SolidWorks World 2014 – Day 1: Mechanical Conceptual, First Impressions

Article by Alin Vargatu, CSWE updated January 28, 2014


This will be a very short post, mostly because I am extremely tired after a very long day.

The highlight of the day was taking the first glance at the new SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual. I did not see much, but the first impressions are positive.

It seems to do what the name implies, which is creating conceptual models with ease. It has been built around 4 pillars:

  • conceptual
  • instinctive
  • social
  • connected

My favorite is the instinctive aspect of it. Let’s say you have an idea in your head and you bring it to life in a 3D model. When you start working on the concept, you do not have (and do not want) to waste time trying to think ahead about subassembly distribution or even component separation. If I understood correctly, in SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual there are no separate environments for assemblies, parts or features. You have full flexibility to define and redefine what is a subassembly, what is a part or even what is just a body. Those of you who are using the layout mode in the assembly environment in the traditional SolidWorks might find some aspects of this workflow familiar, but rest assured, there is much more power and versatility in the new product.

The other thing I like a lot about this product is the lack of toolbars. The interface is extremely clean and seems to read your mind. It knows what you need to do, 2 steps before you do it.

I was a bit skeptical about the social aspect of it in the beginning, because as a designer I am mostly focused on creating geometry, not on chatting on Facebook-like networks. After seeing the demonstration in the General Session, I was amazed of how easy it was to communicate and, ultimately, to collaborate securely with different people (other members of your own team, suppliers or customers).

I am looking forward to learning more about this product and trying it live. It will become available for sale on April 2nd, 2014.

The next new product that SolidWorks has in the pipeline is the SolidWorks Industrial Conceptual. It seems to combine the hand-drawn sketches with Sub-D Surfacing, offering complete freedom to any industrial designer during the concept phase. I am really curious to find out how they solved the problem of creating sharp edges in this program, which is the Achilles heel of any Sub-D software, but we will have to wait for more information to become available.

You can read more about this new product in this blog post.

After the General Session, Irfan and I delivered the “How to Teach SolidWorks” presentation to an audience of teachers and instructors at high school, college, university or VAR level. The presentation was focused on the similarities between the real life and the SolidWorks Universe that would help a new user to reach the moment when he or she would exclaim:

Aha. I got it! Now I understand SolidWorks!

. The main analogies we proposed are:

  • The Supreme Commander
  • The “Drill Sergeant”
  • The “Beast Tamer”
  • The “Super Hero”
  • The “Manufacturing Concept”
  • The “IKEA Customer”
  • The “Mass Replicator” versus “Manual Work”
  • The “Child’s Mindset”
  • The “Fabric of the Universe”

If I made you curious about these concepts, just send us your email address and we can send you the presentation. The best compliment came from Colin Evans from Solid Applications in UK:

Thanks mate. This was brilliant!

IMG_3977In the afternoon I delivered my second presentation of the day, trying to prove how you can save time or even “save the day” using Boolean Operations in SolidWorks. I was extremely pleased with the feedback from the attendees, especially in regards to the capabilities of the Intersect tool.

I spent the first part of the evening in the Partner’s Pavilion in the search of candidates to nominate for the Best of Show SolidWorks World 2014 Award.

The day was not over until I visited the Petco Park during the CSWE event. Many thanks again to the SolidWorks Certification team for organizing another great get-together for all the SolidWorks Experts attending SolidWorks World.

From left: Irfan, Alin, Peter, Scott, Richard... ready for the ball game

From left: Irfan, Alin, Peter, Scott, Richard… ready for the ball game

Tomorrow Irfan and I will deliver a hands on lab on Custom Properties. More exactly, what is the fastest way to add custom properties to all components of an assembly, regardless of how many sub-assembly levels are in it. We will provide manuals for all attendees.

Let me finish by congratulating Jeff, Jordan, Bill and the other friends from 3DVision for getting the SWUGN Reseller of the Year Award! Great job, guys!

Talk to you tomorrow. Good night from San Diego.

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Alin Vargatu, CSWE

Alin is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and an avid contributor to the SOLIDWORKS Community. Alin has presented multiple times at SOLIDWORKS World, Technical Summits, and User Group Meetings, while being very active on the SOLIDWORKS Forum.