How to project a SOLIDWORKS Sketch onto a Curved Surface using Split Line

Article by Brandee Videcak updated March 13, 2024


There are times when creating different models and parts that surfaces and solids are not always squared away, but have a round curve or surface. Have you tried to apply an extrude boss or cut onto a curved surface, but not have been successful?

Fear not, as there is a way to get a sketch projected onto the curved surface, to allow the manipulations you are looking to achieve. This uses the Split Line command to create the projection and uses the new sketch for any new feature needed.

For this example, we will be using a sphere as our base object.

Create a Sketch

Once you have your base object, you will then create any sketch you would like on a plane. We used the Top Plane as the sketch plane here.

Sketch using the Top Plane of the model

Sketch using the Top Plane of the model

Project onto a curved surface with the Split Line Feature

Once you have your sketch as desired, you will then activate the Split Line command. This can be found under Insert > Curves > Split Line or under the Features Tab > Curves > Split Line.

After the Split Line Property Manager has appeared, you will see a few different options for the type of split; silhouette, projection, and intersection. The projection option will be what we select for this example.

From here, there are a few different options that become available. The first is ‘Sketch to Project’, which will allow you to select the desired sketch or sketches you wish to project.

The next option is ‘Faces to Split’, which will be the desired surface, and in this case, be the sphere.

Split Line property manager showing a projection type split

Split Line property manager showing a projection type split

The two additional options; single direction and reverse direction, allow a bit more control over where the projection will be placed. In this example, single direction is selected so the split line is only on one side of the sphere, rather than both. Reverse direction would change which side the split line is placed on, and this will be deselected for this example.

Once the green check arrow is selected, then the split line is created, and you can now see your sketch following the curved area of the sphere.

The Split Line shown on the curved surface

The Split Line shown on the curved surface

And it is that easy! This can be done with any sketch, and you can make modifications such as extrudes or cuts based on these split line faces.

Learn more about advanced part modeling

Attend a SOLIDWORKS Advanced Part Modeling training course live online to learn more techniques

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Brandee Videcak

Brandee Videcak is a Client Success Analyst with Javelin/TriMech