I want to talk to you about overlooked techniques to make your SOLIDWORKS Simulation Studies faster and improve your workflow. Many people do not realize that the shortcut toolbar that they use for modeling also has the capability to have Simulation commands added to it. Now if you are wondering “how will this make my Simulation studies faster?”, let me explain. Instead of using the command manager at the top of the screen or the Simulation Manager on the left side of the screen we can eliminate most of that mouse travel by setting up our shortcut toolbar and staying in the graphics area.
I know that some people are apprehensive to use the shortcut toolbar because the keyboard shortcut for activating it is the “s” key. Well I have a couple of techniques that may change your mind. You can remap the shortcut toolbar to another key or combination of keys on the keyboard. I remap mine to the space bar since it is the largest key on the keyboard and makes it very easy to activate. See image below.
I also have a 2nd technique for activating the shortcut toolbar. You can map the shortcut toolbar as one of your mouse gesture commands. See image below.
For those of you who do not use mouse gestures, I hope this gives you one more reason to give them a try. I honestly do not think I can live without them anymore. Once you map the shortcut toolbar as a mouse gesture, you have supercharged your mouse, and in turn your speed.
Let’s dig deeper into setting up the shortcut toolbar with our simulation commands. Depending upon the types of studies that we will be performing, parts or assemblies, we will need to set up the appropriate shortcut toolbar. There are four shortcut toolbars: sketch, feature/part, assembly, and drawings. Once we have selected the toolbar, we now click on the appropriate command list on the left-hand side. Scroll down and select the – Simulation Toolbar. Now you will see a large list of icons on the right side. Hover over the commands to see the name of the command. Once you find the icon that you want to add to the toolbar you just left mouse click, hold it down, and drag it to the toolbar. You can drag it inside of the toolbar and put it in the location that you want. You can also resize the shortcut toolbar so that it can be wider or taller. In the image below I have the assembly shortcut toolbar selected.
Here are some of the commands that I like to put in my shortcut toolbar. See image below.
I find this is very helpful when it comes to dealing with assemblies or parts with lots of contacts, loads, or mesh controls. I also enjoy not having wasted mouse movement in general. It is not limited to the functions listed above either. I have show/hide commands, probe, iso clipping, and other viewing options all inside my shortcut toolbar.
Fixture shortcut below:
Forces shortcut below:
I also recommend checking out Kurt Kurtin’s blog article “Simulation – Use Those SOLIDWORKS Functions!”. It has some great tips for efficiently working inside Simulation.
Enjoy your new shortcuts everyone!
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.