22 Replies Latest reply on Jan 8, 2016 11:31 AM by Bob Van Dick

    Do you share native SolidWorks files externally?

    Joe Morton

      I'm hoping that the SolidWorks community can weigh in on the Pros and Cons of sharing native SolidWorks files externally. My company currently has a guideline to not share native files and always export to a neutral format for suppliers. I've heard of some suppliers saying that it's easier to manufacture parts (machined parts) if they have the native files. Does anyone have experience with this? How does your company handle sharing design data with suppliers?

        • Re: Do you share native SolidWorks files externally?
          Deepak Gupta

          The data is no even secure even if you share in neutral format. So if your supplier is ready to sign the NDA then I don't see any issues with sharing native format files.

          • Re: Do you share native SolidWorks files externally?
            Ingvar Magnusson

            Can say the same as Deepak.


            What do mean by easier ? Easier because of ..... ?


            What neutral formats are you using/sending to the CNC shop ? Have you tried to send them parasolid (.x_t) files ? I send parasolid files for manufacturing of machined parts with no complaints.

            • Re: Do you share native SolidWorks files externally?
              Leszek Paprota

              Hi Joe,


              If you have a subcontractor and he is using SOLIDWORKS I would send it in a native format.


              if it is a complex part and you don't want to share your design history (your know-how about designing the part) send it in parasolid etc.


              If they don't have SW I would send it in parasolid (as Ingvar sugested).


              If you want your geometry to be safe and not copied the only way is not send it anywhere (parasolid, step etc. will not stop anyone from copying the geometry).


              I remember a absurd from one of my previous companies where one of the customers did use SW2010 and one of his ordering customers (a big Finnish furniture company) did use SW2010 but they didn't share their original data. So if the contractor wanted to make some changes in the design (i.e. change 20 hole diameters) he had to use direct editing tools to copy the location, delete the holes, cut new holes... pure nonsense and a waste of time.




              • Re: Do you share native SolidWorks files externally?
                Chris Saller

                I 'never' send out native files. Once they have it, it's out of your control...they can do whatever they want with it.

                I see too often where models are changed without control and mixed up between revisions.

                Send them a parasolid or STEP file, with a secured PDF of the drawing.

                • Re: Do you share native SolidWorks files externally?
                  Bob Van Dick



                  From a job shops' view point, it is much better dealing with the native files.  The ability to add missing dimensions to a drawing within Solidworks is much more efficient than hand writing them onto a drawing.  Many formed models that come in as non-native have errors that will not let them unfold.  Since we do need a flat pattern to do our jobs, the adventure begins.  It is much easier to fix errors in a native file as opposed to a dumb solid. If design security is a concern, have your vendor sign a NDA.  It never made sense to me that SolidWorks users would send other SolidWorks users dumb solids unless they weren't on the same version.....



                  • Re: Do you share native SolidWorks files externally?
                    Jeff Mirisola

                    I'm with Chris -- no native files, .step or .igs and pdfs only.

                    • Re: Do you share native SolidWorks files externally?
                      Peter De Vlieger

                      Same here, I'm with Chris.


                      At most they get a DWG version if a PDF won't do. If anyone alters that, even by adding a dimension, then it's there funeral if there's a problem with the constructed element.


                      If there's data missing on a 2d drawing then it's my fault, or however else drew it.


                      Giving out native files is just begging for manufacturer faults and then you even have to spend considerable time sleuthing how the problem came to be not to mention finding the proof of where it originated or at least that it didn't originate with you or within your company.


                      The only reason I can think of that would warrant giving anyone a native file would be if that native file would then be used as is and without any need for interpretation or translation for CAM usage.

                      • Re: Do you share native SolidWorks files externally?
                        Brandon Anderson

                        I used to work for a vendor company (laser brake mostly) and we actually preferred a non-native file for most sheet metal parts. With SolidWorks convert to sheet metal functions I was more sure that I could make my necessary changes to the radii and k-factors to get parts within tolerance without changing the intended dimensions of the part. I never trusted anyone else's design intent when I was working with sheet metal. (for example if I changed a bend radii to match out metric tooling rather than the standard radii or the material thickness radii. If they used add to outside edge, it would move the whole wall) It's too easy to change in SolidWorks without realizing it when you have a native file. I also didn't trust their flat patterns, we could could usually make the prototype part within .015" (which is usually within tolerance) and then make the final adjustment providing spot on parts. We couldn't do that with vendor supplied flat patterns.


                        I also agree with the print being a contract though. A model will never exactly match a print, that's why there is tolerance. How much and in what spots is determined by the prints, which need to be defined by the customer who knows where the part is being used. Stack up tolerances, hole to hole vs ordinate is all very important to know how it needs to be inspected.


                        I could see though that with machined parts, or vendors who are given large leeways with changing parts, it may be beneficial to be able to have the native, but in my experience, the vendor doesn't know enough about the final product with pieces parts to know what they can and can't change.


                        My $.02