Using Library Features to Speed up Design

There may be time when you find yourself doing repetitive features on similar parts. The outcome is you’ll become an expert at those features because you’ve been doing them so many times. There is a more efficient way around this and this is called library features. You may or may not come across this handy set of tools before. It is located on the right hand task pane under Design Library.




Inside you’ll find a default set of tools such as fluid power ports, keyways, hole patterns, slots etc.




To create your own custom library feature
First create a feature you would like to reuse on top of a base template. Whatever base template you create is not important as this would not be included in the feature library. Fully define the sketches. Include a reference location, for my example I defined the distance from the edges of the model. You could also use a sketch point as reference location if you do not wish to use any edges of a model.




Tips: It may be good practice to create a new custom library folder to store your custom features, this way you could backup your files separately or share your features with another colleague.




Have your part open and select Add to Library, a property dialog will appear on the left hand pane. Select the features that you wish to include into Items to Add then select the location to where you would want to store this library feature. Before clicking OK make sure the lib feat part (.sldlfp) is selected as the file type. Once the library feature has been saved you will notice those particular features in the feature tree will have an ‘L’ on the icon indicating it is now a library feature.




You can now drag and drop the feature as many times as you wish. With this handy set of tools you could now speed up your design work.
When placing the feature on to a model you’ll be asked to specify the reference location for this example it will be edges I’ve previously defined in the dimension.


We could also take advantage of the configurations tool for our library feature. For example if we wanted more or less holes for our pattern we could setup configurations to show different amount of holes. Double-click on the pattern feature to bring up the pattern instances, right-click and select Configure dimension. Library feature works independently so it will not make any changes to the original file.


With this technique you could reduce your design time and have the ability to share your feature library with other users. You may even consider creating a custom feature for your company logo. I hope you find this SolidWorks tips and tricks useful.


John Lam CSWP is an Applications Engineer at TMS CADCentre, a SolidWorks Value Added Reseller in Scotland. You can read more from John on the TMS CADCentre blog.

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TMS CADCentre - is a SOLIDWORKS Reseller based in Scotland providing 3D CAD Design Software, analysis software & product data management software. The company was formed in 1981 and now pleased to be celebrating 37 years in business. TMS CADCentre is the only UK SOLIDWORKS Reseller based and funded within Scotland and have been providing SOLIDWORKS software, training and support since 1996 when the product was first launched in the UK.