It’s been a while since a big change in SOLIDWORKS. This year’s version has some new features that I’m sure you will appreciate, because these are the features that did exist already in some other CAD packages and it’s only about time SOLIDWORKS added them. Let’s go over 8 of these features and tools in this post.
This is a tool that just like its name, creates cross-sectional drawings of a model on several parallel planes with the custom defined distance that cut that model, in 2D sketch format.
How to use it: The model below was created in SOLIDWORKS 2022 to make this example. See fig.1, it’s an odd geometry that is created by LOFT.
Since you are reading this blog, you probably don’t know where the SLICING tool is. Therefore, first go to the search bar on the top right corner, and search for SLICING until you see that feature and select it.
To begin using this tool, pick a plane or a flat surface on one side of the model. Pick the number of planes and the distance to recreate the parallel planes. These will be the planes to slice your model and the cross-section appears on the planes.
When to use it or why? You might ask yourself in what scenario is this a useful tool and it’s a just question. There are a few cases where that I can think of that this tool could be of help in SOLIDWORKS. Here is my list:
1- Mesh bodies: When you import a mesh body e.g. STL, OBJ, … you can only view the model and there is not much you can do to edit it. You can use this tool to create the cross-sections to recreate that model as a SLDPRT; something you can edit much easier. Although, it’s not perfect.
2- Modifying the part: Once you have all the cross-sections you wanted mapped on planes, you could go ahead and manually edit one or more of them and use loft to recreate the modified version of the original model.
3- Being creative: By getting the outer surface of an odd geometry mapped on a plane, you could create a wireframe of that geometry to put it to use for other purposes that I cannot think of right now. But I’m sure it can be helpful in a certain different situation.
No.2 Partial Fillet & Chamfer
About time! This is what I have always wished for SOLIDWORKS. Now they have added it to the 2022 version. This modification allows the user to define the length of their chamfer or fillet over the length of a selected edge. And it is done as simple as dragging the two end points of your chamfer/fillet and bringing it to the wished position along the selected edge. This is my favorite update in SOLIDWORKS 2022.
No.3 Modifying the Circular Pattern
Dassault Systems has modified the smartness of their circular pattern tool in SOLIDWORKS 2022 and it’s not limited to the one I’m about to share with you.
In the older versions of SOLIDWORKS, when you patterned a feature or a body circularly, you were bound to the distance you defined for the whole pattern, with the exception of SKIPPING some of the instances. Now in the 2022 version, you can manually change the angle of individual instances manually. It means the whole angle you set for the pattern, can be manually adjusted for each instance.
How to do it: You must check the INSTANCES TO VARY on the property manager on the left to activate this option, then you must simply click on that instance or instances that you want to vary, and just type the new angle in the pop-up box next to it.
No.4 Double Mirroring
This is that +1 in the title (7+1)! Because this update is not limited to SOLIDWORKS 2022 and if I’m not wrong it did exist in the later service packs of SOLIDWORKS 2021 as well. But now it’s much more prominent. You can mirror a feature or a body about two different planes or flat surfaces at once which can cut your mirroring time in half, because you had to use the mirror tool two times. The how, is rather easy and self-explanatory so I am not going to explain it but you can refer to fig. 8 below for further details.
No.5 Edge Flange
Not all SOLIDWORKS users work with the sheet metal module, but for the ones who do, you now have the opportunity to add an edge flange even for a bent sheet at once, which is a nice touch and a time saving tool.
No.6 Color Picker
Before this, I only saw this ability in Photoshop, but now in SOLIDWORKS 2022 you can pick a color from anywhere on your screen, whether on or off SOLIDWORKS to apply it on to your model. Simply pick the color-picker and drag it anywhere to pick that RGB code and apply it to the part, surface or etc.
No.7 3D Texture Tool
This might be your favorite update in SOLIDWORKS 2022 as it allows you to change the texture on a surface super quick, easily and very comfortably. The 3D texture tool is nothing new, it has always existed in SOLIDWORKS, and you could apply a black and white pattern onto a surface or a whole body and then apply the height difference between the black areas and the white areas. But in SOLIDWORKS 2022, you have a drop-down menu that allows you to change the texture between dimples, ribs, etc. very quickly with a real-time preview which is a very valuable tool. Imagine you want to design a handle for the medical use, something you would design of the operation. Usually during the operation, the surgeons’ gloves get bloody and hence, very slippery, so preferably, you would want your device to have a rough surface to create a better grip for the surgeon. Now you can apply the roughness in a much more convenient way.
No.8 Section View from Cylindrical faces
SOLIDWORKS 2022 has added a new cool feature that allows you to create a cross-sectional plane that cuts a cylindrical face automatically in half, so you don’t have to spend time to create a custom plane first. To activate this option, you can click on the section view as before, and click on fourth option which is added newly, Cylinder or axis. Then you will see the section view that cuts your cylinder in half. below, the red arrow points to the fourth option to activate it, and the green arrow shows the selected surface on the model to make it happen.