Written by: Michael Nolte, Application Engineer
Slot Length and Width Offsets is another great enhancement to Sheet Metal for SOLIDWORKS 2019. The Tab and Slot feature was first introduced in the 2018 version of SOLIDWORKS and they have found ways to improve the everyday usability of it for 2019. This new functionality goes hand–in–hand with the new Slot Corners functionality.
In the 2018 release of the Tab and Slot Feature, you only had an option do a clearance value for the slot, and this was for all sides. In 2019, we can now control the Length and Width of the offsets separately, therefore giving us more control over the size of the slot being made.
The more options the better, right? But where is the advantage of 2 values compared to 1?
For this I go back to my days when I worked at a steel fabrication shop. When I ordered steel plate material that we would later use on our laser cutting table, the tolerance of the material thickness would vary depending on where the material had been sourced. This made me adjust the width of the slot if the plate came in too thick. I would need to adjust the Width of the slot to account for the change in plate thickness. In the other direction, the Slot Length was something that I could control when I was cutting the tabs and slots, so this clearance could be a little smaller, making a tighter fit to remove some of the movement in the plates.
If Tab and Slot existed back then with the ability to control the Slot Length and Width separately, I would most likely make my Length a little closer tolerance and then leave the Width wider so that I wouldn’t need to adjust my cut file when we got more material in. You may have different uses for it but, again, I like the more options when it comes to new functionality like Tab and Slot.