If you have a part or assembly file and it has configurable properties SolidWorks has many possibilities to be able to create those different versions of your file. You can start simple with a few simple configurations, from there you add in Design Tables which allow you to control your configurations with and Excel chart. We are going to take it one step further today and show you how the Configuration Publisher which will allow us to define a custom Property Manager for selecting configurations of part and assembly files.
The property manager that we are able to create for our files is very similar to the Property Manager users are used to seeing when inserting Toolbox Fasteners.
There are two different ways to create a Configuration Publisher with in SolidWorks and which one you use depends on the file you have and what you are trying to accomplish with that file. The first is what I would call an “open ended” file in that there an unlimited number of configurations that you can create. The second is what I would call a “closed set” file in that there is a very specific set of variables and possible configurations. There are pros and cons to each of these methods and you will need to decide
what is going to work best for your particular case.
So to create the Configuration Publisher for a file that has an “open ended” set of configurations you need to create a Single Line Design Table. In this design table you will want to include all of the parameters that might have the ability to change, including all custom properties.
Once your Design Table is created you will need to go to the Configuration tab and Right Click on the Part Name and choose Configuration Publisher. In the Configuration Publisher dialog box, you build the custom PropertyManager in the center pane. You drag controls (list boxes, number boxes, and check boxes) from the palette on the left to the center, and set attributes for those controls in the pane on the right. You can see from the set of screen shots below we created controls for the different items we defined in our design table, there are several different options you can set for each control such as weather the control is dependent upon other properties, or you want it to perform with in a specific range. You can see what the completed Property Manager looks like below. (I have included the files used in the screen shots at the bottom of this article for everyone to review and use as an example.)
To create the Configuration Publisher for a file that has a “closed set” of configurations is a little simpler in that we need to create a Full Design Table that includes all of our possible configurations. You also need to make sure that you have a row for each configuration, a column for each variable and
a value for each variable.
Once your Design Table is created you will need to go to the Configuration tab and Right Click on the Part Name and choose Configuration Publisher. The Configuration Publisher dialog box appears and the design table opens in a separate window. Because the design table has multiple rows and contains values for each variable and for each configuration, a control appears in the palette for each variable in the design table. All you need to do now is drag each variable you want displayed to the center pane and in the right hand edit are enter the Name and set the options for each item. You can see what the completed Property Manager looks like below. (I have included the files used in the screen shots at the bottom of this article for everyone to review and use as an example.)
If you would like some additional information on Configurations and Design Tables, please take a look at a presentation I did with a former CATI colleague Joe Rowesy at SolidWorks World this year.Download DesignTables The Complete Story-SWW2012
Example Files Download Config_Publisher-Single-Multi
Josh Altergott is Support Manager at Computer Aided Technology, a SolidWorks Value Added Reseller with locations in Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, Kansas, Wisconsin and Illinois. He is a regular contributor to the CATI Tech Notes blog.