Sketch blocks – the “napkin sketch” that you can use to drive your design

SolidWorks “sketch blocks” is functionality that greatly expands the power of the sketcher. Sketch blocks can be used to simulate the kinematics of complex mechanisms as well as act as “skeletons” to help manage assemblies.

The 4-bar linkage above is a sketch that consists of 4 sketch blocks. I can easily drag the entities from position 1 (left) to position 2 (right). Notice that the sketched links are not controlled by dimensions or relations internally. The only relations control the positions of the links relative to each other.

Sketch blocks allow users to create sort of an “assembly” of blocks within sketcher – the entities within a block do not need dimensions or relations. The entities move as a group and can be “mated” in sketcher and manipulated like parts in an assembly. Blocks can be as detailed as you like since you do not have to worry about resolving relations or dimensions within the block. In addition, sketch blocks can also be used to automatically create an assembly of parts from a single sketch.

To create a sketch block start in sketch mode, select the entities that you would like to group as a block, select Tools > Blocks > Make and then name the block. You can also save the block for reuse in another sketch.

To reuse the block in another sketch you first get into sketch mode, select Tools > Blocks > Insert and then locate the block in a fashion similar to mating in assembly.

Finally, to create an assembly of parts (one part for each block) directly from the sketch just right click the sketch in the FeatureManager and then click “Create Assembly from Layout Sketch”.

Blocks are a great tool to layout mechanisms and test their motion before developing more complex 3D models.

Fielder Hiss

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