SolidWorks is a popular CAD program. The latest version, SW2008 released in September , has several new features and a new look. This article concludes the overview of the most basic feature (the Extrude) – dealing with advanced options of the extrusion definition – draft extrude and thin wall.
SolidWorks is a popular low-level CAD program – a simple alternative to the powerful CATIA software. Although SW2009 has been recently introduced, the programs previous version, SolidWorks 2008, is the one we are dealing this. One reason for that is that many users have not upgraded to SolidWorks 2009. But more importantly, is it the SW2008 version that had a new introduced – making the 3D modeling process easier both for experienced and new users. After reviewing the sketch phase - including the “Sketch" procedure and entities – and covering the constantly visible View menu, we are now providing a complete overview of the most fundamental Extrude feature. As you are almost sure to be familiar with the command itself – read below to discover several new and advanced options of the Extrude. This article is about using the thin wall extrude and draft angles.
Extrude Feature Menu
As it was mentioned, once you select “Extrude" from features tab, a menu will open on the right of your screen. The menu has several choices:
- From (where to start your extrusion)
- Direction 1 – the side and length of your extrude
- Direction 2 – optionally “extruding" your contour to 2 sides of the sketch plane
- Thin feature – a possibility to create a “thin-walled" prism instead of solid prism
- Selected contours – adding/removing sketches that are subject to the Extrude procedure
With “From" choices (defining the origin plane of the extrusion) and “Direction" (defining the length of the extrusion) covered in the previous articles, below is an overview of somewhat advanced option – the “thin feature".
One more thing has to be said about the extrude feature - there is an option to “draft" your extrusion – giving its panes certain angle. Just check the “draft" option just below the extrusion length and specify the desired angle. Pick “draft outward" if you with “upper" cover be bigger than the “lower" one. The drafts are very important in creating the casting molds.
This option gives you an option to create an extrusion of a “thin wall" of your sketch contour – instead of a solid extrude/body. It is very useful for creating “open boxes" or pipes – instead of creating a solid prism/cylinder and then making a cutout in it - we create a thin-walled body with just 1 defining sketch. The thin wall can be of 3 types:
- One-direction – either outwards or inwards from the sketch contour
- Mid-plane – both outwards and inwards (symmetrical) offset from the sketch contour. This option is particularly effective when constructing a pipe – using its mid-plane sketch for construction.
- Two-direction - both outwards and inwards (arbitrary) offset from the sketch contour
This concludes the overview of all the Extrude feature choices. Using them in the right manner will definitely improve your modeling – as well as save you time. Remember to experiment with those extrude options to get a better “feeling" of which option should be applied in certain situation.