The Sketching Dozen

Article by Joe Medeiros, CSWE updated September 8, 2010


1.     KISS- Keep It Simple. Simple sketches

  • are easier to edit
  • less likely to develop rebuild errors
  • help downstream features such a configurations

2.     Center the first sketch of a part on the origin.

  • simplifies downstream operations such as Mirroring
  • promotes the use of symmetry for subsequent sketches & features

3.     The first sketch of a new part should represent general or main profile of the part.

4.     Use geometric relations wherever possible to maintain design intent.

5.     Draw the sketch to approximately the right scale to prevent errors or geometry overlap when you start adding dimensions

6.     By the use of geometric relations, linked values and equations reduce the number of places where dimensional changes are required . Ideally the number of places where dimensional changes are required for related geometry should be one.

7.     Take advantage of Symmetry. Use the Mirror and Dynamic Mirror sketch tool to mirror sketch elements and add symmetrical relations. The Dynamic Mirror sketch tool will automatically create the symmetrical element as you create your sketches.

8.     The “S” keyboard shortcut key will bring up a dialogue box of sketch commands right. This dialogue box can customized to include the sketch tools you use most frequently. The “S” keyboard shortcut is also available for Features, Assemblies and Drawings.

9.     As a general order of operations, Create sketch geometry first, add geometric relationships second and then add your dimensions last. Dimensions can sometimes prevent the addition of required relations.

10.  Be flexible, if one approach fails try changing the order in which you’re adding dimensions or relations. Try dragging the sketch geometry closer to the required location before adding dimensions.

11.  Add dimensions to the closets geometry first and then work your to the outer geometry to prevent geometry overlap

12.  Fix rebuild errors as they occur. There are great tools such as the SketchXpert ™ and Check Sketch for Feature… which can quickly help you identify problems and correct them.

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Joe Medeiros, CSWE

Joe Medeiros is a SOLIDWORKS and PDM Certified Expert. He has been helping SOLIDWORKS users with training, mentoring and implementations since 1998. He combines industry experience with a thorough understanding of SOLIDWORKS products to assist customers in being successful. He shares his experience and expertise through blogs; one of which has been incorporated into the SOLIDWORKS Essentials training manual.