Advice from a Beta Tester

I was a Beta Tester. Stay with SW 2003. Nothing special about SW 2004.

Manuals are the same, nothing new here either.


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For some, the BOM improvement alone may be worth the upgrade. Now, you can 'easily' edit the BOM contents to include things like bulk quantities (24in). Excluding components from the BOM is much better now too.

Fit splines: Now parametric to the parent geometry, plus, they can fill gaps in the parent geometry. Could now be a VERY powerful spline manipulation tool!

Limit mates: Allow a part to move in a set range.

Gear Mates: Force components to rotate relative to each other.

Hole tables... something lots of people have been asking for!!

The feature tree in assemblies now shows mates belonging to that component (sort of like a show features/show dependencies hybrid)

Drawing performance. (I've not thoroughly tested it, but it does look at least a little promising)

IMO, SWX2004 does not include anything earth-shattering, like multibodies in 2003. But there are many small improvements that many users have asked for. The UI has really changed to decrease space needed for icons and commands (it can be changed back to the old style), keeping the graphics area as large as possible.

For some, 2004 does not provide any compelling reason to upgrade, but for others, just one of the above features could be plenty of reason!

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Dennis wrote in news:

You must have tested something different from what the rest of us saw. If SW04 is "mediocre", what software are you representing?

Here are some of my favorites in 04

- new section view is awesome

- autoballoon drawings

- redone BOM, with the choice of using old Excel type

- hole charts

- revision blocks

- way improved color/transparency dialog

- huge improvements with material properties

- Task Scheduler for batch operations

- more flexible interface (menus/toolbars)

- if you do welded frames, you will have to have 2004!!

- real view (textures displayed on parts w/o photoworks)

- fit spline

- measure tool always available (in the middle of other commands)

- ruled surface feature

- options to integrate surfaces into solid in fewer steps (knit/fill)

- loft handles

- new wrap function

- change center of view rotation by MMB click, then MMB drag

- alt-drag smart mates

- move/rotate parts with more control using handles

- limit and gear mates

- new ways to create drawings and assemblies from open documents

- new "view dependencies" function

- disolve assembly component pattern

- new mold tools

As far as stability goes, I only had 3 crashes during about 6 weeks of testing, and that's not because I didn't use it much, I was in the top 5 reseller testers. I did a couple of small projects in 04 and found the workflow with it to be an improvement.

What are the downsides? Well, I'm not supposed to say what the downsides are, so I will. The new mold tools hold promise for the future, but may not be much help in the present. I wasn't able to get any usable results from the new deform tool. I also wasn't happy about the customized menus still showing up with the arrows at the bottom, but that's more personal than anything.

Overall, this release IS something special. My favorite new features are weldments, mates and moving parts in assembly, and the new color/material interface.


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I would think it would be safe to say that the BOM and Flat-wrap is earth shattering in 2004. Our company is very anal when it comes to the format of the BOM. This new BOM, which I have not fully tested yet, is long over due.

The more and more that I think about the original post that started this discussion, I'm thinking that maybe the original poster was from SolidWorks Corp, trying to get the 2004 buzz going.

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Thanks for the good feedback - from a couple of hours play, it seems a decent development on 03 - drawings seem useably faster and more intuitive. Weldments seem useable and will have a decent effect on the workflow I do and cutting lists and the new BOM seem sensible (reserving judgement!). What is the general consensus on stability of SW2004 PR1? Is it better or worse than SW2003 at the release? I'm itching to get going on it, but waiting for braver souls than me to find the real nasties! Thanks Deri

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Deri Jones


By your simple statement I can only come with two conclusions: A)you work for a competitive CAD reseller or B)you skimmed the 'What's New' manual and determined that 2004 hardly adds any value. Welp, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and here's mine. Instead of posting useless information spend little effort next time and explain why you think 2004 is "nothing special". For me, 2004 is of great value as I now am able to work on my large assemblies without running into resource issues or other bizarre crashes. Didn't find that in the ol' what's new did ya? But, then again 2004 doesn't automatically do my work for me, so I guess it really is nothing special.

Reply to
Jeff Norfolk

Deri Jones quipped:

i do like being able to apply a thread "texture" to a screw (copied from Ironcad, btw). I do wish it would show up in the drawing tho. :(

that's all i've had time to play with so far (like 15 minutes).

first impressions:

-not sure i like the new, big buttons

-don't like the color gradient in the history window---hard to read

-the graphics look much worse: even in a part, the disply quality is crappy. black lines, colors of surfaces just look bad. Am I missing a setting somewhere to make it look like 2001+? (I can provide side-by-side screenshots if anyone wants to see.)

-I see they *finally* fixed the bug where your skin kept reverting to the default if you ever went to Document Settings. (tho it does still seem quirky.)

REALLY bad thing tho: SW2004 is the default for opening existing SW files. There should either be a warning to the user, or an option asking the user if they want to use the existing SW install as the default for opening SW files. Just asking for trouble.

--nick e.

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Nick E.

Arlin quipped:

are you referring to each part/sub-assy having a "Mategroup1" below it? (like I said i only played with it for like 15 minutes so far)

--nick e.

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Nick E.

so turn them off.

guess what? you can turn that off too

It's aparent you got to all the really important things.

I'll bet you complained when they paved the street by your house 50 years ago.

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Open an assembly and expand the feature tree of one of the components. Near the top, you will see a folder named 'Mates in [top level assembly]'

This folder contains the mates also shown in 'View Dependances.'

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Arlin Sandbulte

From what I have seen using Pre release 1 on a sepearate project for the last week , 2004 is massively different and better.

We work in meatal fabrications and the big one for is is the weldments.

also the drawings have a some nice features.

If you have assembly drawings with lots of parts, autoballoon is great!

makes a half jour job instant!!

I think there is a significant change in this release, the biggest change I have seen, been using since SW99

Dont take anyones word for it, try it and see!

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Lighten up, guys, it's only software. No reason to get all jacked out of shape.

Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale is the best beer in the world. Now that ought to start some real arguments.

Jerry Steiger Tripod Data Systems

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Jerry Steiger

Not bad. Howsabout:

Old Speckled Hen (UK) St Peters Ale (UK, organic)

Gordon's Scotch Ale (Scotland, but obviously only available in Belgium) Chimay Blue (Belgium) Goudenband (sp?) (Belgium) Kasteel (Belge) Lots more Belge beers

Kloster Andechs Doppelbock (sp again) (Germany) Any beer served in a Biergarten to accompany Braetsel and cream cheese.



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Two things one the best beer here in Canada is from Big Rock brewery and the best beer in the world is Zuber in the Czech Republic...

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Ben Eadie

bob z. just ordered some supplies to brew his own beer. bob z. likes beer. lots of it.

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bob zee
1.A pint of 80 shilling from the Caledonian brewery tasting rooms in Edinburgh - heaven in a pint glass
  1. A pint from the brewery in Greymouth, New Zealand - can't remember the name, but a bloody good brewery!
  2. Agree on the Belgian beers - they have a very healthy attitude to the stuff.
  3. Sierra Ale (can't remember the exact name) - a fine beer to kick back in Yosemite with.
  4. Old Peculiar (Yorkshire, England) - drunk at the Old Dungeon Ghyll in Langdale - 'tis indeed peculiar!
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Deri Jones

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