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solidworks-tipsHere’s a slightly useful and not-at-all complicated tip on reducing features by using 3D sketches. It’s more fun to have people gather around your desk, get all attentive and then yell the first step very, very loud as they hunker down around your screen… Now move in close people…

Two Tips in One
This is really two tips in one. What a deal. I’ll show how to create a plane at any angle against a curved surface and do it with a minimum number of features, all thanks to the handy 3D-ness of the 3D sketch tool. There’s a video later on, but here’s the step-by-step.

Giant Ticks, my friend. Some call them points or dots, I call them ticks. And they’re thirsty for 3D bloody sketchiness. Say you have a curved surface (like this one you can download). Remember to yell.

  1. Start a 3D sketch and plop 3 points in space with perpendicular lines in between!
  2. Put one point on the bottom edge of the surface
  3. Add some dimensions to lock things down a little bit
  4. Exit the sketch
  5. Insert a Plane (Insert, Refereence Geometry, Plane) by selecting the 3 points you created

Ok, you’ve effectively eliminated 1 feature (an extra plane) from your FeatureManager and have learned to create a plane angled to a curved surface. What a day. Here’s the Example file.

You can apply this process or way of thinking to other areas of your models. There’s at least two other ways you can reduce features with 3D sketches. Know what they are?

Here’s the video of the process.

SolidWorks Angled Plane on Curved Surface How-to from Solidsmack on Vimeo.


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.