SolidWorks Modeling Methodology – Part 2

In my previous article we talked about all of the items we need to consider; Manufacturing, Features, Assemblies and Drawings. For our part that we are going to design we had some knowledge of the Manufacturing and Features of the part and we are going to dig into that more in this article and see what will work best for this case.

We need to start off by looking at our base sketch and the best way to create this. For me looking at the part I see the top view of our part as the best place to start but the question becomes do I draw 1/4 of the sketch and Mirror the Sketch or do I just draw 1/4 and Extrude that so I can Mirror the bodies later on. We are going to look at each method and try to find the best way to generate this model.

If we want to draw 1/4 of the Sketch and Mirror the Sketch some of the items to remember:

  • Fully define the sketch before Mirroring.
  • Use Double Distance dimensions by Dimensioning between a Center Line and another sketch entity, this will help with your 2D drawings.
  • If you are going to have to make changes to the sketch and add or delete lines then using sketch Mirror may not be the best choice.
  • There are more Sketch Relations when you mirror sketch entities.With Sketch Mirror

1/4 with Sketch Mirror

With Out Sketch Mirror

1/4 without Sketch Mirror (closed sketch)

Looking at the 2 different methods so far when we Extrude the full sketch and when we Extrude the 1/4 Sketch and Mirror the body to create 1/2 the part and then a Mirror of the 1/2 body to create the full part we see no differences in the overall Feature Statics. We are going to roll back our Mirrored  part for now and the reason we are creating 1/2 for one part and the full part you will see in some of our other upcoming examples.

Base Features

We have several other features to add and we need to think about the order of operations of those features. The features we need to add are Fillets to the transition in the center of the part and to the bottom edge. We also need to make the part the part thin wall and add the dividing ribs and the angle cuts to the sides.

From my perspective the first feature we are going to add are the Fillets, and remember that we can always reorder the features if need be later. What I did find is that for rebuild times it is significantly more time consuming to do a Multiple Radius Fillet than it is to create two separate Fillet Features. Also on the part that is 1/2 there are fewer items to select for our Fillets.

Multiple Radius Fillet 

We are going to stop here for Part 2 and we will finish out the model in next month’s article as there are several ways to create the final features and we want to cover those in as much detail as possible.

To summarize what we have found so far keeping the Sketches we generate simple is better as there are fewer relations and it makes it easier for future changes to the design. When creating our model starting with 1/4 of the model allows us to Mirror the Body or Feature, because there was only 1 feature to get a 1/2 model that is easier to add the rest of our features to, less items to select for Fillets and other features.

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Josh Altergott is Support Manager at Computer Aided Technology, a SolidWorks Value Added Reseller with locations in Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois. He is a regular contributor to the CATI Tech Notes blog.

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Josh Altergott
Josh Altergott is Support Manager at Computer Aided Technology, a SolidWorks Value Added Reseller with locations in Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois. He is a regular contributor to the CATI Tech Notes blog. http://blog.cati.com/