Use of 3-D sketch feature in SolidWorks

3-D sketches are lines, splines or a sketch made by using different sketching tools in SolidWorks.

3-D sketches are used as paths or guide curves while sweeping.

TIP: you cannot use patterns or mirrors while working with 3-D sketches.


Different tools used while working with 3-D sketches:


Centerline – Creates construction geometry.


Convert Entities – Creates one or more entities in a 3D sketch by projecting an edge, loop, face, external curve, external sketch contour, set of edges, or set of external curves onto the sketch plane.


Face Curves – Extracts 3D iso-parametric curves from faces or surfaces.


Sketch Fillet – Rounds the intersections of sketched lines.


Sketch Chamfer – Bevels the intersections of sketched lines.


Intersection Curve – Creates a sketched curve at intersections.


Trim Entities – Trims or extends a sketch entity in a 3D sketch.


Extend Entities – Extends a sketch entity in a 3D sketch.


Construction Geometry – Converts sketched curves in a 3D sketch to construction geometry.


 TIP: Spline on surface is only available when working with 3-D sketches.


Step by step use of 3-D sketches:

You can create 3D sketch entities on a working plane, or at any arbitrary point in 3D space.


3-D sketch icon can be found in weldments tools, or from insert menu.

Initiating 3-D sketch tool:

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We can initiate this tool b using weldments tool pallet.

Go to weldments tools

Click on 3-D sketch to use this tool in SolidWorks.

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Or we can start using this tool by starting from insert tab.

Go to insert, select 3-D sketch.

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This is the representation of origin while using this sketch tool.


To understand the XY in our tool, lets understand the basics of Cartesian geometry.

The 3 planes in 3-D are:XY, YZ, XZ

These are the interface between any two axes, for example XY is the face between the intersection of X and Y axes.

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Now working on ZX plane lets create a sketch.


In this example, we will create a profile for sweeping , this profile will be on different planes.

There are two ways of doing this:
First is the normal method of creating reference planes and sketching on them.
The second, which is more efficient method of sketching is using 3-D sketch tool. Because of this tool you can sketch on different planes without using reference plane feature in Solidworks.

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Now select YZ plane and add this sketch.

You can change the plane selected by using the ‘tab’ key.

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This is how the sketch looks in 3-D view. We have sketched in 2 planes without using reference plane feature.

This user friendly behavior is what makes SolidWorks a leading software in Designing.

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Now, change the selected plane and add this sketch to our original sketch.


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This is how our sketch looks now, in 3-d view.


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Add fillets to make it more realistic.


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This sketch was profile for sweeping. Now to draw the sweep tool, select the origin and sketch a circle.


Use sweep feature in SolidWorks to sweep the profile across the path sketched.


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The use of sweep feature.


Render the part to get the final result.


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