SOLIDWORKS comes with a large variety of material options. However, in some cases, the specific material for your project may not be listed. Fortunately, is it is easy to add new materials by either creating your own or by importing a database somebody else has created.
How To Add the Missing Material “By Hand”
- Create a new material library. (You cannot add materials to the SOLIDWORKS default library)
- Right-click on the grey materials area and select “New Library”.
- Enter the name for your new material library.
- Once you have your library created, now is the time to add a category. Right click on the library you want to add a category to and select “New Category”. In this example I am adding a “new” 302 Stainless, this should go in a “steel” category.
- Next, add a material to the property.
When adding materials, you will need to copy an existing material. It is easiest to find a material with similar properties to your new material, but it is not required. (I chose to copy the 304 stainless because it already had many of the same material properties as 302.)
Right-click and choose “Copy”, then right-click on the category you would like to add the material to, and choose “Paste”.
Now you can change the name of the material, and edit the material properties.
After making the necessary changes to the material properties and name, be sure to hit “save."
Now you will be able to apply your newly created material to any parts you would like.
How To Add the Missing Material By Import
The second way to add materials is to import them. The two most likely reasons you will want to use this method is so you can use a material database that one of your peers already created, or you would like to import material properties that have been formatted for SOLIDWORKS from a website, such as Matweb.
- Locate the material database you want to import (file type “.sldmat”).
- If you are trying to find a custom material database on a coworker’s computer, you can search the paths listed under Tools > Options > System Options > File Locations, then use the drop-down menu to find “Material Databases”.
- Once you have located the material database, copy it to a default location or place it in a “custom” location and point to it by adding the file path to the “Material Databases” in the System Options shown above.
Now when you edit the SOLIDWORKS Material, you will see the new database listed.
More Fun with Materials
Once you have built your material libraries, you may find that you do not want to look through multiple libraries, but would rather view based on material category, or just see all materials. If you simply right-click in the grey materials area, you will have the option to sort by Library, Category or Material.
You may also find you are using the same material over and over. If you want to reduce the number of clicks, try adding that material to your “Favorites”. Simply right-click on the material, and choose “Add to Favorites”.
Now when you right click on the part, you will find the added material in the drop down. With these tips, you should have no problem adding and creating any material imaginable.
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