How to load FeatureWorks dynamically in SOLIDWORKS

By Sawyer Gara on

If we try to open a SOLIDWORKS file without 3D Interconnect, a prompt window will ask if we want to apply feature recognition. Feature recognition attempts to take the imported geometry and convert the features into SOLIDWORKS features. You can run through these prompts, and it’s going to generate that same model but with SOLIDWORKS features. The feature tree will have revolves, boss/extrudes, it has chamfer, fillets, holes, etc.

But sometimes it’s going to generate features that we don’t want. In this case, I might have not designed this as a revolve. Additionally, sometimes we only want to make changes to specific features such as changing the size of a fillet or chamfer or modifying the diameter of a hole. So, rather than going through and running FeatureWorks on the entire model, we can load FeatureWorks dynamically. This time, when I go to open a STEP file, I’m going to say “no” to that prompt to proceed with the feature recognition.

FeatureWorks feature recognition window
FeatureWorks prompt

What we’re left with when I say, “no” is rather than a list of SOLIDWORKS features in my tree, I just have that imported body – something we’re probably all familiar with when we open a STEP or .IGS file.

At this point, I can run that feature recognition command and start to generate the entire model into SOLIDWORKS features. But when I’m working with these imported files inside of SOLIDWORKS, all I need to do is right-click on a SOLIDWORKS-like feature – the fillets, for example. It will recognize that fillet, and now I can edit that feature. In this example, I will change the fillet from 10 to 5 millimeters, and it’s going to modify it like any other SOLIDWORKS feature.

Editing features
Editing features

I can do the same thing for my chamfers. I can right-click on it and make edits like I would if it were a SOLIDWORKS feature, and it’s going to generate that into my chamfer.

As long as it is a SOLIDWORKS-like feature, I have a pretty good chance of the FeatureWorks dynamically loading and allowing me to have an editable feature in my tree that I can change elements such as hole sizes, fillet sizes, and chamfers without having to import, recognize and turn that imported geometry into all SOLIDWORKS features.