Feature Drop 05: What’s New in 3DEXPERIENCE Design Roles

The browser-based design and engineering capabilities on the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform have been recently updated with the R2021x FD05 release on March 13, 2021 (FD stands for “functional delivery”). All updates to our cloud-based portfolio of products happen automatically. The power and flexibility of these applications on the platform are worth considering as part of your product development tool belt. Let’s take a closer look at the March update.

New Mechanical Mates [NEW]

If you want to test a mechanism virtually before you make it, check out the new connections that provide increased realism for assembly-mechanism creation including gears, rack and pinion, and cable joints (i.e., pullies). You can validate mechanisms by setting up designs the same way they behave in the physical world.

Kinematics Player [NEW]

The new mechanism creation and kinematics player makes it easier to validate connections between components. The player validates mechanisms by setting up an animation of joints, enabling you to digitally cycle through an assembly’s routine. Record and playback key frames of animations to virtually test mechanical products and streamline design reviews.

More Realistic Design Environments [NEW]

Sometimes it can be difficult to assess a design based on what is visually rendered on a screen. Eight new design environments add increased realism with a visual quality manager that controls various settings, including shadows and reflections. The higher end, customizable graphics provide a more realistic appearance and a more deeply engaging visual experience, and yet you can still expect more to come in this area.

Image Down-sampling [ENHANCED]

The Insert Picture command has been around a while now and is very useful when starting a design based on a scanned hand sketch or photo. However, high resolution or ginormous images were slowing things down. Now there is an option for image down-sampling enabling you to edit photos and hi-res images without resorting to third-party applications. When inserting a picture as a reference, you now have the option to reduce resolution.

Touch and Mobile Device Enhancements [ENHANCED]

Several enhancements have been made for touch devices in this release.

Now you can:

1)     Place sketch entities on the origin of the sketch with greater precision.

2)     Accurately start or end your sketch on a midpoint of another sketch entity.

3)     Duplicate sketch entities and components with a single click from the context menu.

4)     Quickly clock 90-degree orthogonal views with arrows around the triad, especially useful when in sketch mode.

5)     Auto lock the Action Bar to prevent accidental adjustments while interacting with the graphics area.

Insert Sketch Command [NEW]

Leveraging past design work not only makes you more productive (and probably look better to your boss) but it is also far more efficient. The new Insert Sketch command enables you to reuse sketch geometry from any existing model—on the fly, without opening it—and repurpose frequently used sketch shapes in your active design.

Electrical Cutout Sketch Library [NEW]

An extension of the Insert Sketch command is the new default electrical cutout sketch library. This is a set of common connector sketch shapes to streamline the cutout process. Insert default shapes into any active sketch, in exactly the same way you can reuse sketches from other designs. Design more efficiently and eliminate costly sketching time for creating electrical cutouts by leveraging the new example sketch library.

Convert Entities of Entire Sketch [NEW]

Like a “select all” feature for sketches, this is a timesaver. You can convert all sketch entities of an entire sketch into a new sketch with a single click of a button. Save the time and effort of converting all non-construction entities by eliminating the need to manually select each entity individually.

Import and Insert [NEW]

You can now import a file and insert it immediately into your active assembly. You no longer have to import the file, save it, open your assembly, and then bring the file into the active design.

Learning Assistant [ENHANCED]

Quickly learn the steps to designing a mold with 3D Mold Creator with the Learning Assistant. Especially helpful to new users of 3D Mold Creator, the Learning Assistant help you to properly work through the sequence of steps of mold creation.

Workflow Intelligence [NEW]

Wouldn’t it be nice if software tools told you when you were making missteps in the design process? The wait is over! Built-in mold design workflow intelligence automatically guides you to the next feature necessary to properly complete the mold design process. If you miss a step in the workflow, the software will display a warning (!) and then a shortcut to the recommended next step. This is great for new users and can even help speed the design process for experienced users.

Edge Selection for Parting Line [ENHANCED]

Select edges for the Parting Line faster. Now when creating a Parting Line you can select edges through the model. This saves time by eliminating the need to re-orient or rotate the model in order to select edges you want for the Parting Line.

Exclude Edges from a Parting Surface [ENHANCED]

The default Parting Surfaces were formally an all-or-nothing proposition—either you kept it all or you deleted it all. So, we built a new option to allow you to exclude specific edges of the Parting Line used to create the Parting Surface. If you find a problem with a portion of your Parting Surface, you can simply eliminate that portion only.Then you can create the rest of the parting surface using manual surfacing techniques. To make things faster, the selection tool includes a tangent accelerator to speed edge selection. Also included is the option to highlight the open edges of the Parting Surface for faster identification of openings.

Cut-list Properties UI [ENHANCED]

Everyone likes more control. Now you can go from design to manufacturing faster with the new cut-list properties interface that allows for sorting, resizing, and multi-selecting. Also, components you select in your cut-list highlight graphically on the model, which reduces inspection time. And, increased control over the display of the cut-list provides a better experience for creating documentation for manufacturing processes.

Plates, Gussets, End Caps [NEW]

Creating ancillary components can be a time-consuming hassle. New automated functionality for creating plates, gussets, and end caps streamlines structure design workflows.

Structure Member Cutouts [NEW]

Now you can create cutouts in a structure member to add detail to structure designs. This is useful for defining hole placement when adding fixtures between members or for interfacing with other components. Overall design fidelity makes it easier for downstream tasks, such as creating accurate fabrication and assembly instructions.

Create Custom Section Profiles [NEW]
Break free from standard libraries or shapes and design with unique structure members by creating custom section profiles based on a 2D sketch, which enables complete design freedom. Create your own families of profiles to be readily accessed for future designs.

3D Annotations Font Size Control [NEW]

Have you ever received a big model with tiny, hard-to-read annotations? This new annotation feature enables you to create easy-to-read 3D annotations that match annotation size to model size—large or small.

Width Datum Symbol [NEW]

It can be frustrating and confusing when datum symbols are misaligned or detached. To help manufacturers comply with Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) standards, such as ISO 1101 and ASME Y14.5, the width datum symbol now automatically moves together with the dimension line. Design requirements can be accurately conveyed and more easily inspected in production to ensure product quality.

Capture 3D Zoom Level [NEW]

You can now capture 3D views at various zoom levels, which can help you to communicate more effectively during downstream procedures such as inspection, purchasing, and more. For example, you can articulate a storyline of 3D views. One view could be an overview, including annotations, on the entire model and a second view could be a detailed, close-up view zoomed in on a mounting hole.

Create Custom Sketch Library of Components [NEW]

This new functionality will save you the hassle of constantly referencing component or connector catalogues. Create a custom library of sketch geometry and favorite shapes, which can be easily reused directly in your active design.


Align to Curve allows you to easily align subdivision geometry to your concept sketch curves or 3D geometry, which enables you to produce desired shapes faster. We have made Align to Curve more robust so it can be used in more design situations. Now you can create surfaces in which the vertices are more evenly distributed, which makes the subdivision surface smoother and more easily modifiable. In addition, Align to Curve lessens the need to continually move vertices because of unwanted wrinkles or puckers in the surface.

Symmetry Improvement [ENHANCED]

More intelligence is built into the Center On command to help expedite your modeling workflow. If you use the Center On command the Symmetry command is automatically available. It’s side by side with the Center On command, since quite often the Symmetry command is used right after the Center On command.

Surface Knitting [ENHANCED]

The knitting of the solid upon exiting the subdivision environment applies only to closed volumes; open surfaces are left unknit. This built-in intelligence speeds up modeling, reduces unnecessary clicks, and simplifies the workflow. The “could not knit surface into solid” warning message has been eliminated.

Always Connected

The pressure is always on to deliver faster and at a lower cost. With product development teams spread out geographically now more than ever, companies need additional tools to bring products to market faster and more efficiently.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform makes it easy to work with people inside and outside your company, including customers, suppliers, and manufacturers. You can simplify your communication workflow and improve productivity since everyone works from a common platform.

And because data management is built-in, you not only have design data audit trails but also communication audit trails all in one, easy to access location.

If you have more questions about this release, please contact your local reseller.

Mark Rushton

Mark Rushton is a Product Portfolio Manager for SOLIDWORKS and has been involved with 3D CAD and 3D Printing for over 15 years in several capacities from research to consulting for the likes of Rolls Royce, GE, JCB and Dyson. When not playing with 3D printers or other tech, he is most likely out snowboarding, wake boarding or mountain biking.