Five SOLIDWORKS Sketching Techniques Every User Should Know

Article by TriMech Solutions, LLC updated August 19, 2021


In this video tech tip we’ll cover five SOLIDWORKS sketching techniques that you can incorporate into your workflow so you can optimize your sketch creation process and significantly reduce time when working in SOLIDWORKS.

We’ll be taking a look at Quick Relations, Symmetry Relations, Virtual Sharps, Dimensioning to circles, arcs and diameters, and a new feature added in SOLIDWORKS 2020 called Silhouette Entities. Let’s take a look at these techniques in the video below:

SOLIDWORKS Quick Relations

Quick Relations allow you to select geometry on a sketch and quickly add relations on the fly. By selecting a common endpoint between two lines, you can easily add a relation to your sketch. The key takeaway is that you can quickly do this by clicking on the geometry to add relations.

SOLIDWORKS Quick Relations

SOLIDWORKS Quick Relations

Symmetry Relations

You can apply symmetry between two lines by adding a relation between those two lines and a construction line. To do that, Control-Select the two lines and also clicking on the construction line as part of your selection. Next, you can add a symmetric relation. This makes it easy to adjust your design by dragging the line back and forth and both lines stay symmetrical to the construction line.

SOLIDWORKS Symmetry Relations

SOLIDWORKS Symmetry Relations

Virtual Sharps

You can create virtual sharps of two sketch entities even when the actual intersection no longer exists. By selecting two lines where you want to apply a virtual sharp and activating the “point” command in the context toolbar, a virtual sharp is quickly added.

Virtual Sharp

Virtual Sharp

Dimension to Circles, Arcs and Diameters

You can add dimensions to circles, arcs and diameters by selecting a line and also selecting the centerline. By moving your cursor below the centerline, you’ll notice that it will display the diameter versus the radius. Once you enter the first one, you can quickly see how you can add dimensions with every new line that you select. When you add a dimension to your circles, by default it’s always going to measure the center of those arcs. But, if you’re trying to go from the tangency points, you can do that by holding the Shift key and clicking on the outer sides of the two circles. The Shift key allows for that quick option to dimension inside or outside of your arcs.

SOLIDWORKS Sketch Circle Dimensions

Dimensions on circles

Additionally, after manually adding a dimension to an arc and selecting the Leaders tab in the left panel, you have the option to adjust the Arc Condition and control where the dimension is on your sketch when you’re dimensioning to circles and arcs.

Silhouette Entities

This new feature introduced in 2020 allows you to project the silhouette, or outline, of a part in an assembly onto a parallel sketch plane. Found in the Tools menu under Sketching Tools. This feature works very similarly to Convert Entities and is easy to use. You can access this feature from the Tools > Sketch Tools > Silhouette Entities. Once the tool is active, there will be a selection box for bodies as well as an option for external silhouettes. It’s an extremely powerful addition to the SOLIDWORKS toolset which enables you to leverage your geometry in different ways that weren’t possible in the past.

SOLIDWORKS Silhouette Entities

Silhouette Entities

Learn more about Sketching

To learn more techniques for sketching take a SOLIDWORKS Advanced Part Modeling training course live online from Javelin.

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Certified SOLIDWORKS Services available from Javelin

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TriMech Solutions, LLC

TriMech provides thousands of engineering teams with 3D design and rapid prototyping solutions that work hand-in-hand, from sketch to manufacturing. Javelin became a subsidiary of TriMech Solutions LLC in 2021.