SolidWorks advances concepts of manufacturing to greater extents that have greatly improved our designs with ease. The introduction of Tube routing allows for active placing of tube and pipe fittings in assemblies. These fittings are according to standard holes and measurements. Extra components are also available in the Design Library or you can create your own custom ones as well. A myriad of options and customizations can be done using tube and piping. We will be looking at a very simple example to start off. A simple tube routing installation in an assembly. First things first. We enable the add-in from Add-ins which is located in the top drop down menu in the Menu Bar of SolidWorks. Another pop up will show all the add ins with their respective category. We tick mark the routing one and click ok. It will open up as a separate tab in the CommandManager.
Images 1 & 2: SolidWorks Add In & Routing checkmark
There are two general ways of making tube connectors. One is a more flexible approach and the other is a rather rigid one. We will use the first one as flexible because it tends to be quite user friendly to use. We go to the Tubing tab, click on Start by drag and drop and the design library panel opens up with the preloaded fittings and connectors that we mentioned earlier. Now we go to Routing-Tubing-Tube fittings-Straight fittings. Drag and drop this fitting onto the hole on the left and another pop up shows. It has standard configurations for various hole sizes and connectors. We select the .25 brass fitting option since that is our desired hole connection. Once it has been dragged and dropped, it automatically arranges itself into the hole. And then click okay. Another window opens where we select the flexible routing option.
Image 3, 4 & 5: Design Library and Fitting parameters
In the next sequence we simply select the Use Flexible Hose option to make our tubing free form so that there are no sharp turns or corners. Now we apply another tube fitting on the other end of the second block. Now that we have applied the fittings, we proceed to the routing.
Click on the Auto Route option shown in the image. After that, select the points as shown and the route will configure the tubing itself in a flexible manner. Click the green check mark to proceed. There you go. The preview as shown will become a proper tubing after you check the green tick mark.
Image 6: Auto Route
Image 7: Points Selection
The final product will be shown at the end of the article. Whilst this is the more commonly used method of making tube connections, the alternative is also very efficient if you wish to control more of the tube dimensions. You do the same thing up till the 5th image. There you do NOT select the Flexible Hose option and place your fittings as intended. Once you click the auto route option, this time it will be different. Something like shown below. The reason for that is there are several points which you can manually adjust or give dimensions. This allows for a diverse routing system where you can even control how much space you wish to use for routing.
As you can see, the line is at angle and we can change the line by clicking Edit (Drag). Then we can re-route any point by clicking and dragging.
Image 8: Rigid Routing
Image 9: Re-routing dragging
Image 10: Tubing
As you can see, the connection has become a bit different from the main flexible one by messing around with the points that comprise the tube. This in my opinion is the better way to make all your connections when making science project models for plants and boilers. These settings come in handy there for making adjustments according to your requirements. Thank you for reading up till now. Keep going for more articles on this website.