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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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