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How to add custom material in SolidWorks?

SolidWorks materials library holds quite enough choices for most of our basic projects. However, have you ever wondered what to do if you can’t find the right material for your project?. Well, you could simply create it and add it to the library. Creating a material in SolidWorks is quite an easy task and we are going to show you how to do it.

The first step is to open SolidWorks and select “create a new part”. Inside the “new part” interface, locate the Feature manager at your left and then right-click the “Material” tab. A drop down menu should appear. Select the Edit Material Option. A new window pops up.

Creating a new Material Library

Inside this window you’ll notice the libraries SolidWorks has to offer plus some predetermined “Custom Materials” libraries shown in blue. Right-click below the standard libraries and some options will show up. Select the “New Library” option. A managing files window will show up.

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In this new window you’ll be prompted to insert a new name for the library. For the sake of this example the name will be “ExampleLibrary”. Right below the name of the library you will notice that the predetermined file-type is “Material Database” which uses the “.sldmat” extension.

Click save to create the new library. As you can see, the new library appears as a blue folder without drop-down items. Libraries are made up categories and inside the latter is where the custom material will be created.

Adding a new Material

Before creating a new material you’ll need to add a category, used as classes to sort different types of materials.

Right-click the library where you want to create the material and select the “New Category” option. Then type the name “ExampleCategory” and you’ll create the first drop-down for your library. Next step is to right-click the new category and select the “New Material” option.

As you will see, the apply/edit area appears. In this window you will add the properties for the new material. Starting with the material model. Followed by the unit system and properties.

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Be careful when you select the unit system. The wrong unit system will mean that the values you enter for the properties will generate wrong results for your analysis.

Managing Tables & Curves

While inside the “Edit Material” window you can also access the Tables & Curves tab. Here you’ll be able to specify how the properties change while increasing or decreasing the material’s temperature.

First start by selecting your curve type. Then you can either decide to plot the curve by inputting values, or simply load a known curve as a “.dat” file. Inside the tables and curves tab you can also have a small preview of how the plotted curve looks and even add the curve’s source.

Since adding a material from scratch means you’ll have to input all the curves, it is recommended to copy a library material first and then simply edit the properties. This can be done because similar alloy material have the same property vs temperature curves.

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Creating a new material appearance

When creating a new material in SolidWorks, you can also set its default appearance. To do this, you’ll need to access the Appearance tab inside the “Edit material” window.

Adding a default appearance is a simple task. First off, you could choose a default appearance from the library located at your left. Here you’ll find a variety of materials and finishes. Just select the material that fits your needs and apply the proper surface finish for your project. However, if you simply want to differentiate your material inside the graphics area, you could add a color from the right-side palette. The latter approach fits the need of fast-recognition of a material in your project.