The capability of Solidworks to generate 3D sketches of models is an awesome characteristic of this versatile software.
It eliminates the need for the designer to continuously keep changing the working plane enabling the designer to develop the network in a single 3D sketch. This helps reduce time taken in developing sketches that require several planes to create.
I will delve into this by creating a pipe network using the 3D sketch then developing the model using the sweep tool inside Solidworks.
Begin by creating a new part.
Click on the sketch drop down and select 3D sketch at the top left of the window
You can then click on the edit sketch icon.
When you click on the line tool and hover around the sketch you can note that a cursor appears showing the 3 axis coordinates.
It is possible to now create a sketch based of these coordinate system. What I would suggest is that you create a sketch of what you would want to develop without regards to the dimensions. You can then format the sketch based off your current dimensions by using smart dimension.
Remember to always change your orientation whenever you want to change the direction of your line otherwise you could mess up because of parallax.
Once you are done with the sketch you can format the dimensions and proceed to run the sweep feature
You can also fillet the corners of your sketch to make the transition smooth.
You can choose the fillet size you require and click on the green marker to initiate the process.
Once you are satisfied with your sketch you can then proceed to run the sweep tool.
A good looking pipe network is created. You can then shell the pipe to the required pipe thickness.
Select both ends of the pipe when using the shell tool.
Specify the thickness of the pipe then run by clicking on the green marker.
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