Category Archives: Tutorial

Solidworks Terminology – Design Intent

So, what is your Design Intent when creating your part / 3D data?

The meaning of Design Intent is your plan on how the model that you created should behave when it is changed.  Example, you model a boss with a blind hole in it, the hole should move when the boss is moved.

Also in the case of circular pattern of six equally spaced holes.  The angle between these holes should change automatically if the number of holes change to eight.  The techniques use to create the model determine how and what type of design intent captured.

In order to use a 3D CAD software like Solidworks effeciently, the design intent must be considered before modeling.

Design intent is the plan as how the model should behave when a change is made.

eBook Cover Design Using Solidworks – Video

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This video shows step by step proces how I made the eBook Cover using Solidworks.  If you are familiar with Solidworks or any other CAD Software, the process is very simple….. I only create 4 features to complete this simple eBook Cover Design.

Solidworks Basic – Choose Sketch Plane

The 1st step when creating a part in Solidworks (…and other 3D CAD Software) is to identify and choose the best profile.  Once the profile is decided, next step is to decide the plane for sketching the basic shape.

Figure 1 - Solidworks Default Planes

Figure 1 - Solidworks Default Planes

There are 3 reference planes, names by default… Front Plane, Top Plane and Right Plane shown in Figure 1.  Each of this plane is infinite, but you can see the screen borders for viewing and selection.  Each plane passes through the Origin position and perpendicular with each others.  Even though these planes are infinite, just imagine and think of them as forming an open box, connecting  at Origin as shown in Figure 2.  With this analogy, think of the inner faces of the box as the potential sketch planes.

Several things need to be consider when choosing the sketch plane.  The most important things in the consideration are appearance and the part’s orientation in an assembly. 

Figure 2 - The Plane Analogy

Figure 2 - The Plane Analogy

The appearance will dictates how the part will be oriented in standard views such as the Isometric view.  This plane selection will also determines how you will spend most of your time looking at the model while you create it.

The part’s orientation in an assembly dictates how it is to be positioned with respect to other mating parts. 

How the model will appear on the drawing when you detail it – the part should be build so that the Front view in the model is the same as the Front view in the drawing.  This can saves time during the detailing process because the predefined views can be use.

Choosing The Best Profile In Solidworks

It is important to choose the best profile to start with when model in your 3D data in Solidworks.  Look at the example part below.  I will suggest to you how to chose the best profile to start with.

Sample Part

Sample Part

Graphic below show 3 potential profiles to choose from when you want to start creating the 3D data of this part with Solidworks.  Although any of these 3 choices could be used to create the model, some are better than others.  So the best profile will be chosen and used to sketch the base model.

3 Potential Profile to select

3 Potential Profile to select

Profile A
This is the ” L ” shape edge of the model and it provides a good basic shape.  But if we select this profile as the base of the model, there will be an extra work to shape the round edge (fillet) and the hole.

Profile B
This profile will provides rectangular solid body, much larger than the model itself.  It would require many cuts and bosses to remove or add material, create the details and complete the model.

Profile C
This is the best profile (in my opinion).  We only needed 2 other bosses to complete the basic shape.  A cut and a fillet would complete the task.

Best Profile For Basic Shape

Best Profile For Basic Shape

Solidworks Terminology

Solidworks employs many term that will be recognize from design and manufacturing such as cuts and bosses.  So, here is some of the term that you need to know.

Feature
All cuts, bosses, planes and sketches  created are considered Feature.  Sketched features are those based on sketches – boss and cut.  Applied features are based on edges or faces – fillet.

Plane
Planes are flat and infinite and represented on the screen with visible edges.  Planes are used as the primary sketch surface for creating boss and cut features.

Sketch In Solidworks

Sketch In Solidworks

Sketch
The name sketch are used to describe a 2D profile in Solidworks.  Sketch are created on flat faces and planes within the model.  Although they can exist independently, they are generally used as the basis for bosses and cuts.

Extrusion
An extrusion will extend a profile along a path normal to tthe profile plane for the distance decided.  The movement along the path becomes the solid model.

Solidworks Extrude Feature

Solidworks Extrude Feature

Boss
Bosses are used to add material to the model.  All bosses begin with a sketch.  The critical feature is callled the Base feature and is always a  boss.  After the base feature, bosses may be added as many as needed to complete the design.

Cut
A cut is the opposite of the boss.  It is used to remove material from the model.  Same as the boss, cuts begin as 2D sketches and remove material by extrusion, revolution or other methods.

Fillets And Rounds
Fillets and rounds generally added to the solid and not the nsketch.  Solidworks will knows whether to create a round (removing material) or a fillet (adding material).

Design Intent
It is how the model should be created and change.  Relationships between features and the sequence of their creation all contribute to design intent.

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