AAA Drafting Blog

A SolidWorks designer talks about stuff related to CAD and mechanical design

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Solidworks Design Library Steel Shapes Pros & Cons

Many Solidworks users may not have noticed the extensive steel shapes libraries included with solidworks version 2007 onward. These libraries include steel library feature parts for use with solidworks weldments. There are USA Ansi Inch,British BSI, Canadian CISC, German DIN and also GB, ISO and JIS libraries included.

To access these libraries make sure you have your toolbox add-in clicked and click on the right toolbar to bring out the design library. Underneath the Toolbox and 3D Content Central Icons is Solidworks Content. Click on the folder to show the steel shape libraries.

If you control click the icon representing the library you want, it will download a zip file into a directory of your choice. You will probably want to unzip these shapes in the same directory as your existing weldment library features. I copy my library features to a network drive location, so they wont get overwritten when I upload a new solidworks service pack. The network drive location also allows other solidworks users in the office to share the features.

One big problem you should know about is that none of the library features have the material properties set. This is a problem because weights will be displayed incorrectly in bills of material. They will show up ok in cut list properties and in mass properties but not in bills of materials. Since many shops bill jobs by weight based on the steel weights in the BOM this could be a real problem if it is overlooked.

Unfortunately you will need to update material properties in each library file and change them to "plain carbon steel". Hopefully this oversight will be corrected in future versions of Solidworks.


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