Posts Tagged ‘toolbox’

3D ContentCentral: Get Those Models for Free

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Most companies I work with use purchased components and want to add them into their assemblies.  So how do you get the solid models?  You might contact the company for the model or just model it yourself.  Well you could download the models for free without contacting anyone by using 3DContent Central.

3D ContentCentral Logo

3D ContentCentral (3DCC) is a free service for users to download solid models.  How is this different than other similar sites?  This is a Dassault Systemes site and the models are not just from users.  You have the ability to download models that other users have modeled but you also have the option to download from certified suppliers.

Suppliers can upload their models from their catalog to allow consumers to download them for free.  This way you can add it to your assemblies and have the BOM show the true items to be assembled.

3D ContentCentral BOM

There is also integration into your SOLIDWORKS interface.  If you open the Design Library, you will see it on the right side.  When you click on it, it will take you to the website allowing you to download the files.

3D ContentCentral  Integration

Many of the files allow you to configure them before you download.  So you can choose a different color, different size, etc.  You can also choose what format you want to download the file in.

3D ContentCentral Configure

How many suppliers are on 3D ContentCentral?  I just counted 840 which are from all over the world.  You can search for a specific supplier or find them in the global list.

So what if you want a model from a supplier but they aren’t on 3DCC?  You have the ability to request the content.  You can make the request to have a member of the 3D ContentCentral community model it.  Or you can request that a supplier be added to 3DCC.

3D ContentCentral Request

3D ContentCentral is going through a website redesign.  They are changing the interface, adding a new eDrawings viewer which will be available in many browsers/mobile, and an improved searching tool.  The viewer will allow you to rotate, section, and shade the models so you know what you are downloading.

3D ContentCentral preview

Check it out here: Beta 3D ContentCentral

3D ContentCentral Interface

I have used this site many times and have suggested users check it out.  There are over 1.3 million members who have used 3DCC.  Are you one of them?

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve used it and what you think.

Josh Spencer

Elite Application Engineer, CSWE 3DVision Technologies

Editing Toolbox settings slow?

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

I should have written this before SolidWorks 2012 because in the old days people were more affected by slow Toolbox editing than they are today…

If it takes a long time to modify your SolidWorks Toolbox settings, there could be something wrong with the Microsoft Access file that is used to store some of your settings. Microsoft Access has a tool, “Compact and Repair Database” that I’ve seen greatly increase the performance of your toolbox.

Find your SWBrowser.mdb file (“\lang\english\SWBrowser.mdb” by default) make a backup copy, then open the file file in Microsoft Access. Normally at this point I would help you find the “Compact and Repair Database” function within Access, but they have changed its location every release since Access 95. So I’ll leave it up to your “help file” navigation skills to find the command.

While we are on the subject…if you have other Access databases that you use rather often. I recommend you run this function on them every once in a while. You’ll sometimes see huge performance increases.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

EPDM users across the world love sldsetdocprop

Friday, June 15th, 2012

A few years ago Bill mentioned how you could use “sldsetdocprop” to take a Toolbox part and make it behave like a normal part. However you can use this tool to do the exact opposite – take a normal part and make it a Toolbox part.

SolidWorks Enterprise PDM users all across the land think this is cool -here is why:

Checkout this screen shot from EPDM’s “Copy Tree” command:


See the part cleverly named: “I want this part to work like a toolbox part.sldprt”? This part is just a simple part like all of the others except I changed it into a Toolbox part with the sldsetdocprop command. Now, by default “Copy Tree” does not try to copy this file! I don’t have to dig through my copy list trying to figure out which are my standard/toolbox parts that I don’t want to copy, Copy Tree does this for me now!

Sldsetdocprop can work on an entire directory, so if you have a directory of commercial parts, it may be worth your while to change all the parts in that directory to become a “toolbox” part.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Is it a Part… or a Toolbox Part?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

I was recently talking with one of our customer’s that designs fixtures and related equipment.  Fortunately, this customer is using SolidWorks Professional and has SolidWorks Toolbox for fasteners and hardware to make his life easier!  His dilemma was he no longer wanted to have the Toolbox components of his assembly identified as Toolbox components.  He wanted a group of fasteners that originated as Toolbox parts to be treated as normal parts.

What I found interesting is that a Toolbox part is identified by an internal flag in the file that makes it just that – a Toolbox part.  Even better is that the flag can be turned off!  This is accomplished by using a utility called ‘Set Document Property’.  You can find this tool in your SolidWorks installation folder under the “\Toolbox\data utilities” subfolder – named “sldsetdocprop.exe”.  Browse to this folder location, double-click on the file to run it. Once the ‘Set Document Property’ utility is running, the process is simple.

1.  The Toolbox file(s) should be saved in a location outside of the Toolbox folder on your hard drive. Then close your assembly and related SolidWorks part files. This is to allow the utility write access to the file(s).
2.  Click on the ‘Add Files…’ button and browse to the location of the Toolbox part(s).
3.  Change the ‘Property State: Yes’ radio button to ‘Property state: No’.
4.  Click on ‘Update Status’.
5.  Click ‘Close’.

Now when you re-open the assembly, your Toolbox icon in the Assembly Feature Tree has changed to a normal part icon.  Also, after a bit more research, I discovered that turning off this flag is one method of allowing a PDM system, like WorkGroup PDM, to check in your part into the vault when the WPDM options are set to not check in Toolbox parts.
2011-0808 Set Document Property

Bill Reuss

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Tastes Great! Less Filling!

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Remember those “Tastes Great! Less Filling!” commercials from the 80’s? (Okay, you don’t have to remember, I just gave you a link.)

One of those arguments seem to come out every time I talk with people about the two toolbox options:


They both have their advantages…but which one should you choose?

Today, after talking with several SolidWorks Toolbox specialists (who wouldn’t officially vote one way or the other) I am going out on a limb and recommend “Create Configurations” to all SolidWorks Enterprise users. Yup. I’ve said it. Let the debate cease. Stick a fork in it, it is done.

Though let me add one twist to this method. Create all the configurations you need now rather than having the users create the configs one at a time as needed. If you create them one at a time:

  • You’ll end up with many versions of the part in the vault that really have no value
  • As these configurations are added, the system has to check out and back in the file -checking in/out a file with thousands of configurations is rather painful.

CreateConfigs(click on the thumbnail to see a nifty little trick to quickly create all of the configurations.)

The toolbox gurus do state that an assembly with 1000 fastener files will get the same performance as an assembly with one fastener file that contains a 1000 configurations.

Certainly you only want to create all of these configurations of the fasteners that you typically use. I wouldn’t create the configurations of the strange ones that no one has ever heard of.

I guess the nice thing about this debate is that since so many people like one way or another, you really cannot go wrong with either method.

Remember December is National Engineering Data Specialists month. Do something nice for the Engineering Data Specialists you love.

Standard disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author alone and should not be misconstrued as an endorsement of neither 3DVision Technologies nor SolidWorks. The advertisers within this blog entry are strictly that of their own and should not be considered an endorsement of their product’s usage. Standard messaging rates shall apply.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

SolidWorks looking good with Toolbox 2010

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

So how good is the SolidWorks 2010 toolbox integration?
Is it possible that they finally have it right? Yeah, maybe…2010 has some huge improvements over old grandpa 2009.

[For my Enterprise PDM friends, you’ve certainly heard from many people talking about we no longer the issue with remote locations trying to access the single Microsoft Access file. Fixing that issue is crazy huge. Replication of your toolbox to multiple sites is now possible.]

We’ve all always had the issue of what happens when you open an assembly with toolbox fasteners that are not part of your toolbox. Today I ran this little experiment.

  1. I created a new assembly and added a SHCS that I received from a customer to this assembly. For this fastener, I chose a configuration that was not in my toolbox’s SHCS
  2. Saved and closed both files
  3. Opened the assembly
  4. SolidWorks recognized that the assembly had the SHCS at a different configuration than what was already in my toolbox and it asked to create the configuration in my toolbox part
  5. I answered yes
  6. Now the assembly referenced MY toolbox part. My toolbox part now contains the new configuration. [Pretty cool! So I continued:]
  7. In the assembly I manually swapped back my toolbox fastener, with the original fastener
  8. Saved/Closed the assembly
  9. Opened the assembly
  10. SolidWorks automatically replaced the SHCS’s file path to my toolbox path, without asking me anything.

Looks like SolidWorks and the Toolbox are working hard to ensure you are always looking at fasteners from YOUR toolbox, not fasteners from external directories. As Martha Stewart says, “This is a good thing.”

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

“Round Table” meeting with SolidWorks Developers

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

The Miami Valley SolidWorks User Group has called an “emergency meeting”! (the meeting on September 18th is still on)

The HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT for TOOLBOX, a QUALITY ASSURANCE ENGINEER, and a TOOLBOX SOFTWARE DEVELOPER, from SolidWorks is coming in next Thursday (Aug 28). They have agreed to have a round-table meeting with any of our users to discuss not only Toolbox questions/issues, but ANYTHING SolidWorks related (enhancements, complaints, wishes, etc.).  SolidWorks is currently finalizing their “list” of items for 2010, so this meeting has very good timing !

The meeting is scheduled to be at Gander Mountain from 5:00 – 7:00 pm

R.S.V.P to Don Hope, space is limited.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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