On September 22nd, I had the opportunity to be at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in Boston to get a first-hand look at some of the new stuff coming out in SOLIDWORKS 2016. (A quick aside here–if you get the chance to be in Boston, check out the institute, it’s pretty cool.) This rollout was different than ones I’d been to in the past at SOLIDWORKS HQ. Normally it’s pretty much just industry media and SOLIDWORKS bloggers. This time, however, there were users attending as well which made it more like a SWUGN Summit than a rollout. What remained normal was the format, for the most part. We first heard from various members of the SOLIDWORKS brass who gave us an overview of the company’s health, some of the new things in 2016 and some glimpses into the future. This is how it usually goes at these rollouts, fluff before the filling.
After an absolutely delicious lunch, the bloggers and users went to a meeting room to get the filling: demos of much of the new functionality in 2016. Our tour guides for this foray were Ian Hogg and Mark Schneider, who did an excellent job. (Yes, Jeremy, you were missed). Rather than go through every single change, I’m just going to point out the ones I liked the most.
For those of you who haven’t looked at 2016 yet, the first thing you’ll notice is that the UI is completely new. Naturally, this has set off the same type of uproar that we saw when SOLIDWORKS last changed it in 2008.
The first thing you’ll notice is that all of the icons have changed in appearance. For some it’s just color changes, others it’s color and design. Personally, while taken back a bit at first, I’ve found that they’re growing on me. As with the 2008 change, I suspect that people will become used to it with time. Why did they make this particular UI change? The biggest reason was to support high resolution, high pixel density displays.
Once you get past the initial shock and start working with 2016, you’ll start to notice other things. I’d say the first one will be the “bread crumbs” display. This feature is context -based depending on what you’ve selected.
The benefit to this new display is, among other things, a very quick view of what a feature or part is tied to, up and down the tree. It also allows you to hide the tree, providing more graphic real estate. This last point isn’t as important as it would have been 5+ years ago when screens weren’t as big as they are these days.
Know how when you select entities in a sketch you get that toolbar that disappears as soon as you make a selection? Well, in 2016 RMB with one or more entities selected will give you a toolbar that will remain there while you’re selecting relationships. Once you move away, or choose something other than a relationship, it’ll fade away.
SOLIDWORKS 2016 gives us the ability to copy multiple components at one while keeping the mates between them. Man, that’s just sweet, isn’t it?
While we’re talking about mates, how about being able to replace failed mate references globally? Yup, you can do that in 2016!
Also, you can set the Mate Property Manager so that the first component you select becomes transparent, aiding in the selection of subsequent parts.
SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard – This should probably have its own post, and maybe it will down the road, but I wanted to mention it here. PDM Standard is replacing Workgroup PDM, and thank God it is. It’s more powerful, with a SQL Express backbone, and works right out of Explorer. I’ve been messing around with it for a couple of months and am excited to get it into our production environment.
PhotoView 360 now has “proof sheet”. This lets you make changes to lighting and see the results quickly.
Sweeps now support bi-directional sweeps! This one made me smile a bit. But, even bigger than this is SOLIDWORKS now automagically will cut threads! No more thread profile sketch pierced by your helix. Just Insert>Feature>Thread. So much awesomeness there.
There is a ton more of stuff that was improved for SOLIDWORKS 2016 and you can find it all here.