SOLIDWORKD Tips and Tricks

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By Nikhil Kateliya

Hello all CAD enthusiasts,

We all know how CAD platforms like SOLIDWORKS has brought revolution to 3D CAD design in last few years. It has just changed the definition of CAD designing & brought it at the very new & unique level.

SOLIDWORKS has drastically reduced the CAD designing time from too many days to few days, from too many hours to few hours as compared to earlier traditional way of designing. Additionally, with integrated platforms like SOLIDWORKS Simulation, SOLIDWORKS Visualize & many more, entire process of design to manufacturing is streamlined in fabulous way that within a single environment all users can do almost all things in a single window.

Although SOLIDWORKS has streamlined almost every area in industry from Design to Manufacturing & speeded up entire cycle time very efficiently, there are some really cool tips & features which can help you to even reduce more time in Designing.

We will start from Sketching,

  • Always start sketching according to your product orientation, it will really help you in assembly as well as 2D drawings. (i.e.: If you are sketching front view of your product, start sketching on front plane only. Accordingly, for top view & side views.)
  • Always fully define your sketch. Avoid under defined sketch to avoid accidental changes in your designs.
  • Use mouse gestures & shortcuts to minimize the mouse travel. You might not see the drastically change in time consumption, but you will definitely feel the difference over a time.
  • Whenever you’re working on complex sketch or huge dimensions-oriented sketch, use Fully define feature to bring all necessary dimensions & change the values as per your need. It will really save your time rather then just finding which dimensions are missing manually.
  • If there are some scenario where two or more sketches are interdependent then you can sketch all the entities in one sketch & then you can use that single sketch for multiple features with the use of “Contour Select Tool”. It will really help you in saving time as you can reuse a single sketch for multiple features.

Now let’s have a look in 3D Features.

  • Try using “Instant 3D” feature whenever possible. It is really quick & reliable feature of SOLIDWORKS.
  • Always organize your feature tree very efficiently using “Folder” feature. You can have similar concurrent features i.e. fillet in a single folder; it will minimize the feature tree as well as will make it very easy to understand for other users.
  • Try to use as few as possible feature for making any part. Fewer the features, fewer the time it will take while changing the model.
  • Disable “Verification on rebuild’ for complex or imported parts, it will save your time in rebuilding process. Once you are done with entire model you can manually rebuild the model, or you can enable the “Verification on rebuild” feature.
  • Turn of “Update Automatically” feature in cut list while working on huge weldment structure. You can update it manually when you’re done with making model.
  • Use mold tools feature which are available in SOLIDWORKS like creation of Parting Lines, Shut-off surfaces, parting surfaces, tooling split, etc. There tools are very useful in core & cavity design. These features are smart enough that it will complete almost all the task automatically in almost every scenario.
  • Avoid using physical threads when possible, instead use cosmetic thread which will reduce your time in completing your design. (PS.: Physical threads are resource heavy features)
  • Use mouse gestures & keyboard shortcuts to minimize the mouse travel. You might not see the drastically change in time consumption, but you will definitely feel the difference over a time.
  • Make one default template with all the settings you generally use & save it. Reuse the same template in every new part so you can save time in not setting up user setting each & every time.
  • Use configurations rather than creating & saving new part when you need to create new instance of same part with few dimensions & feature changes.
  • While working with constraint like weight of the model, create a weight sensor so you can work without worrying weight of the model. You will get notified when you weight of your model increases more than desired weight.
  • Additionally you can create sensors for different properties related to part to avoid errors.

Now let’s have a look in 2D Drawings,

  • Make one default template with all the settings & with your company defined title block you generally use & save it. Reuse the same template in every new drawing so you can save time in not setting up user setting & title block each & every time.
  • Use view palette to drag & drop different view in drawing sheet.
  • Use “Model Items” feature to apply all the dimensions to views in sheet which we have already applied while part modelling which will save your time by not doing repetitive work.
  • Use mouse gestures & keyboard shortcuts to minimize the mouse travel. You might not see the drastically change in time consumption, but you will definitely feel the difference over a time.
  • Keep the drawing sheet clean & clear by removing unnecessary dimensions & annotations.
  • Save the frequently used annotations in library so you can easily drag & drop that annotations when & where necessary.
  • Use the layers tool to differentiate different type of dimensions & annotations.

Now let’s have a look in Assembly,

  • Always give a frequently used parts mate references, so it can be easily positioned in assembly according to mate references provided & you can save time by not applying different mate to same parts in different assemblies.
  • Save the frequently used parts in library so you can easily drag & drop that parts when & where necessary.
  • Use toolbox components to save time.
  • Use “Smart Fasteners” feature to add toolbox component like nut, bolt, washers, etc automatically in assembly.
  • Use configurations rather than creating & saving new assembly when you need to create new instance of same assembly with few changes in parts & mates/dimensions.
  •  Use component preview window while working on large assembly to apply mates.
  • Use Isolate feature when working on some specific parts/subassemblies to minimize visual interruptions.
  • You can create sensors in assembly to keep a watch on different properties of assembly. (i.e.: Weight, Interference, Dimensions, etc)
  • Use “Pattern Driven Component pattern” to quickly pattern part with reference to part level pattern.

There are only some tips & features which are very useful while working on SOLIDWORKS CAD.

Stay tuned with this blog to keep updated with new tips & feature in SOLIDWORKS CAD which will be updated in this blog.

Feel free to reach out to me on nikhil.kateliya@operisoft.com

Posted in: SOLIDWORKS
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