Day 3: What’s New in 2013

The General Session for Day 3 is about to start in another hour or so. Day 3 is when they talk about what is going to happen in the next version of the software. So far, the general sessions have been light on info about the software.

If you can listen live, Lou Gallo has been live blogging at this address:, and Bruce Buck is giving a live a/v feed from here:

Other wise, I’ll have my mouth to the firehose, trying to pick out things that interest me. If you watch the Twitter feed on #sww12, it’s pretty much the same thing coming from 10 different people spaced out over 10 minutes. Hopefully there are more nuggets to pick out today than previous days…

Keep pecking F5 to refresh…

If you’re interested in seeing videos of SWW from the SW Youtube site, go here:

Pawel Keska and Neil Custard were #2 and #1 respectively for Model Mania

Mike Spens from GoEngineer was #1 for resellers

1.25 million educational licenses

top ten list

#10 thread creation wizard

#9 no rotation on mates

#8 Esc returns control of interface

#7 dimensions stay where you place them

#6 control orientation of planes

#5 reduce boundary box of drawing views

#4 shaded with edges bleed through

#3 dangle children, don’t delete

#2 place a point at the CG

#1 use more cpu cores


Fielder: “What the future holds in 3d social experience”


Back to the Feature spoof.

…looks like all SolidWorks users will ride skateboards… and look like Ferris Beuler

Prius is the new Back To The Future car.

John Hirschtick steals the SolidWorks name after overhearing it after Marty travels back in time…


New 2013 features:

  • identify which parts draining the graphics card most
  • section expert
  • revision cloud, bubble notes and comments
  • show hidden bodies in parts
  • edrawing markup import to SW drawing
  • snapshots in any doc
  • simulation submodeling
  • bounding box cut list properties
  • 3dvia composer cameras
  • Biff-pad (etch a sketch) uses Biff-CAD (it’s just a joke)
  • more envelope functionality
  • inserting components one after another
  • multiple exploded views in a single configuration
  • rotated exploded views
  • feature favorites in feature manager
  • cosmetic thread display improvements
  • dowel holes in hole wizard
  • plastic boss mount control
  • surface intersect (sounds like replace face)
  • multiple contour thin feature
  • enter equations in any propertymanager
  • vary pattern dimensions
  •  sp5 of previous version will open next version files
  • epdm and draftsight improvements

Bertrand Sicot

where are they going for SWW13?

Swan and Dolphin, Disney, Orlando.


I’m also hearing, semi-officially I guess that the new platform will be called SolidWorks V6, but the individual software products (CAD, FEA, PDM…) on the platform will have their own names.


What’s my take on this?  Some of these are so overdue in the software that people must yawn hearing the same things over and over. But notice that most of the user requests are aimed at CAD functions. Users want CAD. CAD vendors will one day figure out that PLM is aimed at a different set of customers, and you can’t just replace CAD with PLM. It’s like using a bandsaw to paint your house.

2013 features? Some stuff that sounds usable. Open later version files is cool. Now that SW is at end of life, and there is nothing to lose, they finally open it up. Since it’s starting with 2012, I don’t think it will wind up having a lot of  value in the end. The envelopes and surface intersect sound like existing functionality that few people use. 3dvia??? Really? Leave it off the list. They’re still trying to sell that overpriced niche product.

Plastic boss mount? Did they figure out that they could have made a screw boss feature, but didn’t?  Equations in propmgrs is long overdue. Dowel holes are long overdue. Cosmetic threads is a bug fix. Exploded views is long overdue. Inserting components – the assembly workflow has been broken for years. Lets see if this just breaks it a different way or if it fixes the current mess. Show hidden bodies in parts? Existing functionality. Learn to use the software.

The good ideas are all long overdue.

27 Replies to “Day 3: What’s New in 2013”

  1. Rick McWilliams :
    PDM should be transparent. CAD data should not be hidden inside an inscrutable database. I need to protect my work from corruption. I sometimes hide copies of my work in inaccessible directories. This is especially important when “upgrading” to the new version, it can mangle every referenced file.
    Look at the contents of a Solidworks file. It is a mess; much useless data, bulky data representation, history of modifications for features that no longer exist, and other crap. It is 1200X larger than necessary.
    I do not have confidence that SW can make a reliable CAD data structure.

    look at catia v6 – you are not even able to save a catpart file. if that’s not the agenda (long-term) for swx, then i don’t know what it is…

  2. @Kevin De Smet
    “Even though it’s extremely confusing how it’s just a service pack that will allow it.”

    SP05 of a release comes out after the FCS of the next release (by which time the file format changes in the new release are frozen) – that’s what makes this feature possible at all.

  3. matt :
    Your tools are going to change whether you want them to or not.

    No way, you say?

    Yeah. There is. Don’t switch your hammers, blacksmith.

    Wanna be productive? Stay with the tools you have. This has been my point all along.

    Do you remember when there was a new version every two or three years only? Do you remember the name of the CAD vendor that had a reputation of barely pumping out service packs or even hot fixes at all, namely because his versions x.0 had been tested in beta, gamma, delta …. omega versions for like quarters instead of weeks?

    And what was wrong with that, except for the shareholders getting underwhelmed at times? You had time to really get to know the software, time to buy and read a book or two about it, time to discuss it with peers, time to customize and to tool it appropriately till you couldn’t even tell it was there anymore…

    Of course all that sounds exceedingly dull and boring, especially for today’s hysterical “Generation Gadget”. Shareholders couldn’t be happier.

    And for them, its all about the shareholders anyway.


  4. @asdf
    PDM should be transparent. CAD data should not be hidden inside an inscrutable database. I need to protect my work from corruption. I sometimes hide copies of my work in inaccessible directories. This is especially important when “upgrading” to the new version, it can mangle every referenced file.

    Look at the contents of a Solidworks file. It is a mess; much useless data, bulky data representation, history of modifications for features that no longer exist, and other crap. It is 1200X larger than necessary.

    I do not have confidence that SW can make a reliable CAD data structure.

  5. @Rick McWilliams
    Just yesterday I had a sweep fail. This was in taking a project I’d worked on about a year ago (in v2010 or so), updating in in v2011. No big deal. That project included a simple compression spring which was a helix with two arcs added to the beginning and end of the helix, melded together in a 3D sketch. But one end of this sweep had a fantastic bulge, not following the 3D sketch path whatsoever. The only way to solve this was to delete the sweep and do it again—which worked just fine.

    I’m glad this was a simple fix, but why did the geometry move when nothing in the part changed? This scares me nearly to death. How many other parts are shape-shifting without me noticing? What does this mean for similar projects where I need to patch in some updates and work with existing tooling? This is begging to become catastrophic one day…

  6. ” PDM as a tool has to go away”

    <<PDM should be as transparent as possible. When you design things, you create relationships. You should not have to re-define all those relationships in a PDM program. PDM should not be seen as a storage tool, it should be a source to manage intellectual property. Look at what Dassault has done with the V6 platform. There is no file system anymore. That is a huge change. Instead of worrying about where things go, you have a system that automatically manages intellectual property (IP) and lets you leverage it and use it to collaborate. PDM as a tool has to go away; it has to become very efficient at the management of IP in design. It has to be integrated into design tools. Check-in and check-out should be automatic. The systems already in place for consumer products, like photo sharing and gaming, should be our inspiration. Look at banking; who goes to the bank these days? Your money is ‘up there’ and you access it when you need it. The same thing must happen in the design world.

  7. To be fair though to SolidWorks, for some companies Costing might be a pretty handy thing that came new with 2012. But it’s just not the same as weldments or sheet metal as an addition to the software.

  8. Matt, thank you for all of your efforts in hosting this SW World discussion. I enjoyed reading your comments and all of the other posts much more than I would have enjoyed SWW.

    So, with all of the useless features that are being incorporated into SW2013, I will pass yet another year of upgrading SW and remain on SW2009. So by passing on four years of subscription service ($3800/year with Flow x 4 = $15,200) I could buy NX. And from posts elsewhere on your forum, that would be a genuine upgrade.

  9. Solidworks seems to listen to me. I am now shut out of all of the Solidworks forums. No login, no read, no post. Or maybe it is just a cloud bug. Part of the new social networking?

  10. I am doing some very intense Solidworks modeling these days. The bugs are eating the hours in my day. I would venture to state that there is not one single geometric feature that does not have serious bugs. The one that gave me motivation for vocabulary practice is coincident relations for points in a 3D sketch. A simple loft wanted to have ugly bulges. I added 7 guide curves to tame the beast. Some of the guide curves just connected corner points of the profiles. Straight lines between points. When I change a profile the coincident relation prevents the line from being conicident with the point. Delete the relation, add it again, then fail loft due to another guide curve, repeat with enthusiasm.

    I think that we should have a contest to find if there is any geometric feature or function in Solidworks that works perfectly. I list the ones with conspicuous nasty bugs:

    sweep, loft, boundary surface, knit, trim, offset surface, thicken, shell, fillet, chamfer, draft
    sketch splines, sketch fillet, circular repeat, linear repeat, blocks, dwg import, dxf import, check, repair, projected curve, curve through xyz, composite curve.

    Some subset of extrude, and revolve may work properly.

    Solidworks users are very clever to get good results from this software.

  11. @Neil
    Thanks, I appreciate that.

    Steve is not a bad guy, but he’s a SolidWorks reseller, so he’s inherently going to have a skewed perspective. And by the way, he also has misgivings about the direction of the company and the software, so attacking me (which seemed like a pretty negative thing to do for such a positive guy) and pretending to be all gung-ho was more for public display than anything.

    The theme of this blog for the past couple of years has moved from first being a place to work out technical problems to a place to try to steer SW in a more useful direction to a place for me to try to work out what I’m going to do with a tool that isn’t going to grow with me. All the yelling just means I don’t have an answer yet. Believe me, I’m sick of it too. I want to return to solving problems, figuring stuff out, and working with people to make improvements.

  12. Matt, I strayed into twitter links looking for SWW news and I was a little taken aback by the nature of the comments you were getting there from one individual. Seems like he had been gargling with DS coolade.
    Don’t worry plenty of folks think like you do 😉

  13. “3D Social Experience”? It’s called real life – get off the computer and talk to a person!

    I’m hoping for a lot of progress in the features/functionality dept. in V6, but seeing how far from Hirschtick’s vision we’ve strayed under Dassault’s leadership I don’t expect those hopes to be realized. I hate to say it, but SW is wearing a leather jacket and strapping on the water skis…

  14. Well it is amazing what people will fall into doing.
    People rallying for the Fatherland.
    People wailing for their Dear Leader.
    People living in radiation for the Emporer.
    People giving free rein to $1b fraudsters.

    And people promoting the 3d social experience…hey, someone has to do it, jobs are tight.

    3d!SEx™ ? I wonder if that would get its own domain name….

  15. “3d Social Experience”

    geez. How do you make an acronym out of that?

    More than that, what do you have to do to a guy to make him stand up in front of 5600 CAD users and say that? Fielder used to be a SW Tech Support guy. He was pretty bright, not some marketing type. They must have had a cattle prod to his nuts to make him say something like that.

    @Paul Salvador
    Facebook link. love it. So you can make yourself a tractor in Farmville.

  16. Well … if there are no more deal changers to include (but, i am sure there are) then they should STOP being so greedy to insistently release a new version every. single. year!

    By the way, Matt, you’re right show hidden bodies in parts is existing functionality if you hide some bodies and then right-mouse on the bodies folder and choose “Isolate” then bob’s your uncle, presto. I guess they probably just enhanced it a little bit. Like “Large Design Review” wasn’t really all that new neither.

  17. << deal changers!

    together with catia swx is more or less a complete package. there are no significant deal changers (maybe just much improved weldments, sheet metal etc).
    maybe an option for catia to import swx files with history, so that we can use swx for the easier stuff (like jigs and support structures to help with the construction and assembly of bigger objects – yachts for example), but i guess that would eat into catia sales figures, so no luck on that i guess.
    also better support for converting solid extrude into sheet metal would be nice.
    just yesterday i modelled a cylinder (359deg only to allow bending and welding) with the revolve command only to find out that i can't convert it to SM to unfold it for example (swx 2008 though, i'm not sure about newer versions)

    if these are the changes for the 2013 version, that means there won't be a swx v6 release yet?

  18. You call that list new features?
    Tinkering and tweaking on the edges I’d say. Trinkets.
    A lot of it would be like 10mins work to code.
    Disgraceful offering. >The big corporate lie ‘we will keep on developing SW’.
    Its apparent part of the strategy is simply to abandon development of SW so people wont have a reason to buy it any more. If people don’t buy it DS will stop making it. People will be herded to the cloud by default.
    F*** DS for their attitude and ignorance.
    Where are they going for SWW2013? Who cares.
    Good luck to the 5600 sheep who attend that one.
    Good luck too to the people who hand over their $ for an upgrade to SW2013 and then queue up eagerly for the cloud. Cue the fog machine for that event.
    BTW if SW2013 sp5 will open SW2014 files that tells you there is absolutely nothing new in that doesn’t it….nothing technical or dangerous about that offering….
    TsElements not mentioned. Modo not mentioned.

    And darkness fell upon the land and engineering was reborn as a 3d social experience.
    So it was that the people were deceived and became slaves to the corporate machine.

  19. Again with the small stuff… where’s the time when they introduced weldments, sheet metal, routing, scan to 3d. You know… deal changers!

    I guess they want to polish the existing tool set, could be a nice strategy, but not if they can’t make it backwards compatible in the process. It’s just not worth it for a “section expert” in my opinion. Interesting about the 2012 SP5 opening 2013 files, guess the added maintenance seats makes it a desirable business decision all of the sudden. Even though it’s extremely confusing how it’s just a service pack that will allow it. VAR support techs will have some awkward calls!

    Composites, now there would be new functionality worthy of joining the ranks as a great new set of tools. And this is just one example.

    Orlando… no way! I wouldn’t have ever guessed that! 🙂

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