One of the unexpected weaknesses in SolidWorks is that there is no External Thread feature. For years, SolidWorks has had the Hole Wizard and related functionality for various types of holes, including threads. But there is no feature for creating external threads. I’ve always been baffled by this.
So, when I saw that SolidWorks 2010 was improving the Cosmetic Thread annotation to allow the user to quickly choose a thread size from one of the thread standards (ANSI, ISO, etc), I had a brief glimmer of hope. I found out, this is one of those enhancements that is just too little, too late. All this new enhancement does is pull values from the Hole Wizard to add a Cosmetic Thread annotation. If an external thread is desired, the user is still left with having to create the OD of the thread as a separate feature.
Sure, one may not expect an annotation to make a feature. It just seems like an opportunity was missed. Instead of just having the Cosmetic Thread annotation read from the standards, SolidWorks should have included an External Thread feature.
In my view, this feature should work in several ways.
- Allow the user to select an OD upon which the External Thread will be cut.
- Or, allow the user to select a flat face from which the External Thread will extend.
- Don’t require a precondition. Allow the user to select their method within the workflow of External Thread command.
- Have the External Thread feature work the same way as Hole Wizard. The helix of the thread is not modelled, but have several modelling and annotation options available (model to the ID or OD, and choice to use cosmetic thread).
Although the addition of the standards lookup within the Cosmetic Thread annotation is welcome, SolidWorks should fully support External Threads as an actual feature. I created an ER for this topic this week, and invite others to do so as well.