Return of Ctopher’s Custom Material Database

ctopher custom materials for SOLIDWORKSCustom materials in SOLIDWORKS are important if you are using materials not included in the default set.  Around a decade ago, Chris Saller compiled a bunch of such custom materials from varies sources based on requests and submissions from many different people.  This list is informally known as Ctopher’s Custom Material Database, “ctopher” being Chris’ handle.

Various versions of this file have been available on now long-gone websites over the years.  Well, the material database is finally back and bigger (better) than ever!  Chris has complied a new version in SOLIDWORKS 2016.  This new version has many new materials.  The new database is now available directly on SolidWorks Legion in the File Downloads tab as Ctopher’s Custom Material Database.

There are two methods to point SOLIDWORKS to use a custom material database.  The easiest method is described on Ctopher’s Custom Material Database download page.  Below is a slightly more advanced method which should also work on networks.

To point SOLIDWORKS to make the materials in this database available:

1.To use, place custom_matls_091516_sw2016.sldmat file into an easily accessible folder, such as S:\SOLIDWORKS Shared File\Custom Materials.  The folder is your choice, based on your network and operational set up.

2.Start SOLIDWORKS.

3.Goto Tools>Options…>System Options>File Locations.  In the Show folders for dropdown, select Material Databases.

4.Select Add button.  Navigate to your chosen folder, such as S:\SOLIDWORKS Shared File\Custom Materials.

5.Select OK button.

6.Repeat for all instances of SOLIDWORKS within the network that need to access this database.

To use the custom materials:

1.Open any part file.

2.In the Feature Tree, right click on Materials and then select Edit Materials.  “Custom_matls_091516” folder will be on your material list.

4.Click on desired subfolder, such as Copper Alloys.

5.Click on desired material to view properties.

6.Click on Apply to apply that material to your part.

7.Click on Close to return to your part.

Ctopher’s Custom Material Database

Classic drawing interpretation problem

There’s a classic problem with drawings:  interpretation.   Without enough information, there is always some sort of ambiguity.  Let’s take at a classic interpretation problem for example.

What is the shape of the part being described by this drawing (below)?  Note that Hidden Line Visible is turned on for both the Front and Top views.

Classic drawing interpretation problem

Because HLV is on, this cannot be a sheet metal bracket, since you’d be able to see the sheet metal wall as hidden lines in both views.

 

Not the solution

So, can you model this part?  Well, I’m not going to make you wait for the solution.  If you want to cheat to see the solution modelled in SOLIDWORKS, feel free to download it herewoodblockproblem (SW2015).

What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2015: Asymmetric Fillet

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series New in SOLIDWORKS 2015

What’s so different between Bend Tables and Gage Tables?

SolidNotes blog has a very good article about the differences between Bend Tables and Gage Tables in SolidWorks.

 Bend tables were the original table used by SolidWorks to pull Bend Deduction, Bend Allowance, or K-Factor values for use in calculating the flat pattern. Before the introduction of gauge tables, you would need a separate table for each thickness of material. Since gauge tables were introduced, data for multiple thicknesses of one material can be used in a single table; this makes life much easier!

 

New in SolidWorks 2014: Slots in spades

This entry is part 10 of 13 in the series New in SOLIDWORKS 2014

A big leap forward for the Hole Wizard in SolidWorks 2014 is the support of slots as features!  I’ll say this another way.  You can now create slots with Hole Wizard!

When SolidWorks first announced that there was going to be support for slots many years ago, I was a tad bit disappointed when I found out how.  Slots were only available as sketch elements.  Although I did find this useful and it did streamline my workflows, I found it to be a step short.  I was still having to make slots as separate extrude-cut features.  Converting holes to slots and slots to holes still needed a rather lengthy workaround.

SolidWorks 2014 addresses this, and how!  Slots are now supported by the Hole Wizard in spades.

Slots slots slot

Slots with counterbores, slots with countersinks and slots with..umm, well, straight slots with no counter-anything.

Not just that, you can quickly switch between slots and holes, based on design needs for your particular phase of development.

Pre-slotPost slot

Holes become slots with a quick edit (and then back again, if you wish)