You need a good fastener library for SOLIDWORKS. But getting one is not easy:
Every company I talk to stopped (or is planning to stop) using Toolbox fasteners at some point. The Toolbox library is not complete and it does reference any ISO/ANSI/DIN standards. Sure it comes for free with a Premium license, but buying a couple of Premium licenses just for the Toolbox is expensive.
Because the Toolbox adds each size as a configuration, you need write-access to all fasteners. The files become large (I’ve seen parts with 1000+ configurations) and not all sizes follow the standards so you can’t actually buy the part.
I recently asked LinkedIn how we could fix fasteners and summarized the results in a second post. There are two approaches to using the Toolbox that both have real downsides:
Five years ago, we started developing our own fastener library. By now, we have spent about 600 hours on our models and another 600 hours on Lightning, our optional fastener software.
You can check out the downloads in our Fastener Models Shop.
This resulted in the following properties:
The first thing we do is to buy the relevant ISO, NEN (the Dutch arm of ISO and one of its founders) or DIN standard. Those documents are the only real source of fastener dimension data. We dig through the document, extract the relevant data and add it to our database.
We are even working with NEN to offer our fasteners in their webshop because it’s a practical application for those theoretical standards. That offering will likely become public somewhere in the next few months.
We have crafted software to create fasteners from scratch so we don’t have to touch any of the files. If we find a mistake, we delete all files, fix the software and create a new export.
Quality and consistency are our greatest benefits. To achieve that, our software checks every software function, every feature and every file for issues. When we find a new issue, we add another check to the software so we’ll never ship another file with that problem.
To avoid migration issues, we create a copy of all fasteners in every SOLIDWORKS version.
You have probably seen Toolbox bolts blow up in size for no reason at all, or because you shipped an assembly to a supplier that didn’t have a Premium license.
These licensing issues are annoying and a waste of time. They are not what’s best for the engineer.
That is why we only create dumb files. You pay us once, we send you a ZIP file with parts and that’s it. No more licensing issues.
Every single one of our fastener files has a material to make sure the mass is correct.
You also get a copy of all sizes for each material/coating combo. The coating is stored in the filename and in a custom property only:
We added lots of useful metadata:
We add properties to the Custom tab because there is only one configuration. Every fastener type has a different set of custom properties. ISO 14579 (Torx head cap screws) has these:
You have probably cursed at your computer when you switched out a fastener for another type and the concentric and coincident mates broke. It’s very annoying to run into this problem a dozen times a day.
So we fixed it. Every important face in our models has a name and these names are completely consistent across all 50+ fastener types. So when you switch a hexagon bolt for a Torx bolt, the mates remain intact.
Because metric is the future. Imperial standards are weird, inconsistent, hard to understand and are almost only used in the United States. But the world is bigger than just the US.
And to be completely honest, we Europeans avoid using imperial fasteners at all costs, so it will be hard to make good fastener files.
We will probably add some ANSI fasteners at some point, so get in touch if you’re ok with sharing the investment.
To make our great fastener library as accessible as possible, we are announcing our Fastener Models Shop today. You select only the standards you need, pay once and download all files. It’s just that simple. You can use the files within your company. Just don’t give them away on the internet, please.To the Shop
|DIN 7984||Hexagon socket head cap bolt with low head||Contact washer||Contact washer for optimal metal-to-metal contact|
|ISO 1207||Slotted cheese head screw||DIN 988||Shim rings and supporting rings|
|ISO 2009||Slotted countersunk flat head screw||DIN 5406||Lock washers (for use with DIN 981)|
|ISO 4014||Hexagon head bolt with partial thread||ISO 7089||Plain washer, normal|
|ISO 4017||Hexagon head bolt with full thread||ISO 7092||Plain washer, small|
|ISO 4762||Hexagon socket head cap bolt||ISO 7093||Plain washer, large|
|ISO 7379||Hexagon socket head shoulder screw. h8 and f9.||Retaining rings|
|ISO 7380-1||Hexagon socket button head bolt||DIN 471||Retaining ring for shafts|
|ISO 7380-1 torx||Torx socket button head bolt||DIN 472||Retaining ring for bores|
|ISO 7380-2||Hexagon socket button head bolt with flange||DIN 6799||Retaining washer for shafts|
|ISO 7380-2 torx||Torx socket button head bolt with flange||Pins|
|ISO 8676||Hexagon head bolt with fine pitch thread||ISO 2338||Parallel pin, unhardened, m6 and h8|
|ISO 8765||Hexagon head bolt with full thread and fine pitch||ISO 8734||Parallel pin, hardened, m6 and h6|
|ISO 10642||Hexagon socket countersunk head bolt||ISO 8735||Parallel pin, hardened, internal thread, m6|
|ISO 12474||Hexagon socket bolt with fine pitch thread||Set screws|
|ISO 14579||Torx socket head cap bolt||ISO 4026||Hexagon socket set screw with flat point|
|ISO 14579 fine||Torx socket bolt with fine pitch thread||ISO 4027||Hexagon socket set screw with cone point|
|ISO 14580||Torx socket head cap bolt with cheese head||ISO 4028||Hexagon socket set screw with dog point|
|ISO 14581||Torx socket countersunk head bolt||ISO 4029||Hexagon socket set screw with cup point|
|Nuts||ISO 4766||Slotted set screw with flat point|
|DIN 929||Hexagon weld nut||ISO 7434||Slotted set screw with cone point|
|DIN 981||Lock nut (for use with DIN 5406)||ISO 7435||Slotted set screw with long dog point|
|DIN 1587||Dome nut||Inserts|
|ISO 4032||Hexagon regular nut||DIN 8184-1A||Wire thread insert|
|ISO 4035||Hexagon thin nut, chamfered||Keys|
|ISO 7040||Prevailing torque hexagon nut||DIN 6885A||Parallel keys|
|ISO 7042||Prevailing torque all metal hexagon high nut|
|ISO 8673||Hexagon regular nut with fine pitch thread|
|ISO 8675||Hexagon thin nut with fine pitch thread|
|ISO 10511||Prevailing torque thin nut with nylon insert|
|ISO 10512||Prevailing torque nut with nylon insert and fine pitch|
Every company has its own preferences for fasteners. We understand that our preferences may not be yours.
So if you want to add, for example, order numbers, extra custom properties, unique filenames or materials, we can do that for you. Just send us an email and we’ll share the possibilities with you. Pricing is available on the product page.
Once we agree on the goals, we modify our software and our database and create a custom export for you.
CAD Booster is on a mission to improve working with fasteners in SOLIDWORKS. But a great library is only one part of the equation.
The second part is about using fasteners inside SOLIDWORKS. I hated having to scroll through an endless list of filenames, just to find that one size you were looking for. But filenames should not be visible to the user, you want to see properties.
That’s why we built Lightning, a fast fastener filter for SOLIDWORKS. Here’s a nine-second demo:
We replaced the long list of filenames with a few simple steps:
Lightning works with your own library, it comes without any files. And of course, it works absolutely amazing with our fasteners. To try it out, check out the Lightning product page.