Easily create opposite-hand versions of parts in SOLIDWORKS

Quite often engineers need an opposite-hand version of a part. A commonly used method is the Mirror feature at assembly level. Here you have the possibility to create an opposite-hand version during the definition of this feature. This works great, but sometimes you want to create an opposite-hand version beforehand (pun intended), or without the need of creating an assembly. In this tech blog I want to show you the way to create opposite-hand versions of parts directly from part level.

Using Mirror Part

With the help of Mirror Part you can create a part that is the opposite-hand version of an existing part. By default, the mirrored version is derived from the original version. This means that the two parts will always match.

To create a mirrored part:

1. In an open part document, click a model face or plane about which to mirror the part.
This step is crucial, because otherwise the Mirror Part feature will be unavailable.

2. Click Insert > Mirror Part.
A new part window appears and the Insert Part PropertyManager appears.

3. Under Transfer, select any combination of items from the source part to be included in the opposite-hand version. In this case, for the sheet metal part of step 1, I use the following options:

  • Solid bodies: obviously necessary, because otherwise we do not have a solid geometry.
  • Hole wizard data: useful when creating a drawing, so you can dimension the holes correctly.
  • Sheet metal information: transfers the sheet metal and flat pattern information. This is very useful, because you can directly flatten the opposite-hand version.
  • Material: transfers the defined material

4. (Optional) If you want to independently edit the features of the mirrored part without affecting the original part, under Link, select Break link to original part.

5. (Optional) If you want to maintain all appearances of the original part, under Visual Properties, select Propagate from the original part.

6. Click OK. The mirrored part appears.

Conclusion

As we have seen, it is really easy to create an opposite-hand version of your part files. And instead of using the assembly mirror feature, you can even create these files upfront. For sheet metal parts it is good to include the sheet metal information in the mirrored part, so you don’t need to recreate the flat pattern.

Author: Martijn Visser, Elite Application Engineer, CAD2M

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