If you use SolidWorks for machine design or similar industries, the Hole Wizard (Insert > Features > Hole > Wizard) is a vital tool for your daily design duties. The Hole Wizard not only makes the additional of standard holes easy during the design process, it also makes the machining of such features easier, as most CAM programs can now read the sizes and features directly.
Because of this, it's critically important that the standard Hole Wizard sizes, depths, etc. match your company standards. Thankfully, SolidWorks has made it quite simple to change the default sizes and depths for your Hole Wizard holes quickly and easily.
To begin updating everything to your standards, you will need to open the Hole Wizard database, which can be accessed by going to Tools > Options > Hole Wizard/Toolbox and selecting the configure button, or by going to Start > All Programs > SolidWorks XXXX > SolidWorks Tools > Toolbox Settings (Windows 7).
This will launch the Toolbox Settings interfac,e as shown in the picture below. To begin customizing your Hole Wizard/Toolbox, simply select the “1. Hole Wizard” link in the middle of the screen. Alternately, you can select the “1” in the upper left hand corner (highlighted in red below).
This will launch a screen that shows all of the standards that come out of the box with SolidWorks. I suggest you uncheck all standards that you will not use. If you determine you need one later, it's easy to turn it back on by simply rechecking it.
A good rule of thumb is to not change the sizes/information in an actual standard, so SolidWorks allows you to do to create a copy of ayn industry standard you would like to use as your base. To do this, click on the standard you would like to copy. In the upper left hand corner of the interface you will see a button that resembles two folders. This is the “Copy Standard” icon. Click this icon and add a name for your new standard, then click the check mark as shown below.
Now that you have created your new standard, open it by clicking on it in the list on the left side of the screen. From here, uncheck all categories of holes you do not want in your standard. In my example below, I have disabled "Taper Thread Holes" in my new standard.
After unchecking the categories of holes you do not want included in your Hole Wizard standard, you will need to go one step further and open each category, then uncheck all hole types you do not want to appear in your standard.
Now that you have limited your standard to only show the categories and types of holes you want included, you're ready to start modifying the holes sizes you want to use, and then modify the hole sizes you want to use as defaults. To do this, you will need to open each active type of hole you have (in all of the categories you have left enabled). Below you will see that I am in [Your Standard] > Counterbore Holes > Socket Head Cap Screw. To change the default sizes for counterbore diameters and depths, you will need to visit each type of hole in this category. To start, uncheck (disable) all of the sizes of holes you do not want to appear in your drop-down list inside the Hole Wizard. After you have done this, scroll all the way to the right to show the Counterbore Diameter & Counterbore Depth columns. This is where you will change the default sizes that will appear for these holes.
Now that you have updated the counterbore diameter & counterbore depth, make sure that your clearance holes are set properly. Unfortunately, this is not included in the same table. To access the clearance sizes for counterbored holes, go to [Your Standard] > Straight Holes > Screw Clearances. Here, you can change the default thru-hole sizes for a close fit, normal fit, or loose fit condition. By changing the screw clearance sizes here, you will maintain these sizes for your clearances, even if you are using a Counterbored hole or a Countersunk hole in SolidWorks.
On the left hand side of your window you will notice that all of the items you have unchecked (disabled) are greyed out. Open the items that are still active, then uncheck (disable) all of the sizes you do not want to appear.
The rest of your updating is pretty straightforward. You will have the option to update sizes for your standard in each type of hole, similar to the screen shown above. You will probably not change these, apart from possibly updating the size of the tap drill in your taps. To access this setting you will need to go to [Your Standard] > Straight Holes > Taps Drills. The tap drill size is located in the Tap Drill column.
The task of setting your standard up can become quite time consuming as you get into it; however, the return on investment is huge. The ability to standardize what is used to design (compared to what is used to produce) your parts down on the floor is an important feature that makes SolidWorks so powerful. If you feel you have made too many errors while creating your new standard, or if you have accidentally changed one of the industry standards, SolidWorks provides a backup default Toolbox database that you can copy to start fresh. It's located at \Toolbox\data utilities\lang\English and is called swbrowser.mdb.
A long-time SolidWorks user, Jason Raak works as the Sales Manager at JMS Incorporated of Holland, Michigan. Jason writes about SolidWorks on his blog RockSolid Perspective.