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How to do Design Studies in SolidWorks?

The SolidWorks Design Study is a tool to evaluate and optimize your parts and assemblies.

The industry frequently employs the 3D CAD program Solidworks. The Design Study module is a powerful feature that is not used all that much. This module allows the user to quickly change a solid model’s parameters over a grid of predetermined values and measure one or more critical outputs. Advanced users can iterate geometry quickly, perform FEA, and optimize for mass or thermal properties.

You can conduct a design study to optimize or assess particular design scenarios. Learning how to do design studies in SolidWorks can be done in two main ways: evaluation and optimization. The Optimization and Evaluation Studies can follow a consistent workflow provided by the Design Study. You are in the evaluation mode when using sensors as constraints and specifying discrete values for each design variable. Different deal combinations are used to run the study, and the software reports the results for each combination. In the optimization mode, you can specify a discrete value or a range of values for each design variable. Sensors are used as constraints and goals. The software runs the values through iterations and reports the best possible combination of values to achieve the specified purpose.

By choosing their columns on the Results View tab, you can plot the updated bodies and the calculated outcomes for various iterations or scenarios. Continue reading to learn how to do design studies in SolidWorks.  

A design study can be used to solve a variety of CAD problems. You may resolve the following when you know how to do design studies in SolidWorks.

  • You can define multiple variables using any simulation parameter or driving global variable.
  • Use sensors to define a variety of constraints.
  • Create several objectives using sensors.
  • Analyze models without taking into account the outcomes of simulations. For instance, using the variables density and model dimensions along with the constraint volume, you can minimize the mass of an assembly.
  • You can assess design decisions by defining a parameter that instructs bodies to use a variable that specifies different materials.

This section explains the fundamentals of setting up and running a design study. The workflow chart explains the process of a design study.

The symbol * in the flowchart only applies to the optimization design study.

1. Defining Initial Simulation Studies 

You must produce at least one preliminary study when utilizing simulation data sensors in a design study. The initial studies provide the foundation for the process of optimization or evaluation, and the program runs these studies with different variables during each iteration.

2. Evaluating the Results of the Initial Studies
If you are using simulation studies in your Design Study, evaluating the results of the preliminary studies will assist you in defining the Design Study problem. Examining the particular quantities, you intend to use as constraints is helpful.

3. Setting the Properties of a Design Study 

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Click Design Study Options on the Design Study tab. Select the quality of the study in the PropertyManager under Design Study Quality. Select a folder for the default location in the Results folder. Type any remarks under “Remark” and, if necessary, select “Include in report.” To proceed, click the green checkmark.

4. Defining Variables

To carry out optimization, define continuous variables. Continuous variables are inapplicable for an evaluation design study. Between the minimum and maximum values, a constant variable can have any value (whole, rational, or irrational). For instance, the value 2.131567 falls within the acceptable range of 2 to 5.

5. Defining Constraints
Create constraints to outline the requirements that your design must meet. Global variables or sensors may control mass characteristics, dimensions, and simulation data.

6. Defining Goals
You can define goals for the Optimization Design study to specify your objective functions. SolidWorks Standard and SolidWorks Professional do not offer the option to study Optimization Design.

7. Viewing the Results of the Design Study
To view the findings of the study you conducted, click the Results View tab. When you click, a scenario’s variables are added to the model in the graphics window. The meaning of the colors used in the designs is explained in the following table.

8. Design Study Outcomes
The Evaluation Design Study should not use continuous variables because a range of variable values cannot define discrete scenarios.

Creating a Design Study

Evaluation and optimization studies are created using a similar workflow. You must consider the following prerequisites if you want to learn how to do design studies in SolidWorks. 

  • Before creating the design study, you must conduct at least one preliminary simulation study to use simulation data sensors. (Not offered by SolidWorks Standard and Professional.)
  • You can choose to define variables to use as parameters. Select Design Study by clicking Insert. Go to the Parameters page—using sensors as limitations and objectives. You can add a sensor when you right-click the Sensors folder in the FeatureManager design tree.
  • The Design Study tab also allows you to define parameters and sensors during the study.

To create a design study, you can follow these steps:

  1. Choosing one of the following: Click Design Study to continue (Tools toolbar). Another option is to select Design Study from the insert menu and click Add New Design Study. Choose to Create New Design Study from the context menu when right-clicking an existing Design Study tab.
  2. A Design Study tab is visible in the graphics area’s bottom-left corner.
  3. You can configure settings like study quality and results folder by clicking Design Study Options.
  4. Put parameters to use to define variables.
  5. Utilize sensors to define constraints.
  6. Use sensors to limit goals for optimization studies.
  7. Choose from the following: Select Optimization for Evaluation studies. Choose optimization for your optimization studies.
  8. Click “Run.” The study’s findings can be found on the Results View tab. The Results View tab allows you to choose a scenario or iteration. The model updates the graphics area with the values for that iteration or plan.
  9. Right-clicking Results and Graphs can select one.
  • Purge Results: This choice keeps the study’s definition but deletes the results.
  • Define Design History:  If you only defined discrete variables, plot a 2D graph concerning the scenario number for each design variable, objective (goal), or constraint.
  • Define Local Trend Graph: This option plots a 2D diagram of an ideal (goal) or a constraint about a design variable. The plot is not available if you only define discrete variables and select the High-Quality option for study quality. 


I hope this post helped get you started with a design study. Learning how to do design studies in SolidWorks is an excellent way to evaluate and optimize your designs to find the most optimal or best strategies for whatever objectives you set out to achieve in your designs.