There are several different places to get hardware and fasteners for your SolidWorks projects. The simplest is SolidWorks Toolbox which comes with SolidWorks Professional or Premium. You can also use www.3dcontentcentral.com however it is painfully slow. I recently needed to be able to download bolts and nuts with the thread fully modelled as it had to be printed in 3d with rapid prototyping. After some searching and reading of the SolidWorks Forums, I came across McMaster-Carr http://www.mcmaster.com/
I was delighted to find that I could download the SolidWorks format of every fastener I required with the full history tree intact, and also with the full modelled thread. A big kudos to McMaster-Carr. See below a nice screenshot of a bolt, nut and a square flange mounted bearing with the full history tree.
Some Parts downloaded from McMaster-Carr with the complete History Tree and full modelled thread.
Misc., Note to Remember
One of my favourite additions to SolidWorks 2012 is the Ambient Occlusion option. It makes models appear really realistic. (wikipedia explanation) It does require a RealView graphics card or a “patch“.
How to turn on Ambient Occlusion in SolidWorks 2012
Even though it appears that if the RealView Graphics icon is not available, the Ambient Occlusion does appear, however both “RealView Graphics” and “Ambient Occlusion” need to be turned on.
Before and After Ambient Occlusion
SolidWorks 2012 with Ambient Occlusion (Note the extra shadows in the wheels and seat)
SolidWorks 2012 with RealView Graphics only (Note: no depth shadows visible)
You may find that as you rotate the model, the Ambient Occlusion shading disappears, and as soon as you stop rotating, the shading and shadows re-appear. There is a “Draft Quality Ambient Occlusion” option which can be turned on.
Tools -> Options -> System Options -> Display/Selection -> “Display draft quality ambient occlusion”.
When this is turned on, you can rotate in 3d and have the Ambient Occlusion shadows remain in real-time, however it is a more draft quality shading.
Either way, it makes models really stand out. It’s great for doing Animations without having to render in PhotoView360 which would take quite a long time.