Solidworks is a tool that allows you to create and iterate physical objects in a virtual space. As with any tool it's going to be a little bit difficult at first; you won't know how to do everything that you want to do. With a little practice, you'll start worrying less about "how" and more about "what." This wiki is here to help you through that process.

It may seem obvious, but when you sit down with SolidWorks it's important to have a clear idea of what it is that you want to do. Most SolidWorks sessions fall into one of two categories "Freeform Modeling" and "Constrained Parametric Modeling". Freeform Modeling is solid modeling without rules or conventions. It is extremely useful for quick brainstorms and capturing ideas. The results might look nice, but odds are they can't stand up to much editing. In contrast, Constrained Parametric Modeling is where SolidWorks really shines. When done correctly, you can have a complex assembly automatically adapt to any changes you make. You spend more time designing, and less time fixing broken SolidWorks models. The catch is that this form of modeling is more complicated and takes more time.

Getting Started & General Topics

- The Interface - a walk through of the important toolbars and menus
- Best Practices - a guide on proper modeling techniques
- Reference Geometry - defining construction planes and axes
- Pack-and-Go - using the pack-and-go function to save off a copy
- Changing the Background


- Beginning - how to begin a new sketch
- Best Practices - a guide on proper sketching techniques
- Drawing Geometry? - defining your shape
- Relations? - imposing constraints (relations) on your sketch
- Dimensioning? - adding dimensions to your sketch
- Splines - how to create and manipulate splines
- Image Overlays - how to import an image and sketch over it
*JF 3-D Sketching - Making of 3D-sketches

Sketch-based Features

- Extrude - creating extruded features from flat sketches
- Revolve - creating revolved features from flat sketches
- Sweeps - creating swept features from a set of sketches
*JW Lofts - creating lofted features from a set of sketches
*JF Helix/Spiral - most commonly used for making springs
Text editing - Creating features by editing text

Model-based Features

- Overview - an overview of the model-based feature options
- Fillets - creating variable radius fillets, face fillets and full round fillets
- Chamfers - Creating chamfers by defining variables
- Wrap - How to use wrap feature
- Ribs - Creating and defining ribs
- Shells - Creating shell feature in one and multiple thicknessses
- Scale - How to scale parts
- Dome - Creating domes
- Freeform - How to freeform objects
- Flex - How to flex objects
- Draft - Adding draft to your design

Pattern-based Features

- Linear Pattern - how to create either 1-d or 2-d linear patterns of features
- Circular Pattern - how to create circular patterns of features
- Circular Pattern - Creating circular patterns
- Mirror - How to use mirror feature

Assembly-based Features

- Belt - How to add a belt between two or multiple wheels/gears

Parametric Modeling

*JH Overview - using equations to drive model dimensions
*JH Linking Dimensions - bi-directional links between dimensions
*JH Using Equations - using equations to control your model and/or assembly
*JH Defining Global Variables - variables that you can use in other equations


- Basic Mates?
*XX Advanced Mates - including gear, cam, and rack-and-pinion mates
- Design Library / Toolbox - defining and inserting stock components
- Subassemblies - using subassemblies, including how to make them moveable
- Simulation - adding some basic kinematics to your assembly
*JF Creating New Parts - how to create new parts from within the assembly
- Moving Parts? - how to manually move parts, including collision detection
- Flexible Objects - how to make springs compress/extend and other flexible objects
- Creating Cavities - subtracting one part from another
- Interference Detection - Checking interferences in your assembly
Exploded Views




- Basics - creating basic renderings
- Rendering to a File - exporting high-quality renderings to a file


- Measure - Measuring distances on solid objects


Section Views - viewing a cross-section of a part or assembly
- Boundary Surface - How to make boundary surface
- Sheetmetal - Getting started with sheet metal tool
- Draft Analysis - Quick draft analysis
- COSMOS Express - Doing analysis on COSMOSXpress
- Deviation Analysis - Deviation analysis
- UnderConstruction
- Wing Tutorial - a tutorial on creating wings using extrusions, sweeps, and lofts
- Rendering Gallery - post your best renderings here

Using PDM @ Penn

University of Idaho Online Documentation