Defeature Tool: Keeping the Mass of the Original Part/Assembly

   By Neil Brayman on October 17, 2022

The Defeature tool in SOLIDWORKS is a great tool used to remove details from assemblies, multibody parts, and single-body parts. This tool can be a great solution for simplifying large assemblies with many components, such as bolts with threads, to help with performance issues or for simplifying geometry so you can share your designs outside of your organization without having the fear of someone stealing your ideas.

To learn more about the defeature tool watch the following on-demand webinar that will take you into a deeper dive of the capabilities of the tool.

For this blog, we will be focusing on the mass properties of the defeatured part. When you are defeaturing a part or an assembly, you are not creating a new design, you are simply just creating a simplified version of the design. That being said, you may want the mass properties of the original assembly to be the same as the defeatured assembly for consistency reasons.

Currently, in SOLIDWORKS, if you save the defeatured assembly as a new part, it will have different mass properties as the original assembly as shown below:

However, if you perform a Silhouette Defeature and you choose to use the option “save as a new configuration”, as shown in the image below, then the mass properties will be the same between the original assembly and the configuration of the defeatured assembly.

Create a new configuration

If you are looking to create a separate file for the defeatured assembly with the same mass properties as the original file, then there are a few extra steps you will need to take in order to achieve this.

The first step is to open the mass properties of the original assembly file. Once the mass properties window appears, make note of the mass by either writing it down or copying it, as well as any other property you wish to transfer over.

mass properties window

Next, go into the defeatured assembly file and open its mass properties. Once the mass properties are opened, select the button “Override Mass Properties”.

override mass properties

Once selected, a new window will appear as seen below. Here you will select the check box, “Override mass:” and then paste in the mass and any other values that you got from the mass properties in the original assembly. Once entered, click OK to save the results.

As you can see below, the mass of the defeatured assembly has now been overridden with the mass of the original assembly. This is denoted with the text seen next to Mass, “(user-overridden)”.

Defeature tool: override mass amount

Now when you are viewing, or you are showing your design to someone outside of the company, it will have the same mass as your expected design rather than a mass that is insignificant. Note that if changes are made to the original assembly, the mass properties will not be updated in the defeatured assembly file. You will once again have to repeat this process and input the new mass inside the defeatured assembly’s mass properties.

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Neil Brayman

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