SOLIDWORKS Sketch

Using SOLIDWORKS Sketch Ink in Your Workflow

I’ve always used a tablet ever since I took my first graphics arts class back in high school.  I’ve found it to be an invaluable tool over the years, helping me with the creative process. When I found out that SOLIDWORKS has integrated tools that work with tablets, I had to give it a try. With Sketch Ink, users can draw out their sketches and convert them into sketch entities when ready. So let us get into using SOLIDWORKS Sketch Ink in your workflow. My Tablet Setup For my session, I used a Wacom Cintiq Pro 13. The Cintiq line is great because it has a built-in display that interacts with the stylus and having SOLIDWORKS directly on my drawing screen made it easy to navigate with the pen and shortcut keys on the side of the tablet. The pressure sensitivity that Wacom is known for is there, but SOLIDWORKS…

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SOLIDWORKS angle dimension between 3 points

What if we need an angle dimension in a sketch, but one of the entities is not a line (perhaps it is a spline or arc instead)?  The answer, we can take the angle between 3 endpoints! In this sketch on the right plane (which bisects the part), the horizontal entity is a line, but what appears to be a vertical line happens to actually be a spline created automatically by an intersection curve (due to how the swept geometry was created, giving it a draft angle which varies everywhere on its face), so it cannot be selected to get the angle dimension. However, if we first select the vertex, and then click the endpoints of the line and the spline, then we get that angle dimension shown in the picture below: Learn more modeling tricks This trick is taught in our Advanced Part Modeling class, where we explore how…

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How to speed up your 2D mirror in SOLIDWORKS sketches!

SOLIDWORKS Mirror sketch

If you’ve mirrored sketch entities in SOLIDWORKS, you are probably familiar with the Mirror command.  In that operation, you specify a centerline of symmetry, and which entities get mirrored.  That’s a fair bit of mousing back and forth between the graphics area and the Mirror manager and carefully picking various sketch entities, and ensuring that the symmetry centerline goes into the correct field. But did you know you can often skip most of that work and still get the mirror to complete, without using the Mirror manager?  Well, you can, and it’s dead simple!  Here’s how: Set up your centerline of symmetry and sketch what you want to mirror. Drag-select everything you want to mirror, including the centerline of symmetry.  Note: include only ONE centerline in the selection, otherwise this trick won’t work.  So if you have more than one centerline in the sketch, be sure to select the appropriate…

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Add feature tree items to a SOLIDWORKS favorites folder for quick access!

SOLIDWORKS Favorites Folder

Want quick access to a feature, sketch or mate without having to scroll or search the SOLIDWORKS feature tree every time? Simply right-click the item from your feature tree and select Add to Favorites. Note: Ensure you have the option to show the favorites folder from Tools > Options > FeatureManager. This creates a SOLIDWORKS Favorites Folder listed at the very top of the feature tree with your selected items nested inside.  This way you can grab access to a master sketch or a commonly reviewed mate within seconds! You can also build sub folders within the parent folder to group certain features together. To do this, select the features again, right click and click Add to New Favorite Folder.

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Gotta pattern something in SOLIDWORKS? Reduce your effort with a Sketch Driven Pattern!

A SOLIDWORKS Sketch Driven Pattern is a great way to control instance locations, but did you know you can use the same sketch for both the instances AND the feature?  You can!  To demonstrate, we’re going to dive into the universe of one of my all-time favorite sci-fi novels and movies, “2001: A Space Odyssey”: Science teams have located a monolith here: To study it further, we’ll attempt to bore holes in it thus: In order to minimize the sketching, we’ll create a single sketch that includes both the hole (represented by circle) AND the patterned instance locations (represented by sketch points): Next, we’ll create a cut-extrude with that sketch.  And then we’ll create a sketch-driven pattern that references the cut-extrude AND its sketch!  So basically, one sketch to rule them all (that’s yet another book/movie reference)!  With the sketch-driven pattern, every sketch point will result in another patterned instance…

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Start a SOLIDWORKS Sketch and activate the Line Tool with a Single Key

There are many ways to start a SOLIDWORKS sketch.  After starting a sketch, good chance you go straight to the line tool.  Why not do both in a single keyboard key with the SOLIDWORKS Line Tool Shortcut. When you select a face or a plane, press “L” (not capital).  This will immediately launch into a sketch and begin with the line tool.  Quick, simple, and can save you a bunch of time over the course of a day by not having to click on the Sketch and Line tool icons.

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How to quickly create a SOLIDWORKS Sketch Normal to Curve

SOLIDWORKS Sketch Normal to Curve

Here is a quick method to create SOLIDWORKS Sketch Normal to Curve without having to create a plane first, and then sketch on that plane. First, select the curve or edge, as shown in the sheet metal example below, then click Sketch from either the Insert menu or the Sketch CommandManager. This will start a sketch on a newly created plane that is normal to the curve, located at the nearest endpoint on the curve. Upon exiting the sketch, you will notice that a new plane has been created and is located in the FeatureManager design tree.

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SOLIDWORKS Virtual Sharp Display Options

Virtual Sharp - Dot

A SOLIDWORKS Virtual Sharp in sketches and drawings provide the ability to dimension to the imaginary point where two lines would intersect in space.  Our previous blog posts show how you can add a virtual sharp using the Point tool or using Find Intersection with the Smart Dimension tool. Did you know you can change the display style of virtual sharps?  By default there are two extension lines that cross at the point. You can change the style in Options > Document Properties > Virtual Sharps. There are 5 options that I’ll demonstrate below.  The first two will only show the point whereas the last three will include the extension lines. Here are examples of the different Virtual Sharp options:

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