The SolidExperts Blog

Stuff the Toolbox add-in can do (no, it’s not just bolts, nuts and washers)

By now, I’m sure you know the SOLIDWORKS Toolbox for it’s wealth of bolts, nuts & washers. But here is something you may not know of… there is also a few nice tools for the engineering minds out there that may save you the trouble of getting your Machinery’s Handbook full of Post-it.

First, you have to know where to look for (no, it’s not in the Design Library Task Pane). If you go to your SOLIDWORKS Add-Ins, you might of noticed there are 2 add-ins listed for Toolbox. The Toolbox Browser is what you see from Design Library Task Pane, but for our purpose today, go on and activate the first Toolbox add-in.

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Now, you will have access to the Toolbox menu. Alternatively, you can activate your Toolbox toolbar.

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Now that you got the add-in activated, let’s take a look at what it can do…

  • Structural Steel & Beam Calculator
    • The Structural Steel tool allows you to quickly create a beam of any of the listed profile. Note that this is simply creating a beam profile in an opened part document. If you are used to designing using the Weldment environment, I advise using Weldments instead but this may be useful if you just want to create a beam and position it into an assembly using conventional assembly mates.
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    • But if you notice, down to the bottom left, there is a Beam Calculator. You can also launch the Beam Calculator directly from the Toolbox menu or toolbar. This I find very handy. Using the Beam Calculator, you can quickly find Deflection, Stress, Length or Load of a particular beam in 6 different load types (that’s usually where you go looking for your Machinery’s Handbook). Best of it is, depending on the Structural Steel selected, the Modulus and Moments of Inertia are captured automatically.
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  • Grooves…, O-Rings and Snap Rings
    • The second tool is to help you create O-Rings and Snap Rings groove. The best way to use this tool is to have your part open. This way you can either pre-select the cylindrical surface of you shaft, or select it after you have the Grooves window open. This way, it will capture the diameter of the shaft and jump the the closest size, depending on the standard selected. Click on Create, then just position the Groove as required and you are done.
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  • Another tool here is the Cam Generator
    • The Cam Generator will allow you to create either Circular (Translating, Offset Left/Right & Swing Left/Right) or Linear Cams (Translating, Inclined & Swing Trail/Lead). Start with initial Setup, add Motion steps, then Create your Cam. To help you getting started, you can load a few samples that can be retrieved from the List option, use them as a template or create your Favorites.
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  • Last but not least, the Bearing Calculator. This is a great one!
    • Ever had to calculate Bearing life? Yes? Then you know the process… With the Bearing Calculator, it’s a snap! Select your Bearing, Load and Speed. Hit Solve Life and you instantly get Life in Hours or Revs.
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Well, that’s it for this Toolbox tip. If you want to learn more, you can always refer to the Toolbox help located here:

Original Post created by michel cloutier, Senior Territory Technical Manager at DS SOLIDWORKS


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