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My Favorite 2017 Electrical Enhancements

Last year, I wrote about all the new enhancements that came with SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2016, and with the recent release of SW2017, SOLIDWORKS delivered for Electrical again. I wanted to use this blog to bring attention to my favorite updates to Electrical for 2017, but to also note that a majority of the key enhancements and fixes that went into this new release came from CADimensions customer’s requests.  In 2017, the Electrical Ecosystem saw an addition of a new product in SW PCB, as well as a focus in improving the functionality, interface, and reporting.


One customer request that made it into Electrical 2017 is the ability to propagate data to objects.  Typically, wire styles have formulas to generate their marks, so this gives us the ability to keep generic marks, while propagating complex marks that don’t fit the formula.  This function can be found in the Process tab, and gives the user the ability copy values from Wire, Equipotential, Terminal and PLC data and paste them into object data fields. In the example below, I’m able to convert my PLC terminal names to my wire equipotential marks.

Food and Fuzz

With Thanksgiving around the corner, the team at CADimensions has a lot to be thankful for: a dynamic staff, wonderful partners in SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys, and the best customers! As we approach the end of the year, November is the perfect time to reflect on how much we have to be grateful for, and strive to give back. This year, CADimensions is giving back in two ways, which I’m coining “Food and Fuzz”.


When I first started talking to customers about SOLIDWORKS Electrical, I was often met with the question of “does this package help us with Printed Circuit Boards?” While I could offer options, like CircuitWorks, I never had a full solution to provide customers that could do board design. However, as of July 1st, that is no longer the case. SOLIDWORKS has announced the release of SOLIDWORKS PCB, design software, powered by Altium, to quickly document your boards and have them work seamlessly with SOLIDWORKS Mechanical Design.

Kevin and I recently did a webinar on this product, but I wanted to write up a quick blog to share the features and functions of the software that excited me as I was learning the tool. 

4 Steps to Generate Automatic Mates in an Assembly

When working in assemblies, especially electrically focused ones, as I often find myself in, I spend more time worrying about making sure mates are correct, than the accuracy of my routes. SOLIDWORKS Electrical uses the Electrical Component Wizard to aid in mating components more easily to DIN rails and doors. But this functionality is certainly not limited to Electrical. It is a feature for all SOLIDWORKS users. We will go through the 4 steps that are required to generate automatic mates in an assembly.

Step 1:  Edit the Jack

Let's look at a PCB component that has been added to a board (left). It is a male jack that was soldered onto our board. We want to be able to quickly add a female connector to slide onto this part.  We will need to edit this existing part to add some mate references that our connector can find. From the assembly, we can open up the part to edit it (middle). Inside the part, we want to add a Mate Reference (Insert -> Reference Geometry -> Mate Reference). The Mate Reference dialogue will ask for a Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Reference Entity, along with the desired mate type of each entity (right). The Mate options will vary dependent on the type of entity selected (face, edge, vertex or plane). The final selection is our mate alignment choice, between aligned (where normal vectors of faces point in the same direction) or anti-aligned (where the vectors point in opposite directions and the faces butt up to one another). For our male jack, our primary reference will be the front face of the block we want to plug our connector into. We will use secondary and tertiary to help further align our connector.

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