I have been doing a lot of work with Solidworks Pipe Routing as of late, and I have noticed a persistent issue that is extremely frustrating. I recently created a custom pipe routing library, which after weeks of adjustments finally worked. I have a custom PVC pipe and custom Elbow that inserts automatically as I draw a 3D sketch. The route works perfectly when drawing the sketch along any of the axes (XYZ), however once I try to get creative with my routes and draw lines off axis, the elbows no longer work.
The situation is a little confusing, so I will try to describe the issue here:
Assume I want to connect points A, B, and C. A is along the Z axis, B is at the Origin, and C is somewhere in the XY plane (with z=0). The lines would look as follows:
A 90 degree elbow should be able to be placed at B with one opening along line AB and the other opening facing point C. I would assume this shouldn't be an issue, as the angle between lines AB and BC is still 90 degrees, just oriented in the ABC plane. Unfortunately, Solidworks always seems to mess this up. Here is an example of what happens when I try to create a pipe route with this type on corner.
When I exit the route I get an error that the pipe routing elbow does not have the correct configuration to work in this scenario, as the angle does not equal 90 degrees. If I just ignore the error, I am left with a corner that looks like this:
The easy fix has been whenever the error message appears, I just click create a custom elbow, and Solidworks generates an elbow with the correct angle. Unfortunately there are a couple issues with this solution. The first being it is really inconvenient and my folder becomes flooded with custom elbow parts. The second issue is that I have had instances where Solidworks wouldn't be able to generate a custom elbow for some unknown reason. The third reason is the bill of materials. Given that more than half the elbows in my assembly are custom elbows at this point, my bill of materials is incredibly long as I each elbow is listed separately.
I did however discover a second solution, which is much better as it doesn't require the creation of a custom elbow. By entering the 2D drawing, I can adjust where the connection point is between the fillet and the pipe, adjusting the pipe angle as such:
This solution seems to work great, unfortunately it is very time consuming. It requires very fine adjustments to the elbow, and usually multiple tries to get it right. Additionally, it defeats the purpose of having the elbows insert automatically. It also does not always work.
Is there any way to get around this issue so that Solidworks won't mess up the routing elbows when they are oriented off axis?