Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Build your SolidWorks Toolbox... with free CAD models

SolidWorks Toolbox is a library of standard parts that can be fully integrated with SolidWorks Premium or SolidWorks Professional.  While essential for some SolidWorks users, it is also regarded as complicated and inconvenient by others.  The great divide is due in large part because Toolbox requires installation and configuration.  So is there a way to generate common toolbox-type models and avoid having to build and manage the Toolbox add-ins and configurations?  Apart from Toolbox, what alternatives are available to SolidWorks users for creating standard parts and fasteners?

Today, in addition to SolidWorks 3D ContentCentral, there are a variety of online vendors that readily provide common use CAD models for free.  As these vendors are well aware, this is a service that is provided to drive awareness of their products, and ultimately their sales revenue.  For the SolidWorks user, downloading free CAD files can be a very efficient method of generating these toolbox-type or vendor specific files, thereby averting the Toolbox installation and configuration scenario entirely.

Here is a brief and varied list of some reputable sites providing free CAD models for download:

It would be benefical to have a File Management technique already in mind prior to downloading your files, and after downloading you might also choose to edit the Property fields to your preference.  A practical suggestion is to arrange your SolidWorks Design Library to view and access your new personal Toolbox directly from the Task Pane.  Like many, you too may find that taking advantage of free CAD models will oftentimes save you hours to days of work, while you build a personal SolidWorks Toolbox without the burden of installation or configuration.