SolidWorks 2011: Defeature
One new SolidWorks tool that I am really excited about is the new Defeature tool. Previewed at SolidWorks World 2010, this new tool helps you simplify an assembly by removing details that you wish to keep to yourself when sending files out to customers and replacing the details with dumb solids with no feature history. It essentially creates an envelope assembly consisting of virtual parts that others can use in their designs. Using virtual parts allows you to just have one file to deal with and lessens file management hassles.
But this tool does have some intelligence built in, in that you can preserve assembly motion by specifying certain mates, faces, etc. Take a gearbox with a gear mate, for instance. In the Defeature options, you can specify that the shafts, the component(s) they are mated to, and the respective mates are all retained in the defeatured assembly, allowing the correct operation of any moving parts in the resulting assembly.
In the Defeature options, you have the options of simply storing the settings in the assembly file for future use, saving the assembly as a separate local file, or publishing the defeatured assembly file to 3D ContentCentral. Regardless of which options are chosen, the settings are stored in the assembly file in a new Defeature node in the FeatureManager tree.
I am really excited about the inclusion of this tool, as it is a function that I have needed to use in the past, and it definitely makes the task of simplifying an assembly much easier and straightforward. And the resulting model is much nicer and more functional than anything I’ve created manually.
What do you think of the new Defeature tool? Let us know in the comments!