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How to Turn Your Napkin Sketches into SOLIDWORKS 3D Models


May 13 2019

Take your drawing from concept to creation with a SOLIDWORKS 3D model

At SOLIDWORKS World 2019, CSWE James Jepsen gave a master class on how to do a 3D sketch in SOLIDWORKS from just a simple hand sketch. In this SOLIDWORKS tutorial, James walks you through the following steps with a real-world design example:

  1. How to go from concept to creation by sketching splines
  2. How to create solid bodies from both splines and surfaces
  3. How to collaborate and iterate with your team using the 3D Markup tool with a real-world example
  4. How to use the Pen feature to easily make final touches on your design

In this video tutorial, the goal is to design a prosthetic arm that will allow someone to play guitar. Here are the constraints and requirements the designer is working under:

  • The prosthetic arm must fit the user’s arm geometry
  • The design should be futuristic and include accented edges and surfaces
  • The prothetic hand must be able to grip a guitar pick
  • The design needs to be able to be 3D printed

Tips from a CSWE on how to turn your hand sketches into SOLIDWORKS 3D Models using SOLIDWORKS Sketch Ink

Whether you’ve used Sketch Ink to create SOLIDWORKS 3D models before or not, here are a few of our favorite tips from James’ master class that you can try today to improve your design efficiency.

Tip #1: While sketching splines from napkin-style hand sketches, turn on the Control Polygon tool to easily and quickly edit the curvature of a spline. This tool gives you great graphical control.

Tip #2: Design for the curvature you want. Then, after you have the right shape, go back and add in your specific dimension requirements.

Tip #3: When you’re aligning a spline with another curve or hand drawing, be sure to display the model in “Normal To” when manipulating the curvature.

Tip #4: Instead of going back and forth over email or redlining a design on a piece of paper, you can keep track of your team’s feedback and revisions all in one place using the 3D Markup tool.

Watch the full SOLIDWORKS tutorial below.

Learn a New Skill in Minutes

No matter your experience level, you can learn a new skill quickly with our structured courses, hands-on exercises, and quizzes. Get started with our Advanced SOLIDWORKS Parts course.

Madie Norris Forcier
Madie Norris Forcier

About the Author

Madie Norris Forcier

SolidProfessor commercial content marketer and self-appointed World’s Greatest Dog Mom