SOLIDWORKS is king of the hill when it comes to CAD design proficiency. It defends its title with a new option in the “Mirror” feature. The “Mirror” command now can mirror features or bodies from two planes in the same command. No more needing multiple Mirror features to copy the same geometry. This option is included in mirroring for parts only.
Normally, you would need to mirror a feature or body using one plane, then create a separate mirror feature to copy the other instances. This can be problematic because it introduces a separate feature to control the same pattern — never a good idea. Additionally, mirror features with lots of bodies can be cumbersome to repetitively select in multiple commands.
This really shows value to users who have symmetrical components or large groupings of features or bodies that are mirrored onto the model. Customers who use weldments, sheet metal components, or multi-body design will also find themselves benefitting from this feature.
Now, let me show you how it works.
I will start by showing the differences in the PropertyManager from 2021 to 2022. I will then go through two use cases that show why this tool is useful.
Side-By-Side Comparison of SOLIDWORKS 2021 and 2022
The PropertyManager for the Mirror command in 2021 versus 2022 is included below. You will notice that there is now an optional subcategory titled “Secondary Mirror Face/Plane”. This plane will mirror both the seed and its instance. Optionally, there is a checkbox that will “Mirror [the] seed only”.
Use Cases for the Mirror Feature
This feature makes a lot of sense for the frequent “two orthogonal planes of symmetry” that exist in many product designs. Take, for example, this conveyor frame.
The legs consist of 4 mirrored bodies (the leg, support, foot, and gusset) in this multi-body weldment part. It has two orthogonal planes of symmetry, the Front and Right plane. The new Mirror option is fantastic for this because I can create the primary front and secondary right plane mirror by executing a single Mirror command.
This feature also allows users to save time adding features like Hole Wizard holes to components. Here is a sheet metal bracket. I only need to add two Hole Wizard holes to the model– rather than 4 — to execute my mirror command.
Now, all my mounting holes are driven with only two locating dimensions. In sheet metal, these two locating dimensions are critical, as locating these holes too close to the edge may lead to manufacturability issues by creating distortion or bulge. This could also mean that the mounting holes could fail geometric tolerances, if not only cosmetic.
As always, good design intent means limiting the use of dimensions to only the necessary/critical dimensions. This reduces user error and ensures that our part rebuilds well. Model automation, in turn, also becomes easier.
The Mirror on secondary plane option brings users to a more efficient manner of design. This option is only for parts. Assembly mirroring components have plenty of advanced capabilities that were already introduced in 2020. This enhancement is quite useful in many circumstances, and I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time before you, too, say, “why wasn’t this available earlier?”.
I hope this part of the What’s New series gives you a better understanding of the new features and functions of SOLIDWORKS 2022. Please check back to the CATI Blog as the CATI Application Engineers will continue to break down many of the new items in SOLIDWORKS 2022. All these articles will be stored in the category of “SOLIDWORKS What’s New.”
Jordan Kleinschmidt, CSWE
Computer Aided Technology
What is Design Innovation Month?
DESIGN INNOVATION MONTH 2021 – Live Events, Webinars, Virtual Showroom, Contests
Design Innovation Month is CATI’s massive “What’s New in 2022” event for SOLIDWORKS, 3DEXPERIENCE, and 3D printing & 3D scanning technology. That’s six weeks of in-person events, live and on-demand webinars, demonstrations, in-depth blog posts, and prizes! Best of all, it’s free of charge! Check the DI Month Hub for all the details and to sign up for your nearest live event.