Sketching Concepts Overview

Sketching in SOLIDWORKS is the basis for creating features. Features are the basis for creating parts, which can be put together into assemblies. Sketch entities can also be added to drawings.

SOLIDWORKS features contain intelligence so they can be edited. Design intent is an important consideration when creating SOLIDWORKS models, so planning when sketching is important. The general procedure for sketching is to:

  1. In a part document, select a sketch plane or a planar face (You can do this either before or after step 2.)
  2. Enter the Sketch mode by doing one of the following:
    • Click Sketch on the Sketch toolbar.
    • Click a sketch tool (Rectangle , for example) on the Sketch toolbar.
    • Click Extruded Boss/Base or Revolved Boss/Base on the Features toolbar.
    • Right-click an existing sketch in the FeatureManager design tree and select Edit Sketch.
  3. Create the sketch (sketch entities such as lines, rectangles, circles, splines, and so on).
  4. Add dimensions and relations (you can sketch approximately, then dimension exactly).
  5. Create the feature (which closes the sketch).

In general, it is better to use less complicated sketch geometry and more features. Simpler sketches are easier to create, dimension, maintain, modify, and understand. Models rebuild faster with simpler sketches.

The following comparisons relate to sketching concepts:

Dimensions geometry drives dimensions; dimensions can be unrelated to geometry dimensions define the geometry
Snap object snaps, "AutoSnap" snap to grid, relations, sketch snaps, quick snaps
Relations no relations relations (automatic or added manually) define sketches and build design intent into models; they are another means of defining geometry
Inferencing no inferencing relations are shown by inference lines and pointer changes, and relations are added automatically
Trim trim, extend trim, extend
Sketch States no definitions sketches can be under defined, fully defined, or over defined
Automatic Operations AutoSnap autodimension and autotransition
Constructions Entities construction entities any sketch entity can be designated a construction entity; points and centerlines are always construction entities