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SOLIDWORKS Tips: How to Create Custom Materials in SOLIDWORKS

Monday June 19, 2023 at 8:00am

Material information is stored within the material library, ranging from mechanical properties such as density and elastic modulus, to the aesthetic appearance of the material when applied to a model.

For specific materials, sheet metal information is accessed and set through the Sheet Metal tab. The information included can ensure that specified materials always use a set thickness, bend radius or length calculation method.

WHERE IS THE SOLIDWORKS MATERIAL LIBRARY?

Customising materials takes place in the Material Library.

Access the Library by either right-clicking on the material in the Feature Manager Tree and selecting Edit Material or through the Edit menu > Appearance > Material. Both options launch the Material Library, which appears in a new window.

All the materials within this window are editable. Material names, visual properties and mechanical properties can be modified to suit your design requirements.

The material tree is on the left side of this window and is organised into libraries, categories and materials.

All this data is stored in a .sldmat file which can be found in the default file location:

C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp 2023\SOLIDWORKS\lang\english\sldmaterials

HOW TO ADD A NEW MATERIAL IN SOLIDWORKS

To add a new library and category, right-click on the material tree and select the option from the menu. This menu also provides the ability to delete and sort data.

There are two main ways to add or customise materials in SOLIDWORKS.

Method One – Copy Existing Materials

You can copy and paste materials from one category to another. This method saves you time when the new material has similar mechanical properties to existing materials in the Library. Simply right-click on the material and select copy. Right-click the appropriate category to add the material to and select paste.

This workflow can also be utilised with the Keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + C to copy and Ctrl + V to paste.

Method Two – Create a New Material

Right-click on the category and select New Material. This method offers the ability to create a material from scratch.

Materials generated in this way contain no mechanical properties or data, allowing for complete customisation of information.

Libraries can also be created to group materials together. Similarly to materials, libraries can be created through a simple right-click on the left-hand side of the Materials window.

HOW TO SHARE A MATERIAL LIBRARY IN SOLIDWORKS

Creating a new library in the material library window generates a new database file with the extension .sldmat in the material database file location.

Material library files can then be shared among colleagues or customers to access newly created or edited materials.

Hosting the material library file in a shared folder or a SOLIDWORKS PDM vault is a great way to ensure everyone is working with the latest version of the library.

Any material can be added to an existing install of SOLIDWORKS. Some suppliers may provide the material properties for their material, or you can visit Matweb.com to find material properties and download .sldmat files.

Inside the file locations, add the folder location of the .sldmat file to your folder location in System Options > File Locations > Material Database > Add and browse to the location.

HOW TO ADD FAVOURITE MATERIALS

You can quickly access commonly used materials by adding them to your favourites through the Favorites tab within the Material Library window on the right-hand side of the library.

Changing the favourites in this tab changes the list of materials seen in the menu when right-clicking on the material in the Feature Manager Tree.

If you are a SOLIDWORKS Simulation user with an active SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional or Premium subscription, you can access the SOLIDWORKS Material Web Portal from the Material Library Window.

Hosted by Matereality LLC, this portal provides materials that can be downloaded and imported into the material library so you can add more variety to your favourite materials.

Take the Next Steps...

Now that you’ve modified your settings, it’s a great idea to save them or make a copy of them to use on another computer.

Watch this short tutorial to learn how to copy your settings and find out why we recommend making a backup.

If you want to enhance your SOLIDWORKS skills, then sign up to our CPD-accredited training courses.

Whether you’re a beginner or are intimately familiar with CAD, our friendly and expert trainers are ready to help you get the most out of SOLIDWORKS, either online or in a classroom local to you.

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