It’s been nearly two weeks since I fell down a flight of stairs at the Anaheim convention center after some new features for SolidWorks 2011 were previewed at SolidWorks World, but that’s not gonna stop me from spitting up blood to tell you about them.

Last week, we talked possible enhancements, but this is different. These are real features you’ll see in the next version of SolidWorks. Yeah, you haven’t even upgraded to SolidWorks 2010, but come on, SolidWorks 2010… so last decade.

Smack… That

On the mainstage, SolidWorks minions Darren Henry and Neil Cook narrated the demonstration as Jeremy Regnerus and Ian Hogg put feature against feature in what they called the ‘Super CAD Smack Down’ (which is a clear violation of SolidSmack copyright within the Friday Smackdown guidelines, pargraph 20, for which I’ve hired a viscous team of mutant sloth people to make loud grunting noises in the direction of SolidWorks headquarters as they begin their 80 year journey to slap someone slowly up that way. wink wink.)

Here’s the quicklist. Anything stand out for you?

Revolve up to Surface
15 years later and you can finally revolve a tube into another tube or a model of your face, without trimming it at the surface.

It would be like your innards turning to a solid mass of skin… except this is for models.

Custom Realview
Easier controls and custom settings come in as Photoworks gets booted to the curb in 2011.

Photoview 360 integration
Photoview 360 pop-up with live rendering and motion. fun.

Planar Simulation
I do this with cheese and a pesto sauce. SolidWorks now does it by slicing and simulating FEA, then transferring it to the 3D solid.

Dimension Layout
You will beat you dimension into submission with the push of a couple buttons. Lines them, stacks them, spaces them. Nice.

Dual Dimension Hole Tables
For those who speak english and metric, you can now create tables without screaming racial unit slurs.

Enterprise PDM Design Checker
For those that make design mistakes and also use EPDM. Design checker is now integrated.

Assembly Features
If Welds, Sweeps, Fillets and Chamfers were pure emotion, 2011 assemblies will be a modern dance of angst and rebellion.

Weld Tables
I’m sure this will come in handy, even if you use a 1/4″ fillet weld on everything.

Piping Enhancements
Add trim and gaps on your piping automagically. You’ll probably still have to add a trim note.

When you’re up for a little jaunt through your model.

Feature Lock
Keep the model (and yourself) from choking at a certain feature on rebuild.

You can see all the photos of the presentation in the SolidSmack SolidWorks World 2010 Photoset. I’m not going to post them because Flickr is a dysfunctional anus that doesn’t allow download of a group of images even though you uploaded them and your granny really wants to see what you were doing in California for a week but you cant show her so you have to print them at Walgreens and deal with a half-baked high school student smudging his nostril hands all over the pictures while you watch him and want to slap him into the photo-printer machine that can’t color correct or crop worth a crap…

They’re worth looking at just for the expressions on the faces of Jeremy Regnerus and Ian Hogg as they smack each other with feet, keyboards, etc…

Ok, fine, so you don’t have to filter through a bunch of pictures, here are three photos of my favorite features from the above list: Defeature, Photoview360 integration and Feature Lock.

SolidWorks 2011 will have a new feature
SolidWorks 2011 will have a new feature "Defeature" that allows you to remove all internal detail from a part.
SolidWorks 2011 bring in visualization enhancements which allows you to preview Photoview 360 rendering inside SolidWorks.
SolidWorks 2011 bring in visualization enhancements which allows you to preview Photoview 360 rendering inside SolidWorks.
See it at the very bottom there? The features in this SolidWorks part have been locked to prevent unecessary rebuilding.
See it at the very bottom there? The features in this SolidWorks part have been locked to prevent unecessary rebuilding.

Here also is Matthew West ansk Darren Henry about a few of the features they demonstrated.

To get really serious for a moment, it seems as though SolidWorks is pushing the efforts on performance and reliability… You’ve heard it before right? Well, these features give a little taste of what’s being done in that regard. Do they look like features that will improve performance and reliability? Each year I want to believe the software itself is going to get more lightweight. 2010 was a great step, there’s noticeable improvement. What I’d really prefer is not having to make components lightweight or put in a feature locks though. No ‘mode’ to switch to. Just plain butter smooth modeling.

On the speculation side of things, it’s interesting to see Photoview 360 functionality coming into SolidWorks. I suspect we’ll see the journey of PV360 live rendering and motion complete as a part of RealView in SolidWorks 2012 with full-up realistic modeling in the standard interface as soon as 2013. With assemblies expect to see the differentiation between them and parts all but melt away in 2012 with only a ‘virtual’ assembly structure to visually imply how components are grouped. That’s all I could come with after holding my head under scalding water for five minutes, but be sure of this, there’s more to follow I’ll be cleaning out my refrigerator tonight.

Disclosure: SolidWorks didn’t make me beat a mule to write this. However, they did pay for my hotel and conference fee at SolidWorks World 2010.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.