Exploring Extrude in SolidWorks 2008 – extrusion length, up to plane/surface/vertex/body, mid-plane (symmetric) extrusion, two directional Extrude in SW08 – by John Sinitsky


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. The 2 reasons for that are that not many users have already upgraded to SolidWorks 2009 and also that in the SW2008 a new look was 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. But even as you are almost sure familiar with the command itself – read below to discover several new and advanced options of the Extrude. This article is about another important stage of extrusion – defining the length of the Extruded sketch.

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) covered in the previous chapter, we are now going to analyze the Extrude directions and length choices.


There are several options to define the length of your extrusion.

  • Blind – this is the most basic definition that allows you to specify the desired Extrude length and direction. In SW2008 you can also do it dynamically – dragging the Extrusion arrow with your mouse (notice the “ruler” that is shown besides the arrow).
  • Up to surface – it is many times more convenient to end the extrusion at certain face/pane/surface. This option will ensure that your extrusion will still be valid when you change certain dimensions of your model.
  • Up to Vertex – same as above, but specifying one vertex of your model to serve as reference.
  • Up to body – if you have multiple bodies that you want to be connected by your extrusion – use this option.
  • Mid-plane – this option will extend you sketch symmetrically in two directions – by the specified length. Dynamic arrow-drag is also available here. If you want to extrude your sketch in 2 directions but with different lengths – check the “direction 2” checkbox and provide direction 2 values as desired.

This post is part of the series: CAD modelling with SolidWorks 2008

Are you a CAD user? An engineer? Product designer? What software do you use? Try SolidWorks – and you may never want to switch back… Already a SW user? This series will give you some useful tips about the latest version, SolidWorks 2008.
  1. CAD software – SolidWorks 2008 Overview
  2. Learning SolidWorks 2008 – Creating New Part and Menu Structure
  3. Learning SolidWorks 2008 – Creating a sketch
  4. Learning SolidWorks 2008 – Sketch Entities – Part I
  5. Learning SolidWorks 2008 – Sketch Entities – Part II
  6. Learning SolidWorks 2008 – Sketch Entities – Part III
  7. What’s new in SolidWorks 2008 – The view menu – part I
  8. What’s new in SolidWorks 2008 – The view menu – part II
  9. Learn SolidWorks 2008 – Extrude – part I
  10. Learn SolidWorks 2008 – Extrude – Part II
  11. Learn SolidWorks 2008 – Extrude – Part III
  12. Learn SolidWorks 2008 – Extrude – Part IV