SolidWorks 2014 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Using Loft to create complex shapes


SolidWorks 2014 Essential Training

with Gabriel Corbett

Video: Using Loft to create complex shapes

The Loft command, again, builds on all the other features in that it needs a sketch.
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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

Using Loft to create complex shapes

The Loft command, again, builds on all the other features in that it needs a sketch. However, the Loft command actually needs at least two sketches. It can have many more. All the heavy lifting in creating Lofts is spent setting up the sketches in planes. If that was not enough, we can even add in guide curves that are also independent sketches. The Loft command is one of the most powerful modelling tools in SolidWorks. If you need to create complex shapes in one feature, this would be the command of choice. In this video, we're going to cover the basics of the command. However, if you're working with complex shapes, this command might require a little more further study.

To get started, let's go ahead and take a look at what we have here. On the top plane, I have a rectangle or a square with rounded corners on it, and what I want to do is, I want to create a new plane up above that to continue drawing on. So, what I'm going to do is click on the top plane, come to reference geometry and click on plane. That's going to put a plane directly above that for me to use, and in this case you're going to use three inches. Looks good. Click OK, and there's my new plane. Now, to get started with, we're going to do the most basic Loft, and we're actually going to create a little pyramid. So, on this plane, I'm going to start a brand new sketch.

And, I'm going to choose the Point command and drop a point right there in the center of that plane and then exit the sketch. Now, I've got a rounded corner square on the bottom with a point on the top, and that's all I need to create a loft. But keep in mind, we have two separate sketches. We have sketch one down here, and we have a plane above, and a sketch two above it. You can go ahead and preselect both of the planes, sketch one, and sketch two, or you can come up to the Loft feature here, Lofted Base or Boss, click on that, and then choose my profiles from here. So, I'm going to choose sketch one, and get in the habit of choosing these sketches from the tree itself, sometimes it's collapsed up here, so you don't see it.

So, if that's the case you can go ahead and click on that, expand it out and then go ahead and choose sketch one and then sketch two and then right away it creates a preview of exactly what's going to happen. You can see we've got a little nice pyramid, shape here and we're happy with that, go ahead and click on OK, and there it is, our very first Loft. Now if you don't want to see these planes, you can always click on the Plane and click on Hide. And the same thing goes for this one down here, we going to plane hide it so, you can just see the basic shape. Next, if we want to continue on here let's go back to that Loft and notice now we have Loft 1 and underneath that Loft is actually the two sketches that was used to create that shape.

So, let's to go back to where that pyramid point was, and click on Edit Sketch. Come up here, and instead of the point, let's delete that. Click on Delete. Say Yes. And let's come up here to a circle. And this time, I'm going to drag out a circle, and show that shape. When I exit out of the sketch, basically what happens is, it just replaces that point with that circle in that Loft command, and it recreates the shape. Now we can get a little bit more fancy if we want, and go back up to that law feature, click on the feature itself, and you can take a look at some of the other things we have here.

So, starting with the profiles, we can have two profiles or a lot more, depending on how complicated of a shape you want. So, you can continue adding these, and let's say create a shape that basically morphs from all the different shapes you have in a row. You also have this thing called starting and end constraints. If you expand that out with this little drop down arrow, you can see that I can apply these to the shape. Let's try it out. Click on where it says None, and choose Direction Vector, or Normal Profile. First I'm going to choose Normal Profile. In this case here It gives me this little pink arrow, or purple arrow, showing me that I'm actually producing a direction vector coming off that original sketch.

If I grab this little arrow, I can actually drag that arrow up to increase the amount of effect it has on the shape. So, notice I can move that down, and I can also type in a value over here. So, if I type in 0.5 for instance, it changes the shape. I can also do the same thing on the end constraint. Come over here, I can say normal to profile. And notice again, it's, so it's giving it more of an hour glass shape as you push up or down. And again, I can grab these arrows and pull them down a little bit more to get more of an effect, to change that shape. Or I can move it back up to get a little bit less effect.

So, get it to where you want it. By moving the arrows or typing the values. And, you can really make some pretty complicated shapes using the two values here. The other option is the direction vector, and in that case here, it actually needed to find a vector with an arrow, or a number, or another sketch. So, in this case here, I'm not going to show that. But I do want to point out that it's available. Click back on Normal Profile, and when you're happy with that, click on, OK. And there's our shape. The Loft command is definitely one of the most powerful commands in SolidWorks. And the creation process can be time consuming.

However, the concept is fairly straightforward. And the complexity really lies in building the appropriate sketches and planes to lay out the shape. Lofts can be very simple to extremely complex. Make sure to review the sketches and plane movies to really feel comfortable with the Loft command.

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