SOLIDWORKS Fastener Comparison: Toolbox vs Custom Made vs Downloaded

Article by James Swackhammer updated July 28, 2020

Article

Growing up my dad had a bucket of screws, bolts, nuts and washers. His father had the same. Sometimes I was called upon to find a nut for “this” particular bolt. Cliché’ – needle in a haystack. There is a time and place for SOLIDWORKS Toolbox, Custom and Downloaded Fasteners. Let’s discuss the top pros and cons of each.

SOLIDWORKS Fastener Comparison

SOLIDWORKS Fastener Comparison

SOLIDWORKS Toolbox, aka: Smart Fasteners

Pros:
  • Most common fasteners are present
  • Come defeatured for faster performance
  • Can be shared over network or PDM
Cons:
  • Requires a medium amount of setup on each machine
  • Much discipline, maintenance and backup is needed
  • There are known bugs with Toolbox

Custom Made Fasteners

Pros:
  • Unique custom fasteners can be made to suit various needs
  • Many files can be created to maximize performance and minimize drag
  • Custom properties like materials, part numbers and even appearances are all designed
Cons:
  • Requires significant setup and know-how to do so efficiently
  • Updates to parts or different versions of SOLIDWORKS is challenging
  • They are easily editable causing issues with many assemblies

Downloaded Fasteners

Pros:
  • Websites like McMaster-Carr, GrabCad and  3DContentCentral most likely have what you need
  • Doesn’t require much setup because a file is already created
  • Some websites have fastener packages to download
Cons:
  • Most sites have fasteners with thread, decreasing performance
  • Be careful of what you download from the internet
  • Double check of every fasteners’ dimensions is required

Conclusion

After looking at the lists above you should ask yourself how much time you want to put in with setup, how many types of fasteners do you need, how important is performance, how important is maintenance and are you needing custom items? That will really answer what one of the three categories you should go with. From experience I have found needs for all versions. In later articles I will show you proper techniques on how to create your own fasteners and in a separate article how to download and modify for performance.

You can learn more about Managing SOLIDWORKS Toolbox with PDM and downloaded fastener tips.

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James Swackhammer

James is a SOLIDWORKS Technical Support Application Expert based in the Javelin Oakville head office