Solid Thinking: Control Hole Wizard, Toolbox from a Common Database

14 Apr, 2005 By: Greg Jankowski Cadalyst

SolidWorks makes it easy to customize and share these capabilities

The SolidWorks Hole Wizard and Toolbox add-in application share a common foundation. Both features are stored within and controlled from a common database. This article will discuss how to set up, configure and share these databases with other users.

Here (figure 1) we see examples of Hole Wizard holes (note the counter-bored hole in front of the motor) and Toolbox components (used for the fasteners). These holes and fasteners were all derived from a common database.

Figure 1. Example assembly showing Hole Wizard and Toolbox components.

Controlling Access to the Data
One of the first things to decide is where to keep the data and who can access and modify the database. If a number of designers will use this information, you do not want everyone of have his or her own database. Changes made to the Hole Wizard or Toolbox database should be shared easily with other users.

A key to this is defining a common network location for the Toolbox and Hole Wizard data. The location of the data is defined during installation. By default, the location is C:\PROGRAM FILES\COMMON FILES\SOLIDWORKS DATA\. To edit this location after installation, locate the TOOLBOX.INI file in the SolidWorks Installation directory\Toolbox directory. Edit the following line to define a new directory location for the database:


Here we see the Access Control dialog box (figure 2). To get to this option, open the Tools / Options / System Options / Data Options dialog box and press the Edit Standards Data button. The Access Control tab can be used to control who can change the items listed therein.

Figure 2. Access Control dialog box.

Another form of access (or limiting access) is the ability to disable the display of standards, fastener category or type can be set by selecting the item. The Disabled option will be displayed and can be set for each item (figure 3). Review the entries and decide whether the standard is being used (Ansi Inch), category (washers), head type (Hex head) or fastener type (Hex bolt). If not, select Disabled and the item will not appear on the list. Making this list manageable by not displaying every option, especially the ones not used, will make for better and more consistent use of the tools.

Figure 3. Disabling standards or specific fasteners.

There may be times when a standard doesn't fit your exact needs. For these cases, you can create a new standard based on an existing standard. Select the Standards icon (figure 4), and the New Standard options will appear. Enter the new name and select the standard it should be derived from. Then select the Create New Standard.

Figure 4. Creating a new standard.

Customizing the Standards Values
Once the items to be shown are defined, there is an additional level of customization that allows for more simplification of the items shown. Here we see the configurable values for a hex bolt (figure 5).

Figure 5. Editing the fasteners.

Other fastener types may have different values and tabs shown. Note that the values may not be edited using this function. Only the display of the item can be turned on or off using this feature. The following items can be defined for each fastener:

  • Size: Check sizes to disable.
  • Length: Check lengths to disable.
  • Thread Display: Check whether to show a simplified, cosmetic, schematic or detailed representation of the thread.
  • All Configurations: A listing of all configuration derived form the previous selections.

The Hole Wizard and Toolbox can be powerful tools that can save time in the design process. Spend some time and ensure the items that are used on are on the list, and the items that are not used are removed from the list.

One final note on databases: They should not be edited manually. The user interface descried here is the only supported means in which to customize this information.

Additional references can be found within the Installation Guides page on the SolidWorks Web site. The reference "SolidWorks Toolbox in a Multi-User Environment" describes how to use the Toolbox in a shared environment.

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