SOLIDWORKS Extra Credit
This is a series best paired with our training courses. There are some topics where we like to expand or people often ask questions and there might not be time for our instructors to cover it, we encourage you to have a read through this series along with your course to get the most out of the experience!
Previous topic: Modeling Parts in SOLIDWORKS from Scratch
Question: Is building construction geometry the only way to get an angle like this (referring to Essentials question #18)?
When sketching angle dimensions in SOLIDWORKS, there are several different approaches we can use. I’m going to outline three ways to achieve the following angle that is constrained 25 degrees from the origins vertical (see image below).
- Basic functions
- Construction Geometry
- Magic (Spoiler alert: there is no magic!)
When using this approach we can take advantage of two things, we can use smart dimensions which will give us different options for the angle as shown below. All four of these results were created using the same selections (the two lines) and simply moving the cursor to a different location.
The second part of the basic functions allows us to use math when entering our angle. Using the first example we know that we want our line 25 degrees from vertical. You may know immediately that 90-25=65 but we can tell SOLIDWORKS to do exactly that in our dimension value box. This is a great method because it reduces the chance of making a simple calculating mistake. However, this doesn’t capture the desired design intent of this example.
This is probably the most common way to achieve the result, it is both simple and clear for the designer and anyone who views the sketch later. All we need to do is add the vertical line as a reference and toggle it to construction. We can then dimension between the construction line and our sketch line to produce our exact design intent.
Magic Angle Dimensions in SOLIDWORKS
There is a way to achieve the exact design intent and avoid using construction lines. We start by making our dimension selections: with smart dimension selected, click on the line and its endpoint (the end we want the angle from). In this case we’re clicking on the angled line and the end point at the bottom of that line. You will notice a new handle appears with four arrows.
Hovering over the different arrows, you will see them change color and the cursor will give you feedback indicating an angle. In this case we chose the arrow pointing up and it allowed us to add that dimension. This gives us our exact design intent without the need for a construction line. When editing or viewing the dimension a leader line will appear making the dimension clear to anyone reviewing the sketch.