Firstly, I would like to apologise for the long delay between post. I will hopefully be posting more frequently from now on.
Following on from the last one we now have a basic understanding of how to do simple sketches and define them. This is only one part of the sketching ability of SolidWorks, there are many built-in tools which allow you to create more complex sketches using minimal steps. The ones you are most likely to use include the following;
- Linear Patterns
- Circular Patterns
In this post, we will focus on the first tool, as it uses similar methods to the other two in a more simplistic way. The mirror tool is one of the most basic functions to manipulate a sketch and can be used to draw anything which has a plane of symmetry. An example of this could be drilling two holes at either end of a drive shaft. Rather than drawing two circles and defining both of their positions and sizes, we could simply define one and mirror it about the centerline. The below demonstrates this example.
As you can see there are three main aspects in the above example:
- Entities to Mirror – The part of the sketch you wish to mirror, in this case, it is Arc1 which relates to the blue circle on the left-hand side.
- Mirror About – the axis in which the entity will be mirrored about, in this example it is a centerline that has been drawn vertically down the middle of the shaft.
- Preview – This gives an indication of what will happen if the function is accepted, in this case, it is the yellow circle on the right-hand side.
There is an option that can be selected to change the way this mirror tool works. The “Copy” tickbox will determine if the original entity remains once the mirror takes place. This can be useful in certain circumstances, however, it will most likely always be enabled for general use.
Once the mirror has been completed SolidWorks will add the relations in to fully define the sketch. If the existing dimensions are changed after, the mirrored element will remain symmetrical.
NOTE: This mirroring can also be done manually by using the symmetrical relations, however, initially it is much easier to use the mirror tool.
This is an incredibly useful tool which you will find yourself using on a regular basis to speed up your sketching. There is also a mirror tool for features which allows you to mirror features rather than just sketches, we will cover that tool in a later post.
In the next post, I will cover the Linear Patterns tool.