SOLIDWORKS 2017 Sketch Enhancement – Shaded sketch contours
Tips and Tricks • Bill • 10 November 2016
There is an enhancement to sketching in SOLIDWORKS 2017 I’d like to bring to your attention. It may seem a fairly trivial enhancement at first glance, but I believe it will be of great benefit to SOLIDWORKS operators, saving both time and frustration. It is “shaded sketch contours”.
When attempting to sketch a closed contour in SOLIDWORKS it is all too easy to accidentally double-click instead of single clicking, or click when not quite on the end of an existing entity, thus not actually snapping to the entity. Either of these mistakes can result in an “open contour” and prevent the 3D geometry being created. You end up with the following – in this case the sketch looks OK, but there is no preview in the Boss-Extrude function (the first sign there is something wrong) and then an error occurs when you try to complete the function.
You have no choice, but to back out of the function and edit the sketch to try to work out what has happened.
In SOLIDWORKS 2017 the “shaded sketch contours” function should prevent this happening so much. The function automatically shades in closed contours in a sketch. If you have drawn what you believe to be a closed contour and it doesn’t automatically get shaded, then it isn’t closed.
The image below shows what appear to be two rectangles in a sketch.
The rectangle on the left is shaded, indicating it is a closed contour. The rectangle on the right is not shaded, indicating that, while it looks like a closed rectangle, it is in fact not actually a closed contour. You know immediately, without having to wait until the Boss-Extrude function, there is a problem with the sketch.
Closer examination of the problematic rectangle shows a gap in the bottom, left corner, as shown below.
Closing the gap creates a closed contour and the rectangle is immediately shaded to confirm this.
This “shaded sketch contours” functionality is controlled from Tools -> Sketch Settings -> Shaded Sketch Contours, as shown below.
Please note, this functionality is only available for new sketches in SOLIDWORKS 2017.
As I said, a seemingly trivial enhancement, and it may hardly be noticed, but one that in my opinion will make life using SOLIDWORKS 2017 that little bit easier and quicker.
About the Author:
Technical Support Engineer
CSWP, CSWE, CDWP
Based in Sydney, Australia