Take Control of your Simulation Options

How much do you customize your SOLIDWORKS Options?  If you are like most users I talk to, the answer is often the retort “who doesn’t”?  Honestly, I agree with that sentiment.  With so many options available, certainly you’ve found a couple of settings that you cannot live without.  So why is it that when I ask SOLIDWORKS Simulation users a similar question, I mainly encounter puzzled looks?

While SOLIDWORKS Simulation doesn’t have nearly as many settings as SOLIDWORKS CAD has, there are a few options that will make your analysis work better.  There are options for formatting plot output, default mesh settings, automatically creating result plots, and customization of report templates to name a few.  Here are a few options to look into.

To access your SOLIDWORKS Simulation Options, when you have a part or assembly open and the Simulation add-in turned on, use the pull-down menu “Simulation… Options”.  Regarding the System Options tab, here are a couple of my recommendations.  You’ll want to turn on the option ‘Show yield strength marker for Von Mises plots”.  This adds the yield strength value underneath the legend on a Von Mises Stress plot and helps you quickly see if the solution has gone beyond yield.

, Take Control of your Simulation Options

Under ‘Load/Fixture symbol quality’, you might consider using the ‘Wireframe’ option.  If you have a lower-end graphics card, this reduces the load on your GPU slightly.  The ‘Font’ options allow you to make the plot titles, subtitles and legend text larger, both in your graphics window and in plots for your reports.  I also recommend you turn on both new Simulation 2017 options ‘Automatically timed out decision solver messages’ and ‘Automatically update beam joints’.  Finally, I think you’ll want to turn off the option ‘Hide excluded bodies and show study material appearances’.

After tweaking a few Simulation System Options, change to the Default Options tab.  Starting with the Mesh options, I recommend you set the default Mesher Settings to the Curvature based mesh with the ‘Default number of elements on a circle’ set to 12.  Setting this number to a dozen ensures that three elements will be used for a 90-degree arc.  This will improve the quality of your mesh but it will also increase the mesh size, so use caution here!  You can reduce this when you are creating a mesh in a study, if necessary.

, Take Control of your Simulation Options

If you have a specific look for your results plots that you prefer, set the default customizations on the Plot link.  Under the Plot options, one area that I modify are the Color Chart options.  Here you can set the legend location, number format and significant digits used.  Be sure to set the Number Format to Floating over Scientific Notation so you don’t have to explain what 1.3e5 means during your next design review!

The Default Plots section has several options, one for each of the main Simulation Study types.  This is where you specify what plots are created automatically once a Simulation Study is solved.  If you find yourself re-creating the same set of plots for each solved study, this is where you’ll want to spend some time tweaking your Default Options.  Finally, on the Report link, be sure to fill in the information for your reports to automate what amounts to filling out your title block on a drawing.

The next time you are working in Simulation, take a few minutes to set up your Simulation Options.  A little time invested now can save you significantly more in the future.  Honestly, the only thing that’s missing is Simulation Options not being saved with the Copy Settings Wizard.  If you’re so inclined, be sure to vote for Enhancement Request 755452!  Now go make your products better with SOLIDWORKS Simulation!

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