How to use SOLIDWORKS mirror tools

Article by TriMech Solutions, LLC updated September 30, 2022

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When a design is highly symmetrical, I encourage SOLIDWORKS users to work smarter rather than harder and take advantage of the mirror tools SOLIDWORKS provides. Not only does this speed up the original design process, but it also allows design changes to occur symmetrically thanks to the fully associative nature of the results. After all, a mirror is a type of pattern, it simply has one copy that generally looks back at the original item you copied.

Lets start at the very beginning, the sketch.

There are 2 mirror tools in sketching in part design, Mirror Entities and Dynamic Mirror.

Mirror Entities is the most used as it is easy to access on the command manager. You create the first sketch entities, and then start the tool. Simply selecting the sketch entities and the mirror tool – which can be a sketch line, part edge or plane and copy from one side to the other. This creates a symmetric relation between the original sketch points and the newly created entities.

Mirror entities

Mirror entities tool

Mirror entities tool

Dynamic Sketch is a tool less often used because it is not found on the command manager. You can customize your command manager to include it though, if you find it useful. Dynamic sketch mirror starts by creating a line and assigning it as a mirror tool ahead of time and then adding additional sketch entities. The line will be designated with a doubled hashed line, and this will dynamically copy and add symmetric entities to the other side of the line when you add new sketch material. Selecting the tool again will turn the dynamic mirror command off.

Dynamic mirror entities

I suggest adding your final relations and dimensions afterwards as you will be able to relate the 2 sets of sketch information to each other and dimensions will now be symmetric as well.

add final relations and dimensions

Add final relations and dimensions

Here is the result of our mirrored faucet handles after extrusion and with some added fillets.

mirrored faucet handles

Mirrored faucet handles

This method works well for symmetric sketches of complicated parts or additions as you can see like the one above where features are added in mirrored locations.

Another method for adding geometry changes in mirrored locations is to mirror a feature or body.

Lets add some holes to be able to mount this cabinet for our vanity.

adding holes to mount cabinet

Adding holes to mount the cabinet

By taking this last Cut-Extrude for the mounting hole, we can mirror this feature to opposite sides of the part over the appropriate reference planes.

In SOLIDWORKS 2022, we can even include a secondary reference plane so we can have 4 holes, without the need for a second mirror feature.

add secondary reference

Add secondary reference

For body mirrors, you can choose to merge the resulting bodies IF they touch or create separate bodies to continue with multibody modeling methods. Please note that bodies that do not touch will not be appropriate to have the “merge solids” option checked.

bodies to mirror

Bodies to mirror

Lastly, lets saw we are putting together an assembly with symmetrical parts. We can mirror components to make assembling the final design faster.

Mirroring components comes with a few more options. As you can see, I’ve gone with a slightly different handle design and want to mirror the component position.

On the next page you will see options for your mirror. The easiest choice for me is to add another instance of this handle is to uptick my BOM listing for this handle and orient the new instance over the Right plane.

orientation of mirror part

There are other options to choose from as well based on orientation:

Ultimately you can even create a new configuration or new file based on an opposite hand version of the part or parts you are mirroring.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact our team at TriMech for all your SOLIDWORKS needs.

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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.