Our website will be down for scheduled maintenance on Thursday, September 18, at 11 p.m. Pacific Time and should be back up by Midnight. We apologize for any inconvenience.

# Drawing splines in a sketch

## Video: Drawing splines in a sketch

Splines are the ultimate freeform curve tool.

## 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.

Show transcript

#### This video is part of

SolidWorks 2014 Essential Training

97 video lessons · 7118 viewers

Author

Expand all | Collapse all
1. ### Introduction

1m 51s
1. Welcome
1m 7s
2. Using the exercise files
44s
2. ### 1. Touring the Interface

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. ### 2. Getting Started with 3D

14m 11s
1. Understanding the 3D world
2m 31s
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. ### 3. Basic Solid Modeling

28m 32s
1. Starting a new sketch
6m 50s
2. The six steps used in almost all modeling features
52s
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. ### 4. More Drawing Tools

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. ### 5. Sketch Editing Tools

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
4m 1s
11. Using the Convert Entities command
2m 18s
7. ### 6. Reference Geometry

9m 33s
1. Working with planes
5m 28s
2. Placing and using axes
2m 22s
3. Placing a coordinate system
1m 43s
8. ### 7. Building 3D Geometry

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. ### 8. Removing Material

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. ### 9. Refining Geometry

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. ### 10. Blocks

9m 39s
1. Working with reusable sketches and blocks
2m 47s
2. Creating blocks
3m 51s
3. Designing with blocks
3m 1s
12. ### 11. Assembly: Putting It All Together

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
3m 32s
7. Using Toolbox
4m 21s

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. ### 13. Hole Wizard

10m 20s
1. Getting started with the Hole Wizard
4m 38s
2. Positioning holes in layout sketches
5m 42s
15. ### 14. In-Context Modeling

15m 27s
1. Linking sketches to other parts
4m 28s
6m 48s
3. Using the Hole Wizard in context
4m 11s
16. ### 15. Creating Threads on Parts

17m 15s
7m 17s
2. Using a helix and Swept Path to create a thread
4m 2s
5m 56s
17. ### 16. Equations and Design Tables

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. ### 17. Part Drawings

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. ### 18. Dimensioning

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. ### 19. Adding General Annotations

14m 38s
1. Creating holes and callouts
5m 8s
2. Adding center marks and centerlines to a drawing
3m 46s
2m 57s
4. Making drawing revisions
2m 47s
21. ### 20. Assembly Drawings

11m 42s
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. ### Conclusion

1m 2s
1. Next steps
1m 2s

### Start learning today

Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

### What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

### Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

How to use exercise files.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Congratulations

You have completed SolidWorks 2014 Essential Training.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

How to use exercise files.

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

• Mark video as unwatched
• Mark ALL videos as unwatched
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

## Are you sure you want to delete this note?

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

• new course releases
• general communications
• special notices

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

• new course releases