When designing sheet metal parts within SOLIDWORKS you may want to add in etch marks to be etched later by the laser or HD plasma machines. Adding etch marks helps communication for later options. My example here is a part that’s going to be laser cut and I want to notify the machinist what size I want these holes to be and the center point for locations.
Create Configurations for laser cutting
I start off with my finished parts with all the profiles and holes in. I would then create configurations called Laser and Machined. While on the Machined configuration I have a of couple options: I can either suppress the Hole Wizard features or create another feature to cover/fill the holes. We do this because most laser machines cannot tap holes or create nice counter-bores. It also depends on the tolerances you may want, as you may want the slots or straight thru holes to be machined.
Fill existing holes
I’m going to create another feature to fill the Hole Wizard holes. I find the easiest way to do this is to start a sketch on the face, selecting the Convert Entities, for the selection select the face and right below the selection field click on Select All Inner Loops box. What this will do is select all internal loops. This prevents a bunch of single clicks to grab the internal geometry.
I would then apply an up to surface Boss Extrude. This will completely fill the holes, but leaves us with an important sketch. I then expand the extrude and show the sketch. This shows the geometry we just used to fill the holes.
Changing Sketch Colour
If you don’t use the function called Line Format, now’s a good time to use it. What it can do is change the colour of a Sketch.
NOTE: Some of the nesting programs work with SOLIDWORKS etch marks using colour. Changing sketch geometry to be a specific colour will instruct the nesting program which geometry is to be etched and not cut.
Pre-selecting the sketch will activate more option for the Line Format tool.
Selecting the paint brush from the Line Format toolbar will bring up a dialog box for colours.
Select the colour that will activate the etch layer in the nesting program. I tend to use a pink or magenta.
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