Alibre Options: Creating Custom Threads

7 Oct, 2006 By: Michael Todd

Add your custom threads to the Alibre Design Hole tool.

It's easy to create holes in Alibre Design with the Hole tool, which allows you to automatically create holes with a predefined set of threads. Just use the wizard and select from several options to define a hole feature in the 3D model with attributes that appear in a hole callout in the 2D drawing. But what if you need to specify a thread that does not appear on the list? Follow these steps to add your custom threads to the existing list.

Setting Up the Environment
Note: you must close Alibre Design before you begin this exercise.

  1. Open Windows Explorer in Windows by going to the Start Menu / Programs / Accessories.

  2. Go to Tools / Folder Options, which opens the Folder Options dialog box.

  3. Click the View tab, place a check next to Show Hidden Files and Folders, and click OK (figure 1). Windows will now allow you to view the folder for the ALIBRE_UNICODE.THD file.

Figure 1. The Folder Options screen in Windows XP with Show Hidden Files and Folders turned on.

  1. Navigate to the folder C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Alibre Design\System Files. The entire contents of the folder should appear (figure 2).

Figure 2. The folder location for the ALIBRE_UNICODE.THD file.

  1. Right-click on ALIBRE_UNICODE.THD and select Properties.

  2. Uncheck the Read-only box across from the Attributes label and click OK (figure 3).

Figure 3. The ALIBRE_UNICODE.THD file properties screen with Read-only unchecked.

    7. Double-click on the ALIBRE_UNICODE.THD file to edit it.
      a. If prompted to select the program you want to open the file with, click Select the Program from a List and click OK (figure 4).

Figure 4. The Windows dialog box to select the appropriate program to open the file.

      b. Once the Open With dialog box appears, select Notepad and click OK (figure 5). The file should automatically open in Notepad.

Figure 5. Select Notepad in the Open With dialog box.

Adding the Custom Thread to the File

  1. You will now add the specifications of the thread that you need. Below is an example for the NPT section:

    ;; NPT Section ;; *1/8 NPT,27,0.344,B,0.344,0.344,0.344,A,0.405,0.405,0.405,9
    *1/4 NPT,18,0.438,B,0.438,0.438,0.438,A,0.540,0.540,0.540,9
    *3/8 NPT,18,0.578,B,0.578,0.578,0.578,A,0.675,0.675,0.675,9
    *1/2 NPT,14,0.719,B,0.719,0.719,0.719,A,0.840,0.840,0.840,9
    *3/4 NPT,14,0.922,B,0.922,0.922,0.922,A,1.050,1.050,1.050,9
    *1 NPT,11.5,1.156,B,1.156,1.156,1.156,A,1.315,1.315,1.315,9
    *1-1/4 NPT,11.5,1.500,B,1.500,1.500,1.500,A,1.660,1.660,1.660,9
    *1-1/2 NPT,11.5,1.750,B,1.750,1.750,1.750,A,1.900,1.900,1.900,9
    *2 NPT, 11.5,2.219,B,2.219,2.219,2.219,A,2.375,2.375,2.375,9
    *2-1/2 NPT,8,2.656,B,2.656,2.656,2.656,A,2.875,2.875,2.875,9
    *3 NPT,8,3.250,B,3.250,3.250,3.250,A,3.500,3.500,3.500,9

    Note that the thread information should follow this format: Name,Pitch,Tap Drill,B-Class,B-Major,B-Minor,B-Pitch,A-Class,A-Major,A-Minor,A-Pitch,type

      Integer threadType;
        1 = UNC (units expressed as inches)
        2 = UNF (units expressed as inches)
        3 = UNEF (units expressed as inches)
        4 = UNS (units expressed as inches)
        5 = Metric Coarse (units expressed as millimeters)
        6 = Metric Fine (units expressed as millimeters)
        7 = Metric Special (units expressed as millimeters)
        9 = NPT (units expressed as inches)
        1000 = generic English (for user defined) (units expressed as inches)
        2000 = generic metric (for user defined) (units expressed as millimeters)
  2. Save the file and restart Alibre Design to make the threads available.
  3. The next time you select the Hole tool, the threads you inserted into the ALIBRE_UNICODE.THD file will appear in the Insert Hole dialog box (figure 6).

Figure 6. The NPT series thread generated by editing and adding threads in the ALIBRE_UNICODE.THD file.

You can customize the Hole tool to create holes with the exact thread specifications you require. Define them once and use them in any number of models and drawings. Until next time, look for me online in Alibre Design as the Alibre Assistant.

About the Author: Michael Todd

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