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SOLIDWORKS Quick Trick: Propagate Feature to Assembly Parts

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE created/updated March 28, 2016

Many times in SOLIDWORKS, it makes sense to create features at the assembly level. Sometimes this can be due to a Top-Down approach to assembly modeling, sometimes you’ve taken a bottom-up approach and you want to make an exception for a single feature. Let’s say you want to add a clearance hole through multiple components and you want the hole to line up. Rather than creating the same feature in all the components by opening up each one and adding the feature, it is faster and easier to add an Assembly Feature.

With an Assembly Feature, you can create the feature at the assembly-level. Here are some of the features you can create:

  • Extruded cut
  • Revolved cut
  • Holes (Hole Series, Hole Wizard, and Simple Hole)
  • Swept cut
  • Fillets
  • Chamfers

With these features, you also the option to display the feature at the assembly-level only (such would be the case if I was to drill a hole after assembly) or if I want to “Propagate feature to parts,” as the option is called:

Propagate Feature to Parts

Propagate Feature to Parts

With the option turned on, the feature will appear at the part level as well. It will not be able to be edited from the part, though, but I can right-click the feature and choose Edit in Context, which will open the assembly that I created the feature in. Alternatively, I can suppress the feature at the part level for a variety of purposes.

You might notice that I left Weld Bead and Belt/Chain features off the list of assembly features. This is due to the fact that they do not have the option to propagate the feature to the part-level, largely due to the fact that they cannot be propagated to the part level due to the nature of the features (Belt/Chain causes related motion between components and Weld Bead would connect multiple parts together after they were assembled).

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Jim Peltier, CSWE

Jim has been using SolidWorks since 2001, and has spent most of that time working in the design of industrial automated manufacturing equipment. He has been working as an Applications Expert at Javelin Technologies in Oakville, Ontario since July 2012 and is a Certified SolidWorks Expert (CSWE).

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