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Custom materials in SolidWorks are useful for replicating specific materials that aren’t already available in the material library provided by SolidWorks. This quick tip looks at how a set group of custom materials can be shared across a company so everyone is working to the same parameters. Reducing errors, ECOs (Engineering Change Orders) and ultimately saving time and money.

Exporting Custom Materials

Go to your file directory, and locate ProgramData on your local drive. From here select, SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS 2017 and then Custom Materials. The file found in this folder should be called something like “Custom Materials.sldmat”.

custom material in solidworks - export
custom material in solidworks - export

This file needs to be copied to share any created custom materials. The file then must be sent or shared with anyone seeking to use them. If ProgramData files aren’t displayed on your local drive, go to the View tab and check Hidden Items. This should reveal the folder.

Importing Custom Materials

The “Custom Materials.sldmat” file needs to be accessed by the other users wanting to use the custom materials. This is done through SolidWorks itself. Go to the dropdown menu Tools on the toolbar and select Options.
From here, under System Options select File Locations.

custom material in SolidWorks - Import

Select Material Databases on the drop-down menu under ‘Show folders for’. Here, select Add before browsing and clicking Select Folder in the folder where the .sldmat file you shared is now located. Once this has been added, exit the dialog box by selecting OK.

Your shared custom materials should now be accessible. In this example here the .sldmat file is simply shared using a network drive so it is then easy for anyone on the network to add to their material database.

Hint: Make sure to locate the imported custom materials outside of the SolidWorks Program Files directories, as these can often be wiped and re-imported during updates and clean installs.

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