The typical design work flow
- Building a model in SolidWorks usually starts with making a part based on a
2D sketch. The sketch consists of geometry such as points, lines, arcs, and splines. Dimensions are added to the
sketch to define the size and location of the geometry. Relations are used to define attributes such as tangency,
parallelism, perpendicularity, and concentricity. The parametric nature of SolidWorks means that the dimensions and
relations drive the geometry, not the other way around. The dimensions in the sketch can be controlled independently, or
by relationships to other parameters inside or outside of the sketch.
- The first sketch in a part can be located on one of the 3 the basic xyz planes with no external references.
- If a part is to be made to fit to an already designed part, or a part imported from the web, or a part designed
to match any other physical object - motor, bracket, wheel etc., the original part can be
imported into the new part producing a starting point and guidelines for the new sketch.
- When the sketch is finished it can be used to make a
feature (volume segment) by various volume generating operations.
- When needed, the volume can be further modified by cutting holes in it or adding new features (volume segments) to it. This is
normally done by locating a new 2D sketch on a proper
face of the original volume. This sketch is then used to add or cut new volumes in the original solid. This
procedure is repeated until the part is finished. If it is impossible to locate a new sketch on an already designed face,
one of the 3 basic xyz planes can be used or a
2D plane can be added to the part and the new sketch can be located on it.
- Most CAD models are assemblies which consists of several parts connected to each other in more or less
complicated ways. In an assembly, the analog to sketch relations are
mates. Just as sketch relations define conditions such as tangency, parallelism, and concentricity with
respect to sketch geometry, assembly mates define equivalent relations with respect to the individual parts or
components. SolidWorks also includes additional advanced mating features such as gear and cam follower mates, which
allow modeled gear assemblies to accurately reproduce the rotational movement of an actual gear train.