Feature palette and link to thickness

I created a palette feature recently and have run into something that
doesn't seem to work the way it's supposed to. I'm wondering if
anyone else has run into this.
The feature is for sheet metal and would be used on multiple material
thicknesses. I create a base flange, add a blind cut extrude that is
linked to thickness, pattern the cut and save to our network folder
for palette features. When inserting it from the feature palette, I
get a message telling me that the linked value in the palette feature
has the same name as an existing value in the target part. It goes on
to say that I can click yes to link the feature value to the value
specified in the part or I can click no to rename the value in the
feature with a suffix. I click yes because I want the cut depth to be
the same as the material thickness. I click next in the edit sketch
dialog box that comes up and click finish in the change dimensions
dialog box that comes up after that. The feature is placed but the
value for the cut and the part thickness are not linked. If I go to
the dimension and right click to link values I see thickness (the
desired thickness of the sheet metal part) Thickness-2HP} and
Thickness-2pæ¨, which are both the thickness value of the feature.
I could solve this by not extruding to thickness and manually linking
the value or specifying the cut go up to next but I'd prefer if
SolidWorks linked the values automatically like it says it's supposed
to do.
Reply to
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Hi Steve.
It sounds like you have suggested the best solution in your "up to next" idea. It will never not work and you will effectively get a link to thickness cut as this is the only option for the feature.
I personally have found that the feature pallette features are not very robust for many sheet metal applications. For example, I have found it challenging (ok i really mean impossbile for me) to make linked-to-thickness features in the pallette parts translate into the main part. It's alot like what you describe - it should work, but is does not. I personally don't think that the name mapping really considers that the common names are the special sheet metal reserved "Thickness" which should be handles specially, but is not.
You link to thickness sounds like the best move because it will get you what you need, or almost what you need (less the assurance that things work as advertised).
Reply to
Sean-Michael Adams
Hi Steve, We use a CNC punch press and I have modeled all our punches as either forming tools (such as embosses and louvers) or library features (actual punches)?
Which are you trying to do? What I am not following is the link to thickness.
Anyway a couple of things that might help
If it's not a forming tool then the thickness of your feature is redundant until you drag it into the sheet metal part (it's not a sheet metal part itself). When it is dragged into the sheet metal part it adapts to the thickness of the sheet metal part. This is achieved by using (as you said) the "UP TO NEXT" when you create the feature which is accurate. You are telling Solidworks to adapt your feature to the existing thickness of the sheet metal part it is dragged and dropped into, and it is linked itself. So if you change the base extrude and the thickness it will adapt.
If it's a forming tool then in all likely hood it was purchased with a particular material thickness in mind and will react differently when used in various sheet thicknesses. But if memory serves me correctly thickness again is adapted and only the formed radius need to be addressed. Easiest way to create formed parts is modify the samples provided with the solidworks install.
Hope this helps
Reply to
Keven Roche
Thanks for the comments. To answer Keven's question I made this as a library feature not a forming tool. It's a mounting hole pattern so one tool would punch the material multiple times. I can (and will have to) use up to next but generally prefer to use linked values. I've found it to be better because part geometry can change resulting in "next" not being the material thickness. Since SolidWorks says it will link the values I guess it's just another case of the software promising a dollar and delivering 75 cents.
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