Top 10 SOLIDWORKS 2018 Enhancements

by Brian Childree

SOLIDWORKS 2018 Enhancements

Every year, SOLIDWORKS releases a 200+ page document with all of the enhancements for the new release. If you’ve been to one of GoEngineer’s 20+ Launch events, we are JUST SCRATCHING THE SURFACE on all that SOLIDWORKS has to offer that’s new!

I have a favorite, what about you?

So one of my favorites? SOLIDWORKS CAM! I’m not even a machine shop kinda girl. But 2.5 axis CAM is included in EVERY SEAT OF SOLIDWORKS. CAM you believe it? (Aren’t I sooooo hilarious?)

I’m just so impressed with what this tool can do for zero added cost. Just stay on active subscription to get this feature. For turning capabilities, ask about CAM Professional.

My other favorite? Tab and Slot! Tab and Slot sounds like a low-budget casino, but it is actually a great design approach to improve manufacturability for consistency and reduced labor costs. Tab and Slot can be used for Sheet Metal, Weldments, or any project. This is a technique that has been exercised for years in woodworking as well. And just the other day, I was assembling a 3D Foam Haunted House with my kids and how did we assemble all of the pieces together without using any adhesive? Tab and Slot foam pieces!

Don’t miss all of the enhancements to our Simulation and Electrical suites, including PCB, and definitely,  don’t miss the ooey gooey love marriage between Inspection and MBD and see how edrawings can capture all of their PDA via PMI data. TMI?
Let’s dive into our list of top 10 SOLIDWORKS enhancements:

1. SOLIDWORKS CAM for CNC Machining

  • Rules-based machining results in easy-to-learn, yet fast and powerful CAM.
  • Powered by CAMWorks production proven, integrated CAM for SOLIDWORKS.

Benefits: Seamlessly integrate design and manufacturing.


SOLIDWORKS Manage is an advanced data management system that extends the global file management and application integrations enabled by SOLIDWORKS PDM.

  • SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional plus powerful project, process, and item management.
  • Dashboards and reports to manage project stages, timelines, and milestones.
  • Create, edit and compare. Bill of Materials (BOMs).

Benefits:  Data Management, project management, and process management all in one system.

3. Topology Optimization

  • Optimize the shape of your design based upon a target mass goals.
  • Incorporate manufacturing and stiffness constraints to deliver manufacturable components.

Benefits: Find a new and innovative minimum mass solutions to your design and simulation challenges.

4. Free Surface Flow Simulation

Solve flow problems where the liquid and gas touch — for example, channel, sea and river flow, tank filling, and emptying.

Benefits:  Easily solve complex flow problems to ensure product performance.

5. Work Directly with Mesh Data

  • Perform operations directly on mesh such as Cut, Cut with Surface, Interference Check, Combine, Intersect, Split Move/Copy, and others.
  • Convert solid or surface geometry to mesh.
  • Quickly fit surface bodies to regions of mesh models for reverse engineering.

Benefits: Work directly with mesh data with no need to convert to surfaces.

6. Touch Sketching

  • Freehand sketching with pen or touch on compatible devices.
  • Touch and stylus support for many design tasks.
  • Mirror in 3D sketches.
  • Enhanced Mouse gestures and user interface customization.

Benefits: Faster more intuitive ways to interact with SOLIDWORKS.

7. Self-Fixturing Made Easy with Tab & Slot

  • Creates tabs on one body and slots (holes) on another body to interlock the two bodies.
  • Can be used on sheet metal , weldments, or any part!
  • Applicable to parts, multibody parts, and parts in context of assemblies.
  • You can control spacing and size of tabs and corresponding slots.

Benefits:  This approach can reduce part/assembly costs by minimizing labor and fixture typically required to assemble.

8. Visualize VR a Fully Immersive Experience

  • Create panoramic Virtual Reality (VR) content.
  • Support for 360 stereo animations.
  • Sun studies, camera fly’s, exploded views, and part animations.

Benefits: Immerse yourself into any 3D scene and experience exploring and reviewing your design at 1:1 scale, including animations.

 9. PDM Branch and Merge

Vastly improves your ability to:

  • Investigate multiple design approaches.
  • Propose engineering changes.
  • Work with suppliers and contractors.

Benefits:  Investigate different design approaches without effecting approved files. Streamline the process of working with external users.

10. Part Features That Streamline Manufacturing

  • Include a customizable bounding box description for weldment cut lists.
  • Link cut list folder names to cut list properties for faster detailing of weldments.
  • Automatic bounding box creation for entire part – includes bounding box properties.

Benefits:  Speed downstream operations by automatically including more information needed for manufacturing.

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