Part 1: The “Kinda Neat” Stuff
Construction Lines. Centerlines. Call them what you will, as the terms are pretty much interchangeable. In my years of consulting and teaching, I continually notice this pattern: They have to be one of the most underutilized objects in SolidWorks. How, you’ve wondered, do I add symmetrical behavior to an existing sketch? Better yet, can I create a symmetrical sketch by drawing just one side of it? Is there a way, I am asked, to get diametric instead of radial dimensions on my revolved parts and drawings? Do you have any tips for locating and controlling the position of objects in a sketch? Can I create a construction circle? How can I get pesky grass and food stains out of my good jeans?
I’m glad you asked.
Well, except for that last question. I think the answer to that is “buy new jeans” but I could be wrong. (My Most Excellent Wife still cringes and tries to disown me when I talk about making “Bachelor Salad.”) But I will research that for the next topic in the “DenimNotes” blog.
But (ahem) back to the subject at hand. You probably already know how to access the Centerline command on the Sketch Command Manager (Fig 1):
You may capture mirrored behavior by selecting a pair of objects and the Centerline and selecting the Symmetry relation from the nearby context menu (Fig 2).
How about this, though? Navigate to the Tools->Sketch Tools->Dynamic Mirror tool (Fig 3)…
…and then select a Centerline object (okay, this actually will work with any line or model edge, but stay with me here). You will see that it takes on this appearance (Fig 4):
As you draw on one side of this line, SolidWorks will not only mirror the object to the other side but add that Symmetry relation. To disable (or re-enable) this behavior, simply toggle the Dynamic Mirror tool off or back on again.
Fig 5 (View->Sketch Relations turned ON)
Well, that’s enough Centerline goodness to keep us busy for a while. Check back shortly for the sequel, “Construction Lines, Part 2: The ‘Really Neat’ Stuff.”