Add washers to patterned bolts

Lightning makes working with fasteners in SOLIDWORKS fun again. We just released version 2.4.

Our mission

We are on a mission to improve working with fasteners in SOLIDWORKS. We do this with two products:

  1. Fastener Models: a great fastener library with highly consistent, native SOLIDWORKS models, with data straight from the ISO and DIN standards.
  2. Lightning: the add-in that makes it easy to find, add and replace fasteners.

You can use Lightning without our library and our Fastener Models without Lightning. But together, we can create magic.

Table of contents

  1. Add a washer to a patterned bolt or nut
  2. Compatibility with SOLIDWORKS 2023
  3. Settings improvements
  4. Other changes
  5. Bug fixes

1. Add a washer to a patterned bolt or nut

Lightning makes it incredibly easy to add a washer to a (mated) bolt or nut:

  1. Select the bolt (or nut)
  2. Click Add Washer
  3. You’re done

If the bolt is mated to a plate, we delete the coincident mate, add the washer in between and add new mates. If the bolt is floating, we only add mates between the bolt and the washer.

But patterned bolts don’t have mates! So from now on, when you select a patterned bolt, we’ll ask you if we should add the washer to the seed component of this pattern. It looks like this:

Add a washer to a patterned bolt

It even works when you create patterns of patterns. We’ll keep going up the feature tree until we find the original component (to add a washer underneath) and the first pattern (to add a washer as a seed component).

2. Compatibility with SOLIDWORKS 2023

SOLIDWORKS 2023 has been out for a few months now. And Lightning is now fully compatible.

By default, our add-ins work fine in a new SOLIDWORKS version. But Lightning needs an update to be able to read custom properties from SOLIDWORKS 2023 files in a super-fast (100 files per second) way.

3. Settings improvements

Lightning is only made for fasteners, and we can do smart things because of that:

  • A normal bolt can have a washer underneath it, a countersunk bolt cannot
  • A bolt has multiple length options, a washer does not

The article Supported fastener Types in the Knowledge Base shows all fastener types that we support and their properties. We currently track five properties:

  1. Has a thread
  2. Has length options
  3. Can have a washer
  4. Has an M-prefix, but no thread (like an M4 washer)
  5. Has a fit

We now display these properties in step 3 of the Settings window. This should make it clear that a screw cannot have a washer, for example.

Lightning settings fastener types

4. Other changes

Most of the changes in this update are under the hood, and Lightning has improved a lot. These are the ones that you may notice:

  1. Undo/Redo:
    • We now wrap our actions in a single Undo/Redo step, so you can easily delete an added fastener and its mates after adding it.
    • Be aware that undoing adding a pattern crashes SOLIDWORKS. We are trying to get them to fix this.
  2. Reversed the list of selected components when replacing multiple fasteners:
    • The bolt you selected first is now replaced first.
  3. Deleted the Add at origin button from the Select Fastener window:
    • This button was hardly used, in less than 1% of cases, so we prefer to make the user interface cleaner.
  4. Made adding washers more robust:
    • We now show a message when it fails, instead of failing silently.
    • We now show a message when you’re trying to add a washer to a bolt in a subassembly, which wouldn’t work.
  5. We now set defaults when reading the database fails.

5. Bug fixes

We found and fixed two bugs:

  • Fixed the Select Fastener window not opening
  • Fixed the Cancel button in the Feedback window not working

As always, please let us know when you think you found a bug. We respond quickly and generally fix it in the next version.

What’s next?

Now that adding washers is more robust, it’s time to look ahead. For the next version, we are trying to add two main features:

  1. Support multiple databases
  2. Store the sizes that you have in stock and that you want your engineers to use

Start filtering today

Lightning makes working with fasteners fun again. You can add, edit and replace fasteners much faster with this affordable (€150 or €220 per year) add-in.

We have a 14-day free trial. The add-in contains a helpful getting started video and 100 free fastener samples. All features are available during the trial.