Top 5 New Features in SOLIDWORKS 2017


Planning to update to SOLIDWORKS 2017 soon? New features and capabilities within the software this year help designers innovate while increasing productivity. Both new and advanced users can learn how to improve their design skills with best practices in using these new tools.

Get started with the top five new features in SOLIDWORKS 2017:

1. Sketching: Shaded Sketch Contours

Using Shaded Sketch Contours in SOLIDWORKS 2017 lets you view closed sketch contours as shaded entities. This setting makes it easy to identify closed contours, move closed contours in a single step, quickly apply sketch relations or mirror the sketch entities, and quickly extrude closed contours.

New Features in SOLIDWORKS 2017 – Shaded Sketch Contours
By default, closed sketch contours are shaded. The shaded sketch entities can then be moved by simply clicking the shaded area and dragging it. You can toggle this setting on and off by going to the Tool drop-down menu, and under Sketch Settings, select “Shaded Sketch Contours,” or you can add it to the Sketch tab by searching for it, and dragging it onto the CommandManager.

2. Parts and Features: Chamfer Enhancements

For the 2017 update, SOLIDWORKS added new functionality to the Chamfer feature. You can still create the standard Angle-Distance, Distance-Distance, and Vertex chamfers, as well as two new chamfer types: Offset Face and Face Face, which you can convert from a chamfer to a fillet and back.

New Features in SOLIDWORKS 2017 – Chamfer Enhancements
Offset Face creates a chamfer by offsetting the faces adjacent to the edge you select. Then, SOLIDWORKS calculates the intersection of these two faces. Using that intersection, SOLIDWORKS then calculates the normal from the intersection to each face to create the chamfer.

The Face Face Chamfer lets you create symmetric, asymmetric, hold line, and chord width chamfers.

3. Parts and Features: Advanced Holes

SOLIDWORKS 2017 added the Advanced Hole tool, which lets you to define and create holes that aren’t found in the standard Hole Wizard toolbox, such as a hole that’s a combination of a counterbore, straight tap, and countersink.

New Features in SOLIDWORKS 2017 – Advanced Holes
This tool is extremely useful for customers who design products with customized holes. They can design the customized holes with a single feature instead of having to create multiple hole features to get the same result.

4. Assemblies: Magnetic Mates

When you’re working with large assemblies, such as a plant layout, chances are that you’ll be inserting multiple instances of the same component and creating multiple instances of the same mate. To save you some time, SOLIDWORKS has added special tools and workflows for working with larger models to make assembling them easier, faster, and more efficient.

New Features in SOLIDWORKS 2017 – Magnetic Mates

  • First, you define the connection points and ground face in a part or sub-assembly model. The connection points will be used to “snap” the components into position, while the ground face will be used to position the asset in the parent assembly.
  • Then, you need to publish the component as an asset in order to use it in an assembly.
  • Next, you can define a ground plane in the parent assembly. The ground face of the asset will snap onto the ground plane of the parent assembly.
  • Finally, when you insert the asset into the parent assembly, you’ll be able to use magnetic mates to “snap” the assets into position in relation to other assets.

5. Details and Drawings: Mirror Drawing Views

As a designer, you might encounter situations where you need to create a mirrored version of an existing component and then create a drawing for manufacturing. In these cases, chances are that you have the original drawing detailed and dimensioned.

New Features in SOLIDWORKS 2017 – Mirror Drawing Views
With SOLIDWORKS 2017, you can now utilize your existing drawings in order to create Mirrored Drawing Views, without having to create the mirrored component first. SOLIDWORKS will also mirror dimensions and notes, making this process quick and easy.

Want more? SolidProfessor’s 2017 Update Training is a great resource for making the most out of the new features and capabilities in SOLIDWORKS 2017. This course consists of 34 short lessons, is 1.75 hours long, and has downloadable part files for each of the tutorials. It covers all the new functionality in detail so that you can take advantage of the new features that will make you even more productive.

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John Farmer
About the Author

SolidProfessor Digital Marketing Manager and keeper of Rahn, the office dog.