The rectangle and circle tools are two of the most commonly used whilst sketching as together they can make most shapes. Fortunately, both tools are very similar and can be used with as little as two clicks. Each tool has a corresponding toolbar which can be used to adjust the type of rectangle/circle. You will find that you only really use one or two of the different options on each as the remaining ones tend to only be useful in very specific situations.
Starting with the rectangle tool, we need to open a new sketch like we have done multiple times previously (see here for more information). Select the rectangles tool from the main menu at the top, this is where you will be greeted with the rectangles toolbar. There are five different types of rectangle to choose from, these include
- Coner Rectangle
- Center Rectangle
- 3 Point Corner Rectangle
- 3 Point Center Rectangle
In all the time I have been using SolidWorks I have only ever needed to use type 1 & 2 and as such these will be the only ones that I will go through.
Corner Rectangle requires selecting the location of the two diagonal corners to each other. This will allow you to define a rectangle as large as you wish with only two clicks. The Center Rectangle also only requires two clicks, however, this time you need to define the center point of the rectangle first. The second point is the location of the top right corner. The center rectangle will be symmetric about both the x-axis & y-axis and therefore you can make it any size you wish by choosing the position of your second point. In addition to the rectangle its self, the center rectangle will also create two center lines, this can be useful as it requires fewer relations/dimensions later on.
Next, we can move onto the circles tool which works in a very similar way to the rectangle one. Once again when you select the circle tool it will open a toolbar to allow you to select which type of circle you wish to create, these include
- Perimeter Circle
Although there are only two different types of circles to use, I very rarely use the perimeter type and as such will only cover the basic circle. The perimeter type can come in handy in some specific situations, so if you would like me to cover it feel free to ask.
The Circle command works exactly the same as the center rectangle tool, you start off by defining a center point with your first click and finish by defining the radius of the circle with the second click.
Hopefully this will give you a good basis of how to start using the rectangle and circle tools. As mentioned previously, using these together – with some sketch manipulations tools which will be discussed later – you will be able to create almost everything you need.
Next post we will look at dimensioning the sketches so we can start defining them correctly.