Free SOLIDWORKS from Performance Constraints (FSWPC-13-#13)

(Modeling Methodology – Level of Detail)

There are many opportunities to display minute levels of detail with SolidWorks. Displaying this high level of detail while working with large assemblies or very complex geometry will be detrimental to performance. We have found that this issue occurs most frequently with components that are downloaded from vendors that have made their models available for easy access and configuration over the internet. Remember just because it came from the internet does not mean it is modeled correctly. It is essential that designers remove any excess detail from parts and assemblies as soon as they are downloaded in order to avoid these issues.

If feasible, CATI suggests:

  • Reduce the level of detail to outer walls and mounting points.
  • Save assemblies as parts.
  • Combine solid bodies.
  • Turn surfaces bodies into solid bodies.
  • Delete any unneeded surface or solid bodies.
  • Export and reimport files to reduce the number of features in a file.

There are other ways to achieve a detail free vendor part and these are just some of the ways we have used to remove excess details.


High levels of detail can also be found in manufactured components. Commonly, this is found in the form of threads being modeled into bolts and screws. Extruded text and extensive patterns are also some of the culprits that introduce these issues. When this level of detail is required, it is a good idea to have a configuration of the part or sub-assembly that suppresses the detail for use in larger assemblies and to change the options in your pattern features.

Because of the overall size of our assembly for our testing we cleaned up just the files in just the Cab Assembly. After we reduced the detail in the Cab Assembly we took a file that was 30.15mb and all the related parts were contained in a 621mb folder to a 12.74mb file that all the related parts were contained in a 554mb folder.

Note: These changes can have a larger or smaller effect on each users performance depending on how many over detailed parts are being used.


You can by looking at our deltas see that on our Practical machine we gained almost 23% total improvement. If we look at the Typical machine we can see that the overall improvement is cut in more than half at just over 54% performance gain and took over 2hours and 33min off of our benchmark time.

check back to the CATI blog as we will continue posting our
series of articles that goes further into the details of each of our tests. All
of these articles will be stored in the category of Free SOLIDWORKS from Performance
 and links to each with their
release date are listed below:


Altergott, CATI Support Manager

Fanjoy, CATI Technical Services Director



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