How to increase productivity in Solidworks with formulas, equations & Linked Global Variables

How to increase productivity in Solidworks with formulas, equations & Linked Global Variables

Program your dimensions & tolerances using global variables on every element of your part. Step by guide by experimenting with this useful tool.
November 6, 2019

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Why hassle trying to fiddle with every single dimension & tolerance one by one. You can now program your dimensions & tolerances using global variables on every element of your part. Now whenever you need to change the dimension of a repeating element within your part or assembly you can now change the value of just the global variable & instantly this would change all programmed elements. We will demonstrate a step by step by guide on the Geomiq icon logo by experimenting with this very useful tool. Please open your part and follow the same steps for you own part / assembly.

Geomiq Logo

Step 1

Open your original sketched part. I have opened our company’s icon logo which I work from.

Opening the equation manager by right-clicking on Solidworks

Step 2

Open the equation manager by right-clicking & selecting on the equation’s icon on the features section on the tree alternatively you can right-click on the part, hovering over hidden tree items & selecting the equation manager. You will be promoted with a new window.

Programing the different dimensions on Solidworks

Step 3

Program your different dimensions that you require that need to be duplicated across different elements by assigning different letters to different values that you require. Type in a letter in the global variables section & type the desired value next to the equal sign. For Our case lets put A =50, B=25 & C=10. You can also create a simple function / equation by programming a previously created global variable and putting a mathematical operation in front or after it. In our case we use the addition operation by adding 10 to global variable C. Now press OK to save it.

Hint: You can also use more complex global variable for trigonometric functions e.g. sine & cosine. Another option is adding file properties e.g. Volume & mass.

Solidworks tool showing 2D Geomiq Logo
Solidworks tool showing 2D Geomiq Logo

Step 4

Now when selecting a dimension type in the equal sign & select the global variable that you have create. In this case I will choose the global variable & I will select is on the elements that will have that same dimension which are the outside edges of the Geomiq icon. Now you can do the same with the other global variables on other sides if you like on your part.

Solidworks tool showing 3D Geomiq Logo

Step 5

We can also also explore this feature in 3D. By extruding the boss of the part from the features tab, you can now select the depth of the extruction using a global veriable by again typing in the equal sign & pressing the letter of the global variable that you require. In my case I will pick global variable C. Then press OK.

3D Geomiq Logo

Step 6

Now let’s say that you need to change the dimensions of the outer whole part in order to scale it up or down. Now you only need to change the value of global variable the rather then changing the dimension values of every single side. Just open the equation manager again & type in your new changed values. I will now change mine from A=70 & C=100.

Modify step 8 drawing

Step 7

You can also create global variables on the fly by selecting a global variable dimension that you have not yet programmed. Just select a previous untaken latter and press that button that looks like a globe & press yes.

Solidworks tool showing 3D Geomiq Logo

Step 8

In order to create a global variable of a new element that is equal to an existing element for example the depth of the original Geomiq Icon logo here, just press equals and that side, this will automatically create a variable named =”[email protected]″. This will depend exact feature & letter of your global veriable.

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What’s new in Solidworks 2020.

What’s new in Solidworks 2020.

Dassault Systemes, Solidworks 2020 what are the key features, enhanced tools, how to streamline your workflow, new capabilities and core features that will boost your productivity.
October 31, 2019

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Geometry-Based Boundary Conditions on Solidworks
boundary conditions menu

Geometry-Based Boundary Conditions

Assign boundary conditions such as Injection Locations, Control Valves, and Mould Wall Temperatures directly on geometry entities. In addition to the mesh-based assignment of boundary conditions, you can assign boundary conditions directly on geometry. This will let you position Injection Locations or Control Valves more accurately and associate boundary conditions assignment directly to geometry when changes to the part geometry occur. The boundary conditions are directly saved to your .sldprt file.

Geometry based boundary conditions in Solidworks are going to significantly improve your workflow, help you make Solidworks Plastics 2020 analysis more accurate and more importantly save you time.

material drop down search menu

Searching For Materials

One other great feature of Solidworks 2020 is the ability to search for materials. This might be self-explanatory but it’s here so that you know it exists. This feature can save you a lot of time when trying to figure out the material you need from the Solidworks database.

Adding a Selection to a Selection Set

A new feature in Solidworks 2020 allows you to add to an existing selection set.

On your 3D model select multiple items in the FeatureManager design tree or graph area, right-click the selection and save selection. To add an item to a new set, New Selection Set – To add an item to an existing set Selection-set#(##) where # indicates the order of creation and ## indicates the number of items in the set. Clicking Selection Sets will show the selection set.

annotation drop down menu

Adding Reference Axes and Reference Planes to Mesh Bodies

3D scanning and 3D printing technologies continue to be more accessible and affordable, design workflows can take advantage of 3D CAD software. Solidworks solutions allow you to create reference geometry based on this imported scanned data. Scanned geometry can be imported into Solidworks as a Mesh Body, the 3D model is broken down into triangular faces (one issue is that these triangular faces are planar, this poses a problem where non-planar geometry is represented incorrectly Rounded geometry, fillets, circular holes are going to be broken down to thousands of triangular faces. This greatly increased the file size and rebuild times due to the number of planar faces)

feature drop down menu markup
automation feature markup

User Interface Markups

Solidworks 2020 features a new Markup functionality ability for non-touch devices to use your mouse for creating markups and markups for drawings. This was originally known as the “ink Markup toolbar” it has now been renamed as the “Markup toolbar” in Solidworks 2020. There are minor differences to the Markup toolbar depending on the type of device you are using.

drop down user define menu
User defined scale

Custom Scales for Drawing Sheets and Views

In SOLIDWORKS 2020 it’s possible to quickly define custom drawing scales AND save them for future use for quick access. This is a faster way of choosing your new sheet scale & setting them a default location.

submit approval notification

Warning Users when transitioning Files

Displays a warning if you try to transition a file through a workflow transition without selecting a recipient. SOLIDWORKS workflows can be used to notify team members when a file changes state. This is particularly useful when you need a team member to review a file or engineering drawing and approve the design.

Simulation Evaluator

The purpose of this CAD software tool is to check the setup of a simulation study, prior to solving, to determine if the setup is correct for a successful simulation. Simulation Evaluator performs a number of system checks prior to running the study which aids the user in the successful setup of the study. It first checks conditions related to the results folder, including the storage capacity of the results-driven. This provides helpful information to the user of where the results are being saved and the disk space available. The next check that Simulation Evaluator performs is related to the materials used in the simulation. If any parts or bodies in the study have not been assigned a material, a warning message will appear alerting the user to this oversight. The last check that Simulation Evaluator performs is a comparison between the volume of the mesh and the volume of the CAD geometry. If there is a large difference between mesh and CAD volume this will get flagged and could be the result of a gap in the mesh. If there are any conditions in the study that would prevent a successful simulation run, the Simulation Evaluator dialog box provides information for corrective action.

Pattern and Mirror Support

In 2020, you can pattern the entire Structure System using a linear or circular or mirror patterns.  You keep the intelligence integrity for all your members and any additional Structure Systems that are added while referencing the patterned members.  When patterning bodies, this is not possible. After exiting the Structure System, the Corner Management tool determines the corners between the new members.  This is based on the first Structure System and its patterned members, which then determines the proper Trim Tool Member and Trim order. You have the ability to create and modify structural members of different profiles in a single feature.

Body Compare

With SOLIDWORKS 2020, bodies can now be any type for body comparison not only solid bodies: classic BREP bodies, mesh BREP bodies, or graphics bodies. Classic BREP and mesh BREP can be solid or surface bodies. You can take your mesh data and compare it to your SOLIDWORKS 3D model. This is not a metrology application by any means, but you can scan your manufactured part and compare it to your design data.


SOLIDWORKS Visualize now supports AxF™ measured materials. The .axf file format from X-Rite stores digital material representations, most notably measured materials, from their BTF scanning technology. To add .axf files to a project, drag from Windows Explorer into your scene, or add them from the pallet. You can now export *.gltf and *.glb file formats of your SOLIDWORKS Visualize project data for use in augmented and virtual reality viewers. SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2020 can now handle duplicate geometry, such as patterned components from SOLIDWORKS assemblies, more efficiently. Typically, for larger SOLIDWORKS assemblies, the use of duplicated geometry requires less GPU memory and reduces the likelihood of running out of GPU memory. However, appearance part-grouping mode does not support this functionality, so you’ll want to use the advanced mode when exporting to Visualize. Now, SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2020 supports full editing capabilities of vMaterials. You can adjust bump heights, texture scaling, colors, and even add additional textures for things like fingerprints or dust on glossy surfaces. The materials now accurately show up in preview modes when you want to quickly adjust textures without ray-tracing.

Flexible Components

Flexible components allow features, driven by external references, to update effortlessly as the externally referenced entities move within the assembly. Some practical applications include; springs, bellows, and hinges to name a few, as well as many impractical applications.To create a flexible component there must be a single degree of freedom that is not in-context of the component itself.

This guide will help you with solidworks, draftsight & every other solidworks product which is part of the dassault systèmes family of products. Solidworks is a design 3D CAD Software which enhances the 3dexperience traditional Computer-aided-design process. This 3dexperience platform will enable you with designing, testing, simulating & with product data management.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geomiq. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world analytic products as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of any Geomiq Employee.