Equations galore

Note: I completely rewrote and updated this post. Read the new version here.

SolidWorks equations are underappreciated.

By using equations, you can make your model more adaptive to changes. You can make it smarter.

Furthermore, you can use equations to evaluate values or mathematical functions, suppress features or use them in custom properties. Even nested IF statements are a possibility.

Using equations to drive a model
Create a smart model using equations

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Creating drawings with individual weldment sections

Note: An updated version of this post can be found here.

Once you have learned how to use weldments, you will wonder how you have done without them for so long.

You can quickly sketch, build up and redesign complex frames made from standard pipes and beams. A single drawing will usually suffice.

But sometimes, you just want to create a detailed drawing for one or more weldment sections. Here’s how.

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When to use virtual parts in SolidWorks

Note: an updated version of this post can be found here.

Virtual parts are awesome. They exist, but they are not actual files. They improve your designing speed by skipping some of administrative tasks, but they are tricky. They might not get saved properly and changes might disappear. Crashes might cost you more than the usual amount.

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All you need to know about linear patterns

Hi there, it’s me again, Peter. This time I’ll teach you something about linear patterns in SolidWorks. Because you need to use them in your designs. If you don’t use them already, please start right now. Because you are wasting money.

Whether you just don’t add all copies of a part to an assembly or you copy in every fastener manually, you are wasting money. If you go through the effort of adding each item by hand, you are wasting time (=money). If you are refusing to add each item by patterns, you are creating technical debt that will come back and bite you. Incomplete models will result in lower estimates for masses, loads and cost. A bolt that isn’t added to a design can’t be checked on interferences with other parts, it can’t be checked on the thread depth or whether a tool can actually reach the bolt. So complete your assembly, and use patterns.

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Solidworks InPlace mates

Note: an updated version of this post can be found here.

I recently ran into these weird mates in SolidWorks when I was using virtual parts. Then suddenly, the mates stopped appearing, and I blamed the computer for that. As usual, this wasn’t a piece of software acting inconsistently, it once again was a user action that triggered the change in behavior. I couldn’t find much info about the InPlace mates online, so I decided to document it myself.

What are InPlace mates?

InPlace mates are a special kind of Coincident mates that are only created when you work in an assembly with virtual parts. They mate a virtual part in all directions to an existing part, without fixing the parts in space. They are created automatically without any input from the user. You also can’t edit them, they can only be deleted. That’s why I see them as a placeholder, they exist until you replace them with proper mates.

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