The Hidden Treasures of SOLIDWORKS Toolbox – Part 1

This month, we are going to take a deep dive look at some seldom discussed SOLIDWORKS tools that are also a part of the toolbox. These tools are Beam Calculations, Bearing Calculations, Structural Steel, Grooves, and Cams. The tools will be visible in the Tools, Toolbox pull-down menu when the toolbox add-in is turned on.


The calculators allow users to:

Bearing Calculator – Calculate bearing capacity ratings and basic life values.

Structural Steel and Beam Calculator – Perform deflection and stress calculations on structural steel cross sections, and insert the cross section into a part file.

Grooves – Add industry standard O-ring and retaining grooves to your cylindrical model.

Cams – Create fully-defined motion paths and follower types.

There are many tools and resources to determine the proper parameters to use form these function, but SOLIDWORKS has built these tools into the current interface. They allow us to take the guess work out, and we can make better decisions during the initial design phase. This allows us to make better parts, which is always one of our top priorities.

Please follow this series as we will break down each of the tools in detail.

Bearing Calculator

The bearing calculator allows you to calculate the bearing capacity and basic life values in a simple to use interface.

To open the Bearing Calculator, click the Bearing Calculator icon SolidWorks on the Toolbox toolbar, or select from the Tools, Toolbox, Bearing Calculator pull-down menu.


Start by selecting the Standard for the bearing (ANSI Inch, ANSI Metric, ISO, ect), the bearing type you are interested in, and then select the bearing size based on the available selections.

You have an option to set the units of measure to either US or SI (International Standard)

Select a non-failure rate for the Reliability.

You can specify the capacity in 2 ways, either by calculated or rated. If you choose to use the calculated capacity, then you will have an option to specify the # of balls and the ball diameter. Clicking the solve capacity will give you the total capacity your bearing can handle. The capacity will be used in the calculation of the basic life. Input the equivalent load, and the speed in RPMs (only used to calculate the life in hours), and this utility will calculate the life of the bearing in revolutions and in hours.

If you choose to the rated option for the capacity you are manually entering the capacity of the bearing. Once again this value will be used to calculate the basic life of the bearing.


Specifies how the capacity is determined. Select Calculated to have Bearing Calculator calculate the capacity or Rated if you know the capacity.


Specifies the bore size.


Specifies the outer diameter.

# Balls

Ball bearings only. Specifies the number of balls.

Ball Diameter

Ball bearings only. Specifies the ball diameter.

# Rollers

Roller bearings only. Specifies the number of rollers.

Roller Diameter

Roller bearings only. Specifies the roller diameter.


Specifies the capacity. If you selected Rated, enter a value. If you selected Calculated, click Solve Capacity.

Solve Capacity

Calculates the capacity.


Equivalent Load

Specifies the combined radial and thrust loads for the bearing.

Basic Life

Life in Revs

Specifies the life of the bearing in millions of revolutions. Bearing Calculator calculates this value when you click Solve Life.


Specifies the speed in revolutions per minute. Enter a value to calculate Life in hours.

Life in hours

Specifies the life of the bearing in hours. Bearing Calculator calculates this value when you click Solve Life.

Solve Life

Calculates Life in Revs and, if Speed is specified, Life in hours.


We hope this series gives you an insight to the additional design tools available in the SOLIDWORKS toolbox.  Please check back to the CATI Blog as the Dedicated Support Team will continue posting new series of articles every month that go further into the details of many of the SOLIDWORKS tools. 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
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.

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