CAD News: SolidWorks 2019, Fusion 360 Restructuring, and More

Updated Nov 17, 2019
SolidWorks 2019, Fusion 360 Restructuring & More

It’s the end of September, and you know what that means: it’s time for our monthly roundup of CAD news. Welcome to our latest edition of World of CAD, where we look at the biggest CAD-related news stories of the month. 

In September’s edition, we’ll be looking at Dassault Systèmes’ 2019 launch of flagship product SolidWorks. We’ll then move onto strong competitor Autodesk, who have plenty up their sleeve—from a new pricing structure for Fusion 360 to new features for PowerMill 2019. If that wasn’t enough to whet your CAD appetite, Vectorworks have also announced the launch of their latest version of their eponymous product, which we’ll also be exploring. 

We’ll round things off with a quick look at the first CAD business to reach the Forbes Cloud 100 list. Hint: they’re renowned for being the first cloud-based CAD software solution.

Dassault Systèmes introduces SolidWorks 2019

CAD giant Dassault Systèmes announced the launch of SolidWorks 2019 on September 14, leaving users scrambling to get their hands on its latest features. Indeed, there’s plenty to occupy all users. The main focus of this new release appears to be on improving day-to-day productivity for all customers. So, how exactly do Dassault aim to do this?

New features focus directly on improving functionality for customers. As a result, they’ll be able to take their ideas and transform them into innovative products quickly. The latest changes for SolidWorks include: 

  • Improvement in quality: faster download of Installation Manager, smarter drawing updates to reduce drawings rebuilds, performance improvements in the eDrawings graphics display and a new open progress dialog for drawings. 
  • Assembly performance: graphics performance gains and optimized workflows, meaning users can design complex assemblies with great ease. Additionally, users can leverage the Large Design Review Mode to open and work with assemblies in seconds. 
  • New technology: the latest release includes SolidWorks Extended Reality (XR) which gives users a way to interact with their CAD models. This enables users to export files directly to AR/VR applications and virtually explore models. By opening assemblies in eDrawings Professional, users can view their models in a VR environment. 
  • New attention to detail: enhancements have been made to make it easier for users to obtain a better digital representation of their designs—including, but not limited to, features like Tab and Slot, as well as new Mesh Modeling capabilities. 

We won’t spoil too much for you, though—we’ll be delving further into SolidWorks 2019 next month!

Autodesk introduces new pricing structure for Fusion 360

Fusion 360

Fusion 360—one of Autodesk’s popular software packages—is undergoing a pricing restructure from October 7. Until now, Autodesk offered Standard and Ultimate editions of the ever-popular CAD/CAM design software, Fusion 360. So, what’s set to change for this two-tier licensing model?

To eradicate confusion, Autodesk is replacing the current pricing model with a single Fusion 360 subscription. It will cost users a much cheaper price of $495 a year. Worried that Autodesk might limit Fusion 360’s features with this new subscription? You’ll be pleased to hear that this new package will include every feature currently offered by the Ultimate edition. So, what exactly does this include? 

Generative design capabilities will be at your fingertips—putting the “aid” back in Computer Aided Design by letting designers “evaluate the trade-offs between manufacturability, materials and performance”. Users can also take advantage of advanced CAM capabilities (including 5-axis machining), simulation functionalities, and much more. Bear in mind, however, that in order to run generative design and advanced simulation studies, you will need cloud credits

And that’s not all! To thank current subscribers of Fusion 360 Standard, Autodesk is allowing them to maintain their subscription at their current price, for as long as they’re a subscriber. Existing Fusion 360 Ultimate subscribers will be able to enjoy the same functionality, but at a more accessible price. In short, everyone wins!

New features added to PowerMill 2019

Not content to rest on its laurels, Autodesk has also announced the introduction of new features to PowerMill 2019—the ultimate CAM solution for high-speed and 5-axis machining. The aim of these new features? To enable creators to harness the power of the cloud, streamline production processes and press ahead in the competitive industry of digital manufacturing. 

Key changes for PowerMill 2019.1 include: 

  • Introduction of surface proving: this will enable spindle mounted probes to measure parts during manufacturing. Users can also look at and share 3D inspection reports via Autodesk Drive. This makes it easier to find and address quality issues quickly. 
  • Improved interactive collision management: helping programmers to identify and avoid collisions—or near-misses—with cutting tool assembly. This, in turn, will speed up production time. 
  • Easier roughing toolpath calculation: enabling users to begin making chips sooner. 
  • Enhanced machining setup: this new feature reduces the time needed to programme machined components that use multiple fixtures and operations. 
  • Increase in efficiency with adaptive clearing: the “Vortex from Stock” roughing strategy now supports a stepover of up to 99% of the tool diameter. This means you’ll get shorter cycle times when using indexable cutters. 
  • Inclusion of a “pattern-turning” toolpath type: giving programmers more choice and flexibility when driving mill-turn machinery. 

Indeed, Clinton Perry, PowerMill product manager at Autodesk, says, “This new release will serve the existing needs of PowerMill users, while also enabling them to take advantage of the power of the cloud to ensure a more efficient, safe and accurate machining”. 

Vectorworks 2019 released

Paper Drawing with Vectorworks Logo

September appears to be a busy month for CAD giants, with Vectorworks also releasing a 2019 edition of their flagship product. Launched on September 12, this new version includes updates to all add-ons: Architect, Spotlight, Landmark, Fundamentals, Designer, Bracework and Vision. Vectorworks certainly didn’t disappoint with this launch—looking at feedback from users to introduce “significantly faster workflows and improved software performance”. 

Time is of the essence, as any CAD user knows. That’s why the latest Vectorworks release now comes with multiple core support in the Vectorworks Graphics Module. This allows users to enjoy significantly faster workflows and improved software performance. This support enables Vectorworks to take advantage of all available CPU cores with increased usage of FPU on sheet layers. In short, workflows will feel much faster. 

Vectorworks Architect and Landmark users will now be able to experience improved BIM capabilities—with enhanced openBIM interoperability and the ability to view BIM objects with varying levels of detail in plan, elevation and section drawings. Vectorworks Spotlight users will get their hands on the new My Virtual Rig (MVR) import and export file format, and see enhancements to 3D modeling with tools and commands. Additional new capabilities include support for bridle analysis, improved user interface and more refined renderings.

Want a more in-depth look at Vectorworks 2019? Keep your eyes peeled for our article next month, focusing on the Vectorworks 2019 launch!

Onshape named on the annual Forbes Cloud 100

Onshape logo blue letters

For the second consecutive year now, cloud-based powerhouse Onshape has been named on the annual Forbes Cloud 100—the A-list for the best and brightest of private cloud computing companies

Forbes compiled this list by looking at metrics like revenue and sales growth. They also took into consideration recommendations from 34 CEOs of public cloud companies. The Cloud 100 traditionally covers a range of fields including analytics, security, HR, finance, marketing and so on. Fellow companies sharing the spotlight include: Slack, Stripe, Zapier and Drift. 

Jon Hirschtick, Onshape CEO and co-founder, says “We’re honored that Onshape is the only CAD company included in the Forbes Cloud 100.” So, how did they manage this impressive feat two years in a row? Hirschtick thinks he has the answer: “it’s no coincidence that we rely on many of our fellow companies in the Forbes Cloud 100 such as Stripe, Slack, Fuze, Drift, Zapier and Looker, to work faster ourselves.” Essentially, making the most of what successful companies have to offer pays off in the long run! 

One thing’s for sure, Onshape doesn’t seem like it’s stopping to rest anytime soon. We certainly look forward to hearing more about this cloud-based giant in the near future! 

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