Industrial strength CAD

A three dimensional, mechanical design software package developed especially for the Windows and Windows NT environments, SolidWorks is a relatively new contender in the mid-range engineering CADCAM battle. First released at the end of 1995, it features integrated part modelling, assembly modelling and drafting capabilities.

Priced at just under £4000, SolidWorks 97 takes account of the downstream activities that are needed to make a product. Engineers working with sheetmetal can now model parts precisely, add bends and reliefs in the flat view, as well as fold and unfold the model, without paying extra for the privilege.

One of SolidWorks’ strengths is the ability to alter parts and assemblies easily. The 97 version offers even more flexibility for assembly modelling, including the ability to preview mating conditions. The configuration tools for managing large assemblies have been further improved, there is a component patterning and replacement capability and a new `join’ command for constructing a part from selected components.

The new version is also better at detailing, so partial section views, broken views and aligned section views can be created. Engineers can hide dimension and witness lines and control the length of witness lines. For added clarity, there are weld, surface finish and datum symbols.

Engineers using the Internet can use this software to share designs. Any VRML viewer or compatible browser such as Netscape or Explorer makes Solidworks models accessible, and designs can be saved as embedded links in HTML documents to be distributed across the Internet.

{{SolidWorks UKTel: Luton Hoo (01582) 431166Enter 601}}