Sketch Entities in xDesign
Now, we’re ready to start sketching.
The four main sketch entity types used in sketches are shown on the action bar, which are lines, rectangles, arcs, and circles. We’ll go through each of these in this order.
Lines are the most basic sketch entity used to create sketch profiles. To enable the “Line” command, either click on the command in the action bar or press the “L” key on the keyboard. Lines can be drawn using three different techniques. To create an individual line, you can click, move the mouse to where you want the endpoint, and then double-click or press the “Escape” key to end the line. Lines can be created at any angle with no other geometry created once you’ve double-clicked. Another way of making the same individual line is by clicking and holding the mouse button at the first endpoint, and then moving over to the location of the other endpoint with the mouse button still held down, and releasing the mouse button to create the other endpoint. Lines can also be sketched connected to one another. To do this, simply click, move the mouse, and click once to place the endpoint. Notice that the line command is still enabled. From here, you can move and continue to single click to place more line segments.
There are two types of rectangles that can be created: a regular rectangle or a “Center Rectangle”. The regular rectangle can be sketched by clicking to place one corner, moving the mouse, and clicking once to place the other corner. These corners are always diagonal from one another. The “Center Rectangle” can be sketched by clicking where the center of the rectangle should be located, and then clicking once more to place the location of one of the corners. This will always produce a rectangle with horizontal and vertical sides, as well as automatic centerlines, no matter where you move the mouse to place the corner.
The next sketch entity we need to cover is the arc. There are three different types of arc commands you can use. The “Three Point Arc” command is created by clicking at the locations of the two endpoints of the arc, and then clicking to place a third point somewhere along the length of the arc. This third point controls how large or small the radius of the arc will be.
The “Center Arc” is created by first clicking to place the center point of the arc, and then clicking in two more locations to define the endpoints of the arc. Note that the distance between the first click, which sets the center point, and the second click, which sets the first endpoint of the arc, will determine the constant radius used for this arc.
The third arc type is the “Tangent Arc”, which creates an arc tangent to an existing line or curve. This sketch entity is created by clicking on the endpoint of an existing sketch segment, and then clicking to place the other endpoint. Notice that the radius of the arc is determined by where you place the second point, which is because it’s made tangent to the first sketch entity connected to the arc.
The fourth main sketch entity is the “Circle” command. There are two types of circles that you can sketch: the “Center Circle” and the “Three Point Circle”. As you may be able to guess, the “Center Circle” is created by first clicking on the center point, and then clicking once more to place the radius of the circle. As the name suggests, the “Three Point Circle” is created by clicking to place three different points around the edge of the circle. These points can be connected to other sketch entities or can be free floating.
Before wrapping up, let’s look at another useful sketching tool: the “Sketch Fillet” command. This command will round the corner and create an arc where two sketch segments are connected. The arc will be made tangent to both sketch entities. To create a “Sketch Fillet”, you can either click and hold the mouse while dragging over sketch segments that meet at a corner, including multiple corners in a row; click on the endpoint at the corner; or click on the two segments that connect at the corner.
Notice that when we rotate the view, all these sketch segments are contained in the XY Plane that we selected when we began sketching. From here, any of these sketch profiles can be used to create 3D geometry, such as this rectangle with filleted corners.
Be sure to check back for the next 2 parts in the xDesign Sketching series on the SOLIDWORKS Tech Blog! Incase you missed it, take a look back on Part 1!