Here’s What to Vote for in the Next SOLIDWORKS
If you are a SOLIDWORKS user, January is the best time of the year to make your voice heard loud and clear by the SOLIDWORKS Product Definition Team. This is the month when the voting phase opens on the Top 10 Ideas Contest, an annual tradition that precedes the 3DEXPERIENCE World Conference, previously known as SOLIDWORKS World.
Figure 1. Top 10 list – 2022.
As we stated in the last year’s article on the same topic, the Product Definition Team works tirelessly throughout the year to pick the brains of the SOLIDWORKS users throughout the world in order to collect the best enhancement requests. They do that by using the Enhancement Request Program, participating on the SOLIDWORKS Forum and performing hundreds of in-person and virtual visits to see directly how the software is actually used in the real world and hear how to further improve it to address these real-world use cases.
In the months preceding the 3DEXPERIENCE World event, ideas for enhancing the software can be submitted and voted on in the Top 10 Ideas competition. As you will see, the voting process is very simple but only a small fraction of the 6 million SOLIDWORKS users will get involved. Most of them are too busy solving the challenges in their daily jobs to take the time to properly write and submit enhancement requests. As a result, most of the inspired ideas to improve SOLIDWORKS, the “Eureka” moments, are never communicated to the developers.
Even finding the time to read and vote on all the ideas submitted by users (there were 347 ideas this year alone) could prove difficult for many users.
If you are one of those busy users, this article will help you. Here we have a curated list of hyperlinks for the ideas we believe will make the most positive impact on your usage of SOLIDWORKS. To vote for them, simple click the hyperlink and press the like button (Figure 2). [Ed. You will have to have a Dassault Systèmes account.]
Figure 2. Like = vote.
Currently, SOLIDWORKS has quite a few areas that use multicore processing, including:
- Processing drawing views.
- Computing graphics tessellation.
- Allowing assembly and drawing manipulation (zoom in/out, pan) during the opening phase.
- Performing renderings.
- Performing simulation studies.
While inside a history-based part model, most operations must be processed sequentially—but there are a lot of other opportunities for multi-core processing. These are a few examples where SOLIDWORKS could take advantage of more CPU cores:
- Updating inactive drawing sheets in background.
- Updating inactive configurations.
- Gathering data for the Assembly Visualization list.
- Loading components body data when an assembly opens.
Breadcrumbs were a gamechanger for the productivity of SOLIDWORKS power users, allowing them to keep their eyes on the model in the graphics area and not require looking at the feature manager tree. Thus, they could focus on designing, not on hunting for planes, bodies, subassemblies or mates.
Currently, in an assembly, clicking a component shows its mates just above the breadcrumbs. It would be even more useful if double clicking the editable mates (distance, angle) allowed editing it in the graphics area similar to double clicking an editable mate in the feature tree.
3. Ability to Replace Templates – AKA “Copy Document Properties Wizard”
Reading the description on the SOLIDWORKS website, we were confused because there can be no templates in the part or assembly files. After some head scratching, we were able to determine that the enhancement allows us to copy document properties from one file to another. Something similar to the functionality of the Copy Settings Wizard (which applies to System Options), but geared towards document properties.
Figure 6. Copy document properties wizard.
This will be extremely beneficial for CAD admins and power users if it can be applied to multiple files at a time (based on folders or other sorting criteria).
SOLIDWORKS has improved the patterns tremendously in the last releases, but there is always the opportunity to do more.
One SOLIDWORKS user pointed out that another CAD program has settings that allow for staggering successive rows to produce patterns like this with one feature:
Such a feature would save this company a lot of time, while also shrinking the feature manager tree.
All that is required is adding two fields in the property manager of the linear pattern related to staggering direction and dimensions.
This idea’s title perfectly captures the intent. If you experienced frustration in the past when facing dangling dimensions, you will vote for it.
6. When Parent Features are Suppressed, Children Should Have the Option to Remain Unsuppressed and Dangling or Having the External Relations Frozen
In a part, if feature B references feature A and you delete feature A, feature B fails but isn’t deleted—and it can be repaired.
But if you suppress feature A, feature B is automatically suppressed and can’t be edited. A user would like to be able to suppress feature A and “freeze” feature B so that it can be edited and have its references changed so it is not dependent on feature A anymore.
This idea is a gem that has gone unnoticed by the voters. Imagine you have a screw inserted 100 times in an assembly in various locations. All instances of the screw are mated.
Now, add a nut to the screw and mate it. Then simply use the new Duplicate Pattern to instantly copy the nut to all existing instances of the screw, along with its mates related to the original screw.
Genius? I know!
8. Ability to Redefine the Horizontal Direction in a Sketch, By Selecting an Existing Edge or a Line from Another Sketch
Currently the only way to rotate or mirror “the paper” onto which a 2D Sketch was drawn is by using the Modify tool. It accepts only numerical values for rotation.
Imagine how useful such a tool would be if aligning sketches would work like the Align Drawing View command (Figures 13 and 14).
The title says it all. Imagine how much time you would save if you could pattern:
- Coordinate systems
Currently the Variable Pattern can do some of that in a limited capability, but there is so much more that users need.
A simple example: attaching notes to BOM balloons. When the balloon moves, the note follows.
This will take the current grouping functionality to another level.
Call for Action
The goal of this article is to make it very easy for any user to vote on a curated list of ideas. If you like any of them, voting is as simple as click and like.
We are sure that once you see how easy is to read the rest of the ideas, you may want to spend more time in the Top Ten List Community and find even more ideas worth voting for.
If you want to see which of the ideas made the Top Ten, you can attend this virtual session at 3DEXPERIENCE World 2022.
Learn about all the SOLIDWORKS 2022 enhancements with the ebook SOLIDWORKS 2022 Enhancements to Streamline and Accelerate Your Entire Product Development Process.
About the Author
As an Elite AE and Senior Training and Process Consultant, working for Javelin Technologies – a Trimech company, Alin Vargatu is a Problem Hunter and Solver.
He has presented 31 times at 3DEXPERIENCE World and SOLIDWORKS World, once at SLUGME and tens of times at SWUG meetings in Canada and the United States. His blog and YouTube channel are well known in the SOLIDWORKS Community.
In recognition for his activity in the SOLIDWORKS Community, at 3DEXPERIENCE World 2021, the SWUGN (SOLIDWORKS User Group Network) awarded the SOLIDWORKS AE of the Year title to Alin Vargatu.