SOLIDWORKS tutorials for beginners: working with configurations

More SOLIDWORKS tutorials for beginners: working with configurations – part 1

Welcome back to our series of SOLIDWORKS tutorials for beginners. In this article, I’ll be teaching you about working with configurations. On the left hand side of the screen, we’ve got the manager tabs. The first one is the Feature Manager tab; next to it is the Configuration Manager tab. If you right-click on the top level node of your part or assembly, you can add a configuration. Just select Add Configuration. First you need to give it a name, so give it something descriptive. If you’ll be changing a particular feature or dimension, you can name it accordingly, that way you’ll know what this configuration is about, at a glance. Once you’ve named the configuration you can add some additional description and comments.

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In the Bill of Materials section, we can specify how the assembly will be listed in the Bill of Materials: we can choose the document name, the configuration name, or specify a name right here. I generally use the document name. “Child component” displays when the configuration is used as a subassembly. When you use the configuration as a subassembly, this option controls how the information will be displayed in the bill of materials. If the “Show” option is selected, the child component will appear in the Bill of Materials. If the Hide option is selected, then child components will be hidden in the Bill of Materials, and this subassembly will appear as a single item. The last option, Promote, dissolves the subassembly and shows the component in the Bill of Materials even if the Bill of Materials is set to Do Not Show Components.

Below, we’ve got advanced options—we can suppress new features and mates. If checked, and you add additional components to another configuration, those new components will be suppressed in this configuration. The next option here is to hide new components. So, if you choose this option, when you add components to another configuration, they are going to be hidden in this configuration. If you choose the Suppress option, when you add a new component to another configuration, it will be suppressed in this configuration. The next option here lets us use a configuration-specific colour. The last option lets us apply a rebuild/save mark to the configuration. This is something we’ll talk about in a little bit.

Once you click OK, you have a new configuration, and it will be your active configuration. Let’s switch to the default configuration, which remains available in the configuration manager tree. To change configurations, you just double-click on the one to which you want to switch. You can also right-click and select Show Configurations, and you’ll see a list of what’s available.

Now let’s make some changes to our part while the default configuration is active. After we make the changes, go back to the Configuration Manager tab. Double click on your new configuration to activate it. As you can see, any new components you created whilst the default configuration was active are suppressed here. As you remember, that’s what we selected when setting up this new configuration.

This concludes our first article about Configurations; stay tuned for more in this series of SOLIDWORKS tutorials for beginners.

Thanks! Rosanna D, VTN

SolidWorks 2014 Video Tutorials released! Save 20% with code "june"


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