About Lesson

The function used for drawing lines is essentially very simple, but it still contains several options that can serve you well in your daily work. In this lesson, I’ll show you what it’s really about.

I’ve already switched to Sketch mode, so I’ll start the Line function right away. After that, I just need to click on the appropriate position and thus start drawing a new element, a line. Its final shape can be determined in the same way – by simply pressing the left mouse button and as soon as a complete line appears on the screen, the program will allow me to continue and draw another segment. At the same time, information about the current length will also be displayed on the screen, and there is also the possibility to determine its dimension by direct input. I’ll take the opportunity to show you how this works and add a new line in one go.

The whole process is automatically repeated, which means that I can go ahead and use a combination of different techniques to complete this drawing. If the information about the current length of the line does not appear on the screen, you can change it very easily. It is enough to start the adjustment function (Options) by selecting this icon and look for the item called Sketch in the first section (System Options). After that, it will not be difficult for you to check whether the Enable on screen numeric input on entry creation option is active, and since it is already on for me, I will use the opportunity to activate the option related to adding elevation in the case of direct entry (Create dimensions only when value is entered).

As soon as I click the OK button and close this frame, I’ll be able to test how this all works. So I’m going to run the Line function again and first draw a simple line. As you can see, only one simple element appeared on the screen, but if I determine the length of the next segment by direct input, via the keyboard, the corresponding dimensional line will automatically appear next to it. This principle will be valid until I turn off the mentioned option, and in order to prove it to you, I will draw a few more segments and alternately use different techniques.

At the same time, I would like to remind you of the additional functions that are always available to you. This primarily refers to the ability to automatically place a new line in a position that represents the perpendicular to the previous segment. In doing so, it will be highlighted in yellow, and after the operation is completed, a small green square will appear on the connection, indicating their mutual relationship. If you want to check what it is actually about, simply place the cursor over this mark and the program will automatically highlight the corresponding elements. It seems to me that these two lines are parallel, and this can be checked with one move of the mouse.

Before I go any further, I’m going to remove all the existing elements and then immediately start the Line function, because I’d like to show you another method you can use to draw a line. This can be achieved by dragging, which means that after entering the starting point, you should hold the left mouse button and release it only when the cursor is placed at the final location. In this way, the addition of new segments is avoided and the currently active function is automatically completed. After that you can apply some of the additional conditions and I will use the opportunity to place this line in a horizontal position.

The best thing is that you can continue at any time, which in this case means that I can draw a new segment without any problems and at the same time connect it to the existing line. In doing so, I can also use exactly specified lengths, and the program will automatically add the corresponding dimension lines. Admittedly, dimensioning is a procedure that can be performed later, and for this purpose it is enough to start the Smart Dimension function, select the appropriate segment and determine the position of the dimension line. I will use the opportunity to change its length as well, which will automatically be reflected on the baseline.

In the rest of the lesson, I will show you how you can use the additional options. To that end, I will first select the appropriate element. a line, so that an auxiliary menu that includes a relatively large number of different functions appears on the screen. I will select the icon called Construction Geometry and this will automatically be reflected in the appearance of the selected element. It will be displayed as a series of broken segments with dots, which means that it now represents a completely new type of line, the so-called Centerline. I could achieve the same effect through the icon on the toolbar, and the best thing is that with one click you can change the current status of the selected line.

Before I continue, I would like to show you one of the possible applications of this way of working. To that end, I will first remove all existing elements from the screen, and then draw a rectangle using the Rectangle function. If after that I add a diagonal to it in the form of a construction line and tie its middle to the coordinates of the beginning, I will be able to change its shape and size in one stroke without affecting its position.

Since I’ve already mentioned drawing rectangles, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to explain the application of the Rectangle function in a little more detail. Of course, you can start it by clicking on the icon of the same name, but if you choose the arrow to the right of it instead, you will be able to create some specific shapes. Essentially, everything boils down to changing certain conditions, and the element that is currently on the screen has two horizontal and two vertical edges. In practice, this means that they cannot be rotated, although at any moment I can remove these restrictions and freely move its vertices. In that case, I can very easily disrupt the entire geometry, which again leads me to apply new conditions. This time I will place the adjacent segments so that they overlap at right angles and declare the opposite lines to be parallel, thus re-establishing the correct layout of the planes. After that, I will again be able to change its size, but not its angle, which means that I will have to apply another condition. To that end, I will first add one horizontal line and define the angle at which I want the longer side to be placed, 30 degrees.

Although in the end I achieved the desired result, the whole procedure required a lot of effort and could have been much simpler. To prove it to you, I will first remove all existing elements and select the 3 Point Corner Rectangle function from this list. After that, it won’t be difficult for me to define a new rectangle with three clicks and automatically set all the necessary relationships. They will be retained even if I move a theme or place the entire element in a different position.

If I go back to the functions that are in this menu, you will see that there is also one that allows me to place a new rectangle over the point that is in its center. Admittedly, he will automatically receive two constructive lines, because they are necessary to preserve the basic geometry. Then follows the 3 Point Center Rectangle function, which allows me to immediately place the entire element at any angle, while the function of the same name can be used to draw an ordinary parallelogram.

As you could see for yourself, Solidworks allows you to draw the same element in several different ways, and it will automatically get all the necessary relationships, which makes the whole process much easier.

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