SOLIDWORKS 2014 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Integrating Microsoft Excel to manage design tables


SOLIDWORKS 2014 Essential Training

with Gabriel Corbett

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Video: Integrating Microsoft Excel to manage design tables

Within SolidWorks, we can use all the power of Microsoft Excel to drive our parts in various configurations of the same part. To get started, we need a base part that we're going to drive. Let's go ahead and get started with 16.3 dash 1. It's just a simple block with a hole in the center. We're then going to link the values to derive the size within a design table. To get started, let's go ahead and take a look at the sketch that underlies this part. And open up sketch one. Take a look and you can see we've got a couple of values in here. We've got 5 inches wide, 4 inches tall, 3 inch hole in there with a quarter inch radius.
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  1. 1m 51s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 31m 13s
    1. Launching SOLIDWORKS for the first time
      3m 55s
    2. Accessing and customizing the Ribbon
      4m 14s
    3. Touring the shortcut bar and identifying essential keys
      7m 27s
    4. Saving, renaming, and managing files
      10m 28s
    5. Working with the new view cube, or View Selector
      2m 36s
    6. New features in SOLIDWORKS 2013 and 2014
      2m 33s
  3. 14m 11s
    1. Understanding the 3D world
      2m 31s
    2. Creating your first part
      3m 15s
    3. The virtual, parametric prototyping environment
      1m 56s
    4. The FeatureManager and feature-based modeling
      3m 43s
    5. History-based modeling and the rollback bar
      2m 46s
  4. 28m 32s
    1. Starting a new sketch
      6m 50s
    2. The six steps used in almost all modeling features
    3. The Line and Centerline tools
      3m 25s
    4. Using the Circle tool
      1m 51s
    5. Adding and removing relationships and dimensions
      6m 56s
    6. Understanding relationship types
      3m 58s
    7. System options, units, and templates
      4m 40s
  5. 18m 28s
    1. Drawing rectangles
      5m 31s
    2. Creating arcs in a sketch
      4m 8s
    3. Drawing splines in a sketch
      4m 57s
    4. Sketching polygons
      3m 52s
  6. 36m 5s
    1. Trimming and extending portions of a sketch
      3m 54s
    2. Creating offset geometry
      3m 13s
    3. Moving, copying, rotating, and scaling elements
      3m 13s
    4. Erasing, undoing, and redoing actions
      2m 24s
    5. Using the mirror tools
      2m 24s
    6. Creating repeating patterns in a sketch
      4m 55s
    7. Using construction lines to build robust sketches
      3m 25s
    8. Applying fillets and chamfers to a sketch
      2m 32s
    9. Working with slots
      3m 46s
    10. Adding text to parts
      4m 1s
    11. Using the Convert Entities command
      2m 18s
  7. 9m 33s
    1. Working with planes
      5m 28s
    2. Placing and using axes
      2m 22s
    3. Placing a coordinate system
      1m 43s
  8. 17m 50s
    1. Extruding a sketch into a 3D object
      4m 36s
    2. Using Revolve to create 3D parts
      2m 42s
    3. Using Loft to create complex shapes
      4m 40s
    4. Refining a loft shape with guide curves
      2m 22s
    5. Using the sweep to create wire and pipe shapes
      3m 30s
  9. 20m 23s
    1. Modifying parts using the Extruded Cut tool
      5m 42s
    2. Working with the Revolved Cut tool
      6m 19s
    3. Using the Lofted Cut tool
      3m 32s
    4. Cutting holes and grooves with the Swept Cut tool
      4m 50s
  10. 21m 5s
    1. Using fillets and chamfers to smooth corners
      5m 58s
    2. Creating repeating rectangular patterns
      3m 16s
    3. Creating a circular pattern
      2m 27s
    4. Mirroring objects
      4m 0s
    5. Using the Shell and Draft tools
      3m 52s
    6. Scaling parts
      1m 32s
  11. 9m 39s
    1. Working with reusable sketches and blocks
      2m 47s
    2. Creating blocks
      3m 51s
    3. Designing with blocks
      3m 1s
  12. 29m 45s
    1. Understanding the tools for beginning a new assembly
      4m 46s
    2. The basic steps in creating an assembly
      3m 18s
    3. Mating parts together in an assembly
      6m 43s
    4. Working with subassemblies
      2m 9s
    5. Linear and circular assembly patterns
      4m 56s
    6. Downloading premade parts from the Internet
      3m 32s
    7. Using Toolbox
      4m 21s
  13. 15m 8s
    1. Mating parts with coincident, parallel, and distance mates
      4m 35s
    2. Mating parts with width mates
      5m 53s
    3. Mating parts with path mates
      2m 5s
    4. Mating parts by aligning planes
      2m 35s
  14. 10m 20s
    1. Getting started with the Hole Wizard
      4m 38s
    2. Positioning holes in layout sketches
      5m 42s
  15. 15m 27s
    1. Linking sketches to other parts
      4m 28s
    2. Linking to layout sketches
      6m 48s
    3. Using the Hole Wizard in context
      4m 11s
  16. 17m 15s
    1. Understanding threading concepts
      7m 17s
    2. Using a helix and Swept Path to create a thread
      4m 2s
    3. Understanding internal threads
      5m 56s
  17. 17m 25s
    1. Using equations to drive a sketch
      5m 5s
    2. Working with complex calculations
      2m 6s
    3. Integrating Microsoft Excel to manage design tables
      7m 10s
    4. Building assemblies using part configurations
      3m 4s
  18. 23m 17s
    1. Working with drawing templates
      6m 49s
    2. Setting up drawing options and sheet properties
      3m 43s
    3. Choosing the correct projection angle
      2m 21s
    4. Adding model views to a drawing
      10m 24s
  19. 16m 8s
    1. Creating general dimension notations
      6m 37s
    2. Creating ordinate and running dimensions
      3m 0s
    3. Dimensioning holes and curved features
      3m 8s
    4. Using the autodimension tools
      3m 23s
  20. 14m 38s
    1. Creating holes and callouts
      5m 8s
    2. Adding center marks and centerlines to a drawing
      3m 46s
    3. Adding item notes
      2m 57s
    4. Making drawing revisions
      2m 47s
  21. 11m 42s
    1. Adding assemblies to drawings
      2m 10s
    2. Including a bill of materials
      1m 42s
    3. Adding balloons to specify parts on an assembly drawing
      1m 39s
    4. Adding a title block and sheet properties
      2m 8s
    5. Building an exploded view for an assembly drawing
      4m 3s
  22. 1m 2s
    1. Next steps
      1m 2s

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Watch the Online Video Course SOLIDWORKS 2014 Essential Training
6h 20m Beginner Dec 09, 2013

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SOLIDWORKS is the world leader in 3D software for product development and design. Start creating manufacturing-ready parts and assemblies, as well as detailed drawings and bills of materials. In this course, author Gabriel Corbett shows how to create 2D sketches that will become the basis for your 3D models. You'll use the Extrude and Revolve tools to turn 2D sketches into 3D parts, then create more complex geometry with sweep and lofts. Then learn how to use the cut features to remove material and shape parts, and use mirroring, patterning, and scaling to modify parts. Next, you'll combine parts into movable assemblies and subassemblies. Finally, you'll create accurately annotated drawings, complete with itemized bills of materials that relate the final parts and assemblies to a manufacturer.

Topics include:
  • Creating your first part
  • Starting a new sketch
  • Adding and removing relationships and dimensions
  • Sketching polygons
  • Creating offset geometry
  • Moving, copying, and rotating elements
  • Working with planes, axes, and the coordinate system
  • Using Revolve and Loft to create 3D objects
  • Trimming with the Revolve, Loft, and Sweep cuts
  • Creating smooth and angled corners with fillets and chamfers
  • Designing with sketch blocks
  • Working with subassemblies
  • Creating threaded parts
  • Integrating Excel to manage design tables
  • Adding dimension notations to a drawing
  • Rendering an image of a part or assembly
Gabriel Corbett

Integrating Microsoft Excel to manage design tables

Within SolidWorks, we can use all the power of Microsoft Excel to drive our parts in various configurations of the same part. To get started, we need a base part that we're going to drive. Let's go ahead and get started with 16.3 dash 1. It's just a simple block with a hole in the center. We're then going to link the values to derive the size within a design table. To get started, let's go ahead and take a look at the sketch that underlies this part. And open up sketch one. Take a look and you can see we've got a couple of values in here. We've got 5 inches wide, 4 inches tall, 3 inch hole in there with a quarter inch radius.

And those are the values we're going to be overriding and using within the design table. Let's exit out of that and come up here to insert, tables, design table. And use the auto create function, which is great. Click on OK, and what it does now is it actually asks us which of the values that we want to bring into the table to be driven. So, I need to choose at least one, but you can choose all of them or any combination of the items you'd like to use in the table. So, I'm going to click on the first one, hold down shift, click the last one, and bring all those into the table.

Click, OK. And there is my design table. Notice it puts a default configuration here, and it also gives us those values that we looked at from the sketch, in the table. Now, if I want to a new configuration, go ahead and click on New, and fill out the values. Let's use 0.5, let's type in 8 by 5, and make that hole a little bit smaller. We'll type in 2. And for our thickness, we'll put in 2 as well. Soon as you're happy with that, click anywhere else outside of the table, and it should say we've got a brand new configuration, which it does.

Click on, OK. Now if I come back to the feature manager, if I go over two tabs to the configuration manager you can see, if I double-click on the new configuration. The part changes over and we have a completely different looking part based upon the same input values. It's really the same style or part, it's just different sides. I can flip back to the original rebuild it, and there's my original part. So I've just created a brand new configuration of the same part, with just different input values. Now, one thing I want to do is, notice when we created the table, those variables, we didn't really know what they mean.

What does D1 in sketch form, what does that mean? What I'd like to do is actually go back and rename those values to something that makes little bit more sense. To do that, I'm gona go ahead and open up 16.3 dash 2, which I already have open, and there it is. And now, what I'm going to do is exactly the same thing, but before I start the table, I'm going to rename the features. So, starting off with feature number one, Boss extrude one, let's go ahead and click on this twice and type in my boss, for instance. But really you can name this anything you wanted, and I would recommend naming it something that makes a lot of sense in your design.

Now directly below MyBoss is Sketch1. Well, I can rename that as well, so I'm going to call that the BossSketch, okay. And now, if I want to edit that sketch, go ahead and right-click on it, Edit Sketch. These values now, if you click on one of them, you'll notice it says D2@BossSketch, so it actually already used that new sketch name in my variable. But I still don't know what D2 is, so go ahead and override it. Let's call this thing Length. Great click, OK. How about this one over here? D3? What's that? Let's change this to maybe Width, or W, or it doesn't really matter.

Whatever the variable you want to use is just fine. Come down here and how about this one? What is D4? I don't know. How about Whole? Sure, makes sense, and then, maybe up here. Maybe the radius. Let's just give it an R, simple sketch names make a lot more sense. Click, OK. Now we have all those updated with relevant names, now I'm ready to go back and start that design table. So exit out of the sketch exactly the same thing, it was cool to insert tables, design table, auto create.

Bring all these variables in, click OK, there's my new configuration. These make a lot more sense now. Now if I know hey I want to change the radius, I'm going to change R, or the length, or the width. Makes more sense. Again, let's go create New. Type in 0.5, 8, 5, make a small hole 2, and over here we'll make a thickness of 2 again. Now any time you want to a new row, just go ahead and fill it all out, or you can use some Excel commands like selecting the whole thing, bringing it down and hitting Ctrl+D for down.

Which is fill down, or you come up here to the screen and click on Fill down. Notice, the top of my screen up here is Excel, it's Microsoft Excel. The entire ribbon change and now I'm actually working within Excel. I have all the power of Excel. I can use functions like concatenate, or add cells together. In fact, you can add graphs and other things if you wanted to in the cell table as well. So, a lot of power. Another thing I can do is add new configurations. Notice, instead of just new and new, you can't have the same variable twice or the same name twice. So this one's got to be, maybe New two and if I wanted to do a Fill down, I could say, select all those things.

Come up here to Fill down and this one I could call New three. Then you can change some of the values but not all of them. In this case here, maybe I wanted only a 1 inch thick version. Or how about if I make the hole in this version much bigger. What if I made it the same like 12 inches? Then I'd get some weird things that might be happening. So let's take a look what's going to happen there. Go ahead and click, OK. It creates these values. Here's our new configurations, so new two and three. Click, OK. And now if I go over here to my configuration manager, click on New it's the same one we looked at before.

Click on New two. The variables didn't change so it's exactly the same. Click on New three. Wow, what happened there? Well what happened is, we made the circle much bigger than the rectangle, so now that is on the outside of the shape, and the same part. But now changed into a different shape because I'm changing those values, and because of those things changed, the part looks differently. So, you can do a lot of neat things with the design tables. And these parts can be later used to do something else. Again, the configurations are all here. You can use them in your design.

You can change things around. And, if you want to go back and make changes, it's easy, right? Notice new and new 2 are the same. We made an error. Let's go back and change it. Let's go back to tables, Design table, right-click on it and say Edit Table. Again, that opens up the table and there it is. Configurations and we can click on OK. And notice new and new two we didn't change anything so go in here and change the thickness of new two to maybe four inches thick. And then go ahead and click anywhere outside and now you can see my part automatically updates. So, you can go back to the default configuration and let's not show that again.

Rebuild it. Go to the new configuration. Go to to the new two configuration, and go to the new three configuration. So you can quickly flip between all three of those. Really powerful. I also want to point out before we close is that in design table, if I right-click and say Edit Table, that's one option. But I can also say, Edit Table in New Window. It'll actually open up a full version of Microsoft Excel, so I can edit the table there. And when I'm done with it, go ahead and click Exit, and it'll take you right back to the part. Using Excel and design tables allows you to create a collection of similar parts. This comes in very handy if you're working with something like a bolt.

They all look about the same, however they have different sizes and lengths. The features are created the same, with different values. If you have a design that's similar to a bolt example, design tables will be a great choice.

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