A guide to SolidWorks Simulation and Finite Element Analysis

#12 SolidWorks Simulation Default Options

Continuing on from #11 SolidWorks Simulation System Options I will now go through the Default Options tab of the SolidWorks Simulation Options Dialog Window. Here we can set up more options and customise the simulation and the results to save making changes afterwards.

SolidWorks Simulation Default Options

Units – By selecting Units on the left hand side we have a list of options appear to the right, here we can select a unit System, by default it is set to SI! However we can change the Pressure/Stress manually to MPa so we don’t have to change it manually in the result plots every time we run a simulation.

Load/Fixture – This just allows you to change sizes and colours of the symbols used for loads and fixtures.

Mesh – There are lots of advanced settings for presetting the meshing tools before setting up the study, but these will be covered in a later post, just be aware of the ability to set these.

Results – By selecting Results from the list we are given the following list of options,

Results Options

  • Default Solver – To solve the large matrix equations for stress, strain, deflection and so on, SolidWorks uses a solver. But there are two different methods it can use, Direct Sparse and FFE Plus, what these are and the differences between the will be discussed in the next post. By default it is set to FFE Plus, but I suggest setting this to automatic and alloy SolidWorks to judge when to use each option (it will generally use FFE Plus anyway), why will become clear in the following post.
  • Results Folder – Here you can set-up where SolidWorks will save all the results folder, I highly recommend setting up a results sub folder; this will create a separate folder in the same location as the part model. This is because when SolidWorks runs and solves a study it creates a lot results and study files and can make the directory very messy and difficult to find your part and assembly models.

Plot – Here we can update the general default settings for every result plots, it applies to all types of plots. the first option is to set Annotation and Range and is fairly self explanatory.

Plot Settings

  • Setting Options – Use this option to adjust the visual aspects of the plot, selecting multiple fringe and boundary options. Fringe options refer to how the stress/strain etc results are displayed graphically (the red to blue colouring of the part!) and the Boundary option refer to how the part is drawn, for instance with the model outline or the mesh drawn on etc. the best way to get to know these options is to test them out. I have created a model with all the different plot options already labelled and set, simply open the part in SolidWorks, run the study and browse through the chart plots, download it here Icon of Charts Example Charts Example (294.0 KiB)
  • Deformed Shape Options – Again this are all self explanatory, but if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment.

Default Plots – Here we can customize which plots are generated automatically for each type of study (Static, Frequency, Buckling and so on). Some plots are already defined by default, but by right clicking on the type of study we can select to create a new plot, for instance creating a Factor Of Safety plot for Static Studies is something I have set-up as standard. Customize this to your requirements.

Report – Customise the simulation report by adjusting these options, for instance changing which sections will appear in a report. A lot of the time most of the ticked options wont be applicable or will contain irrelevant information, for instance I normally include; Description, Study Properties, Units, Material Properties, Loads and Fixtures, Connector Definitions (if connectors have been used) Contact Information, Mesh Information, Resultant Forces, Study Results.


Report Options

Fill in the header information so that it appears in the report by default and does not need defining for every study, when including a logo test it a few times by creating a report you will need to create an image file which is sized correctly for the header of the report, this will save you having to re-size it manually for every report. Also, I would highly recommend changing the report folder to a user defined one, keeping all your reports in an easy to find place, otherwise they will be saved in the results folder which will be cluttered with a lot of simulation files.

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4 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. Andrew
    October 3, 2012 at 12:36 #

    Very useful blog. Is it still active?

    • Chris
      October 7, 2012 at 11:15 #

      Hello Andrew,

      Sorry for the delayed response, Yes the blog is still active, just perhaps not as active as it should be. Unfortunately I am really busy at work, but as soon as things lighten up I will be putting up a lot more content :)



  2. Priyank
    October 16, 2012 at 14:00 #

    believe me i am learning stimulation through these blogs. thanks..
    nw i need another help…
    i’m searching for basic concept behind sollidworks structural stimulation specially application of theories of failure in structural stimulation….
    any link or reference will work.

    • Chris
      November 12, 2012 at 12:58 #


      Glad to hear it, I will be doing more work on this now as things at work have eased off a bit.

      i may be able to provide some material, if you could be a bit more specific than I will try and suggest something suitable. When you say the concept do you mean, the software and mechanics behind it, or the concept of structural analysis.

      My apologies if this is too late, I have not had chance to look recently :(



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