15 Ways to Speed Up Your Design Process

   By TriMech Marketing on May 3, 2021

Whenever we ask participants in training classes what lessons they hope to take away from the training, the most common question is “How can I design more efficiently?”

Using SOLIDWORKS, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and additive manufacturing can accelerate your process from idea to prototype to product, but it can be hard to know how those tools can can apply to your specific needs and business. We’ve looked at each of these and pulled out what we feel are the top 15 tips to get you speeding up your design process as soon as possible.

Speeding up the design process using SOLIDWORKS

1) Creating custom part/assembly/drawing templates

Templates drive the design ecosystem and they can be as simple and as complex as necessary. You can create a template or even take a default template in SOLIDWORKS, make a few changes and add custom properties to create a new template for another function. You can predefine drawing views inside SOLIDWORKS drawings, link your properties in the title block and specify units in your templates for faster design. All of this is going to help you when you reuse the template and these custom drawing views are already set up. (Skip to 4:19 in the video below)

2) Using the Smart Fasteners and the SOLIDWORKS Toolbox 

While this feature is only available to SOLIDWORKS Premium and SOLIDWORKS Pro users, it serves a really great function. Smart Fasteners are driven by the SOLIDWORKS Toolbox and if you’re not familiar with the toolbox, it allows us to work with “off the rack” hardware. It’s essentially a big design catalog, organized into neat folders that allow you to drag and drop things into your model. These are based off of the Hole Wizard and Hole Series features and allow you to place that “off the rack” hardware directly into your existing assemblies. Based on the size of your Hole Wizard or Hole Series features, you will be able to automatically place the right fastener into your model.

3) Creating smart components in an assembly

Smart components are parts that contain information about commonly used parts and features. They capture external references; the information necessary to create associated features and the information to reconstruct the defining assembly. With smart components, you create a smaller assembly-like package that associates certain features or external components with the main selected part.

4) Inserting commonly used features and parts into the Design Library

Your Design Library is the central location for all reusable elements. If you have smart components that you reuse for multiple parts, the design library is where you can house that information so you can drag and drop it right into your model. You can place individual features, sketches, annotations, parts or assemblies in this library and they are neatly organized into folders and even sub-folders.

5) Performing FEA using the SimulationXpress utility

SimulationXpress is a basic finite element analysis (FEA) tool and it can run basic linear static analysis of single bodied parts. There are no mesh controls and there are limited outputs. It’s a fairly bare boned tool, but due to its usability, it is included in every version of SOLIDWORKS.

Speeding up the design process using 3DEXPERIENCE

6) Using your 3DEXPERIENCE Dashboards

With 3DEXPERIENCE Dashboards, you can compile and customize your interface to allow you to get your job done in the way that makes the most sense for you. You could have different dashboards for your project management tools, your data management tools and your design tools, and you can lay them out in any way that you like. Dashboards allow you to have your workspace set up so you can have what you need when you need it without having to recreate or reorganize.

7) Using 3DEXPERIENCE 3D Drive

The 3D Drive is a personal, synced folder, much like DropBox or Google Drive. It ensures you always have access to cloud-connected, backed up data that you may need, no matter where you are working. You can download files, upload files, or even share files with team members from anywhere.

8) Using 3DEXPERIENCE Task Management

Task management within the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is different from the other task software out there in that it is an interconnected, specialized task management tool. While it can manage tasks, projects, notifications and other basic features, it can do so much more. You could send automated notifications to outside stakeholders if the project moved to the next stage and needed approvals, You can also attach CAD files directly to a task so that when someone goes to work on that task, the file and everything they need is already there for them to get working right away.

9) Using 3DEXPERIENCE XShape

XShape is a tool that is specific to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and allows designers to create more organic or ergonomic shapes that would typically take a longer time with more advanced surfacing tools. XShape can accomplish those designs quickly using push/pull modeling. XShape allows you to change the way you achieve the task from parametric modeling to thinking more about how a part might fit into an open space or how the part might look with quick ergonomic adjustments made.


Leverage the cloud connected world, by using SOLIDWORKS Connected to directly link your SOLIDWORKS environment to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. This allows you to generate content in SOLIDWORKS, save it to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and then use those tools to modify it in tandem with the SOLIDWORKS tools you used to design it.

Speeding up the design process using 3D printing

11) Speed up proof of concept

Using 3D printing allows you to spot design flaws earlier in the process when there is a problem that you just couldn’t see in the CAD design. Adding the third dimension of additive manufacturing allows you to convey ideas and details more clearly than a 2D design, especially with those stakeholders who don’t have experience reading CAD files. 3D models also have a bigger impact at meetings when your team can hold the design in their hands rather than looking at it on a screen or the printed page.

12) Speed up function testing

3D printing allows you to speed up the process between CAD FEA and physical model testing. You’ll also have decreased lead times because you will no longer have to ship the work out, as in traditional modeling which can take over a week. In-house with additive manufacturing, that week’s worth of work becomes hours. You are also able to see how the parts will look, made even with the same materials, before you make the initial investment of tooling, allowing you to uncover mechanical or physical flaws sooner.

13) More realistic models for stakeholders

CMF (color, material, finish) modeling is a more concise, iterative process than standard manufacturing processes and it allows you to create more realistic expectations for a product. Using CMF modeling, you will be able to streamline the process, allowing people to see full scale models of what the finished products would look like rather than asking them to imagine it. It allows you to leverage the power of color, touch and feel, with marketing and C-suite stakeholders, and do it sooner in the development stages.

14) Maximize every hour of the day

Typical shop floor hours are from 7am-3pm, or even if you have a second shift as well, there is always a lot of downtime on the floor. With 3D printing, you can print overnight and utilize your team members more effectively. Printing in the off hours also allows you to use the time during the workday more efficiently, giving you more time to collaborate as a team. Ultimately, using 3D printing allows you to capitalize on and take advantage of what was otherwise unused time. (Skip to 7:04 in the video below)

15) Create more with less time and less waste

Traditional manufacturing doesn’t allow for part batching, or creating multiple parts at the same time. With additive manufacturing, you can have multiple parts being created in the tray at the same time, and they can even be different parts all together. Utilizing part batching helps to decrease your time spent per part as well as decrease material waste. Rather than setting up a printer five times for five different parts, you can set it up one time for all those parts to be printed, saving time and increasing productivity.

Everyone wants to design faster and more efficiently and these are tips that you can start using immediately to speed up your design process. SOLIDWORKS, 3DEXPERIENCE and additive manufacturing together can expedite and streamline your design process, taking it to the next level!

Related Products
Stratasys 3D Printers

Browse the TriMech web store for Stratasys 3D Printers for rapid prototyping and short-run production manufacturing.


TriMech provides thousands of engineering teams with 3D design and rapid prototyping solutions that work hand-in-hand, from sketch to manufacturing. InterPro became a part of TriMech Solutions LLC in 2021.

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