Welcome to lesson number three, it is time that we finally make a 3D object in SolidWorks. This can be done in a number of ways, however in this tutorial, we will be using the simplest method – the Extruded Boss/Bass feature. This feature takes a closed sketch as the outline, a direction and a depth to create a 3D object. Using the same sketch from the previous post we can extrude the rectangle that we drew. Here is how this can be done.
Firstly, open up the previous file from last week which contained the sketch of a rectangle. Scroll to the features tab and select extruded boss/base from the menu.
This will open another toolbar on the left-hand side which will be where you define how you want your rectangle to be extruded. Select the sketch you wish to extrude, in this case, the rectangle from lesson #002.
The initial direction of the extrusion will be based upon the plane that was selected for the sketch. In our example, we selected the top plane and therefore the extrusion will be in this direction. This feature has multiple options to modify how the sketch is extruded, some of them are not really relevant at this stage so I will only look at the important ones. These include
- The Reverse Direction button – This does as you would expect and swaps the way in which the sketch is extruded
- Direction 1 Dropdown Menu – This allows you to select how the sketch is extruded. There are multiple options to choose from, the most commonly used are:
- Blind – Based on the depth you enter
- Up to Edge/Surface – Will extrude up to the selected reference edge/surface
- Mid-Plane – Will extrude in both directions equally based on a set depth
- Depth – The depth you wish to extrude the sketch
- Direction 2 – Allows you to extrude in a second direction with a different depth to direction 1. This has all the same options as direction 1
Once you are happy with your preview you can click the green tick which will accept the changes and convert your 2D rectangle into a 3D object. Not only is this the most simplistic method of creating 3D objects, it is also one of the most commonly used – unless you are working with weldments and sheet metal which will be a whole different series. There are many other options that you can change when using the Extruded Boss/Base feature, but these will be covered in later tutorial posts. I would recommend trying to modify some of these settings, just to see what they do so you have a better understanding when we cover them in more detail.
Note: to speed up the modelling process it is possible to combine this step with the one in the previous post. To do this, rather than open a sketch on its own click straight onto the Extruded Boss/Base, this will then ask you to select a plane to sketch on. Once you are done with your sketch SolidWorks will automatically select your sketch and open the options menu as seen above.
In the next lesson, we will look at how to go back into the sketch and make some changes, then see them automatically update the 3D object thanks to SolidWorks parametric design system.