How the SOLIDWORKS Delete Face Feature Simplifies Your Workflow

Article by David Arthur, CSWE-S updated June 7, 2024


The SOLIDWORKS Delete Face feature is a surprisingly powerful and robust SOLIDWORKS feature that can cleanly remove many types of unwanted geometry like leftover modeling artifacts, bosses, ribs, fillets, and thru holes. Not only can it remove the geometry, it can also patch and trim the remaining faces up as if the unwanted geometry never existed.

The Delete Face Feature works on native SOLIDWORKS files but where it really shines is with imported geometry. Imported geometry doesn’t have a feature history of a native file so modifying or deleting the features that created the geometry isn’t an option. The Delete Face feature makes it easy to directly edit an imported file as if it were a file built in SOLIDWORKS.

Where is the SOLIDWORKS Delete Face feature located?

The Delete Face feature is a Direct Editing tool and as such can be found on the Direct Editing tab of the Command Manager. It can also be found on the Surfacing toolbar or under Insert >Face > Delete

How does Delete Face work?

The Delete Face command is easy to use. Simply start the feature, select one of the options below, select the faces to be removed and click Ok. SOLIDWORKS will do the rest. There are three options for how it behaves.

  • Delete – This option will simply delete the face(s) and leave an open hole in the model. This will turn a solid body into an open surface body. The edges of the hole will be in blue indicating they are open edges of a surface body. More work will be required to manually patch the hole(s) left by the missing geometry in order to close the surface body up and turn it back into a solid. This is not the easiest option, but it is a useful option in some cases where the geometry is too complex for SOLIDWORKS to patch up automatically.
  • Delete and Patch – This is the preferred option. This option attempts to remove all the selected faces and automatically patch up and trim the remaining faces as if the geometry never existed. This option can be used to cleanly remove many different types of unwanted geometry like bosses, holes, fillets or just about any other geometry you can think of. There are, of course, cases where this option will not succeed. If the geometry is too complex, multiple fillets overlapping for instance, this option may fail. In cases like that, the Delete option above can be used along with additional features to turn the model back into a solid.
  • Delete and Fill – This is the least used of the three options. This option will remove the selected faces and generate a single unbroken smoothed face to close any gap. It does not create analytical geometry and the user doesn’t have any control over the shape of the face that’s created. This option can sometimes generate less than desirable geometry.

Examples of using Delete Face

The examples below will show the end result of using Delete Face with the Delete and Patch option. Examples of using the Delete option and Delete and Fill option will be omitted because the Delete option leaves a hole that requires additional work and the Delete and Fill option is rarely a good option.

Using Delete Face to Remove Fillets

Delete Face with the Delete and Patch option can be used to cleanly remove fillets and patch the geometry up back to the sharp corners. This is useful with imported bodies where the size of the fillet needs to change, rework needs to be done to add draft, or the model needs to be simplified for Simulation purposes.

Here we have a component with a filet we would like to remove. The faces that we would like to remove are highlighted in blue.

Before Delete Face Feature

Fillets to Remove

After running the Delete Face command with the Delete and Patch option with the highlighted faces selected, we end up with this. The fillets are completely removed, and the geometry is patched up to the original sharp edges.

Delete Face used to remove Fillets

Fillets Removed

Here is another example where we remove a fillet to restore the sharp edges. The filleted faces we would like to remove are highlighted. Notice that there are holes that intersect the fillet in this case. 

Before Delete Face feature

Fillets to Remove

The Delete Face feature has no problem removing the fillet and patching it back up to the sharp edges.

Delete Face Feature Applied

Fillets Removed

Using Delete Face to Remove a Boss

Geometry to remove

Geometry to remove

The Delete Face feature can also be used to completely remove a boss. Take the model below, for example, we would like to remove the boss selected in blue.

The Delete Face feature makes quick work of this boss and completely removes it and all fillets patching the geometry up as if the boss never existed.

Geometry removed

Geometry removed

Using Delete Face to Remove Holes

Here is an example of using Delete Face to cleanly remove holes in geometry. Here is the geometry before the feature is applied.

Holes to be removed

Holes to be removed

And here is the geometry after the feature has been applied. The area is patched up as if the holes never existed.

Holes removed

Holes removed

Learn more surfacing techniques

Learning Surface Modeling unlocks the full potential of SOLIDWORKS as a modeling tool. You will learn how to fine-tune any small detail of a SOLIDWORKS model by controlling its topology; manipulating the “underlining” fabric of one or more faces in order to achieve the desired result. Take our SOLIDWORKS Surface Modeling Training Course to discover hybrid modeling techniques, combining surfacing and solid methods for creating complex shapes. A special lesson is dedicated to troubleshooting topology errors and repairing imported geometry.

David Arthur, CSWE-S