Unfortunately, your question may not have a simple answer since its probably
varies from case to case. Nonetheless, I will offer my observations.
Generally, I prefer to not get too complex with each feature to make future
editing more manageable, particularly if someone else is editing my
projects. On the other hand, I do leverage some of the tools in SolidWorks
to speed up design. Talking about holes, I will sometimes create several
sets of holes in a single feature - particularly if they are somehow
related. I try to avoid creating so many holes in a single feature that the
sketch gets hard to understand. For example, I would hate to edit a single
sketch that defined the position of 100 holes with X-Y coordinates.
Having said that, I have seen indications that more complex features offer
improved performance. I should state that these observations were made in
SolidWorks 2004 and I haven't repeated the following tests in 2005. Our
local users group had one evening in which everyone was invited to model the
same part using their preferred method. During the meeting, we reviewed
each model looking at construction techniques, degree of complexity, and
rebuild time. The fastest rebuild times were associated with the parts
built using the most complex sketches and features. For example, the
inclusion of sketch fillets was better than adding fillets as separate
features. This result came as a surprise to many of us in attendance. It
would be very interesting to repeat this experiment using 2005.
Is anyone interested in participating in such an experiment? This could be
done in an online version to look at performance issues and the submitted
models could be posted on a web site for download and review.
John Eric Voltin