First released way back in 1995 but still going strong today, SolidWorks is one of the most popular and useful computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering programs in the world. Millions of engineers at tens of thousands of companies worldwide make use of SolidWorks each and every day, and the program has grown and evolved as the years have gone by to remain relevant and effective.
From seasoned engineers to design students just starting out in their fields, SolidWorks can be a life-changing piece of software, and it’s well-known for its vast quantity of features and functions. Many long-time users of the program start to pick up a few little tips, tricks, and how to’s they like to rely on to get certain tasks done, and here are some of our favorites.
Filter Top Level Assembly
The filter top-level assembly button was first added to SolidWorks back in 2013, along with the Quick Filters features. It was regarded as quite a minor addition at the time, but it’s had some major benefits for many users of the program.
While you can use the four Quick Filters buttons to quickly look for parts, assemblies, and so on, the chances are good that you’re most often going to want to open the top-level assembly. To do this in an instant, all you need to do is click the filter top-level assembly button and you’ll get instant access to all of your top-level assemblies, with minimal time wasted.
If you ever get tired of manually selecting every single edge of an inside loop, the loop select feature can make all the difference to you. This feature often goes unnoticed, and younger users of SolidWorks can waste so much time clicking on edges one by one when they could simply use the loop select instead.
How does it work? Well, once you’ve started up a new sketch, simply select the face you’d usually use with Convert Entities, but then hold the CTRL key to add another selection and click on just one of the inside edges. Your focus should then shift from the outer loop to the inner loop, covering all of those inner edges straight away.
This one is quite simple, but it can save you a ton of time and headache when working with SolidWorks on a regular basis. All you need to do is hit the R key and get instant access to all of your recent files. Up to 100 files will be displayed in the window, and you can actually ‘pin’ your favorite or most important files to this screen too.
You can open files straight from the window into various modes and even pick which state or configuration you’d like to open them up in as well. So not only will you be saving time in terms of finding files, but also gives you the freedom to open files exactly as you like.
Being able to copy a surface from one part to any other part is another super useful tool to have in your SolidWorks arsenal, especially if you want to build In Context relationships between different parts. There are many other potential uses for this too that you’ll discover over time. So where is the ‘copy surface’ command?
Well, it’s not easy to find, but it does exist, and you just need to know where to look in order to find it. All you need to do is select a face or faces and then select Offset Surfaces from the Surfaces tab. Then, set the distance down to zero and you’ll actually see the title of the window change from Offset Surface to Copy Surface.
Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes from time to time, especially when using SolidWorks and working on the finer details of our projects. What do you do when you make a mistake? Well, a lot of users would say that they close down the file without saving and then reopen an earlier save to erase the issue.
That’s one way to do it, but it’s pretty time-consuming and tedious. There’s actually a much simpler way, and it’s called the Reload command. All you need to do when you make a mistake is hit that Reload button to head back to a previous version of your file in a flash. SolidWorks even highlights files that have been changed so you know if you’re going to be losing any data in the process of reloading.
SolidWorks is a wonderful piece of software, but quite complex too! Part of the fun of using it is developing your own little tricks and methods to make certain tasks even simpler, and hopefully these tips will help you become a true SolidWorks master.