Bring simplicity to your SOLIDWORKS Sketch through advanced use of basic features

Article by Chris Briand, CSWE created/updated April 13, 2017

When we start out with a model we usually have every intention of keeping the SOLIDWORKS Sketch clean, simple and easily understood. With continually compressed timelines, even the most basic sketches can turn into a mess…very, very quickly.

Consider the case of a simple sketch involving a rectangular profile used to cut a groove into a shaft, as shown in the figure below.

SOLIDWORKS Sketch for a Groove Cut

Groove Cut

Reduce SOLIDWORKS Sketch Entities

One method that can assist us in steering clear of messy sketches, is to keep the number of sketch entities as small as possible — by using advanced functionality within our most basic features. While advanced methods can not address a lack of time in the day,  it may at the very least shorten diagnosis if you run into any issues involving the sketched feature and bring some elegance to your feature tree.

Typically, the need for this type of shape can lead one to think about a revolved-cut feature, and indeed that would be one method to go about creating the cut.

Alternative Sketch

Alternative Sketch

If it aligns with our design intent, we can simplify the number of sketch entities required by choosing another feature entirely; a cut extrude feature with a very simple sketch.

Offset Cut

Offset Cut

Using advanced feature options

Through the use of the “From option” set to “Offset” along with the “Flip side to cut option” within the cut-extrude feature, we can accomplish all that is required to define an identical shape to the original groove using the simplified sketch geometry.

Slot created

Slot created

Building upon this very basic technique within one feature, take a look at how much of the advanced functionality you employing when generating your own components and designs. We are confident that you can find some sketch related efficiency in some of your most basic features.

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Chris Briand, CSWE

Chris has been educating and supporting Engineers, Designers and IT Personnel within the 3D CAD industry since 2002, and was adopted into the fantastic team of applications experts here at Javelin Technologies in early 2006.  Chris enjoys the continuous learning driven by the ingenuity and challenges Designers bring forward. Innovation using 3D Printing, 3D CAD and other technologies, combined with a diverse background as a technologist, allows Chris to find solutions that accelerate Designers, and take Design Teams to new heights. Chris is currently being held at an undisclosed location, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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