SolidWorks 2013–First Thoughts

Splash Screen - SolidWorks 2013

The official release of SolidWorks 2013 SP 0.0 last week also marked the 1st time that I have been able to get my hands on the newest major version of this software.  Most years I am eager to download all of the Beta releases and dig into the new software however this year time just didn’t lend itself to this approach very well.

Anyways, at first glance SolidWorks 2013 is aesthetically very similar to SolidWorks 2012.  One of the 1st things you will notice when you fire up 2013 for the 1st time is the description of what is loading/initializing being scrolled thru on the splash screen.  This gives you a good idea, if you pay attention, to what is exactly going on in the background while the software is launching (which I like).

The 2nd thing that I noticed once SolidWorks was started was the SolidWorks Forum tab on the Task Pane.

SolidWorks Forum - Task Pane

I really like this new option as I have found over the years it is 1) tough to keep up on some of the questions & topics happening in the forums and 2) it gives you quick access to starting a new discussion if you are struggling with a certain area of the software.

If you aren’t really paying attention at first, you might not notice a HUGE difference between 2012 & 2013 however, this release is loaded with new & improved features.  I will touch on some of these more in depth in the coming weeks.

For now, if you haven’t already downloaded SolidWorks 2013, I suggest you go ahead, download it and see what it has to offer your company even if you aren’t planning on rolling it out into production until a later service pack.

SolidWorks 2013 First Impressions

icon_solidworksOne of the most anticipated events at SolidWorks WORLD each year is the Wednesday morning General Session when all of the attendees get the first public sneak peak at the next major release.

This year was no different (other than that I didn’t get to see it live).  Introduced thru a Back to the Future skit that including a guest appearance from Jon Hirschtick, one of the founders of SolidWorks, that SolidWorks 2013 enhancements were sent out to the masses.  It is always good to keep in the back of your mind that not all of these enhancements make it to the first release but for the most part they do.

The complete list of 2013 enhancements along with some pictures can be found here at Ricky Jordan’s blog.

Here are some of the enhancements that I am most excited for / interested in (in not particular order).

  1. Revision Cloud – as someone that loves the idea of going paperless, I get excited about new features that can help assist in this.  One of my biggest annoyances at my job is document control when you have to print everything off so that they can get reviewed and marked up.  Hopefully, this will make this much better.
  2. Quick Filter in File Open – for anyone that has worked on a large project that has assembly, part, and drawings in a single Windows folder you will be able to appreciate this as much as I will.  I wish I could have seen this demonstrated so I had a better idea of how it will work.
  3. New Favorites Folder – I love my Windows favorites so I am excited to see what this is all about.  I am always a fool for UI changes.
  4. Hole Wizard Dowel Holes & Dowel Annotations in Drawings – because of my background of designing stamping dies we use a ton of dowel holes.  I am excited that SolidWorks will finally accommodate these better.
  5. Copy & Paste From DraftSight to SolidWorks – Dassault Systemes products talking together???  I love the idea and as someone with a ton of legacy data left in AutoCAD this will be very helpful.
  6. Backwards Compatibility – well, it sounds the start to something good but I am afraid that this is just a marketing ploy unfortunately.  I still can’t understand why a full backwards compatibility can not be available, if nothing else for just 1 release back (2013 –> 2012, 2014 –> 2013, etc.).  I understand the new tool argument but I can build a full feature tree off of an imported part, so why can’t SolidWorks do all of the work for me on existing functions and ask me how I would like to build features that were created with new tools.  However, this is a start so I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will be expanded in the future.

Well there are my Top 6 new enhancements that I am looking forward to seeing in Beta and then in the first 2013 release this fall.  What are your thoughts on these or you most anticipated new enhancements?