SolidWorks 2014 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Drawing splines in a sketch


SolidWorks 2014 Essential Training

with Gabriel Corbett

Video: Drawing splines in a sketch

Splines are the ultimate freeform curve tool.
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  1. 1m 51s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 31m 13s
    1. Launching SolidWorks for the first time
      3m 55s
    2. Accessing and customizing the Ribbon
      4m 14s
    3. Touring the shortcut bar and identifying essential keys
      7m 27s
    4. Saving, renaming, and managing files
      10m 28s
    5. Working with the new view cube, or View Selector
      2m 36s
    6. New features in SolidWorks 2013 and 2014
      2m 33s
  3. 14m 11s
    1. Understanding the 3D world
      2m 31s
    2. Creating your first part
      3m 15s
    3. The virtual, parametric prototyping environment
      1m 56s
    4. The FeatureManager and feature-based modeling
      3m 43s
    5. History-based modeling and the rollback bar
      2m 46s
  4. 28m 32s
    1. Starting a new sketch
      6m 50s
    2. The six steps used in almost all modeling features
    3. The Line and Centerline tools
      3m 25s
    4. Using the Circle tool
      1m 51s
    5. Adding and removing relationships and dimensions
      6m 56s
    6. Understanding relationship types
      3m 58s
    7. System options, units, and templates
      4m 40s
  5. 18m 28s
    1. Drawing rectangles
      5m 31s
    2. Creating arcs in a sketch
      4m 8s
    3. Drawing splines in a sketch
      4m 57s
    4. Sketching polygons
      3m 52s
  6. 36m 5s
    1. Trimming and extending portions of a sketch
      3m 54s
    2. Creating offset geometry
      3m 13s
    3. Moving, copying, rotating, and scaling elements
      3m 13s
    4. Erasing, undoing, and redoing actions
      2m 24s
    5. Using the mirror tools
      2m 24s
    6. Creating repeating patterns in a sketch
      4m 55s
    7. Using construction lines to build robust sketches
      3m 25s
    8. Applying fillets and chamfers to a sketch
      2m 32s
    9. Working with slots
      3m 46s
    10. Adding text to parts
      4m 1s
    11. Using the Convert Entities command
      2m 18s
  7. 9m 33s
    1. Working with planes
      5m 28s
    2. Placing and using axes
      2m 22s
    3. Placing a coordinate system
      1m 43s
  8. 17m 50s
    1. Extruding a sketch into a 3D object
      4m 36s
    2. Using Revolve to create 3D parts
      2m 42s
    3. Using Loft to create complex shapes
      4m 40s
    4. Refining a loft shape with guide curves
      2m 22s
    5. Using the sweep to create wire and pipe shapes
      3m 30s
  9. 20m 23s
    1. Modifying parts using the Extruded Cut tool
      5m 42s
    2. Working with the Revolved Cut tool
      6m 19s
    3. Using the Lofted Cut tool
      3m 32s
    4. Cutting holes and grooves with the Swept Cut tool
      4m 50s
  10. 21m 5s
    1. Using fillets and chamfers to smooth corners
      5m 58s
    2. Creating repeating rectangular patterns
      3m 16s
    3. Creating a circular pattern
      2m 27s
    4. Mirroring objects
      4m 0s
    5. Using the Shell and Draft tools
      3m 52s
    6. Scaling parts
      1m 32s
  11. 9m 39s
    1. Working with reusable sketches and blocks
      2m 47s
    2. Creating blocks
      3m 51s
    3. Designing with blocks
      3m 1s
  12. 29m 45s
    1. Understanding the tools for beginning a new assembly
      4m 46s
    2. The basic steps in creating an assembly
      3m 18s
    3. Mating parts together in an assembly
      6m 43s
    4. Working with subassemblies
      2m 9s
    5. Linear and circular assembly patterns
      4m 56s
    6. Downloading premade parts from the Internet
      3m 32s
    7. Using Toolbox
      4m 21s
  13. 15m 8s
    1. Mating parts with coincident, parallel, and distance mates
      4m 35s
    2. Mating parts with width mates
      5m 53s
    3. Mating parts with path mates
      2m 5s
    4. Mating parts by aligning planes
      2m 35s
  14. 10m 20s
    1. Getting started with the Hole Wizard
      4m 38s
    2. Positioning holes in layout sketches
      5m 42s
  15. 15m 27s
    1. Linking sketches to other parts
      4m 28s
    2. Linking to layout sketches
      6m 48s
    3. Using the Hole Wizard in context
      4m 11s
  16. 17m 15s
    1. Understanding threading concepts
      7m 17s
    2. Using a helix and Swept Path to create a thread
      4m 2s
    3. Understanding internal threads
      5m 56s
  17. 17m 25s
    1. Using equations to drive a sketch
      5m 5s
    2. Working with complex calculations
      2m 6s
    3. Integrating Microsoft Excel to manage design tables
      7m 10s
    4. Building assemblies using part configurations
      3m 4s
  18. 23m 17s
    1. Working with drawing templates
      6m 49s
    2. Setting up drawing options and sheet properties
      3m 43s
    3. Choosing the correct projection angle
      2m 21s
    4. Adding model views to a drawing
      10m 24s
  19. 16m 8s
    1. Creating general dimension notations
      6m 37s
    2. Creating ordinate and running dimensions
      3m 0s
    3. Dimensioning holes and curved features
      3m 8s
    4. Using the autodimension tools
      3m 23s
  20. 14m 38s
    1. Creating holes and callouts
      5m 8s
    2. Adding center marks and centerlines to a drawing
      3m 46s
    3. Adding item notes
      2m 57s
    4. Making drawing revisions
      2m 47s
  21. 11m 42s
    1. Adding assemblies to drawings
      2m 10s
    2. Including a bill of materials
      1m 42s
    3. Adding balloons to specify parts on an assembly drawing
      1m 39s
    4. Adding a title block and sheet properties
      2m 8s
    5. Building an exploded view for an assembly drawing
      4m 3s
  22. 1m 2s
    1. Next steps
      1m 2s

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Watch the Online Video Course SolidWorks 2014 Essential Training
6h 20m Beginner Dec 09, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

SolidWorks is the world leader in 3D software for product development and design. Start creating manufacturing-ready parts and assemblies, as well as detailed drawings and bills of materials. In this course, author Gabriel Corbett shows how to create 2D sketches that will become the basis for your 3D models. You'll use the Extrude and Revolve tools to turn 2D sketches into 3D parts, then create more complex geometry with sweep and lofts. Then learn how to use the cut features to remove material and shape parts, and use mirroring, patterning, and scaling to modify parts. Next, you'll combine parts into movable assemblies and subassemblies. Finally, you'll create accurately annotated drawings, complete with itemized bills of materials that relate the final parts and assemblies to a manufacturer.

Topics include:
  • Creating your first part
  • Starting a new sketch
  • Adding and removing relationships and dimensions
  • Sketching polygons
  • Creating offset geometry
  • Moving, copying, and rotating elements
  • Working with planes, axes, and the coordinate system
  • Using Revolve and Loft to create 3D objects
  • Trimming with the Revolve, Loft, and Sweep cuts
  • Creating smooth and angled corners with fillets and chamfers
  • Designing with sketch blocks
  • Working with subassemblies
  • Creating threaded parts
  • Integrating Excel to manage design tables
  • Adding dimension notations to a drawing
  • Rendering an image of a part or assembly
Gabriel Corbett

Drawing splines in a sketch

Splines are the ultimate freeform curve tool. Smooth flowing shapes and wild curves are the results. However, be careful. Splines are very difficult to relay on drawings and manufacturing is more of an issue. Sometimes the best choice is to use a spline as a layout sketch for traditional arcs to get the best of both worlds. Let's take a look at some of the tools within the spline command. Up here under spline we've got several different options we can use. We have the regular spline, we have the style spline, spline as surface, and equation-driven curve. We're only going to focus really on the spline and style spline in this movie.

So style spline, I'm going to choose one of these planes. I'm going to choose the top plane. Let's go ahead and zoom in on that plane and take a look at the tool. So a spline is created between multiple points, so I'm going to start with one point here. And my next point will be here. The next point will be here and then finally point will be here. And notice that spline continues on. Wherever the endpoint is controls the rest of the behavior of how that spline is. If I move things around, it adjusts everything. When you're done creating that shape, go ahead and hit Esc and then you have a defined spline.

So notice you have a starting point, you have an ending point, and then you have a couple of other points here that control the shape of the spline. Notice if I click on either one of these points, I get these two little arrows going in both directions. What that means is, the effect, it's the direction vector. So I can grab one of these things, and I can move it around to adjust that spline. Or I can pull, make it longer or shorter. Which gives the amount of force it has on controlling the shape of the spline. Same thing over here. So I can make that bigger. Do the same thing over here. I can move things around, I can change the angles, and notice that as I change one, it changes the entire lines, that are all connected together.

Sometime it's going to be a little bit more complicated when you start dealing with splines and how much control they have over things, so you might want to really adjust this. Generally the best splines have fewer lines. Because notice, as you start moving these around, things start getting a little bit strange. Reactions of what happens when you start moving things too much. So really keeping track of what you're working with in the spline is important. And don't add too many points because sometimes it makes it a little more complicated. Once you have a shape, you can also right-click on that shape, and there's all these spline tools here. You can add tangency control, curvature control.

You can add points, you can simplify the spline. You can do all these different things here, so it's really complicated, and has a lot of power. You can really control this quite a bit when you're working with the spline. You can also, if you click on the spline here, you can maybe show the curvature, showing you how that shape looks. You can adjust how that is reflected on the screen, you can control the density of how many lines are showing up there. And put that, go ahead and turn it off. That way you can move things around, and it will show what they look like on the screen. When you're happy with that, click OK.

I'm going to go ahead and delete this spline now. Click on that and hit delete. And we're going to show you the second type of spline. So under spline, I'm going to go to style spline. In this case here, what it is is more of a controlled polygon style of spline. And I can choose a couple different straight line segments which then defines the shape of the spline. When you're happy with it, click Esc, and then I can grab the points of that control polygon to move things around. Makes it a little bit easier to work with on the spline because I can just drag these straight line segments or these lines around here to adjust the spline, and it's a little bit easier to control.

When you have a segment like that and you're happy with it, that's great. One word of caution though on splines is they're very hard to define. There's no real arcs here, I can't add a dimension. There's nothing I can dimension to, it can give me a length of it but that's about it. So how do we define this, how do we relay this on maybe a drawing in the future or on a part we're actually going to be building? And that becomes the major difficulty. So here's one work around for that. If you go ahead and exit out of that sketch, those who get sketch number three in the feature tree. Now what I want to do is choose that same plane that I was just working on, which is the top plane, insert a brand new sketch on top of that plane.

So now it's going to be called sketch four. And what I want to use now is a regular arc segment. So I'm just going to go ahead and choose the three point arc. And I'm going to start my very first arc, and I'm just going to snap it to that spline, and we get it really close. Then I'm going to switch over to the tangency arc, start from that end point, and I'm just going to basically try and overlay some small arc segments right on top of that original spline, and get them as close as I can to the same look as we had when we were creating the spline. Now, this is pretty quick to do, and you know, depending on the curvature, you might add several or maybe you only need a few.

Let's go ahead and just add a couple more and control that whole spline. So now what I have here is a very definitive amount of individual arcs that go ahead and make up that spline. They're all tangent to each other, so it's a nice smooth arc. But these can actually have dimensions. So I can add a radius for each one of these. And define the shape and size of it. I can define the start and end point of each one of these line segments, again defining that shape so if I ever want to make a drawing of this thing, I can dimension every single one of the points and every one of the radiuses of those arcs. Splines have many great features and are wonderful for smooth curves and complex shapes, however use them with caution.

Dimensioning, defining and building parts. Design with splines can be very complicated.

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