With nearly every design, you’ll have a few variables that nearly every decision hinges off of… working height, conveyor height, cycle time, etc. These values always seem to change, forcing a lot of updates through out your designs.
There are several ways you can link your SOLIDWORKS models to these constants. The most common methods involve creating relationships between your parts and other files [“Layout sketches”, “Skeleton Sketches”, “Phantom Parts”] these parts get inserted into all of your assemblies. It works but can make quite a spiderweb of relationships. I am becoming a fan of storing project constants in the SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM’s folder card. Then I link my dimensions to these folder card values through SOLIDWORKS equations.
Let’s imagine I am designing a table and I always want my table height to always be 3″ less than the conveyor height. First I’ll store the conveyor height in the project’s folder card.
These constants also need to exist on the SOLIDWORKS file card.
Make sure you have the file card control to inherit information from the folder card. So that as we add files to the project the file’s data card will get its information from the folder card.
The variable needs to be pushed into the file’s custom properties
SOLIDWORKS equations can use file properties as part of their arguments:
Below you see that I am taking the “ConveyorHeight” and subtracting “3” from its value. If the “ConveyorHeight” ever changes, the dimension named “TableHeight@Boss-Extrude2” will update automatically.
Here is another cool thought. Now not only if the conveyor height changes for this project will all my parts update (using EPDM’s Update function), but if I copy any of these parts into another project and have “Default overwrites” turned on for the card variable, these parts will automatically update to their new project’s values as they get copied from one project to another.