Using Defeature to Simplify Models for Large Assembly Use

Introduced in SOLIDWORKS 2011, the Defeature tool is meant to remove parts and features from part or assembly files. Why would anyone want this? You’ve downloaded a vendor component and they’ve provided all the internals of a tank – baffles, filters, inlets/outlets – yet all you want is the external body for positioning in your assembly. In the past you would manually go in and remove the unnecessary data or ignore it all together.

With large assemblies, we always want as simple of a model as we can get so we don’t hamper performance. To illustrate why this is important, let’s take a quick look at a Socket Head Cap Screw model rebuild time and file size comparison with and without threads.pic 1


Extrapolating these file size and rebuild times out to all of the other components and you can really streamline your large assemblies so they are usable and enjoyable.

Now let’s take a look at how you can streamline all those assemblies down to simple parts.

This Oil Tank has 235 parts and plenty of internal components that just aren’t needed for our application.

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Who wants to go digging through reams of sub-assemblies and folders to remove this extra data?

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This is where the Defeature tool steps in and turns a tedious process into a simple step through. Start it at Tools > Defeature (or use your S key Command Search).


We’ll turn on Internal and leave Small components at 5%. Then quickly select all visible internal components manually.

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What’s great is we get a preview by clicking on the Update button and can continue selecting items we’ve missed. And by changing the “Hide removed components” to “Show all” we can quickly see what’s happening.




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Now it’s just a matter of a few clicks to next on through the steps and you’ll have your final part file.

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You now have a final part model with most everything removed. We went from 235 parts in an assembly with several sub-assemblies to 55 bodies in one part. We also went from 81 individual files totaling 14mb to 1 part file totaling 1.8mb. How can you argue with that?

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By: Steve Ostrovsky, Technical Services Manager

TPM, Inc. is the Carolina’s largest 3D CAD provider and a leading technology company proud of its reputation of providing cutting-edge solutions to the engineering and design community for the past 40 years. Founded in 1973, TPM Inc. serves more than 3,000 customers across the Southeast each year. Inspired by our founder, Jerry Cooper, we are committed to offering our clients the best: 3D Design Software, 3D Printing and Scanning Options, Data and Document Management Solutions, Large-Format Graphics, Wide-Format Plotters and Office Equipment, and Reprographics.