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February 1, 2016

How to install SOLIDWORKS Network Licenses?

SolidNetwork License

Now that we are into SOLIDWORKS 2016 many of us are busy upgrading our SolidWorks software.  SolidNetWork License Manager is software that manages multiple licenses on a server.  Typically the server administrator will install this program on the server to manage the licenses amongst client computers.  The program that manages the network licenses is known as Flex Net.  Let’s examine a typical installation.   
To begin we need the SolidWorks installation file folder.  This can be provided to users by a DVD sent by mail or by going to the SolidWorks Customer Portal and downloading the files directly.  The benefit to using the Customer Portal is that users will be provided with the current service pack available.  

solidnetwork license

Log into the customer portal by providing the proper credentials.  Once inside to go Support > Downloads > Select SolidWorks 2016 and download the files.

install network license in solidworks

solidworks network license

The default SOLIDWORKS download location is located in Documents > SolidWorks Downloads > SOLIDWORKS 2016 x64 SP01.  Run Setup.exe.

install solidworks network license

Once you run Setup.exe, the user will have the option to
-Create an individual installation
-Create an administrative image
-Install server products or download the install files

For installations which SOLIDWORKS currently running on the computer we have the options to Modify or Repair the current installation.

When it comes to managing the SolidWorks Licenses on the Server, the user will want to install Server Products > Install SolidNetWork License Manager.  This is the program required to manage the licenses amongst client computers.

solidworks license manager

In the next step the user will be asked to enter in the serial numbers.  The installation will commence and once it is complete you will have SolidNetWork License Manager on the server to manage the licenses amongst the client computers.  

network license manager solidworks

January 29, 2016

How to use SheetMetal Flange in SOLIDWORKS?


Sheet metal and weldments are two very popular tabs for the manufacturing industry specifically with metal.  Last blog we worked through an example of a simple sheet metal box, now let’s consider a circular flange:

circular flange

The circular flange is conical in shape; therefore we want to take advantage of the sweep function when creating this part.  We start by first sketching the profile on the front plane.

sheetmetal flange

Ensure that the sketch is fully defined which means it is all black in the graphical window.  Since this part involves a revolution, be sure to create a vertical construction line about the center of revolution.

flange sheetmetal solidworks

Following the first sketch, create a second sketch on the top plane to act as the sweeping path.  Note that there is a one degree gap break in the line shown in the figure.  This allows the flange to be created from a single rolled piece of sheet metal. 

sheetmetal flange

Next, we want to select the Swept Flange feature by going to Insert > Sheet Metal > Swept Flange

sheetmetal flange in solidworks

Once the Swept Flange function is selected, select the two sketches, Sketch1 and Sketch2, as the profile and path, as well as the construction line as the cylindrical axis.

flanges solidworks

Upon completion, apply the feature and we should have our completed sheet metal flange part. This is a sheet metal part and as such will also provide the designer with a flat pattern as well to cut and form. 

Sheet metal features in SolidWorks makes designing quick and easier for designers.  Sheet metal is available for all versions of SolidWorks; Standard, Professional and Premium.

Weldment Cut List in SOLIDWORKS


Last blog we explored the creation of a simple weldment frame.  A natural extension to the weldment features is the cut list which lists all the parts and lengths required to make the weldment.  It is very similar in nature to a bill of material.  Consider our weldment frame:

weldment solidworks

We’ll start by creating a drawing for this weldment by first going to File> Make Drawing from Part.

weldment cut list

A simple drawing is created with a plan, elevation, side and isometric view.  Now we would like to insert our cut list.

cut list

In order to insert a cut list go to Annotation> Tables > Weldment Cut List


cut list weldment

In the Weldment Cut List Property box, the designer is able to change and modify various parameters such as the table name/ template, position, etc.

weldment cut list

Once a table has been completed, the designer will find a list of sections including description, quantity, length and item number.  You might notice that there are special entries such as plate and Weld-On Ring.  The Weld-On Ring is a special unique part therefore has a separate entry, however the plate was the base plate we modeled.  The cut list conveniently lists the dimensions of the plate.  These dimensions are controlled by a bounding box.

weldment solidworks

If the designer needs to make changes or even edit the bounding box, it is done simply by going back to the model, expand the cut list and right click the part of your choice and select Edit Bounding Box.  This is a very useful feature to capture items such as base plates, stiffeners and gussets, all very common structural elements.

Weldment features in SolidWorks makes designing quick and easier for designers.  Weldment is available for all versions of SolidWorks; Standard, Professional and Premium.

January 28, 2016

How to use SheetMetal in SOLIDWORKS?


Sheet metal and weldments are two very popular tabs for the manufacturing industry specifically with metal.  Both tabs have their merits.The reason why designers turn to sheet metal function is for flat patterns. Flat patterns are 2D representations of the sheet metal object that can be cut and then bent back into shape. In order to explore this feature let’s get acquainted with a simple sheet metal object starting with the following box:

sheetmetal box

We will model this simple box by first starting a sketch on the Front Plane.

sheetmetal solidworks 

Using the sketch tools lets draw a rectangle centered about the origin. Please ensure to have the sheet metal tab active. If it is not active simply right click on any tab (Features, Sketch, etc) and select Sheet Metal

sheetmetal box

Once the sketch is complete, switch to the sheet metal tab and select Base Flange/ Tab. This feature will allow the designer to turn the sketch into a sheet of specified thickness. It will also automatically convert the part into a sheet metal part. 

sheetmetal flange

Next, let’s create a plane to sketch the box profile.  A plane can be created by selecting Features & Reference geometry. Once reference geometry is active, select a line and vertex as shown to fully define the plane. 

sheetmetal box

Once the plane is defined, sketch the desired box profile.  Ensure that the sketch is fully defined. It may also be noted that this is an open profile sketch.


Next, let’s select the Mitter Flange function to create the walls of the box. Once the function is active, select all four edges to ensure the box is enclosed on all sides.  Parameters such as flange position, gap distance, offset, etc allow designers to manipulate and adjust the box walls until it is as desired.

sheetmetal box

The box is now complete!  Users may notice that at the end of the feature manager tree is a “Flat Pattern” icon under suppressed state. By simply un-suppressing the Flat Pattern, the designer has access to the completed flat pattern. This flat pattern may be used to cut the shape out of raw material before bending it back into our box.

Sheet metal features in SOLIDWORKS makes designing quick and easier for designers.  Sheet metal is available for all versions of SOLIDWORKS; Standard, Professional and Premium.

January 27, 2016

Contact Connections - Part 2

Last blog we examined connectors in SolidWorks Simulation. Let’s review a few more commonly used contact sets; the bolts, pin and springs.

A Bolted connection is very common in connector design. Bolt connections are simulated in the software by a beam and rigid bar.  The beam resists only tension and allows pre-loading and the rigid bar connects the beam with the flange faces. Only a few parameters need to be defined for a bolt including the type (counterbore, counter sink, etc.), shank diameter, head diameter, pre-load conditions and bolt strength data.  The software does the calculations to determine the resultant axial force shear force and bending moments. The image below illustrates a typical Solidworks assembly that requires bolted connections:

bolted connections

Below is a detailed view of a piping bolted connection:

piping bolted connection contact sets

Pin connectors are also common connectors. In order to simulate pins, SolidWorks creates a beam element and allows rotation as well as translation between the bodies. In order to apply a pin connection you simply select the cylindrical face of the hole and enter the pin characteristics such as strength and resistance to rotation. The image below illustrates the pin connection of a pair of pliers:

pin connectors - contact sets

Spring connectors can be difficult to model in traditional FEA. The spring’s stiffness has to be divided by the number of nodes on each face and uneven mesh distribution can affect the spring stiffness. SolidWorks makes spring connectors easy by allowing designers to apply the connector either to parallel faces, concentric cylinders or even between vertices. Springs appear only in common projected areas between faces to avoid unintended moments. Designers may define tension-only, compression-only or tension-compression springs. Examples for each respective definition would be a rope, bumper and a typical spring. For each case the user may define a stiffness value as well as a pre-load parameter. Below is an example of a spring connector between two parallel faces:

spring connectors

Applying the correct connection ensures the part reacts properly under loading conditions. Defining connections between parts is made easy using SolidWorks Simulation.