Intersect – The Trimming Shears of the FeatureTree

Like some advanced part and surfacing features, I’ve struggled to know when to use them. Recognizing when and how to use a feature can sometimes turn your part from a tangled FeatureTree mess to a nice efficient tree. I knew the Intersect tool was going to be one of these tools so I grabbed my trimming shears and went to attack a FeatureTree for a change. And attack it I did. In my 2 examples, my Intersect to  pre-Intersect ratios were 1:6 and 1:8 respectively – Intersect has some sharp Feature blades!

I started with trying to figure out when and how to use the tool and came across the idea of headlight model. The lamps are solid bodies,
the body is surfaces and cones are surfaces. The cones were going to be used to cut out the path of light from the lamps. In the past there would have been a lot of knitting, trimming, thickening and combining. It works, but can it be easier?

Figure 1

It certainly can. Intersect allows us to pull in surfaces, solids and planes with a list of resulting solid bodies that are generated from their  intersections – hence the name. Simply select the bodies (Regions to Exclude listing) you don’t want and let Intersect do the rest. The green area below is the main resulting body minus lamps and lamp cones.

Figure 2

23 Features at 1.06 second rebuild

Figure 3

17 Features at 1.3 second rebuild

 Figure 4


Another use of Intersect is an area we have had to use one of several feature combinations and procedures to get our final result– Finding  Internal Volume. Intersect makes this so much easier and cuts down on the number of features needed.

Simply create your shut-off surfaces and then use Intersect. I used Surface Plane to shut off 6 openings, then Intersect to remove the outer body.

Figure 5
Figure 6

I was able to replace 8
features with 1 via Intersect and get the Internal Volume as a solid body!!

Figure 7

Where surfaces meet solids, you will hopefully find a way to enjoy intersecting whatever you can imagine. I certainly had fun working through this imaginative tool.

You can learn more about the Intersect tool and all of the other new features in SolidWorks 2013 on our website, as well as find a reseller seminar near you.


Steve Ostrovsky is an Applications Engineer at TPM, a SolidWorks reseller with locations in North and South Carolina.

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