Continue to Site

Welcome to 3DCADForums

Join our CAD community forums where over 25,000 users interact to solve day to day problems and share ideas. We encourage you to visit, invite you to participate and look forward to your input and opinions. Acrobat 3D, AutoCAD, Catia, Inventor, IronCAD, Creo, Pro/ENGINEER, Solid Edge, SolidWorks, and others.

Configurations Vs. Design Tables in Excel



My company is transitioning to SolidWorks from AutoCAD. We are currently populating our parts library. We are struggling over which is the best method,
Staying Native to SolidWorks and doing Configurations or Using Excel to create Design Tables.

We are particularly struggling woth Items of specific length, such as, Pipe runs, and steel parts like angle iron that is used for tank legs. Any suggestions would be appreciated:confused:

You're right about this being frustrating!

The good news is that SolidWorks has configurations to help, it's a good solution for this problem, and it works fine once you get the hang of things.

First, configurations are generally talked about on a very sophisticated level with a bracket turning into a tv set with the click of one button. Although you can, you shouldn't. Keep it simple.

The use of an excel spread sheet to drive different pipe lengths is burdensome and I don't I'd do that way.

1st, let's start with discribing the problem. You have an assembly that references a pipe and you want to enter another pipe with a different length. One way is to create a new file for the pipe of a different length. This sucks because it's too difficult to create the new pipe file and bring it into the assembly. Also, you get way to many pipe files.

2nd, configurations, they been around since ~SW98. You need to make a copy the pipe.sldprt in your assembly, I use a copy & paste approach, it's fast. You then have to create a new configuration to control the length of the different pipe length by creating a configuration. I believe you have to be in the part to add this configuration to the pipe.sldprt file. Although, they may have fixed this and allow you to add this configuration in the assy by editing a part in the assy. This is something you can check. Add a configuration in the assy, if it's an assy configuration (which parts are suppressed or resolved) you're not there. Edit the part in the assy, then try to create a configuration in that part. I think you can do this now.

There are still many steps to use configurations. More than a 1st time expects and probably why your confused.

SolidWorks was a great set of algorithms to handle these configurations in BOM's in drawings, which will be the next issue you encounter.

Also, SolidWorks has a lot of automated routines for handling pipes and that type of stuff. Look into weldments. Simply put, the weldment scripts in solidworks are nothing more than an automated approaches to creating different configurations for parts.

I think you need to understand the basic of configuration 1st. This is why you need to create a configuration for a pipe 1st and see all the steps that are involved. Once you get this down. Take a look at weldments.

It's not as simple as clicking one button, it does work, you'll figure it out.

Bill Campbell
Thanks Bill, Your response just reinforced the approach I have taken thus far. I feel confident I am on the correct approach now with configurations.
I will definatley attempt the weldments features next.

Articles From 3DCAD World