Using the Design Library in SolidWorks Simulation


Design LibraryThe Design Library is a very useful tool when working with SolidWorks. Anytime you have a standard component or design feature in SolidWorks, you can save it to your Design Library for easy re-use.  The same concept applies to SolidWorks Simulation for commonly used forces, fixtures, and connectors.

The Analysis Library can be accessed by adding-in Simulation and clicking the Design Library tab in the Task Pane. The default library comes with the Environment, Examples, Loads, and Supports folders (I added the Connectors folder to my library). Once you have your folder structure setup, the next step is to create Library Features. There are several different ways to save/ add Library Features, but I'll illustrate the easiest one to use for Simulation forces, fixtures, and connectors.

Connectors often have many selections that you don't want to do over and over again. To add a connector to the Design Library you want to first create one of the connectors you need to use multiple times.

Connector Prop Manager 1  Connector Prop Manager 2  Connector Part Picture

Once it's created, right click the bolt connector in your Simulation Design Tree and select "Add to Library". The Add to Library Property Manager is a very simple one. It asks you for the name of the item you are adding to the library and which folder you want to save it in. Make the appropriate selections, click OK, and that's it! Your new connector will now be accessible in the Design Library the next time you open it. To re-use the saved connector, open the appropriate folder in your Design Library, drag the connector onto a new hole, make new geometry selections, and click OK.

Another method of re-using connectors without the Design Library is to create a connector, right click on it from the Simulation Design Tree, select Copy, right click the Connections folder in the Design Tree, click Paste, right click the new connector, click Edit the Definition, remove the old geometry selections, make new selections, and click OK. The big problem with this method, in my opinion, is that you cannot paste multiple connectors at once. Each time you copy a connector and then select Paste, it removes the original connector from the clipboard so you have to right click it again and select Copy to make another one. To compare the two methods side by side:

Design Library Method

Copy and Paste Method

Create Connector

Create Connector

Right click connector and select Add to Library

Right click original connector and select Copy

Type name

Right click Connections folder and select Paste

Choose save folder and click OK

Right click new connector and select Edit Definition

Open and pin open the Design Library

Delete original geometry selections

Browse to Connector folder

Make new geometry selections and click OK

Drag and drop new connector

 

Make new geometry selections and click OK

 


The table above might not seem to drive my point home and you might be wondering "How is the Design Library method faster when there are clearly less steps to copy and paste?" The answer to that is that the table above describes the steps to create only one more fastener than the original (for a total of 2). Let's look at a similar table showing the steps to create a total of 3 fasteners:

Design Library Method

Copy and Paste Method

Create Connector

Create Connector

Right click connector and select Add to Library

Right click original connector and select Copy

Type name

Right click Connections folder and select Paste

Choose save folder and click OK

Right click new connector and select Edit Definition

Open and pin open the Design Library

Delete original geometry selections

Browse to Connector folder

Make new geometry selections and click OK

Drag and drop new connector

Right click original connector and select Copy

Make new geometry selections and click OK

Right click Connections folder and select Paste

Drag and drop new connector

Right click new connector and select Edit Definition

Make new geometry selections and click OK

Delete original geometry selections

 

Make new geometry selections and click OK


The bold text in the table above shows the steps that need repeated for every additionalconnector. This table shows that once the Design Library feature is created, only two steps are required to create a new connector. Five steps are needed using the Copy and Paste method. If only two connectors are required, the Copy and Paste method will usually be faster, while any number more than two will be quicker using the Design Library method.

Let me know if you've ever used the Design Library in SolidWorks and think you want to give it a shot with Simulation.

 

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