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Be careful when adding downloaded SOLIDWORKS Fasteners to your assembly

Article by Chris Briand, CSWE created/updated August 2, 2011

I recently had a discussion during one of my SOLIDWORKS training classes regarding common websites that everyone was using to download SOLIDWORKS fasteners for use in assemblies. Some of the most popular sites that came up during our discussion were:

All of these sites will save you time and effort as you don’t have to model SOLIDWORKS fasteners. However be certain that you are not shooting yourself in the foot by adding unnecessary model detail and subsequent load times to your assemblies.

SOLIDWORKS Fasteners

3DContentCentral Fastener

Be aware of adding to assembly load times

A recent issue for one of our customers was poor large assembly performance.  After some initial diagnosis, it was determined that a number of the SOLIDWORKS Fasteners included in the assembly that had been downloaded from a website and still contained their full detail of the helical threading. That particular fastener had been copied and populated into several hundred holes and compounded to increase the load and regeneration time of the assembly file. Using a simplified configuration of the fastener with a cosmetic thread, as shown below, solved the problem.

SOLIDWORKS fasteners

Modelled thread (on left) and simplified configuration with cosmetic thread (on right)

Check user defined SOLIDWORKS Fasteners

Another strange incident involved a customer who was attempting to print his final set of assembly drawings.  The prints were created, however they had “SOLIDWORKS Student License: For Academic Use Only” watermarked across the pages!  As it turns out, one of the SOLIDWORKS Fasteners that downloaded from the user created section of 3DContentCentral.com was the culprit. It had been created by an educational version of SOLIDWORKS and was responsible for propagating its message throughout all the assembly drawings that were printed.

SOLIDWORKS Student Edition Drawing

SOLIDWORKS Student Edition Drawing

Conclusion and recommendation

The moral of this story is to check the downloaded SOLIDWORKS Fasteners for excessive detail BEFORE you add them to your assemblies. Especially if they are downloaded from the user created area of 3DContentCentral and not from an official supplier site.

The features that cause the most trouble are: helical threads, large amounts of sketched or extruded text. To reduce the detail in any models you download you can either:

  1. Use the Defeature tool to remove threads and extruded or embossed text features.
  2. Create a simplified configuration with a cosmetic thread, with thread modelled features suppressed.

Give your system a chance to help you complete your large assembly work; reduce or eliminate unnecessary cosmetic detail at the part level.

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Chris Briand, CSWE

Chris has been educating and supporting Engineers, Designers and IT Personnel within the 3D CAD industry since 2002, and was adopted into the fantastic team of applications experts here at Javelin Technologies in early 2006.  Chris enjoys the continuous learning driven by the ingenuity and challenges Designers bring forward. Innovation using 3D Printing, 3D CAD and other technologies, combined with a diverse background as a technologist, allows Chris to find solutions that accelerate Designers, and take Design Teams to new heights. Chris is currently being held at an undisclosed location, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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