Have you ever heard of envelopes in SOLIDWORKS Assemblies? Some of you might not know about this tool but envelopes in SOLIDWORKS is actually a very useful tool as a reference component and as a selection tool.
Envelopes are a special type of component in an assembly. If you copy, pattern and mirror a component as an envelope, the result will also be an envelope. The envelopes are ignored by bills of materials and mass properties.
If you search envelope in the search command, you will not be able to locate it. Envelopes can be created by selecting it as an option when you insert a component and by going to the component properties.
Figure 1. Inserting a component as envelope.
Figure 2. Create an envelope from existing component
Envelopes as a reference component
Using the envelopes as a reference components can make that component very helpful to visualize the position and size of your assembly components. It is like a bounding box that help you find the limits of your design. You can easily recognize envelopes in the graphics area because they are typically displayed in a transparent light blue color. For example, you can insert the side part in this ball valve to refer to it when designing the components of the internal parts. You can also use the envelope to exclude the side part when calculating the mass properties.
Envelopes as selection tool
Envelopes can also be used as a selection tool that are inside, outside or crossing the envelope volume. Selecting the envelopes can be useful to quickly change the visibility of the components and for editing operations like suppress, copy and delete.
In the feature manager tree, you can select a component using envelope right-clicking the component envelope and click “Select using Envelope” and you can hide/show a component by selecting “Show/Hide using Envelope”.
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