Here’s a couple extra features that you might find useful for Sheet Metal in SolidWorks 2012…
The American Heritage dictionary defines a utility as:
n., pl., -ties.
- The quality or condition of being useful; usefulness:
- A useful article or device.
- A public utility.
- A commodity or service, such as electricity, water, or public transportation, that is provided by a public utility.
In SolidWorks, the utilities add-in available with seats of SolidWorks Professional or Premium can be very useful indeed!
SolidWorks defines Utilities as “a set of tools that lets you examine in detail the geometry of a solid model, and make comparisons to other models”.
With everything from automated tools to simplify your models to geometry comparison between separate files; these tools can give you valuable insight into your designs and give you the information you need to be successful.
Take some time to get familiar with SolidWorks Utilities by checking out this link: http://help.solidworks.com/2012/English/SolidWorks/swutilities/SolidWorks_Utilities.htm
Do you ever find yourself using the same feature over and over again? Or maybe your new designs share many similar features. Hopefully you already know you can copy features from one part to another (Ctrl+Drag between tiled document windows), but a better solution for a feature that you want to re-use over and over again is to add it to your Design Library. Here’s a couple quick tips:
Pick the feature(s) you want to re-use from your Feature Manager Tree (you can pick multiple features with your Ctrl key). Then from the Design Library Tab, pick the Add to Library command .
In the Property manager you can give your library feature a file name and description which will appear in a tool tip if you were to hover over the file in your library. Hit the green check.
You can further customized the Library feature part to make it more customizable by opening it up from the library folder. You may want to consider simplifying the original model to remove features you are not re-using.
And you can use the Folders at the top of the Feature Tree in your library part to control how the features behave when inserted into a new part.
The Reference folder shows the references that you’ll be prompted for when bringing in the features. You can Rename them hereto be more descriptive. And the Dimension folder allows you to rename the dimensions that will be copied into your new design and you can also move them into the Location Dimensions folder if you want them to be editable on inserting the feature, or in the Internal Dimensions folder if you do not want users to be able to access them.
Always remember to test! You can drag and drop you library feature part into a new part to test it out and make sure you get the behavior you expect…
For more information on this topic, our subscription service customers can check out my recorded webinar on our Events Page. Here’s a link: http://symsolutions.com/events-and-webinars.html
Solidworks has many great shortcuts built into the program already, but you can customize it in a variety of ways to fit your specific needs as well. If you’re not already familiar with the customize dialog where you can set up your own keyboard shortcuts and mouse gestures, this is an easy way to modify your settings and make your modeling operations fly. You can access the customize dialog by going to Tools>Customize, or right-clicking on any toolbar and choosing Customize from the toolbar list.
But don’t forget about the Shortcut toolbar. This is a custom toolbar that pops up right next to your mouse pointer when you hit the “s” key. With all the fancy mice in use today, one tip is to program a mouse button to the “s” key so you can launch the shortcut bar right from your mouse. You can customize the shortcut bar by right-clicking on it when it’s visible, selecting Customize…, and dragging and dropping commands from the customize dialog just like any other toolbar.
Also, how many times a day do you use the Ctrl key? Try programming a mouse button to this key stroke and you simply hold down that button while picking entities that you want to add a relationship between or multi-select. It will work in other Windows programs, too!
Once you get everything set up the way you like, save your settings with the Copy Settings Wizard. That way you can automatically apply your settings to any other workstation or new installation. The Copy Settings Wizard is a tool that is automatically installed with SolidWorks and can be accessed through the Windows Start menu, All Programs, SolidWorks 20XX, SolidWorks Tools.
For more tips on customizing you SolidWorks interface, check out the Customizing SolidWorks tutorial available by going to Help> SolidWorks Tutorials.