of it. I’m going to put a cloud to symbolize a gas cloud (and because there’s a reason I became an engineer instead of an artist.) I also found a picture that I want to use as a sketch picture and that’s in a sketch that I’ll unhide.

What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2018: Touch/Pen input for Sketching Figure 1: Gas Cap Isometric View

What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2018: Touch/Pen input for Sketching

The first thing I want to point out is the new Sketch Ink Command Manager tab, which where all of my touch sketch commands will be. This can be turned on like any other command manager tab, right-click on an existing tab and select it from the list.

What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2018: Touch/Pen input for Sketching Figure 3: Sketch Ink Command Manager.

I’ll start my cloud sketch by selecting the gas cap face and hitting Sketch. There’s a pulldown to allow me to select a 2D or 3D sketch, touch sketching works with both. Next, you can customize your pen color and thickness. Use the slider to adjust the latter.

What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2018: Touch/Pen input for Sketching

Next to that is an eraser tool if you need to delete any errant strokes, and the select tool to select geometry. The eraser works similarly to Power Trim, where swiping over existing geometry with it turned on erases it. The select tool turns your stylus or finger into a mouse pointer.

What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2018: Touch/Pen input for Sketching Figure 5: Remaining Sketch Ink Commands

The Touch button is next to that. I’m using a stylus, but you can use this mode with your finger. Without that button pressed, swiping on my screen causes the model to move around. Therefore, to start sketching I’m going to click that button. Next, there are 2 ways to sketch entities: Auto Shape and Auto Sketch Entities. I’ll use Auto Shape to sketch the cloud, converting my pen strokes to smooth geometry. These are just conceptual, but I can use Select and hit Update to Entities which will change them to sketch entities.

What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2018: Touch/Pen input for Sketching Figure 6: Cloud drawn using Auto Shape.What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2018: Touch/Pen input for Sketching Figure 7: Update to Entities command.What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2018: Touch/Pen input for Sketching Figure 8: Updated Entities.

If you prefer to go straight to sketch entities, use the Auto Sketch Entities button. I’ll switch over to that and sketch a lightning bolt. This will also imply sketch relations. Now I have a sketch that I can use to create a feature like a boss or cut, or a split line.

What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2018: Touch/Pen input for Sketching Figure 9: Using Auto Sketch Entities.

As you can see, touch sketching can bring more of your ideas to life with pretty minimal effort. 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!



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What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: 3D Interconnect Imports Custom Properties and Material

Monday, November 13th, 2017

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:

  • ACIS*
  • Autodesk® Inventor: .ipt for V6 – V2016, .iam for V11 – V2016
  • CATIA® V5: .CATPart, .CATProduct for V5R8 – 5–6R2016
  • IGES*
  • JT*
  • NX™ software: .prt for UG 11 – NX 10
  • PTC® Creo: .prt, .prt.*, .asm, .asm.* for Pro/ENGINEER® 16 – Creo 3.0
  • Solid Edge®: .par, .asm, .psm for V18 – ST8
  • STEP*

*File types now supported in SOLIDWORKS 2018

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What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Mesh Modeling Workflow

Friday, November 10th, 2017

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.

What's New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Mesh Modeling WorkflowThis 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.

What's New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Mesh Modeling WorkflowPreviously, 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:

What's New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Mesh Modeling WorkflowUsing 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.

What's New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Mesh Modeling WorkflowIf 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.

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!



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What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Measure Tool Enhancements

Monday, November 6th, 2017

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.

What's New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Measure Tool Enhancements

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.

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What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Color-Coded Folders in FeatureManager Design Tree

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

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.

What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Color-Coded Folders in FeatureManager Design Tree

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.

What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Color-Coded Folders in FeatureManager Design Tree

The color scheme for the folder icons is shown in the table below as well.

What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Color-Coded Folders in FeatureManager Design Tree

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!

What’s New SOLIDWORKS PDM 2018: Revision Table Integration

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

The new SOLIDWORKS PDM 2018 is packed with enhancements, but one of the most interesting is the revision table integration. Gone are the days of workarounds to both update the revision table in SolidWorks and to limit the amount of rows on that Revision table.

This exciting new feature will let you:

  • Read and write values from or to a SOLIDWORKS revision table.
  • Configure SOLIDWORKS PDM variables to automatically add information such as revision date, description, and approver to a new row in the table or to update the last row.
  • Change the mapped variable values in the file’s data card, the values in the table are updated and vice versa.
  • Updated automatically the revision table row by using 2 methods:
    1. Set variable transition actions, and
    2. Set Revision command.

Let’s take a look at this new feature and how we can make it work.

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What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Graphics Body Enhancements

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

SOLIDWORKS 2018 brings a number of enhancements to working with graphics bodies in SOLIDWORKS, which are documented in this blog and companion video. Graphics bodies result from importing a mesh file type into SOLIDWORKS. Mesh file types such as .OBJ or .STL are most commonly associated with 3D printing and 3D scanning, but may also come from other modelling software.

As graphics bodies represent tessellated geometry (a simplified representation made up of a mesh of triangles), historically they could only be used for limited visual reference. If even basic reverse engineering from the graphics body was desired, it typically required the use of an add-in such as ScanTo3D.

Now in SOLIDWORKS 2018 sketch entities can reference the mesh directly, allowing the ability to “sketch over” the mesh for manual remodeling or taking key measurements.

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What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Layers and Colors for Hatches

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Layers have been available for many years in SOLIDWORKS, allowing users to assign drawings entities to them and control many visual aspects including visibility as well as line color, thickness, and style. New in SOLIDWORKS 2018, hatches can be added to layers, providing even greater flexibility when working with cross sections or adding hatches manually. In this article, we’ll cover how to create layers, assign hatches to them, and control hatch color. For added flair, we’ll be working with the deadly, motorized fidget spinner shown below.

What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Layers and Colors for Hatches Figure 1 – Hawk Ridge Shuriken Fidget Spinner Assembly

Hatches are only available in drawings, and can be manually applied to closed contours/regions or automatically generated by cross section views. A quick cross section of the model shown in Figure 1 results in the drawing view shown below.

What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Layers and Colors for Hatches Figure 2 – Cross Section of Fidget Spinner Assembly

Before assigning the hatches to layers, the layers must first be created. Click Layer Properties to access the Layers dialog (as this command is not available in the menus or CommandManager by default, use the Search Commands option or enable the Layer toolbar in order to access it). If using a default template, a single FORMAT layer will be shown. Click New to add a new layer, optionally changing the name or adding a description. The remaining column icons can be used to toggle the layer visibility, printing, color, line style, and line thickness, respectively. In this example, 5 additional layers have been created with adjusted colors.

What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Layers and Colors for Hatches Figure 3 – Layers Dialog with 5 Added Layers (Colors Adjusted)

At this point, the hatches can be assigned to the created layers, and will inherit their visibility, print, and color properties (line style/thickness settings do not apply to hatches). Click a hatched region to reveal the Area Hatch/Fill PropertyManager, then (if necessary) click the Apply To dropdown to specify which portion of the view will be assigned to the new layer. Selections include the whole component, the selected region, the entire view, or a single body. Finally, click the Layer dropdown to select a new layer for the hatch. A checkbox under the Options group box can be selected to apply the changes immediately, or cleared to defer the changes until the Apply button is clicked.

What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Layers and Colors for Hatches Figure 4 – Area Hatch/Fill PropertyManager

If desired, the Material Crosshatch checkbox can be cleared to override the default material hatch pattern and make adjustments as needed. Simply click OK to save all changes. At this point, any further changes to layer properties will be reflected by the hatches assigned to them. If all hatches are added to a single layer, their visibility, print status, or color can be adjusted simultaneously in just a couple clicks.

What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2018: Layers and Colors for Hatches Figure 5 – Cross Section of Assembly with Colored Layers Applied to Hatches

Layers and colors for hatches are just one of many improvements this year, so be sure to check out our What’s New series for additional blogs and videos on all the new features included in SOLIDWORKS 2018. 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!


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