One of the REALLY handy new items in SolidWorks 2008 is the added options to the Insert Part/Insert Mirror Part commands. Here is the quick synopsis of what has been added:
When you use the Insert-> Part command, you now have the added ability to transfer unabsorbed sketches, absorbed sketches, custom properties, and coordinate systems from the original part file. Also in the PropertyManager is a new option to break the link to the original part file (more on that later). If the file you are performing the Insert Part command in already has custom properties that conflict with the incoming part, those properties are held. If you wish to BREAK the link to the original file, you now can do that and PRESERVE all the features! You have the choice of doing this during creation or later on through the External References dialog! (That “Break All” option will have more use cases now!)
The same options are available also when using the Mirror Part command. You may be wondering how the features can be preserved when breaking the link in a mirrored part. In cases like this, the feature tree is essentially copied and a Move/Copy Body command is placed at the bottom of the features that translates the part to the mirrored version. While this seems to work well in the tests I have performed, it is rather odd to me that the Move/Copy feature is used to do this. Apparently this is a “special case” usage of this feature as I have not been able to mirror a solid body using this feature under normal conditions.
Copying custom properties has also made its way into the “Split” and “Save Bodies” commands. Preserving features when breaking external references do not appear to work with “Stock Parts” that are created as a result of these commands. (The checkbox IS there in the External References dialog box in these cases but the option doesn’t work.)
To see these new tools in action, click on this VIDEO link for a demonstration.
Stay Tuned….MUCH more to come!