Copying and Moving Sketch Entities in Solidworks

SolidWorks offers several different tools to help you move sketch entities around in a sketch. In SolidWorks, it is usually recommended to keep the sketch as simple as you can, and to create patterns using feature patterns rather than sketch patterns. The following section discusses the main tools for moving and copying sketch entities.

Move entities

Move entities enables you to move selected sketch entities by either selecting From and To points, or by typing in XY coordinates for the move. When the Keep relations option is unselected, the Move tool automatically detaches sketch segments whose endpoints are merged, as shown in Figure 6.4. If Keep relations is selected, SolidWorks moves the entities and tries to maintain the sketch relations and merged points. All the tools have a pushpin icon in the interface, which enables you to use them many times when the pushpin icon is pushed in; they are deactivated after one use if the pushpin icon is not pushed in.

Copying and Moving Sketch Entities in Solidworks

Rotate entities

Rotate entities rotates selected entities in a sketch in the same way that Move entities works. You can drag the angle or type it in manually. The green check mark icon is on the RMB, as shown in the cursor display in Figure 6.5.

Copying and Moving Sketch Entities in Solidworks

Copy entities

The Copy entities tool works exactly like the Move entities tool, except that it copies instead of moving. The Copy entities tool enables you to move selected sketch entities by either selecting From and To points, or by typing in XY coordinates to copy. SolidWorks copies the entities and tries to maintain the sketch relations and merged points.

Scale entities

Scale entities is one of those functions probably best left alone. This is because the results are erratic and unpredictable, particularly if there are dimensions on the sketch. This tool works on a selection of entities, particularly on an isolated selection that is not connected to other entities in the sketch. The PropertyManager for the Scale Entities tool is shown in Figure 6.6

Modify Sketch

The Modify Sketch tool has been available in SolidWorks for a long time, but it has been super- seded by some of the newer tools mentioned previously. However, it still has some unique func- tionality that is not covered by any other sketch tool. Modify sketch works on the entire sketch rather than on selections from the sketch, and it works best if there are no external relations between sketch entities and anything outside the sketch. It can also work on a sketch without the sketch being active. While most feature and tool interfaces have been moved to the PropertyManager, Modify sketch still uses a dialog box, as shown in Figure 6.7, that floats in the graphics window.

FIGURE 6.6

Copying and Moving Sketch Entities in Solidworks

FIGURE 6.7
Copying and Moving Sketch Entities in Solidworks

The Modify Sketch dialog box enables you to perform the following functions:

  • Scale About. The Scaling function in the Modify Sketch tool enables you to scale about either the part Origin or the Moveable Origin. The Moveable Origin is the black origin symbol with knobs on the ends of the axes and at the intersection. The Moveable Origin can be moved and even snapped to entities that are internal or external to the sketch.
  • Translate. The Translate function of the Modify Sketch tool enables you to click and drag to move the entire sketch, or to select a point and move it to a specific set of coordinates that you type in. If the sketch is dragged onto an external entity and picks up an automatic relation, then a message may appear saying that you can now use Modify sketch only for rotating the sketch because there is an external relation.
  • Rotate. The Rotate function of the Modify Sketch tool enables you to position the Moveable Origin to act as the center of rotation, and to either type in a rotation angle or drag with the right-mouse button to rotate, as indicated by the cursor.

When you place the cursor over the knobs on the Moveable Origin, the cursor symbols change to indicate the functionality of the RMB. These cursors are shown in action in Figure 6.8. The cursors enable mirroring about X, Y, or both simultaneously.

Copying and Moving Sketch Entities in Solidworks

Note

The Modify Sketch tool is one of my favorite sketch editing tools to use because it is straightforward and doesn’t do anything unexpected. It was also an original SolidWorks development, not a tool meant to duplicate existing AutoCAD functionality like some of the previously mentioned sketch tools.

The one thing about Modify Sketch that many people find unsettling is that the red sketch origin moves and rotates along with the rest of the sketch. Once you make peace with the fact that you can’t use the red sketch origin for much anyway, this becomes unimportant.

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