Solidworks 2015 has been out since September 2014, and the jury is in: developers managed to please users with a host of new features and improvements that make complicated tasks simple, fast, and more productive. The company was vocal about these “user driven” changes, and bloggers who have tried and reviewed the product are overwhelmingly positive about it. Here are the top changes for Solidworks 2015, but bear in mind, the changes and improvements are numerous and some are profound. Be sure to browse through the product guide so you’ll be able to take advantage of all those new bells and whistles.
Improving the Looks and Usability of Finished Products
The new version allows you to create asymmetrical fillets for surfaces, parts, and assemblies. This is particularly useful to users in the industries of high-tech product manufacturing, medical equipment, and consumer goods. You can now increase surfacing flexibility to allow for modeling of stylized designs such as ergonomic designs. The rendering setup is much quicker, and the software allows you to toggle between symmetrical and asymmetrical filets at any point. You can now maintain precise control over the edge shape and bias according to the intent of your design.
Creating More Accurate Layouts and Profiles
For CAD users in industries that depend heavily upon fabrics and other soft materials — such as clothing, footwear, and upholstery designers — you can create more accurate layout profiles to eliminate fitting issues at assembly by flattening your 3D design into the 2D presentation as if it were on the cutout and assembly line. Solidworks 2015 allows you to get feedback on deformities and export profiles for production more easily than ever.
Simplifying Machine Components
For users in the construction, automotive, and machine tools fields, the latest version of Solidworks allows you to automate roller chains, energy chains, and power transmission components so you can view the movement dynamically and check for interference instantly. This feature works for both open and closed chain paths, and automatically updates with the changes as you make them in the design.
Making it Easier to Review and Make Design Decisions
For users in the AEC and building industries, Solidworks now features thorough design capabilities for HVAC and cable tray layouts. You can create routing assemblies that are fully supported by Bill of Materials (BOM) and drawings upon completion. It also generates digital models for BIM, including files that can be shared and networked to allow for fast and easy collaboration and decision making. The new version also allows you to build custom libraries to support your product lines or projects.
In all, there are over 200 new features and improvements to tinker with. Solidworks 2015 is one of the most well-received CAD software developments of the past year. For CAD users, Cadalyst is the brand of CAD information provider that offers the most complete and up-to-date information about CAD. Are you looking for additional reviews on CAD hardware, software, and more? Visit the Cadalyst website for reviews, information, tips, tricks, and other great news you can use.
The big news for HSMWorks 2015 is its support for SolidWorks 2015, which was released in September of 2014. Since the Service Packs released frequently by HSMWorks are notably beefy, adding new features and improved functionality in between annual version releases, support for SolidWorks 2015 is the most notable update. However, version 2015 also has some other features and benefits to consider if it’s time to upgrade your software.
Improvements for Multiple CPU Systems
For CAM professionals using a multiple CPU system, HSMWorks 2015 offers noticeably more support for the latest generation of Intel processors, and supports up to 36 total core processors within a single system. This eliminates the bottleneck associated with software that only utilizes a single core.
The new version also reduces the amount of cycle time needed for processing, which increases the lifespan of the CPU. HSMWorks calls this feature Enhanced Adaptive Clearing technology for high-efficiency roughing. Version 2015 is also well suited to higher-end workstations because it allows for rapid toolpath calculation and post processing and makes last-minute changes easier. With HSMWorks 2015, engineers can get programs on the shop floor faster than with previous versions.
HSMXpress (available as a free download from the HSMWorks website) comes with 2D Adaptive Roughing strategy, and the full HSMWorks 2015 version comes with both 2D and 3D Adaptive Roughing strategy. Not only does this popular feature reduce cycle times, but it improves tool life by utilizing better toolpath algorithms. Version 2015 offers more control with the “Stay Down Level” tab and the ability to avoid chatter and reduce tool wear.
Improved 3D Capabilities
Version 2015 also offers better 3D simulation capabilities, which is most useful for users in the mold and die industry, as well as users who work with larger models and sculpted surfaces. It features “Fast 3D Mode,” which is useful for more complicated endeavors, as well as the “Simulate” function that users of HSMXpress will easily recognize.
Simulations of HSMWorks 2015 are more visually accurate and give a better idea of how the process will perform before implementation. This version makes it easier to hone and fine-tune everything before hitting the green button on the CNC machine. Specifically, the “Show Stock” feature has been improved, and it now takes less than two seconds to simulate a realistic or common 3D toolpath.
You can download HSMXpress for free, and it comes with a free 30-day trial of HSMWorks 2015 so that users can decide whether the new features and functionality are worth the investment. HSMXpress and HSMWorks are compatible with SolidWorks 2013 or later, and requires Windows 7 or Windows 8 General Release (32- or 64-bit, though 64-bit is recommended), and dual or quad core processors. Minimum display resolution is 1,024 x 768 with true color (1,600 x 1,050 with true color is recommended).
For CAD users, Cadalyst is the brand of CAD information provider that offers the most complete and up-to-date information about CAD. Get even more reviews, news, tips, and tricks on CAD workstations, software, and more at the Cadalyst website today.
Optimizing hardware for SolidWorks is essential for getting the most out of this heavy-hitting CAD application, as we’ve discussed on CADspeed previously. So we were thrilled when the SolidWorks forum addressed this very issue recently on their forums.
The key to getting the most out of SolidWorks, or any CAD application for that matter, is ensuring your hardware can handle the workload. Remember that your situation is unique. In simple terms, two users using the same software on the same system may have very different perspectives on their workload efficiency if one is using 3D rendering and the other is not. Consider your needs first and foremost.
On the flip side, if you know you need new hardware, simply buying the most expensive machine may not pay off in the long run either. Think in terms of your productivity while shopping for a new workstation to get the most for your budget, hopefully with a little room to grow for those inevitable upgrades.
That said, here’s a summary of the recommendations straight from SolidWorks themselves.
RAM (Random-Access Memory)
The amount of RAM you need depends less on SolidWorks and more on the number of applications you run at the same time, plus the size and complexity of your SolidWorks parts, assemblies and drawings. SolidWorks recommends you have enough RAM to work with your common applications (i.e., Microsoft Office, email, etc.) and load your SolidWorks documents at the same time.
Processor speed is another key factor when selecting the right hardware for you. It’s hard to sort through all the different options though, so we recommend testing a system with your actual models. SolidWorks also offers a helpful Performance Test, which offers a standardized test for determining performance of your major system components (i.e., CPU, I/O, video) when working with SolidWorks datasets. Even better, when you complete the SolidWorks Performance Test, you have an option to share your score with others. This gives you, and other community members, a sense of where a system stands relative to others. Nice!
Note that SolidWorks and some of its add-ons (PhotoView 360) have some multithreaded capabilities, so the application can use the second processor or multiple cores. But SolidWorks says that rebuilds are single threaded and therefore rebuilds generally will not be faster with multiple CPUs or cores.
The size of your hard drive or solid-state drive should be based on the disk space you need. Take a look at all your system’s components: operating system, applications and documents. If you work primarily on a network, your needs may be different than those who primarily use their local drive. Don’t forget to develop a back-up plan for your data, if you don’t already have one. (You do have one, right?)
The very nature of CAD software requires a good workstation-level graphics card and driver. You are probably going to need at least a mid-range card, if not a high-end card, depending on the type of CAD work you do. For graphics cards, we recommend starting with the SolidWorks Certified Graphics Cards and System, because SolidWorks has done the testing for you.
Can’t get enough about hardware configurations for SolidWorks? Check out this great post from SolidWorks on their forums. Or learn more about the minimum requirements for SolidWorks.
The latest version of SolidWorks® 3D design software offers fully integrated tools for users to easily leverage the power of 3D graphics. Using RealView, users can create realistic looking models due to real-time rendering capability of photorealistic lighting, reflection, shadowing and surface texture in the design workflow. PhotoView 360 allows users to create photo realistic images and animation.
In order for users to get the best performance out of RealView and PhotoView 360, it is very important for them to have the right graphics card in place. Users sometimes make the mistake of choosing a consumer level or a gaming graphics card, or just selecting the most expensive graphics card out there. However, when it comes to taking advantage of the features in SolidWorks, a bigger and an expensive graphics card may not always be better.
Interface for Selecting Graphics Card
To help users make the right choice, SolidWorks provides an interface to select the graphics card that will ensure system performance and stability. This interface provides the options to select the computer vendor, computer model, graphics card vendor, graphics card model, and operating system, as well as SolidWorks version. It also provides the flexibility to select after market graphics card.
SolidWorks Test Results
This interface provides the results of various tests SolidWorks performed on the graphics cards. If a card has limitations or notes they will be indicated within the results. All these cards are tested in house at SolidWorks. This interface is used to help you find the right graphics card driver for your system to ensure system performance and stability. SolidWorks tests and certifies graphics card drivers for each version of SolidWorks and supported Operating Systems.
Thus the resource allows users to not only select the certified graphics cards for running SolidWorks, but also download the latest graphics cards drivers.
Author: Shantanu Kedar, Partner Technical Marketing Manager, DS SolidWorks Corp