Solidworks 2017 reviews
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SolidWorks 2017 consists of a suite of product development software from Dassault Systèmes. Likely the most familiar offering, and what this review will focus on, is their 3D CAD software. Offered in several packages (Standard, Professional, and Premium), the software provides the ability to quickly and efficiently create part and assembly designs. We’ll dive into the details of each later. Additional software options with SolidWorks 2017 along with a brief description are listed below:
- 3D Experience
A collaborative conceptual design product that helps you develop and review concepts before committing to detailed design and manufacturing.
(formerly known as Bunkspeed) – A suite of standalone product visualization software tools that combine rendering capabilities with design-oriented features and workflows.
Creates real-world conditions in a virtual environment to evaluate product design across a broad range of parameters.
- Product Data Management
Allows for secure storage and indexing of design data, version control, and sharing and collaboration with internal and external customers.
- Technical Communication
Consists of three separate packages aimed at different communication deliverables.
Composer allows you to easily repurpose existing 3D design data to create and update high-quality graphical assets rapidly.
Inspection automates the creation of inspection drawings and inspection sheets and leverages your existing 2D data.
Model-Based Definition (MBD) helps define, organize, and publish 3D Product Manufacturing Information and guides the manufacturing process directly in 3D.
- Technical Communication
Includes several options for Printed Circuit Board design, electrical schematics, and the integration of electrical designs into 3D models
New Features for SolidWorks 2017
More core power and performance, and new capabilities for emerging technologies are the major improvements for 2017. Dassault Systèmes breaks these improvements down into five key feature areas:
SolidWorks 2017 PCB is the innovative new addition to the SolidWorks software. This new tool combines the ease of use you expect from a SolidWorks product with Altium’s experience in electronics design to integrate your product’s electronic and mechanical design
Dassault gathered user feedback to create an improved user experience and new tools. More specifically, modeling power has been increased, and chamfers, fillets, and advanced hole specifications have additional features and advanced options. The process for creating complex 3D geometries, which would have required a workaround in the past, has been greatly improved. Users can now create geometry on any surface, drag and drop features into place, and more. Lastly, large assemblies have been simplified through the introduction of Magnetic Mates, which easily organize equipment and space, as well as new ways of repositioning and publishing models.
A faster Simulation reduces the time required for product analysis, and introduces several new tools. You can now input parameters and have Simulation automatically make logical decisions. Other tools allow you to quickly identify stress hot spots, instantly convert studies, and more clearly communicate results using RealView.
3D Interconnect provides new capabilities for working with both neutral and native CAD data. You can maintain direct integration of native CAD files, directly open imported files, and more easily update part and assembly files with Update Model. The other main upgrade, eDrawings, enables visualization of a wide variety of product design data. eDrawings also allows you to view more native CAD formats, manipulate CAD formats like any other eDrawings file, access product data from more places, and add 3D reality to design views.
- Build & Manage
SolidWorks MBD and Product Data Management (PDM) both received enhancements for 2017. MBD now offers a more intuitive dimensioning process, more accurate dimensioning of molded and cast parts, more control over the accuracy level, file size, and quality of 3D PDF files, and more. PDM’s new features include the option to overwrite versions in Vault and enhanced support for MBD and 3D Interconnect.
There is any number of competitors and alternatives to SolidWorks 2017, and their features, capabilities, and costs are equally diverse. Autodesk is another leader in 3D CAD software, offering products such as AutoCAD, Inventor, and Fusion 360. SketchUp is primarily a 3D modeling software but offers the ability to create 2D drawings and more. Pro/Engineer (Pro/E) from PTC is yet another option for product development software. A quick Google search shows SolidWorks leading the pack at about 20% of market share, with several Autodesk products next in line (Fusion360 at approximately 15%, AutoCAD at 8%, and Inventor at 7%), and Pro/E in sixth place with about 4%.
Dassault Systèmes offers a variety of purchasing options for commercial, academic, and research applications. Product pricing is not directly available on the SolidWorks software website but can be easily obtained. You have the option of contacting SolidWorks Sales, getting an automated quote online, or finding a reseller.