Sketching is one of those things that everyone does in the SolidWorks universe. It doesn’t matter what kind of design you’re doing, or what kind of features you like to use, or even if you get into surfacing — nine times out of ten, you’re starting with a sketch. And in SolidWorks 2014, there are a few new wrinkles that make things easier and faster — here are two of my favorites.
It’s been a few months since I upgraded to SolidWorks 2014, and I still smile every time I begin a part with an initial sketch. Why? Because I remember that I don’t have to worry one iota about my active view scale when I draw things out. In SolidWorks 2014, I just sketch everything in relatively close proporation and when I put in that first dimension, it doesn’t matter how far off my measured value is from my desired value, because SolidWorks 2014 automatically scales the entire sketch and even adjusts my active zoom level so it’s like magic:
See my initial sketch below. Note that I ended up making everything too big, so in the past making that first dimension the desired value of 20mm would turn my sketch a little inside-out.
In the past, I’d have to do some manual work to get everything else close before I added more dimensions, or just add them in a careful order so nothing flipped direction. In SolidWorks 2014, entering the first dimension will automatically scale all other geometry on the fly, and even set my view zoom the same so all I notice is everything is nice and easy as I add my other dimensions.
Often times you need to select a group of items in a sketch, but they’re not arranged in a way that makes box selection efficient. If you’re like me, you default to CTRL-clicking each item and maybe combining it with a box selection; some people make the box selection and then CTRL-click the extra items to drop them from the selection set. In SolidWorks 2014, we have a new option called Lasso Selection, which lets you freehand draw an amorphous shape. Drawing left to right will select everything completely inside the shape, while drawing right to left will select everthing the shape crosses. Once you get used to it, this is a very handy way to work!
How do you get to use Lasso Selection mode? It’s a right-click away, and it sticks until you switch back to Box Selection mode.
Dimensioning Lengths Of Paths And Splines
In SolidWorks 2014, you can put a sketch dimension on a path, and you can also create the path on-the-fly in the same tool. In the Dimension flyout, you will find the new tool Path Length Dimension.
To use this tool, you simply click on an existing path, or you can select multiple sketch entities to create a path on the fly, which will then be dimensioned.
Also, in SolidWorks 2014, you can dimension the length of a spline. This is very simple: use the regular Smart Dimension tool, click on a spline, and you’ll see an overall length dimension for the spline.
Click Here for more SolidWorks 2014 Tips and Tricks on the SolidNotes Blog!
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