It’s that time of year again when SOLIDWORKS announces its latest release and we prepare to share with our customers all the incredible new time-saving features during our rollout events. Admittedly, it's like an early Christmas for us, but we get to play the role of Santa! 

This time of year also brings the annual tradition of our marketing gurus calling the technical staff into a meeting to implore us to pick our favorite new features and write about them. Here’s what that meeting usually looks like:

Herding cats

That's because it’s impossible for any one of us to pick just one feature as our favorite. We invariably have several apiece; important, as I’m pretty sure we'd lose our CAD geek cred with any less. Credit, of course, to SOLIDWORKS. The fact that even after 26 releases, SOLIDWORKS can find hundreds of customer-driven enhancements with each yearly update. So, I’m going to spin the wheel here and choose… Smart Explode Lines.

Introducing SOLIDWORKS 2018 Smart Explode Lines

SOLIDWORKS 2018 Smart Explode Lines

We’re all familiar with the necessity for this type of assembly diagramming, a very visual aid that can be hard to automate perfectly. However, new tools have been added to SOLIDWORKS 2018 to streamline the process while giving us the flexibility we need. Here’s what the Property Manager for Smart Explode Lines looks like:

SOLIDWORKS 2018 Smart Explode Lines Property Manager

You’ll see, as before, any number of objects can be selected, and any number of steps can be created, edited, or reordered. A new set of Reference Point options are available now; however, with “Bounding box center” being the default locating method for the explode line ends. However, you’ll see that “Component origin” is now an option, as well as any manually “Selected point.”

But wait, you say, I want to drag the explode line to a new location with that “Selected point” option, but I’ve got dozens of identical components in this assembly. Certainly, I don’t have to do this one by one methodically?

The good news is, no! Once another object has been selected and changed, the “Apply to all component instances” option appears.

SOLIDWORKS 2018 Smart Explode Lines Apply to all component instances

And yes, it goes without saying that modifying the exploded view updates the explode lines as well.

Yet another time- and effort-saver in SOLIDWORKS 2018!