Category Archives: Tech Tips

Did you know that with SOLIDWORKS, there is no direct way to save an individual custom material that originated from another computer?  Let me give you a common scenario:  You are a consultant and you get a part file sent over.  That part file has a custom material that you are required to use on another design.  The best workaround using SOLIDWORKS is to get the original custom materials database from your customer (materials.sldmat) and point SOLIDWORKS to that additional database in Tools > Options > File Locations > select ‘Material Database.’  If that is not an option you are left having to manually create the custom material.

If you happen to own any version of SOLIDWORKS Simulation, you can use its natural workflow for creating a study to pull and create the custom material you want for use in your own materials database.  Simply open a new Simulation study on either your existing part or assembly file (the model with the custom material you want to copy) and choose “Apply/Edit Material” in the Simulation study tree.

Simulation will create a temporary file-specific custom materials database sub-folder with the same name of the part or assembly you are working on and will include all the custom materials that were assigned to the model.  In the example above the creation of the Simulation study added a sub-folder called “crank-arm” as was the name of the assembly.   At this point you can copy and paste the custom material you want to include in your own database.  Be sure you do this before you close the Simulation study.

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When design changes occur it is often time consuming to find which dimensions on a drawing have changed. This is especially true if the person reviewing the drawing for changes is not the person who actually changed the model.

There is a quick way to find dimensions that have changed since a drawing file was last opened. After the drawing file is opened select View -> Isolate Changed Dimensions. The changed dimensions will be highlighted while the unchanged dimensions will appear in light gray.

The color for changed dimensions can also be set to a specific color. This settings can be found under Tools -> Options -> Colors -> Dimensions, Changed Dimensions.

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For years we have become familiar with the usual sounds SOLIDWORKS makes to let us know when certain things happen in our design.  Things like Rebuild Errors, Sensor Alarms, and Mesh Completion sounds are critical pieces of feedback that inform the user of the status of their design.  Starting with the 2013 release, SOLIDWORKS introduced the ability configure these sounds.  You can configure sounds from the Tools > Options > General tab.

The sound configuration is controlled by events in the Windows Sound configuration tool. If you scroll down, you will see a “SolidWorks” list of events.

To change a sound simply select the event from the list and choose a different sounds from the pull down menu.  You can also use any .WAV file you have by using the “Browse” button and browsing to the file.

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Many users take advantage of the built-in feature to quickly enable perspective in their models.  You can toggle perspective on and off from the View pull-down menu under View, Display, Perspective.  However most users don’t realize you can also modify the intensity of that Perspective View.  Once you enable the Perspective option you just have to navigate to the View, Modify, Perspective command.  You will then be able to adjust the intensity from the Perspective View PropertyManager.

Perspective is related to the size of the object being observed and the distance of that object from the observer. You can modify the perspective by specifying the Object Sizes Away. The smaller the value, the greater the amount of perspective distortion.

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One of the main issues with users new to SOLIDWORKS Costing is that it can be tedious to customize.  The templates that drive the Costing calculations have a lot of data regarding specific manufacturing techniques, operations, etc. that must be accurate in order for Costing analysis to be effective.  However, the SolidWorks 2014 release introduced a new “Customizable Volume Feature Recognition” option that simplifies Costing for the user that is looking for an easy to use solution for machined parts. You can find the option for “Customizable Volume Feature Recognition” in the Costing Options.

With this option enabled the user is no longer evaluating the model based on specific manufacturing operations. Instead they are using the volume of material removed from the stock defined in Costing and the finished part.  As you might imagine, volume based calculations will not be quite as accurate because of the lack of detail regarding specific manufacturing operations. However, for the user who is simply looking to get a rough idea of cost and does not want to spend the time adjusting feeds/speeds, etc., this is an excellent option.  The volume calculations for cost can be defined either by “Machining Operation”, which allows you to define a specific tool’s material removal rate, or by “Cost Per Volume Removed” which allows you to define a specific cost per cubic inch/mm of material removed.

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