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How to use SolidWorks Tolanalyst?

TolAnalyst is a Solidworks tolerance analysis tool that determines the impact of dimensions and tolerances on parts and assemblies. TolAnalyst can do maximum and lowest tolerance stack-up analysis on components and assemblies. Learning how to use Solidworks Tolanalyst is essential when you perform tolerance stack-up analysis. A Tolerance Stack-Up Analysis is performed by designers and engineers to examine whether or not a group of parts will fit together and work properly. The dimensioning scheme of the individual pieces and how they are combined are used in the analysis. Components comprise assemblies, and every part has dimensions that characterize it. Tolerances exist for all measurements. Because it is challenging to produce a piece to a specified size properly, designers offer forbearance or a range of acceptable errors for a specific feature in a piece. Engineers are concerned about what will happen to the fit and function of their assembly when all those pieces, with all those tolerances, are placed together. Can they be confident that their assembly will fit and perform properly? This problem is why a tolerance stack-up analysis is performed.

TolAnalyst allows you to build and conduct an assembly study to show the potential effects of manufacturing tolerances on a finished assembly. TolAnalyst assists you in optimizing production tolerances on your components to reduce manufacturing costs while maintaining the part’s form, fit, and functional requirements. TolAnalyst studies enable you to detect worst-case scenario tolerance stack-ups, identify tolerances that contribute to the stackup, and use the data to improve tolerances before sending components out for manufacture.

How to Use Solidworks Tolanalyst

TolAnalyst is an add-in utility that comes with the SolidWorks program. Understanding how to use Solidworks’ Tolanalyst tool allows you to assess the tolerances of pieces in an assembly. The more parts in an assembly, the more tolerances that can influence the design and construction of the assembly. The purpose is to ensure that the tolerances of various parts at their extremes do not fail to function or the ability to assemble the final product. Follow these steps on how to use Solidworks Tolanalyst.

You must first use DimXpert for parts to add tolerances and dimensions to parts of an assembly before you can create a TolAnalyst Study. To turn on the Tolanalyst add-in, click Tools and select Add-in from the dropdown menu. A pop-up window shows, and you choose the Tolanalyst.

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TolAnalyst executes a tolerance analysis known as a study, which you create in four steps:

Step 1: Measurement

The initial step in developing a TolAnalyst study is to specify the measurement as a linear dimension between two DimXpert features. You can define measurements between any of the DimXpert features. Select the faces of two features for Measure From and Measure To to establish a size. The choice of which character to Measure From versus Measure To can impact the results. In the graphics area, a linear dimension appears. Place the size by clicking. The measurement is defined when the message box changes from yellow to green. If needed, select the PropertyManager options. Click the next button.

Step 2: Assembly Sequence

The simplified assembly is the second phase in establishing a TolAnalyst study. A simple body contains only the elements required to build a tolerance chain between the two measurement characteristics. This stage also determines the sequence or order in which pieces are placed in the reduced assembly, which TolAnalyst replicates in worst-case computing situations. The order of assembly has an impact on the outcome. Select a base part and add parts to the sequence using either approach to define the assembly sequence. Choose parts from the graphics area; select pieces from the Neighbors list, and then click Add. The visual state of each part and the neighbor list refresh as you choose bodies. When the selections are adequate, the message box changes from yellow to green to construct a tolerance chain between the two measurement characteristics. When you’re finished, click the next button. 

To remove a part from the sequence, select it in the Parts and Sequence panel, press the Delete key, or right-click and choose Delete. This step will remove all subsequent parts from the sequence.

Step 3: Assembly Constraints. 

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The third step in establishing TolAnalyst research is to define how each party in the reduced assembly is limited. Mates are equivalent to assembly limitations. Mates are formed from relationships between geometric entities, whereas constraints are created from links between DimXpert characteristics. Furthermore, restrictions are applied sequentially, which might play a significant role and considerably impact the findings. Set constraints using the constraint callouts. The constraint callout displays the type of constraint, followed by the feature to constrain. There are only applicable constraint kinds are available. A coincident constraint applied to Plane1, for example, shows as Plane1. Click 1, 2, or 3 to apply restrictions sequentially on a primary (1), secondary (2), and tertiary (3) basis, similar to how datums are specified in a feature control frame. Among the constraint types are: Coincident,  Concentric,  distance, tangent, and pattern.

Step 4: Analysis Results

The final step in establishing a TolAnalyst study is setting and reviewing the outcomes. When the Results PropertyManager is enabled, the results are computed automatically using the default or saved parameters. Review the results under Analysis Summary to use the Analysis Results PropertyManager. If required, change the Analysis Parameter settings. Double-click the mentioned dimensions and tolerances under Min/Max Contributors to change their tolerance levels. To close the dialog box, click OK. To get new results, click “Recalculate.” Click Export Results if necessary to export the analysis results.

What are the benefits of using Solidworks Tolanalyst?

  1. Tolanalyst minimizes the amount of prototype and testing for assembly fit. You can identify tolerance issues that physical prototyping would not even find because TolAnalyst solves for max/min worst case, and physical prototyping may not represent worst-case.
  2. It reduces manufacturing costs by checking tolerance schemes, allowing for the use of looser tolerances where tight tolerances are not required. This feature will save money in manufacturing—for example, a square piece of plate steel that is flame cut rather than milled.
  3. The tolerance stack-up iterations in Solidworks Tolanalyst are rapid—the computations in TolAnalyst are pretty quick. Sometimes only a few seconds are required.
  4. It identifies significant contributors—TolAnalyst provides feedback on which tolerances impact the crucial dimension’s “worst-case” max/min. It is simple for the designer to determine what has to be changed. He can run the analysis immediately after adjusting the tolerance.
  5. Tolanalyst displays results graphically. The contributor chain is graphically shown to show which features have the most significant influence on the analysis. DimXpert for Parts eliminates error-prone hand calculations. TolAnalyst automatically uses GD&T information. There is no need to perform hand calculations or manually enter data into a computer or spreadsheet. Manual approaches are inefficient and prone to errors.


Understanding how to use Solidworks Tolanalyst will assist you in achieving your goal of ensuring that the tolerances of various parts at their extremes do not fail performance or the inability to assemble the final product.