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Disclaimer: This exercise was purely for experimental and exploratory purposes. Although I hoped that I would gain insights on how to better sketch in perspective by transferring the 2 point cube sketch into SOLIDWORKS, the success of the exercise wasn’t tied to the outcome. Sometimes, it’s fun to try things and follow one’s instinct and see where it may lead.

Article: You can become a better mechanical design engineer by improving your capability to visually think and sketch in perspective. In essence, sketching is a cycle of iteration that allows you to flush out your ideas on paper. The process goes as follows: 1)You transfer your thoughts from your head to the paper. 2)You analyze what you see on the paper and new ideas are generated. 3)You edit/refine what you had previously put on the paper.

Photo credit: Rapid Viz: A New Method for the Rapid Visualization of Ideas 3rd Edition by Kurt Hanks and Larry Belliston.

My goal is to get to the point where I can rather quickly do exploded views of assemblies, like the Leonardo Da Vinci illustration below.

Currently, I’m learning to draw objects inside cubes that are in perspective.

As I’ve spent weeks drawing straight lines without rulers, practicing ellipses, and drawing cubes in 1 point, 2 point, and 3 point perspective, I began to wonder if the tool I use every day for mechanical design, SOLIDWORKS, could support this perspective sketching. Although there is a button on SOLIDWORKS to view objects in perspective, that’s not what I wanted.

I literally wanted to sketch objects in perspective inside the software. After surfing the web, it was evident no one had done this before. This is totally understandable since the tool isn’t made for those purposes. But as entrepreneurs know, sometimes a new business idea is born by utilizing tools to solve problems they weren’t intended to be used for.

Also, thinking in perspective can be challenging. One has to train the eye to see vanishing points and estimate when objects are incorrectly drawn. It occurred to me that by sketching in perspective inside SOLIDWORKS, I may learn something. Perhaps something would click in my mind and sketching in perspective would suddenly become easier after viewing sketches in 3D inside SOLIDWORKS.

I set out to replicate the 2pt point perspective drawing below in SOLIDWORKS. You can watch me navigate through this process by watching HERE.

Step 1: Paste photo to use it as a reference
Step 2: Create vanishing points
Step 3: Use 3D sketching to make vertices coincident with vanishing points.

Step 4: Generated new planes and axes to connect the vertices in the back of the cube.

Step 5: Create each face using surfaces and knit them together to create a solid.

The final outcome was the following:

I did walk away from this exercise with a rather philosophical conclusion that I didn’t expect. I’ve never had a chance to look at my perspective from someone else’s point of view (side view). This cube seemed like freezing our perspective of how we see the world around us and looking at it from someone else’s point of view.

I hope that you enjoyed this article. Feel free to expand upon what I tried and share your results with me. I have a hunch that there’s a possibility that someone may expand upon this new way of utilizing SOLIDWORKS.


Mechanical designer of medical devices & consumer products at who’s breaking into the world of mechanical design. Co-host of “Being an Engineer” podcast. Ask me how I received 100% perfect score on my CSWP. Pre-med honor degree in Genetics. Sold my first software company out of college. I believe in learning by doing, follow my journey on 👉LinkedIn: 👉Instagram: @Rafael_Testai