solidworks tipsHere’s a handy little tip that 4 out of 5 tech support guys recommend for getting a quick perpendicular- to-tangent relation in SolidWorks.

This is really simple, but I don’t see it used too often. It can help you avoid a bunch of steps, as well as prevent unnecessary construction lines and geometry.

To create a line perpendicular to a tangent of a circle

  1. Start a sketch
  2. Select the line tool from the Sketch Tools toolbar
  3. Pick the circular feature (sketch or solid)
  4. Now, hold the cursor there for a second. You will see an inference line show up. (an axis tangent to the circle and perpendicular.)
  5. Drag the cursor toward the center of the circle and pick somewhere on the inference line.


What this does is create a coincident relation at the endpoint of the line on the circle and a coincident relation on the line through the center of the circle. A two for one deal and a great way to pick up that tangency without all the extra work.

Have you used this before?


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.