One thing we know about our clients is how heavily they work with components supplied by McMaster-Carr. This includes fasteners, hardware, power transmission parts, piping, tubing, tooling, raw materials, electrical and many more. Not only is it important to know what components are needed for your business, but it’s also important to be able to accurately represent these components in the CAD space.
As a vital part of the product development process, it’s logical to have a streamlined way of integrating the model import and ordering of supplied components all in one place. By implementing the McMaster-Carr SOLIDWORKS add-in, you merge the gap between the parts supplier and CAD environment.
First, let’s see how to get the FREE add-in:
Navigate to the McMaster-Carr homepage, then click the link in a tab at the bottom left of the web page.
From there select download and follow the install wizard’s steps to complete the install. For your add-in to work properly, you will need these basic system requirements:
- Windows 10
- SOLIDWORKS 2017 or newer (Latest service pack installed)
- Internet connection
- Approval for web browser process in antivirus or security software (as needed).
After downloading and installing, your SOLIDWORKS interface should have a new task pane tab along the right side for McMaster-Carr.
The McMaster-Carr SOLIDWORKS add-in allows you to search and insert CAD models directly into your design.
SOLIDWORKS Add-In Feature Tree and Task Pane
The screenshots below show the feature tree (Figure 1) and the task pane (Figure 2). Notice how the add-in automatically detects the part numbers in the feature tree, then the quantity of that component in the tree correlates directly with the quantity listed in the add-in panel for ordering.
If you are testing out which components are best for your assembly, the process for replacing a component with another is simple. Just by having the cursor float above the component in the task pane, you can replace selected components directly (see Figure 2).
Figure 1: Feature Tree of assembly components
Figure 2: McMaster-Carr Add-in task pane
When the assembly is complete, you can update “Number of Assemblies” to get an updated BOM for the order. The BOM automatically populates fields with the part number, description, and unit of measure. From here you can copy your lines from the BOM to the clipboard or send your order to McMaster.com.
Figure 3: Updated Number of Assemblies (4)
Figure 4: BOM and options for next steps
Figure 5: Final order review and modifications
The Benefits of McMaster-Carr
If you rely heavily on McMaster-Carr components in your assemblies and want exact models of the parts you’re using, then it is a no brainer to be taking advantage of the free add-in. Integrating your supplier to your CAD modeling interface removes disconnections and intermediary steps between the web platform and your CAD environment.
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