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Equations are awesome, and in SolidWorks 2014, they got even better. Equations allow you to derive an unlimited number of sketch values with one variable. If we later want to change that size, all we need to do is update the one equation, and all the linked values will change. Think about a quarter inch hole that is used across multiple features and sketches. If we wanted to change the hole to a 3/8 inch hole, all we need to do is edit the equation and all those hole will automatically update. Otherwise we would need to open each individual sketch and modify the values independently.
To get started let's go ahead and take a look at sketch one of 16.1 dash 1 and you can see here I have a pretty simple sketch. And I want to derive this with an equation value. So first things first let's jump over to the sketch tab and click on Smart dimension. And what I want to do here is I want to make a dimension from this far edge here and I'm gona click on this center line. And if I use the center line value, what I can use is what's called a double dimension. So from this side it's a single dimension. As soon as I pass over the center line, it doubles, it's a double dimension. It's a nice way to input full values versus half the value.
In this case here, I'm going to type in 10. But I don't really want to use a regular ten. What I want to do is actually define a global variable here. So instead of just typing a ten directly. Lets go ahead and hit equals. And as soon as I do so, it gives an option to choose a function or a file property or I can define a global variable here by giving it a name. In this case I'm just going to make it l. As soon as I do that I get this little icon here that says it's going to create a global variable. And if I click OK, or Enter it says, hey do you want to create this global variable named L? Let's say sure, let's do it.
And now it's asking me what the variable wants to be. So I'm going to type in 10.0, click OK, and click OK, again. So notice I got this little sigma in front of here showing me that I'm using an equation to drive that length and the value happens to be 10 at this point in time. Now that's great. And I can also, I can create more values the same way or if I'm happy with that, click on OK, and jump over here to the Equation Editor and right-click on Equations and say Manage equation. And on side of the equation editor here you can see I've already created this global variable named L with a value equal to ten.
Now I can add more global variables. Right inside here. So I'm going to type in W, and I'm going to say this is equal to five and thus equates to five. And down here you see I've got equations so I'm actually linking D1 at sketch one to that L variable. And I can do more of those down here if I wanted to as well, or I can do it from within the sketch environment. I also wanted to point out instead of just Ls and Ws, you can type out a full variable name here, doesn't really matter as long as it's one easy to understand block. But I wouldn't get too crazy with a long name because you're going to have to type that in every time.
Or select it from the Variable cell. You want to make it something that's easy to figure out, like length or width would be a fine word, but you don't want to get too extensive. Once you're happy with it, go ahead and click, OK. Now I want to grab that Smart Dimension tool. I'm going to dimension from the top and back again to that center line, and notice it's a single dimension turning into a double dimension, as soon as you go past the Center line. As soon as you click, again, if you hit equals, now you have the option to choose from one of those global variables, or create a function or a file property. So I'm going to back to global variables, in this time I'm just going to say hey I'd like to link to the width.
Click OK, and there's your value. Let's just do a couple more. Up here I'm going to go ahead and define the size of this hole. And I want it to be 1 inch, but instead of just typing one directly, I'm going to type in equals, and I'm going to give it the variable called whole. Okay? Click, Ok. Create a new global variable called whole. Look's good. And for my value, 1.0. Okay? I can also then use that same value over here. So we go ahead and push equals. We'll then get to the global variable, and I'll use Whole.
Click OK, and I have the size of the holes determining not only the size of the whole, but also the spacing from the edge. When everything's fully defined, it looks good. It's time to go ahead and extrude the feature, so go over here to Features, go to Boss Extrude, and I could type in my value here. But, you can also say, equals, and go ahead and choose one of those global variables, or create one, again, from there, click on Hole, and make it equal to one, click OK, and it created a part completely equation driven. Now, if I want to go back and make some modifications to my part, it's very easy.
Go ahead, go back to Equations > Manage my Equations. Notice my variables here are listed. Just go ahead and change those, I can say, instead of ten, I want five. On my next little item down here I'm going to click on 2.5. And for my hole, I'm going to make it half of an inch so 0.5. Those variables update. As soon as I click OK, the part automatically shrinks in size to its new variables. And in fact, if I open up the part, open up that sketch, you can see the new variables are used to define the shape of this part. Go ahead and exit out. And you can see also the thickness changed as well because we're defining that.
By linking it to the whole variable. Design re-usability is a great time saver, and using equations in your designs makes it easier to change and allow others to easily understand your input values. In SolidWorks 2014 they made it very easy to create equation values and integrate them into designs to make them easy and efficient.
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