SolidWorks 2012 – My Favorites

Posted on September 7th, 2011. Posted In Software Review

When I ventured back to Boston on vacation a couple of weeks ago, I made my annual pilgrimage to SolidWorks headquarters in Concord, Mass. I’d gone with the hope of meeting up with a few friends and doing a few interviews. However, Kristen Wilson, PR Manager for SolidWorks, managed to wrangle me a two-hour preview of SolidWorks 2012. I can’t even begin to tell you how appreciative I am of that. I definitely felt pretty damn special. I’m not going to go over every single one of the 200+ improvements that are in this latest offering from SolidWorks, I’m going to just highlight those that made me giddy.

Jeremy Regnerus, with assistance from Mathieu Fourcade, went over a bunch of the improvements that are in 2012. The ones that caught my eye, and that will probably catch the eye of many long time users, are the ones that Jeremy referred to as “delighters”. As soon as he started showing them, I wholeheartedly agreed. Let’s start with one that we were promised two years ago, FEATURE FREEZE! Yup, it’s for real. You can decide whether features will rebuild or not. No, seriously, it’s for real. I wouldn’t joke about this, especially with the pain I’ve suffered over the past year creating all sorts of complex models. Oh, yeah, it’s available for configurations too.

If you’ve used 3D Via, you’ve probably wondered why there aren’t any magnetic lines in SolidWorks drawings. Wonder no more, my friends, they’re there now. For those of you unfamiliar with magnetic lines, they’ll help you when you’re trying to neaten up all those bubbles on your drawings. I remember being at the blogger event for 2011 and seeing these in 3D Via and immediately asking why it wasn’t available in SolidWorks. Ask and ye shall receive…

Ever use equations? Ever have them blow up because of a change you made? Ever wished there was an ‘easy’ button to fix things when they get out of whack? The equation editor will not only help you with the syntax (ala Excel’s formula bar), it’ll also reorder your equations so that they’ll solve properly. Yeah, that’s pretty sweet isn’t it?

Do you ever create sheetmetal parts? Ever needed to sweep a flange? You guessed it, you can now. Oh, and they’ve improved form tools as well, making them easier to work with including configurations. They work more like the hole wizard now and will behave much nicer than in the past.

Man, what else? How about ‘Ctrl+A’ to select everything in the tree? Dual monitor support, and I don’t mean just stretching your screen all the way across. The ability to open up a sub-assembly from the assembly’s drawing. Command search. Sequential Balloons. These are just some of the ‘Delighters’ that I was shown. I can honestly say I wish I had time to beta test as I can not wait to start using 2012.

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