When modelling, it’s likely that you may need to use the same feature across several part models in SOLIDWORKS. I’m going to show you a few different techniques that will allow you to do exactly that speeding up your working process in the software.
The first technique is for physically copying features and we can do this when we have two parts open at the same time. I want to copy this hole pattern across both the parts that I have open. The first step in this process is to position both part models alongside one another. We can do this by going to the ‘Window’ menu at the top and choosing the option ‘Tile Vertically’.
In this example, I’m going to copy the series of holes over to the model on the right. We can do this by holding down the ‘Ctrl’ key and dragging the feature over to our model on the right hand side. As you drag over flat faces in your model you will see the feature align with those faces. When you drop the item, you may get a message prompting you to decide what to do about the sketch relations in your model, which referenced the original location. You can either delete them or you leave them dangling to reconnect them to something later. In this example I’m going to delete them.
To complete the process we need to edit our sketch to fully define it. We can do this quite simply with a couple of sketch relations and a few dimensions.
You may find that you’re unable to copy some features between models. The vent on the top of our original design is a good example, because it maintains too many relations back to the original design and won’t allow us to copy between parts. If you find this is the case, you can sometimes work around the issue by copying just the sketch and adding the feature again.
If you’re looking to copy the same feature to numerous models, or if you want to copy a group of features together, you might want to think about saving the feature away into the SOLIDWORKS design library. This is a great way of replicating features, but it does require a little bit of setup. When you drop a library feature into a model it will prompt you for the references it needs to become defined as shown in this example.
You can check out our YouTube channel if you want to see how to set a design library feature up with all of its references. However, If you’d just like to create a simplified design library feature with no references you can do this by Ctrl + copying your feature into another part. I’d recommend a simplified block model for this case. When we drag the item in, choose the ‘Delete References’ option, but this time, do not edit the feature to replace them. This will leave you with a simple feature with little, or no external references. You can then save this item into the design library for use across several SOLIDWORKS designs.
To do this, open the design library tab and pin it open. Once you have done this, you can drag your feature from the tree in SOLIDWORKS, straight into a folders in the library. You’ll then be prompted to give the item a name and save it as a library feature part. You’ll then see the feature available for you to drag into any model and all you’ll need is a flat face to drag it onto.
So there you have it. There are a few techniques you can use to copy a feature across your SOLIDWORKS models.
We hope you found that useful!
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