With the 2012 version SolidWorks nearing the end of its release, and 2013 beta available for download and testing, I thought I'd mention a new add-in that SolidWorks snuck in to the 2012 release called the Part Reviewer. Like most users, I totally missed this one during my normal new feature gleaning of each annual release of SolidWorks. So what is the Part Reviewer and how does one use it?
In short the Part Reviewer is a more user friendly way of seeing how someone created a model in SolidWorks. It's really an alternative to rolling back in the feature tree and having to constantly drag the rollback bar up or down. It provides you the ability to step through each feature one at a time or to play through all of them is succession. Any comments a user has added to the features are also neatly displayed in the Part Reviewer.
The Part Reviewer can be easily turned on via the SolidWorks add-ins menu. Once enabled, it adds a tab to the SolidWorks Task Pane. Open a part file and click the Next or Play buttons to start reviewing your part. At any step, you can interact with the model just as you would had you used the Rollback option in SolidWorks.
I think there are some nice things SolidWorks could do to enhance the Part Reviewer even more, so provide your feedback in the discussion forums. There is a link to the Part Reviewer forum in the Task Pane when you pull up a new model for review. They also have many sample parts you can download and review.
Check out this short video for a more detailed look at the Part Reviewer and enjoy this alternative to rolling back.
Brian VanderPloeg is an Applications Engineer at Fisher/Unitech, a SolidWorks Value Added Reseller with locations across the Midwestern and Northeastern United States. He is a regular contributor to the Fisher/Unitech blog.