SolidWorks World 2017: what’s new and next in CAD and tech

Posted on 28 Feb 2017 by Tim Brown, Aiden Burgess

The latest SolidWorks World event, held at the beginning of the month in Los Angeles, CA, saw the latest installment of the globally renowned event tackle the latest approaches to technology, design and engineering. Head of international content, Tim Brown, got along to see all the latest the event had to offer.

Day One

Making magic

SolidWorks World 2017 was launched with all the glitz and glamour afforded by host city with a fitting tribute to Hollywood’s status as the entertainment capital of the world.

This year’s event truly had a magical opening as renowned magician Justin Flom and CEO and founder of Illusion Projects, Tim Clothier, joined SolidWorks CEO, Gian Paolo Bassi, on stage to show how they use SolidWorks to literally make magic happen.

Flom shared his experience of working with master magician, David Copperfield, when working on projects in eDrawings and the importance of mixing engineering and artistry to make the impossible possible.

Flom and Clothier entertained the crowd by debuting a new illusion, which featured a 26-inch, track mounted buzzsaw, built in SolidWorks using SolidWorks functionality: Weldments, Sheet Metal Design; and Mechanical Mates. Their assistant, none other than Bassi himself, stuck his head into a vice attached to the saw, after which the blade passed seemingly straight through his neck. Fortunately, after the illusion, Bassi emerged from the device, still in one piece, and no CEOs were harmed during the scene.

Space exploration and transportation

Following the magic display was a rundown of products operated by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Space X Hyperloop project, with JPL using SolidWorks to engineer its Athlete robot; an agile machine designed to be the driving force and workhorse for future planetary colonisation.

JPL’s Athlete is part of initiative to prevent Armageddon from happening, with the machine’s robotic arm capable of removing a 15-tonne boulder from the surface of an asteroid to alter its orbit and potentially prevent it colliding with Earth.

The Space X Hyperloop project is a program aiming to revolutionise transportation, an ambition being shaped by over 100 teams around the world that are competing to build a train that can travel from LA to San Francisco in 35 minutes.

The Delft University team took top honours in the Hyperloop competition, while the MIT Hyperloop team using SolidWorks won best overall design in 2016.

Both designs will be tested in the next year as part of a SolidWorks initiative to help the future of space exploration.

Augmented reality

SolidWorks CEO Gian Paolo then presented a new augmented reality (AR) approach to design to the Los Angeles audience, with the help of partner Meta.

Meta has created a headset enabling users to experience a design in AR. The AR technology was displayed by Gian Paolo as his Meta headset gave the audience a look under the hood of the SolidWorks-designed Italian sportscar, the Effeffe Berlinetta, and displayed how the design could be examined and manipulated in an AR environment.

Smart manufacturing

Over the last several years, SolidWorks has introduced a number of products to bridge the gap between design and manufacturing.

These products include MBD, Inspection, Costing, Plastics Injection Sim, DFM and Composer.

Now SolidWorks has created a more integrated approach to design and manufacturing called ‘smart manufacturing’.

Gian Paolo explained that the foundation of smart manufacturing is the ability to use all content in 3D models that are necessary to achieve any engineering goal, such as recognising how features will be manufactured and learning how much it will cost to manufacture.

To achieve this smart manufacturing goal, SolidWorks is introducing SolidWorks CAM, powered by CAMWorks, on all desktop versions of SolidWorks.

Paul Reed Smith Guitars

Day one also saw Creed and Alter Bridge guitarist, Mark Tremonti, take to the stage with Paul Reed Smith and Jon Wasserman of Paul Reed Smith Guitars.

The trio discussed how they collaborated to design and manufacture Mark’s guitar, ‘The Abomination’, using SolidWorks.

Paul and John shared how they could easily iterate on guitar designs and quickly make changes based on artist feedback, before Mark gave the audience a swift display on ‘The Abomination’.

Day Two


The second day of SolidWorks 2017 was dedicated to the SolidWorks community.

SolidWorks VP of strategy and community, Suchit Jain, launched the day with community updates, highlighting key categories of the 222,000 certified users of SolidWorks worldwide.

To demonstrate the potential of its users and solution partners, SolidWorks senior manager graphics R&D development, Sid Palaniappan, walked the audience through a massive construction vehicle model from Resemin, a SolidWorks user, in a virtual reality environment using the HTC Vibe.

Suchit Jain then presented two new services to MySolidWorks that users can take can take advantage of: Online Product Trials and eCourses, which feature full instructor-led online training.

The SolidWorks User Group Network also awarded the best of their 293 user groups in 38 countries around the world, including User Leader of the Year and User Group of the Year.

Robo Rumble!

Day Two ended with a spectacular combat robotics competition called the Robo Rumble!

The robot battle pitted four teams from the National Robotics League, an organisation dedicated to promoting interest in manufacturing careers, with Team Fast Electric Robots winning the Robo Rumble!

Day 3

Updates and upcoming

The third and final day of SolidWorks 2017 focused on the future as SolidWorks  senior director, product portfolio management and brand user experience leader, Kishore Boyalakuntla, discussed updates to the SolidWorks product line.

This included the presentation of updates to SolidWorks Make, while also discussing the four ecosystems driving SolidWorks: design to manufacturing; data management; simulation; and the Internet of Things.

Anousheh Ansari then regaled the crowd about her experiences in becoming the first female private space explorer.

SolidWorks 2017 ended with a look at what is being developed for future versions of SolidWorks.

SolidWorks World 2018 will be held again in Los Angeles in 2018 from Feb 4-7.