In SOLIDWORKS, the Sweep is a very versatile tool that allows the user to add or remove model material via a 2D cross-sectional profile sketch, being swept along a user defined sketch path. This profile and path combination can be very basic in nature, or more complex depending on the desired design. In this article we will discuss the steps to create a basic swept boss/base feature to model a simple mounting bracket (Pictured Right).
Creating a sweep, weather complex or simple, requires a small amount of preparation in the model; but once setup it is a simple as selecting the profile and the path and hitting “OK”. First, it is considered best practice to create the sweep path before creating the sweep profile. This is so that the sweep profile sketch can reference the path sketch when being drawn. In this case of this mounting bracket, the design intent heavily drives the order in which features are to be created. By studying the feature design tree, we see that the “Sweep_Path” sketch was created first to set the desired locations of the mounting bosses. This will ensure the sweep profile will stay aligned with the center of the bosses (Shown right). The next step was to create the bosses, resulting in two separate solid bodies in the model. Next, the “Sweep_Profile” sketch was drawn utilizing a Pierce relation between the profile sketch and the path sketch. This is crucial to the success of the sweep as it ensures that the cross-sectional profile sketch is touching the starting point of the swept path sketch. For if the two sketches are not physically touching, then the sweep feature will fail to be created.
With the preparation complete, we can now perform the sweep to connect the two mounting bosses via bridging. Bridging is a common advanced modeling technique; and is one of the many outlined in the SOLIDWORKS Advanced Part Modeling course. Now, by showing the “Sweep_Profile” sketch (Highlighted Blue) and the “Sweep_Path” sketch (Highlighted Magenta) we can better visualize how the two bosses with be connected, which will also make the selection options in the Swept Boss/Bass property manager much clearer.
As shown on the left, the sweep profile is selected first followed by the sweep path in the “Profile and Path” selection boxes. The only other option to check is that the sweep is set to merge with the two solid bodies that make up the mounting bosses. This can be previewed under the “Feature Scope” section of the property manager. Once these settings are confirmed, the “OK” button can be selected, and the sweep feature is created. The last thing to be done was to add the mounting holes and a fillet feature to polish of the model.
So, to recap, the SOLIDWORKS sweep is comprised of a profile sketch and a path sketch. The path sketch should be created first, so that the profile can be tied to the path when created. Once these two separate sketches are created, they can then be selected within the Swept Boss/Base property manager to create a basic sweep feature.