Learn how to create complex shapes using the Loft tool.
- [Instructor] The SOLIDWORKS Loft feature is definitely one of the more powerful tools inside of the SOLIDWORKS arsenal. The first thing I need to do is to create two or more sketches that we're going to loft between. So you can see here I have already one sketch and I need to create another sketch up above this. So to do that, let's go head up to Reference Geometry and create a plane. As far as my first reference, I'm going to go ahead and choose something that's directly above this top plane here. I can just drag that up if I'd like to by clicking on the arrow or type in a value here.
So type in, let's say, 2.0. It's going to go ahead and push that plane directly up above there by two inches. And go ahead and click on OK. Now, on that plane, let's go ahead and start a brand new sketch. And I'm going to go ahead and draw a center rectangle right there at the origin and kind of just drag it out. The exact size doesn't really matter, but I want to get something that's going to look fairly interesting when I create this lofted feature. Alright, there's my sketch. I'm going to go ahead and just leave it undefined for right now and let's go ahead and exit out of that sketch. So now I have sketch number one, and I have sketch number two.
And I'm going to create a loft between the two. Now, for clarity, I'm just going to go ahead and hide this plane here. So I'm going to turn the little eyeball off so hide that. Alright, so now I've got the two shapes. I'm trying to create a loft between. They both have the same amount of endpoints, so you've got four corners here and you've got four corners there. So everything should be pretty good. So the first thing I want to do is come up here to the lofted boss or base command. As far as my profiles, now I can choose them from the window here, but I generally prefer to choose them actually from the tree.
So I'm going to choose this shape here to that shape there, and automatically it creates a loft between the two shapes. Now you also have the option for using start and end constraints or guide curves, but we'll be getting into those things in a few more minutes. First things first, just go ahead and click on OK and you can see the shape that we have. Now, if you want to go back and edit that loft, you can either change the individual sketches themselves, so if I change this sketch right here, got to drag this out a little bit, maybe even bigger, the loft will automatically update to whatever shape you have between the two sketches.
If I go back the other direction, same scenario. So now you've got the couple different options for creating that loft. Now if you actually want to change the feature itself, you can change, for instance, the start and end constraints. You can say none or you can change it to the direction vector or you can change it to normal to profile. So normal to profile will basically give this some kind of a power, so it's saying I'm coming directly normal out of that sheet of paper and this little arrow here, if I click on that, controls how much power that has over the loft. So you can see, by adding some strength to it, it's going to push up first before it actually comes back down.
You can get some pretty wild shapes, just by doing so. So, you can really just kind of adjust your loft with these commands. Same thing over here with the end constraint. Click over here, I can say normal to profile, and now you can see it's kind of making more of like a little hourglass type shape. And I can push that down as well and get more of an effect, or more power in that normal direction. You can adjust those numbers to get a lot of different shapes very quickly and easily. If you want to try to use the other one, which is a direction vector, you actually have to put a direction in.
In this case here, I don't really have a direction. I would have to create some type of a line in the direction I'd like to go in, or just choose some other existing line. But in this case, I don't really have any line, but that's how you choose it. You pick a line going in the direction you want it to go into, versus just using normal to profile which would be going straight down or straight up. So those are the basic things for creating this type of a loft feature. Go ahead and click on OK and there's my shape. Alright, I'm going to switch over to my second example. In this case here, I've created a loft already, and it goes from basically a square at the bottom up tier to a six-sided shape at the top.
And you can see here I've got a couple of extra lines, this line here and that line right there, and it looks a little bit funny because right now you've got a four-sided shape on the bottom and you've got a six-sided shape on the top. And so SOLIDWORKS does not know how to connect the dots. So it started to break this surface here into two surfaces as well as one over here. And that's not really very symmetrical. So it's better to go and give SOLIDWORKS the exact same number of sides for creating lofts. And let me show you how to fix that. Let's go ahead and just delete the loft right now.
Alright, now let's go over into the very first sketch and notice it's blue. So let's go ahead and take this edge here and this edge over here and let's go ahead and just switch them over to construction. So for construction and for construction. Now what I want to do is just create a regular line on top of there, so I make a line from here down to here and from here, I can actually snap to the midpoint if you'd like to and up to here. So now I've defined that. Now I want to make all of those equal.
So now this line is the same length as that line, same thing over here. So now we've got actually a six-sided shape. Even though it still looks like a square, it still is made up of six endpoints. So you've got an endpoint here, here, here, here, here, and here. Now, when I go back and create that loft feature, it knows to connect this dot to that dot, from this dot to that dot and so on. So let's go ahead and choose that first sketch and the second one and then go ahead and choose lofted boss or base. And notice over here, it didn't actually do what we wanted to do.
It's kind of still twisting a little bit. And that means we need to adjust these little green markers at the end. So, if I click on this marker here, I can drag it over to here and now I'm connecting the right dots together. Alright, once everything looks the way it should, let's go ahead and click on the green check mark again and now we have our finished shape. So it looks pretty solid. Alright, the last one I want to show you is this one over here, which is the 8.1.3. And alright, now we've got three shapes we're going to loft between. And you can actually have as many sketch profiles as you need to create a loft.
So in this case, we're going to go from this one up here to this one and into this one up here. So go up to lofted base or boss. Let's go ahead and choose it from the tree, sketch number one going to sketch number two. And notice it's twisting already, so we don't want that twist, so let's go ahead and grab that little green dot and move it over to the other side. So now it's looking pretty good. And then let's go ahead and add in that very last one, and again, it's twisting again. So we have to kind of move that around to the other side until we start getting a better shape. Sometimes it has a kind of free-floating shape, so you can adjust it on the fly here.
But right there you can see we've got pretty close to what we want. We've got this all kind of going in a row, and you can go ahead and click on the green check mark to get that final shape. So, we can adjust each one of those sketches to change the shape if you want to. You can also grab those little green dots and move it around a little bit to get a little bit of variation in your shape if you need to. My general recommendation though is if you have a multi-sided object, make sure you have the same amount of sides in all your individual shapes. That way, you'll always get the best style of loft right from the beginning.
First, see how to how to use the sketch tools to create two-dimensional sketches that become the foundation for 3D objects. Next, look at extruding and revolving 3D features; creating complex objects using the Sweep, Loft, and Surface tools; and modifying parts. Learn how to create uniform holes with the Hole Wizard, and explore more advanced modeling techniques using equations, mirroring, and pattern tools. Then review best practices for putting parts together in assemblies and building robust structures. The course wraps up tips for creating detailed drawings that relate the final parts and assemblies to a manufacturer, complete with an itemized bill of materials and drawing notes.
- Working with templates
- Creating sketches
- Extruding and revolving features
- Applying materials
- Sketching lines, shapes, and polygons
- Trimming, extending, and transforming geometry
- Adding fillets and chamfers
- Working with planes and coordinates
- Creating patterns
- Modeling advanced parts
- Making holes
- Designing with blocks
- Building assemblies
- Mating parts
- Linking sketches
- Using design tables
- Creating part and assembly drawings
- Creating dimensions
- Adding annotations