7 Replies Latest reply on Feb 6, 2013 8:44 AM by Joe Kuzich

    Need help with some basics

    Courtney Terry

      Hi all,


      So to sum this one up: I'm an Electrical Engineer learning to use SolidWorks for the first time. I've recently started work at a new company, and the task I'm currently on is to implement a new part number system. I have a hand-wavey idea of what I'm doing at best.


      I'm struggling with two issues:

      One- renaming PDFs is pain-free enough, but renaming part files and assemblies and/or relocating files makes SolidWorks complain. Can anyone recommend any tutorials or pointers for renaming part/assembly files with new part numbers without breaking top-level assemblies?


      Two- I'm finding that creating parts from scratch is easy enough, but I'm having trouble with updating dimensions in existing parts. Supposing I want to change a length- I open the part, and click extrude1 (or whatever number the correct 2D sketch is from the feature manager, yes? Can I do this on a part I've saved from McMaster, and if yes how?


      Thanks for any help, folks!


        • Re: Need help with some basics
          Timothy Holman

          SolidWorks Explorer.  This tool makes changing file names and moving files around easy and maintains file references. 


          If you have features in the parts you are downloading then you should be able to edit them just like you could parts that you created yourself.  The design intent might be different than what you might use. 

          • Re: Need help with some basics
            Tom Strohscher

            To rename a file.


            Open all assemblies and drawings that use the part file.  Open the part file too.  Use File, Save As and give the part file a new name.

            The references in the assembly and drawing files will be updated.

            The assembly then needs to be saved.  The drawing file will also need to be saved but usually the the drawing file name will change too so it matches the part file.


            Your problem here is that you will need to have all the assemblies that use the part open.  Do you know what files they are or how many you have?


            Another option might be to setup PDM Workgroup.  Put everything into the vault.  Rename the file while it's in the vault and all the references are fixed for you.

            If you're talking about a lot of files you might need a PDM vault anyhow.


            If you download a part from McMaster Carr chances are you will not be able to edit it directly.  You  will have to use Feature Recognition.  It's a SW add-in tool that attempts to create editable features for a imported part.

            Sometimes feature recognition is more difficult then making the part yourself.


            Some vendors give you real SW files.


            Most of the time you do not need to edit the sketch to change a dimension.  If you double click on a face the sketch created the sketch dimensions will be shown.  There are times that another feature tied to the surface prevents the corret dimension from comming up.  Just double click on another face until you get the hang of it.

            • Re: Need help with some basics
              Jeremy Feist

              A lot of the mcmaster fasteners can be difficult to edit because they used a design table to make all of the sizes and then saved out each to separate files - you may notice that some of the dims are pink - those are/were controled by the table. go to the configurations tab and expand the "tables" icon. select the design table and delete it. you should then be able to edit as you expect.

              • Re: Need help with some basics
                Courtney Terry

                All of this advice works beautifully. I'm currently unable to obtain SolidWorks Explorer, but I'm putting in a request to purchase subscription services. I'd like to make use of it (and other nice looking downloads I'm not allowed to access right now). Thank you guys!



                  • Re: Need help with some basics
                    Glenn Schroeder

                    About re-naming files, you can do it without SW Explorer.  In Windows Explorer, RMB on a file and go to SolidWorks > Rename instead of going straight to rename.  After a search a dialog box will pop up showing the assemblies and/or drawings that are referenced by the file, with check boxes, and a space to enter the new name.  If you use this method then references will be updated for the files that are checked in the re-name dialog box.  But be warned, any files that are referenced that aren't saved in the same folder or one very close may not be found in the search and won't be updated.  The same is true when using SW Explorer, depending on search settings.

                  • Re: Need help with some basics
                    Jeff Mirisola

                    I would strongly suggest that you go through the tutorials in the help section. You need to be careful that you don't inadvertently make the wrong changes. 'Ctrl+z' (undo) could be your best friend for the foreseeable future.

                    With regards to the McMaster parts, rather than trying to change them why not just download the correct part. I'm thinking it will be much less painful.

                    You should also avail yourself of the innumerable websites out there that offer tips, tricks and tutorials for SolidWorks. They're everywhere, which is a good thing.