algorithmic modeling for Rhino

Controlling SolidWorks with Grasshopper using Excellink and Excel Exporter

Made a discovery today that might interest a few others: you can use an old Excel spreadsheet from SolidWorks called "Excellink", and a VB Script component from LMNts called "Excel Exporter", to create a link between Grasshopper and SolidWorks. Changes to values in Grasshopper then update in *real time* in SolidWorks.

Excellink was written by Rick Chin in 1998, and (I think) pre-dates SolidWorks Design Tables. Online it's called the "Excel to SolidWorks Link Template". It's mentioned in a few old posts like here and here. You need to be a SolidWorks subscriber to download it. The "Grasshopper to Excel Exporter" from LMN Tech Studio can be downloaded from here.

I've tried using the LMNts script to control SolidWorks via Design Tables, but haven't been able to get the SolidWorks model to respond to changes in the table as Grasshopper updates it. By contrast, setting up an Excellink spreadsheet to drive dimensions in a SolidWorks model, then refreshing that spreadsheet with values from Grasshopper using "Excel Exporter", works like a charm!

Until somebody takes the time to write a Grasshopper plugin allowing us to directly control SolidWorks, this might fill the void.

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Actually, it looks like you can bypass Excel altogether by creating a VB DotNet Script component in Grasshopper that interacts directly with SolidWorks. I've attached a simple example that adjusts a user-nominated dimension in SolidWorks via a Grasshopper slider (screenshot below). 

Given that so many of the tools in SolidWorks are accessible via the SolidWorks API, it should be possible to do some quite remarkable things - especially if Galapagos is added to the mix...


I haven't seen this post before.
This is great dare2bdifferent !!
Thank you for sharing !

thanks for sharing....good tip and very helpful 

Looks like its been a while since anyone engaged this conversation, but this is something I'd be interested in looking a bit further into if anyone's willing. My current workflow generally begins in Solidworks, or is developed for MFG in SW. Because SW has no capability to "unfold" surfaces beyond single curvature. As such I transfer designs to Rhino for 2D pattern generation from sometime complex surfaces. There is a "lost in translation" thing that occurs during this process. As well, its not a very integrated method of working. I'd like to send data to GH in RH from SW to unfold surfaces during the design process. This would be most excellent. Anyone?






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