If you have SOLIDWORKS Professional or Premium, somewhere in your paperwork is a list of add-ins that came with it. Many users forget about all these great tools and just use Toolbox. Today, we will be exploring one of these forgotten tools called SOLIDWORKS Utilities.
Utilities have been around since early SOLIDWORKS, and in the past few releases they have made some really nice improvements. Below is a list of all the tools available to you with Utilities. They are all available from the Tools dropdown in SOLIDWORKS. If you do not have the add-in loaded, it will load automatically when you select any of these tools.
Tools -> Compare. This utility compares two documents or two configurations of the same document. You can compare two drawings to see exactly what has changed, including: features, geometry, or even custom properties.
Tools -> Feature Paint. This allows you to copy feature parameters from one feature to others that you select…things like color, size, and anything else in the property manager. In the image below, I am copying features from one fillet to another.
Find/Modify Features Utility
Tools -> Find/Modify -> Find/Modify Features. This utility lets you find a set of features in a part that satisfy specified parameter conditions, then edit them in a batch mode. This is like Power Select (see below) on steroids! It will not only select things according to your criteria, but change them all in one command. For example: find all 2mm fillets and change them to 2.5mm. With under 10 clicks, you can change ALL the 2mm fillets in your model.
Find and Replace Annotation
Tools -> Find/Modify ->Find and Replace Annotation. This finds and replaces text for a variety of annotation types in the currently open part, assembly, or drawing document. Grab a co-worker’s drawing and change all instances of their name/initials to yours!!! Just Kidding, don’t do that. But you could!
Tools -> Geometry Analysis. This tool identifies geometric entities in a part that could cause a problem in other applications. These applications include finite element modeling or computer-aided machining. Find things like small or sliver faces or knife edges with ease and speed.
Tools -> Power Select. This allows you to select all the entities (edges, loops, faces, or features) in a part that meet certain criteria that you define. Similar to Find/Modify Features, this allows you to select items that match certain criteria, like edge angle, feature color, feature type, or even feature name.
You can save reports for the following utilities: Compare Features, Compare Geometry, Compare Documents, Compare BOMs, Geometry Analysis, Symmetry Check, and Thickness Analysis. Report Manager is a tool that helps you manage these reports.
Tools -> Find/Modify -> Simplify. The Simplify Utility lets you create simplified configurations of a part or assembly to perform analysis. It will point out (and suppress) features under a certain percentage of overall model size or volume. You can also pick and choose which features to suppress if you want to keep some features in.
Symmetry Check Utility
Tools ->Symmetry Check. This utility checks for geometric symmetry in parts about a plane. It identifies symmetrical, asymmetrical, and unique faces.
Tools -> Thickness Analysis (in a part file only). Use the Thickness Analysis utility to determine different thicknesses of a part. This utility is especially helpful when using thin-walled plastic parts.
As you can see, SOLIDWORKS Utilities has a wide variety of tools that will help you during your design process. These under-utilized tools can help you save hours of time and make more consistent and robust models.
So if you have SOLIDWORKS Professional or SOLIDWORKS Premium, check out SOLIDWORKS Utilities and start working smarter, not harder!
Thanks for reading, and happy modeling!