How to Efficiently Use Your Toolbox Components
Welcome to SOLIDWORKS Toolbox 102 – the sequel to Part 1 of our Toolbox series. If you haven’t checked out Toolbox 101 (How to set up and configure your Toolbox), feel free to read it first. For part 2, I’ll be showing you how to efficiently use your new Toolbox components. All you have to do now is drag & drop the components into your assemblies – it’s that easy! Let’s take a look…
Enable the Add-In
Since the Toolbox is a SOLIDWORKS Add-in we must first enable the add-in by one of two methods:
1) Enable Add-in through the Design Library tab in the Taskpane on the right side of the SOLIDWORKS session
2) Tools > Add-ins > enable SOLIDWORKS Toolbox Library
In addition to enabling the add-in, the path to your Hole Wizard/Toolbox folder can be specified in Tools > System Options > Hole Wizard/Toolbox.
Insert Toolbox Components
Inserting Toolbox components to your assembly is a breeze, simply drag and drop the desired component from your Toolbox Taskpane, as shown below.
After inserting the component, the Configure Component property manager appears on the left-side panel. From here, different properties associated with the component (size, length, thread length, part number, etc.) can be modified. It’s as simple as that!
Another method of speeding up your design process is by taking advantage of SOLIDWORKS’ Smart Fastener functionality. Smart Fasteners is a command that automatically adds fasteners from your Toolbox to your assembly if holes that will accept standard hardware are present. The types of fasteners added are defined by the User Settings that were specified in the Toolbox Settings program, which is discussed in the article found here.
Smart Fasteners are feature-based; therefore they can be placed in Hole Wizard holes, basic holes, and cylindrical cut features. It is important to note that smart fasteners do not recognize holes in imported bodies. To add Smart Fasteners, simply click Insert > Smart Fasteners > set up options in the property manager > OK.
Once you confirm the Smart Fastener group, it will appear in your design tree. To edit any Smart Fastener simply right click on the folder in the design tree and select Edit Smart Fastener.
You may notice a couple of cool features once inside the Smart Fastener PropertyManager. Next, I’ll show you how we can add washers and nuts to both the top and bottom of our Smart Fastener stacks from within this feature. Located under the Series Components section of the PropertyManager you’ll find a section titled Top Stack. We can use this drop down to select any components we wish to add at the top of our fastener grouping. More than one component can be selected here, and each component’s properties can be edited by clicking on its name in the selection box.
Now I know what you’re thinking… what about adding components to the bottom of the fastener?! Not to worry, we can set up the Bottom Stack using the same procedure as we used for the top. (Please note, the Bottom Stack option is only available for through-holes.) You can select as many components as needed; the hardware is listed in order from the bolted surface to the end of the bolt.
That wraps up Part 2 of our Toolbox series! I hope this series was able to provide valuable information on both the basics of using the Toolbox, and some other cool tips for taking advantage of the Smart Fasteners feature in SOLIDWORKS. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team if you have any questions.