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Configuring a Top-down Assembly from outside SW - User Input without opening SolidWorks.

Question asked by Mauricio Martinez-Saez on Sep 18, 2011
Latest reply on Jul 5, 2017 by S. Casale

Some people ask if it is possible to configure a complete assembly (a parametric assembly), without openning SW and without using an additional software such as DriveWorks, the answer is YES.


I have modifyed the OLD tank and base assembly I posted months ago to do this.


Imagine you produce horizontal tanks and want someone in sales to especify a tank (a variation of an existing parametric model), without opening SolidWorks (you do not wnat sales people to learn CAD, since they can get your job ), so how they can do that...


1.- Download the attached ZIP file and decompress it on your HD, this will create a directory named "Horizontal_Tank_with_Base".


2.- Open SW and them open the assembly named "Tank_and_Base.SLDASM" that you will found inside the "Horizontal_Tank_with_Base" directory.  Take a look at the tank you will see on the scren, even take a screen capture to be able to compare the tank to what you will see later.  Do not modify any thing.  Then close the file and close SolidWorks.


3.- Now pretend that you are the sales guy...  Open the Excel File named "Horizontal Tank Configurator.xlsx" that you will found inside the "Horizontal_Tank_with_Base" direcrtory.  You will see a "configuration" data input table... enter any new values you want (inside the limits defined on the data entry table), once you enter what you want, save the Excel file (on the same directory it was) and close Excel.


4.- Now you are back and engineer...  Open SolidWorks, and open the assembly file named "Tank_and_Base.SLDASM", this time SolidWorks will detect that someone changed values inside the "configurator file" and indicate you that the assembly have a "linked' design table that need to be updated, say YES (to update model with new values form the design table) and let the process execute.  SolidWorks will open Excel and load the configurator file (which have also de "design table" inside) and update the "Reference Geometry" part inside the assembly (which contain all de referencial geometry).  after this (it will take a little time) Excel will close and you will see the SW screen with the Tank assembly,  just for security (SolidWorsks sometimes fail to do a complete rebuid) press Control-Q and force a complete rebuild. 


Voila! you have a new Tank... that was specified by the sales guy (without larning CAD) and you can tell your boss that need a day to desing the new tank requested by sales on the Excel File Product Configuration Format ... (never show your bose that a new tank can be done in less that two minutes, or that the model is automatically morphed by the software... it my be bad for job security)


Note:  this can be done with ANY assembly (including very large and complex models),  the tank is just a simple small example, which is easy to disect and understand.


An unprotected copy of the "configurator - design table file" is inside the directory (this one is not linked to the model)


Have Fun!


Tank with Base.JPG