It’s always fun and refreshing to have a small side project in SOLIDWORKS to experiment with and keep your skills sharp. Let me share with you one of mine, and hopefully it will inspire you to start one of your own! This spring, I visited the Schenectady Curling Club and had a fun Saturday morning learning how to curl! My new found enthusiasm for the sport of curling inspired me to use the medium to practice a modeling technique called in SOLIDWORKS called multibodies.
Modeling with multibodies is a design method which opens a lot of possibilities for advanced modeling techniques. Previously, when I had been working in a part file, I would only use multiple bodies as a stepping stone or means to an end for a specific feature. My eyes were really opened to consider what other possibilities are out there after attending SOLIDWORKS World. You can use multibodies as a top down assembly method, then save the bodies out as files when finished. This approach will improve your computer performance while streamlining the external references.
At the beginning of my project, I intended to only model the curling stone assembly. I started the project like any other with a quick five minute reflection to consider my design intent. I concluded that the stone was the best place to begin, because it would drive the other bodies’ locations and profiles. I then chose a best profile for this body and modeled as normal. From here, I moved on to the other bodies, which were the running surface, handle, and fastener. When designing each body, I was always aware to un-check the “merge bodies” option, which is turned on by default.
When I was finished constructing the model, I went through and added some final touches. This included assigning materials, appearances, and organizing my design tree with folders to identify which features contributed to which body for anyone reviewing my part file. A two minute folder clean up could be a huge time saver if you are sharing files with fellow employees.
Which FeatureManager design tree looks more understandable to you?
My last step was to decide how I wanted to save out the bodies to individual part files. There are two ways I could have done this. I have laid out the pros and cons below. I wanted to emphasize the main difference between the two, which is how changes are propagated from the source file. I decided to use “Save Bodies,” because when I am finished with my part, there will be no future features added to the tree to worry about.
“Saved Bodies” has another advantage. I could create all the individual files and an assembly in one step by selecting the save option at the folder level instead of the individual part. Using “Insert into New Part,” I would have needed to click on each body individually to save them out and then inserted them into an assembly manually to link them. That would be a whole file of extra steps.
I hope my article inspired you to try something new inside SOLIDWORKS and have a little fun.
Thanks for reading and Happy Curling!