Seriously Sketchy

Seriously Sketchy

in SolidWorks October 20, 2017

Creating new sketches can get quite tiresome and frustrating at times, especially when it’s a geometrically complex shape you are trying to achieve. So, here are a few tips and tricks that might help ease the pain along the way, along with a little-added extra at the end for a bit of fun.

Now, when you are creating a complex sketch it can be easy to not quite connect all the lines, resulting in an open sketch. While previously this could have been easily overlooked resulting in a great amount of frustration, there is now a simple and useful tool within SOLIDWORKS 2017 which can point this out from the get-go. This tool is simply a mouse click away, as it located in the sketch command tab, labelled “Shaded sketch contours”. As it suggests, this tool simply shades a sketch once it has been closed.

Once you finally manage to create the rough shape of the geometry you are aiming for, it then comes to the laborious chore of adding all the dimensions to define your sketch. Well, once again SOLIDWORKS has a useful tool that can take most of the weight off your shoulders for this task called “Fully define sketch”. This tool works basically as it is labelled on the tin by adding all the appropriate dimensions to fully define the sketch. The tool can be found from the drop down under display/delete relations. Then all you need to do is select the points from which you want the dimensions to be referenced from and then let SOLIDWORKS do the work for you. All that’s left to do is edit the dimension values to what is required.

Now imagine you have spent a great deal of time modelling a complex component and your manager comes to you and he now wants to change the model, he now wants a face to be curved instead of flat. You might start to think you have to go back and recreate the sketch all over again however, by using the replace entities tool it makes this a seemingly painless task, taking literally seconds to modify the already existing sketch. All you need to do is edit the existing sketch by adding in the new shape you are looking for, then when it comes to deleting the previous line used within the sketch a little confirmation window will appear, with the option to replace entity. From there it’s just a simple case of selecting which line is to be replaced by what. See the figure below for an example.

Moving on to something that could really grind your gears. One of the most complicated and time-consuming tasks to have is to create an offset sketch for that awkwardly shaped surface. Well, once again the 2017 release has just the tool for the job with the new addition of the offset from surface sketching tool. This works in the exact same way as the standard offset entity sketching tool but creates a 3D sketch instead, saving both time and pain.

For the final section of this blog, we have something a bit more on the fun side of things. Now I am sure you will all have heard of mirroring before, but how about dynamic mirroring? Why not see how the mirrored entities will look as you sketch them, and even better, why not see how your sketch would change as you drag entities around and it changes dynamically before your eyes.

While it might not be a day to day tool that you use within SOLIDWORKS it is certainly a fun one to have a play around with.

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