Now we can begin learning the basis of SolidWorks and how it works compared to other CAD packages. The first and most important thing to note is the fact that SolidWorks is based on a parametric drawing system. This means that you will do the sketch first, then define and dimension it later. This is opposed to something like AutoCAD where you define and dimension each line or object as you go. This system allows your SolidWorks sketches to be much more flexible – if you define them correctly. We won’t get into too much detail just yet but it was worth mentioning.
Firstly, we are going to need to open up SolidWorks and start a new part like seen in the previous tutorial. We are then going to move to the sketches tab, and select ‘Sketch’. This will bring you to the screen below asking you to select a plane in which to draw your sketch on.
The plane that you choose here will not have a huge impact on the rest of the model. It is more used for the orientation of the model. In this case, it doesn’t really matter so we will just use the top plane as a starting point. Depending on your version of SolidWorks, after selecting the top plane it should rotate the view so that you’re looking straight down from the top. If not you will need to hit the spacebar to bring up the orientation menu box, from here you can select the top view to achieve the same result. This is where the sketching begins.
We are going to start off really simple and just draw a rectangle originating from the origin point. Move your mouse up to the sketch tools and select the ‘rectangle’ tool. Ignore the drop-down menu for now as we only need the simple corner rectangle type, this will ask you to enter the location of two of the corners. Clicking on the origin as the first point, move your mouse up and to the right and click to finish the rectangle. As simple as that! You now have your first sketch in SolidWorks, all you need to to to complete this process is to hit the ‘Exit Sketch’ and you’re all done.
Thanks for joining me for this second tutorial, in the next one we will be defining the lengths of the rectangle and doing our first 3D extrusion to convert the sketch into a body. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly, I am more than willing to try and help you out.