Holes are an extremely common feature in engineering and product design. From simple circular openings for cables or ports, to complex threaded types for screws and fasteners, holes are an almost unavoidable feature of many parts. Thankfully Solidworks has a great feature – the Hole Wizard – that makes adding and modifying the holes simple.
Why use the Hole Wizard?
The Hole Wizard provides a number of benefits over using simple extruded cuts or other methods. The tool itself allows for easy placement of multiple holes. It also makes it easy to adjust holes if changes are needed. However, the Hole Wizard really comes into its own with the huge range of standardised holes that it allows you to quickly add.
These range from different threading standards and tapped holes, to countersunk and counterbore holes, even to drill sizes and screw clearances. Hundreds of different hole types can be added with just a few clicks, saving you a huge amount of time compared to manually looking up sizes and making Extruded Cuts.
How to use the Hole Wizard
The Hole Wizard can be accessed via the Features tab on the Command Manager and contains two tabs – Type and Position. Firstly, choose the overall Hole Type, such as a Counterbore, Countersink or Straight Tap.
Next the desired Standard can be selected. The two most widely used are ANSI Metric and ANSI Inch but over ten other standards can also be used.
The user can then select the specific sub Type of hole. This will vary depending on the overall Hole Type and examples include Dowel Holes and Screw Clearances when working with simple holes, or Hex Bolts and Pan-Head Screws when working with counterbore holes.
Next the user sets the size needed; hundreds of combinations exist, depending on the parent settings.
The End Condition of the hole is specified next, and most of the standard Solidworks options, such as Through All and Up to Surface, can be used.
Finally each hole type has a number of options such as thread details or near and far side countersinks, as well as tolerance details.
Once the user has specified the Hole Type the positions tab is then used to choose a selected face or plane for the holes. The Point Tool can then we used to add as many holes as are required and these can be fixed in place using Relations and Dimensions.
Understanding and Editing Hole Wizard features
One of the most useful aspects of the Hole Wizard is that it allows you to easily modify the entire set of holes. If you suddenly discover that your chosen size of screw is out of stock with your supplier then simply edit the Hole Wizard feature (by clicking on it in the Feature Tree and selecting Edit Feature) then simply change the size. This change will be pulled through to all of the holes in that feature in just a few clicks.
As well as editing the Hole Wizard feature directly it is also possible to directly edit the underlying sketches that make the feature up. Expand the Hole Wizard feature in the Feature Tree and two sketches will be visible; one of these drives the positions of the holes is will contain one or more points. Each of these points corresponds to a hole position so these can then be adjusted in position or quantity.
The second sketch contains the revolved sketch of the hole profile. This can also be adjusted to change the diameter of the hole, or even to create custom hole profiles with steps, counterbores or other similar features.
The Advanced Hole tool
If the Hole Wizard doesn’t quite cover your requirements then check out the Advanced Hole tool. This can be found on the dropdown menu underneath the Hole Wizard and allows for easy creation of more complex holes. Users can stack up various hole elements via an intuitive graphical menu, giving the ability to create stepped holes and add extra features such as shoulders and custom countersinks and bores.
Hole Wizard Top Tips
- The Hole Wizard allows you easily add a huge range of standard holes
- These can easily be later modified by editing the Hole Wizard feature
- The Hole Wizard sketches can also be edited directly for greater control
- For even more complex holes, try using the Advanced Hole tool
Happy modelling and rendering!
About the Author: This is a guest post by Johno Ellison, a design engineer with over fifteen years or experience, who specializes in SolidWorks 3D CAD modeling. Johno is the author of the following online SolidWorks courses:
Master Solidworks 2019 – 3D CAD using real-world examples
Master Solidworks 2018 – 3D CAD using real-world examples
Master Solidworks 2015 – 3D CAD using real-world examples