New Features in SOLIDWORKS MBD 2019

SOLIDWORKS MBD was introduced in 2015 as a way to incorporate product manufacturing information (PMI) directly on a 3D model. Utilizing a model with PMI saves time by avoiding the need to create a traditional 2D drawing. We can also read this PMI in downstream applications like SOLIDWORKS CAM and SOLIDWORKS Inspection.

MBD 2019 includes some great new enhancements, such as full support for sheet metal users,a new publishing preview window, and some new security tools to keep your intellectual property safe and protected.

If you haven’t had a chance to work with MBD in a few years, the 2019 release provides a great opportunity to take a second look.

New Names for the Command Manager Tabs

One of the first things you’ll notice about MBD 2019 is a simple update to the Command Manager.

Figure 1. In SOLIDWORKS 2019 the tab for “SOLIDWORKS MBD” has been renamed “MBD.”

As you can see in Figure 1, the tab formerly known as “SOLIDWORKS MBD” has been renamed “MBD.”

Figure 2. In SOLIDWORK 2019 the tab for “DimXpert” has been renamed “MBD Dimensions.”

And as shown in Figure 2, you can see that in SOLIDWORKS 2019 the tab formerly known as “DimXpert” has been renamed “MBD Dimensions.”


One of the greatest enhancements to MBD 2019 is the inclusion of functionality for sheet metal users as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. An output sheet metal project in SOLIDWORKS MBD 2019 utilizing a bend table.

Although previous versions of MBD enabled users to create PMI for the formed sheet metal part, there were no tools to address the specific challenge of detailing a flattened sheet metal model. In MBD 2018, there wasn’t yet the ability to show bend lines and locations, nor did the software provide the ability to add a bend table to a PMI package.

SOLIDWORKS MBD 2019 addresses these challenges with an entirely new set of tools for sheet metal users. You can now create PMI for sheet metal in both the formed and flattened states as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. In MBD 2019 you can show details for sheet metal parts in both the formed and flattened states.

Sheet metal users in MBD 2019 can also add dimensions to bend locations, add bend notes, and add bend tables to their PMI package.

Another great enhancement in MBD 2019 for sheet metal users occurs when outputting a project. When a sheet metal user chooses to publish their MBD data using SOLIDWORKS 2019, they will see an option to “Create and attach STEP 242 file” (shown in Figure 5).

Figure 5. Using the new “Create and attach STEP 242” function to create a flat sheet metal output.

Using this option will create a PDF containing all the required PMI for the formed and flattened versions of the sheet metal model, but it will also create a new STEP file containing the model in a flattened state. Users can save time in MBD 2019 by no longer needing to manually export the flat version of their sheet metal designs for use in the manufacturing process.

Set TextScale per View

Sometimes we like to detail top-level assembly views with larger dimension fonts (see Figure 6). This could be a great way to give a customer a quick overview of the general size of the project. In previous versions of MBD, all views had to share the same font size.

Figure 6. A PDF of an output MBD project showing an assembly view, with Text FONT is set to large.

In Figure 6, you can see the output of a speakerbox assembly using MBD 2019. Before capturing the 3D View in SOLIDWORKS, we specified that the annotations should display at a scale of 4:1, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7. Setting the text scale to 4:1 before capturing a 3D View in MBD 2019.

However, in this example, we also wanted to capture a view of one of the parts from this assembly. This view has far more dimensions, so we wanted to capture them in a smaller text scale (see Figure 8).

Figure 8. A PDF of an output MBD project showing a single part view, with Text FONT is set to small.

Figure 8 shows a different 3DView from the output PDF (which is the same PDF as that shown in Figure 6). Since this view has far more dimensions, we wanted to capture the dimensions text in a smaller scale. This can be done by adjusting the text scale in SOLIDWORKS, as shown in Figure 9, and then capturing the 3D View.

Figure 9. Setting the text scale to 1:1 before capturing a 3D View in MBD 2019.

With the ability to set text fonts to different sizes to provide different views, you can more clearly convey to your customers the intent of your design.

New PublisherPreview Window

Once you’ve finished adding PMI to your model, you’re ready to publish. MBD 2019 users will be excited to see the new 3D PDF Publishing Preview window. This preview window makes it clearer what the final 3D PDF will look like (see Figure 10).

Figure 10. The new PublisherPreview window in MBD 2019.

After choosing to publish your MBD views, SOLIDWORKS 2019 will ask you to select a template for the layout of your 3D PDF. This template will display as a preview in the SOLIDWORKS Viewport. Any new views that you add or adjust will update in the preview, which helps to ensure that your 3D PDF will look just right—the very first time.

New Security Settings

Lastly, MBD 2019 has some great enhancements to secure and protect your intellectual property (see Figure 11).

Figure 11. Accessing the new security settings in MBD 2019.

When publishing to 3D PDF, you can set a password to prevent unauthorized users from Opening, Editing, Printing and/or Copying the 3D PDF (see Figure 12).

Figure 12. Setting a password to disable Printing, Editing, Opening and Copying of the 3D PDF.

MBD 2019 has also added a security option to include only the graphical data from your models as shown in Figure 13.

Figure 13. A new option to include only the graphical data for the model.

This is a great security measure to use when you are sending out 3D PDFs to vendors for a quote (aka “review only”) without including the important underlying B-rep model geometry.


By utilizing PMI, SOLIDWORKS MBD 2019 enables users to save time by avoiding the creation of a fully dimensioned 2D drawing. Since the manufacturing team is receiving the 3D model (included in your PMI package), they don’t need a traditional 2D drawing that has a dimension created to every single feature on the model.

And, as a bonus, because the model contains PMI(which includes tolerance information), this model can be utilized in downstream applications such as SOLIDWORKS CAM and SOLIDWORKS Inspection, saving your team even more time and money.

If you haven’t taken a look at MBD in a few years, 2019 is a great build that includes lots of nice enhancements to help you save time and protect your data.


About the Author

Toby Schnaars is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert from Philadelphia, Pa. He has been working with SOLIDWORKS software since 1998 and has been providing training, technical support, and tips and tricks since 2001.

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