29 Replies Latest reply on Feb 16, 2017 11:37 PM by Nikhii Gandhi

    How we can effectively use toolbox?

    Nikhii Gandhi

      We are started using solid works toolbox. We have made our own toolbox but the problem is when we use Smart Fastener command then it will allots hardware to the hole wizards. But it allots wrong hardware e.g. in counter bore it allots hex bolt etc.

      If any one have solutions for it please do needful.

      Also I want some solutions regarding Hole wizard, can we change the type can we change the hole wizard standard from IS to ISO or from one standard form to other?

        • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
          Dan Pihlaja

          I would read this thread:


          Using Toolbox: Do or Don't?


          Personally, we used the toolbox for a while here, but since we use such a large variety of bolts, our bolts became massive (file size) with the amount of information that was in them.  Which bogged down even the smallest of assemblies.

          Then we switched the setting to "create separate part" rather than configuration, but it still didn't work very well.


          There are people here at my facility that use the toolbox, but I personally don't.  I just created models for the ones we use the most, labeled them with the part numbers we needed and done.

          • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
            Dennis Dohogne

            I am a strong advocate for using Toolbox.  it has made our life much, much easier.  File size is not a problem and the information that is already available with a TB part is superb.  We customize our Toolbox by only including the fasteners in our inventory and adding our part numbers and descriptions.  Everything shows up properly in the BOMs.


            Please search this forum for more information on using Toolbox.  You will see arguments for and against.

              • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
                John Stoltzfus

                Ok - Pro-Box


                1. Can you add custom properties other than what you get from the box?
                2. Can you add a Pricing Custom Property?
                3. Can you easily convert a Mc Master part?
                4. Can you easily insert a fastener having the thread features suppressed/un-suppressed?
                5. Can you easily change the display properties?
                6. Can you easily change the material from Carbon Steel to Stainless to Plastic to Zinc Plated to Brass to Titanium?
                7. Can you easily add a complete library of another size or do you have to add line by line?
                8. Can you easily do anything lol


                Using a SolidWorks Part file for fasteners is very quick once you setup the first one and it is easy to create additional similar model files, just open the file and edit the design table, change the diameter, material in the first row, highlight that row and drag copy for all your other sizes, so with in a few minutes you can have a brand new product in your Parts Library, which can be setup and shown on the left hand side of your screen..





                  • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
                    Dennis Dohogne


                    1. Yes

                    2. Yes

                    3. Have not needed to since TB has every standard under the sun

                    4. and 5. Do not need to have the actual helical thread and can change the thread representation from Simplified to Cosmetic to Schematic.  Actual helical features, especially on a lot of fasteners, is unnecessary and would dramatically bog down the software.

                    6. Yes

                    7. Yes

                    8. Heck yes!!


                    We very easily customized TB to include our part numbers and fasteners, not one by one but en masse using a spreadsheet.  We exported a spreadsheet out of TB and then, using a simple Excel VLOOKUP command matched the lines there to a spreadsheet we had exported from our ERP with our part number, description, material, cost, vendor, vendor part number, etc.  We then imported this spreadsheet back into TB and presto!  The information was there and readily used by SWX.


                    We did not have to create a single part.  Therefore we didn't have to model a single part and figure out the rules/relationships to configure them.  We also didn't have to download a whole bunch of fasteners from McM-Carr and then go through the tedium of cleaning them up and adding our company information.


                    To each there own, but I honestly think too many folks bashing Toolbox either haven't learned how to make it sing for them (we just asked our VAR) or have already gone so far down the rabbit hole with alternatives that they don't want to change.

                      • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
                        John Stoltzfus

                        Well, you just said put this in your pipe and smoke it


                        That is what I expected and wanted as an answer from someone that is going down that path and has jumped in that proverbial rabbit hole - hehhe


                        I know there were a lot of updates and it seems like bugs have been fumigated and cleared up..  If I were to go back to equipment design, I would definitely take another stab at it and like you said get my VAR to assist, if needed, however I do have tons of files available in my library..   Here I barely use or show fasteners in my models, with the exception of Custom Projects..


                        So what your saying is that I am an unnecessary Toolbox Masher, something Deepak Gupta was trying to tell me long time ago

                        • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
                          Jim Steinmeyer


                          Unfortunately we are one of those companies that used TB back in the day when it was a total disaster and went the other way as fast as we could. Now with thousands of assemblies with non-TB fasteners in them to change is almost impossible. Maybe someone like you is the person to get Nikhii started on the right path as they appear to be getting started.

                            • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
                              Dennis Dohogne

                              Jim, like you I ran into the early problems with Toolbox at another company.  When I moved to another company I brought in SolidWorks so we were starting from scratch.  I believed that SWX would fix Toolbox, and they did, so we gave it a shot and have been using it ever since.


                              I understand if a company is heavily invested in their non-Toolbox method of handling fasteners, but if you aren't too deep or are just getting started then you should definitely give Toolbox a shot.

                            • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
                              Andreas Rhomberg



                              I am in the process of setting up the TB for our Company, using the import from Excel option works pretty good.

                              I have a few questions for you.

                              are you using TB in  PDM?

                              do you let TB configurator generate all configs. or you add as needed?

                              or do you create new Part file?



                        • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
                          Chris Clouser

                          Nikhii, my vote is NOT to use toolbox.  It's caused me endless pain in the past and I have come to the same conclusion that many here have:  DON'T use it.


                          First, the toolbox is incomplete.  If your protocol is to use toolbox parts, when you encounter a part that isn't in the toolbox, you now have to decide how to approach it.  This can happen quite often.


                          The toolbox can be volatile.  It can change.  It needs to be carefully managed, especially if on a network being use by many.  If you have an excellent administrator and are sure that person will always be there, then you have a better chance at keeping the toolbox working properly.  But short of that, you are taking a chance.


                          I've had problems where the toolbox forgot all my fasteners and then it just puts in giant fasteners or tiny fasteners, basically whatever it feels like.  Then, I have no way of knowing what size fastener was there.  At that point you are screwed.  Maybe the network was down.  Or who knows.  I just know I determined to never let that happen again and I came up with what many do here, make our own library with individual parts that have only one configuration and maybe even are dumb parts that came from a step or iges.  then there is no way for this part to change...EVER.


                          Creating your own parts library isn't that difficult.  The truth is that you only use a certain number of pieces of hardware, and often you reuse the ones you have used before.  To date, we only have 102 fasteners, these are nuts, bolts, and washers.  That was developed over a 4 year period, so only about 25 a year.  YMMV.  We have multiple libraries such as fasteners, hardware, hydraulic, electric, mechanical, etc.  Total is maybe 1000 parts.  We reuse parts as often as possible, and then occasionally we have to add a part or two.


                          But the bottom line is that I never have a problem like I did with toolbox.  If the network is down, SWX does not just substitute something different.  It doesn't load that part until the network is back up.


                          By the way, I even tried once using toolbox parts but converting them back to "normal" solidworks parts.  Even this caused me headaches.

                            • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
                              Dan Pihlaja

                              This is exactly the reason that I stopped using Toolbox.


                              I ran into 4 different situations where suddenly all the fasteners in my assembly were suddenly way oversized or way undersized.

                              I think that it came from making tweaks to the toolbox that was on the network.

                              2 days later, I after tediously replacing every fastener, the situation was fixed.

                              Then, I went back into the Toolbox settings, and unchecked a folder of bolts that we don't use, so that we don't see them when we use toolbox, and BAM it happened again!


                              On top of that, I was told by our VAR that the toolbox was designed for people who use 2 or 3 different size bolts/washers/nuts, etc.   NOT almost every conceivable kind of bolt there is out there.

                              Every job that I do is potentially completely different than the last job.  So bolt size is NEVER a standard here.

                              Every time we used a different bolt size, it would add a configuration to the file.  This would increase the file size slightly.

                              It got to the point where every time I wanted to do ANYTHING with a toolbox component, there would be a 5-10 second delay.  After researching the issue, I found out that my little bolt now had literally thousands of configurations and was in the range of 100 MB large in file size.


                              My VAR told me to try the "Create Parts" option rather than the "Create Configurations" option, but when I did that, BAM!  All the bolts got replaced again.  I gave up immediately because I was extremely frustrated.  I did not contact the VAR again, and just created my own set of bolts.  Yeah, it might take a little longer per different size bolt, but it comes without the frustration!

                            • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
                              Dennis Dohogne

                              Nikhii Gandhi

                              Here are my comments in response to the others:


                              A couple of releases ago SWX fixed the giant sized fastener issue.  I remember that being mentioned in a rollout.  Perhaps one of the VARs on here can chime in and say when that was and what is really the culprit for that.  I'm not sure, but I think that problem is generally related to the software looking in various locations and finding different sets of TB files, but I don't recall for sure.


                              We use ANSI Inch and Metric fasteners, except we use DIN for the Nyloks.  It turns out there is no inch standard for Nylocks, even though you can download those from McMaster-Carr (McM-C is very good about listing what standards/specs a parts complies with).  There are no standard fasteners that we have needed that are not in those standards.


                              Our TB is very stable.  The only time we have a problem is when we try to use TB parts outside of our network version, such as on a home computer doing company work.  Even that is not a big problem for us.


                              We are a very small company, less than 20 people.  We have just over 300 fasteners of a very wide variety.  TB has been a real blessing for us.  There are so many benefits to using TB parts that do not exist for non-TB parts such as changing a whole group of fasteners all at once (new functionality in SWX2017).


                              It doesn't really matter whether you setup TB to create separate part files or separate configurations.  The net result is the same.  For what it's worth ours are setup to use configurations.  SWX manages these for me and size is not an issue.


                              One of the issues of using non-TB files is the management of all the fastener files.  Using configurations controlled by a Design Table is the way I would go if I were to do it, but a file with only 50 configurations can be lethargic and large.  That is also a reason not to include any more detail than necessary.


                              Andreas Rhomberg, no we are not using TB with PDM, but when I was grilling my VAR he showed me examples of how that is done without a problem.  One of the guys at my VAR used to work at SWX in the Boston area and I think he even worked with the PDM.


                              We have our TB setup on the network and all of our networked licenses of SWX are pointing to it.  Any of us can change the parts in the file, usually only adding a new fastener.  We do not have copies of TB on our local drives.


                              Accessing the files across the network has not been any kind of stability issue.  We access all our SWX files from the network.  However, that is a key aspect of PDM that I would like to take advantage of - that PDM makes local copies of the files to your hard drive and you work on them from there.


                              I've got a pretty good VAR and they did not try to dissuade me from using something just because they weren't intimate with it, as it sounds like some of the other VARs have been with Toolbox for some of the people replying to this post.


                              At this company we've been using Toolbox for over eight years and wouldn't do without it.

                              • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
                                Dennis Dohogne

                                Nikhii Gandhi,


                                In rereading your original post I realize we all jumped into using Toolbox vs. not using Toolbox and overlooked one of the things you were asking about.


                                In using Hole Wizard you can very easily choose which standard you want for the holes types:

                                Just hit the drop down list and pick the standard, ISO, IS, DIN, etc.

                                  • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
                                    Nikhii Gandhi

                                    Thank you Dennis Dohogne, standard can be change by this method that I knew, but the problem is that the kind of I am doing right now is to insert hardware from the toolbox. As we have made our own standard so I want to change every hole wizard feature to my own standard for every part. As my machine contain over 600 designed components so I have to do it for all the components. So I am asking for any macro or any other method to do it fast and then I can insert hardware from toolbox by using Smart Fastener and populate all command.

                                  • Re: How we can effectively use toolbox?
                                    Paul Risley

                                    Ok so I know Mcmaster is the go to for all things.


                                    I have never once seen anyone mention Fastenal or Grainger.


                                    Our bolts have part #'s for both Mcmaster and Fastenal built in to populate the bom.


                                    I think if given the chance to start fresh I would go with toolbox now. But being as our machinery is legacy information along with re-build updates utilizing 2 forms of hardware control would be a PITA.


                                    My 2 pennies worth.