In the next couple posts, I will be focusing on sketching in SolidWorks, this will include the different tools that are available and how to properly define your sketches to take advantage of the parametric system.

Firstly we will look at the lines and centerlines tool, although these are the most basic commands they will be invaluable throughout your time using SolidWorks. Lines and centerlines work in exactly the same way as each other, with the exception being that centerlines are only used for reference/geometry and will not form a closed sketch. For example, if we were to create a box out of centerlines and try and extrude it we would not be able to select anything as SolidWorks does not recognise it. This can be seen below.

Sketches 001 - Error with Centerlines.png
Error Message When Trying to Extrude Centerline Rectangle

To do a normal line it is as easy as choosing the line tool, selecting your first point then selecting your second point. You can either finish after one line or keep going as long as you wish. When drawing the line it will tend to snap to vertical and horizontal as well as tell you when you’re aligned with another point on the sketch. This is useful when you are freehand sketching as it will automatically add in the relations as you draw.

Drawing a centerline is exactly the same as a normal line, except you need to click on the drop-down arrow next to the line command, this will give you the option to select a centerline.

Take note that there will be an options bar for both line and centerline tools. This gives you the option to create a line with infinite length, which can be really useful if you’re not exactly sure on the specific dimensions of your model. I find this tool most useful with the centerline as you can use it a good point of reference for the rest of your sketch. In this toolbar, you can also convert between a line and centerline by simply checking or unchecking the “For Construction” checkbox.


Infinite Length line SolidWorks
Infinite Length Line

In the next post, we will look at sketching rectangles and circles using the predefined tools.



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