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SOLIDWORKS Defeature Tool

Tuesday November 24, 2015 at 10:00am

Defeature tool is a technique that can be used to simplify assembly components, as it enables you to remove details from a part of an assembly. You can save the less-detailed model to a separate file and maintain references to the original part or assembly. Defeature helps reduce file size to improve performance with large models. The new file has the same mass and centre of gravity as assigned mass properties. This tool is often used to remove proprietary information you would not like others to see and share files without revealing all the design details of the model. This in turn will also speed up your open/rebuild times.  

Defeature functionality includes the ability to: 

  • Remove internal detail in a design
  • Remove small features below a user-defined value
  • Preserve necessary functional holes and features
  • Maintain relative motion between parts without the internal details
  • Save your assembly as a single part  

 The image below is a Stirling engine assembly that contains a subassembly where the Defeature tool can be used.

SOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog

 Open the subassembly and you can see that the motor sub assembly consists of 4 parts that are mated in place.

SOLIDWORKS Defeature BlogSOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog

The defeature tool is under Tool > Defeature

SOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog

The image below shows the first screen of the Defeature tool and the selection for this assembly.

SOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog

1.      Internal Components: This selection allows Defeature to remove any internal component that is inside your assembly.  

2.      Small Components: This selection will allow you to specify a percentage and any component that is smaller than that percentage will be removed.  

3.      Display: This option will allow you to see all the components, which components are being removed, or which components are left behind.

4.      Exceptions: Components selected in this box will not be removed.  

5.      Section View:  This option enables you to temporally section the assembly to help see the inside of our assembly and select certain components.  

6.  Next:  Moves to the next screen of the Defeature tool.





SOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog

The second screen of the Defeature tool enable you to create a group of componments that have no movement between them and it enables you to list out any mates that Defeature assumes you will want to maintain between your groups.

Motion is not required for this subassembly. Click Next

The image below shows the the third screen of the Defeaure tool which enables you to keep any specific features in the model. For this model I have select the the two holes highlighted to keep as the are used in the main stirling engine assemble to mate the motor in place.

SOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog


1. Features to Keep: This box will allow you to keep features that are important to your model. (In this example, the selected holes)

2.      Select All Holes:  All the holes in the assembly/part will be selected to be removed.

3.      Select holes between: You can determine a size range to determine which holes are removed.



The next screen will bring up a will show you the final comparison between the original model and the Defeature version. Notice the Defeature model many features have been removed and the simplified version is now a part file.    

SOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog

Select the  ‘save the file as a separate file’ and when you hit the tick, it will open  the window shown below and ask you to save the simplified model.

SOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog

We can now use the ‘Defeature’ part to replace the motor assembly, so right click on the assembly and you can select ‘replace components’

SOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog

Select the Defeature part and select the appropriate mates. The holes that were excluded in the Defeature tool are now used  to mate the part to the assembly.

SOLIDWORKS Defeature BlogSOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog

The image below shows the motor subassembly has been replaced with the Defeature part.

SOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog

Using the AssemblyXpert, you can see the effect this has had on the rebuild time of the Stirling engine assembly. There is a decrease in the rebuild/ loading time.

SOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog   SOLIDWORKS Defeature Blog

Before After


Bismaya Sabu

Applications Engineer


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