Sorry for the delay between posts during my 12 SolidWorks Tips in 2012 campaign. I wish I could say it was because I was out golfing during the record high temps for late March here in West Michigan but that was not the case. I'll do my best to keep these tips coming throughout the year and as long as I keep visiting customers that have great questions in need of answers that shouldn't be a problem.
This months tip, #2-Mining for Gems in Part Templates, stems from a recent visit to a company newer to SolidWorks. As we were going through establishing some standard part templates, particularly for Sheet Metal, the question came up on how, if possible, could they always revert to using their own custom Gauge Table. Sounded like a perfect Template Gem to share with the masses since this type of template functionality is not well documented or very self discoverable. So lets take a look at how we accomplish this in SolidWorks 2012.
- Start a new part file in SolidWorks that will be used for creation of the part template.
- Set items as normal in your template such as Document Properties, Material, Custom Properties, Start Geometry.
- Sketch up a simple part to turn into Sheet Metal (this can be very generic, even a plate, dimensions of sketch are not important).
- Use the Base Flange command on your Sketch from step 4 and adjust properties to your companies liking (for the example I described above I might check on 'Use Gauge Table' and then select my custom table from the list - I could even specify a custom K-Factor or Bend Allowance at this time that I also want as my template default).
- Accept the Base Flange command and then promptly delete all the Sheet Metal features and sketches you created.
- File-Save As-Part Template and give a unique name for your template and voila, you just captured those initial Sheet Metal settings for every Base Flange you create using this part template.
Now that you know this Template Gem, start mining through any SolidWorks feature that you would like to apply the same concept to. Just create, set defaults, accept and then promptly delete. Some examples could be anything from setting the default K-factor, Bend Allowance, or even default Hole Wizard type. Keep in mind that all these things can be packaged together in the same template file.
Take a look at the following video I put together for a visual explanation as well as a few other template gems.