Heads or Tails in Sketch Orientation

Article by Alin Vargatu, CSWE updated September 2, 2011


I love the SolidWorks Forum (http://forum.solidworks.com), not only for being a great learning tool, but also for the brainstorming sessions that take place in most of the threads. For me is also a great source of inspiration for new tech tips topics.

Just a few minutes ago, Philippe Carette raised an interesting issue – how do you control the orientation of a sketch? Let’s say you copy it on a different face or plane. Can you “flip” it afterwards?

We know that SolidWorks provides tools for moving, rotating and changing the “origin” of the sketch (fig. 1), but does not give us too much control over the direction for the normal of a plane. And this is Phillippe’s million dollar question: “2D sketch and one plane : How to win the jackpot with tail and head ?”

Fig. 1 - Align Sketch Tool

Since we cannot control the normal of a plane, let’s take advantage of planar faces on solids. They are simple to create (even as temporary references on the feature tree) and at least we know where their normal arrow points to. Take a look at this video and let me know if you can use this workflow. Obviously, any external sketch relations will have to be updated after pasting the sketch.

Do you have a better idea? Please let us know.

UPDATE: Just a few minutes after I posted this article, Wayne Matus posted a much more elegant solution for this problem.

CLICK HERE for Wayne’s solution.

I was wrong, Wayne is right – SolidWorks already took care of this problem.

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Alin Vargatu, CSWE

Alin is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and an avid contributor to the SOLIDWORKS Community. Alin has presented multiple times at SOLIDWORKS World, Technical Summits, and User Group Meetings, while being very active on the SOLIDWORKS Forum.