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Tips & Tricks: SolidWorks Tips

In this SolidWorks Tip & Trick we offer few hints we have found helpful when using SolidWorks, and some settings you may not know about in SolidWorks Simulation...

Solid Works Settings 
- Graphics: to speed up display and prevent everything highlighting when your cursor passes over parts:
Go Tools, Options, Display/Selection, and uncheck "Dynamic Highlight from Graphics View" and set Anti-Aliasing to None

- Multi-User Tips: for collaborative work these options allow easy change over between read/write access to files, and avoid overwriting and saving referenced documents which other users may be working on.
Go Tools, Options, System Options:
Under Collaboration, check Enable multi-user environment
Under External References, check Open referenced documents with read-only access
Under External References, check Don’t prompt to save read-only documents

- Large assembly mode
This is a collection of settings that improves the performance of assemblies. You can turn it on at any time, or set a threshold for the number of components and have it turn on once that number is reached.
Go Tools, Options, System Options, Assemblies and turn on Large Assembly Mode

- Copy Setting Wizard: to store setting changes and refresh registry entries. Helpful if SW ever gets corrupted and you lose your keyboard shortcuts etc!
Start menu, Programs, SolidWorks, SolidWorks Tools, Copy Settings Wizard

Simulation Settings

a) Mesh Settings for Contact Sets

Here is another little tick box you can check to get more options out of your FEA. It allows you to explicitly select the type of contact (node to node, node to surface, surface to surface) as you create your contact set. This is very helpful for getting the most accurate results out of your analysis, or speeding up your solve time.

Go to Simulation, Options Default Options, Mesh

mesh (1)

b) Bonding Conditions for Contact Sets

Another default option you should be aware of is the Automatic option under your Incompatible Bonding Options settings, as this can cause your analysis results to vary significantly. The default Automatic option will change your bonding contact from the most accurate "surface to surface" to the more efficient but less accurate "node to surface" contact if it is deemed that the contact is slowing down the simulation significantly.

Checking the Simplified box overrides the default setting and uses a "node based" contact. Checking the More accurate box stops SW from adjusting your contact from "surface to surface".

Go to Study, Properties


To summarise:

  • Surface to surface – Most accurate, but longest solve time.
  • Node to surface – Less accurate but faster than surface to surface
  • Node to node – Least accurate but fastest solve time. (Recommended only for compatible meshes with contacting surfaces)

c) Bolted Connector Preload

As you can see from the formulas, for a bolt without a nut an extra factor is added into calculating the axial load on the bolt. If you were unaware of this factor you will end up with lower than expected axial loads on your bolts, likely influencing your results! If in doubt, use a pre-load rather than a torque when entering in your bolt connectors data. (see Finite Element Analysis by Vince Adams and Abraham Askenazi)

In your Simulation study, right click on Connections, Bolt and set the bolt properties