SOLIDNAPKIN Transforms Sketches into SOLIDWORKS Parts

Engineers draw things because they want to figure them out, to visualize them in action.  A new app for SOLIDWORKS is taking this idea literally, by allowing you to bring any hand sketch, on any piece of paper, into SOLIDWORKS.  The app, called SOLIDNAPKIN, then turns your hand sketch into parts, and even assemblies.


Jake Middleton, a SOLIDWORKS user for over 15 years and now CEO at SOLIDNAPKIN explains, “I’ve met hundreds of customers over the years, and often when a new product or idea is discussed, people pull out a pencil and sketch an idea on a piece of paper or a napkin or whatever is handy.”

Middleton also worked directly for two major resellers of SOLIDWORKS for over eight years, which gave him a bird’s-eye view of the issues engineers were facing. The problem Middleton and his team kept encountering over and over is that later, customers wanted to see the idea they scratched out on that piece of paper in SOLIDWORKS.

“Then it hit us,” says Middleton. “Why not make an app that could digitize the sketch and make it easy to bring into SOLIDWORKS.”


“It’s great, no matter where you are—the office, at home, or out with a customer—you can capture and keep all those great ideas on your phone with SOLIDNAPKIN and then bring them into SOLIDWORKS when convenient,” says Middleton.

SOLIDNAPKIN is designed to be lightweight and simple to use, requiring virtually zero training, but don’t let ease of use fool you; this little tool can do some cool stuff. You can even take a single sketch and break it out into an unlimited number of parts in SOLIDWORKS, automatically forming a subassembly.

Parts, Simulation, and More

For example, if you sketch a sports car on a scrap of paper, you can break out the sketch into different parts, to represent wheels, body, and even suspension, and then use SOLIDNAPKIN to build it inside SOLIDWORKS as a fully functional assembly.

You can even go a step further, and add Motion Analysis to the parts. (Each part you make in SOLIDNAPKIN comes with a 3D extrusion on an invisible layer, useful for adding collision and motion to your napkin sketches.)

It is also possible to run Simulation at this point, and the sports car will actually drive across something else you draw, such as a city, or a hill, complete with friction, traction, and collision detection.

Seeing Is Believing

At this point you’re beyond just sketching on a napkin: you’re into full concept design and prove out (how fast the wheels need to spin, what the wheel diameter needs to be, ground clearances, etc.).

SOLIDNAPKIN has taken your concept sketch and turned it into a true SOLIDWORKS assembly in front of your eyes.

Click here to try SOLIDNAPKIN for yourself, and let Jake Middleton know what you think. (Important note: For iPhone users, please use the Download Now link. Once you download and install on your computer, it will direct you to the mobile app.)


GoEngineer delivers software, technology and expertise that enable companies to unlock design innovation and deliver better products faster. With more than 30 years experience and thousands of customers in high tech, medical, machine design, energy and other industries, GoEngineer provides best-in-class design solutions from SOLIDWORKS, Stratasys, CAMWorks, Altium and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). For more information, visit