How Do You Set Tolerance in SolidWorks?

Setting tolerance in SolidWorks is an essential step in ensuring the accuracy and precision of your designs. Tolerance refers to the allowable variation or deviation from a specified dimension, which helps define the acceptable limits of manufacturing and assembly.

Why is Tolerance Important?
Tolerance plays a crucial role in design and manufacturing as it enables engineers to create functional parts that fit together properly. Without proper tolerancing, parts may not fit correctly, resulting in issues during assembly or even product failure.

How to Set Tolerance in SolidWorks?

SolidWorks provides several options for setting tolerances, allowing users to define the acceptable variation for dimensions. Here are the steps to set tolerance in SolidWorks:

Step 1: Open the Dimension PropertyManager

To set tolerance for a dimension, double-click on the dimension you want to modify. This action opens the Dimension PropertyManager dialog box.

Step 2: Access the Tolerances Tab

In the Dimension PropertyManager dialog box, click on the “Tolerances” tab. This tab provides options for defining both plus and minus tolerances.

Step 3: Define Plus and Minus Tolerances

On the “Tolerances” tab, you will find options such as “Plus Tol” and “Minus Tol.” These fields allow you to specify the allowable positive and negative deviations from the dimension’s nominal value.

  • Note:
  • You can enter values directly into these fields.
  • You can also use mathematical expressions like “+0.005” or “-0.010”.
  • SolidWorks also allows you to use other units like percentage (%) or ratios (1:10).

Step 4: Set Tolerance Type

SolidWorks provides different tolerance types, including “Symmetric,” “Deviation,” and “Limits.” Select the appropriate tolerance type based on your design requirements.

  • Symmetric:
  • This option sets equal tolerances in both the positive and negative directions.
  • For example, if you set a symmetric tolerance of ±0.01″, it allows a maximum deviation of 0.01″ in either direction from the nominal dimension.
  • Deviation:
  • This option allows you to specify different tolerances for the positive and negative deviations.
  • For example, if you set a deviation tolerance of +0.01″/-0.005″, it allows a maximum deviation of 0.01″ in the positive direction and 0.005″ in the negative direction from the nominal dimension.
  • Limits:
  • This option sets absolute limits for the dimension.
  • For example, if you set limits of 0.5″/1.5″, it means that the dimension must be between 0.5″ and 1.5″.

Step 5: Apply Tolerance to Other Dimensions (Optional)

If you want to apply the same tolerance to other dimensions, you can use the “Apply To” options provided in the Dimension PropertyManager dialog box.

  • Select “All Dimensions” to apply the same tolerance to all dimensions in the drawing.
  • Select “Selected Dimensions” to choose specific dimensions to apply the tolerance.

Tips for Setting Tolerance in SolidWorks

  • Consider Design Intent:
  • Before setting tolerances, consider the design intent and functional requirements of your part or assembly.
  • Understanding how the dimensions will affect the overall performance of the design will help you determine appropriate tolerance values.
  • Consult Manufacturing Guidelines:
  • Talk to your manufacturing team or refer to manufacturing guidelines to understand the capabilities and limitations of your production processes.
  • Manufacturing processes like machining, casting, or 3D printing have different tolerancing requirements.
  • Use GD&T Symbols:
  • If your design requires more complex tolerancing, consider using Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) symbols.
  • GD&T symbols provide a standardized way of specifying tolerances for complex geometries and functional requirements.
  • Validate Tolerance:
  • After setting tolerances, it is essential to validate them through prototyping or simulations.
  • This step helps ensure that your designs can be manufactured within the specified tolerances and meet the desired functionality.

In conclusion, setting tolerance in SolidWorks is a crucial step in ensuring accurate and precise designs. By following the steps mentioned above and considering design intent and manufacturing guidelines, you can define tolerances that meet both functional requirements and manufacturing capabilities. Remember to validate your tolerance choices through prototyping or simulations for optimal results.