Creating custom material libraries in SOLIDWORKS

Tuesday September 14, 2021 at 11:00am
Every seat of SOLIDWORKS comes with a large, customizable material library. The Material Library contains the definition of materials and includes its mechanical properties and default appearance. In this blog and accompanying video we'll explain how to use and customize this for your benefit.
Creating custom material libraries in SOLIDWORKS

What is the Material Library?

When a material is applied to your model it allows for accurate calculation of mass, moments of inertia and center of gravity for parts and assemblies. This same material data can also be used with SOLIDWORKS Simulation tools to calculate how your designs will perform under different types of loading conditions.

How to customize it?

The Material Library is easily customizable allowing you to create your own materials from scratch or by copying and editing the values of existing materials.

Right-click on the Material folder in the feature manager design tree (or the Custom Properties tab) and select Edit Material.

Next, right-click in the in the Material Library and select New Library.

You can now choose what to name your new library and also which folder to save it to.

You will need to point SOLIDWORKS to this new location so it will know where to find it. The folder path is set in your SOLIDWORKS System Options > File Locations > Material Databases.

Tip; If you are part of a team of SOLIDWORKS users it is recommended to all share the same Material Library to ensure consistency. This is done by placing it in a shared file location that all users can access.

Materials can be organized into category folders such as Steel, Plastics and Timber. To create a Category simply right-click on your new library and select New Category.

New materials can be defined from scratch by right-clicking on a Category folder and selecting New Material and entering the material data. An easier method is to find something similar and with a right-click select Copy, then paste it into a Category folder and edit its values to suit.

All materials in your custom library are fully editable so you can change the material name (to make it easily recognizable), its visual appearance and its mechanical properties. Remember to hit Save to keep any changes you make.

Material data can be obtained in a number of ways, including material data sheets from the supplier, or by visiting and searching through the online database of material definitions.

If you use certain materials frequently it may be a good idea to customize your material favourites list. This can be done by clicking Manage Favorites, finding a material, then clicking on the Add button to add it to the list. This list can be reordered using the Up and Down buttons.

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