Now for SolidWorks and Autodesk® Inventor® 2013
Streamline CAD workflow and shorten time-to-innovation. Now you can dynamically modify SolidWorks or Autodesk Inventor 2013 part files from within the Zemax IE environment. It uses native part files to eliminate importing and exporting and file translation errors. Radiant Zemax is a SolidWorks Solution Partner and an Autodesk Developers Network Partner.
First, you need SolidWorks or Autodesk Inventor along with Zemax installed on the same machine. This is a live link between the two programs. Don't confuse it with the Imported object, which uses STEP, SAT or IGS files for the two programs to exchange data. With PartLink, the two programs are open at the same time, and both can have the same part open. Let's look at a part in SolidWorks first:
Here you can see a SolidWorks smart-dimensioned part. It is defined by this set of parameters
Note that the part does not need to be open in SolidWorks, but SolidWorks must be running. Now in Zemax IE, just create a PartLink for SolidWorks object:
It is positioned and managed in the NSCEditor like any other part:
But look at the new PartLink for SolidWorks tab on the object properties dialog:
This lists all the Smart Dimensions in the SolidWorks part, and lets you choose to expose them to the Zemax user interface or not. Let's say you want to use the D1@Sketch1 Smart Dimension in your optical design. You just select it, choose the 'expose' button and close the dialog.
Now look again at the NSCEditor!
The selected Smart Dimension now appears as a parameters in the editor, just as it this was a built-in Zemax object. You can make as many or as few Smart Dimensioned parameters visible within the Zemax user interface, and use them as parameters in your design. For example, we set this parameter value to 20:
When you have finished, you can save the .sldprt file, or give it a new name and save it, or leave the file itself unchanged and just save the required parameters in your Zemax file:
This lets you create new parts, or use a .sldprt file as a design template so that the same SolidWorks part can be used in multiple designs with different parameters.
This is a complete, round-trip, closed-loop usage of SolidWorks parts inside Zemax. The exact same method is used for Autodesk Inventor parts, the only difference is that we use the Inventor PartLink for Inventor objects and the Inventor PartLink tab. The part can be linked statically, so that Zemax cannot alter the part, or you can choose to alter any or all Smart Dimensioned parameters. PartLink is one of the new breakthrough features in Zemax IE.
Related Knowledge Base articles:
How to Use the SolidWorks PartLink Object