SOLIDWORKS Costing an in depth Review Part 1 - Overview

This month we are going to begin an in-depth look at the SOLIDWORKS Costing tool. We are going to take a look at the various capabilities in the tool that will help you generate quotes or make important decisions based on the cost of the part. We have a lot of information to share with you regarding this topic, so keep checking in on this multi-part part series.


The Costing tool was added to SOLIDWORKS in 2012 and has continued to expand and get better every year. When this tool was first introduced we were limited to Sheet Metal and Machining. In SOLIDWORKS 2015 we have expanded this capability to include all of the following areas: Sheet Metal, Machining, Multi-Body, Plastic Molded Parts, 3D Printed Parts, Casted Parts, and Weldments.

The Costing tool is driven by a series of templates. In the template is where you are able to specify the material being used, the manufacturing process (such as Laser cutting, bending or milling), the manufacturing method (such as machining, casting, injection molded, etc.) and the costs associated to each of these categories and operations. In addition to the standard manufacturing operations you are also allowed to add in custom operations such as packaging, painting or cleaning.

The Costing tool can be used to estimate part costs or can be used for producing quotes. If you want to use this as an estimate, you are making some general assumptions. Estimates give the user the flexibility to run several what if scenarios (such as removing features, changing materials, or using different processes). Creating accurate quotes from the part requires the templates to contain accurate information for the materials, processes, and other associated costs. The Costing tool can create a faster, more accurate quote than many traditional approaches, eliminating the use of spreadsheets, counting of features, and estimating material removal.

Here is a preview of the capabilities available in the costing tool:

Sheet Metal Parts – This tool will automatically recognize the native sheet metal feature of a part, such as flanges, bends, or forming tools. Holes and cuts will be recognized as manufacturing paths for operations such as laser, water jet, and plasma cutting.

Machined Parts – This tool will calculate the removal of material from a stock block. Parts are drilled, milled, or turned to get the final shape. Parts that are made from Plates of steel also incorporate laser, water jet, and plasma operations.

Casted Parts – This tool will determine the cycle time base on the volume of the part. SOLIDWORKS will determine the cost of the material, and the cost of the manufacturing, but the cost of the mold has to be provided by the user.

Plastic Molded Parts – This tool will determine the cycle time based on the volume of the part. SOLIDWORKS will determine the cost of the material, and the cost of the manufacturing, but the cost of the mold has to be provided by the user. The tool does account for a hot runner mold or a cold runner mold.

3D Printed Parts – This tool will estimate the time required to lay down material and the cooling time between layers base on the volume of the part. The tool will calculate the cost of the material and the cost of manufacturing.

Weldment Parts – Weldments include multi body and single body structural members, and the tool will calculate the members as extruded parts. If a multi body template is used, weld bead and fillet bead cost information can be accounted for.

Keep in mind that the Costing tool is only as accurate as the data provided in the templates. SOLIDWORKS does provide some default templates, but it is best to create custom templates based on your manufacturing costs.


We hope this series gives you some good insight into the SOLIDWORKS Costing product. Please check back to the CATI Blog as the Dedicated Support Team will continue posting new articles to this series as we continue to dive deep into this topic. All of these articles will be stored in the category of Daily Dose…..of SOLIDWORKS Support and links to each article with their release date are listed below:

Bryan Pawlak, CSWE    

Computer Aided Technology, Inc.

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