Categories: What's Happening

Andreas Mehtälä: New Features in ZW3D 2020 are Big Time Savers (Part One)

Sinnce the release of ZW3D 2020, the new version is widely recognized by users for its upgraded capabilities of design and machining. Many ZW3D lovers explored the new features and shared their comments with us. This post is the trial report from Andreas Mehtälä, an experienced engineer working on injection molds, mechanical engineering, automation, product development and CAM machining. He tested a great many new features and improvements in ZW3D 2020 and commented on each of them in detail. Hope it will be helpful to your evaluation of the new version. Now, let’s see what your peer said.

With the release of ZW3D 2020, I saw many exciting improvements and updates. Today I will share my review on new features.


The performance of version 2019 was already good but ZW3D keeps being improved. Anyone who has worked with large assemblies will appreciate the new improvements.
In the video, I have attached over 500 M5 bolts to a plate and I can still rotate it without a problem. Also, note that the geometry doesn’t get simplified when rotating.

Rough Offset

In ZW3D 2020, one of the new features in the CAD module is the Rough Offset. This allows us to choose several surfaces and make a rough offset of them, pretty much as the name suggests and how rough is up to us. You also have the option to smoothen the surface or trim the boundaries.

Rough Offset is used in the mold design process to facilitate manufacturing. Another great application is package design, which makes it very easy to create customized packaging to the product. Of course, you are not limited to this, so it’s up to your imagination. I have already thought of another application that you could do some cool artistic stuff for 3D printing.

Figure 1. Use Rough Offset to create packaging for a mouse

Flange with Profile

The next feature is the Flange with Profile. Although this is nothing new in the CAD world, it is nice to see this feature in ZW3D. This gives you the possibility to create and edit customized flange profiles, saving you the time of creating several features to achieve the same result.

Figure 2. Create special-shaped flange via Flange with Profile

Quick Fasteners

This is a great feature saving you a lot of time. During the assembly design, you can insert various fasteners and insert them automatically on reoccurring instances. You are not limited to a plane or to a specific pattern, which allows you to insert the fasteners with ease.

Another great thing is that the fasteners are inserted as parts instead of patterns. And you can set them automatically constrained as well, which gives you more control over your fasteners. You can add them to a folder to keep them organized instead of searching for them in a pattern feature of some kind. Of course, you also have the option to set your fasteners as patterns should you want to.

Figure 3. Insert a mass of bolts automatically with Quick Fastener

Improved Draft

The Draft feature now includes two new draft types. Draft with parting face and draft with parting edge, giving us even more flexibility. This is very helpful when trying to establish a draft on a specific section of the part.

Figure 4. Easily establish a draft on a specific section

Section Curvature

With Section Curvature, we can now verify the curvature of our part in various sections. Very good for product design and Class-A surfacing.

Figure 5. Verify the curvature of the part in various sections

Assembly Improvements

There have been several improvements to the assembly process.

One of the new features is that the well-defined status has been updated. Sometimes you want your assemblies to be flexible and allow some kind of movement in a specific range of motion, this then presents a problem when we try to make our assemblies well-defined (meaning that all the parts are constrained). In some other CAD software, you need to make your assemblies rigid in order to show them as well-defined which can sometimes be annoying. So with the new well-defined status, our assembly is well defined although allowing some movement thus letting us construct robust assemblies easier.

Another good thing in the 2020 version is that if we move parts between different layers or subassemblies the constraints will be automatically updated, another huge timesaver. What’s more, in ZW3D 2020, you can lock the rotation on concentric constraints.

Figure 6. Lock the rotation on concentric constraints when verifying the motion of the model

Motion Track
Now, this is one of the features that I am most excited about. Being able to track and record certain motions of your machines or robots is a huge benefit, which gives you the advantage of having clearly defined machine paths. You can also export this data and insert it as a curve in your assembly. Even if you are sure of a certain motion in your design, it is good practice to always verify. With this new feature, it can’t be easier.


Improvements have also been made for PMI and drafting, making it easier to specify criteria on the model and create bulk drawings at a time according to layers or certain parts in the assembly.

There are more new features in the CAD module like support for 4K resolution, optimized user folders, backup folders, new orientation tools and more. I can’t cover them all in this post, you simply have to download ZW3D and test for yourself.

The above content is created by Andreas Mehtälä’, except where quoted or stated otherwise. In the next part, he will continue to share his experience on Mold and CAM modules in ZW3D 2020. Keep Reading!


Andreas Mehtälä

Andreas Mehtälä, Founder of The Engineering School, has multiple years of experience working in injection molds, mechanical engineering, automation, product development and CAM machining.