Every SOLIDWORKS user spends an inordinate amount of time touching, playing, and maybe even arguing with the FeatureManager for parts, assemblies, and drawings. It may be one of those areas in SOLIDWORKS that we all take for granted and muddle our way through its use. Today, I’d like to show my top 4 features of the FeatureManager (FM) that I believe everyone should know.
1. FeatureManager Filter
This little gem has been around since SOLIDWORKS 2008 and is probably my favorite FM feature. It allows me to search names of files, features, sketches, materials and many details like custom properties, center of mass etc. in every configuration. Even if you have a great PDM setup and can find what you need, sometimes you open an assembly and just can’t manage to sort through the part number names in the FM.
Once you put a value in the filter, not only does it remove all of the extra fluff from the FM, but it also removes the fluff from the graphics area as well. What a great time saver!
2. Tree Display – Do not show Configuration/Display State Names if only one exists
That sure is a mouth full and new to 2017, but it does so much to help clean up the FM from excessive word clutter and that all too familiar eye strain at the end of the day.
Make a quick trip to the top of your FM and RMB on the file name to find the Tree Display options. There, just turn on the “Do not show….” option and your tree will magically clean itself up.
3. SHIFT + C – Collapse all FM items
You’re navigating around your model touching this part and that part in the graphics area – even though you were told in elementary school that touching was not socially acceptable. As you touch components in the graphics area, the FM begins to expand, and expand, and expand… After even just a few minutes of investigating an assembly your FM is longer than…well you can insert whatever you feel comfortable to imagine.
This indispensable keyboard shortcut replaces the RMB in the FM dead space area and selecting “Collapse Items”.
4. Freeze Bar
Even though we might actually see Freeze Bars show up in trendy downtown areas, especially here in the hot south, this refers to Freezing features in part models and not sitting on ice cube benches as a form of therapy.
That’s 419.29 seconds, or 6.988 minutes, or the amount of time it takes to remove a monitor from your desk and chuck it out the nearest window.
The Freeze Bar is that thick yellow line under the file name at the top of the FM (if you don’t see it look in the Tools > Options > System Options > General area to enable it)
Grab that yellow-bellied feature and drag it on down the road. Everything ABOVE the line is removed from rebuilds –thus freezing them in time. Think of taking a Rollback bar and turning it upside down. Great tool to use when you approve a part’s design and don’t need to make any more changes to it. Your rebuild times will thank you for this. Might even want to consider applying it to all of your library parts that are non-revision managed.
So there you have it, 4 features of the FeatureManager that every SOLIDWORKS user should know. Make them part of toolbox and watch your SOLIDWORKS efficiency spike.
By: Steve Ostrovsky • Technical Services Manager • TPM